Daily Archives: December 17, 2013

Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Christmas

 

   During the early days of Christianity, different parts of the world celebrated Christmas on different dates. If you traveled widely in the Roman world, you could conceivably enjoy six different Christmases in the span of a single year. It was Pope Julius I in the mid-fourth century who appointed a monk named Dionysius to set up a calendar standardizing a universal date, which came to be December 25.

•     Christmas was outlawed in England by the Puritans under Oliver Cromwell (1599–1658) who thought of it as a “heathen celebration.” It was illegal to celebrate the holiday until the British monarchy was restored in 1660.

•     Christmas was also outlawed by the Puritans of New England. The following law was passed in Massachusetts in 1659: “Whoever shall be found observing any such day as Christmas and the like, either by forbearing labor, feasting or any other way, shall pay for any such offense five shillings as a fine to the country.” The law remained on the books for 22 years, and Christmas was not made a legal holiday in Massachusetts until just before the Civil War.

•     In Spain, Christmas gifts are not exchanged until January 6—for a very good reason. That is the date commemorating the visit of the Magi, who were the first to offer Christmas gifts—gold, frankincense, and myrrh. On that night, children set their shoes outside on the doorstep, filling them with straw for the camels. They believe the wise men will use the straw to feed their camels and in return fill the shoes with gifts and candy.

•     The custom of sending Christmas cards began in 1843 when a wealthy Englishman, Sir Henry Cole, ran out of time to write personal letters to his friends at Christmas. He commissioned an artist, John Calcott Horsley, to design a card instead. Horsley drew a picture of a group of merry-wishers raising their glasses in toast. Underneath were the words, “A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You.” The card created much controversy, as critics complained it encouraged holiday drinking. But the custom of sending cards at Christmas caught on nonetheless.

•     The Poinsettia is a Christmas tradition harkening from Mexico. According to legend, a boy named Pablo was headed to his village church to see its nativity scene. Realizing he had no gift for the Christchild, he hurriedly gathered some branches and weeds from the roadside. When he laid them before the manger, the other children laughed at him. But suddenly there appeared on each branch the brilliant, star-shaped flower of the Poinsettia.

•     Candy canes were reportedly developed by a Christian candymaker in Indiana who built the story of Christmas into each piece. The hardness of the candy represents the solid rock of the Christian faith. The white represents the sinlessness of Christ, and the red stripes symbolize the bloody wounds caused by his flogging. The shape of the candy is that of a shepherd’s staff, representing Christ as our Good Shepherd. Turned upside down, it forms the letter “J”—for Jesus.

•     Our word Christmas comes from the English observance of the birth of Christ called Christes masse (Christ’s mass), because a special mass was celebrated on that day. In France, it’s known as Noel; in Spain, Navidad; and in Italy, Natale—all those words meaning simply birthday. The Germans use the word Weihnachten, meaning holy nights.

•     The word Yule comes from the Teutonic tribes of northern Europe. Because their winters were so long and harsh and their days so short, they always celebrated the winter solstice on December 22, the shortest day of the year. It was a time of great joy for them. From that point each year the days began to lengthen. They called the month Yule, or Jol, from which we get our English word jolly.

•     The day after Christmas is commonly called “Boxing Day” in England, because of the custom of giving Christmas boxes containing gifts and money to the servants.[1]

 


[1] Morgan, R. J. (2000). Nelson’s complete book of stories, illustrations, and quotes (electronic ed., pp. 110–112). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Christmas Around The World

by David Chilton

Through the centuries, many customs have been developed to express the significance of the Incarnation. Setting forth universal truths in the context of local backgrounds and concerns, these practices reflect both the substantial unity and multifaceted diversity of the Christian faith. Christmas traditions tend to cluster around the following six themes:

Giving gifts. Perhaps the first thing that enters our minds about Christmas is the tradition of giving gifts to one another. But we do well to remember that the very first Christmas presents were offered by the Magi to our Lord, as a grateful response to God for His unspeakable gift of salvation. This pattern is still followed in many communities: In Zaire, for example, an early morning Christmas service includes a procession of worshipers to present gifts on or near the Lord’s Table.

Fasting. Christmas is a feast—the Feast of the Incarnation, a glad celebration of thanksgiving for God’s saving grace. But we enter Christmas through the season of Advent. Sometimes called “Christmas Lent,” Advent is in many Christian traditions a time of fasting, of privation, as believers meditate on the brokenness of the world and the emptiness of life before the birth of Christ, the King.

The Advent fast usually means abstaining from meat, eggs, and dairy products. On Christmas Day, Middle Eastern Christians assemble in church at dawn. For them, Holy Communion is the breaking of the fast, literally, the break-fast—the glad beginning of a feast that will last throughout the “12 days of Christmas,” until the Feast of Epiphany on January 6.

Evergreens. Jesus came as the Second Adam, to restore “the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God” (Rev. 2:7 nkjv; cf. Rev. 22:1–2). In the bleak midwinter, while most vegetation lies dormant under a blanket of snow, evergreens testify of life. Holly, ivy, and mistletoe are especially beloved at Christmastime. As earthly images of Christ the Tree of Life, they bear fruit in winter. Psalm 1 reminds us that the faithful believer too is a tree of life—a fruit-bearing evergreen “whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper” (Psalm 1:3 nkjv).

Perhaps the clearest reminder of the Tree of Life is the traditional Christmas tree, decorated with lights and real or artificial fruit. By some accounts, this custom was started by St. Boniface, the eighth-century missionary to the Germans, who bravely chopped down the sacred oak of Thor and replaced it with a fir tree dedicated to the Christ Child—teaching his converts what the church father Tertullian had said five centuries earlier in his treatise against idolatry: “You are a light of the world, a tree ever green, if you have renounced the heathen temple.”

Light. Christmas celebrates the coming of the Light of the world—“the Sunrise from on high” (Luke 1:78)—and for that reason it is the season most associated with lights. Across the world, streets, homes, churches, schools, and shopping malls come alive in a jubilant blaze of multicolored brilliance. In part, this tradition stems from the Jewish winter feast of Hanukkah, the “Festival of Lights,” commemorating the cleansing and dedication of the temple under the Maccabees in 165 b.c.

Fire has long been a symbol of Christ. In many Christian homes, the family assembles for a special candle-lighting ceremony around the Advent wreath on the Sundays preceding Christmas. In Ireland, a candle within a holly or laurel wreath burns throughout Christmas Eve. Portuguese Christians keep candles lit in every window of the home from Christmas Eve till New Year’s, as a sign of welcome to all, friends and strangers alike.

In Syria on Christmas Eve, a Christian household gathers to hear the youngest son read the story of the Nativity. The father then lights a bonfire, and the family sings psalms until the fire burns to embers. A few hours later, before sunrise, they will attend worship in church, where another bonfire will burn to the accompaniment of Christian hymns.

Bell-ringing. Bells have been used in Christian worship from at least the fifth century. Since medieval times, church bells have traditionally tolled a solemn, eerie death-knell for the devil just before midnight on Christmas Eve—then, at the stroke of midnight, suddenly changing to a joyous peal of victory, announcing the triumph of the King and the inauguration of His worldwide rule.

Singing. Christmas literally began with singing, as the angelic choir sang “Gloria in Excelsis Deo” to the wondering shepherds outside Bethlehem. Christmas is inseparable from music, and one of the glories of the season is that it is the one time of the year when the world seems to approach sanity—when virtually every office, elevator, and supermarket is suffused with the message of the Gospel presented in glorious song.

And such joyous music! Have you ever heard a somber or morbid Christmas carol? It is unthinkable, for they are all coronation songs, ringing the praises of the King of kings. Carols never suggest that Christ is not yet enthroned; from “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” to “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” they all rejoice with the apostolic Gospel that God “has delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love” (Col. 1:13 nkjv).

Christmas doesn’t end with the Babe in the manger. It leads us forward to Epiphany, Christ’s saving manifestation of Himself to the nations. The visit of the Magi, commemorated on January 6, was but a foretaste of the stated goal of Christ’s mission: “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself” (John 12:32 nkjv).

Joy to the world! ▲[1]

 


[1] Chilton, D. (1993). Christmas around the World. (R. C. Sproul Jr., Ed.)Tabletalk Magazine, December 1993: Marley’s Message to Scrooge, 14–55.

The Wonder of Christmas (Study Guide)

 

In this lesson, we revisit, with a sense of reverent awe, the events of the first Christmas.

Outline

If we can read the Christmas story in Luke 1 with a sense of wonder today, it will most assuredly take on new meaning for us. We’ve heard it so many times that if we are not careful, it settles down into the comfort zone of our mental process and we lose the sense of the incredible wonder of what happened when Christ was born.

I.  Five Statements that Were Fulfilled

a.   The Virgin Birth

b.   The Humanity of Jesus

c.   The Messiahship of Jesus

d.   The Omnipotence of God

e.   The Deity of Jesus

II.  Two Statements Yet to Be Fulfilled

a.   The Throne of David

b.   He Shall Reign Forever

Overview

In Luke 1:26–38 we read:

Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.” Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

A young virgin named Mary is engaged to be married to a man named Joseph. Then Mary is visited by an angel. This particular passage is referred to as “The Annunciation.” Many believe that Luke learned the details of this story directly from Mary as he researched the background of the gospel.

The angel Gabriel, who appeared to Mary, is one of two angels mentioned by name in the Bible. Michael is the great defender, while Gabriel is the great revealer. This whole dialog probably took place in Mary’s home. She lived in a city of questionable reputation, yet we know she was of a pharisaic line and of royal descent. When the angel came to Mary, many people of her day were totally oblivious to any events that would have a permanent or universal influence. But one thing was true: every woman desired to become the mother of the long-awaited Messiah.

In verse 28 we read that the angel spoke to Mary and said, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women.” This was the introduction to the message that would change the course of the world.

Perhaps no section of the gospel narrative has been more misunderstood than the words the angel spoke to Mary. When the angel said, “Rejoice, highly favored one,” he was simply giving to her a greeting of great importance. In the King James Version, it is translated “full of grace.” Likewise, the Latin Vulgate speaks of her as being “full of grace.”

One commentator points out that “if by full of grace we mean full of grace received, then we understand the passage. But if we mean full of grace to give to others, then we have totally misapplied the words of the angel. Mary does not have grace that she bestows on others, no matter what anyone may teach.”

Then the angel said, “Blessed are you among women.” Elizabeth uses the same expression later on in the same chapter. “Blessed are you among women” is simply an expression that explains how Mary had been chosen from among the women to be the mother of our Lord. There is no indication that this choice was due to Mary’s own worthiness. She was selected by the sovereignty of God.

“The Lord is with you,” said the angel. That does not mean that at that moment conception took place miraculously. It simply conveys the idea that through this very difficult process the Lord would be with her and help her to comprehend all of the imponderables that were cast upon her that day.

And then in verses 30–31, the message of this great wonder comes home to the heart of this young woman. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus.” Once again, when the angel said that Mary had found favor with God, he was conveying no more than was communicated about Noah in the Old Testament, where we read that Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.

The Child’s name is given by God, and we are told that His name is Jesus.

In verses 30 and following, seven statements that the angel gave to Mary are prophetic statements of great importance. Five of them were fulfilled when Jesus came the first time. Two of them will be fulfilled in the future.

Five Statements that Were Fulfilled

Notice what the angel told Mary about her yet-to-be-born baby: “You will conceive in your womb.” “You will … bring forth a Son.” “You … shall call his name Jesus.” “He will be great.” And, “He … will be called the Son of the Highest.”

Wrapped up in those first five statements by the angel to Mary are some of the greatest doctrines of the Christian faith. “You will conceive in your womb.” That’s the doctrine of the virgin birth.

“You will … bring forth a Son.” That’s the doctrine of the humanity of Jesus.

“You … shall call his name Jesus.” That’s the truth of His Messiahship. He is our Messiah.

“He will be great.” That’s the doctrine of the omnipotence of God.

And “He … will be called the Son of the Highest” tells us that Jesus is Deity.

All of these things were true of Jesus as He was born. Every prophecy of the angel to Mary was borne out in the birth of Jesus.

Two Statements Yet to Be Fulfilled

The Bible says that yet to come are these two dimensions of our Savior: “The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David,” and, “He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” Just as surely as the first five of those prophecies were fulfilled in the person of our Lord, you can be confident that the next two also will be fulfilled. The day is coming when Jesus Christ will reign on the throne of His father David; and He shall reign over the house of Jacob, and of His kingdom there shall be no end. It is yet future, but it will come to pass.

Isaiah the Prophet says, “Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever” (Isaiah 9:7). Jesus Christ who came in a manger will someday come in glory.

Now put yourself for a moment into the heart and mind and spirit of Mary. She is perhaps 16 years old. In that day, girls often were married at the age of 14 and had given birth by the time they were 15 or 16. So perhaps at the age of 16 or 17 she heard this overwhelming message from an angel, and then had to absorb it all.

We should have no difficulty comprehending her confusion. Verse 29 says, “When she saw him, she was troubled at his saying.” That has to be one of the great understatements of the New Testament! She was perplexed. The angel’s words awakened in her a sense of wonder and uneasiness, and she began to wonder what this could mean. In verse 29 she considered what manner of greeting this was.

And then she begins to ask the normal questions. These are the questions you would expect her to ask. Her first one is, how can this be? “Then Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I do not know a man?’ ” (Luke 1:34). She is not talking about casual acquaintance here. This is the New Testament word for a sexual relationship. She is saying, “How can I be pregnant when I have not had any sexual relationship with a man?”

The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35). In other words, “Mary, you are going to be with child in a way that no one has ever been with child before, or shall ever be afterwards.” She will be with child by the Holy Spirit.

There are many ways humanity has come into being. Adam and Eve were created directly by God. They did not come through the birth process. Today, we are the products of a relationship between our mother and our father. But Jesus was uniquely born in the sense that He was born of His mother, but had no earthly father. So Mary was asked, at the age of 16, to comprehend a concept, a birth process, that had never before occurred in the history of humanity. No wonder she was perplexed!

This is the glory and the wonder of Christmas, that God could plant not only into the womb of this woman the Son of God, but He could plant in her heart the faith to believe the message that she received from the angel. Her response has always overwhelmed me with a sense of absolute submission that ought to be in the heart of every child of God. Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.”

In one of his writings, C. S. Lewis said: “The whole thing narrows and narrows until at last it comes down to a little point, small as the point of a spear: A Jewish girl at her prayers. Today as I read the accounts of Jesus’ birth, I tremble to think of the fate of the world resting on the response of two rural teenagers. How many times did Mary review the angel’s words as she felt the Son of God kicking against the walls of her uterus? How many times did Joseph second guess his own encounter with an angel—just a dream?—as he endured the hot shame of living among villagers who could plainly see the changing shape of his fiancé.”

The Virgin Mary, whose parenthood was unplanned, heard the angel out, pondered the repercussions, and replied: “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.” Often a work of God comes with two edges, great joy and great pain. In this matter-of-fact response, Mary embraced both pain and joy. She was the first person to accept Jesus on His own terms, regardless of personal cost. She accepted Him as her baby.

The wonder of Christmas!

We should be overwhelmed that God should love us so much, that Christ His Son would allow Himself to be born into humanity to ultimately pay the penalty for our sin.

Application

1.  Based on your understanding of Jewish culture, what response to her unwed pregnancy might Mary have expected from the community around her?

Where, in Luke 1:46–55, does she project what others will call her in the future? What does this reveal about Mary’s spirit and attitude?

2.   What does Luke 2:19 reveal about Mary’s perspective on the events surrounding Jesus’ conception and birth?

Why was this remarkable?

3.   What word does Mary use to describe herself in Luke 1:38 and in Luke 1:48?

Does this seem to confirm or contradict other aspects of her character?

How does this compare or contrast with the view of Mary held by some religious groups?

4.   Why do you think Joseph and Mary did not “go public” with the news of the angelic visits? In addition to Mary’s humiliation, what might Joseph have had to endure?

What attitude do you think made it possible for them to do this?

5.   What was Simeon’s attitude concerning the arrival of Messiah, according to Luke 2:29–32? How did Joseph and Mary respond to his statements?

6.   How might we respond to the season celebrating His birth, in light of the responses of those closest to Him at His birth?

Did You Know?

Because the timetable for the arrival of Messiah is so precise in Daniel 9:25–26, there were some during the days leading up to Jesus’ birth who were faithfully watching for Messiah’s birth somewhere near the “69 weeks” (483 years) following the decree of Artaxerxes found in Nehemiah 2:1–8 (made in 444 b.c.). But that also meant there were a multitude of imposters trying to cash in on Daniel’s prophecy by claiming to be the Messiah.

God’s solution to the problem of imposters was to provide a multitude of qualifications Messiah would have to meet—including genealogical criteria, the ability to effect Messianic signs, a sinless life, and ultimately power over Satan and death itself. And, although most (if not all) believing Jews did not foresee the death and resurrection of Messiah, once it was all accomplished, they could write with great wonder and awe about the perfection of God’s plan as it unfolded in Jesus the Messiah. Thus the New Testament is filled to the brim with quotations and allusions to the Old Testament prophecies fulfilled in the Babe born at Bethlehem.

Star of Wonder

Atop many a Christmas tree is the Christmas Star. To most Christians it is a symbol of Jesus, who is often called the ‘bright and morning star.’ Ancient people looked upon stars as gods and created myths about them. Before there was Christmas, stars held importance in ancient religions.

The Babylonians used three stars to represent a god. The Egyptians believed that certain gods controlled different stars and constellations. The six-pointed star of David became the symbol of the Hebrew nation. The North American Blackfoot Indian tribe believed that every star at one time was a human being. But the five-pointed star of Christmas holds center stage. Its appearance is recorded in the Bible in the New Testament, which says it appeared over Bethlehem and served as a guiding light to lead the wise men to the Holy Child.[1]

 


[1] Jeremiah, D. (1999). Celebrate his love: Study guide (pp. 40–49). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Carols Changed Christmas

Before the advent of the Christmas carol, celebrations of Christmas had become so depraved and rowdy that the observance of the joyous season was once forbidden by the English Parliament. The meaning of Christmas had become lost in a malestrom of reveling, drunkenness, rioting, and depravity. Decent people found it necessary to stay indoors for safety. The situation became so shameful that in 1644 Parliament passed strict laws making it illegal to commemorate the season in any way whatsoever! How empty and devoid of meaning is a Christless Christmas! KEEP CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS.

—Knight[1]

 


[1] Tan, P. L. (1996). Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times. Garland, TX: Bible Communications, Inc.

Questions about Christmas: Is It Wrong to Say “Xmas” instead of “Christmas”?

There are many who view the word Xmas as part of an overall “war on Christmas.” They view it as a blatant attempt to take Christ out of Christmas. While it is undeniable that some use Xmas in that manner, the actual origin of the word Xmas has nothing to do with taking Christ out of Christmas.

In Greek, the original language of the New Testament, the word for “Christ” is Χριστός, which begins with the Greek letter that is essentially the same letter as the English letter X. So, originally, Xmas was simply an abbreviation of Christmas. No grand conspiracy to take Christ out of Christmas. Just an abbreviation.

But there is no denying that there is a trend to, in a sense, take Christ out of Christmas. In pursuit of tolerance, inclusiveness, and political correctness, some are attempting to obscure the Christian origins of Christmas—as if our society’s materialism has not already obscured the meaning of Christmas. Whether they refer to it as “Xmas” or “the winter holidays” or something else, some will not be satisfied until the celebration is entirely secularized. In response to this, rather than getting angry or complaining about the use of Xmas, we should be sharing the love of Christ through word and deed.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Muslim Questions: Muslim Bible Study—Christmas Story—Day 3

 

3. Why was Jesus born?

Jesus Christ’s birth is unique among mankind because He came from God and is God (John 1:1). The angel announcing His birth foretold Jesus’ purpose: “He will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21b).

Ever since Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, sin has reigned, bringing hardship and death. Sin separates us from the holy God, keeping us from fellowship with Him and paradise (Romans 6:23). But even when God was punishing Adam and Eve, He promised to send a Savior to save believing sinners.

The Savior was prophesied hundreds of times throughout history. Reading the prophecies, many people eagerly expected Him. Surprisingly, some of the first to discover the Messiah after His birth were not from Israel. They were from the East (probably Persians from the area that is now Iran):

“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.’

“When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.

“They told him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: “And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.” ’

“Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, ‘Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.’

“After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.

“And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

“Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.’

“And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, ‘Out of Egypt I called my son.’

“Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah: ‘A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.’

“But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, ‘Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead.’ And he rose and took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled: ‘He shall be called a Nazarene’ ” (Matthew 2:1–23).

Jesus is the perfect fulfillment of the prophecies. Jesus is the promised Savior! He came to save from sin those who trust in Him. Keep reading the Bible to find out how Jesus saves sinners.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

16 Signs That “Global Warming” Was A Lie And That We Have Now Entered A Period Of Global Cooling

Back in 2009, Al Gore boldly declared that “the entire north polar ice cap during some of the summer months could be completely ice-free within the next five to seven years.” Well, it turns out that was a lie along with almost everything else that Al Gore has been peddling. The truth is that the polar ice cap is actually growing. It is about 50 percent larger than it was at this time last year. And as you will read about below, a shocking UN report that was recently leaked shows that the planet has actually not been warming for the past 15 years. So if you are breathlessly anticipating that “global warming” will soon bring on the apocalypse, you can stop waiting. On the other hand, there is rising concern about what “global cooling” will soon do to the planet as we suffer through the beginning of the coldest winter in decades. Thanks to an unusually quiet solar cycle and an (Read More…)

83 Numbers From 2013 That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe

During 2013, America continued to steadily march down a self-destructive path toward oblivion. As a society, our debt levels are completely and totally out of control. Our financial system has been transformed into the largest casino on the entire planet and our big banks are behaving even more recklessly than they did just before the last financial crisis. We continue to see thousands of businesses and millions of jobs get shipped out of the United States, and the middle class is being absolutely eviscerated. Due to the lack of decent jobs, poverty is absolutely exploding. Government dependence is at an all-time high and crime is rising. Evidence of social and moral decay is seemingly everywhere, and our government appears to be going insane. If we are going to have any hope of solving these problems, the American people need to take a long, hard look in the mirror and finally admit how bad things have actually become. If we all just blindly have faith that “everything is going to be okay”, the consequences of decades of incredibly foolish decisions are going to absolutely blindside us and we will be absolutely devastated by the great crisis that is rapidly approaching. The United States is in a massive amount of trouble, and it is time that we all started facing the truth. The following are 83 numbers from 2013 that are almost too crazy to believe… (Read More….)

Obama Allows Great Lakes Water To Be Sold To China As Half The U.S. Faces Extreme Water Crisis

What in the world is Barack Obama thinking? At a time when the United States is facing the greatest water crisis that it has ever known, Obama is allowing water from the Great Lakes to be drained, bottled and shipped to China and other countries around the globe. Right now, the Great Lakes hold approximately 21 percent of the total supply of fresh water in the entire world. Considering the fact that global water supplies are becoming extremely tight, that is an invaluable resource. One recent UN report projected that two-thirds of the people in the world will be dealing with “water stress” and 1.8 billion people will be facing “absolute water scarcity” by the year 2025. So why are we allowing foreign corporations such as Nestle to make millions upon millions of dollars pumping water out of the Great Lakes and selling it overseas? Considering the massive worldwide water crisis that we know is coming in the years ahead, shouldn’t we be doing everything that we can to protect this precious natural resource? (Read More…..)

What Child is This?

He had only 12 disciples, but billions of people discuss His teachings every day. According to one Harvard professor (not a Christian), the Sermon on the Mount alone represents the “most luminous, most quoted, most analyzed, most contested, most influential moral and religious discourse in all of human history.” The professor adds, “This may sound like an overstatement, but it is not. ”

He was homeless during His public life, but most of the world’s most beautiful buildings were built in His honor.

View Article

I Have Not Come To Bring Peace But A Sword

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter- in- law against her mother- in- law. 36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. (Matthew 10:34-36 ESV)

The number one accusation against those who proclaim the truth from God’s Word in the face of apostasy is that they are being divisive. I believe we should seek to have peace with all men, but we must be prepared to encounter conflict with those who refuse to submit to God’s truth. We are never called to be at peace with false teachers or false prophets or apostates. We don’t have to go to war against all of them either (Proverbs…

View original post 1,183 more words