(Ver 1.1) I am praying that all of my friends, subscribers and readers have an extremely blessed Christ Centered time of Celebration for the Birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ this year of 2018. We too often lose the primary focus for the reason for this time of year. We give God the praise and the glory for what He has done for us in Jesus Christ coming to the earth throughout the entire year, But, I just want to give Him a well-deserved special emphasis of praise for being born here on this planet nearly 2000 years ago.
Today I want to share a quick lesson on Christmas. One of the main reasons that I am writing this lesson is to help eliminate a type of religious ignorance for why Christians should celebrate the Birth of Jesus on December 25 every year. No, we do not know that He was born on this date. No one can prove that He was born then or not born then, but that is really not the reason we celebrate. If you would like to celebrate on a different day or not at all that is your choice. But, as a body of believers I commend the person that set a specific time for celebration of this glorious event. Even though this day has been commercialized and fought over to be removed we should walk in love and be happy to share Christ with others through His great Grace and love.
Someone was trying to tell me in one of my recent Bible lessons that I was wrong by saying Jesus went around the earth in person preaching the Gospel to people. They further tried to say that since Jesus had not yet been crucified and died to pay the penalty for our sins the Gospel was clearly not available to be preached to anyone. I believe that it is sad for anyone to think this way. That is not what the Bible says at all. Today I am going to share how the Gospel was preached 2000 years ago when Jesus walked the face of the earth and before He died. Then we will explore how God shared this news even way beyond Jesus came and how it was preached to people over 4000 years ago.
The Gospel in the Old Testament
We will begin with a verse that is written in the Book of Galatians that reveals the Gospel was preached to Abraham 2000 years before Jesus was born in a stable in Bethlehem. Please read this verse and learn what God calls the Gospel:
Gal 3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
The Greek word that I wish to focus on is the word G4283. It was translated as “preached before the Gospel” in this verse. This Greek word is a compound of two other Greek words G2097 and G4253. The first word to consider is G2097 and this is the Greek word that literally means to announce good news and it is often translated as the Gospel in the New Testament. The second Greek word G4253 that is being connected to this present tense Gospel preaching or announcement of good news verb is one that simply means “fore” or “before” in time relationship to the present. God is very clearly stating that the “Gospel was preached before” to a man named Abraham specifically. Wow, I didn’t think Jesus had died yet but still God says this was the Gospel being preached. How can this be? What was it that God said was the Gospel?
God answers these questions by informing us “That He would justify the heathen through faith”. The Greek word G1484 that was translated as “heathen” simply means “a race”, “a nation” and “Gentiles”. God is declaring the method of salvation by faith for ALL HUMANS way back to Abraham and Jesus was not even born, lived, died or raised from the dead. Isn’t that amazing? God is looking down the corridor of time forward to something that was to be accomplished in the future and preaching it like it was already a done deal. Praise God!
- GOD Preached the Gospel Good News to People that Jesus was Coming before He came.
The Gospel in the Birth of Christ Jesus
Many people know the Christmas Story but I’ll provide some new details that may have been overlooked about the Gospel being declared in time of His birth. We will begin by reading in Luke 2 starting at verse 10. Before this verse we should already know that Jesus had been born in a manager in the small town of Bethlehem. An angel was sent to shepherds a short distance from the manager with a powerful message. Let’s read it:
Luk 2:10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
Luk 2:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
Luk 2:12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
Luk 2:13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Luk 2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Isn’t God awesome? A messenger angel was sent to shepherds to tell them of the birth of the future sacrifice LAMB of GOD! Please notice the words written in verse 10 “Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings”. Guess what the Greek word is that was translated as “Good Tidings”. This is again the Greek Word G2097 that is often translated as the Gospel. Who did the angels say that this Gospel message was for? The angel said it was for “ALL PEOPLE”. Isn’t that the beginning of the same Gospel that was spoken to Abraham? The angel continues the Gospel by saying “In the city of David is born a savior which is Christ the LORD”. Christ is the Hebrew word Messiah and it simply means anointed one. LORD is a key Hebrew word because this is JEHOVAH a name for the God of all creation. The angel was announcing to all mankind that God had come to the earth in the flesh and this was the GOSPEL! It was too Good to be True News. The angels in the heavens immediately break out in joyous celebration speaking praises to God and blessings of peace and goodwill to all men. Wow, I am in awe of God’s love for us to do this for me.
- When Jesus was born God preached the Gospel Good News that He was here.
Jesus Preaches in the Flesh the Gospel on Earth
I could give more scriptures to this lesson but it is my desire to keep it short and to the point. Did Jesus, when He walked the face of the earth in the flesh before He died preach the Gospel to people? The Bible says that He did. Let’s turn in our Bibles to Luke 8 this time and begin to read in verse 1:
Luk 8:1 And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him,
The KJV translators had another problem with determining the correct word to be included in this verse. They choose “glad tidings” but again this is the Greek Word 2097 that is most often translated as “the Gospel”. Therefore we learn from the word chosen by God in the scriptures that Jesus preached the Gospel before He died. What I find amazing about this is that in this verse Jesus is described to go to EVERY city and village to preach the Gospel to the people living on the earth before He had died, was raised from the dead and ascended back into heaven. Jesus in person was announcing such great news to them that they clearly did not understand it as many today also fail to believe in Him.
- God Preached and declared the Gospel Good News in Person that He was the promised one that everyone was looking for to come.
The death of Jesus on a cross followed by His resurrection from the dead 3 days later could have never occurred except that He was first born into this world. God initiated a process by declaring what would happen before it happened and then worked through human people on the earth to bring it to pass. Abraham cooperated, David cooperated, Mary cooperated, Joseph cooperated and many, many others. Jesus came to die and pay the penalty for all of our sins but to accomplish this He had to be born of a virgin and live 33 ½ years on the earth and then cooperate to lay down His life in such a great display of humility that I struggle to understand fully how He loved us that much to do that.
I pray again that you will be blessed this Christmas and go and spend time in His Word understanding How much He loved us to do what He did by being born in Bethlehem to be laid in a feeding trough. I love you all and I appreciate your time in reading this blog of Bible studies. Spend time with your loved ones to celebrate Jesus and tell them about the God that came to die for them. God Bless you all.
We are so very blessed to have so many readers and subscribers who LOVE the Bible this much to study with us on AGAPEGEEK. We will be praying for you all this coming 2018 year. We also appreciate your prayers for us also. Thank you to every prayer partner. God has continued to bless us because of your prayers.
HAVE A VERY BLESSED CHRISTMAS!
From the AGAPEGEEK Website
Thank You to all of my 2011 readers. I pray that you have a blessed Christmas season as we celebrate the birth of the King of Kings on the earth. We owe our existence to our Lord and Savior Jesus. Without His shed blood we would all be lost in our sin. We depend upon our Lord for our future. And we continue to look up knowing His coming is so near. We will always be eternally grateful for all that He has given to us. So to all of my friends in Christ I bless you with all of the Love that I can share in a note. Keep Jesus in the forefront of your mind and think only of His goodness. Have a blessed season and if I never meet you in person here on the earth I will look forwward to meeting you in eternity and I will have more Bible studies soon.
(Ver 1.3) Almost every Christmas these days I come across another example of how people have adopted a tradition rather than the Bible. It seems that people are more comfortable with their idea of Christmas rather than what God said really happened in the Bible. What am I talking about? Mostly I have a problem with the manger scenes and living nativities that many churches put up this time of the year. If you have ever read any of my blogs you know I am a stickler for the details. I feel if God went to so much trouble to put a story in the Bible for us to read, we ought to have enough respect to figure out what it says and then to teach that. Obviously there are a lot of people who disagree with me on this or they wouldn’t have the wise men visiting baby Jesus in the manger in Bethlehem.
You really don’t have to be a rocket scientist to read and to study the Bible. You just need to pay attention to every word. The wise men were never in the town of Bethlehem and Jesus was there for less than a week. If you have read the Bible you know that the story starts by Joseph and Mary having to travel to Bethlehem in order to pay taxes and participate in the census that the Roman government had imposed on all of their citizens. Sounds a lot like what Congress is trying to do to us now. But I won’t go there. Joseph and Mary traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem because they were of the house of David. If they were not David’s descendants Jesus would not have been born in Bethlehem. It is funny how God knew what was going to happen and He prophesied where Jesus would be born way before hand.
Mic 5:2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
Here is another point that I always like to make about the Christmas story. Why was Jesus born in a manager? I think most people think that it was simply because they were so poor that they couldn’t afford anything better. But, that is not what the Bible says either. We can clearly understand that because of Mary’s condition of being almost 9 months pregnant that they were not making as good of time as everyone else that was also having to travel to Bethlehem. When Joseph and Mary finally arrived in Bethlehem we know that Jesus was born in the manger because the inn was already full of people (Luke 2:7). We can easily conclude that Joseph had the money to stay at the inn and also enough in his pocket to pay his taxes. You did know you don’t pay taxes if you don’t have any income or money earned, don’t you? So Jesus was born in a manger because of the slower travel time and the insufficient space at the inn and not the lack of money of Joseph and Mary as many teach. That to me is a very important point to the Christmas story that you should not throw away and ignore.
Next, we find in the story of Christmas, that the angels appeared to some shepherds that were nearby tending their sheep and told them of the great news of the birth of the messiah (Luke 2:8-10). It is certainly significant that shepherds were told this since the Lamb of God was just born in Bethlehem and who better to come to see this Lamb of God, than these nearby shepherds tending their sheep. So we know that the shepherds were at the manger and witnessed the Lamb of God in Bethlehem personally. So where do we get the idea that Jesus was also visited by the wise men at the same time? I honestly do not have a clue where this tradition originated, nor do I care. If you read the account in the Bible you find that the wise men could have been there to see Jesus, up to two years after his birth in Bethlehem. We know that Jesus was circumcised in Jerusalem on the 8th day of his life so we can thus determine that Jesus was in the manger for less than a week. Just long enough for Mary to recover and for Joseph to pay the taxes. They then went to Jerusalem and did what the law instructed them to do for their new born son and offer all the appropriate sacrifices.
What would you assume that Joseph would have done then? If you guessed go home you would probably be correct. So here is the root of the problem, we have two different accounts of the birth of Jesus, the main account is found in Luke, but Matthew also provides us additional information. The problem occurs when people try to combine these two accounts into one story when they are really two separate accounts. In Matthew 2 we discover that the Magi were come from the east and they appear in Jerusalem, not Bethlehem. We also discover that they talk with King Herod and stir up a hornet’s nest of controversies. They are told that the messiah is prophesied to be born in Bethlehem of Judea. I guess this is automatically assumed to be where they travel to, to see Jesus. But that is not what the Bible says.
Mat 2:11 and having come to the house, they found the child with Mary his mother,
You can see in Matthew 2:11 that the wise men show up at a house and not at a manger. Who do you think this house belonged to? You can assume many options, but the one that makes the most sense was it was Joseph’s house in his hometown Nazareth. Here is the other interesting point to be made in this story, the Greek word translated as “child” does not mean baby or new born. When Jesus was a baby in the manger he is called by a different Greek word. You can look it up for yourself. This Greek word actually means a half grown child. So we can see that a lot of time has passed before the Magi make it to Jesus.
All you have to do is read and study and you come up with the right story. If you preach and teach the wise men showed up at the manger then you are either ignorant of the truth or you choose to preach a lie, either way the truth is oppressed for what you think and not for what the Bible actually says. So when we see a manger scene with 3 wise men on camels we are looking at a lie, a fabrication of the truth. How can the world learn to believe what a Christian is saying is the truth if what a lot of what they say is a lie. Is it important to be truthful all the time? I believe that it is. There are really so many other things we could look at in this story. For example, no where does it say that there were 3 wise men. Where did we get that in the story? I assume it is because they brought 3 types of gifts and everyone assumes that every wise man had a different gift. When we make such assumptions we again see how man can so easily get it wrong. There could have been 100 wise men or 2 wise men both would fit in the Bible text that we read in Matthew. My point is for us to be as precise to tell what the Bible actually says and for us to lose our traditions and what we thought was accurate. When we start to teach the real truth the world will have a much better opportunity to see it and to accept it.
I hope that you have a great Christmas Day.