Christmas Book II
Related to the First Coming,
the Birth of the
Lord Jesus Christ
Michael L. Ford, Th.D.
Page Dedicatory 0.
Introduction to the First Booklet 1.
Foreword to the Second Booklet 2.
Chapter 1 The First Prophecy of a Savior 3.
Chapter 2 The Virgin Birth 5.
Chapter 3 Sinless Birth 8.
Chapter 4 The Place of His Birth 11.
Chapter 5 The Time of His Birth 14.
Chapter 6 Names Given at Birth 16.
Chapter 7 Animal Presence at His Birth 18.
Chapter 8 Malachi in the Lord's Birth 20.
Conclusion to the First Booklet 23.
Addendum 1 Mother of Jesus 24.
Addendum 2 Evidence for the Birthplace 25.
Addendum 3. The Virgin Birth - Myth or Miracle 26.
A Sermon by Pastor Brad Horton
Introduction to the First Booklet
It has been said, "the revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Old Testament forms a most important background to the New Testament narrative." This is absolutely true. But the question is where does one begin with the revelation? For the average believer an understanding of Christ in the Old Testament will not begin with the things theologians might like to present first.
A theological work will likely want to concern itself with first what it considers the major lines of divine revelation related to Jesus Christ in the Old Testament. This would be His titles, His work as Creator, His work as the executor and preserver of the providence of God, His activity especially in relation to the people of Israel, and then the many Theophanies of Christ in the Old Testament.
For most people appreciation for the unfolding of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Old Testament will begin with fulfilled prophecy related to His first appearing. I think the most eye catching of these prophecies are those connected with the Lord's manner of coming to this earth. One of the things that shows I am on the right track is the fact that these prophecies have been chief among those things attacked by liberals, apostates, unbelievers and Bible revisers.
The purpose of this booklet is to give the individual Bible student a quick resource for looking at the numerous kinds of prophecies such as went forth concerning the first coming of Christ that are related to His birth only.
It is entirely possible that in making this listing I might have missed one or more kind. If I have done so, I tender my apology. I will try to correct the situation in a subsequent edition.
On a final note before we begin let me warn the reader that if you use some other Bible than the Authorized KJB, you are likely to go looking for one of those references I have mentioned and find it altered or missing altogether. Even in King James Bibles you might find some alternative reading or some marginal notation offered that denies the faith. It is unfortunate Bible production is now dominated by people who do not have respect for the Word of God. Until most recent times Bible production was generally in the hands of believers. Remember the marginal notations I have mentioned constitute some person's opinion not the Holy text. From the nature of their content you have evidence of the quality of these person's hearts so their words should be given the weight an unbeliever's opinion deserves, no more.
Michael L. Ford, Dean
Foreword to the Second Booklet
In this second booklet, I went from the preparation of a list of prophetic fulfillment to a greater elaboration on the subject. Both were written with some attempt to consider the information with both wonder and worship. The first was written primarily for the benefit of my students and those interested in the church I serve. The second is written for the more general audience.
I am often accused of writing above my readership's abilities. I do not think this is so. I have found that good things for the mind and heart must be taken in the same way that good food is consumed. It should be chewed slowly and given the consumer's full attention. A person who wants to read carelessly or breeze through a work should not blame the author for what they miss or fail to comprehend any more than a person who eats hastily and gulps food should blame the cook for what they miss in enjoying the food's savor.
A few small corrections were made in the text material from the first booklet. Try as a might something always appears that needs improvement or correction. Since my proofreader and dear wife has become ill the quality of my work is affected I know. For what is lacking in the text, I accept full responsibility. If else remains of value, praise God for it.
The First Prophecy of a Savior
Though the first prophecy lacks the specificity of the passages I wish to focus on in this text, it seems to me that we cannot study our focus subject Old Testament passages without it. We cannot look at promises that were fulfilled, by the appearing of our Lord, without going back to the first promise of a Savior. It might seem to the Western reader as a more obscure promise than he feels comfortable contemplating but it is the first promise and a real promise. It might be helpful as you look at it to think of it in this way; It is the building block that sets the foundation for many other things that God will reveal to man through His prophets in the future.
The promise reads:
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed, and her seed; It shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel. (Genesis 3:15)
This promise was clearly understood and anticipated by the Jews. For this reason, the New Testament writer could appeal to it and unfold it to reveal the Lord Jesus Christ as both Messiah and Savior:
Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. (Galatians 3:16)
But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law. (Galatians 4:4)
When we look at the Old Testament in the light of what has transpired. When we study the passages looking carefully at every word in the text. We must proclaim that it not only announces Jesus, but gives the evidence that He is who He is.
From the moment of the first prophecy that a Savior would be given for man, the promise made to Eve, a chain of events was set in motion that would take us to the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. But few realize the impact of every aspect of the birth of Christ on every other or the ultimate fulfillment of the total of the divine plan.
For instance the birth of the Lord with the abilities and nature of a man was essential to equip Him for His role as our High Priest:
For verily He took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham.
Wherefore in all things it behooved Him to be made like unto the His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted He is able to succor them that are tempted. (Hebrews 2: 16-18)
Every High Priest that served prior to the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ was but a man. Each one had entered the Holy place knowing his own lack of merit and wondering if God would allow him to leave alive. When the Lord Jesus came and assumed His role as High Priest, He was both man and God. He was perfect man with the perfect sacrifice for sure, but because He was the kind of Savior that had been first promised to Eve, the High Priest that stood between man and God would not be oblivious to any of the concerns that afflict man.
And how much pain and suffering has man seen throughout his history! How badly did we need such a Savior as God promised Eve would be given for us in time to come! How perfectly did the Lord Jesus Christ fulfill the need! As awesome as these ideas are, the systematic progression of the fulfillment of God's plan throughout human history is none the less so. You might say that the development of the prophecy of Christ's incarnation in prophecy and their fulfillment are the perfect compliment to what will be accomplished. And all of this is done for our benefit.
Had it not been for the first Bible prophecy, the one given to Eve, some of the grandeur of what we contemplate would have been lost. But we have a true God that loses nothing.
The Virgin Birth
The miracle of the virgin birth was founded in the first promise of a Savior presented in the last segment. It would have been impossible for the miracle of the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ to be demonstrated as having occurred without inherited sin apart from a virgin conceiving and baring a child.
At the same time, an apparently immoral situation would have been set up had the child come into the world without the presence of an earthly daddy. The practice of the Jews made the fulfillment of this prophecy most difficult in the extreme. Divine intervention would be necessary not only for conception to occur, but also for the holy child to be born into a God fearing household.
Other conditions would be added which would make the appearance of the Lord in such a fashion even harder to bring to pass. In the end the total requirements for the Incarnation to occur would be such that all laws of probability and chance would be confounded many times over.
Isaiah spoke in specifics concerning the virgin birth:
Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His Name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)
Jeremiah would also foresee the virgin birth, but he would express it in a manner that would seem rather inexplicable till after the fact:
How long wilt thou go about, O thou backsliding daughter? For the Lord hath created a new thing in the earth, A woman shall compass a man. (Jeremiah 31:22)
The methodology of how this event would take place was revealed to Mary before the fact:
30. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God.
31. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a Son, and shalt call His Name JESUS.
32. He shalt be great, and shalt be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David.
33, And He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end.
34. Then said Mary unto the angel, How can this be, seeing I know not a man?
35. And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. (Luke 1)
The fulfillment of the prophecy of the virgin birth is recorded in the gospel of Matthew:
Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet saying, Behold a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His Name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. (1:22-23)
So we can conclude from the divine text that the virgin birth was not a surprise to those who knew the Scripture, even though it was miraculous in its nature. There are even other Old Testament passages that do not foretell the virgin birth but grow in meaning because of it. For the sake of the discussion here they are omitted, but this does not mean they are unimportant.
It has been said that each of the Gospels presents a full picture of the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, but that each has its own particular emphasis. The Gospel of Luke emphasizes the human aspect of Christ the Messiah, dwelling upon the details of His birth. In Luke you find the perfect Man born of the virgin Mary.
Though the details of the birth are given in both Matthew and Luke there is a big difference. In Matthew, the issue is He is the promised King of Israel, the Son of David. Here His legal genealogy is given, tracing lineage through Solomon and Jechoniah. Luke, however, traces lineage from David through Nathan to Mary, the mother of the Man. It is in Luke that you must look to find the more human and personal elements of the story.
The virgin birth sits at the center of the most important controversy in the world of Christendom. On the one hand you have those who deny the virgin birth, and on the other you have the people who believe the Bible and vigorously contend for its truth. The simple fact is that if the reality of the miraculous virgin birth could be destroyed, the whole of true Christian theology would crumble. What the unbeliever opposes as unnatural and incredible is the very thing that makes it possible for there to come into the world a Person fulfilling Old Testament prophecies that Messiah would be both God and Man.
The Old Testament predicted a virgin birth and the New Testament carries throughout the theme that the Lord Jesus Christ was the very Son of God born of a woman, but not a man. Every other consideration stemming from the often-vain logic of men aside, the best evidence for the truth of the Biblical account is its straightforward and unapologetic affirmation of the facts. As Dr. John Walvoord once correctly observed: "The wisest of scholars as well as the most simple of humble believers have bowed alike to the manger in Bethlehem and acknowledged that the Infant, born of the virgin, and laid in swaddling clothes, is their Lord and Saviour, in whom is resident all the attributes of the infinite God."
The virgin birth had far reaching effect. Not only was that which was conceived demonstrably the Son of the Most High, but He being born without the agency of a human sire, was made immune from the condemnation and nature of inherited sin.
Not often do people who write about the Old Testament prophecy related to the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ consider the application of the investiture of authority that took place between God and man in the Garden of Eden. Man was established in his dominion before ever that woman was created. (Genesis 2:15ff) For that reason it was not until Adam sinned that man fell, and for this reason that all the offspring of Adam have been born with a sin nature. Therefore the record of man's descent is recorded in masculine terms:
This is the book of the generations of Adam. (Genesis 5:1a)
It is through the man that the sin nature is passed on. This position made it possible for a virginal woman to bring forth a child without bequeathing the sin nature:
For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. (1Corinthians 21-22)
The point is made clearer in Romans chapter 5:
12. Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.
13. (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed where there is no law.
14. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of Him that was to come.
The sinlessness of the Lord is expressed obscurely by Isaiah in the passage:
Butter and honey shall He eat, that He may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good. (Isaiah 7:15)
This and other passages makes it abundantly clear that the sinlessness of the birth of the Messiah was a fact known in the Old Testament and fulfilled in the events of the Lord Jesus Christ's birth.
The term spotlessness can be applied to this condition of His birth, but it cannot be done without also having continued application to the subsequent manner of His life, which is not the subject of this discussion. We will suffice it to point out for the moment that spotlessness has to be found in a sacrificial animal from the first. One is not born wrong to then become pure after the precepts of the law. In every type of Christ found in the commandments for observance in the Old Testament spotlessness and purity stands at the forefront.
The Lord Jesus Christ was born to be the Passover Lamb and the Red Heifer that purifies. He was also born as the rejected One upon whom the sins of us all would be laid. In the prophecies of His coming, the necessity of a birth without inherited sin stands present ready to be recognized in the text.
Coming now to the subject of the manner of our Lord's early life, we see in it a clue to the difference between Him and other babies born of man. Each child that comes into the world apart from the Lord Jesus Christ is born with the inherited sin nature passed on through the male lineage. We like to say that they are sweet and innocent. What we really mean by that is the newborn child is helpless and without knowledge of the world about them.
In truth, a newborn child is selfishly preoccupied with his needs and comforts. In the process of development he makes bonds to others, first of all his mother, for his own benefit. From there his world grows. His first two words are usually "no" and "da" because these are what he hears most. The reason he hears the word no a lot is because he does things he ought not, and the kinds of things he does that he should not grows with his developing abilities. This is testimony to the normal child's sinful nature.
Now we come to the development of the Lord. He is both God and Man, and without the inherited sin nature. It follows that His development should be somewhat different even though since He is fully man, He must develop. What does the Word of God say about that? The answer is:
And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon Him. Luke 2:40
In this text we can see if we look closely that there is something different about this child than others. The answer begins with the fact that He is born without the sin nature that other children who enter this world possess. Therefore, He goes through the stages of physical and mental development after the flesh, but He does not do the things common to man's fallen nature. From the beginning He is full of wisdom and has the grace of God upon Him. The event at the time of His Bar Mitzvah is an example of what I am speaking of. He had the ability to astound the most learned at a time of life when most children are preoccupied with finding opportunities to play. (Luke 2: 46 & 47)
The Lord was the newborn King and God with us even as He lay in the manger in swaddling clothes. He was God and Messiah even as the unborn child grew in Mary's womb. For this reason John the Baptist, yet unborn in his own mother's womb leaped with joy when brought into proximity to Him. He was perfect in all His ways from the very beginning and this fact is testimony to His sinless perfection and ability to perform all that had been promised.
The Place of His Birth
That the Lord Jesus Christ would be born in Bethlehem was an absolute necessity. You see, it was necessary because of the fact that the Scripture cannot be broken. The prophet Micah had made plain the place of birth:
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. (Micah 5:2)
The very fact that He would be born here required that a number of events take place that interfered with the lives of the people God planned to use in His divine plan.
1. And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar August, that all the world should be taxed.
2. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3. And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
4. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, *because he was of the house and lineage of David.)
5. To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6. And so it was, that the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. (Luke 2:1-6)
It was because the place where the birth of the Messiah would take place was well understood that the massacre of the innocents would occur in that city. Herod was insanely jealous that someone might arise who would hold the reigns of power after him. So he was able to inquire of his chief priests and scribes about where it was that the Messiah should be born. I wonder if a single one of those men had the temerity to tell Herod that even his murders in Bethlehem had been foretold?
Thus saith the Lord, A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping Rachel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not. (Jeremiah 31:15)
Within the context of the Jeremiah passage concerning this slaughter are also words of consolation. Hope would spring from the suffering these people would endure as a result of Herod's madness. This hope has a long-term effect that would be better addressed in a paper on God's promises to Israel. But there was a more immediate result in the evidence it presented to Jews and observant Gentiles of exactly who the Lord Jesus Christ was. Matthew noted this in the second chapter of his Gospel verses seventeen and eighteen.
Before concluding the segment on the place of the Lord's birth, it is probably worthwhile to note that some other descriptive terms related to locations are early on ascribed to the Lord in fulfillment of prophecy. He is called a Nazarene and a Galilean for instance. These things relate to events subsequent to His birth and will have to be discussed at another time and in another place if we are to remain true to our purposes here.
In the booklet, Prophetic Passages Related to the Lord's Birth, I parted with the subject of the place of our Lord's birth with this closing note. The lineage of our Lord is also central to the location of His birth. His human lineage makes Him the perfect heir to the Throne of David. No other person ever lived that had a greater right to that throne. The lineage of His birth, together with the place of His birth could be confirmed both by Temple and Scriptural record to qualify Him as the one person in all history who should have been recognized as the rightful King of the Jews. Though the wise men would arrive some two years after His birth looking for the child who was born King of the Jews, He was only to be first assigned that title by man when He was "lifted up" on His cross. And this was done at the instigation of the very ones who should have recognized His qualifications.
Concluding this chapter in the Christmas booklet we should take a few moments to consider the city of Bethlehem itself.
The name Bethlehem means "house of bread" and is a fitting name for the appearance of He who is the very bread of life. People are sometimes confused by the term Bethlehem Ephratah
that appears in Micah 5:2. In Jacob's time it was called Ephrath, which means "fruitful." Go there and you can see the open slopes about grow figs, vines, almonds, and olives. But the greatest thing ever produced in this region, or any other for that matter, were the presentation of the Son of God and the seed of the woman to the world.
It was to the Northeast that shepherds grazed sheep on fields even into modern times. In our mind's eye we can see Ruth, David's great grandmother, in the fields gleaning behind Boaz 's workers as she won his respect and his heart. Then looking to the sheep pastures we imagine David keeping his father's sheep on those very slopes and making it to become known as "the city of David." Though this area was also home to other Bible notables, they are all eclipsed by the One who is the central hero of the grand saga revealed in God's Holy Word, the Lord Jesus Christ.
We can speculate about whether the caravan inn of Chimham, that was the usual starting place for journeys into Egypt and mentioned in Jeremiah 41: 17, was not also the inn that had no place for the Lord on the night of His birth. The name of the inn means "pining or longing." In the ages of eternity if not in the time spent upon this earth we cannot help but think that the innkeeper might wish he had done things differently on that day.
But the Lord was ideally situated for the journey into Egypt when Herod was willing to kill all the children of Bethlehem to be sure he had killed Jesus. (Matthew 2:13ff.) As we look at how all the sequences of events came together and the march of history and personalities through Bethlehem a lesson is there to be learned. Over and over again we can see the presence of God in the lives of these people. It is wonderful to realize that the same God who cared for all these also cares for us and if something bad has to come our way, He will always use it for good.
The Time of Birth
Though the time of birth is documented in the New Testament after the fashion of the day, it fell to a man whose writings are not even listed among those of the prophets to give the chronology of time down to our Lord's appearing. The name of that man was Daniel.
Before we go to that account however, we should note that there were a number of prophecies in the Old Testament related to the existence of a Temple at the time of Messiah's birth that had also to be fulfilled. Had there been no Temple for Him to be taken to and presented at, in keeping with the law, this Scripture would not have stood. Not only that and apart from our discussion here, the Temple had to survive long enough for other prophetic passages to likewise be fulfilled. The Old Testament prophets did not have any problems with those any of things when it came to uttering the prophetic Words of the Lord. They considered He who promised to be faithful and able to accomplish that which He said.
Actually the revelation of a timeline given to Daniel by an angel included much more than the time Messiah would come. It included a panoramic view of history down to include the person of the Antichrist who would appear during the time of Tribulation. For the sake of the reader I will give the entire passage in the ninth chapter of Daniel within this text:
24. Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon the holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.
25. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
26. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off,
but not for Himself and the people of the prince that shall come
shall destroy the city and the sanctuary, and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
27. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblations to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. (Daniel 9:24-27)
The previous passage of Scripture seems difficult at first and I think it was intentionally made so lest those with cauterized hearts should see with their eyes, understand, and be converted. The more some people know of God's truth, the more dangerous they are, not the better they are.
Strauss records that Sir Robert Anderson, computing the prophetic message using the Hebrew calendar, arrived at an awesome conclusion. The sequence of calculating 483 years till Messiah was revealed worked out to the exact day that the Lord Jesus Christ entered into Jerusalem riding upon a foal. It worked out to the very first Palm Sunday!
Since we are concerned with considering the prophecy related to the birth of Christ from the vantage point of looking back, the prophecy of Daniel also demonstrates that the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ was right on time with what the Scriptures taught about His advent.
Though during the time surrounding the appearance of Christ false Christ's and pretenders had appeared, none came even close to fulfilling biblical prophecy. Yet some of these had managed to deceive some. Isn't it strange that when the one person came who fulfilled all, He should be rejected so decisively?
Names Given at Birth
Of particular interest to our study of prophecy are the Names given to my Lord at and around the time of His birth. They represent fulfilled prophecy in both overt and subtle ways. For instance the Name Jesus or Yeshua corresponds the Old Testament name of Joshua which we are well familiar with. The name actually means "the salvation of Jehovah."
In my own studies I have identified this name in the Hebrew text, where it could be read as a proper noun, but where it is instead translated according to its meaning. This was not a translation error, but rather an expression of the translator's opinion of where those passages' emphasis lay. It remained for the Bible student and expositor, operating with care, to identify those secret and hidden things of the mysteries of God and share them with those having a heart after righteousness.
An example of what I mean can be found in the oft frequented passage of Psalm 9: 13-14 by people who are beset and need encouragement:
Have mercy upon me, O LORD, consider my trouble which I suffer of them that hate me, thou that liftest me up from the gates of death.
That I may shew forth all thy praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion: I will rejoice in thy salvation. (Yeshua or Jesus)
The very first place where such a construct occurs is the first place where the word salvation is overtly expressed. It occurs in the blessings of Jacob upon his sons (some of which seem more like cursings):
I have waited for thy salvation, (Yeshua or Jesus) O LORD.
So the personal Name of Jesus and the Name by which He is called in the New Testament is breathed throughout the Old.
We have already cited prophetic passages related to the second Name present at the birth of the Messiah. The prophetic fulfillment of the fact of the Lord's Name being Emmanuel came from the blessed parents, Then, Elisabeth, the wife of Zacharias, and the son in her womb both recognized the yet unborn Jesus. We would one day know that son of Elisabeth and Zacharias as John the Baptist, the one Scripture foretold would come as an Elijah.
The fulfillment of the Name Emmanuel was founded first of all in the conduct of Mary and Joseph. From the time of their marriage he had every right to take Mary into the marriage bed. But one does not surrender their self to the energy of the flesh when their contemplation is centered on that which is holy.
Elizabeth testifies that she recognized from the leaping of John in her womb the nature of the child that lay in Mary's:
And whence is this that the mother of my Lord should come to me? (Luke 1:43)
Finally we must recognize two more Names used immediately connected with the immediate birth of Jesus that if it were possible emphasized the Name Emmanuel. I refer to the appearance of the heavenly host proclaiming glad tidings to the shepherds. They used two descriptive Names when speaking to the shepherds. The first of these was Savior and the second was Lord. The first word Savior, conveyed the idea of a deliverer and the second word Lord expressed the thought of the supreme ruler who is the controller. These names could only be correctly applied to the One who is God in the flesh.
Of others who came after the birth of the Lord such as those in the Temple and the wise men, who recognized Him as King I would care to speak of more were it not for the constraints to which I am seeking to hold this paper. I will recognize that the wise men began their journey at or about the time of our Savior's birth, but there comes some place where I must cease speaking, draw a line, and move on. I mean no disrespect to their memory deeds or testimony for all these things can be found foreshadowed in the Old Testament.
Animal Presence at His Birth
The presence of the cattle at the birth of the Lord was a necessity that can not be ignored, though the passages of Scripture that point to the need in the Old Testament will be perceived by many as difficult ones. Two reasons must be given up front to encourage the reader to recognize that these animals were not only essential, but prophetic, in their presence:
1. The animal kingdom on earth was required to bare the brunt of sacrificial offering that would foreshadow the birth of that perfect sacrifice for sin, who would be called the Lamb of God who succeeds in taking away the sins of the world, not merely covering them. Also, most animals would serve man best in death.
Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins; and clothed them. (Genesis 3:21)
2. The animal kingdom is represented in the cherubim that are ever in the presence of God in Heaven. The Lord Jesus Christ had left their presence to come into the world in the presence of those things they represent upon the earth. (Revelation 4: 6-9)
Praise the Lord from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps:
Fire, and hail, snow, and vapour, stormy wind fulfilling His Word:
Mountains, and all hills, fruitful trees, and all cedars:
Beasts, and all cattle, creeping things, and flying fowl:
Kings of the earth, and all people, princes, and all judges of the earth:
Both young men, and maidens, old men, and children:
Let them praise the Name of the LORD:
For His Name alone is excellent;
His glory is above the earth and heavens. (Psalm 148: 7-13)
After recognition is obtained that there is a basis in both Old Testament Scripture and sacrificial practice under the Law of Moses for the presence of animals at the Lord's birth, we might venture to offer a third reason. The third reason was His purpose. The Lord Jesus Christ was present in the world, not only to accomplish the redemption of fallen man, but also to redeem all of His creation, which had fallen along with man.
Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself:
That in the dispensation of the fulness of times He might gather together all things in Christ, both which are in Heaven, and which are on earth, even in Him. (Ephesians 1: 9-10)
So, if you have stayed with me thus far, I will venture to offer a fourth and final reason for the presence of animals at the Lord's birth. That is they were the foreshadowing of the world condition when the King of Kings and Lord of Lords would establish His Millennial Kingdom:
The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb; and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.
And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice den.
So, we have now seen four valid reasons for the necessity of the presence of animals at the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, and at the very least caught glimmers of the prophetic hints that this would be so. After having thought the matter through, I realized that the reasons animal presence was essential was four, the very number that stands in Bible numerics as the number representing the world system.
Malachi in the Lord's Birth
That people generally recognize the relationship of Malachi's prophecies to the first coming of the Lord Jesus Christ seems to me unlikely. I will confess to have neglecting this view of his prophecies until very recently myself, but the element is there and should not be neglected. The reason for this is that when we look at what Malachi says in reference to the incarnation of the Lord. He ceases from being the manageable helpless baby that makes Him appealing to lost and backslidden people.
One of the evidentiary elements of what Malachi shares with us that proves his prophecy covers both the birth and the return of the Savior is the manner of repetition in the promise of the messenger who goes before to herald His coming:
Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His Temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold He shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts.
And again Malachi speaks:
Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
Malachi 4:5 & 6
In the incarnation, John the Baptist comes in the spirit of Elijah, fulfilling the first part of the Malachi prophecy. The Lord comes suddenly to His Temple not once but several times over His time on earth, each visit fulfilling certain aspects of the covenant He had with His people, Israel. The first of these visits would occur after the days of Mary's purification from childbirth, when it was appropriate to make offering in the Temple. (Luke 2: 21ff)
Already the forces were at work in the life of the baby Jesus that would contribute to the continuing fulfillment of what Malachi had to say. We need to consider that. But first we need to observe the testimony of the future complete fulfillment of his
prophecy that occurs each year. It does not happen in the Christmas observance but in the Passover Meal celebrated around the world in Jewish households. In that day a place is set for Elijah, at the table, and at the appointed time a young child goes to the door and opens it to see if Elijah might be present at the door. I believe that one day soon a child will do that ancient ceremonial function and Elijah will be there. The expectation of the Lord's return and the remembrance of what He did in His first appearing beats the modern fantasy of a Santa Claus all hollow.
In the Malachi prophecy, God is being directly quoted by that prophet. The Person of the godhead speaking is particularly interesting. It is the Lord of Hosts. It does not take much study until we realize the Person of the godhead who is the Lord of Hosts is the Second Person we know as the Lord Jesus Christ. Why does He then speak of the One to come as another individual? It is not simply an exercise of the royal prerogative as a king might refer to himself as we. There is a greater purpose. It is a display of the fact that in His incarnation on this earth a marvelous change is taking place when deity condescends to take upon himself humanity.
As the Lord of Hosts, the issue God has with the rebellion of Satan and the problem of man's sin is in view. The coming of the Messiah is a significant step along the path toward the ultimate display of the righteousness of God and the final separation between those who choose the Lord and those who reject Him. The long war against evil will be dealt what will ultimately be the death blow because He comes to earth
In Malachi we read:
But who may abide the day of His coming? And who shall stand when He appeareth? For He is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap: And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. Malachi 3:2 & 3
But do we see how this was already being done just before, during, and after the birth of Christ? People who were holy and righteous in their living, beginning with Mary and Joseph were further refined by the decisions they had to make related to the coming of
the Lord. Innkeepers, shepherds, wisemen all had to make decisions about the time of His birth. Those who waited for Him in the Temple had to choose to recognize Him. Yes, even a selfish king had to make a choice, and he made all the wrong ones.
During the time of the Lord's sojourn on earth He would preach the Kingdom message and begin the process of refining the sons of Levi, which will be concluded in the Millennial Age to come. This process of refinement and purging beginning even before the physical birth has spread out over all the world and has now reached even unto you and me. The response to His coming He leaves in our hands to freely choose.
Conclusion to the First Booklet
The thoughts represented in this booklet do not constitute either the beginning nor the final word on this subject. I had originally undertaken the writing of this piece as a means of helping my Christology students at the seminary. As I progressed the work became incorporated into my private and secret devotions. It was often the meditations of my heart upon my bed and the comfort of my soul as I sought the Lord in matters that to me are weighty.
When I concluded writing, I thought of a number of things I should have said, but then I realized that there are not enough words in the world to speak of the first appearance of our Lord in this world, let alone the total of His divine Person and presence. Somewhere I must stop speaking and make room for others. For this time, this is the point.
If contemplating the things written here does not direct the believer toward a worshipful attitude, then I have either failed in communication or that believer has a serious problem in their lives they need to look at. I would encourage every believer to remember that He who first came as a child to bring salvation will come again as Lord and King to bring deliverance and righteous rule. Let His rulership first be establishment in us. Christ is Lord.
For an unbeliever into whose hands this booklet might have fallen I say this. You would have not read this far if your heart was not full of questions. In this booklet you have read some things about the One who is the sum total of all things. Even you, as His creation, owe your existence to the fact the Lord Jesus Christ has shown grace and mercy to man. Wouldn't it be best if you went all the way and also received His salvation? There is no excuse for neglecting so great salvation. It completes a person so that they may truly say that in Him they move and have their being.
Mother of Jesus
One of the things we should believe as Christians is that the Bible, as preserved and used in the faithful church down through the age, is the final authority for all matters of faith and practice. It does not really matter what any denomination, congregation, or individual holds as truth. What matters is if the Scripture teaches it or not. Out of incorrect beliefs held by denominations and congregations persecutions have historically arisen and schisms have appeared in Christendom. The Eschatologist has no confidence that these rifts will be truly healed until the Lord Jesus Christ Himself returns and the church rises to meet Him in perfect knowledge.
Of all the issues present, probably none is more divisive than the relationship of Mary, the mother of our incarnate Savior, to His divine Person. The problem centers around the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ is at the same time the second Person of the Eternal God and also completely and perfectly man. Any orthodox believer can hear the expression "Mary the mother of Jesus who is the Christ" and say amen. But, the separation comes when someone says, "Mary the Mother of God."
Confusion has been interjected into the Christian experience around the issue of how to treat Mary. On the one extreme there are those who want to raise her to the status of deity. This is not new. Mohammed was exposed to some of those, and actually thought she was the third person of the trinity. Then there are others who are so put off by the topic they virtually ignore her as much as possible.
Influenced by pagan belief systems perhaps, belief rose among some that Mary always remained a virgin. However the Scripture plainly says about Joseph that he "…knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son…" (Matthew 1:25) This plainly indicates that there came a day when she willingly gave herself to the man with whom she had performed her marriage vows. Had she chosen to remain apart from Joseph and celibate she would surely have to be diminished in the eyes of believers as one who does not perform their vows.
Evidence for the Birthplace
The popular idea about the Lord being born in some kind of barn such as we might be accustomed to seeing in common use about has long endured. It is not surprising, for people long have developed their images of what happens in the Bible around things and people that they are familiar with. A Bible with pictures, (usually family Bibles gathering dust, unused except to write in births and deaths are a good source) illustrates what I mean. Look within at the paintings by old masters. These say more about how people looked in their times and localities than they do about how people looked in the Middle East during the time of the Lord.
It is scriptural fact that the Lord was laid in a manger because there was no room for Joseph and Mary in the inn proper. (Luke 2:7) But that does not mean He was laid in a barn or some sort of open shelter over a feed area as is popularly visualized. Good evidence exists that the Lord might have actually been born in a cave used for the sheltering of animals. Some of the best evidence is given by the testimony of a man named Justin Martyr. He said that the Lord's birth took place in a cave close to the village.
Justin lived close to the time of the actual events being born about 100A.D. He certainly lived close enough to the events to actually have interviewed people who might have known someone present at the time of the Lord's birth. Justin became a Christian in about the year 130 and some thirty-five years later was killed for his faith. During the time after his conversion he became known as a Christian apologist. His works are still read and commented on to this day. Whatever one might think about his doctrine they cannot deny his belief. Justin was tried before the Roman Prefect Rusticus and was beheaded along with six of his students, one of them a woman. An apparently genuine record of the trial exists to this day.
The Virgin Birth - A Myth or Miracle
Pastor Brad Horton
The Christmas story as told in many houses on Christmas Eve details the "baby" Jesus being born in a manger. For many families this is the only time of the year the birth of Christ is talked about, for others its never even talked about and for most people in America today its not about the birth of Christ its about a holiday that means no work or school. Has the real meaning evaded us? To a degree it has because Christmas today is about Santa Clause and mistletoe not the Savoir of the world. Many homes are filled with decorations but not a decoration of the heart.
Yet even among so called Bible scholars there is a debate about the authentic virgin birth. To the Christian the virgin birth is essential yet it at the center of debate among many prominent seminaries. Why is it hard to believe the virgin birth? We believe many other phenomenal events that have occurred. For instance we believe that a group of workers assembled a jumbo jet properly. Each nut and bolt and the thousands of miles of wire all work together. Most of us don't try to figure out how it was built just as long as it flies. We care not much about the kind of steel or how it was sealed in a cruise ship as long as it stays a float. So why then, in our minds do we try to discredit the virgin birth?
Matthew tells of the genealogical account of the family tree of Christ. It starts in the beginning when the Bibles says "And Abraham begat Isaac" and so forth. However when it comes to the Joseph who was Mary's Husband the Bible says this "And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom is called Christ." Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus Christ. If he had been it would read different in the Bible.
Isaiah 9:6 also describes the birth as this "For unto us a child is born and son is given . . ." Notice two essential truths in this passage. First, unto us a CHILD IS BORN. This has been proven
in Luke and other gospel accounts that "That she brought forth her
firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for him in the inn."
A child was born unto Mary named Jesus. Secondly, a SON IS GIVEN, not born. A son was not born unto us but it was given to us. We can be confident in Eph 2:8,9 when it rightly states "For by grace are you saved through faith and it not of yourselves it’s a gift of God not of works lest any man should boast." A son was given to us, what a great Christmas gift.
Isaiah 7:14 clearly describes the virgin birth "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel" The Hebrew word for virgin means "a young unmarried woman who is of marriageable age has preserved the chastity of her body." A virgin will be born and will be the Savior of the world. The Old Testament is full of this biblical truth even before Jesus was born.
There are four basic reasons we should accept the account of the virgin birth.
1. If the virgin birth was a myth the entire Bible isn't reliable. If you have a problem with one part then chances are you won't believe it somewhere else. If this isn't true what's the guarantee Revelation is?
2. If we have no virgin birth we have no Savior. If Jesus were born of a human father it would not be a perfect sacrifice required by God's own standards. A sinful man cannot produce a perfect Savior. His death is worthless and you are wasting your time.
3. Proper understanding of the person of Christ. Jesus himself cried over Jerusalem and showed other human emotions, yet he also forgave sins and rose the dead. The fact that Jesus was both God and man cannot be logically maintained without the virgin birth.
4. The death on the cross. If the virgin birth were not true then the death would be meaningless. It would the death of a "good man" not a Savior. You cannot have salvation without the truth of the virgin birth
This booklet is dedicated to
My Lord and Savior
The Lord Jesus Christ
About whom enough cannot be said, and every attempt is found wanting,
and to my friend
Professor Paul Pettyjohn
Currently serving as the Eschatology Professor at
The West Georgia Resident Center
Covington Theological Seminary
Tallapoosa East Baptist Church
P.O. Box 752
Buchanan, Georgia 30113
Reproduction rights to this booklet
Are granted to Missionary David Jacobs in Nigeria
Pastor Darrell Schreyer of South Africa
And to any church who wishes to use it for
Non profit purposes.
 Jesus Christ Our Lord by John f. Walvoord, chapter 3, Christ in Old Testament History.
 A manifestation or actual appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Old Testament.
 Frequently these believers were being persecuted for being faithful in their production of the true Word of God.
 The apostates, lesbians, and other evil workers, understanding the significance of the virgin birth if not the promise of Messiah to the seed of the woman has sought to feminize the Lord. Apart from a miraculous intervention of God, no woman has ever conceived a male child without intercourse with a man.
 Appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ in human form.
 Those who have hated the Lord Jesus Christ and His virgin birth have sought to deny it by redefining the meaning of the Hebrew word and making Mary but a young woman. Doing so means that they must actually go contrary to the understanding of ancient rabbinical sources. Others have sought to add to the Scripture by raising Mary to the status of deity. This has been in the main so they could promote their own ancient religion, which is the repackaged worship of Astarte or Semiramis in Babylon and Osiris in Egypt.
 Compass - Circle, go around. In the sense of eliminate from the equation.
 We do not find aspersions against the character of Mary arising at the time of the events. The fact that her moral character was above reproach was demonstrated in Joseph's initial response to the news of her pregnancy. Still there was a direct intervention with Joseph from God to insure his cooperation with the divine plan. (Matthew 1: 18-25)
 Herbert Lockyer recorded in his work on Messianic prophecies that Huxley
said he could not reject Christianity on the ground of the virgin birth. He obliquely recognized the testimony God had placed in Creation of His ability to cause such a thing among lower life forms.
 It is interesting how so many women, especially those who have given themselves to perversions and rebellion hate the patriarchal system. But it is that system, established by God, at whose head stands Adam that makes it possible for One to be born into the world without sin. The rejection of obvious advantage to their sex is testimony to the demonic nature of that prejudice.
 I will not launch into a discussion of this point's implications as related to the second birth in this text. I merely note its presence.
 See Addendum 1: Mother of Jesus
 An unanswered question of the account is by what means did the Lord eat during the three days He was present in the Temple speaking with the doctors of the law? It may well be that He did not eat because during that time He was concentrated on being about His Father's business.
 The symbology of the use of the tern under the guidance of the Holy Spirit is worth pondering upon.
There the beloved Rachel was buried. Genesis 35:16,19; 48:7.
 Name mentioned in 2Samuel 19.
 See Addendum 2. Evidence for the place of birth.
 A discussion of the passage along with the breakdown of the divisions is available in the work on Daniel written by Lehman Strauss. It is published by Loizeaux Brothers. I heartily recommend this book, and would encourage the reader to secure a copy quickly. I fear it might soon become unavailable.
 I had thought to have accomplished something in my studies till I discovered that Arthur E. Glass had identified nearly a hundred instances where the Name of Jesus is hidden in the text from Genesis to Habakkuk.
 One kind of the animal kingdom is omitted from before the throne of God, the reptilian. The Devil is referred to as the Old Serpent, and he was once among the cherubim. Cherubim are mentioned a number of times in Scripture but the Book of Ezekiel is the richest in references.
 I have read some commentators who claimed that Satan was present at the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. Until I see evidence to the contrary I will hold the opposite view. It is my opinion that he, as the Old Serpent continued to find his presence banished from the presence of God at the holy moment of the Incarnation. 19.
 I stand opposed to methods of Bible translation which reinterprets what the Scripture says to make it fit what might be popularly conceptualized by the people the product is intended for. It is laziness that does not seek to teach the truth in minutest detail less some matter of great spiritual value be overlooked.
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The material in this booklet was produced, for the most part, during the first three years of Jonsquill Ministries publishing the Daily Thought over the internet. It was gratifying during those years to see the growth of interest in people wishing to receive the "thought" and think on the things of God. During these months of forced interruption in the production of this daily study the writer has probably missed it more than the readers. We trust that this gap in our ministry endeavors will shortly be brought to an end.
In the mean time, this little booklet has been produced along with some others to make thoughts on particular subjects available to those who might find them of value. Our interest and purpose in these productions is to make available to Christians material that will not be commonly available from other sources yet could serve to make the Christian life a little richer.
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