Luke 2:1-20 (KJV) And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 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:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
Matthew 2:1-23 (KJV) Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son. Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not. But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child’s life. And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee: And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.
I’m sure you’ve all heard it a hundred times. The Magoi were Persians. it’s assumed by the number of gifts that there were three of them. There could have been more, and that each one brought all three. We don’t know.
It’s funny that the point here is that the people who SHOULD have known – Herod was the king over Israel at the time, and certainly the priests and Rabbi’s should have known – refused to bow before Christ.
The pagans – Magoi were Zoroastrian priests – and the common people on the other hand, reacted with joy, and set out to pay homage.
How did the Magoi know about the coming Christ? simple – remember the book of Esther? She and Mordecai were taken to Persia. There was a Jewish community there, and the Zoroastrians had been influenced by the Jewish community into a belief of bi-theism, a belief in one god of good and one god of bad. Compared to the beliefs of the Persians who weren’t Zoroastrian, it was light years ahead of paganism to only believe in two gods, and a short step to them accepting there is only one God revealed in three persons.
I’m not going to worry about what the star was. I’ve heard it all. Supposedly a supernova, supposedly a comet, supposedly the planet Jupiter entering a constellation, supposedly some guy walking through the Middle East with a LED Head Lamp. I don’t know. I don’t care. The Bible says Star, so to me, it’s a star.
The point is, the pagans and the unlearned common folk came and worshipped him.
The King, who should have gone and knelt the knee before Christ, set out to kill him.
The Priests and rabbi’s – consulted to find out where and when – were alerted to the coming Messiah. None of them showed up, showing a rejection.
By everyone except Gentiles and unlearned Jews. And they bent the knee, worshipped, and rendered tribute.
Glory to God in the Highest.
Peace on Earth.
Good Will towards men.
Micah 5:2 (KJV) But thou, Beth-lehem 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.
Once I preached a sermon, where I gave the first 15 prophecies in the Bible, and I gave the odds of them being fulfilled. It’s literally akin to covering the state of Texas with silver dollars, and asking someone to go in the midst, and pick up just one, and finding one you’d marked the very first time.
To fulfill Micah 5:2, you had to be God.
That’s kind of impossible to arrange ahead of time.
“Okay. Lazarus, come forth!”
“Um… that did not just happen. I am not looking. La la la la la! Lazarus, go away and quit talking to me!”
Jesus Christ – to fulfill Micah 5:2, would have to be eternally existent (He is), would have to be God (He is), and would have to be born in Bethlehem.
The standard Jewish response is that this is not a prophecy, and that Michah chose at that moment to start talking about King David.
Objection – King David is not eternally pre-existent. King David is not God.
Only two people in the Bible are marked specifically as coming forth from Bethlehem. King David did no miracles, and there was no sign of him being God.
Jesus Christ healed the blind, the lepers, the paralyzed, raised the dead, fed literally thousands with someone’s lunch, walked on water, commanded the storms, answered everyone’s tests and provided ample proofs, up to and including His own resurrection, and physical ascension into Heaven.
“We need a Bath Kol, a Heavenly Voice, to tell us.”
“You had that three times. Want it written in the skies? You’ll get it, but if you wait until that moment to be saved, the answer will be “too late”.”
I was born in Bethesda. I had absolutely no say into what family I would be born into, or what city. It’s impossible to choose these things.
There are hundreds – HUNDREDS – of prophecies that were literally fulfilled by Jesus Christ, right up to and including WHEN He would come, and what His name would be!
The utter impossibility of someone deciding to deliberately choosing to fulfill them becomes apparent, when you start looking at the prophecies.
With those kinds of odds, it’s madness. With just the first fifteen or eighteen prophecies seeming so impossible to fulfill, the fact we’re talking about HUNDREDS of prophecies is in the realm of “sure thing”.
Not a big deal? To me, a very big deal. The fulfilled prophecies are what convinced me that Jesus Christ is the Messiah of Israel.
That and my sins, and my eventual fate in Hell, convinced me I needed to get saved.
2,022 years ago it happened. over 33 years later, Jesus Christ rode into Jerusalem, exactly 483 years after an angel told Daniel Jesus Christ would do that. And it was exactly the same number of years that the Angel said.
About someone born in exactly the town it was said He’d be born in. To a family it was said He’d be born to. And a star shone in the sky pointing the way to Him, as prophesied.
The odds of that happening are several magnitudes beyond where statisticians say something is impossible.
Jesus Christ is Lord of Impossible. To Him, there is no Impossible.
Christ the Coming King.
Ephesians 2:7 (KJV) That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
Jesus Christ is King.
The Kingdom of Heaven has a king, a kingdom, subjects, a throne and a capitol. Jesus Christ the King, we the subjects, Jerusalem the capitol, and the throne is in the Temple to be built by Christ.
There’s a lot of serious Bible study, reduced down to two sentences there. Originally I presented it as two sermons.
Matthew 2:2 (KJV) Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
Jesus Christ is a descendant of King David. The line of David was promised to not fail, to not have a man on the throne. It has to belong to someone, since the line has not put a man on the throne in several thousand years.
Matthew 27:11 (KJV) And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest.
Jesus Christ was crowned by the conquering race that ruled Jerusalem at the time.
Mark 15:17 (KJV) And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head,
Matthew 27:29 (KJV) And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!
They may have mocked Him – but it’s binding.
Mark 11:8-10 (KJV) And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way. And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.
The Jewish people recognized Jesus Christ as King.
Someday very soon, He’s going to come and take His kingdom back. But first, He’s going to take His subjects off this world, so His armies can wage war without killing them.
Blessed be the name of the Lord, before whom every knee will bow and every tomgue confess.
Jesus Christ is Lord.
Philippians 2:11 (KJV) And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Somewhere around 5 BC, Jesus Christ was born. Marc Monte’s sermon on the birth of Jesus Christ is masterful, in that he narrows the birthdate of Jesus Christ to within a 5 day span, literally from Dec. 23-27. So if you’re one of those Independent Baptists who stubbornly refuse to celebrate Christmas, think again.
So, it was around 2022 years ago that the Everlasting Father was born unto us, the Prince of Peace. Jesus Christ is worthy to bear the name, since Isaiah so describes Him.
Jesus Christ was not a man. He was more than that. I know that Joel Osteen likes to preach that Jesus Christ found himself in the Bible, and realized His self worth, but that’s blasphemy.
Jesus Christ did not need to read anything to know who He was and is. He always knew. 2022 years ago was the occurrence of the Kenosis, the self limiting, when God the Son voluntarily stopped using many of His limitless power to dwell among us.
To take our eternal punishment upon Himself.
It wasn’t the parables. It wasn’t the sermon on the mount. It most certainly was not to make you rich.
It was to provide a way for us to escape the punishment we all richly deserve as sinners.
Jesus Christ is God the Son, eternally. Sonship did not begin at the moment of His birth. Sonship did not occur. He always was the Son. If you can’t grasp it, no problem. you don’t have to. Just accept it. Just believe it.
Colossians 2:6 (KJV) As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:
What do I mean by Reasoned atonement?
Simply, that you can actually reason your way through the problem logically without resorting to tracts or a witness from everyone.
Quite literally, this is why the Bible says that…
“Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? ” Romans 2:1-4(KJV)
So, quite simply, what this means is, one can deduce the existence of God and the need for atonement… solely by what you see and experience around you. This is the cosmological argument.
Here we go:
We can see the universe around us is vast, that things are far too orderly to be left to chance. Universal laws such as speed of sound, electrons having a negative charge, etc., prove there is too much order to the universe. If things happened by chance – and I proved that many of the theories advanced to prove that long ago were busted – then there would not be universal rules and constants.
We also can see by observing nature that sometimes we cannot trust our senses. This means we are poor judges of what we see and experience. Optical illusions are readily available. There is too many mirage events which sometimes are the result of humidity and sunlight – such as “mysterious lights around Mexico”. Those aren’t flying saucers, they are theorized to be reflections in an atmosphere of gases vapors, etc. Auto headlights can sometimes be seen reflected great distances. One infamous mirage of a steamship sailing over a desert was reported. The steamship was real – it was just hundreds of miles away from the desert on the ocean.
We have universal senses of right and wrong. Although it angers people for me to say it, we all know that taking something that does not belong to you is wrong. We all know that murder is wrong. If you’re going to try to tell me that you have no inner sense of right and wrong, I’m going to advise you see a professional for possible diagnosis as a sociopath.Indeed, the existence of Sociopaths proves to us that if something in them is not functioning correctly, there is an innate sense of right and wrong.
Before you rush to harass me…Sorry. I don’t allow comments.
Anyway, proceeding on (it’s too late – you’re going to be judged by God, so might as well read this!) if there is a sense of right and wrong, this means that someone put that there. There’s no “Evolution” – no proof for it and tons against it. And that sense logically would not be a product of evolution. It’s the product of that which is perfect Good programming us.
So, if so, then we have a problem, since man is incapable of being good. The Atheist campaign a couple of years ago “be good for goodness sake” resulted in zero permanently changed lives! We cannot be good. Give us a law, we’ll break it. Give us a rule, we’ll try to get around it.
So, what then? If we break the laws programmed into us by this supreme Good being, then what is that? Your hands now are polluted. “Well, I’ll work my own salvation by doing nothing but good deeds.”
Won’t work. Your hands are now polluted. You have no way to atone for your sins.
So it requires a man without sins to atone for your sins, since you can’t.
So, how can we find a man without sin? He would have to be God!
Very well. Name me one person, just one, who claimed to come to die for everyone, because He was without sin, and God.
I can think of only one name.
There you go. Reasoned atonement. Want me to prove everything? Easy.
Go to any bookstore and buy a King James Bible.
Hey, meet any of the readers of my blog and ask them for one, and I’ll just bet they FESTER to give you one.
I’e got entire article series’ on these subjects. Historical proofs for the Bible. Inerrancy of the Bible. Proofs of Jesus Christ. Answering evolution. Answering the cults.
So here’s my final point. You can have atonement by accepting through faith the atonement of Jesus Christ. What do you have to do? Repent, and believe.
So, what if you DON’T accept the Jesus of the Bible, but instead a Jesus of the cults, the brother of (l’havdil) satan, the good man Jesus, then eastern mystic Jesus, the aquarian conspiracy Jesus, the archangel Michael Jesus. None of these are the Jesus of the Bible.
Then you have no atonement.
So if those who have atonement go to heaven, where do the rest of humanity go?
Where are you going?
Think on these things.
The Tomb is empty.
2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. 3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: 4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. Matthew 28:2-4 (KJV)
1 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. Matthew 28:1 (KJV)
5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. 6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 7 And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you. 8 And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word. Matthew 28:5-8 (KJV)
The testimony of the women would not be permitted in a court of law under the courts of that time.
What does this mean?
If the Apostles were making up the ressurection… they picked a mighty poor opener. That’s not the kind of detail you make up. If I was inventing the Ressurection, it would have been Peter who opened the tomb, and the Lord came forth.
The whole ressurection story has been examined by doctors, historians, judges and lawyers, scientists and laymen alike. Those who examine it for the purpose of finding the truth… find it. And many who examined it for the purpose of debunking it…. end up embracing it.
Josh McDowell. Lee Strobel. and many others, including some of the finest legal minds the world has known. Frank Morrison is one. They studied to scoff and disprove.
They bowed to the facts.
Historians and geographers studied the Gospels, and came to the conclusion that they are factual history.
11 Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done. 12 And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, 13 Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. 14 And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and secure you. 15 So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day. 16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. Matthew 28:11-16 (KJV)
Within a couple of years, Rome’s Senate would pass a bill declaring grave robbing in Judea to be a capital crime. For Rome’s senate to make such a decision meant that the entire region was under unrest due to a missing body.
I wonder whose.
Here’s what really happened. Ready? Ready for the truth?
A Roman guard, a large number of men who took courses (shifts) standing watch, guarded the tomb. Somehow someone walked past a large number of men, rolled back a tomb stone (it’s pretty big and heavy) and carried off a body wtihout anyone noticing.
“Hey! You! What are you doing???”
Sound silly? Not buying it?
Of course not. it’s illogical.
Okay, here’s what really happened. The Roman Guard was standing watch on the Tomb. There was a massive earthquake, the door to the Tomb rolled backward by some unknown means, and the Lord walked out of the Tomb, magnificent and radiant, full of power, and very much alive.
The Roman Guard fell to the ground in terror, some of them apparently passing out.
They were arrested, brought to trial. The Rabbi’s gave them a large bribe. They told the cover story. The Procurator (an officer of the Legion acting as the judge) reminds them of the penalty (death) and asks them to tell the truth please.
They do. They tell the procurator, “look – either the dead man in the tomb came forth alive, whole, and glowing with power and holiness, as if the Son of God…. or we were asleep and they stole the body. That’s what the Jews want us to say. They paid us a lot of money. Now, we didn’t fall asleep. You decide what story you want the people to know.”
The Procurator would have thought about it… looked at the men, and knew they were not likely to have slept. He held out his hand for part of the money, and grunted…”Tell everyone you were asleep. Now give me some of the gold, and get out.”
That’s what happened.
13 And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. 14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened. 15 And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. 16 But their eyes were holden that they should not know him. 17 And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? 18 And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? 19 And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: 20 And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. 21 But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. 22 Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; 23 And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. 24 And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not. 25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. 28 And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. 29 But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them. 30 And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. 32 And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? 33 And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, 34 Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. 35 And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread. Luke 24:13-35 (KJV)
The Lord is risen indeed.
16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. 17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. Matthew 28:16-17 (KJV)
If they were making it up… the last part of verse 17 would never have been part of it.
So, He is risen.
What will you do with that knowledge?
Will you live for Him, who died for you?
18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Matthew 28:18-20 (KJV)