The Fall & the Plan
After man’s fall, God revealed His great plan of redemption when he said to the serpent, “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 (Gen. 3:15-KJV).”
This tightly woven passage of scripture is loaded with the theme of the Great Controversy between good and evil; between Christ and Satan. Within these few simple words the condescension of the Son of God, wrapped in humanity is revealed. God would send His son, born of a virgin to live a life of loving service and humiliation and ultimately offer up Himself as our atoning sacrifice, by dying a cruel death on an old rugged cross. This would be the bruise to the heel.
But in dying on that cross, Satan’s kingdom would be defeated. It would be his death knell, for Jesus would have won the decisive battle which would seal Satan’s fate in the cosmic war against Good and Evil. Satan will ultimately be destroyed in the lake of fire, which is represented by the “bruised” or “crushed” head.
Isaiah 53:5,7-KJV – “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”
“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.”
Isaiah 9:6 says, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.”
The Jewish leaders read the prophecies with selective understanding, picking and choosing the parts that sounded more pleasant and appealing to their perceptions of the anticipated Messiah, while dismissing all texts that dealt with His suffering and death. Hence there was a gross misunderstanding and resentment of Jesus, his message and His mission.
The Jews had become so proud of their heritage as being God’s chosen people that they hoarded the truth to themselves. Instead of being God’s ambassadors to the fallen world, they became the agents of Satan Himself.
In the New Testament, Jesus had some choice words for the Jewish leaders:
- “Woe unto you! for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and your fathers killed them (Luke 11:47).”
- “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness (Matt. 23:27).”
The Bible says, “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not (Isaiah 53:2 KJV).”
Jesus is born
When Mary and Joseph entered the City of David, the Bible says “there was no room in the inn (Luke 2:7).”
The only available shelter for the King of Kings was a lowly stable where the dumb animals were kept. This was the night that prophets of old had foretold.
- There were no parades
- No marching bands
- No priests or rulers to welcome the redeemer
For the unsuspecting, this was just another night. But God would not allow this night to go unnoticed. This was indeed a Passover, for the angels of Heaven Passed over the “elite” of the nation and proclaimed the savior’s birth to a band of simple shepherds on the hillside. And how glad they were to receive it; for the Bible says in Luke 2:15,16 that they said to one 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.”
Wise Men from the East
Matt. 2:1,2, says, “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.”
- It is tradition that mentions there were three wise men. Scripture does not support this. There were, however, three gifts; gold, frankincense and myrrh (Matt. 2:11).
- Tradition also gives them the names “Gaspar, Balthasar and Melchior”. This too is unfounded. No names are given in scripture.
- The idea that they were kings is derived from Isaiah 60:3 & Rev. 21:24. This too is unfounded.
When they saw the mysterious star, they set out, with their gifts to welcome the King of Kings. But not after they had verified with the sacred scriptures they had been studying.How strange to find a people who had, for centuries, longed for a Savior, a Redeemer; a people who had been blessed with the sacred scriptures and writings of scribes and prophets and yet were so ignorant, so careless on such an important night as this; the night in which the Desire of the Ages, would finally come.
The Dedication of Jesus
Forty days after the birth of Jesus, according to Jewish custom, Joseph and Mary took Him to the temple in Jerusalem to present Him to God and to offer their sacrifice. So poor were they, that the one of the simplest options of sacrifice was chosen. Not a lamb, but two turtledoves, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering (Luke 2:23,24; Lev. 5:7,11). They were dressed in simple clothes and the officiating priest, casually and indifferently took the child, unaware that he was holding in his arms the Majesty of Heaven and the King of Glory. This was the One who spoke the world in existence; the one who parted the Red Sea; The Great I AM and the Saviour of the world.
Upon entering the city of Bethlehem, they expected to see the people electrified and joyous over the greatest event that the earth has ever seen; for this was the moment that had been faithfully retold for thousands of years. But to their amazement, their inquiries were met with indifference and even contempt.
These were upright men of integrity and wisdom. They studied the Hebrew Scriptures including the Messianic prophecies found in the Old Testament. There was the words of the prophet Balaam who wrote, “There shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel” (Num. 24:17). No doubt, they must have also studied, and understood, the time prophecies of Daniel 9:25,26.
But God would not allow this event to pass without proper recognition. Luke 2:25-32 says, “25 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. 26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, 28 Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, 29 Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: 30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, 31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; 32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.”
Anna also, an aged prophetess, who also waited and longed for the coming Messiah, entered the temple “and gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem (Luke 2:38).”
What About Us Today?
- What about us today, who have been given such a wealth of knowledge and precious truth for this time? On the verge of the most climactic event the world has ever seen; the second coming of Jesus.
- Are we any better than that unfaithful nation?
- Are we hoarding the truths to ourselves? Or are we sharing them with our neighbors and friends?
- Are we guilty of the same “Selective reading” of the Word of God; picking out the parts that best suits us and discarding the areas that trouble our conscience?
- When Jesus comes again, who will greet Him? Will you?
- Are you ready for Jesus to come?Isaiah 25:9 And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.
- I’m so glad the story has already been written. The battle has already been won. God wins, Satan loses. And if we are faithful to the end, we will receive a crown of life.
Isaiah 25:9 And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.