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Archive for Christmas

A True Miracle of Christmas

One of the most amazing miracles of Christmas, proving without doubt that the Bible is truly the Word of God, is the curse that God placed on a king named Coniah. The One to rule over Israel had to come through the biological line of King David from the tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:10).  He had to be the firstborn son of his line, giving him the royal right to the throne.  Something strange happened that disqualified Solomon’s physical seed (King David’s firstborn) from reigning in Israel. God pronounced a curse on a certain king and all his descendants. God had sent his prophet Jeremiah with a written indictment against the nation of Israel to King Jehoiakim. This document spelled out the nation’s sin against God. King Jehoiakim, the son of Josiah, rather than repenting and turning to God, destroyed the document by shredding it and throwing it into the fire. Because of this act, God said that no seed of Jehoiakim would ever rule in Israel again (Jer. 36:23–31).

 

One just does not tamper with the Word of the living God. God declared that neither Jehoiakim’s son, Coniah, nor any of his descendants would ever rule on the throne of Israel (Jer. 22:28–30). Coniah is also called “Jeconiah” (1 Chron. 3:16).  Just before Jeconiah’s descendants were to come to the throne, the Babylonians took Judah into a captivity lasting seventy years. None of his descendants ever ruled. The Romans destroyed all the official birth records in Israel in 70 A.D.

 

The only official record we have to document the genealogical right to the throne of Israel is the Bible. The curse on Jeconiah appears seemingly benign until we read Christ’s kingly genealogy in the Gospel of Matthew and discover that Jeconiah’s name is there. The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham: Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers… Josiah begot Jeconiah and his brothers about the time they were carried away to Babylon (Matt. 1:2, 11). How can it be? The cursed king is in the line of King Jesus. During Israel’s stay in Babylon, sons were born to Jeconiah, but none ever ruled in Israel.

 

The royal line ended with a firstborn son named Joseph, a carpenter from Nazareth (Matthew 1:16). Joseph had the royal right to the throne of Israel as the firstborn son in the line of Judah, but he had become ineligible from ruling because of the curse of Coniah. None of Joseph’s biological sons could rule. Was God caught by His own judgmental decision? No! He had a Christmas miracle under His mighty sleeve. Another genealogical record to the Messiah’s line is found in Luke 3:29-31.  This line came through David’s son, Nathan. Nathan carried the proper bloodline to the throne. His line bypassed Jeconiah and ended in a young virgin named Mary. Mary carried the legal, incorrupt bloodline to the throne.  She just happened to fall in love with a carpenter named Joseph who just happeded to have the royal right to the throne. But his bloodline had been disqualified.

 

Note God’s genius and the real miracle of Christmas. God slipped into the world through the Seed of the woman (Gen. 3:15).  This moment happened when the Holy Spirit supernaturally etched a tiny embryo in the womb of the Virgin Mary. The moment that deity touched humanity was a miracle equal only to the resurrection.  Nine months later, Mary gave birth to her firstborn son, the God-man. He was perfectly human and yet perfectly God. Since the sin nature is passed seminally through the paternal parent, the new babe did not inherit the Adamic sin nature because his mother was a virgin. And since Mary came through the incorrupt line of Nathan, she carried the right bloodline but bypassed Jechoniah’s curse. Absolutely amazing! Joseph adopted Jesus, giving Jesus the firstborn royal right to the throne. King Jesus received both the royal and legal right to the throne.

 

God brought His Son into the world right under the noses of the world’s elite. Bethlehem was way out in the Judean hill country. Not much ever happened there, but the birth of that child that day was the single most important historical event ever. It took place without any fanfare and not only in the lowliest place possible, Bethlehem, but also in a stable. Mary was surrounded by all the critters that would normally inhabit a stable. There were probably cows, sheep, goats, geese, ducks, and chickens. It is quite amazing that the true and living God would make His appearance in such a lowly place, yet God had His way of making this moment in history special.

 

Bethlehem means “house of bread.” The bread of life was born there! There was the star shining more brightly over that place highlighting the Light of the world! There were the lowly shepherds, patiently watching their flocks of sheep on the surrounding hillside – waiting for their Good Shepherd’s arrival.  There were the angels whose voices contributed to this astronomical event that could never be forgotten. God’s Lamb was being born. He was born where one would think a lamb should be born, in a stable. And most important, born there was the only person in this entire universe with both the legal and royal right to the throne of Israel to this very day – the  Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Blessings!

 

December is Here

Moore Thoughts by Mike Moore

There are only 12 of them. We call them months and they all have a flavor, a taste, an appearance. Some bring cold weather, some hot, and others the in-between temperatures.

Now it is December. It is a magical month. December is special in many ways. No amount of commercialism can ruin Christmas for me. Nothing can downgrade December. I have always enjoyed December, as a child, a young father, and now as a grandfather.

December is wassail, a hot fruit drink my wife makes. It is eggnog and chocolate-covered cherries and special ornaments on the tree. It is carols. It is It’s a Wonderful Life in black and white and the traditional Scrooge.

December is Pearl Harbor and troops away from home and presents for prisoners’ children. It is breakfast pizza made by my wife and often served by candlelight because we got up so early on Christmas morning. It is mistletoe and holly and poinsettias and wreaths. It is Clement Clarke Moore with his Night Before Christmas and Longfellow with I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day. It is Silent Night. It is the birthdays of Joel Chandler Harris, Walt Disney, Eli Whitney, Milton, Emily Dickinson and Beethoven.

It was Washington crossing the Delaware and Phi Beta Kappa being founded at the College of William and Mary. It was Valley Forge.

It is the Hallelujah Chorus.

It is 50 family members at a big dinner. It is Aunt Ruth, who admits she is over 80, now.

It is amazed shepherds and joyous angels and the best music ever written.

It is children in costumes that look much like bathrobes and towels. The serious-looking kids are gathered around something called a manger. It is candles and fragrances. It is a turkey in the oven and sweet potatoes.

December is New Year’s Eve, sometimes observed with friends or at church or at home. It is high school fo

otball playoffs and early-season basketball and some children who can’t seem to sleep. It is the sound of 50 youngsters on the street with their new roller skates during my childhood. It was my parents’ Christmas Eve wedding anniversary. December is end and beginning.

December also brings Hanukkah. And in some places, it is winter. The calendar says winter begins on the 21st. It is thousands of lights, private and public displays. Where do they plug all of these in?

And December is our wedding anniversary. It recalls the day when we stood in Tampa with the crowd of friends and family. I was stunned by the beauty of the bride. I still remember her eyes and her warm hand. We made the vows, cut the cake, ran through a hail of rice. And then 46 years sped by.

And although it probably didn’t happen during December, it is mostly about a young man and woman making a slow journey, stopping at a crowded wayside inn and finding no vacancy. It is about a birth in a cow stall and God becoming Man. The great story is told in the Bible by a man named Luke… “and the babe lying in a manger.”

And Isaiah said, “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given.”

December, so good to see you again.