Title: Christmas Special: Born is the King of Israel.
Title: Christmas Special: Born is the King of Israel.
Incarnation means "in flesh" and denotes the act whereby the eternal Son of God took to Himself an additional nature, humanity, through the virgin birth.
The Incarnation thus involved that amazing divine act whereby the omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient Son of God agreed to wrap around his eternal and invisible being flesh and bone and take upon himself a human nature, thus becoming a fleshly bridge between the sovereign God and sinful men. In a nutshell, the Incarnation became the door through which deity would enter the house of humanity.
The Word became flesh and blood,
and moved into the neighborhood.(Message Bible)
Prior to this stage sheep had died for shepherds but now the Shepherd will die for the sheep, Joh 10:11.
At his birth He was offered gold, frankincense, and myrrh by wise men who worshiped him. At his death he was offered spittle, thorns, and vinegar by wicked men who ridiculed him.
Jesus was not born in Jerusalem, Athens, or Rome; all three important cities that would become the religious, intellectual, and political capitals of the ancient world.
Bethlehem literally means "house of bread."
It is the place for the Bread of Life to be born. Boaz, the great-grandfather of David and David were also born in Bethlehem. It is also small and was insignificant in the eyes of people at the time, and so, as He did not come wearing robes with trumpets blowing, on a golden chariot, with myriads of angels following, wearing a golden crown, etc. He came humble, a new born infant, in a manger, in a stable carved into the rock, without fanfare, but with great glory.
"But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Too little to be among the clans of Judah,
From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.
His goings forth are from long ago,
From the days of eternity."
Also, Jacob's last son was born in Bethlehem. Rachel, his mother, called him Ben-oni, meaning, "son of my sorrow," while his father, Jacob, named him Benjamin, "son of my right hand." Centuries later Jesus would also be known as a man of sorrows, Isa 53:3, and the son of his Father's right hand, Act 7:55.
He was despised and forsaken of men,
A man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
And like one from whom men hide their face,
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God;
From an early period after the fall of man, a gracious intimation had been given of God's intention to visit the world by a Divine Person, who should restore sinners from their ruined condition, destroy the power of death and hell, and lead his followers to eternal bliss.
Promises to this effect were, from season to season, given to God's chosen people Israel; this great object held a place in all the predictions of the prophets, and was shadowed forth in all the types and ceremonies of the Jewish Law.
The character of this sacred Messenger was drawn with sufficient clearness, to render him desirable with all who would hear His gospel and believe.
At the perfect time the Messiah would be born. The Roman Empire had gained ascendency over all nations and a universal peace had taken place. With Augustus Caesar as the emperor of Rome and Herod, by Caesar's authority, as king of Judea; the period had arrived for the fulfillment of these gracious promises, in the birth of the Prince of Peace.
A general expectation seems to have prevailed among the Jews, that about this time the great Deliverer was to make his appearance; nor are there wanting evidences, that such an event was looked for, even in the gentile or heathen world.
And so we go to the past, to Israel's prophets, to see the heralds of the new born King.
The time of the Messiah's appearance in the world, as predicted in the OT, is defined by a number of concurring circumstances that fix it to the very date of the advent of Christ. The scepter was not to depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver to cease from among His descendants, till Shiloh should come.
"The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
Nor the ruler's staff from between his feet,
Until Shiloh comes, And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
The desire of all nations, the messenger of the covenant, the Lord whom they sought, was to come to the second temple, and to impart to it, from his presence, a greater glory than that of the former.
Hag 2:7 'And I will shake all the nations; and they will come with the wealth of all nations; and I will fill this house with glory,' says the Lord of hosts.
Hag 2:8 'The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,' declares the Lord of hosts.
Hag 2:9 'The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former,' says the Lord of hosts,' and in this place I shall give peace,' declares the Lord of hosts."
Yes, peace in the Middle East!!!
"Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming," says the Lord of hosts.
A messenger was to appear before him, the voice of one crying in the wilderness, to prepare his way.
A voice is calling, "Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness;
Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.
Even though the days that followed Isaiah’s ministry grew darker, not brighter, the hope to which he gave voice did not die.
Jeremiah hails the advent of a prince of the house of David who will bear worthily the name Yahweh-sidqenu (‘Yahweh is our righteousness’) so unworthily borne by the contemporary Zedekiah (sidqi-Yahu), the last crowned king of the Davidic dynasty.
Jer 23:5 "Behold, the days are coming," declares the Lord,
"When I shall raise up for David a righteous Branch;
And He will reign as king and act wisely
And do justice and righteousness in the land.
Jer 23:6"In His days Judah will be saved,
And Israel will dwell securely;
And this is His name by which He will be called,
'The Lord our righteousness.'
Similarly, his younger contemporary Ezekiel, contemplating the downfall of the perjured Zedekiah, sees the crown of David remaining without a wearer for long, but not for ever:
Eze 21:27 'A ruin, a ruin, a ruin, I shall make it. This also will be no more, until He comes whose right it is; and I shall give it to Him.'
The words ‘until he comes whose right it is’ are probably Ezekiel’s interpretation of the clause ‘until Shiloh comes’ in the blessing of Jacob, where a ruler of the tribe of Judah is in view.
Ezekiel gives this coming ruler the name of David and pictures him as the good shepherd of Israel, the flock of Yahweh.
Eze 34:20 Therefore, thus says the Lord God to them, "Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep.
Eze 34:21 "Because you push with side and with shoulder, and thrust at all the weak with your horns, until you have scattered them abroad,
Eze 34:22 therefore, I will deliver My flock, and they will no longer be a prey; and I will judge between one sheep and another.
Eze 34:23 "Then I will set over them one shepherd, My servant David, and he will feed them; he will feed them himself and be their shepherd.
Eze 34:24 "And I, the Lord, will be their God, and My servant David will be prince among them; I, the Lord, have spoken.
Eze 37:24 "And My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd; and they will walk in My ordinances, and keep My statutes, and observe them.
Eze 37:25 "And they shall live on the land that I gave to Jacob My servant, in which your fathers lived; and they will live on it, they, and their sons, and their sons' sons, forever; and David My servant shall be their prince forever.
Eze 37:26 "And I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will place them and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in their midst forever.
Eze 37:27 "My dwelling place also will be with them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people.
Eze 37:28 "And the nations will know that I am the Lord who sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forever."'"
A specified period, marked by weeks of years by the prophet Daniel, each day for a year, was set, from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem, after the Babylonian captivity, unto Messiah the prince.
Isa 40:1"Comfort, O comfort My people," says your God.
Isa 40:2"Speak kindly to Jerusalem;
And call out to her, that her warfare has ended,
That her iniquity has been removed,
That she has received of the Lord's hand
Double for all her sins."
Isa 40:3 A voice is calling, "Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.
This restoration is to be the redemptive act of Israel’s God and to accomplish it he has raised up Cyrus, founder of the Persian Empire.
Isa 45:1 Thus says the Lord to Cyrus His anointed,
Whom I have taken by the right hand,
To subdue nations before him,
And to loose the loins of kings;
To open doors before him so that gates will not be shut:
Isa 45:2 "I will go before you and make the rough places smooth;
I will shatter the doors of bronze, and cut through their iron bars.
Isa 45:3 "And I will give you the treasures of darkness,
And hidden wealth of secret places,
In order that you may know that it is I,
The Lord, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name.
Isa 45:4 "For the sake of Jacob My servant,
And Israel My chosen one,
I have also called you by your name;
I have given you a title of honor
Though you have not known Me.
As Cyrus marches from victory to victory, he does not realize that his triumphant progress is directed by a God whom he does not know, the only true God, by contrast with whom all the gods of the nations are nonentities. Nevertheless, it is Yahweh who has anointed Cyrus and held his right hand, in order to bring him to a position of world dominion from which he may give effect to Yahweh’s purpose and restore the Jewish exiles to their homeland. The effect of this restoration will be that all nations will know that Yahweh alone is God.
When Cyrus authorized the return of the Judean exiles and the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem, it was natural that a restoration of David’s dynasty should be looked for at the same time.
Indeed, Zerubbabel, grandson of the former king Jehoiachin, and governor of Judaea at the beginning of the reign of Darius I, third successor to Cyrus (521 B.C.), is hailed in Zec 6:12 as The Branch’—the title already given by Jeremiah to the coming prince Yahweh-sidqenu.
Zerubbabel receives the promise through the prophet Haggai that Yahweh has chosen him as his signet-ring (Hag 2:23). Zerubbabel never wore the crown of hisroyal ancestors, but to the returned exiles the sight of a descendant of David’s house acting as governor in Judaea was a token that the promises made to that house had not been forgotten.
After Zerubbabel, however, the house of David passes into obscurity. Mary and Joseph are insignificant living in an insignificant town in Galilee.
Yet the promises of God are always yes!
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
He is just and endowed with salvation,
Humble, and mounted on a donkey,
Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
The Joyful news thus proclaimed to Zion will find an echo throughout the world; it is, indeed, Joyful news not for Zion only but ultimately for all mankind.
But how can the rise of a Gentile conqueror or the return of a few thousand displaced Jews have such universal implications? Because by these movements, whatever their intrinsic importance may be, the stage is set for something more important—for the introduction of a figure who puts Cyrus in the shade, the Servant of Yahweh whose mission it is to spread the knowledge of the true God to the ends of the earth. Cyrus has served Yahweh unconsciously; here is one who will serve him willingly and intelligently. Cyrus has promoted the divine purpose by the temporary and limited methods of military conquest and imperial power; here is one who will promote it in a far different way—not by making a noise in the world but in obscurity and patient obedience; not by imposing his will on others but by uncomplaining endurance of contempt, injustice, suffering and death. Such is the fate meted out to himby others for his obedience to God; but more than that: submission to this treatment is his crowning obedience; for this be has been chosen by Yahweh and endowed with his Spirit (Isaiah 42:1).
Isa 42:1 "Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold;
My chosen one in whom My soul delights.
I have put My Spirit upon Him;
He will bring forth justice to the nations.
Isa 42:2 "He will not cry out or raise His voice,
Nor make His voice heard in the street.
Isa 42:3 "A bruised reed He will not break,
And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish;
He will faithfully bring forth justice.
Isa 42:4 "He will not be disheartened or crushed,
Until He has established justice in the earth;
And the coastlands will wait expectantly for His law."
His suffering is the very means by which he fulfills the purpose of God in a more abiding fashion than Cyrus could ever achieve, and so brings blessing and liberation to multitudes.
"So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress.
After the Messiah was to be cut off, the people of the prince that should come were to destroy the city and the sanctuary.
But centuries were to pass before this call found an echo. With the rise to power of the Hasmonaeans, the hopes attached to the house of David bade fair to be eclipsed by the present glories of a family of the tribe of Levi, in which the kingship was combined with the high-priesthood.
Sixty nine weeks, or 483 years, the time determined upon the people and the holy city had passed away and it was time for Messiah. The tribe of Judah were no longer united under a king. The last so-called kings after the captivity were Levites from the Hasmonean dynasty. The tribe of Judah was but a small semblance of what she was under king David. Joseph and Mary, both in the line of David, are but poor in a tiny village of Galilee. Yet according to prophecy, it was Judah to whom his brethren were to serve.
And the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
The countrymen of Christ, when He came, would not receive him, yet it was the Jews that Jesus was to come; and the human lineage of the Messiah is as clearly marked in the prophecies as the time of his appearance. The divinity of the person of Messiah, and his taking upon Himself the likeness of sinful flesh, is declared in the OT as well as the new. Isaiah gave Him four names:
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
It was the seed of the woman that was to bruise the serpent's head. The line of His descent, according to the flesh, and the place of His birth, were expressly foretold. It was in the seed of Abraham that all the nations of the earth would be blessed.
It was from the midst of the Israelites, of their brethren, that a prophet like unto Moses was to arise.
The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him.
And he was to be not only of the tribe of Judah, but also of the house or family of David. From the root of Jesse a branch was to grow up, on which the spirit of the Lord was to rest, and to which the Gentiles would seek.
Isa 11:1 Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse,
And a branch from his roots will bear fruit.
Isa 11:2 And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him,
The spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The spirit of counsel and strength,
The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
Isa 11:3 And He will delight in the fear of the Lord,
And He will not judge by what His eyes see,
Nor make a decision by what His ears hear;
Isa 11:4 But with righteousness He will judge the poor,
And decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth;
And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth,
And with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked.
Isa 11:5 Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins,
And faithfulness the belt about His waist.
Isa 11:6 And the wolf will dwell with the lamb,
And the leopard will lie down with the kid,
And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together;
And a little boy will lead them.
Isa 11:7Also the cow and the bear will graze;
Their young will lie down together;
And the lion will eat straw like the ox.
Isa 11:8 And the nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra,
And the weaned child will put his hand on the viper's den.
Isa 11:9 They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain,
For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
As the waters cover the sea.
Isa 11:10 Then it will come about in that day
That the nations will resort to the root of Jesse,
Who will stand as a signal for the peoples;
And His resting place will be glorious.
And Jesus is he alone of the seed of the woman, of the descendants of Abraham, of the tribe of Judah, of the house of David, in whom all the families of the earth can be blessed; to whom the Gentiles seek, and who, though the family genealogies of the Jews were lost, was shown by them to be born of the lineage of David, and in the town of Bethlehem.
Could the fishermen of Galilee ever have thought up such a person? Could anyone have found such a person to fit all that was said by chance or another recognize himself to be all this and be an imposter?
The divine character is such as none but a divine hand could draw; and seeking in the prophecies what the Messiah was to be, we read what Jesus was while he dwelt among men.
He came, he was born, He is Messiah!!
Thou art fairer than the sons of men;
Grace is poured upon Thy lips;
Therefore God has blessed Thee forever.
Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Thy kingdom.
Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated wickedness;
Therefore God, Thy God, has anointed Thee
With the oil of joy above Thy fellows.
Isa 40:11 Like a shepherd He will tend His flock,
In His arm He will gather the lambs,
And carry them in His bosom;
He will gently lead the nursing ewes.
Isa 53:7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He did not open His mouth;
Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,
And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,
So He did not open His mouth.
Isa 53:8 By oppression and judgment He was taken away;
And as for His generation, who considered
That He was cut off out of the land of the living,
For the transgression of my people to whom the stroke was due?
Isa 53:9 His grave was assigned with wicked men,
Yet He was with a rich man in His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.
Isa 50:6 I gave My back to those who strike Me,
And My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard;
I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting.
Isa 50:7 For the Lord God helps Me,
Therefore, I am not disgraced;
Therefore, I have set My face like flint,
And I know that I shall not be ashamed.
Isa 42:4 "He will not be disheartened or crushed,
Until He has established justice in the earth;
And the coastlands will wait expectantly for His law."
For he will deliver the needy when he cries for help,
The afflicted also, and him who has no helper.
He will have compassion on the poor and needy,
And the lives of the needy he will save.
He will rescue their life from oppression and violence;
And their blood will be precious in his sight;
May his name endure forever;
May his name increase as long as the sun shines;
And let men bless themselves by him;
Let all nations call him blessed.
That He was to make a full and clear revelation of the will of God, and establish a new and mature worship of God was frequently and explicitly foretold.
I will tell of Thy name to my brethren;
In the midst of the assembly I will praise Thee.
But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.
The words of God were to be put into His mouth, and whoever would not hearken unto Him, God would require it of them. He was to be given for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles, to open the blind eyes. His law was to be put in the inward parts, or to be written not in tables of stone, but in the heart. And the spiritual life from Jesus is pure, spiritual, perfect, and adapted alike to all. It is a revelation of the whole counsel of God; it is a law which has to be written on the heart; a kingdom which is established within. The good news of all that is Christ is a doctrine according to godliness. This His enemies will not deny, for it is the cause why they hate it. Its very excellence and perfection is a stumbling block to them. There is not a sin that it does not reprobate, nor a virtue which it does not inculcate. And too pure and perfect it would indeed be for any man, were not reconciliation made for iniquity, and redemption from bondage within its boundaries.
But the complete revelation of the will of God, which of itself would have pointed out a highway of holiness that men could never have reached, was to be accompanied with a revelation also of the grace and mercy of God, which might well suffice to show that the light was indeed light from Heaven. And while Jesus gave new commandments unto men, he announced tidings of great joy, which it never entered into the heart of man to conceive.
In fulfillment of the prophetic character and office of the Messiah, he published salvation.
Never was any anointed like Christ to preach good tidings to the meek; to bind up the broken hearted; to proclaim liberty to the captives, the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to comfort them that mourn in Zion; to give to those who mourn for sin, or who seek true consolation amid the bereavements or any of the evils of this life, beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. And none like Him ever proclaimed either the acceptable year of the Lord, or the day of judgment of our God.
Isa 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
Because the Lord has anointed me
To bring good news to the afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to captives,
And freedom to prisoners;
Isa 61:2 To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord,
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
Isa 61:3 To grant those who mourn in Zion,
Giving them a garland instead of ashes,
The oil of gladness instead of mourning,
The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.
So they will be called oaks of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.
What many wise men of old sought to know, Jesus taught. What they desired to see, he hath revealed. All that he taught, as well as all that he did and suffered, bore witness of him as the promised Messiah; and that kingdom has now come near which the prophets saw afar off.
Isa 55:5 "Behold, you will call a nation you do not know,
And a nation which knows you not will run to you,
Because of the Lord your God, even the Holy One of Israel;
For He has glorified you."
No one is now ignorant of the facts, that a system of Christ which inculcates piety, and purity, and love, which releases man from every burdensome rite and from every barbarous institution, and proffers the greatest of blessings, arose from the land of Judea, was rejected by the Jews, persecuted by the Jews and Gentiles, and yet has subsisted for many ages, and has been spread into many countries, and is outwardly owned by kings and by people as the faith of the civilized world.
Why, then, were so many prophecies delivered? Why, from the calling of Abraham to the present time, have the Jews been separated, as a peculiar people, from all the nations of the earth? Why, from the age of Moses to that of Malachi, during the space of a thousand years, did a succession of prophets arise, all testifying of a Savior that was to come? Why was the book of prophecy sealed for nearly four hundred years before the coming of Christ? Why is there still, to this day, undisputed, if not miraculous evidence of the antiquity of all these prophecies, by their being sacredly preserved, in every age, in the custody and guardianship of the enemies of Christianity? Why was such a multitude of facts foretold that are applicable to Christ and to Him alone? Why? but that all this mighty preparation might usher in the gospel of righteousness, and prepare the way for the kingdom of God; and that Christians also, in every age, might add to their "peace and joy in believing" the perfect trust, ...
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
... that however great the promises of God may be, they still are sure; ...
For as many as may be the promises of God, in Him they are yes; wherefore also by Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.
...and that he who spared not his own Son, but gave him up for us all, will with Him also, if His we be, freely give us all things.
And if we ever read a book for any object, ought we not diligently to search the Scriptures, to see how clearly they testify of Christ? And ought not every word of such testimony to be, like all Scripture besides, profitable for doctrine and for instruction in righteousness? And may it not be profitable for reproof and for correction to all who mind only earthly things, who are eager to seek after unprofitable knowledge, who could talk, with all volubility, of the temporal concerns of others or their own, who could expatiate the quality of their food, or the beauty of a garment, and who, although they have had the Bible constantly beside them, have, for many a year, remained ignorant of the value of the treasure it contains, or of the fullness of the testimony which God has given of his Son? None surely would any longer willfully refrain from searching the scriptures to see how they testify of Jesus, or from seeking the words of eternal life which may be found in them, were to lay to heart the thought that ...
The second coming of Christ to judge the quick and the dead, is as certain as that the prophetic tidings of his first advent, once heard afar off, have already proved true.