The Beauty of the Confession of Sin … walk in the light 2

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (I John 1:8-10)

We are looking at the Biblical teaching of the light of God. We see in scripture, “God is light and in him is no darkness at all” .   The only precondition for sinful man to come into fellowship with the Holy God, is the willingness to come into the light.

To come to God is to come into the light. Primarily, at the onset it is the light of exposure. We see ourselves when we truly encounter God. The Bible is a mirror, so also is a true Church, also true Christians. The Bible, the church and the Christian all convey the light of God. This is why many people avoid all three, they dread the light of exposure, the “secrets of their own heart are revealed “to them in the light, and it is unnerving to them.

The primary way to remain in the light, is to confess our sins to God. We must not obfuscate, or play games about our own shortcomings. The Greek word for “confess” in the Bible is “Homologia”, literally to ‘say the same thing as‘ God does, to come into moral agreement with our LORD and Creator.

Some of the ways people obfuscate is by denying the reality of our sin. Some hold to doctrines which deny that born again Christians can have sin or can be condemned in any way. There have always been heresies which deny the reality and gravity of sin, in effect denying that sin harms fellowship with God. This is a form of darkness.

Others rename sins, giving them therapeutic names and descriptions. There are very few ‘drunkards’ anymore, only ‘alcoholics’. Adulterers and fornicators are now considered to be ‘sex addicts’ and have ‘affairs’. By this way sin is redefined, the responsibility for it is lessened and eased, and the sinner is considered a victim rather than a transgressor.

This too is a form of darkness, and of of alienation from God and sinking into self, rather than having access with God. To come into the light is to confess our sins, to say the same thing about them as God has said, and to call them for what they really are.

As long as sin remains unconfessed, fellowship with God is cut off and heaviness and dryness sets in, as David teaches us in Psalm 32,

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.  When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long.  For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah. I acknowledge my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah. (Psalm 32:1-5)

Note that when he kept silence, he experienced something very much like depression. The fellowship with God was suspended, Sin had damaged it, and David dried up.

But it is in the simplicity of David confessing his sin, and uncovering the iniquity, bringing it out into the light of God and his exposure, God forgave the King and fellowship was restored. We cannot live without communion with God, therefore we cannot live without forgiveness of sin. It is as simple as that.

Staying in the Light depends on the practice of regular confession of sin. John tells us that God’s forgiveness is a matter of His own faithfulness and Justice, and not of our feelings about it. God has told us that because of the blood of Jesus, He would cleanse us of each and every offense as long as we confess our sins. Sin, forgiveness, light, darkness

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Walk In The Light…

This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.( I John 1:5-7)

There is only one indispensable pre-condition for fellowship with God. We must be willing to come into the Light. Any sinner, no matter how vile, can be reconciled unto his Creator if he would but allow himself to come out into the open, and let himself be seen just as He is. “Lord have mercy upon me, a sinner!”.

God is Light. To come unto God is to come into the light of exposure. “…In thy Light shall we see Light!” (Psalm 36:9)

Isaiah the prophet and the Apostle Peter both experienced this vividly as a testimony for us all.

When Isaiah saw the LORD, he also beheld himself. The true Light of God exposed to Isaiah all of his own sins and flaws and the true depth of his iniquity in all of it’s deformity,

In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.  Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.  And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. 4And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.(Isaiah 6:1-5)

Notice the member which caused him the keenest grief, His lips! The faculty of speech reveals the hatred, envy, putrid lust, perversion, and all of the abominations of the human heart. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks!

Isaiah saw the terrifying “burning ones” Worshipping the LORD of Hosts and longed to join the chorus, but could not. He could see clearly in a terrible flash his own uncleanness, and unfitness to join the heavenly chorus, and it crushed him. He had stepped into the Light of God and it was made excruciatingly clear, that he was a sinner.

Peter had a similar experience, when he met Jesus;

Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.  And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.  And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.  And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.( Luke 5:4-8)

As soon as Simon Peter realized who Jesus was, he was crushed, weighted down with the revelation of his utter sinfulness and unworthiness to God. He too had come into the Light of God.

Everyone who truly has come unto God has had this kind of experience, for God’s light reveals us unto ourselves in all of our fallenness, and iniquity. He makes us “Poor in Spirit…” by showing us our bankruptcy, and the light causes us to hate what we see in ourselves… .

The temptation is there for us to want to leave the light, to go away from church, Christians or the Bible, because the exposure is uncomfortable and difficult.

But if we will do what Isaiah and Peter both did, and simply remain in that light, we will find out what they found out; that the same light which exposes our sins, has the power to purge us of our sins as well.

Isaiah stood still, trembling and calling down upon himself damnation! He remained in the presence of the LORD. The Angel was told to take a burning coal from off of the altar and touch it to his lips! “Now your iniquity is purged and your sin is forgiven!

This is the story of every true believer. God’s Word reveals to us that we are sinners, condemned and unworthy. the burning altar is the cross of Jesus, where he paid the price for our sins. The coal from off of the altar is the confession of Jesus,

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.(Romans 10:9-10)

Salvation is coming into the Light of God, and remaining there, it is seeing and believing.

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There Is Always Hope in Jesus… Faith Hope and Love pt 1

No matter what comes in this life, there is always hope in Jesus.

What I mean is that no matter how bad things can get in this life, the one who believes in Jesus always has something better to look forward to.

This is because the most important aspect of life is to be made right with your Creator. When he hung between heaven and earth on the cross of the curse of God, Jesus cleared up the issues which separated us sinners from our Creator. He put us back on God’s side, and made a way for the LORD to accept us sinners as his own children.

Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.(Proverbs 3:12)

The Bible says that “Hope Deffered makes the heart sick…” .  This generation suffers immensely from a terrible heart sickness. Our post Christian world has inculcated children into various false, godless gospels, such as the gospel of self esteem, or of socialism, or human potential, or the current gospel of sexual anarchy, or the gospel of consumerism and technology.

These and many other atheistic fad gospels of the past sixty years, have literally created a heart sick, nihilistic, jaded and debauched generation; sated with experiences of all kinds, promising a bright and godless future, yet leaving them with nothing to look forward to.

The symptoms of this heart sickness are; boredom, jadedness, nihilism, disrespect for the human body ( Sexual sin and tattoos, piercing) and intense cynicism. This heart sickness is at the root of the suicide epidemic sweeping the world.

What is there to look forward to? What experiences haven’t this jaded generation already had? They have already been sexualized, stimulated and over-entertained, and pychologized (self esteem), what remains? Only the Utopian politicization that the left is herding them into in the schools and Universities.

The message of scripture desperately needed by this generation is simple, “There is Hope in Jesus…” .

When people are told that they can have everything in this life, and that the meaning of life is to extract as much living as possible from it, they usually end up sad and depressed, because they come to realize that at its very best, this life is still unsatisfying and vain. “Vanity of vanities… all is vanity”.

The gospel completely re-orients us and delivers our disappointed souls from the false message, for we see that this life is only a preparation and proving ground for the next life.

Jesus puts us back “in the right” with God, (righteousness) and shows us a future that God has ordained for those who will be his. This is what Christian hope is; it is not a mere wish or an ideal, it is a secure and sure future.

Peter tells us we are “born again to a Living hope…To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you…”(1 Peter 1:3-9)

Jesus has promised us a Kingdom, New bodies, a New Heaven and a new Earth, a new Life with the Father in heaven where there are no more sorrows, tears, pains or disappointments. Jesus himself is described as “our hope” who has gone into heaven before us and serves as an anchor of our souls, holding our place there.

No matter what befalls us in this sin sick and sorry world, the Christian has something better to look forward to. We have a hope that has sustained Christians to endure persecution, trial, and even death with calm courage and confidence that their toil and labor and pains are never in vain, God will use all of them for our good and his glory.

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Why There Is Still A Question… (David Nathan)

In the Summer and fall of 2018, many of us who have been for the most part friends and allies in the Gospel, have been subject to a split, it started out as a very human interaction but I am convinced it morphed into a kind of Satanic attack.

We are the ones who have enjoyed the same circles of teachers, and who in large part have left heretical churches to become a kind of informal, grassroots remnant of believers, kind of like David’s cave in Adullam; we were the outcasts, and those who were moved to seek teaching that was deeper and purer and exempt from the heresies of our day.

But in the events which arose when Moriel ministries separated from David Nathan, and in the various debates which swirled around it, there is no doubt in many of our minds, Satan has been given permission to have us and to sift us like wheat.

I really don’t wish to revisit the secondary controversies about whether or not either party handled the separation properly and had given each other the time and grace to resolve, nor the other further controversies raging around the rhetoric used, this one calling that one’ Ahab’, ‘AntiChrist’, f’alse teacher’, ‘heretic’, ‘religious crackpot’ and worse ephithets..

It wasn’t one-sided either, for the other camp resorted to responding with ‘liar’, ‘mentally ill’, ‘unbalanced’, ‘Spiritual abuser’, and vicious videos were produced and distributed as well, accusing people who tried in good faith to contribute, of being mere ‘spin doctors’, cowards and so forth.

These things have the marks of Satan entering into the congregation and those who resorted to them recklessly (and there have been many on both sides) have yielded to Satan without a doubt. That aspect of these past months deserves serious reflection on all of our parts, for the anger vitriol, accusation and slander which has casually been indulged in by some (certainly not most) has been exceedingly hurtful to our cause.

Temptations and trials neither give us faith, nor do they take it away, they merely show us the reality of our faith and love or the lack thereof. We have all been tried severely friends, God has allowed it.

I have wanted to ‘clear the table’ of all of the obfuscation, argument, accusation and other fleshly manifestation and just simply address the original issue…because there is something about it that troubles me.

In my view, the original issue which triggered all of this boils down to two statements of David Nathan’s;

  1. The blood of Jesus will not profit anyone anything in the Millennium” and the twin statement in which Nathan strongly asserts that the blood sacrifices offered in the Millennium are in no way memorial. In other words, they do not point back to the cross of Jesus, as the Lord’s Supper does.
  2. ” God the Father did not Create anything”...

Since then, David has preached entire sermons, which assure us that he believes that only the blood of Jesus can save people, and that He believes in the power and eternity of Jesus’ blood, and in effect He has bent over backwards to proclaim Orthodoxy as regarding salvation by the blood.

I am glad for that and accept that he believes the right thing about the blood of Jesus in this dispensation. I have been berated by many of David’s friends who have seemingly been baffled, demanding of me,”What more does David have to do to get you to see that he believes in the blood of Jesus just like you do?”

I am compelled to write this to you who feel this way and want an answer.

I have heard David’s sermons about the issue, and have heard him apologizing for having mis-spoke, and He even humbled himself (to his credit) admitting to pride in the way he had spoken. Praise God.

So what is my problem? Why haven’t I ‘forgiven ‘ him? *

My problem is that David has never explained why he said such an outrageous thing in the first place, and I have never heard him once specifically repudiate it.

This is why I have maintained all along that David could have and should have cleared this up immediately. This could have happened in Los Angeles, it would have taken five minutes, unless David really does believe such a thing.

The answer to such a statement is not another sermon or a soft interview which involves a mere confession of the Orthodox doctrine. The outrageous statement needs to either be explained or repudiated.

The same goes for the equally outrageous statement, ” God the Father Created Nothing…” . Yes David I have heard your sermon in which you set forth the doctrine of Christ as the agent of Creation, and I agree with it. All of orthodox Christianity would agree that Christ is the agent of Creation, that is not the issue. Everyone I know would agree with the scriptures you set forth about Christophanies in the Old Testament.But you didn’t clear up the original statement, you doubled down.

But no one I know of except you and perhaps Oneness Pentecostals would then make the leap in logic and assert that since Christ is the agent of creation, then “God the Father Created Nothing…”.

Christ is the agent of Creation, all things were made by him, for him and through him, but it doesn’t follow to say that the Father didn’t create a thing. “Let us make man in our Image…”. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit all had a complete part in Creation, it is needlessly provocative to asset otherwise.

David doesn’t repudiate this assertion, he seems to double down on it…that is my nagging problem.

I love David Nathan, his lovely wife and daughter. I have been accused of dragging his name through the mud, harming him, accusing and badgering him and not forgiving him, none of which is true. I haven’t involved myself in the vitriol, I have been slimed myself by people on both sides of this.

My conclusion for my friends who think otherwise is this, “If you don’t have a problem with a minister who says that the blood of Jesus will not profit anyone in the Millennium, ” or perhaps even worse, that there is no memorial aspect to the coming blood sacrifices (This means that there will be sacrifices offered which are not connected in any way to Calvary), go right ahead and do what you are led to do.

Furthermore if you think David N has adequately addressed all of the concerns about his denial that the Father created everything, go for it. I don’t want to fight (except for the truth) . Everyone must do what is in their heart.

I have all kinds of problems with these two issues, but don’t assume I haven’t forgiven or don’t love David Nathan because it isn’t true. I don’t want to belabor the point any more. I am not ashamed to say that I love everyone in this sad spectacle. I am sorry for any I have let down in anyway in this fight. We will have other spiritual fights to come, hopefully not among ourselves.

May God forgive us and truly give us his gift of discernment, because it looks like we are not anywhere near as sharp as we thought we were, nor as Loving. Remember that the balance is Truth and LOVE.

  • This should never have been a mere personal issue. Doctrinal issues are not primarily a matter of forgiveness … they are matters of the determination of truth… One cannot deviate from the doctrine of the blood of Jesus or from the doctrine of the person of Christ or of God and then merely be forgiven. We have to know that we know that our companions in the ministry are Orthodox. (James 3:1)
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The Sign Of Contradiction… Luke’s Nativity pt 12

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.  And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.  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, Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said…(Luke 2:25-28)

One of the last prophetic words given to Israel through the prophet Malachi, was a warning that “The Lord Whom you seek shall appear suddenly in the temple”, and the prophet asks,”Who may abide the day of his coming? for he shall be like a refiners fire, and a launderers soap and He shall purify the sons of Levi that they may offer an offering in Righteousness…”(Malachi  3:1-2)

Little did the worshippers who thronged the temple that day realize, that the scripture was being fulfilled in the little peasant couple, making their way through the crowds,  the new mother, having been ritually purified after bearing her first Son, and the Son having been redeemed according to the law of Moses.

Cradled in the couple’s loving arms, was no less than the LORD of the Covenant himself, making a sudden appearance in the temple. The implications of the otherwise routine events of that day, would lead to nothing less than the salvation of all men, the destruction of Satan and the downfall of all of the Kingdoms of this world, to be replaced by the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ!

But first the little child must take upon his shoulders the entirety of the LAW of God, fulfilling it in every exacting detail in Spirit and in Truth. He too must undergo circumcision, Redemption, and become a “Son of the Law of God”. Though He never sinned, He must be numbered with the transgressors and suffer with the transgressor nation.

Who really saw what was going on there? At east two of the worshippers did.

Simeon was an old man,  whose description seems to embody all of Old Testament piety,for He was Just( regarding his relations with God and man), and Devout, truly devoted inwardly and outwardly to God,A God fearer and a worshipper. His life was also characterized by an expectancy,He waited for the coming of the Messiah, the restoration of Israel, the end of the “Times of the Gentiles”, and the “Time of favor” promised by God.

Since the “Secret of the LORD is with those who fear Him“, God had shown this man, that He would not see death until he had seen the Messiah. One author said,’… it is almost as though the sting of death departs upon seeing him…’.

Simeon recognized by the Spirit of God that the newly redeemed babe, wrapped in swaddling clothes was the Messiah he, and Israel had been waiting for.He took Him in His arms and began to prophesy over the child…

Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,  Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;  A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.(Luke 2:29-32)

Simeon called Jesus, “Thy Salvation”, and “a Light to enlighten the Gentiles”, and finally, The Glory of Israel”. Flesh and Blood didn’t reveal this to him, for the Glory of God was hidden beneath the roughly woven swaddling clothes and the poor man’s offering brought to the temple by Joseph and Mary.

And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.  And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.(Luke 2:33-35)

Simeon also prophesied that Jesus would be a kind of sign…a sign of contradiction, that is Jesus’ presence  will bring out of others either the hidden love or hidden hatred for God within their hearts. People will in essence be exposed in their true nature, especially towards God, in this child.

Reaction to him will be the  fall or rising of many in Israel, for there can be no neutral position. Fake love and piety will be revealed as false, depending on people’s reaction to Him, the cloud of obfuscation and pretense will be cleared away in His presence and the secrets of all men’s hearts will be revealed.

Will this child unite? Yes, but he will also be a divider, for he brings a sword of division. All men from here on will be divided in accordance with their reaction to him.Those who love sin will hate him, and those ready to forsake sin will cling to Him.

To reject Him is to reject  goodness and truth no matter what your religion is. To accept Him is to come over to the side of goodness, to love him is the only way to love truth itself.

Those who come into contact with this one, can never be the same,either they will be bettered or worsened but they will never remain as they were.

Therefore this child is destined to endure fanatical opposition, since by contact with him, men are forced to reveal their true feelings towards God. The closer one gets to Him, the more conscious they are of their sin…The sword will even pierce your own soul,Mary, for no one is exempt from the examination of the heart which he brings.

As the Law of God says, “Let everything be confirmed by the mouth of two or three witnesses…”.As if Simeon’sprophecy was not enough, another remarkable elder was alert and looking in the temple and recognized “The LORD whom  we seek”. 

Anna of the tribe of Asher, an  eighty-four year old widow, who took her refuge in the temple, living to worship, pray and intercede, and fast. She too recognized Him and came in as Simeon was prophesied, to give her Amen, and to praise God for his Redemption was nigh!

And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.(Luke 2:36-38)

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Jesus’ First bloodletting… Luke’s Nativity pt 11

And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called Jesus, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.  And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord;  (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;)  And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.(Luke 2: 21-24)

Eight days have passed, since the birth of the Savior, therefore the time had come for Joseph and Mary to present Jesus for circumcision. The Son of God would come under the Law and covenant of God with all of its obligations and privileges. He as a Son of Israel, would bear the mark of the covenant.

Circumcision bears a deeper ,spiritual meaning. There is something wrong with everything that pertains to natural birth, since the fall of man. Scriptures such as “In sin did my mother conceive me…”, and, “the wicked are estranged from the womb, speaking lies…” teach the doctrine of original sin. Circumcision presupposes participation in Adam’s guilt and shame.

This child , of course, was not born in sin, for he was conceived of the Holy Ghost and born of the virgin Mary. But he came to identify with sinners, and to be “numbered with the transgressors”.

Therefore his first blood-shedding points to His last.”HE who knew no sin was made to be sin for us, that we might be the Righteousness of God in Christ”(2 Cor 5:21).

Joseph and Mary were yet bound by the law to submit to two other God ordained rituals involving the birth of the Son of God, the redemption of the first born, and the purification of Mary. These involved a trip to the Temple in Jerusalem.

Jesus, as firstborn male, must be redeemed at the age of 30 days;

Every thing that openeth the matrix in all flesh, which they bring unto the Lord, whether it be of men or beasts, shall be thine: nevertheless the firstborn of man shalt thou surely redeem, and the firstling of unclean beasts shalt thou redeem.  And those that are to be redeemed from a month old shalt thou redeem, according to thine estimation, for the money of five shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, which is twenty gerahs.(Numbers 18:16)

Joseph would find a Cohen(Priest) to perform the rite, which went something like this;

Jesus would be handed over to the Cohen, then Joseph would give the five shekels Redemption price to the Cohen who would then hand Jesus back to Joseph.

Joseph would say something like,

“Blessed art thou O Lord Our God,King of the Universe, who hast sanctified us by thy commandments, and given us command concerning the redemption of the son.”

“Blessed art Thou O lord our God, King of the universe, who hast Kept us in Life, and hast preserved us, and enabled us to reach this season”

The Cohen would then take the redemption money, and holding it over the head of the child, says-

“This instead of that, this in commutation for that, this in remission for that. May this child enter into life,into the law,and the fear of Heaven.May it be God’s will that even as he has been admitted to redemption, so may he enter into the law, the nuptial canopy, and into good deeds. Amen.”

The Cohen then places his hand over the child’s head and pronounces the following benediction;

God make thee as Ephraim and Mannaseh. The Lord Bless thee and Keep thee, the Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee; the Lord turn his face unto thee and give thee peace.

The LORD is thy guardian; the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. For Length of days and years of life and peace shall they add to thee.The LORD shall guard thee from all evil; He shall guard thy soul. Amen.

Now Mary and Joseph, had given their son up to the LORD and had received him back, by way of Redemption. One ritual remained.

Mary must make her way to the court of women, which which was a raised gallery section overlooking the main court of the temple reserved for Jewish men. She would have bought her two turtle doves at trumpet number three,  for the daily offering and service was beginning.

Eidersheim notes that but those women who had come for purification after birth were moved to the place nearest the very  gate which opened into the Holy Place, where the offering and incense was arising,

The chief of the ministrant lay-representatives of Israel on duty (the so-called ‘station-men’) ranged those, who presented themselves before the Lord as offerers of special sacrifices, within the wickets on either side the great Nicanor Gate, at the top of the fifteen steps which led up from the Court of the Women to that of Israel. 

It was, as if they were to be brought nearest to the Sanctuary; as if theirs were to be specially the ‘prayers’ that rose in the cloud of incense from the Golden Altar; as if for them specially the sacrifices were laid on the Altar of Burnt-offering; as if theirs was a larger share of the benediction which, spoken by the lips of the priests, seemed like Jehovah’s answer to the prayers of the people; theirs especially the expression of joy symbolised in the drink-offering, and the hymn of praise whose Tris-Hagion filled the Temple.

From where they stood they could see it all, share in it, rejoice in it. And now the general service was over, and only those remained who brought special sacrifices, or who lingered near them that had such, or whose loved abode was ever in the Temple. The purification-service, with such unspoken prayer and praise as would be the outcome of a grateful heart, was soon ended, and they who had shared in it were Levitically clean. Now all stain was removed, and, as the Law put it, they might again partake of sacred offerings.(Life And Times Of Jesus The Messiah)

But on that day, The LORD had one more confirmation for Joseph and Mary before they could return home after the service and participation in the sacrifice, as the other worshippers were doing. A prophetic Word would be uttered over the child by one of God’s choice but obscure servants.

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On Singing Christmas…Luke’s Nativity pt 10

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.(Luke 2:8-14)

I know, I know, I’ve already heard it all, every year.’ Christmas is a pagan holiday, the celebration of the winter solstice, a christianised celebration of the feast of Bauchus. The Yule log is Celtic paganism, the decorated tree is all about Babylonian Tamuz worship’, and besides all that Jesus probably even born in December! Right?

But once a year, there is a holiday ,that however imperfectly, commemorates the Incarnation of God into this sinful “weary world”. It wouldn’t matter to us what month or day, because the Bible doesn’t give us the birthdate of Jesus. What matters is that “unto us a child is born, and unto us a son is given“.I love it.

Upon my conversion to Jesus Christ somewhere around 1977-78, I remember being amazed to find around Christmas time, that the familiar words to the carols I had sung for years actually conveyed powerful ,relevant,theological meaning.

Hark the herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled”
Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim:
“Christ is born in Bethlehem”
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”
Christ by highest heav’n adored
Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come
Offspring of a Virgin’s womb
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris’n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Tears streamed down my face as I sang again the songs I had known and loved since childhood, now realizing personally the depth of the message,

…God and sinners reconciled…veiled in flesh, the Godhead see,Hail the incarnate Deity, pleased as man with man to dwell,Jesus our Emmanuel…Born to raise the Sons of earth, born to give them second birth…”

Everywhere I go this time of year, I hear this evangel streaming from the radio, covered by popular singers, pouring out of loudspeakers at shopping malls,sung by choirs and carolers in the streets themselves. Personally , I love it.

Who knows how many hard hearts have been touched, melted, perhaps even turned back to God in repentance. by Lyrics such as ;

Silent Night, Holy Night , Son of God, Loves pure Light, radiant beams from thy Holy face, with the dawn of redeeming grace, Christ our Saviour is born…Silen night, Holy Night, Shepherds quake, at the sight, Glories stream from heaven afar,Heavenly Hosts sing Hallelujah, Christ the Saviour is born…”

And yet as I was for years, so many are oblivious to the meaning of the songs of the “Heavenly Hosts”, repeated every Christmas season. But this is as it was at the first Noel. How else could it be that of all the people of Judea, who had long been promised a coming deliverer, that only the lonely and despised Shepherds heard the Angelic songs ?

“Gloria ,Gloria,Gloria, in Exelcis Deo !…Glory to God in the Highest and Peace on earth to Men with whom He is pleased!”

We are told that the Sovereign God himself has chosen to hide the things of God from the wise of this Age, yet reveals them unto babes in his sight ,

At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.(Matthew 11:24-28)

How fitting, that not to the powerful, but to the lowly, and not into a palace or temple, but into a lowly, filthy barn, basically a cave, did the “High and Lofty God”, from of Old, choose to condescend unto us, in order to save us.

You would have to be willing to stoop to enter into the place where “unto us The child was born…” even as one would have to stoop 33 years later to enter into the other cave, the empty tomb! Don’t you love it? Has the Incarnation of God yet done its softening work in your heart?

But other than scripture who says it better than Philip Brooks,the hymnist who gave us “O Little Town of Bethlehem”?

How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven.
No ear may his His coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him still,
The dear Christ enters in

Merry Christmas everybody!

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