But thou, Bethlehem 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.(Micah 5:2)
The story of the birth of Jesus, is perhaps the most familiar and loved portions of the Bible. But the problem with familiar passages of scripture is that people think they know what needs to be known about them and often aren’t open to a fresh look at the same text from another angle.
It is called the Christmas story, but I believe we should look at it as an account of some of the same conditions that will be prevalent at the time of the second coming of our Lord and Saviour to this earth. As it was in the first coming, so shall it be at the second coming.
* Once again the world will be globalized and ruled from the west,
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.(Luke 2:1)
Rome ruled the Mediterranean world, in the days of the first coming of the Messiah, and there will be a revived Roman empire, a European super state at the time of the second coming.
*And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.(Revelation 13:16-17)
Once again a man claiming to be god will seek to count and number the people of the world at the time of the return of the Saviour. Caesar Augustus was the first Roman Emperor to be deified while yet alive, his decrees were called ‘gospels’, his emissaries were called evangelists, he was described as “Divine Saviour of the world” and was thought to have ushered in a golden age. The world worshipped him.
The World is being prepared for another ultimate Caesar, the antiChrist, he will be heralded by all, at first, as the leader we have long-awaited, and will seem to have solved many of the world’s most intractable problems, such as the economy, terrorism, and the mideast peace problem.
People will have no problem rendering worship to Him. After so many decades of our own impotent, feckless, terror appeasing leadership in the western world, the man the Bible warns of,calling him “the Beast” will seem like a breath of fresh air.
And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? (Revelation 13:3-4)
* Once again Jerusalem and Judea will exist under foreign domination. True Israel is a reborn nation, as of May 1948, and this is a major sign of the second coming. But the U.N. and the European Union, and the USA and Russia have formed a quartet, and they presume to determine the boundaries that Israel should have and what territory she should cede to her enemies.
Just as Jesus came at first unto an occupied Israel, languishing under the domination of gentiles, Jesus shall come again to an Israel in the same situation. An ancient prophesy by Jacob, concerning the future of each of his twelve sons, foretold that the coming of “Shiloh”, that is the Messiah, would be at the time that Judah should lose her national sovereignty.
The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.(Genesis 49:10)
The situation today is similar, for though Israel captured the city of Jerusalem in 1967, she immediately ceded the custodianship of the most sacred piece of real estate , the Temple Mount, to the Muslim Wafq. Israel watches helplessly while Muslims dig out the Holy mountain, destroying priceless relics from the first and second temple, crushing them into gravel! Neither Israel or Judah wield a sceptre to this day .
The logical capital of Israel, would be Jerusalem, right? But virtually all the nations of the world,including the USA refuse to have their embassies there, in order not to offend the Muslims. As at the first coming ,so the second coming of Christ. Jesus himself predicted this,and that it would be an issue until he returned-
…Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. (Luke 21:24)
* Once again, popular religion will not be ready for his return, as they were unprepared for his first coming. Herod had a Jewish Rabbi in his court. When there were rumblings about who the Magi were and what they were seeking, Herod asked the Rabbi where in scripture was Christ to be born.
The Rabbi immediately rattled off the scripture from Micah 5 that I opened this article with. Messiah will be born in Bethlehem Ephratah! But there is no record that he made the slightest effort to go see for himself. He knew the scripture but he wasn’t expecting anything real to happen.
* Once again, very few will even be aware of what is happening. What happened at the first coming of Jesus?
>Shepherds were watching their flocks at night – He came at night-He comes again in the night, the moral and spiritual night of apostasy,moral decline, darkness and rebellion. But some Shepherds,(Pastors) who were watchful for their flocks, they were ready when the Angels came, they saw him.
> Zechariah and Elisabeth a pious priest and his wife in a time of corruption, they saw what was coming.
> The Magi- who were a caste of gentile wise men from Persia(Iran) whose school was once headed up by the prophet Daniel, and who searched the prophecies of Daniel, they saw Him and worshipped him. Another earlier gentile prophet that they were no doubt well aware of named Balaam had predicted the star which would lead them to Jesus .
The 9th chapter of Daniel alone is an amazing prophecy which pinpointed the exact timing of the Messiah’s coming, death and the destruction of te temple following it.Jesus would tell us in Matthew 24 that once again an understanding of Daniel the Prophet is essential to being ready for his second coming.
The events of the first Christmas are history indeed, but they are prophecy as well, and we are all in the story somewhere. Ready or not, Jesus is coming again! Maranatha! Merry christmas!