God always chooses the most unlikely. He always chooses the smallest, always chooses the weakest. –Rabbi Jonathan Cahn
God loves to bring life from cut off trees. He brings life from the broken, from the cut off, from the cut down, from the broken dream, broken life. –Rabbi Jonathan Cahn
Galatians 6:1 KJV Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
Micah 5:2 MEV 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.
Isaiah 9:6-7 MEV 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 Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David and over his kingdom, to order it and to establish it with justice and with righteousness, from now until forever. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform this.
Isaiah 11:1 MEV And there shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.
Jeremiah 22:24-30 MEV As I live, says the Lord, though Koniah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah were the signet on My right hand, yet would I pluck you from there. And I will give you into the hand of those who seek your life and into the hand of those whose face you fear, even into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and into the hand of the Chaldeans. I will cast you and your mother that bore you out into another country where you were not born, and there you shall die. But to the land where they desire to return, they will not return there. Is this man Koniah a despised broken jar? Is he a vessel in which is no desire? Why are he and his seed cast out and thrown into a land which they had not known? O land, land, land, hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord: Write down this man childless, a man who will not prosper in his days; for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting on the throne of David and ruling any more in Judah.
Matthew 1:6 MEV Jesse was the father of David the king. David the king was the father of Solomon, by her who had been the wife of Uriah.
Matthew 1:20 MEV But while he thought on these things, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for He who is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.
2 Kings 22:2 MEV He did what was right in the sight of the Lord and walked in all the ways of David his father. He did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.
Matthew 1:19 MEV Then Joseph her husband, being a just man and not willing to make her a public example, had in mind to divorce her privately.
Matthew 2:23 MEV And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”
Zechariah 6:12 MEV And say to him: Thus says the Lord of Hosts: Here is a man whose name is Branch; for he shall branch out from his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord.
Jeremiah 33:15 MEV In those days and at that time, I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the earth.
Ezekiel 1:1 MEV In the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Kebar, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God.
Ezekiel 1:6 MEV Every one had four faces, and every one had four wings.
Luke 2:7 MEV And she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in strips of cloth, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Matthew 1:16 MEV And Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.
1 Peter 2:9 MEV But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may declare the goodness of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
Romans 10:9 MEV That if you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
Isaiah 54:17 KJV No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.
Incidentally, this is why I believe that Yeshua was not born on December 25th or even in the fall, during the Feast of Tabernacles. Certainly a case can be made for the latter, as He did come to “tabernacle among us”(John 1:14). However, it would have been unwise to call for a census when Jews were traveling to Jerusalem for the feast. Everyone had to return to his or her hometown. The fall holidays point to the second coming of Yeshua, while the spring ones point to His birth, death and resurrection.
It was in the spring that the Passover lambs were birthed. How do we know? Because the lambs for Passover had to be one-year-old (Ex. 12:5). They would have been born during the lambing season, the year before. This explains why there were shepherds in the field in the middle of the night. Normally, they would be sleeping, but because it was lambing season—the time when lambs give birth—they were out all night, in case one of the mothers went into labor.
WOW! What imagery! They are looking for lambs to be birthed, when right under their nose, Miriam was giving birth to the Lamb of God. Jonathan Cahn goes further and teaches that Yeshua was born on Nissan 1. Nissan is the first month of the year, a time for new beginnings. But it would not be a time of pilgrimage or in the dead of the cold, wet winter. Cahn makes the case that every other major event in Yeshua’s life and kingdom coincides with a Jewish feast day:
Passover > His death
First Fruit Offering is brought (Lev. 23) > His resurrection
Shavuot (Lev. 23) > Birth of the church (Acts 2)
Rosh Hashanah > the Second Coming
Yom Kippur > End time forgiveness (Zech. 13:1)
Feast of Tabernacles > Wedding Supper of the Lamb (Is. 25, Rev. 19, Zech. 14)
So, it makes sense that His birth would also fall on a significant day on the Jewish calendar in the spring with the other prophetic events that point to His first coming. The first of Nissan is 14 days before Passover, which begins between the 14thand 15thday of Nissan.
Yes, Yeshua, the Passover lamb, may have been born with other lambs just before Passover.
Shalom from Israel! I am Ron Cantor and this my blog. I am the GODTV Israel Regional Director host of the daily TV program, "Out of Zion". I also serve on the leadership team of a Hebrew-speaking, Spirit-filled congregation in Tel Aviv. We love Yeshua and we love Israel. Hope to see you here soon!
Every Israeli slight against Christians, whether real or perceived, becomes the topic of international headlines.
Take for instance the occasions of anti-Christian graffiti scrawled on churches in Jerusalem by a handful of radical Jewish youth. As upsetting as those incidents were, no real harm was done, and both the authorities and local Jewish community were quick to stand with the wronged churches.
And yet, Israel was falsely lambasted in the mainstream media as a place unwelcoming to and even hostile toward Christians.
So, it's more than a little curious that a far more severe trial being faced by Christian nuns in nearby Bethlehem is being all but ignored.
Middle East Concern, one of the few organizations willing to expose the plight of Christians living under the Palestinian Authority, reports that portions of the St. Mary's Coptic Convent in Bethlehem have been unlawfully taken over by a local Muslim family, and the nuns living there exposed to routine physical abuse.
Sisters Maria and Esther have filed official complaints against the Mahatna family, but Palestinian Authority courts have failed to take any real action.
The convent remains partially occupied, despite the fact that the nuns filed their first complaint back in April of 2017, when a female member of the Muslim family, Rania Mahatna, assaulted Sister Maria and caused damage to the property.
It was when the nuns were on their way to the police station to file that initial complaint that a second major incident occurred. Rania's brother, Rami, along with a gang of friends, stopped the nuns' car and attacked it with iron bars.
A police officer who witnessed this attack reportedly later changed his testimony when questioned in court.
The nuns and their lawyer believe the Mahatna family has connections within the Palestinian Authority that it is using to obstruct justice in this matter.
This is not an isolated case. But, because Israel and the Jews aren't involved, it receives little, if any attention. Highlighting it simply wouldn't fit with the narrative that Israel is behind all the woes of the local Christian population.
PHOTO: Illustration. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
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Whatever you may think as harassed shoppers or parents, Christmas does not come too soon. It’s an example of God’s perfect timing, though I appreciate that the Messiah’s actual birthday was more likely to have been during the Feast of Tabernacles.
There was precise timing in the divine coming nevertheless. Naturally speaking, the Christ child should have been born in Nazareth. But because Caesar intervened and ordered a census, the holy family were forced to travel some 80 miles to Bethlehem (the town of David, from which their lineage was traced), thus fulfilling the prophecy of Micah: “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” (Micah 5.2)
The stars lined up with such precision, and in such brilliance, that the Wise Men were able to follow the light all the way to the little town near Jerusalem, where the flawless sheep were traditionally prepared for Passover. And the shepherds on the surrounding hills were perfectly placed to respond to the angelic call to come and worship the new-born King, also to become the Good Shepherd leading his flock to fresh pasture.
Among the precious gifts the Wise Men brought was myrrh, a prophetic statement of the Messiah’s sacrificial death to come as the ultimate Passover Lamb, when he would die on the cross for the sins of the world – myrrh was used for embalming the deceased for burial.
Bethlehem means ‘House of Bread’ and indeed Jesus was to describe himself as the “bread of life” (John 6.35) whose body (symbolised by the bread of communion) would be given for us, his death bringing us life. Jesus adds: “Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
So the shepherds in the fields of Bethlehem and the Wise Men led to the infant King through a once-in-a-blue-moon lining up of the stars were all part of God’s perfect timing. Everything in God’s perfect plan was in the right place at the right time.
The Apostle Paul, referring to the Messiah’s sacrifice, writes: “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.” (Romans 5.6)
The gift of frankincense, also brought by the Wise Men, represents the fragrance of God’s presence and speaks of Immanuel, God with us, which is also the central thought of the Feast of Tabernacles celebrating the time when God made his presence known to the wandering Israelites in the wilderness – providing food, water and shelter in the parched desert environment.
Now, through the one born to be King (hence the gift of gold), God has actually taken on flesh to tabernacle (or live) among us. And at the end of his earthly ministry, the risen Lord promises to be ‘with us’ (his followers) forever, until the end of the age (Matthew 28.20).
The reality of God being with us came home very strongly to my wife Linda and I during our recent extended stay in Israel caused by visa problems. Not only did we base ourselves at a guesthouse called Beit Immanuel (Beit = house) but we also learnt perhaps as never before that He really is ‘with you’ when you trust him absolutely.
After all, we weren’t even sure if our bank account could stand up to the pressure, but in the midst of the storm, when the wind and tide is against you, Jesus comes into your boat and says: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” (Mark 6.50)
When you cast all your cares on him, he does indeed care for you. (1 Peter 5.7) He is in control – even over immigration officials and government departments.
And so we were able to enjoy the extra rest, relaxation and beachside restaurants the Lord had graciously provided for us. And documents we needed to board our re-booked flight home arrived in the nick of time – God isn’t in a hurry, but he is punctual. He came at just the right time for you and I to receive him and make him Lord of our lives.
The Apostle John records: “He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us…” (John 1.11-14)
The new-born King of 2,000 years ago desires to make his presence known this Christmas with many new-born believers!
Why not turn the words of this carol into a personal prayer? “Oh holy child of Bethlehem, descend to me I pray; cast out my sin and enter in, be born in me today.”
A Christmas market in Jesus' hometown of Nazareth. (Sebi Berens/FLASH90)
Charles Gardner is author of Israel the Chosen, available from Amazon, and Peace in Jerusalem, available from olivepresspublisher.com
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Believers should not celebrate Christmas because it's a pagan holiday.
Really? Are you sure about that?
The declaration that Christmas is a pagan holiday is based on old, worn-out arguments rooted in anti-Roman Catholic sentiment more than good biblical and historical fact and research. The arguments against celebrating Christmas invariably trace back to the writing and teaching of the Puritans, who were in the heated struggle against the Church of England and the power struggle of the Reformation.
Although it is true Roman Catholicism paganized much of Christian worship and teaching, the Roman Catholic church certainly did not paganize all of Christianity. The foundational truths of the Christian faith have been restored. We certainly would not declare communion or water baptism to be pagan because they had been distorted by the Roman Catholic Church. Rather, we restored those most important ordinances of the church back to their biblical truth and practice. Is it accurate to say the celebration of the birth of Christ is rooted in paganism and therefore, it is inappropriate, even sinful, to celebrate Christmas?
The correct answer to that question is discovered in biblical and historical research that goes further back than the writings and teachings of the Puritans.
The study must go further than the fourthcentury A.D., when Pope Julius I declared December 25 to be the day for celebrating Christmas. The student must go to the time of Christ Himself and to the prophets and Jewish writers before Him.
If Jesus is the Lamb of God and the Bread of Life, when and where should He be born?
Dr. Luke was a man of detail. This is greatly reflected in the manner in which he wrote the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Epistle of Acts. Luke takes great pain to accurately reflect the timing and location of Jesus' birth. Jesus was born during the reign of Caesar Augustus over the Roman Empire. It is curious, is it not, that the prophet Daniel declares the second coming of Jesus Christ will be during the reign of another ruler of the Roman Empire?
"After the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off and shall have nothing. And the troops of the prince who shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall come with a flood. And until the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall make a firm covenant with many for one week. But in the middle of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the offering to cease. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed destruction is poured out on the desolator" (Dan. 9:26-27).
Coincidence or divine plan that Jesus' first and Second Coming would be so placed? What does it say about His birth?
One of God's mysteries is found in the designation of Jesus as a Nazarene. He is also of the "house and lineage of David." How does someone from Nazareth come from the "House of David?" Dr. Sean Freyne (Director of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Studies and Emeritus Professor of Theology at Trinity College Dublin) in a recent interview with Hershel Shanks, Editor of Biblical Archeology Review, was asked.
"My sense would be no. He was born in Nazareth, I believe. He's never called 'Jesus of Bethlehem'; he is called 'Jesus of Nazareth'" (Biblical Archeology Review, 36:06 Nov/Dec 2010).
Apparently, Dr. Freyne totally disregards the historical accuracy of Luke's account of the taxation and the trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Yet, Dr. Alfred Edersheim, a foremost authority on Jewish history, clearly documents the validity and accuracy of Luke's historical account and the journey taken by Mary and Joseph in his monumental volume, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah.
John the Baptist saw Jesus one day and declared, "The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29b). The next day, John say Jesus again and told two of his disciples, "Look, the Lamb of God" (John 1:36b). The Apostle Peter wrote, "but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" (1 Pet. 1:19). What is the significance of Jesus being the Lamb of God to the celebration of Christmas?
The concept of the lamb and the redemption of mankind has root in the deliverance of Israel out of Egyptian slavery to the Promise Land. The angel of death passed over the homes of all the Jewish people who butchered a lamb and placed its blood on the door casing of their house. The Lord God commanded Israel to remember and to celebrate the event of Passover every year. The choice of the lamb, the age of the lamb and the entire ceremony of butchering and eating the lamb is a picture of Jesus Christ.
It is not a coincidence Jesus Christ was arrested and crucified on Passover. Nor was it a coincidence His birth was in a cave on the edge of the fields of Migdol Eder, meaning "the tower of the flock" (Edersheim, p. 186). These were no ordinary fields. The shepherds who came to see the baby born in the stable cave were no ordinary shepherds. The sheep raised in these fields were for sacrifice at Passover.
Would these sheep and shepherds be out in the field on a winter night of December? Dr. Edersheim addresses that important detail.
"The same Mishnic passage [that addresses the law of the shepherds and raising sheep for Passover] also leads us to infer that these flocks lay out all the year round [Ederseim's emphasis] ... of such a coincidence, it is needless to speak" (p. 187).
"There is no adequate reason for questioning the historical accuracy of this date [December 25].The objections generally made rest on grounds, which seem to me historically untenable" (pg. 187, footnote).
Jesus, the Lamb of God sacrificed at Passover, was born in a stable on the fields where Passover Lambs were raised. He was attended by shepherds who only raised sheep for sacrifice on Passover. It would seem extremely appropriate that believers honor and celebrate the day the Lamb of God was born in Bethlehem's stable. It is He "who takes away the sin of the World" (John 1:29b).
Dr. F. Dean Hackett has served in full-time Christian ministry since October 1971. He has ministered throughout the United States, Canada and Europe, serving as pastor, conference speaker and mentor. He has planted four churches, assisted in planting 15 others and currently serves as lead pastor of Living Faith Church in Hermiston, Oregon. Dr. Hackett founded Spirit Life Ministries International in 2001 to facilitate ministries in Croatia and Bosnia Herzegovina and to open a training center for workers in those nations. You can find him at F. Dean Hackett - Foundational, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
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