Shalom! My name is Adam Pastor

Welcome to ADONI MESSIAH which means
"My Lord Messiah" -
a fitting epithet to who Jesus (or Yeshua) is!

Here, I attempt to present the Apostolic Truths according to the Scriptures, that there is
One GOD, the Father, namely, YAHWEH,
and One Lord, GOD's only begotten Son,
Yeshua the Messiah.

And that one day YAHWEH will send His Son back to Earth to inaugurate the Everlasting Kingdom of GOD



Enjoy!


Saturday, December 31, 2011

A COMPILATION OF POSTS PERTINENT FOR THIS ADVENT SEASON! - PART 3 of 4

...

Read Matthew 1:18
"This is how Jesus the Messiah was born.
His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph.
But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin,
she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit."  Matthew 1:18 (NLT)
 
This is the same verse, but from a different translation, varying it just slightly:
"The birth of Yeshua The Messiah was thus:
when Maryam his mother was engaged to Yoseph before they would have a conjugal relation she was found pregnant from The Spirit of Holiness." Matthew 1:18 (Aramaic Bible in Plain English).
 
Thoughts
Mary became pregnant through or from the power of the holy spirit.  It is a tiny preposition translated from the Greek "ek or ex" which means:
from, from out of, because, by reason of, by the means of.  
 
Luke chapter 1 gives us further insight into how this genesis took place.
34 Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.” 36 “And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month.” 37 “For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
Mary was curious how this would be accomplished, so she asked!  The angel graciously explained it to her ~ The holy spirit would come upon her and the power of the Most High God would overshadow her.  If you're like me, you may be wondering what that means exactly!  These are times when I wish the Bible was just a wee bit longer and provided us more details!  However, if we do a little digging, we might get an idea of what this 'coming upon' and 'overshadowing' from or through
the holy spirit meant.
First, it's important to define the holy spirit.  Pastor, book author and speaker, Greg Deuble defines it best:  
God's Spirit: the mind and energy behind the works and word of God.  
"The Spirit of God," "God's Spirit" and "the Holy Spirit", are all the same - the ruach [Hebrew] or pneuma [Greek] meaning Spirit = God's power = mind = Presence = Breath= wind = word.  These words have all been translated for ruach or pneuma.  If you can imagine a strong rushing, moving wind that has the power to create a universe from nothing; enter into people to give them supernatural abilities that they would not normally have; blind or confuse men in battle; or divide a sea, holding back the waters so much, that the land is dry to walk upon... you get just a small inkling of what God's Spirit is capable of!
 
During the vision of the transfiguration (when Jesus is seen on the mountain speaking with Moses and Elijah), "a cloud appeared, overshadowing them, and a voice came from the cloud: This is My beloved son; listen to him!" Mark 9:7.  This word "overshadowing" is the same one used in Luke 1:35.  It simply means that a cloud was casting a shadow upon them, enveloping them.  
 
It is reminiscent of the glory of Yahweh, in the Old Testament, "when Moses went up the mountain, the cloud covered it.  The glory of Yahweh settled on Mount Sinai and the cloud covered it for six days.  On the seventh day, He called to Moses from the cloud.  The appearance of Yahweh's glory to the Israelites was like a consuming fire on the mountaintop.  Moses entered the cloud as he went up the mountain..." Exodus 24:15-18.
 
In other words, when Moses, and later Jesus and the disciples, went up to the mountain to have an experience with the Most High God, they did not actually see Him
(for Scripture tells us that no man has seen God - "the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings, and the Lord of lords, the only one who has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, no one has seen or can see Him, to Him be honor and eternal might.  Amen."  I Timothy 6:15-16).
Instead, they saw Yahweh's glory, being represented as a cloud ~ a symbol of God's presence.
 
God's Spirit and Voice
In the genesis [the beginning, origin] of creation, "the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.  The God said..." Genesis 1:2.  
His Spirit was hovering, or the Hebrew transliteration ~ "rachaph" which means to flutter, move, shake.   His breath, His wind, His power, was moving and accomplishing His spoken word.  At creation, He spoke things that did not exist, into being.
 
"Ascribe to Yahweh, you heavenly beings, ascribe to Yahweh glory and strength.
Ascribe to Yahweh the glory due His name;
worship Yahweh in the splendor of His holiness.
The voice of Yahweh is above the waters.
The God of glory thunders ~
Yahweh, above vast waters,
the voice of Yahweh in power,
the voice of Yahweh in splendor.  
The voice of Yahweh breaks the cedars; Yahweh shatters the cedars of Lebanon...
The voice of Yahweh shakes the wilderness,
Yahweh shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of Yahweh makes the deer give birth and strips the woodlands bare.
In His temple all cry, "Glory!"
Yahweh sat enthroned at the flood;
Yahweh sits enthroned, King forever.
Yahweh gives His people strength;
Yahweh blesses His people with peace."
Psalm 29:1-5;8-11
 
We can surmise something similar happened to Mary for the genesis of this miraculous baby to be begotten in Mary's womb, just as God's Spirit hovered over the waters, as He spoke creation into being.  "By faith, we understand that the universe was created by God's command so that what is seen has been made from things that are not visible."  Hebrews 11:3.   Yahweh's Spirit hovered, moved, overshadowed Mary, and His voice caused Mary to become pregnant, just as His voice spoke the world and the first Adam into being.  Yahweh's voice in power, in splendor did this mighty thing!  The heavenly host praised Yahweh and ascribed to Him, and Him alone, the glory that is due His name!
 
It was God's power that accomplished His spoken word [logos] of the Messiah, being miraculously begotten in Mary, without her knowing a man.  When we wonder, how can this be?  We are reassured by the angel's proclamation to Mary, "For nothing will be impossible with God."  If God can speak it, He can do it.  It's that simple.  He is that powerful and mighty.  He is that great and awesome of a God. Now, it is time for us to give Him the glory that is due Him.  Yahweh, He alone, is the one true, living God, who orchestrated this magnificent miracle of a bringing a baby boy into existence within a woman, without a man.  Yahweh, alone, is the one whose power is so incredible, that He can bring a human baby into the world, without an earthly father.   


GLORY to our Most High God!!!!!!!
 
Often times, during this ... season, Yahweh is left completely out of this miracle or His part in this amazing feat is downplayed, when mainstream churches state
"the 2nd person of the godhead chose to come down to take on human flesh, while still being God Almighty and Jesus at the same time."  The glory then goes, mistakenly, to something else entirely, then to the one to whom it is rightly due:  
Adonai (Lord) Yahweh, the one and only living God and Creator of the universe!
 
I challenge you today ~ give Yahweh the glory that He is due for the miracle of our Christ's birth, for which He is entirely responsible!  Without Yahweh's Spirit, miraculously begetting this baby, we would have no hope.  We would have no future.  We would have no forgiveness.  We would have nothing.
 
...
 
Prayer
Dear Father in Heaven,
Today, we give You the GLORY that is due You, for Your amazing power that works through Your Spirit, which You have provided within believers, today!  We are simply in awe of how You can speak and Your word is performed.  Your word is always accomplished and fulfilled, through the power of Your holy spirit.   

Forgive us, Father, if we have given Your glory to another.  Let us ascribe to You, glory, strength and honor!  Let us worship You and see that You alone, are God.  Let us be more like Moses, who wanted to see Your glory, to spend time with You, and sometimes escape to the mountain for long periods of time to hear from You.  We might not be able to escape somewhere private, Father, for we have responsibilities, jobs, families, marriages, and commitments that we must keep, but we pray that You show up today in our devotional time.  Speak to us.  Let us hear Your still small voice, whispering to us  Your will, Your purpose, Your plans for us, and let us feel the warmth of Your love envelope us today.  Let us see Your glory and ascribe that glory to You!

Thank You for giving us Jesus.  As we get busy, with our shopping, baking, and preparations for the holiday, with family gatherings and church festivities, let us not lose sight of what You did for us and how exactly this came to be!

In Jesus, Your son's Name, we pray,
Amen.
 

 
...

Read Luke 1:35:
And the angel answered and said to her,
"The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you;
and for this reason,
the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God."
Luke 1:35  
 
Thoughts
Let's start with the 2nd phrase first ~  "the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God" We will attempt to break it down a bit so we can understand it a little more! Ready?
 
Holy.  It's from the Greek word, "hagios" and means set apart by or for God, holy, sacred.
 
Offspring.  It's from the Greek word, "genna√≥" and means beget (procreate a descendant), produce offspring; begotten. ...
 
Jesus, from his birth, was set apart for God.  It reminds me of a similar story of Samson, found in Judges 13:
Then the angel of Yahweh appeared to the woman and said to her, "Behold now, you are barren and have borne no children, but you shall conceive and give birth to a son.  Now, therefore, be careful not to drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing.  For behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son, and no razor shall come upon his head, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb; and he shall begin to deliver Israel from the hands of the Philistines."  Judges 13:3-5.    From the womb, this baby Samson, was set apart for a special purpose that Yahweh had planned.
The great prophet, Samuel, was also dedicated and promised to Yahweh, even before he was born - "So I have also dedicated him [Samuel] to Yahweh; as long as he lives, he is dedicated to Yahweh."  His mother praises Yahweh, and even prophesies of the Messiah in I Samuel 2:10 "Those who contend with Yahweh will be shattered; against them He will thunder in the heavens, Yahweh will judge the ends of the earth; and He will give strength to His king and will exalt the horn of His Anointed [Messiah]."  Some Bible scholars think that Hannah is speaking prophetically of God's everlasting Kingdom here on earth, under the rulership of the Messiah.  
I believe they are correct.
 
In Psalm 119:73a, David pens, "Thy hands made me and fashioned me."
 
In Jeremiah 1:4-5, Jeremiah writes, "Now the word of Yahweh came to me saying, "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.  And before you were born, I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet of the nations."  
(Consecrated means to make clean, dedicate, to be sacred, to be devoted, to show oneself holy, to be selected for God.)
 
When you consider that the angel was telling Mary that this baby, who will be begotten in her womb, is set apart for Yahweh - to be holy - it is because he has a special purpose planned long ago by His heavenly Father.
 
Jesus' Purpose
"But he [Jesus] said to them, "I must preach the Kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose."  Luke 4:43.  
This everlasting Kingdom that is to come, in which Jesus will sit upon the throne of David, to rule and reign the entire earth - that is the subject he was preaching to the people!  That kingdom is the purpose for which he was sent by God.  When it begins to dawn on us, that this everlasting Kingdom of God is the central message of the entire Bible, something will click and understanding will increase, a hundredfold!  From before his birth, even since before creation, the plan for this Messiah was set in stone.  Jesus was destined to be great and take this esteemed, highly exalted position over mankind, even having been placed in authority over the angels!  Incredible!
 
"the Son of God"
"The Son of God" is a title which was given to Jesus, for the explicit reason that he was miraculously begotten or brought into existence by God.  Just as in Luke 3:38 in Jesus' genealogy, where it lists each man and whose son he is, Adam is listed as "the Son of God."  It was not because he was "God in the flesh" which is popularly believed of Jesus, because of this title, but because Adam had no earthly father and had been created by God; for this reason, Adam was called "the Son of God."
 
"And for this Reason"
kai - and, even, also, namely
dio - for this reason, because, due to, therefore, on account of.
 
These two tiny words join the sentence of how the Spirit of God will be miraculously begetting the baby in Mary, to the title of what this child will be called.  
In other words, it is namely because of God's supernatural intervention of His power that this baby would be generated in the womb of Mary, and because of this miraculous conception, this baby will be called the Son of God.  It does not infer that Jesus would have part God-genes or God's chromosomes making up his genetics.  It does not mean that Jesus would be both 100% man and 100% God, as {trinitarians} teach in mainstream Christianity, based on their creed from 325 AD.  It only means that because of Jesus' miraculous birth caused by Yahweh's Spirit, he will be designated a special, unique position as "the Son of God," "the last Adam", and after his willingness to give up his life for the atonement of our sins ~ and then be raised back to life from the dead ~ Jesus is then considered the 'firstborn of the dead,' or the 'firstborn of creation.'  
 
God does not become the created;
He does not become a man;
Yahweh does not take on the flesh of a man or baby.  
 
These erroneous teachings convolute the plan and purpose of God for Jesus and the reason Jesus was begotten.  It muddies the water, so people can't quite see the real Jesus, who is to be our living water.  People are dying of thirst for Jesus, because they have been sold down the river with an incomprehensible creed that was never taught by the man whom they claim to follow.  Let the cry for reformation of the Church be heard around the world, as we go back to believing and following the Jesus of the Bible, who is not Yahweh, but a man, miraculously begotten by Yahweh in the womb of a young virgin named Mary.
 
As you read through these Advent Devotionals, you might think they sound repetitive, or like I'm attempting to beat a dead horse.  However, the truths of who Jesus is, of why he was begotten, and the plan for the Kingdom that God has designed for mankind, in order to grant us eternal life on this earth ~ they are weaved throughout all of Scripture, and a basic understanding is a crucial foundation for your salvation.  It is like putting pieces of a puzzle together, and if you borrow a piece from a completely separate puzzle and try to fit it in, it will make the picture distorted from what the original artist had intended.  Things won't quite fit and you'll always never quite get it.  
 
Many people might say, "well the puzzle looks fine.  What does it really matter?  It's close enough.  No one can really see the whole puzzle.  Just accept the puzzle pieces you've been given, and go on.  Don't let it bother you."  But, I blog to differ!  It DOES matter, and the result, when you start using the right puzzle pieces, is a glorious vision of your hope!  When you catch the vision of what that coming Kingdom is all about and who your true King is, then you will sit up and take notice!  You will want to learn more!  You will want to obey more!  You will begin to fall on your face in worship of the Most High God!  You will begin to grasp just how much He loves us and has made a way for us, through His Son.
 
This {season}, do not celebrate the birth of God!  Instead, celebrate the birth of God's Son.  It makes all the difference in the world.  
 
...
 
Prayer
Dear Father in Heaven,
Today, we simply just praise You for who You are.  You are Yahweh.  You alone are God.  Only You are good.  You miraculously brought into existence this man, Jesus, in the womb of his mother, Mary.  How the world dramatically changed when You performed this miraculous feat!  We praise You for Your plan and purpose for him, and for us, as well.
 
Jesus' purpose was to preach the Kingdom of God to people.  As his followers, should our purpose look any differently?  Give us confidence and boldness to proclaim this message to people to whom You send us.  
 
Your plan for us is a wonderful future in this coming Kingdom of God!  "For I know the plans that I have for you, plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope."  Let us be prepared for that hope and not ashamed to speak of it.  "Sustain us according to Your word, Father, that we may live.  And do not let us be ashamed of our hope."
 
In the Name of Jesus, the Son of the living God,
Amen.
 

 
...
 
Have you ever heard people call Mary, "the mother of God?"  Many people believe that Jesus wasn't a man, but the second person of a triune godhead, who came down to be born as a baby, to dwell in human flesh.  So, when they call Mary the "the mother of God," they mean the mother of "God the Son."


Today's devotional will look into whether Mary is the mother of God, or not.


Read Luke 1:39-45:
Now at this time Mary arose and went with haste to the hill country, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth (Mary's relative).  And it came about that when Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby [John the Baptist] leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the holy spirit.  And she cried out with a loud voice, and said, "Blessed among women are you and blessed is the fruit of our womb!"
 
And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?


For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy.  and blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what has been spoken to her by the Lord."
Luke 1:39-45
 
Thoughts
Let me draw your focus into Elizabeth's question, as she was filled with the holy spirit, "And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" Here, the text tells us that Mary is the mother of Elizabeth's Lord.  What Lord is she referring to?  Is it the same Lord as the next one she refers to in Luke 1:45 ~ "blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what has been spoken to her by the Lord," or are there two "Lords" in this paragraph?   


Typically, when we have a question about Scripture, there are many other places within the Bible that will consistently give us other verses to clue us in to help us find the answer.  
  • Luke 1:68:  Zacharias (Elizabeth's husband, also filled with the holy spirit as he is prophesying), says this:  "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people."  Luke 1:68.  
    Here, the Lord references the Lord God, who is a singular "He."

  • Luke 2:26 "and it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ."  
    Here, the Lord is also referring to the Lord God.  The Christ is obviously Jesus.  
    So we could accurately say 'the Lord God's Messiah is Jesus.

  • Luke 2:11 "for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."  
    Here, "the Lord" is referring to Christ.   

  • Ephesians 1:3  "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ."  
    This Scripture calls Jesus Christ "our Lord" and also mentions "the God and Father OF Jesus."
     
  • Acts 2:36 "Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ-- this Jesus whom you crucified."  
    In this text, God actually makes Jesus to be Lord.  
So by looking at these verses (and there are MANY, many more!), we can see that there are two "Lords" -
one is the Lord God and the other is the Lord Jesus Christ.  
Two very distinct "Lords" who the writers differentiate between with great clarity.  
 
David's Lord
This brings us to the conversation Jesus had with the pharisees about the Christ's title of "Lord":
 
Matthew 22:42-45, Jesus asks the Pharisees, "What do you think about the Christ, whose son is he?"  They said to him, "the son of David."  He said to them, Then how does David, in the Spirit, call him "Lord," and he quoted Psalm 110:1.  If David then calls him "Lord," how is he his son?  
Jesus quotes the prophetic Scripture from David in Psalm 110:1 showing the Pharisees that David calls the Messiah "Lord":  
"A Psalm of David. The LORD says to my Lord: "Sit at My right hand Until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet."  
Here, Jesus is using this Old Testament prophecy to explain to the Pharisees that the Christ [the Messiah/Anointed One] is David's Lord.    
What trips many people up is in the New Testament, where both God and His Messiah are called "Lord."  The word "Lord" in the New Testament is translated from the Greek word, "kurios."  People are falsely led to believe that "Lord" = "God," so when they read Jesus is Lord; and God the Father is Lord; they are reading "Jesus is God" and "God the Father is God", but this is not what it means...at all!  This is why it is so crucial in our study, to look at the entire Bible for our theology!  
The Old Testament provides us insight into whether or not all "Lords" are the same and mean "God" every time it is used.


Does "Lord" Mean "God?"
In the Old Testament, mostly written in the Hebrew language, the writers had two words that they translated into the English "Lord":
1) Adonai
2) adoni

Both are translated as "Lord" in the Old Testament, but the first one, "Adonai" always refers to Yahweh, the one and only living God.

The second "Lord" - "adoni" is a Hebrew word that means "master" and is used as a title for men and angels,
but never for Yahweh, the LORD God.
 

For example, Sarah calls her husband Abraham, "Lord" in Genesis 18:12, "Sarah laughed to herself, saying, "After I have become old, shall I have pleasure, my lord (adoni)  being old also?"  I Peter 3:6 tells us,  "just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear."


The word Lord means "master" and signifies that we are willing to obey our Lord.  So, in Romans 10:9 when Paul tells us, "that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you shall be saved," he is telling us that we need to make Jesus our master and obey him.  
He is not telling us that we must believe Jesus is the Lord God, Adonai Yahweh!
 
The Lord our God is one Lord.
Now, let us examine Jesus' words closely in Mark chapter 12:
Jesus answered the scribes of which commandment is the most important,
The foremost is "Hear O Israel!  The Lord our God is one Lord."  Mark 12:29

With just a little big of digging, we see that our Lord God consists of only one Lord, not two, not three!  


It is important to distinguish that in Psalm 110:1, Adonai Yahweh (the Lord God)  is speaking to adoni Messiah (the Lord Messiah).  
There are obviously two lords in this verse, and throughout Scripture, but only one Lord of these two, is
Yahweh, the Lord God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  
The  Lord God and Father made Jesus to be Lord (master) and Christ for His people!


John 17:3 tells us plainly who is God and who is the Christ:
 "And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent."  
Our Heavenly Father is Yahweh, our one and only true Lord God.  Jesus is our Christ, our Messiah, our Lord.


"Mother of my Lord" versus "Mother of my God"
Obviously, if one does not understand the difference between the "Lords" in Scripture and erroneously believe that the word "Lord" = "God" every time it is used,  then hearing Elizabeth's proclamation that Mary is the mother of her Lord, one would then come to the conclusion that Mary is the mother of her God!

However, when we understand that Jesus is the Lord [adoni] Messiah, then it makes perfect sense for Elizabeth to proclaim that Mary is the mother of her Lord Messiah, who will someday grow up to be her Lord and King.  She is not saying that Mary is the Mother of Yahweh, the one true God and Father of Jesus, who spoke of the Messiah through His prophets of old.  ...

Let us understand with a little more clarity, just who our Lord Messiah is, who our Lord God has sent us, to be our salvation, our redemption, our King of a coming Kingdom.   Let us celebrate the birth of our Lord Messiah and praise our Lord God and Father, for this miraculous gift He has given to all people!


...
  
Prayer
Dear Father in Heaven,
This study that we did today on the word "Lord" gives us valuable insight on who You are, and who Your son, Jesus, is.  I pray that this knowledge and understanding will bring about some much needed clarity within believers, and that it can begin to overcome the false assumptions and teachings that they have held for many years, taught by well-meaning people.  Open our hearts and our minds to Your teaching, Your understanding, and Your knowledge.  Let Your Spirit help us to understand what You want us to learn.

We recognize the fact that we will not be able to understand everything.  We know that there are some things that we just have to accept by faith and wait until the return of our Lord Messiah, to find the answers.  However, let that acknowledgement not close us off from learning and understanding what we can about You and Your son!  Let us seek You and find You.  Let us pursue You and your Kingdom, as if looking for a lost and valuable pearl.  Let You, Your righteousness and Your coming Kingdom be our focal point this Advent Season, as we look forward to the coming of our Lord Jesus, who will raise our loved ones to immortality and change us, in the twinkling of an eye. For this day, Father, we eagerly await!

In our Lord Jesus Christ's Name we pray,
Amen.
 

 
...
 
How many times do we get our beliefs, traditions and theologies from song lyrics, rather than Scripture?  How often do we get an image of how something is, but when we really begin to study something in the Bible, we realize we've made some false assumptions and it wasn't there at all or somewhat altered, subtly tweaked so that its truth is smudged?  A great example of this is the lyrics from "We Three Kings" ... :
We three kings of Orient are
Bearing gifts we traverse afar
Field and fountain, moor and mountain
Following yonder star

O Star of wonder, star of night
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to thy Perfect Light
 
Born a King on Bethlehem's plain
Gold I bring to crown Him again
King forever, ceasing never
Over us all to reign

Frankincense to offer have I
Incense owns a Deity nigh
Prayer and praising, all men raising
Worship Him, God most high

Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume
Breathes of life of gathering gloom
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying
Sealed in the stone-cold tomb
 
Glorious now behold Him arise
King and God and Sacrifice
Alleluia, Alleluia
Earth to heav'n replies
 
In today's devotional, we'll look at a few details of the story of the visiting Magi and the King of the Jews, whom they sought to find to bow before as King, Lord Messiah.
 
Read Matthew 2:1-4, 7-12:
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold magi from the East arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?  For we saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.  And when Herod the king heard it, he was troubled and all Jerusalem with him.  And gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he began to inquire of them where the Christ was to be born.”  Matthew 2:1-4.
 
Then Herod secretly called the magi, and ascertained from them the time the star appeared.  And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make careful search for the child; and when you have found him, report to me, that I too may come and worship him.”  And having heard the king, they went their way and lo, the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them, until it came and stood over where the child was.  And when they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.  
 
And they came into the house and saw the child with Mary his mother; and they fell down and worshiped him; and opening their treasures they presented to him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.  And having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their own country by another way.  
Matthew 2:7-12.
 
Thoughts
The Magi
Magi - pronounced “may-ji” is from the Greek word, "magos" and were a caste of wise men specializing in astrology, medicine and natural sciences suspected to be either from Arabia or Persia.  The Nativity scene and popular Christmas carols sing of three kings visiting from afar, but Scripture omits how many men make up the plural “magi” or wise philosophers group who arrived.    
 
The three gifts that these magi brought to the child (Jesus who is estimated to be two years olds by this time, with the young family now residing in a house), consisted of gold, frankincense of myrrh.  It was custom in the East to give gifts to someone superior in rank, and the Magi recognized this child born as the King of the Jews.  The gifts were symbolic and held meaning, denoting Christ's future destiny:  
  1. The gold signified royalty and was given to Jesus as future King.
  2. The Frankincense is a resin or oil from the Boswellia tree.  "Ancient people burned frankincense, believing it to carry their prayers to heaven."  Its use as incense illustrates Jesus' future role as our High Priest and mediator, between God and man.
  3. Myrrh is "an Arabic word for bitter, and it is considered a wound healer because of its strong antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.  One of its many uses was as an embalming material, used in Egyptian mummies. As an embalming ointment, the gift of myrhh signified that Jesus would die for the sins of the world as
    the Lamb of God.  In fact, Myrrh was one of the spices used to prepare Jesus' body for burial."
When presented to the King of the Jews, the magi in verse 11, 'fell down' - Barnes' notes Bible Commentary tells us
"This was the usual way of showing respect or homage among the Jews," and
worshiped him ~ "Did him homage as King of the Jews."  (See further study notes below).
 
King of the Jews, the Christ
When the Magi come to Jerusalem, inquiring about the child who had been born "King of the Jews", Herod then begins to question the religious leaders of the Jewish people to find the location prophesied where "the Christ" was to be born to answer their question.  This tells us that the title, “King of the Jews” is synonymous in the people’s minds to the title, “the Christ.”  Christ means “Messiah” or “Anointed One” and this specific Christ of whom they were speaking, was to be the anointed King of the Jews, who would one day, sit upon the throne of his father, David, to rule their Kingdom forever.  We know this for certain, due to the angel, Gabriel’s proclamation to Mary before his birth.
 
How ironic it is then, that by the end of Jesus’ life and ministry, we find Jesus standing on trial for this very thing.
 
“Now Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor questioned him, saying, “Are you the King of the Jews?” and Jesus said to him, “It is as you say.”  
Matthew 27:11.
 
Pilate, later in verse 22 asks the Jewish people, “Then what shall I do with Jesus, who is called Christ?”  They all said, “Let him be crucified!”  
 
The Jewish people in that crowd, obviously did not believe that this man, Jesus, was their prophesied Christ, the King of the Jews, so they chose to crucify him upon a cross.  
And they put up above his head the charge against him which read, “This is Jesus the King of the Jews.”  Matthew 27:37.  
 
We are all familiar with how the story goes.  Jesus dies on the cross, as an atoning sacrificial Lamb of God for all people, and then lies dead in a tomb for three days. On the third day, God raises him back to life, and he goes on to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom for another forty days, before ascending to the heavens, to sit at the right hand of his God, until the time of restoration.  He ascends in the clouds with his disciples looking on.  
 
Right before his ascension, his disciples ask him, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the Kingdom to Israel?”  Acts 1:6.
 
Many religious people of our day have scoffed at the disciples when they asked such a question.  ‘Do the disciples not realize, even at this point, that this Kingdom that the Jewish people were looking for, would not be literal, that it is a spiritual concept only?’  However, I believe the disciples were spot on with their question.  
Remember, Jesus was the Christ, the King of the Jews.  He was born with this destiny and it had yet to be accomplished.  
The only missing element of this man’s royal destiny and purpose to rule and reign upon the throne of David, was WHEN.
 
Jesus’ answer to them was, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority.”  Acts 1:7.  “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven nor the Son, but the Father alone.  For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah.”  Matthew 24:36-37.  
 
In other words, no one knows the day or the time of Christ’s return to the earth, when he will restore the Kingdom to Israel, and ultimately rule the world, with his saints. Only God our Father, knows this date, and we are to live ready, waiting in expectation, and alert, so that we are not caught unaware at his second coming.
 
...
 
Prayer
Dear Father in Heaven,  
How awesome it is that we can study Your inspired Scripture that is God-breathed, and grasp the beauty and significance of who Jesus is to us and to all mankind!  ...
We can come to you afresh with worship for bringing us our King!
 
He came the first time as a newborn baby, miraculously begotten by You.  Mary and Joseph, Gabriel, Elizabeth, the shepherds, the angels, and now the Magi, all recognized this Jesus as the Christ, the King of the Jews, who would one day rule and reign upon the throne of David forever.  His purpose, his life, even his death, are all revolving around this Kingdom that he will usher in, when he returns to the earth one day.  No one knows when that time will be, but we pray that we will be ready and watching!  
 
Every devotional on the birth of Jesus seems to hammer the point even further, that this man Jesus, is our Messiah, our King of a coming Kingdom, our mediator,
our High Priest, our sacrifice for our sins, to reconcile us with the one and only living God - You - Yahweh, who created us for this very purpose, to dwell with You for an eternity when You finally come down to the restored earth to dwell with mankind.
 It seems almost repetitive to hear this over and over again, but how can we discuss the birth of Your only begotten Son, without talking about the purpose and destiny for which he was created?
 
So many Christians during this Christmas season, celebrate "the Deity of Christ," "the Incarnation of Christ", and try to prove that Jesus is You, but the more we study the details of this, the more it becomes glaringly obvious that You have given us the gift of eternal life through Your Son, not through one 'who' - the second person of a triune God 'what.' (three who's in one 'what' is how the Trinity is typically explained to those who dare to question it).  We pray that those who have accepted this Trinity doctrine and believed it as truth, will see that this creed is not found in Scripture.  

Open their eyes to see that the Son of God is an uniquely begotten man, who You have exalted to be our Lord and Messiah.  Let us give homage to him as our King and continue to worship only You as the supreme Adonai Yahweh, Almighty God of the universe.  
 
In Jesus' our mediator's Name we Pray,
Amen.

 
For further study:
Should Jesus be worshiped?  This blog article, "Should We Worship Jesus" written by Sean Finnegan, addresses this topic from a Biblical viewpoint.   In Matthew 2:8 "worship" is translated from the Greek word, "proskune√≥" which means "to kiss the ground when prostrating before a superior; to fall down/prostrate oneself to adore on one's knees; to do obeisance."  It can be translated as 'bow' or 'worship' depending on the translators' choice.
 
Sean writes:
Translations and Bias
Most translations are carried out by Christians who believe Jesus is God. As a result, they usually render proskuneo as “worship” when it is done to Jesus and “bow” when it is done to humans. Consider the following examples taken from the NASB:

1)  Mat. 4.10
Then Jesus said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’”
 
2)  Mat. 2.8
And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may come and
worship Him.”

3)  Rev 3.9
Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie– I will make them come and bow down at your feet, and make them know that I have loved you.
 
In the first verse Satan tries to get Jesus to do proskuneo to him. Jesus replies that one should only do this to God. In this case the translators correctly translated it “worship” since it is the kind of proskuneo that is done to God alone. In the second instance Herod tells the Magi that he wants to come and recognize the baby Jesus as the “King of the Jews” by bowing before him. However, the translators, overcome by their bias that Jesus is God (even as a baby!), rendered the word as “worship.” In the third instance, again the same word proskuneo is used, but this time, since the Christians are receiving proskuneo, the translators used the words “bow down” rather than “worship.”
 
If our translations said “bow” every time someone came up asking Jesus for healing or when the disciples recognized him as the Son of God (the rightful Davidic King), there would be no issue. In other words, I am suggesting that the proposition,
“In the Bible Jesus is worshiped,” is not actually true.
People did not worship Jesus, they bowed before him out of respect for what he could do for them or because they recognized him as the Messiah.
 
As Christian monotheists we freely and with great joy bow before Jesus and do proskuneo to him, since he is the God-anointed ruler of the world to come. However, this should not be confused with the worship we render God, which is much higher since our attitude when bowing before the Father of Jesus is that he is the one true God, the only one we love and serve with everything in us
(Deut. 6.4-5).
 
 

 

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