Monday, June 19, 2023

Christmas - Chapter Two

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by Michael C Garrett

As we asked in chapter one – are we thankful and appreciative that Jesus Christ, who was the great Creator God of the Old Testament, allowed Himself to be changed into a human sperm cell that impregnated His teenage Mother!? To live a perfect life and become the Savior for all mankind!? We very much are! Because without Him, you and I would have no hope of eternal life. Are we thankful that upon three days and three nights of His human death, He was resurrected by God the Father to become an eternal spirit being once again – a member of the family of God!? We are very thankful!

If you would, turn to the Book of Philippians. A most fantastic book in God’s living word – the Holy Bible.

Let us begin in verse 5 of chapter 2 – “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”

We’ve talked a lot about this, friends. We’ve talked about Acts 2:38 where the Apostle Peter says, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

So, for those who have gone through the process of repentance, and baptism, the ceremony of the laying on of hands by a minister of God, and then we’re told that you will receive a “down payment” – a small portion of the Spirit of God. And once that happens you are a begotten child of God! And your name is added to the Lamb’s Book of Life!

This means that if you were to die the very next moment you would be assured of being resurrected and becoming a part of the family of God at the return of Jesus Christ.

Jesus, Our Coming Warrior

This Christmas season concentrates on what!? The first time that our Lord Jesus came to this earth in the form of a human being. But, that’s not the first time the One we call Jesus Christ had come to the earth. Remember – He is the One that created Adam and Eve. He is the One who spoke directly with Prophet Moses. He is the One who spoke directly with Patriarch Abraham. And there are other instances in God’s living word where we realize that Jesus Christ did indeed engage with human beings for a very specific purpose.

But, even though our Lord Jesus came to the earth as a very innocent child – He grew up to be a strong and powerful young man. And eventually sacrificed His life so that we might have a Savior. God’s living word plainly says that Jesus Christ is coming back to this earth again. In a dramatic and powerful manner!

Now, the first time that He came to this earth it was to qualify to be our Savior and to qualify in taking over rulership of the earth from Satan the Devil. It was, as He states, “’ I will build My church.’” He establishes a small group of people that know His Word, Truth, and Plan, and who have His Spirit. And all of these are remarkable things!

And we’re going to talk about all of these things and more throughout these chapters.

Now, when our Lord Jesus returns this second time, He returns as a conquering warrior King! No more “little baby Jesus, away in a manger. No crib for a bed, the little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head.” No. A being full of a war-like nature! He is going to destroy everything that is associated with Satan the Devil, his demons, their ideas, and their world. He is going to completely destroy it! And He will establish the kingdom of God upon this earth! And this is a large part of God’s Master Plan that we certainly need to explore later.

The whole key to qualifying as a human being to be a part of this soon-coming kingdom – THE WORLD TOMORROW – you must have God’s Spirit residing within you.

And this is what verse 5 is referring to – “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”

Verse 6 – “who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery [or, illegal] to be equal with God.”

Jesus Christ is just as much God, as God the Father is God!

Verse 7 – and in the King James Version it’s a very poor translation. There is a better word for this word “reputation.” The New English Translation renders verse 7 – “But emptied Himself, and was made in the likeness of men, and took the form of a servant.” The Koine Greek word is kenoō, meaning “to empty, deprive, emptied.” 1

So, what does that mean when it says, “He emptied Himself”!? And, we alluded to this earlier. When Jesus Christ was yet a member of the family of God – before His human arrival – He was the all-powerful Creator God, who we often think of as the God of the Old Testament. But, He emptied Himself of His divinity. He allowed Himself to be changed into a human sperm cell. And this is quite a concept! And this is why our Lord Jesus was part human and part God. And that part of Him which was of God – of His own divine nature – that’s what He returned to after His death and His physical resurrection. And this is what we’re reading about here in the Book of Philippians.

We’re going to continue discussing the real meaning of Christmas.

The Christmas Story

Are we impressed with the celebration which takes place on December 25th!? No. We do understand what our peoples around the world are doing. But, we also know that what they’re doing they are doing with a certain degree of ignorance. And the word ignorance isn’t a bad word – it just simply means to not know.

As we pointed out in the first chapter, pointing out several different biblical concepts and clues that Jesus Christ WAS NOT born on or anywhere near December 25th! The fact that this celebration every year is an ancient pagan celebration on the “rebirth of the sun.” Because on the 17th of December of the Julian calendar, and later expanded with festivities through to the 23rd of December, there was a week-long sex orgy celebration. In which their streets were infected with a Mardi Gras-type madness.

So, we hear a lot concerning The Story of Jesus, The Story of Christmas – you know “little baby Jesus, away in a manger” – The Wise Men, and The Star of Bethlehem.

Well, let’s go into God’s living word and just study the actual stories as the LORD God proclaims them.

Now we have known people who knew that Jesus Christ was not born on December 25th. But, in some strange way, they have developed this tremendous – almost a hate – of this so-called Christmas Story. And, I think their pendulum swung too far to the negative. The key is to get some balance.

What is the real meaning of this so-called Christmas!?

The word Christmas came from the Roman Catholic Church. It’s a combination of the words “Christ” and “Mass.” And they combined them into the word Christmas in the English language.

Let’s turn now to the Book of Matthew. This book contains a chapter that talks about this story. And, the Book of Luke contains some additional information about the human birth of Jesus Christ. Of which we are very proud and thankful!

Notice verse 16 – and, up to this point there is a long list of ancestry – the genealogy of Jesus Christ given by the Apostle Matthew. “And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, …”

So, Joseph’s father was named Jacob. The same Jacob whose name was changed by the LORD God to Israel – cf. Genesis 32:28. Remember, Abraham, Isaac, and then Jacob – who was the father of the twelve tribes of Israel. Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Joseph, and Benjamin. So, this is a most interesting and significant point.

Continuing in verse 16 – “ … of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ.”

Now, was it Joseph’s sperm cell that impregnated his fiancé Mary!? No. As we just spoke about earlier from the Book of Philippians, our Lord Jesus allowed Himself to be “emptied” of His divinity into a single human sperm cell. But, Joseph became the legal father of Jesus. And this is why his genealogy is given here. In another area, we read about Mary’s genealogy.

Verse 17 – “So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, from David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations.”

So, forty-two generations. The word generations here comes from the Koine Greek word genea, which means “fathered, birthed, nativity,” referring to a genetic line. Usually, a generation in God’s living word is roughly thirty years long or the people living during that time. So, roughly 1, 260 years.

Verse 18 – “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, …”

Before they came together – meaning, before they had sexual relations.

The word “espoused,” as the King James Version uses, is defined as “engaged.”

And, before they had sexual relations, “she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.” She’s a teenager of about seventeen or eighteen – certainly a fantastic young woman. And I might add: that was the age that young women often got married at that time. Now – have you ever heard the expression “You Can’t Choose Your Parents”!? Well, in one time in history, a future human being got to pick His parents! And Jesus Christ chose Mary to be the woman who would give birth to Him as a baby. This is also a most interesting and significant point of the story. Do most people stop and think about this!?

Verse 19 – “Then Joseph her husband, …”

And, more than likely, Joseph was an older man. By the time of Jesus’ public ministry, Joseph seems to have passed from the scene. None of that is important. But, what is important is the fact that Joseph, her husband was “a just man.” So, Joseph was a good man. And, certainly, our Lord Jesus also chose His human father. No one else has ever been able to do that.

So, “being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, …”

Today, in this 21st-century world, unmarried pregnant women have no negative stigma attached to them. But I remember when I was growing up back in the 1960s, if a young unmarried woman became pregnant that was scandalous.

Joseph was not going to allow Mary to become a public spectacle, so he “was minded to put her away secretly [in privacy].”

Verse 20 – “But while he thought about these things, …”

Now, think about this – he’s engaged to this young woman, and then he discovers that she’s pregnant! What is he to think!? It’s logical to think that Mary had been “slipping out” on him. That Mary had sexual relations with another man and became pregnant. And yet, Joseph was still willing to stand by Mary! This gives us an insight into what a good, decent, caring man Joseph actually was.

“ … while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, [you descendant of David], do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her …’” – the human embryo that is being formed in her womb – “ … ‘is of the Holy Spirit.’”

Now surely Joseph was completely bewildered by this! What does it mean to be begotten of God’s Spirit!? But, he was told this by an angel in a dream.

So, you think that your young fiancé has “stepped out” on you – and surely Mary vehemently denied being with another man. And, Joseph was told in a dream, ‘this is because of God.’

Verse 21 – “’ And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, …’”

The name Jesus is the English form of the Greek word “Iésous.” Yeshua in Hebrew, and in English Joshua. Thus, the names “Joshua” and “Jesus” are essentially the same; both are English pronunciations of the Hebrew and Greek names for our Lord. This too is a most interesting and significant point.

Who was Joshua!?

In the Old Testament, Joshua was the man that the LORD God chose to lead the children of Israel out of the wilderness and into the Promised Land! So, Joshua and our Lord Jesus both have the same title, which means Savior. Again, a lot of intricacies in this amazing story! And, if you don’t think about it – it’s easy to miss it. Or, appreciate it.

“ … ‘ for He will save His people from their sins.’”

You know, we hear the word hero a lot. It appears that everybody wants to slap the title hero on somebody. In fact, back in 2020, with the horrible bombing in Nashville, Tennessee. In which the homegrown terrorist detonated a recreational vehicle (RV) bomb in downtown Nashville. Murdering himself and injuring eight! Just before the bombing, six police officers showed up to try and evacuate the area in the small amount of time they had. And they were brought on television, and they were referred to over and over as “heroes.” Certainly, the term is overused. But, if you really want to apply the word hero to someone. Apply it to JESUS CHRIST! For He is the Hero of all heroes! Because one of His main missions was to deliver people from their sins, and from the death penalty which goes along with their sinful behavior.

Verse 22 – “So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying:” – this being from the Book of Isaiah –

Verse 23 – “’ Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us.’”

One of the names of Jesus was Immanuel. Do you recall the traditional Christmas song “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” with the line, “And ransom captive Israel”? This is the God we’re talking about! The God that brought Israel out of slavery and bondage. The same God that brought Israel into the Promised Land. The same God that brought forth David – a king of Israel at that time, and a king of the future. Again, this being is the One we now call JESUS. Talking about Israel being released from bondage. This happened before, and the Prophet Moses was directly involved as the human agent – as the LORD God’s representative – to help bring about the release of the captivity of Israel from Egypt. But, in the very near future, Israel will once again be in captivity (in subjugation).

And when we say this friends – we’re talking about the majority of the English-speaking world, the remnants of the British Commonwealth, along with the United States of America.

So, even in this here there is a WARNING!

At this moment in time, the USA is thought of as the supreme nation in the world. The greatest military, the greatest economy. But, we have seen how easily that status can be rocked and turned upon its head.

This past year we’ve battled with COVID-19, economic shutdowns, riots, sections of our cities being burned and looted, and large groups of people being killed. The stability of our nation is not like a rock with a solid foundation, it’s more like a teeter-totter. And friends, one of these days, our nations will no longer have the blessings and protection from God Almighty. We will indeed fall off this teeter-totter and be severely injured!

We certainly hate speaking about such things – but this is the living truth of God’s word! And this will occur just a short time before the Lord Jesus returns to this earth. THE SECOND TIME!

Now, certainly, when Joseph had time to think about all of this – time to gather his thoughts – he remembered this prophecy from the Book of Isaiah. And, this whole story became clearer to Joseph. He gained a greater understanding that this indeed was that prophecy.

Verse 24 – Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife.”

So, they became a married couple – but they were not to have sexual relations yet. Because, as verse 25 states, “and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. …”

So, he comes to understand that Mary had not been unfaithful to him. She had not had sexual relations with another man. Again, a very interesting part of this story.

Let’s now turn in our Bibles to the Book of Luke.

We pick up the story here from another vantage point. The Apostle Matthew gave us facts from his vantage point. Luke has, even more, to add to this story. Here we actually learn greater details that are a part of this so-called Christmas Story.

Luke 1, beginning in verse 1 – “Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative [or rather, a declaration; a written record] of those things which have been fulfilled among us.”

So, the Apostle Luke is saying, ‘We, who are close followers of Jesus Christ – we who had spent 3½ years with Him and in whom we know to be the Son of God, the Savior of all mankind – we write this message to help establish some of these facts and to have a written record.’

Verse 2 – “just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word [the living word of truth] and delivered them to us.”

So, he’s saying, ‘We are a direct part of this story.’ The Apostle Luke was a follower of Jesus, a disciple of Jesus, and eventually became an apostle for Jesus.

Verse 3 – “it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus.”

Now, who was Theophilus spoken of here in Luke, as well as in the Book of Acts!? The name “Theophilus” literally means “loved by God,” but carries the idea of “friend of God.” It’s clear that Luke is writing to a specific individual, even though his message is also intended for all Christians in all centuries. And, Luke is writing him this letter to help establish the things which Luke knows about the story.

Verse 4 – “that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed.”

Verse 5 – “There was in the days of Herod [Herod the first, or Herod the Great circa. 72 B.C. – 4 B.C.], the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was [from the lineage] of the daughters of Aaron, …”

So, Aaron – the brother of Prophet Moses – became and was named by the LORD God as the high priest of the Old Testament priesthood. And, even in this time period here, there was a form of the ironic priesthood. But everything had become badly altered when the people of this region were taken captive to Babylon. But here they had reestablished a type of the ancient Jewish religion. And Elizabeth, who was married to the priest Zacharias, was of that lineage.

Verse 6 – “And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.”

So, they were leading good, honorable, and godly lives. And, God Almighty was proud of them.

Verse 7 – “But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, …” – she was unable to produce children, for whatever reason. “ … and they were both well advanced in years.”

It’s like Patriarch Abraham and his wife, they were both well advanced in years. Yet, the LORD God promised them that they were going to have a child. And, they did. Isaac was indeed born!

So, this certainly means that if the LORD God wants something to occur – it will! And He can do this – because He’s God. And He’s all-powerful. He can manipulate the universe in whatsoever He desires in order to fit His plan.

Verse 8 – So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division, 9) according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot [or rather, his duty] fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.”

Verse 10 – “And the whole multitude of the people was praying at the hour of incense.”

So, this was some type of religious ceremony they had – that Old Covenant religion in which they placed great stock in animal sacrifices, ceremonial washings of hands and pots, and incense. All a physical part of their very physical religion. As opposed to the New Covenant – where it’s a spiritual religion.

Verse 11 – “Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12) And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, …”

And, we would certainly say – shocked and scared. And greatly shaken up! Now, this angel, in all likelihood, was the archangel Gabriel. His appearance is even more fantastic than just a regular angel. And, if you were actually allowed to see an archangel, it would be quite disconcerting! As it says here, “ … Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.”

Verse 13 – “But the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer …” – what prayer!? Well, Zacharias would often ask the LORD God that his wife Elizabeth could have a child. Even though he knew that “they were both well advanced in years.” He still kept praying. This shows that Zacharias had great faith in the LORD God – in Their abilities and power.

“ … your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.”

So, the angel is saying, ‘when this child is born, you will call him John.’ This becomes a part of this story later.

Verse 14 – “And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. 15) For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.”

Now, John the Baptist was known as a Nazirite. A man or woman who voluntarily took a vow which is described in Numbers 6:1–21. This vow required the Nazirite to abstain from wine or strong drinks. Also to refrain from cutting the hair from his head.

So, what would you do – if an angel from the LORD God says to you, ‘you’re going to have a son, even though both you and your wife are late in your years, and he will be great in the sight of the Lord’!? Now, at this particular point in time, the One we now call Jesus Christ was still a bonafide and deified member of the family of God. So, He had a direct impact on this part of the story! Because Jesus had not yet been conceived.

So, he will “also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.”

And, there are people in this world that say, ‘you can’t receive the gift of the Holy Spirit unless you repent, baptized, and the laying on of hands!’ Well, for the majority of people that is true. But, the LORD God is the great power, They can do whatever They want! And if They wish to impart a part of Their mind into a human fetus inside a mother’s womb, then it will be done.

And for all those people who believe that a human fetus inside the womb is not a human being yet – which begins at about nine weeks after fertilization – we suggest that you never try and tell that to the LORD God! Because a human life begins at conception when a sperm and egg join in the fallopian tube and the sperm fertilizes the egg and creates a zygote! It is a human being! And this case, an unborn human being who has been given the Spirit of God – the mind of God!

Sadly, according to the Pew Research Center, Guttmacher’s national total says there were 930,160 abortions nationally in 2020 in the District of Columbia and 47 states, a 1.5% increase from 916,460 in 2019. 2 Nearly A MILLION A YEAR! And this has been occurring since 1973! Forty-eight years ago! This truly means that millions of people don’t exist that should have! This is a true tragedy!

Now, maybe when this nation is punished by the LORD God – and it will occur – we have a feeling that that fact will not escape the LORD God’s attention! – cf. Isaiah 1:15.

Verse 16 – “And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. 17) He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.’”

Now, these are some of the last words of the Old Testament. At the end of the Book of Malachi. This book – as does nine of the so-called minor prophets – mention in some form or another the Day of the Lord.

What is the Day of the Lord!?

It’s not referring to Sunday. No, the Day of the Lord is that period of time, in the very near future, just before the return of Jesus Christ and the setting up of the kingdom of God, when God Almighty and Jesus Christ exact a horrible punishment upon a sinful world. And They are going to go about setting things straight! □

To be continued.


1 Strong, James. Zondervan. The Strongest Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. 2001. #2758. pg. 1621.
2 Diamant, J. & Mohamed, B., What the data says about abortion in the U.S., Pew Research Center, 11 Jan. 2023.

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