Thursday, July 27, 2023

Christmas - Chapter Three (Sermon)

John the Baptist in the Jordan River

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by Michael C Garrett

At the end of the last chapter, we were in the first chapter of the Book of Luke. Which gave another take on the human birth of Jesus Christ. And in verse 13 we’re told that Zacharias, who was a priest in the temple, and his wife Elizabeth, who are both older in age – basically beyond childbearing age is the implication – and they were told by an angel from the LORD God, “your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.” And this is referring to John the Baptist, not the writer of the “gospel” account.

Verse 14 – “And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.”

Verse 15 – “For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. …”

This is why he is called a Nazarite.

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

As we pointed out in the last chapter – 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, here is an example of John the Baptist, when he is just an unborn child in his mother’s womb, being granted the Spirit of God.

Verse 16 – “And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God.”

Now, verse 17 is where we began to zero in at the end of the last chapter – “He [John the Baptist] will also go before Him [meaning, Jesus Christ] 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.’”

A Perfect Storm Developing

So, we need to turn back to the end of the Old Testament – which kind of introduces us to the return of Jesus Christ as a human baby. And this is where we were at the end of the last chapter. 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. Chapter 4 only contains six verses – but there is so much packed into these verses!

Now, if you follow along with your Bible, then you will know that we’re not trying to mislead you.

Malachi 4 – the last page in the New King James Version of the Old Testament, before you turn to the New Testament.

Verse 1 – “’ For behold, the day is coming, …’”

Now, “the day” – that phrase, “the day,” “that day,” the majority of the time it is referring to a future prophetic event which is called in the Bible – the Day of the Lord. It is a multi-year period – it’s not just one day – of about 3½ years, in which God Almighty and Jesus Christ place upon the people of this earth a horrible ordeal. And this is still the future. Is it five years away!? We don’t know. Is it ten years away!? We don’t know. Is it thirty or fifty years away!? We don’t know. The only thing we can tell you is that it will happen! Because the living word of God says that it will. And, it’s in our future. There is a really good chance that this will occur in the lifetime of most of the people like you who are reading, watching, or listening to this.


Now, understand – there is a Way to escape these horrors that will descend upon the earth. There is a Way you can protect yourself and your family members – if they will cooperate with you.

We have met people that are Doomsday Preppers, or rather survivalists. People who are preparing to survive the various circumstances that may cause the end of civilization, including economic collapse, societal collapse, and electromagnetic pulse. Very nervous people! They will go out and buy in bulk such things as dehydrated foods, bug-out bags, survival kits, and self-defense and tactical equipment. They will store all this in their underground bunker or basement, and they will have it on hand in case everything breaks down!

Now, about a year ago, the concept of everything breaking down was a concept that most people could not begin to capsulize in their minds. And yet, here in this past year, we’ve seen the effects of the coronavirus – such as on businesses. As an example – mom-and-pop stores have shut down, most for eight or nine months! What are they doing for income!? How do they sustain themselves!? How do they pay their rent or electricity!? They are in a terrible fix! We empathize with them. And, for them – they have entered a time of tribulation. Certainly, a year ago they wouldn’t have thought that. But now they have a different viewpoint. Most of these troubles have been created by mostly Democratic governors of different states doing this to their own people! According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in June 2021, 6.2 million people did not work at all or worked fewer hours because their employers closed or lost business due to the coronavirus pandemic. This is down from 7.9 million in May 2021 and from 49.8 million in May 2020! 1 And, the majority of these Democratic governors have come across like dictators. And, we can’t come up with another way of saying it – they act like dictators.


Well, they claim that they’re going to stop the coronavirus! But, think about this – every governor who said, “We’re going to shut down to prevent coronavirus!” have had massive increases! According to a report by the American Experience, states that stayed open fared much better than states that shut down. And, when it comes to death rates from the coronavirus states that stayed open are among the best-performing states. 2 Along with the constant wearing of the face mask. And, wearing masks outside your home is mandatory in California! 3 Here in Kentucky, you can’t go into any business establishment, like a grocery store, without wearing a mask.

But, returning – “For behold, the day is coming, …” mentioned here in the Book of Malachi. An event that will affect the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and her Commonwealth Nations – the vast majority of which are or were territories of the British Empire. And eventually, it will overflow to all nations, countries, and provinces on the face of the earth! A terrible period of testing and trial, and divine punishment.

“ … ‘the day is coming, …’” – the Day of the Lord – “ … ‘Burning like an oven, And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up,’ Says the LORD of hosts, ‘That will leave them neither root nor branch.’”

Meaning – their parents, their grandparents, will be destroyed. And their children and grandchildren will be destroyed.

Now, this is a powerful statement!

Again, nine of the so-called minor prophets – mention in some form or another the Day of the Lord.

Indeed, everybody wants to know the future. Everybody has a curiosity about the future. Well, here is some insight for all of you about what the future holds. The future of this world will not be a rainbow, flowers, happiness – and happiness and happiness. No. Somewhere over this supposed rainbow – like a gigantic perfect storm – this terrible horror looms. And, for the majority of people, they can’t see it! But if you look at this world through the lens of God’s living word, you can see this perfect storm developing.

And yes, you can make preparations right now to protect yourself and your family. If you’ll only listen to what God’s living word is trying to tell you!

A Time of Healing

Verse 2 – is much more optimistic. And, there are many places in Scripture where the negative is mentioned right next door to the positive. Where people who do things against the LORD God will be cursed, and yet next to it, those who obey the LORD God will be blessed. Life and death are often next door to each other in God’s living word. Here is one of those places.

“’ But to you who fear [and even respect] My name The Sun of Righteousness shall arise With healing in His wings; …’”

Now, to whom is that word “you” addressing!?

Well, we hope and pray that it’s addressing us, all of our associates, wherever they might be – in this nation or abroad – and we’re hoping and praying that this is addressing you. And, maybe in the future even more. Which is why we wish we had more subscriptions to our YouTube channels and our Soundcloud Radio channel. Through these messages, you’re being offered information that will make a Way of escape for you and your loved ones! Are you going to listen to this!? Are you going to become a part of this group called “you”!? We hope and pray that you become you!

Respect for the LORD God, respect for Their power and Their living word, and respect for Their messengers who are trying to explain this information to you. And, we do hope and pray that from the eyes of the LORD God the Owensboro Church of Jesus Christ and our affiliated churches is looked upon as those places which are indeed doing and saying the will of the LORD God.

“The Sun of Righteousness” – the living Jesus Christ! Which is His return and the establishment of the kingdom of God unto this earth!

“shall arise with healing in His wings; …”

We should ask every day for the healing power which is contained in God Almighty and Jesus Christ!

And, we think about this whole world and how very sick it is. We think about people who have ingrained in their minds a lifestyle that is not according to the living word of God. And we know from what we read in our Bible that there will come a time when those people will have their mental, emotional, and sexual issues healed. And sometime, they too in the future will be within the kingdom of God! We know all of this is true! We think about the pain and suffering in this world. We know that the inflated numbers of those people who had suffered and died of the coronavirus, we know from God’s living word, there will come a time when they will be resurrected back to physical life. And in an era when the Earth is under the authority and leadership of God Almighty and Jesus Christ, the holy angels and the resurrected saints – within the kingdom of God! Where in that era when they will be brought back to life and they will be healed. We pray for this era when our grandparents, our mother, and our father, will be resurrected back to physical life and will be healed. And, we can look forward to being a part of that process! Yes!

Continuing – “ … ‘and you shall go out And grow fat like stall-fed calves.’”

Now, this certainly isn’t the example most of us would have given. But, you get the point. Where a little baby calf is born in a stall, and then it grows up to some 1,390 pounds! So, we can heal, and we can grow! God Almighty and our Lord Jesus Christ are Healers! Many chapters of the living word of the Eternal One simply concentrate on the many miracles that Jesus Christ performed. And, that He will perform again! And that we – as servants of Jesus Christ – will have a hand in performing yet into the future. We look forward to that.

Verse 3 is speaking about a time after the resurrection of the saints. “’ You …’” speaking to the people of God and of Jesus Christ “ … ‘shall trample the wicked, For they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet On the day [the Day of the Lord] that I do this,’ Says the LORD of hosts.”

There is coming a time when all of the wicked institutions of this world – and we’re talking about wicked rulers and despots, governments, church philosophies, church organizations. All of it will be destroyed and trampled.

There is coming a time when those people who were human beings, and who had at one time access to the living Word of God, Truth of God, and Plan of God, and yet because of bitterness and jealousy, anger, and disappointment they turned their backs on the LORD God, and they allowed their mind and their spirit to be shriveled up into nothingness – those people will die. In what God’s living word calls, “the lake of fire.” And all that will be left of them are “ashes under the soles of [the saints’] feet.” And, these are people who could have been in the kingdom of God! They had the opportunity! It is a sad story.

Verse 4 – “’ Remember the Law of Moses, My servant, Which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, With the statutes and judgments.’”

The LORD God is talking about the Ten Commandments.

And then verse 5 – and recall back in the Book of Luke chapter 1, we’re told that John the Baptist would “ ’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.’”

These are the two verses to which our Lord Jesus was referring when He inspires verse 5 – “’ Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.’”

Here it spells out the whole phrase, the Day of the LORD.

The Day of the LORD is the single most prophesied event in God’s living word. Old Testament and New Testament. No other prophecy even comes close to it. And, most people have no idea what the phrase “the day of the LORD” means. But, again, it’s talking about that period of time, just before our Lord Jesus Christ returns to this earth – along with God the Father, the holy angels, and the resurrected saints. In which our Lord Jesus is going to punish a sin-saturated sick world. For their rebellion against the LORD God!

Again, you can escape all of this if you pay attention to what God’s living word is really saying! If you pay attention to what we are trying to tell you! As messengers from the LORD God.

And we say and stress this because there are remnants of a religious organization – in different forms – that actually believe. And, the leader of this religious organization believed that this verse was referring to him! And what he was doing. And, no it wasn’t. And this is but one of the many things which he taught which was biblically incorrect. And yet, if you were to meet one of those people today – even though it has been decades – you cannot get them to see the living truth of God as God’s living word portrays it!

The Birth of John the Baptist

Verse 6 – “’ And he …’”

Who is the “he”!?

Prophetically speaking, the “he” was John the Baptist. “ … ‘will turn The hearts of the fathers to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.’”

John the Baptist and his preaching prepared the time when Jesus Christ would teach the true gospel.

And isn’t it interesting – here is a prophecy of John the Baptist, which introduces us to the New Testament. And the story of Jesus Christ. Here it is in black and white for us to see!

Now, let’s turn back to the Book of Luke chapter 1 as we continue to explore the true story of Christmas.

Verse 18 – “And Zacharias said to the angel, ‘How shall I know this? …’”

In other words, ‘You’re telling me that I’m gonna be a father and my wife a mother,’ – “ … ‘For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.’”

She is well beyond the normal child-bearing years.

Verse 19 – “And the angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, …’”

Now, God’s living word – the Holy Bible – mentions three archangels. Lucifer, Gabriel, and Michael.

Now, Lucifer is not called Lucifer anymore.

Back before human beings even existed, Lucifer had his heart turn to darkness. He was jealous of the One we now call Jesus Christ. He wanted to be called the Son of God. But, he wasn’t – he was the cherub originally assigned to guard the very throne of God. Yet, he had an extremely important mission. His job, and the angels which were assigned to him, were in charge of preparing the Earth for human habitation. And yet, Lucifer’s heart darkened. And he had his name changed from the LORD God to Sātān – a Greek name derived from the Aramaic, an adversary. A destroyer and accuser of the brethren. Well, his fate, and the fate of his angelic followers is to be locked into a spiritual prison for all eternity – to become totally and completely insane and miserable. 4

Now, Michael and Gabriel have stayed true to God Almighty and Jesus Christ.

Michael is the great warrior archangel. We read about him in Revelation chapter 12. How he leads the battle against Satan the devil to clear him out of the atmosphere where he is now allowed to reside. And Satan the devil is cast to the earth, and soon afterward cast into “the bottomless pit.” A spiritual prison.

Gabriel is often referred to in God’s living word as God’s messenger. As he is here. It was Gabriel who spoke to Mary to tell her that the life which is forming inside of her is from the Spirit of God. It is Gabriel, right here, who tells Zacharias, “’ I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings.’”

Verse 20 – “’ But behold, you will be mute and not be able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.’”

So, when Zacharias brought this up – he was skeptical. It’s almost like the Patriarch Abraham and his wife Sarah. They too were skeptical.

Now, we suggest to all of you that if you ever encounter an archangel, and if he gives you a message, just believe it! Don’t fight it! Don’t struggle against it! Just believe what you’re told. Now, how many of us will have an archangel speak to us in this lifetime!? Probably not very many. But if one does, just say, “Aye aye, sir! I believe!”

Verse 21 – “And the people waited for Zacharias, and marveled that he lingered so long in the temple. 22) But when he came out, he could not speak to them; and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple, for he beckoned to them and remained speechless.”

Well, it was much more than a vision, he actually had a conversation with the archangel Gabriel.

Verse 23 – “So it was, as soon as the days of his service were completed, that he departed to his own house.”

Verse 24 – “Now after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived; and she hid herself five months, …”

Maybe she didn’t want anyone to know she was pregnant!? Maybe she couldn’t believe it herself!? No, well past normal child-bearing years – she’s going to have a baby! A special child – a child blessed by God Himself.

Verse 25 – “’ Thus the Lord has dealt with me, …’” so says Elizabeth – “ … ‘in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.’”

Now, in this period of time – and include even into the 20th century – if a married woman could not have children, she looked upon it as a shame. As though she had been cursed. Because, historically women wanted to have children. They wanted to become a mother. They realized that that was their very special gift to humankind – given to them by the LORD God. And hopefully, to have those young children, upon adulthood, take care of them in their elder years. That is how it was meant to be!

But, it’s sad to say, all too often that is not the way it is. And some of you can probably guess where we’re going. For thousands of years, women wanted to become pregnant, wanted to be a mother, and wanted to have children. Here in the US, there’s a drastic decline in population. According to a report by Business Insider, “The National Bureau of Economic Research found that birth rates in the US have declined by nearly 20% since 2007, while the fertility rate has been below the replacement level for decades. … The US fertility rate first dipped below the replacement level — the rate needed to sustain the population, which is about 2.1 births per woman — in the 1970s. … The Congressional Budget Office estimated this year that population growth will slow between 2023 and 2053 and that by 2042, any growth will be from immigration, not births.” 5 And to us it is logical that one of the consequences of homosexual “marriage” is adding to the woe in a decreasing population. And also, today, we have the new modern woman – who thinks being pregnant is something they should be ashamed of, and can’t wait to go find a doctor to murder their innocent baby! And, we’re going to say something that we don’t normally say – that practice is an utter damnation!

A damnation in the eyes of the LORD God! Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should do something. An example: A married man can have sexual relations with a woman that is not his wife. So, he can do it, but he shouldn’t do it! Because it has the potential of destroying his family, his wife, and the stability of his children as they grow up without a father – because he is no longer in the house. There are a lot of things we can do, but it doesn’t mean we should do them. And just because you can find an abortionist, doesn’t mean that you should. And, we don’t care how you say it – the LORD God’s commandment, “’ You shall not murder,’” applies to unborn babies. Babies that are completely innocent.

We are going to find out soon enough that some of the wrath of the Almighty God, and the wrath of Jesus Christ, in the Day of the Lord, will have its origins in the practice of aborting little unborn human babies! A terrible fate. A dastardly thing. A damnable thing.

The Birth of Jesus the Messiah

Continuing in verse 26 – “Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth.”

So, very quickly – our Lord Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem. But, Joseph and Mary were on their way to Jerusalem – the city of David – responding to Emperor Augustus’ commanded census – “the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.” But, after Jesus was born, and was a toddler, King Herod the Great wanted to have Him murdered, in an event known as the Massacre of the Innocents. And did indeed end up murdering thousands of male children. But, Joseph was told in a dream, “’ Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.’” Our Lord Jesus was born in 5 BC. Most, concerning the death of Herod the Great follows Emil Schürer's calculations, which suggest that the date was in or around 4 BC. Which is three years earlier than the traditional consensus of 1 BC. Whether it was a year or eight years before Jesus’ return should not be a matter of contention – “when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, ‘Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead.’” And when they did, they traveled to the city called Nazareth.

So, Gabriel was sent by God – verse 27 – “to a virgin betrothed [engaged] to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.” Recall we read a portion of this in the Book of Matthew chapter 1.

Verse 28 – “And having come in, the angel said to her, ‘Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!’”

Now, why was Mary called, “blessed are you among women”? First of all, she is but a young teenager. Was it because Mary was so inherently righteous!? Or, was it the fact the One we now call Jesus Christ had chosen her to be His mother!? Again – and we mentioned this in chapter two – have you ever heard the expression “You Can’t Choose Your Parents”!? Well, at 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!? So, it’s not because she was so inherently righteous or any deification. It was because she had been handpicked by the LORD God to be the human mother to the future human Jesus Christ.

Surely, you know where we are going with this. Think about the Roman Catholic Church. They take Mary and place her up on a pedestal to be equal with God. Mary holds a very high position in the Roman Catholic Church, so much so that she is like a goddess. Even though Roman Catholics will not agree with the statement of goddess-like abilities, the fact remains that Mary is highly exalted. 6 They act as if she is a member of the family of God. No. Mary isn’t in heaven. She is not at the “backdoor heaven.”

We know that this is not according to Catholic dogma and tradition. But it is the living truth of the Bible. Mary, as a human being, gave birth to Jesus Christ, she became officially married to Joseph, and she went on to have multiple sons and daughters – possibly seven children altogether. She lived her life and had to go through the trauma of seeing her eldest Son tortured to death. And then just a few days later she lived to see her Son resurrected from the dead! And officially become the Savior of all mankind of all time. She had quite a life. But then, at some point she went to sleep – she died. And she was placed into a tomb. And her physical body is but dust.

But, our Lord Jesus Christ hasn’t forgotten her! And when He returns He will have a personal hand in the physical resurrection of Mary His mother and of Joseph His father – and of bringing them back to life! To eternal life. That is such a great part of this story!

Moving on to verse 29 – “But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.”

She was certainly shocked! This angel, in the form of a man, wasn’t the next-door neighbor just coming over to ask for a cup of sugar.

Verse 30 – “Then the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31) And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS.’”

Or, rather Yeshua. Which means Savior.

Verse 32 – “’ He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.’”

King David ruled over all of Israel during his time.

Yet, when our Lord Jesus was born a human being – He did not become ruler over all Israel. In fact, they were in a form of servitude to the Roman Empire. Well, this is because when our Lord Jesus came, He was not destined to become King of kings and Lord of lords. His main mission: 1) Qualify to be a Savior for all mankind. Qualify to have complete dominion over Satan the devil. 2) He was to begin a movement where people could hear the Word of God, the Truth of God, and the Plan of God. About how they too, someday, can inherit eternal life. And be a part of the kingdom of God. □

To be continued.

Sources and Notes:

1 TED: The Economics Daily, US Bureau Of Labor Statistics, 8 July 2021. Retrieved 25 July 2023.
2 Njolomole, M., States that stayed open fared much better than states that shut down, American Experiment, 7 Aug. 2020. Retrieved 25 July 2023.
3 Navarro, H., Wearing Masks Outside Your Home is Mandatory in California. 18 Nov. 2020. Retrieved 25 July 2023.
4 The COJCOM believes there are scores of Scriptures in God’s living word that reveals a very different outcome for the Wicked One and his minions of demons. Our LORD God says emphatically, “’ When I say to the wicked, O wicked one, surely you shall die!’” – Ezekiel 33:8, The Interlinear Bible. You should take it to the bank! The LORD God has said to Satan, and to every wicked individual (human or spirit) “’ You will surely die.’” The LORD God alone, at this time, is immortal.
5 Valle D.G., How to prevent the Great People Shortage, Business Insider, 4 May 2023.
6 Slick, M., Summary of Roman Catholic Teachings about Mary, CARM, 23 Dec. 2011. Retrieved 26 July 2023.

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