And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women (Luke 1:26-28).
IN THE SIXTH MONTH...The story of Jesus’ birth occurs in Matthew and Luke, in the first two chapters of each book. (The birth of Jesus is not told in Mark and John.) In Matthew, the text is arranged to display Jesus’ legal position as the heir to the throne of David. Matthew tells the story of Jesus as the long promised and long expected Jewish Messiah; the Christ. Jesus is his name. Christ is his title.
IN LUKE, THE TEXT IS ARRANGED TO SHOW JESUS AS THE GOD-MAN, portraying more the humanity of Jesus. The narrative is an almost uninterrupted story. In Matthew and in Luke there is a strong connection between Elijah and the promised Christ-King.
IN LUKE, WE MUST ENTER THE STORY OF THE BIRTH OF CHRIST through the story of the birth of John the Baptist. Notice the words: in the sixth month (Luke 1:26). Christmas pageantry in our churches usually does not mention this except on our way to the birth of Jesus. Our Christmas plays are very limited in what they can do, so, they are almost always condensed. In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy with John the Baptist, in v.36 the text says: “…thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.”
FAST-FORWARD 30 YEARS: And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart, And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elijah talking with him. (Matthew. 17:1-3)
NOTICE THE CONVERSATION THAT FOLLOWS: And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead. And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elijah must first come? (Mat 17:9-10)
AND JESUS ANSWERED AND SAID UNTO THEM, Elijah truly shall first come, and restore all things. (Matthew 17:11) But I say unto you, That Elijah is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise, shall also the Son of man suffer of them. (Matthew 17:11-2) Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist. (Matthew 17:13)
HAVE WE OVEREMPHASIZED ELIJAH? I don’t think so. There are two aspects of Jesus’ role in coming to earth: The Suffering Messiah and the Ruling Messiah. Jesus offered the Promised Messiah and the Promised Kingdom, but not on their terms. When they rejected their Messiah, they had already rejected the message and ministry of John the Baptist who had come in the spirit of Elijah in fulfillment of the prophecies. They wanted a Messiah they could use against the Roman Government. They did not want to be submissive to him and in their rebellion, they had blinded themselves to the prophecies about the Suffering Messiah.
THE LANGUAGE OF MALACHI SPEAKS OF ELIJAH coming before the great and dreadful day of the Lord. Jesus is coming back to earth as the ruling Messiah to rule and execute judgment upon the earth, immediately after the seven years of tribulation spoken of in Revelation. Malachi saw the result of the coming Messiah and the end characteristics of Elijah the prophet. Many scholars believe that one of the two unnamed witnesses in Revelation 11 is Elijah. They perform miracles like those of Moses and Elijah.
●These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will. (Revelation 11:4-6)
●And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. (Revelation 11:7-9)
●And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. (Revelation 11:10-11)
“CHRISTMAS" CAME SIX MONTHS AFTER JOHN THE BAPTIST WAS BORN; six months after “Elijah” was born. It is good to read these things and discuss them with the intention of remembering them. Teach these things to your children. A set of figurines depicting the Christmas story are valuable in allowing young children to tell the story and place each figure in the proper place as the story is told. The birth of John the Baptist should be included in the story. Teach it well at home and they will have it for life.
EVERY YEAR LET THE CHILDREN TELL THE COMPLETE STORY. Observing the Advent Season with the lighting of candles is also a good way to focus on the Christmas story. The different colored candles stand for specific things that need to be remembered by adults and children as well.
WHEN THE CHRISTMAS SEASON IS OVER, pack up all the story pieces and keep them for next year. You can grow the collection a bit each year. Make it a part of your Christmas celebration. Do your children know the two angels that had names revealed to us? (Gabriel and Michael) Let’s make our homes to be strong teaching centers that coincide with what the children learn in church and in the Christian schools. Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
DECEMBER 13, 2018 - THURSDAY
A.M. Joel 1-3 P.M. Revelation 4
(BIBLE GATEWAY will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
A Good Verse to Memorize:
And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. (Luke 24:27)
Song for Today:
Choir & Orchestra: Joy to the World (Anonymous. Good music.)
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