From what we have observed, Christmas is one of the best times in our lives that we celebrate. There are numerous reasons why we celebrate the Christmas story, knowing first and foremost Christmas is about Jesus Christ!
What we can glean from the Bible are important truths that help us take shape an even greater story. It is hoped that these guide you into this holiday season!
1. God’s Forgiveness is available to all
We see in Isaiah 11:1-2, “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.”
We hear in the song, “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” that “God and sinners reconciled.” This is the amazing truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He provides Salvation and eternal life, and this comes from the benefit of forgiveness of sins. We see the ministry of reconciliation that God came in the form of man, Jesus Christ, to “Save His People from sin.” What an awesome thing we have in Christ!
2. God is in control of leadership of the world
Romans 13:1 says, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.”
Our God, who has made the earth, stars, universe, heavens, and more is our commanding leader overall! Peace is within the Prince of Peace, and He alone provides rest for our souls. God regards our lowliness as well, and provides us forgiveness. He is our Great Shepherd (Psalm 23).
3. Christ Jesus is our Shepherd
Psalm 23 describes Our Lord is Our Shepherd. Ezekiel 34:15, “I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord GOD.”
Christ Jesus came to impute upon us peace, and lead and guide us through Life more abundantly. The hope of eternal life can be for all people, and we do hope we can spread it evermore to so many people.
He provides us our daily provisions, He gives us rest for our souls (as we noted above), He helps us by delivering us from evil and death, and gives us goodness and mercy forevermore.
4. God grants peace as we wait upon Him
Just as prophesied in Isaiah 9:6, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
Then, we see powerful truth in Romans 16:20, “And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.” Also note 2 Thessalonians 3:16, “Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all.”
When we reflect upon God, we allow His Spirit to speak to us. We reflect on the wonder of God, our Creator, and all the beautiful things He has created! It’s truly amazing.
5. God can powerfully perform the impossible
Matthew 19:26 says, “But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.”
God really can do the impossible, for with Him, all things are possible. He can help in almost any situation, save us from trouble, and help improve our lives. This is something we must truly believe, for He can truly help us. Since He can help us, we know we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13).
6. God is our utmost provider
God provided the Passover lamb for us, who was born in to this world, the redeemer, Jesus Christ: “And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together” (Genesis 22:8).
This is proven in Philippians 4:19, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
7. Heaven is going to be so awesome
Knowing we had this great and merciful Savior from Heaven come, we better believe so many great things are awaiting us for our eternal destiny in Heaven!
John 14:1-3 tells us the first magnificent truth, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told* you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
1 Corinthians 2:9-10 then tells us that we cannot imagine the awesomeness, but must know that it is so overwhelmingly awesome… “But as it is written*, Eye hath not seen, nor* ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.”
Now, we discover one of the most awesome things in Revelation 21:3-4, “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
We will have new bodies eventually… 1 Corinthians 15:40 says, “There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.” Then also in 1 Corinthians 15:54, “So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.”
What will it look like (kind of)… Revelation 21:18-23, “And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolyte; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.”
Overall, Salvation, eternal life, Christ Jesus coming, and all great things that pertain to life and godliness – How Awesome!
As you can see, we’re nearly knee deep in this Holiday season. Right now, finding Christmas music is easy, but not as much for Christians. So, what songs should you target, especially if you want to praise and worship the King, Jesus Christ, this Christmas season?
Our Lord Jesus Christ was born in a manger in Bethlehem, what a joyous experience. Here are the takes on this story. Only Matthew and John’s takes are included to avoid redundancy, repetition, and length.
Matthew, the tax collector, was the writer of this gospel book. The date it was finished was around the 60s A.D. The beginning of Matthew starts with a genealogy of Jesus all the way back to David and Abraham. This shows that Jesus has a kingly and covenant heritage through David and a covenant heritage through Abraham. The Davidic Covenant ensures the promise of a king to sit upon his throne forever, according to 2 Samuel 7:8-13. The Abrahamic Covenant ensured all families of the earth to be blessed, according to Genesis 12:3.
Now, Jesus’ birth was prophesied unto Joseph by the angel of the Lord, which appeared to Joseph in a dream. Jesus was then born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the reigning days of King Herod. The angel of the Lord again appeared to Joseph telling him to take Mary and Jesus with him and flee to Egypt, to escape the killing of Jesus by King Herod. Once Herod died, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph telling him to take Mary and Jesus with him to Israel. Jesus now lived in Nazareth.
Next, Matthew writes of John the Baptist, who told the people to prepare the way for the Lord, making the path straight for Jesus to come. Jesus then came unto John to be baptized. John appealed to Jesus, insisting the Jesus should baptize him instead. However, Jesus insisted back and John proceeded with the baptism of Jesus. During the baptism, God and the Holy Spirit were also with Jesus.
Satan then meets Jesus in the wilderness. This is for Jesus to be tempted, after Jesus just completed fasting 40 days and nights. Jesus successfully defeated the temptations of the devil by using Scripture. Through this, we discover and know that Jesus came to be a savior first, and then a king.
Jesus began His ministry in Galilee, where He first taught for people to “repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (4:17). Jesus then called four disciples: two of which were Peter and Andrew, who He instructed to follow Him and He would make them fishers of men. Next, Jesus came upon James and John, whom He also told to follow Him. Now, all four of them began following Him. Jesus began teaching in synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and healing the sick and diseased.
Next, Jesus taught at the Sermon on the Mount. Through the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught God’s principles for righteousness. Jesus began with the Beatitudes, to show people how they’re blessed. He also taught on being salt and light of the earth. Then, He moved forward through the Sermon on the Mount to teach on anger and reconciliation, adultery, divorce, oaths, revenge, love for enemies, giving to the poor and needy, prayer, fasting, laying up treasures in Heaven, being free from worry, judgments, hypocrisy, the Golden Rule, false prophets, and God’s Will.
When Jesus finished teaching at the Sermon on the Mount, He healed many people including a leper, the centurion’s servant, Peter’s mother-in-law, and a paralytic. Jesus next added Matthew, the tax collector, as His disciple. Jesus had called twelve disciples total, giving them power to cast out unclean spirits and healing the sick and diseased. Jesus thoroughly instructed the disciples, which involved preaching the kingdom of God and that they would suffer and be persecuted for His sake.
Upon more teaching and healing, Jesus also casted out more demons. Next, Jesus began teaching on the kingdom of Heaven and told parables (stories) about it. Matthew records fifteen parables, twelve of which began with “the kingdom of Heaven is like…” Jesus spoke of the kingdom of Heaven being like the sower, the tares, the mustard seed, the leaven (in the dough), the hidden treasure, an expensive pearl, and a dragnet.
After that, Jesus had to deal with being rejected in His own country, Nazareth, and then His friend, John the Baptist, was beheaded. Next, Jesus fed five thousand people with five loaves and two fish. Then, after teaching some more, Jesus fed four thousand more people with seven loaves and a few fish. Through these miracles, persecution increased from the Pharisees and others. Jesus began the building of the Church through Peter (and the other disciples). Jesus then predicted His own death, noting He’d be raised again on the third day.
Next, Jesus healed and taught more parables. Then, Palm Sunday came around. During this time, people celebrated Jesus as king/messiah, waving Palm Branches and other forms of celebration for Him. Soon after, Jesus went into the temple and overturned the merchant’s tables, because they were doing business in the temple. Jesus ordered the merchants to leave. The Pharisees and other persecutors saw this and took note of it. Because of this, the Pharisees started testing Jesus to find flaws in His teachings. However, Jesus knew what they were up to and didn’t fall to their tests.
Jesus then taught more parables and other things, including the Great Commandment to love God and neighbors. Next, Jesus prophesied about His Second Coming. He also prophesied for His people to be ready, which was taught through the parables: of the faithful servant, of the ten virgins, and of the talents.
After this, Matthew writes about the plot to kill Jesus, which involved the chief priests, scribes, and elders unto the high priest Caiaphas. They wanted to take Jesus through subtlety, and arrest Him. Judas then went to one of the chief priests, and made a deal with him to betray Jesus.
Next, the Last Supper began, which was part of the feast of unleavened bread. Jesus gathered with His disciples, and administered His body and His blood for the remission of sins. Jesus knew of Judas’ plan for betrayal, and Peter’s expected denial of Him. Later, Jesus was betrayed and arrested, came before Caiaphas to be judged, and was denied by Peter. After Jesus came before Pilate and was voted to be crucified, Jesus was delivered over for crucifixion.
During the stages of the crucifixion, Jesus was mocked, beaten, and whipped. Then, Jesus was crucified at Golgotha in the middle of two thieves. After a while of hanging on the cross, Jesus cried out before the Lord and gave up His spirit (and died). He was placed inside a tomb of His own, where He resurrected from three days later. Many had come and found the tomb empty.
Soon after, Jesus appeared to the eleven disciples (for Judas betrayed Jesus and was no longer a disciple as a result), where He commissioned them to go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. This would end Matthew’s writings about Jesus.
John’s gospel, different from the other three, is about Jesus, the Son of God. John wrote this book between 80-95 A.D. According to John 20:31, he wrote it with the intention to prove Jesus was the Christ, the promised messiah for the Jews, and the Son of God. Also, that Jesus wants to lead believers into a life of divine friendship with Him. John also places an emphasis of the sonship of Jesus with the Father.
The book begins with an introduction to Jesus and to the book itself. First, we recognize that Jesus had no beginning, but that He was in the beginning already with God the Father and the Holy Spirit. He is the Word, which means he came to declare and tell about God. Also, that “all things were made by Him, and in Him was life; and the life was the light of men” (1:3-4). Then, in 1:14, we find that He was made flesh and dwelt among us (as the Son of Man). Law and truth came by Moses, but Jesus brought grace and truth (1:17). What’s amazing is, those who received Him can become sons of God, if they believe in Him (1:12).
John began about Jesus’ ministry by talking about John the Baptist first. He notes the prophet Esaias called out to everyone (during John’s baptizing scene) that Jesus is coming, and to make His way straight. Then, the next day, John the Baptist saw Jesus coming and announced Him – before baptizing Him. John the Baptist, even birthed in flesh before Jesus, said that Jesus was before Him – acknowledging that Jesus pre-existed before His fleshly birth.
The next day, Jesus came upon Andrew and Peter, and they wanted to know where He dwells. So, Jesus told them to “come and see.” So, they began following Him. The day after that, Philip and Nathanael began following Jesus as well. Jesus was then called to a wedding in Cana of Galilee, where He would then turn water into wine. This was the first of His miracles noted by John. Soon, during the Jews’ Passover, Jesus went to Jerusalem for the temple. There, He set foot in the temple, where He found people selling merchandise of sorts. Jesus formed a whip and then drove them all out of the temple and overthrew their table they were selling on.
Jesus taught many, including Nicodemus about new birth and the kingdom of God. Soon, He taught about God loving the world so much, that He was given, and for those who believed in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. Also, that He didn’t come to condemn men, but to save them rather. Those who don’t believe are condemned already. Those who do evil hate the light and those who do truth come to the light. Jesus then taught a woman of Samaria about the water that leads to everlasting life. Also, that the true worshippers should worship God in spirit and in truth.
Next, after teaching a bit, Jesus then went to convert a group of Samaritans (and speak of His own rejection as a prophet), and forward to Cana to heal a nobleman’s son (who was dying). Jesus then traveled to Jerusalem, where He healed an impotent man who was afflicted for thirty-eight years. Soon, Jesus proclaimed before people that He was equal with God, and that He shares the same purpose for doing things. Later, when Jesus went to the land near the sea of Tiberius, where He fed five-thousand people with five barley loaves and two small fishes. Jesus made claim the following day that He was the bread of life, which the Jews rejected. Jesus stated that the Father draws people to Him, and that they don’t have life in them unless they eat the flesh and drink the blood of Jesus (which foreshadows the communion).
Next, John notes that many of His disciples left His side. Jesus knew also, after Peter confessed Him as the Son of God, that Judas would betray Him. Soon, Jesus went up to the temple during the feast of the tabernacles, where He taught about the doctrine of God, Moses’ law of circumcision, about being sent from the Father, and that the Spirit is living water. Then, Jesus went to the Mount of Olives early in the morning, where He saw the scribes and Pharisees, whom He had trouble with in the past in regards to persecutions of His teaching and miracles. He also saw a woman with them who had sinned in adultery. Jesus was writing on the ground with His finger, when the scribes and Pharisees came over and were telling Him that the woman should be stoned because of violating Moses’ law. They kept bugging Jesus, until He stood up for the woman and said, “he that is without sin among you, let Him first cast a stone at her.” They left Jesus and the woman alone. Jesus told the woman she was not condemned, and that she should “go and sin no more.”
Jesus then taught about many things, such as Himself being the light of the world, unbelief, and about being the children of Abraham. Apart from this teaching, healing a blind man, and dealing with the troubling Pharisees – Jesus spoke about being the door of the sheep, that He is the good shepherd: also giver and taker of life. Soon, the Jews wanted to take and arrest Him, but Jesus escaped.
Now, Lazarus, Jesus’ friend, was found sick, and Jesus was told about it. Jesus waited two days, and then came to visit Lazarus – only to find Him dead. Later, Jesus came to where Lazarus was laid, and raised him from the dead, which made the Pharisees very angry. The chief priests and Pharisees gathered before the high priest, Caiaphas, where they plotted to have Jesus killed. Later, after being anointed by Mary, Jesus came to Jerusalem on a donkey, where people celebrated Him with palm branches. Jesus then had some trouble with the Jews and Gentiles concerning their service and belief patterns.
Now, during the feast of the Passover (the last supper in the other gospels), after the supper was done, Jesus humbled Himself and washed the disciples’ feet. He then taught about the great commandment to “love one another as I have loved you.” He also prophesied that Peter would deny Him three times before the cock crowed. Next, Jesus taught about Himself being the way, the truth, and the life to which no one comes to the Father but by Him. Those who ask in His name, He shall give to them. He also promised that the Holy Spirit will come upon them, and shall be with them to comfort them. After that, Jesus taught that He was the true vine and His people were the branches. Also, that through abiding in Him, He shall abide in His people also. He then spoke of the great commandment again, before teaching on persecution.
After teaching some more and being in deep intercession with God, Jesus was then betrayed by Judas and arrested. Jesus was brought to trial before Caiaphas, before being denied by Peter three times. Jesus then came before Pilate, who didn’t find Him guilty. After trying to reason with the people, the people voted Jesus to be crucified over Barabbas the robber. People chose Barabbas, that is, over Jesus to be called innocent or free from crucifixion. After this incident, Pilate took Jesus for scourging, and then brought Him back before the people – assuring them that He was guilty. When Pilate saw he had no choice, he handed Jesus over for crucifixion – where Jesus was mocked and beaten. The time came soon after for Jesus to be crucified, where He later gave up His spirit and died. He was placed inside a tomb, to where He would arise in a few days.
Mary Magdalene was the first to see that Jesus was gone from the tomb. She went and got Peter, who came with another disciple or group of people – and saw that Jesus was gone. Later, Jesus appeared to Mary, and then to His disciples. Thomas was doubtful, so Jesus allowed him to feel with his finger on His hands, and his hand to His sides – to which Thomas believed.
Soon, Jesus showed before the disciples again, where He ate with them and met with Peter about feeding His sheep & continuing to follow Him. John, to end the book, claimed that Jesus did many other things, but that the world couldn’t contain the books that should be written.
Do not be conformed, says the Lord, to the world
What the world says
What Jesus says to do instead
Those competent and “have it all together” are valued.
Those desperate and needy are accepted (Matthew 5:3); Come all to Jesus those who are weak and burdened, and you will receive rest (Matthew 11:28).
Suffering for any reason should be avoided.
Suffering for righteousness is expected, and believers will be rewarded (Matthew 5:10-12).
Treat others the way they treat you.
Show enemies forgiveness and love (safely please)(Matthew 5:38-48).
Do good things to get people to notice you and be praised for it.
Do good things quietly, not worrying if people are impressed, because you know your reward will be in Heaven (Matthew 6:1-6).
Stockpile as much wealth as possible.
We store up treasures in Heaven (Matthew 6:19-21).
Spending time obsessing over food and clothing, and other such matters.
Concerned with spiritual and eternal matters (Matthew 6:33).
Point out the flaws of others and critique no matter how much it hurts.
You focus on your own troubles and shortcomings (Matthew 7:1-5).
Go with the crowd of the world.
We are called to follow the narrow road that leads to life and eternal life (Matthew 7:14).
Jesus visited Zacchaeus the tax collector (Luke 19:1-27).
Mary anointed Jesus’ feet with perfume (Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9; John 12:1-8).
SUNDAY – The Triumphal Entry: Jesus entered Jerusalem (Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; John 12:12-19).
MONDAY – Second cleansing of the Temple done by Jesus (Matthew 21:12-16; Mark 11:15-19; Luke 19:45-46).
TUESDAY – Pharisees dispute with Jesus in the courts of the Temple (Matthew 22:15-45; Mark 12:13-27; 12:35-40; Luke 20:20-47). Jesus commended the widow’s offering (Mark 12:41-44; Luke 21:1-4). The Olivet Discourse: Jesus taught on the Mount of Olives (Matthew 24:1-25:46; Mark 13:1-37; Luke 21:5-38).
WEDNESDAY – Judas Iscariot agreed to betray Jesus (Matthew 26:1-5; 26:14-16; Mark 14:1-2; 14:10-11; Luke 22:1-6).
THURSDAY – Passover: Jesus washed the disciples’ feet (John 13:1-17), The Last Supper: Jesus and the disciples share their final meal together (Matthew 26:17-30; Mark 14:12-26; Luke 22:7-30; John 13:18-30). Soon, Jesus predicted Peter’s denial (Matthew 26:1-35; Mark 14:27-31; Luke 22:31-38; John 13:31-38).
MIDNIGHT – Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46). Soon, Jesus is arrested as Judas betrayed Him (Matthew 26:47-56; Mark 14:43-52; Luke 22:47-53; John 18:1-12).
FRIDAY – Jesus stood trial before Annas, Caiaphas, and then the Sanhedrin (Matthew 26:57-68; Mark 14:53-65; Luke 22:54; John 18:13-14; 18:19-24). Peter denies Jesus three times (Matthew 26:69-75; Mark 14:66-72; Luke 22:54-62; John 18:15-18; 18:25-27).
DAYBREAK – The Sanhedrin condemned Jesus (Matthew 27:1-2; Mark 15:1; Luke 22;63-71). Jesus then stood trial before Herod and Pilate (Matthew 27:11-26; Mark 15:2-15; Luke 23:1-25; John 18:28-19:16).
The soldiers beat Jesus, mocked Him with the Crown of Thorns, and Simon helped carry Jesus’ cross (Matthew 27:27-32; Mark 15:16-21; Luke 23:26-32; John 19:1-3; 19:17).
9:00 AM – The Crucifixion: Jesus is nailed to the cross (Matthew 27:33-44; Mark 15:22-32; Luke 23:33-38; John 19:18-24).
3:00 PM – Jesus died on the cross (Matthew 27:45-56; Mark 15:33-41; Luke 23:44-49; John 19:28-37).
SUNSET – Jesus’ Body is placed in the tomb (Matthew 27:57-61; Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42).
SATURDAY – Roman guard is posted at the tomb (Matthew 27:62-66).
SUNDAY – Resurrection of Jesus Christ: Women find the tomb empty where Jesus was laid, and Peter and John come to find it empty as well (Matthew 28:1-8; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-10).
Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene, other women, two men on the road to Emmaus, and to His Disciples two times (Matthew 28:8-10; Mark 16:9-14; Luke 24:13-49; John 20:11-31).
Jesus dined with his disciples after a miraculous group of fish are caught (John 21:1-14). Jesus restored Peter to “Feed my sheep” (John 21:1-25).
Darius the Great found plenty of trouble when he came to claim the throne of Persia at the death of Cambyses. There were around 19 battles fought before Darius could take his place as leader and head. There was a serious depression, crop failure, and apparent ruin facing the Jewish people, who responded to the call of Haggai to build the Temple. The bluntness of Haggai had its effect, and Zechariah came to the rescue to supplement the needed help. These two Prophets did a significant work in keeping the interest high and the hands busy. Much of the Historical Background is similar to Haggai’s.
Zechariah gives us a marvelous picture of the First Advent of Christ in his humiliation, suffering and death – all fulfilled in the experiences of our Savior, including His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the perfidious betrayal for thirty pieces of silver, the purchase of the potter’s field with the blood money, the piercing and the wounds in the hands and the fountain opened. He also gives us another marvelous picture, which was of the Second Advent of Christ when He shall come in great glory to set up His Kingdom on the earth. His vision into the glories of the future kingdom is excelled only by that which was granted to St. John, the beloved six hundred years later on the Isle of Patmos and recorded in the Book of Revelation, which so strangely reminds us of the Prophecy of Zechariah.
The opening appeal of Zechariah was that a strong and intense Spiritual call to repentance in the Old Testament calls to repent and obey. The visions came to an impatient people who were tired and worn, skeptical as to the blessings and promises, for they were slow in coming. God grants such words of assurance through the book.
Chapter 1: We see a strong and intense spiritual call to repentance and obedience. Visions came to an impatient people who were weary. God grants words of assurance in many different visions (chapters 1-6). The vision we see of The Horsemen is similar to Revelation 6:1-11. These four horsemen are doing patrol through the earth to assure peace and quiet because of God’s presence. Next, is the vision of The Four Horns and The Four Smiths – to which, hostile powers scattered Israel, but these four world powers were being used by God to save Israel.
Chapter 2: We see the vision explained The Man with the Measuring Line, to which, this vision declares that God will re-people, protect and dwell in the city of Jerusalem. God will be a wall about them, and His glory will dwell amidst them. People long for freedom and pray for God’s mercy. He loves His People and He knows the issue of their enemies. God further encourages them to go forth, and that He will be with them.
Chapter 3: This vision shows Joshua Accused by the Adversary, to which he appears with soiled garments. He is a representative of the people and he is forgiven, cleansed, anointed, clothed in rich apparel, and becomes the sign of the Messiah. This is the way that we must appear as a priest before the Lord, for yet He cleanses us, anoints us, and uses us for His service when we are submitting to His Will.
Chapter 4: This vision of The Golden Chandelier and the Two Olive Trees was an encouragement concerning Zerubbabel as truly God’s anointed prince, endowed with power from God to do the work. God’s two anointed leaders Joshua and Zerubbabel, are the instruments (a foreshadow of the Two Witnesses in Revelation).
Chapter 5: This is a vision of The Flying Roll, to which, Israel will enjoy the blessings of God’s promises as they cleanse and purify themselves. The other vision was The Woman in the Ephah, to which, the woman seen sitting in a seven gallon measure is being transported to the Land of Shinar. When the Tempe is built, sin must be carried away.
Chapter 6: The vision of The Four Chariots. Powerful horses, dashing in different directions, represent the four winds of heaven under the control of God as He carries out His promises. Then, there is Jesus and Zechariah at the Coronation scene, to which, we see the definite prediction of the coming Messianic reign of peace and glory.
Chapter 7: People are starting to have questions about different fasts. The Jews instituted four fasts to mourn the destruction of Jerusalem. The Temple was beginning to take shape, and with it rebuilt, should the fasts continue…? Zechariah tells them that those fasts did not have an value in God’s sight anyway. However, people were stubborn and pitied themselves to keep the fasts. Because His People ignored God’s instruction to them through the Prophets, God ignored their prayers in return when the enemy had attacked. Because of this overall, they were taken into captivity.
Chapter 8: Zechariah outlines the blessings that will come to Jerusalem when God dwells there. God’s love for Jerusalem was the reason for such punishment. In the new community of God’s People, there will be no place for fear or violence. Above that, they will enjoy true fellowship with God. People are urged not to waste time mourning over the calamities of the past.
Chapter 9: We start seeing the info about the triumph of the Messiah, for Israel has always looked forward to a messianic day of glory and power. The people longed for the day when all enemies would be destroyed, and righteousness would be established in the land under the rule of the Messiah. Zechariah’s prophecies have been fulfilled in part, and some await – to which, they are not descriptions of historical events that were necessarily written in advance, but they are a revelation of God’s purposes given to instruct, warn, encourage, guide, and inform His People. Of course, we have to note that the fulfillment of prophecies can span many eras/generations – not always immediately. Once God’s judgment is out of the way, the nation would settle down to a life of security, joy, and prosperity.
Chapter 10: We see there are many problems of leadership, to which, the Temple had long been finished and life in Jerusalem was not as it was previously. People were also using idolatrous ways in using objects such as magic charms – however, Zechariah tells them to stop such practices and to trust in God alone. God is angry with Israel’s leaders, those who have no concern for the people that they rule. God plans to replace them with strong and dependable leaders. God’s strength would overthrow the nations’ leaders, and the Jews that were still scattered would also return to their homeland. Those that oppress, God would punish, which would be like a raging fire sweeping through the forests.
Chapter 11: After announcing God’s judgment on Israel’s bad leaders, Zechariah demonstrates that judgment in two short plays. In these plays, he acts as a shepherd, representing the leaders of God’s People. The first play God told Zechariah to act the part of the good shepherd, to which, Zechariah was to look after the people that were oppressed and exploited by bad shepherds. In the second play, Zechariah played the part of a bad shepherd, which was the sort of shepherd that Israel wanted. This cruel and selfish type of leadership was what the people deserved, and this would be God’s means of punishing them.
Chapter 12: Victory shall come, but with mourning. God used Gentile nations to punish His People, but if His desire were to fight for Israel, no enemy attack would be successful. God, though, would strengthen His People and people would give glory to God for Jerusalem’s victory. God’s People may have had a great victory, but it was costly – as many had died, and the mourning was through the land, however, God’s forgiveness was available to all who are genuinely sorry for their disobedience and treachery.
Chapter 13: He talks about false prophets and what the true shepherds are. If a false prophet escapes, for example, he might try to preserve his life by throwing away his prophet’s cloak and disguising himself as a farmer. Zechariah also talks about leadership – the leader of God’s choice would be one who is close to God and would truly care for God’s People. He talks about the true shepherd, which is no doubt, God’s Chosen One, Jesus Christ the Messiah. Some were saved from judgment, and these men would become God’s true people, even though they suffered persecution at the hands of the rebellious.
Chapter 14: God gives His People satisfaction and Israel is compensated for all that was previously lost to plundering armies. Enemies are destroyed in a terrifying judgment. No longer would there be a difference, though, between sacred and non-sacred articles. Everything is holy and fit for the service of God. True holiness will at last be established in the world.
2:13, “Be silent, O all flesh, before the LORD: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation.”
3:1-2, “And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?”
4:6, “Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” God gives a message of encouragement that He would be with them, by equipping them with His Presence! Using our own strength is pointless, for His Strength shall be equipped unto us!
11:13, “And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD.” This tells us that giving should be in more abundance, not just a little bit, because after all, it all belongs to God anyway.
13:9, “And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.”
14:9, “And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.” This one explains itself, that the Lord shall be King over all the earth – which is a prophecy of the coming Messiah! It’ll be great for people to only worship One God!
14:20, “In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD; and the pots in the LORD’S house shall be like the bowls before the altar.” When people are converted before the Lord, they are ever transformed by His grace and holiness, and therefore, this should be symbolic of divine worship before the altar of the Lord.
The Branch: 6:12, “And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD.”
The Wounded Hands: 13:6, “And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.”
The Shepherd: 13:7, “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.”
The Wise Men (not just three wise men and not just three gifts) came from “afar” between 40 days and 2 years after the birth of Christ to visit the holy child and bear gifts unto Him. Scripture gives us information that there were three gifts presented (which is because at the time the Scripture witness was there, he only saw three gifts presented most notable). These gifts stated in Scripture were gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Why were these three most notable? They carry extraordinary significance. Gold is a measurable money, frankincense is a perfume and healing agent, and myrrh is a burial spice and healing agent. God equipped His Son just as He now equips us for everything.
Why were they wise men? They were philosophers, priests, astronomers, medical practitioners/apothecaries, religious leaders, scribes, etc. Many of them dwelt in Persia or Arabia, and were held in high esteem. The Star they followed at night to guide them to the Newborn King was a significant one as the usual odd star appearances signified the birth or death of a very important figure (good or evil). In this case, it was very good! Someone remarkable just appeared and the Jews were sore amazed and avidly looking for the Messiah.
What does the Prophet Daniel speak in this moment? Daniel 9:25-27 says, “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”
Such prophecy meant the Jews would be anxious at such remarkable event, as I said, the appearing of a new star or comet meant an omen that some remarkable or notorious person was born or had died. For example, a comet appeared for seven days at the death of Julius Caesar. People knew this situation was no anecdote.
He was to be honored as King of the Jews, or the Coming King. What about Son of God? Many did not know this child to be as the Son of God. However, some were sent because they were to “spy” for Herod and report their findings. Herod had an evil plan in mind, which we will discuss in the next part of our series.
Let us read then in Matthew 2:1-11, “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,
And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.”
Archaeologically speaking, we do not see enough reference points to reveal the data; however, there has been a significant surfacing research that there is a grotto beneath the Nativity Church that could have been the birthplace of Christ, and that the grotto was built over top of to protect it from any harm as it is a holy site.
Astronomers Michael Mornar and David Weintraub from Vanderbilt University attempt to investigate:
“The portent began on April 17 of 6 BC (with the heliacal rising of Jupiter that morning, followed, at noon, by its lunar occultation in the constellation Aries) and lasted until December 19 of 6 BC (when Jupiter stopped moving to the west, stood still briefly, and began moving to the east, as compared with the fixed background stars). By the earliest time the men could have arrived in Bethlehem, the baby Jesus would likely have been at least a toddler.”
Historical research shows that the Herodian Lineage was quite an evil lineage (which we will discuss in further depth next episode). Nonetheless, what we see overall is that The Temple was where Herod would conduct ruling business, and that is where several decisions were made to spy on Jesus, conduct investigations, and attempt an evil deed against Jesus.
North and west of The Temple was Herod’s Palace near the Upper City in Jerusalem, and then Herod also had his own outer defense wall built along with an aqueduct. This is significantly pagan in nature due to the entropic of closing the city tight near his palace to prevent any spying on his evil activities. Traditional scholars warrant a further investigation into his functions, which we will be getting to very soon.
We wish for more evidence to be brought into this situation; however, there is still limited evidence for the appearance of an odd star, many note as “Star of David” – nonetheless, we do have the assurance a King was born in the City of David and that the remarkable event staged an immediate action by King Herod. Such action would influence the very being of the course of the world, lest a Savior were to come. The Spirit of God is upon us, and we have to be aware of His Provision as He makes way in just the right moment.We will explore more next week as we Discover Research that Leverages Faith.
Our future redeemer was said to be born of the seed of a woman, as the Lord says in Genesis 3:15, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Who should this redeemer be? In Galatians 4:4-5, we have fulfillment, where Paul says, “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.”
The Lord said to Abraham in Genesis 12:2-3, “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” and then in 22:17-18, “That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.” Jesus was born of the seed of Abraham as we read in Matthew 1:1.
What this means is that a King is coming from Abraham that shall bless all the nations of the earth – and should Abraham obey, there shall be a tremendous redemption.
After that, in Genesis 17:19, we see the redeemer also coming from Isaac confirmed in Matthew 1:2, therefore we read in Genesis 17:19, “And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.”Then, in Genesis 49:10, we read Jacob’s words here, “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.”
Who then is this coming “Shiloh?” The lawgiver may be around, but a new lawgiver is coming eventually? From whence He came? Shiloh? What about the Sceptre? Someone coming who would unimaginably rule the world with the greatest prosperity?
Who is the One who comes from Jacob? In Numbers 24:17, we read what Balaam said, “I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.
“The Star from Jacob, the Sceptre from Israel, the One with the power to smite the corners of Moab and destroy the children of Sheth… Who was it? Jesus! As we read in Matthew 1:2. Jesus was from the Tribe of Judah, which is confirmed in Luke 3:33.What about Job 19:25, the Coming Redeemer? Job speaks this then… “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.” This Coming Redeemer arriving to save Job and the world overall from death.
According to Isaiah 7:14, this Redeemer will be conceived through a Virgin, as God said, “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” (Isaiah 9:6-7). Where do we find this fulfillment? In Luke 1:32-33, the angel told Mary, “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”
His throne shall be established upon the throne of David – the One of whom shall multiply the seed forever!And He shall be of the Root of Jesse, In Isaiah 11:10, “And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.” Of the root of Jesse, as we see in Isaiah 11:10, it shall be the One even the Gentiles seek! Victory for the Gentiles through the Coming Christ from the root of Jesse!
We see this confirmed branch of righteousness from David in Jeremiah 23:5, the Lord speaks it so, “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.”
Who is the Son of man revealed in Daniel’s visions in 7:13-14, “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” In Luke 1:26-31, we read the confirmation from the angel Gabriel to Mary, “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 favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.”
What time shall His Birth come? We see in Daniel 9:25, the angel Gabriel telling Daniel, “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.” That confirmed in Luke 2:1-2 as we will read more into a little later.
Is this the One called from Egypt in Hosea 11:1, “When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.”
Apparently, He is the One to be born in Bethlehem as we see in Micah 5:2, “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” The Coming King, who reigned before the foundation of the world, shall come and be that Great One! We will read the confirming of His Birth in Bethlehem in Luke 2:4-7.
New Testament Accounts
Matthew 1:18-2:11, “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS. Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.”
Luke 2:6-16, “And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.”
This Messiah, Jesus, is God in the flesh – 100% God and 100% Man (see Colossians 2:9). He existed even before the foundation of the world, as He is God in the flesh… SO, Let’s read in John 1:1-18, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”