At Christmas time, we all are thinking about what gifts we can get for our, spouse, kids, grandkids, friends, and family. We need to operate within a budget in order to be able to get what we need for everyone on our list. The most appreciated gifts are those that are given with the receiver in mind; those which some time was spent in researching the needs and wants of the recipient and an appropriate gift being obtained. Of course in this time spent, and searching for the right gift, love is demonstrated; for we truly want to bless those who we are giving to. It is like a little piece of yourself is in the gift.
And so it was with God. He gave of Himself, in His only begotten Son, a gift that cannot possibly be measured. He loved man so much that He wanted to give him a means to righteousness, for He knew that man could never become righteous enough to pass through the Veil, to stand in the presence of the Almighty God.
John 3: 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
That name is Jesus, which when translated means “Jehovah saves.” God had promised to send a redeemer since the times of the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. God made covenant with Abraham’s descendants became the people of Israel. This redeemer would be called the Messiah which would be God as a man, and would come out of Israel.
God had given His people the law in the wilderness after they had been delivered from Egypt. The people thought that they were well able to keep whatever God said. So He gave them the law which is perfect, but men are not. Without sacrifice and repentance, men were not able to stand before God. They needed Moses as their Prophet and spokesman for God;
and Moses' brother Aaron, their High Priest to represent them before God.
Ex 19: 3 And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel;
4 Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.
5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:
6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.
7 And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him.
8 And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD.
God’s response to this arrogant statement was not the Graceful actions that had been given to the people of Israel since their deliverance from Egypt: protection, food, water, all healed, and 100% cared for.
10 And the LORD said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes,
11 And be ready against the third day: for the third day the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai.
12 And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death:
13 There shall not an hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live: when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount.
When their leader and prophet, Moses went up to Mt Sinai to receive the whole of the law the people fell into idolatry and fornication and sin and rebellion against God were rampant. The offenders were severely punished and 3000 people died. They might have all died if not for the goodness of God.
God ordered the building of the Tabernacle in the wilderness of Sinai. It was a mobile tent that had the special golden furniture, and an altar, a laver, all within a courtyard. Every facet was a picture of God’s Son, who would be man and Divine; a constant reminder of the promise that God would send the Messiah.
For several hundred years, the Tabernacle was the center of worship for God; through the times of the Judges when God would raise up a anointed Judge to lead the people away from oppression after their idolatry and sins would cause them to be overtaken by the surrounding kingdoms.
In the days of Samuel (last Judge, first of the Prophets) the people wanted a king. God had Samuel to anoint Saul, which did not do well, then David, the great King of Israel. David’s son Solomon became the 3rd King and in his reign the tabernacle was upgraded to a magnificent Temple in Jerusalem. This temple stood as a center of worship for the Jews until they were overtaken by Babylon and it was destroyed in 586 BC. The nation of Israel were taken captive because of Idolatry and sins against God.
Prophets all told that the Redeemer was coming, that God’s promise was good and that Israel would be restored. They did not become a nation again until 1948.
The last of the prophets in the OT is Malachi who once again told the people that Messiah was coming.
It was 400 more years, before the Messiah would come. God is always faithful, His promise is always good, even though it may seem that the time is not convenient for us, it is always within God’s plan.
When the time was right, God sent a special Angel to take care of the details for the birth of His Son.
Lk 1: 26 ¶ And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
28 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.
29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
32 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:
33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
36 And, behold, 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.
37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.
38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
And so by the power of God a virgin conceived to carry God’s Son.
Isa 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
Mt 1:23 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.
Descendent of David
The promise of God to David was that the Messiah would come through his line.
Mary’s line is recorded in Luke and came from David’s son, Nathan.
Her husband, Joseph’s line came through the royal line of David’s son Solomon and is recorded in Matthew.
God arranged that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem as the Prophet Micah wrote;
Mic 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 Angels of Heaven announced his birth to the shepherds in the area.
Lk 2: 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Prophet, Priest, King
Moses was a great Prophet and leader from God. He came before the other written Prophets, and the first 5 books, the Torah, he wrote down by the inspiration and direct word of God.
Deu 18:15 ¶ The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken
This was speaking of Jesus who came to speak the Word to God’s people, Israel, as their Messiah.
Israel could not see it; the scriptures speak of Messiah coming as a king to deliver God’s people and that is what the Jewish religion was looking for.
But, the Bible also speaks of a suffering servant, that would bear the iniquities of those who believed on Him. He would make it possible for God to live inside of man.
Jer 31: unto them, saith the LORD:
33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
When Jesus came to Nazareth which is where he grew up, He went to the Synagogue as was His custom and he read from the book of Isaiah;
Lk 4:17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
Jesus explained fairly plainly that He was the one sent to them by God.
22 And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph’s son?
23 And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country.
24 And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country.
25 But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land;
26 But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow.
27 And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.
28 And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath,
29 And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.
30 But he passing through the midst of them went his way,
The religious establishment would not accept Jesus as their Messiah, or a Prophet. Yet they should have known by the scriptures…
When Moses was on Mt Sinai with God, almost everything the Lord talked about was His son who would be Prophet, Savior, Messiah, Priest, and King.
The Tabernacle- a shining pearl in the desert with white linen enclosure for purity, lifted up on silver sockets for redemption, mounted on wooden poles for humanity, with one gate of blue for Divinity, red for the blood of sacrifice and redemption, and purple for royalty. This gate was the “way” into the courtyard of God.
Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and no man comes to the Father except by Him. Jn 14:6
In the courtyard was the brazen altar, where animals were brought for sacrifice for the people. Jesus would be sacrificed as the perfect Lamb of God on the altar of the cross and bear our sins.
Then came the brass laver where the Priests would wash before entering the Holy Place; Jesus washes us in the water of the Word, Eph 5:26.
Then came the Holy Place where the Priests could only enter after sacrificing for them selves and washing.
At the entrance going East stood 5 wooden pillars covered in gold. This represents Grace, and the 5 books of the Torah in the Old Testament.
In side of the Holy Place was 3 pieces of golden furniture, representing the Deity of the trinity of God.
The Menorah on the North, which gave light to the Holy Place; Jesus is the light of the world, John 18:13.
On the South was the Table of Shewbread and vials of oil; Jesus is the bread of life and gives us His spirit, John 6:36. A golden crown surrounds the edge for royalty.
On the West was the Altar of Incense which the smoke was representing the prayers of the Saints. Jesus always makes intercession for us, Romans 8:34. A golden crown surrounds it along with the four horns of the altar representing royalty and the gospel going to the 4 corners of the earth.
At the Altar of Incense is the Veil that separates the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies. It is blue for Deity, Scarlet for the blood, and Purple for royalty. There are Cherubim on it that surround the Throne of God. The Veil is made from fine white linen for purity.
Standing in the Holy Place and looking up you would see the first linen covering of roof which can only be seen from the inside and is covered with Cherubim. This represents the "Secret Place of the Most High" and the angels that surround you in Psalms 91.
Above that was a covering of goats hair, which only was seen by God; Jesus the scapegoat that takes away our sin. Above that was rams skins died red for Jesus' blood, only God sees the redemptive blood of Jesus. Outside covering was badger skins for all to see, Jesus was all man, masculine, strong, robust, and powerful.
Behind the veil was the dwelling place of God on earth, the Ark of the Covenant. There are 4 golden pillars there, representing the 4 gospels that tell of Jesus, the only way to God, Jn 14:16.
Only the High Priest could enter here once a year before God after being cleansed by water and blood to atone for the people of Israel. The High Priest would sprinkle blood 7 times with his finger before the Mercy seat by a bull for himself, then a goat for the people. Then 1 drop was on the Mercy seat for the atonement.
The Ark was a Acacia wood chest covered in gold. The wood is Jesus humanity, the gold is his Divinity. The Mercy Seat is the lid of the chest which is surrounded with a crown for royalty. On the lid is two Cherubim with wings outstretched toward one another and faces down, which represent the eyes of God. Inside the chest is the 10 commandments, a bowl of manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded; all representing man’s sin. God cannot see through the sacrificial blood of Jesus on the mercy seat. When God looks on us who are covered by the blood of Jesus, that is all He sees; our sins are removed, Ps 103:12
When Jesus cried "It is Finished!" on the cross, the Veil of the Temple was ripped down the middle from the top to the bottom signifying that the barrier to God was torn down by His sacrifice.
Jesus has been assigned forever as our High Priest, although not of the Priesthood of Aaron, but of Melchizedek.
Ps 110:4 The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.
The High Priest represented the people to God. As he was so were the people.
1Jo 4:17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
On the High Priest’s mitre had a gold band on his forehead that read “Holiness to the Lord”. As He thinks God sees our thoughts. We have the mind of Christ, 1 Cor 2:16.
On his chest is the names of the tribes of Israel; Jesus has our names next to His heart.
Ro 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Ro 8:39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
On his shoulders are the names of His people; Jesus is yoked to us and bears our burdens.
Mt 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Aaron had to be anointed in blood on his right ear, thumb, and big toe. Jesus was anointed with His own blood as the Lamb of God; crown of thorns his ear, spikes in his hands and feet for His right thumb and big toe. His blood was the precious anointing that redeemed us and anointed the Ark of heaven.
Heb 9:12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
When Jesus was born the Magi came looking for the King of the Jews, we read in Matthew.
Jesus also accepted the title in Mt 27:11 and Gov Pilate wrote signs for the crucifixion, “Jesus of Nazareth King of the Jews.”
In the gospels, the phrase Kingdom of God occurs 66 times.
Jesus will come back on a white horse with many crowns, leading the armies of Heaven, Rev 19.
Through Jesus we are made Kings and Priests.
Re 1:6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Jesus is the greatest gift to mankind; God Himself as our Saviour. The early church celebrated His birth by a Mass for the Christ child, thus Christmas, the time which we celebrate this wonderful gift.
Quotes are from KJV. Pictures and art from the Internet.