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Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas Missed

Christmas Missed

Christmas has come and gone... and I'm thinking that today would be a good day to bring one more Christmas message and think of those who missed Christmas...

And, I think this would be a good topic because every year it seems that our world is concerned with people who might “miss” Christmas...

Think... for instance... as you were watching TV prior to Christmas... of all the commercials you saw of members of our military being broadcast over the air waves... wishing their families... and the USA... a Merry Christmas...

They still do that, don't they? I don't get TV anymore, so I haven't seen it myself. I just remember the commercials from a couple years ago... With the way the world is turning now-a-days... they may have stopped doing this...

It would seem that the world is really concerned that someone might “miss” Christmas... so the world does things like these commercials... in order to show it's concern... and try to help people out... in some small way...

But the fact is... that even when our world is drowning in a sea of advertising and promotions... Even though we're building ourselves up toward a big celebration...

The fact is... that most people don't remember what the celebration is all about. The truth of Christmas (to the non-Christian) is so hidden by worldly clutter that they just can't see the truth anymore...

We're so covered over with needless paraphernalia of gifts... trees... tinsel... decorations... sleigh rides... lighting candles... all those things that we do to celebrate the holiday... that we miss out on the “holy day”.

That old saying, “You can't see the forest for the trees” applies here, because most people can no longer “see Christmas for all the needless paraphernalia”...

The fact is... most people miss Christmas... But what's especially sad is that they miss it and they either don't know it... or don't care...

Even on that very first Christmas... in Bethlehem... most people missed it there too...

Let's look at Luke, chapter 2...

Luk 2:4-7 NKJV Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, (5) to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. (6) So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. (7) And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

One of the first people to miss Christmas was the Innkeeper. Let's take a closer look at verse 7...

I. The Innkeeper

The moment this innkeeper opened his door... and of course, we're “assuming” it was a man... aren't we!? “He” easily could have been a “she”...

But from the moment this person opened the door at the sound of Joseph's knocking... it had to be obvious that the young woman outside with this young man... was “very” pregnant.

She was so pregnant... that she would give birth that very night! And this is one reason why I assume this innkeeper was a man... because only a man would be too dense to notice just how pregnant Mary was...

And, I say he didn't notice because there's no record of him calling for his wife to help... or for anyone else for that matter... He simply didn't see what was right before his eyes!

Why? Why didn't he see? I think it was because he was “preoccupied”... He was just “so busy”...

You see, because of the census... Bethlehem... and indeed every city, town or village in all of Judea was bulging with hustle and bustle of people seeking shelter.

This innkeeper was probably so occupied with the visitors under his roof... or in his care... that he just couldn't see the great need of anyone else at that time...

I don't think he was mean... or wicked... or anything like that... he was just so preoccupied...

And you know... this “inn” that's spoken of here, probably wasn't an “inn” at all, because the word that's translated “inn” here is “kataluma”, and “kataluma” isn't the normal word used for a hostelry or the traditional “inn” that we would normally think of...

Kataluma is more like a guest room, or a dining room... as it's used in Luke 22:11 where Jesus sends the disciples to seek out a guest room for the Passover...

So, this innkeeper could have been a relative, or friend who had an extra room which for whatever reason... was no longer available...

Or, some have said that the “kataluma” could have been a tent, or lean-to, that was set up on someone's property... similar to what they used during the Feast of Tabernacles... only these would now be used for guest lodging for all the “census visitors”...

But whatever it was... whatever hospitality the young couple expected... it was no longer available...

And the innkeeper was just “so busy” that he just couldn't see what was going on... he couldn't see the significance of the moment... and he missed Christmas.

There are many people like that in the world today. By the world's standards, they're decent and loving people... but they're so preoccupied with all the “stuff” that just doesn't matter... that they miss Christmas too...

Their lives are so filled with the unnecessary... the insignificant... the meaningless... that the truth of Christmas gets squeezed out... and they also... no longer have “room” for the Christ of Christmas...

Many people will wake up one day in an eternity without God... simply because they had “no room” today... Their ignorant preoccupation will cause them the loss of their eternal souls...

How about you? Have you spent more time shopping... decorating... preparing and partying... (doing the mundane and useless) than adoring? Have you spent more time with the unnecessary than the Necessary? The insignificant than with the Significant?

II. Bethlehem

Another thing I noticed about verse 7 is the “pathos” of the situation... Oh the pity of it... the loneliness and solitude of that blessed event...

Notice that it says “...she brought forth...”, “...she... wrapped Him...”, “...she... laid Him...” Can you feel the enormous loneliness of those words?

At a time when womanhood should be surrounded by many others in anticipation of the birth of a child...

At a time when women most often seek out each other for comfort... encouragement... and assistance...

We read that... Mary “brought forth...”, “wrapped...”, “laid...” It leads us to believe that she had no help whatsoever in this birth... from anyone... including Joseph...

Now, I've already mentioned that the innkeeper didn't appear to call for anyone to help this very pregnant young woman...

And these were a civilized people... the Jews were and are a loving and caring people... Just like most people... they would normally come from all around to help out... or rejoice... or coo over the baby...

But we don't see anyone other than Mary herself. Even Joseph doesn't seem to be around...

Now... assuming that Joseph was like most men... and he was probably a young man too... maybe not that much older than Mary herself...

But if he were like many men today... he probably wouldn't have been much help during all this anyway...

We'd probably see him pacing back and forth... worried and concerned about his bride... wanting to help... ignorant of what to do... scared that he might mess up...

He may have even been going around seeking someone to help... Searching for a midwife... but to no avail...

And therefore... the people of Bethlehem missed Christmas...

Even after the shepherds came for their visit and then leaving and spreading far and wide... their knowledge of the events of that night...

Luk 2:17-18 NKJV Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. (18) And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

The people of Bethlehem who heard their message “marveled”... but there's no record that anyone went to see this Christ Child... or to offer any other assistance to the young, new parents...

The people of Bethlehem missed Christmas. Why? Why did they miss out on the most important event in all of human history? Indifference... they simply didn't care.

They were so caught up in their own lives that they just couldn't see the importance of the birth of THIS baby... So WHAT, if there were some special circumstances...

Maybe these shepherds DID see some angels... but that didn't mean anything to the people right then.

They were just as indifferent to the arrival of their Messiah on this night... as they will be in a later generation when He arrives once again... Just as Jesus later said...

Luk 17:26-30 NKJV And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: (27) They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. (28) Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; (29) but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. (30) Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.

Many people are just as indifferent today as they were back then... We're all so caught up in our own lives...

We are all so occupied with going about our daily lives... eating... drinking... buying... selling... marrying... raising kids... planting... building...

We just can't see how important this Child truly is... for us today...

III. Herod

Herod was another person who missed Christmas... Herod REALLY missed Christmas!

Mat 2:1-8 NKJV Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, (2) saying, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him." (3) When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. (4) And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. (5) So they said to him, "In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: (6) 'BUT YOU, BETHLEHEM, IN THE LAND OF JUDAH, ARE NOT THE LEAST AMONG THE RULERS OF JUDAH; FOR OUT OF YOU SHALL COME A RULER WHO WILL SHEPHERD MY PEOPLE ISRAEL.' " (7) Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. (8) And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also."

Herod pretended to want to worship the “Child” and tried to get the “wise men” to go and find this child for him and then bring back word of where he was and who he was...

On the outside... Herod pretended to be an interested worshiper... but on the inside... he was terrified tyrant!

He was the King of Judea! Who are these people claiming that there has been one who has “...been born King of the Jews”?

You see... verse 3 tells us... “When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.”

He wasn't simply “troubled”... or “concerned”... No, Herod was panicked! The word for “troubled” is “tarassō” and it means to be “agitated (to the boiling point)”

Herod was far beyond “troubled”... he was in a frantic panic attack! And why? Why would he be so panicked?

Well, first of all... Herod wasn't even a Jew. He was an Edomite. He had followed in the footsteps of his father, Antipater in currying favor with Rome... Antipater had been made “Procurator” of Judea by Julius Caesar, who then divided the country between his 4 sons... with Galilee falling to Herod...

After Julius' death, Herod was made “tetrarch” of Judea by Mark Anthony... and then was crowned “king” of Judea by the Roman Senate under Octavian because he had sided with him against Cleopatra and Mark Anthony...

Herod was crafty... and he knew how to play the political power game perfectly. He was efficient at collecting the taxes due to Rome, and he embarked on a building program within Judea that would rival any King anywhere.

But he was constantly afraid of being deposed... or overthrown from his throne...

He had the high priest brother of his wife, Mariamne drowned in a made up swimming accident... then he showed up at the funeral shedding alligator tears.

He would later have his wife killed... then her mother. Then afraid of 2 of his sons... he had them murdered.

Caesar is said to have remarked concerning Herod... “It's better to be Herod's dog than one of his children.”

He was a man suspicious of everything and everyone and his life was filled with plotting and execution.

He was so hated... and filled with hate that when he was about to die in Jericho... he ordered his soldiers to arrest all the prominent men of Jerusalem and gave orders that upon his death... they were to be executed.

He said that... “Israel won't mourn my death... but they will cry at my death... even if it's not for me.” Fortunately... these orders were not carried out...

So... it's no stretch of the imagination at all to believe that such a person could order the death of all the children 2 years old and under, in an effort to wipe out this Child who was Born King!

He was a wretched man... filled with jealous fear...

Herod missed Christmas... because he was self-centered. He was so concerned about his own life... His own position... His own place... that there was no room for anyone or anything else.

And you may say that “Surely there aren't any Herod's today!” “We no longer have people who murder people out of selfish ambition...” “We no longer have people who would 'slaughter the innocent', do we?”...

Have you ever heard the names... Hitler? Mussolini? Lenin? Stalin? Mao Tse-tung?

Have you been hearing about groups out of the Middle East called... Al Qaeda? Boko Haram? ISIS?

Have you been keeping track of how many thousands of babies are brutally butchered each and every day by “regular people”... just like you and me... simply because of selfish... self-centered ambition...

Innocents are slaughtered... mutilated... each and every day because their innocent “life” isn't deemed as important as a woman's “choice”.

Herod wasn't about to let this Child interfere with his career... his plans... his ambitions... his lifestyle... He wasn't about to let someone else become King!

The same can be said of us today. Many of us don't want this Child to interfere with our plans... or our careers... or our ambitions... or our lifestyles either.

We won't even allow our own children grow up and make changes like this in our lives... so we slaughter them in the womb... before they even enter the world itself...

Then why would we ever let some Child born a couple thousand years ago have an effect upon us either?

Just like Herod... we are our own Kings... and we don't want Him to sit on our thrones either!

IV. The Religious Leaders

Now real quickly... since I'm running out of time... the other group that missed Christmas was the religious leaders.

They knew the prophecies concerning the coming Messiah. They told Herod where the Messiah was to be born...

Mat 2:4-6 NKJV And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. (5) So they said to him, "In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: (6) 'BUT YOU, BETHLEHEM, IN THE LAND OF JUDAH, ARE NOT THE LEAST AMONG THE RULERS OF JUDAH; FOR OUT OF YOU SHALL COME A RULER WHO WILL SHEPHERD MY PEOPLE ISRAEL.' "

They knew... but they didn't go... They knew the history... They knew the Bible data... They should have been waiting for the arrival of the One... The Deliverer that had been promised... Their Great Hope...

Yet, when that moment arrived... they couldn't even walk the few miles from Jerusalem to Bethlehem to see Him for themselves.

Why? Because they were self-righteous.

The Innkeeper was preoccupied... The people of Bethlehem were indifferent... Herod was self-centered...

But the religious leaders in Jerusalem were so righteous... they simply didn't need a Savior. And this is probably the ultimate crime against the Christ...PRIDE

Mat 9:10-13 NKJV Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. (11) And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, "Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" (12) When Jesus heard that, He said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. (13) But go and learn what this means: 'I DESIRE MERCY AND NOT SACRIFICE.' For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance."

Folks... no one will seek to be healed if they don't know they're sick... If you don't know you're infected... you won't seek a cure... will you??

And there are many in this world today who are convinced that they're not sick... They're convinced of their own goodness... Just like the Bible says in...

Pro 20:6 NKJV Most men will proclaim each his own goodness, But who can find a faithful man?

And that's the difficulty that many face today... Many people simply don't recognize how lost they truly are.

They may think that they are basically good... when the scripture tells us that...

Psa 53:3 NKJV Every one of them has turned aside; They have together become corrupt; There is none who does good, No, not one.

Isa 53:6 NKJV All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

We can't simply “add Jesus” to our lives... He's not a “resource”, or a “spiritual friend”... He is LORD... He is the One who is in control... not us. And we are called to submit to His Lordship now...

Rom 10:9-10 NKJV that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (10) For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

* * * * * * * * * *
We've looked at several reasons this morning why people miss Christmas... and this list is by no means comprehensive...

But the question that looms over us is... did you miss Christmas this year? If you did... there is no reason why you should miss it ever again.

As we read in Romans... Confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that He rose from the dead... and you will never miss Christmas again!


Friday, December 11, 2015

Christmas Paradox

Christmas Paradox


When we look at the Christmas holiday that we celebrate here in America... It's not hard to see that there some stark differences between Christmas as Christians celebrate it... and Christmas as the world celebrates it.

Christmas for the Christian is a season emphasizing peace and good will toward men... but the world madly rushes about in a buying and decorating frenzy.

Where we think upon the star that marked the place where the Christ child lay... the world is filled with millions of neon and LED lights... lighting up the street and marking where the next sale is...

Where the Christian contemplates upon the humble and poverty stricken conditions which caused “God with us” to be born in a stable and lain in a feeding trough... the world will spend millions upon millions of dollars on bright and shiny gifts and goodies...

We see the wise men who came in humble worship of the Christ child... while the world has parties filled with drunkenness, sex and lascivious behavior...

As Christians we celebrate the birth of the Child who came into the world to give men what the truly need... while the world has replaced this Child with a fat and jolly peddler who pushes toys and tinsel and unfulfilled promises...

But perhaps the greatest paradox of Christmas is found when we try to answer the question... Who Is Jesus Christ?

And to answer this question... let's consider those who spoke of the coming Messiah first... the OT prophets.


I. The Prophetic Paradox

When we look at the OT prophecies concerning the promised Messiah... one of the first things we notice is several apparent contradictions...

For example, Isaiah prophecies of a King who will rule the world...

But he also said that this King would be... (Isa 53:3a) NKJV ...despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.

The prophets said He would be the “King of Glory” (Psa 24:7-10), and the “Desire of All Nations” (Hag 2:7)... yet He would also have “no beauty that we should desire Him” (Isa 53:2b)

He's the “Flaming fire, devouring all around” (Lam 2:3)... but He would also be called the “Prince of Peace” (Isa 9:6)

So.. do you see now what I mean when I say that the Bible in full of contradictory prophecies of the Messiah?

And the fact is that there's so many of them... reinforces my belief that there's just no way the OT prophets themselves could have gotten the same understanding of the Messiah that we have today...

The picture of the Messiah they would have had would have been confusing... and difficult to get a clear grasp on. On this very subject, Peter wrote...

1Pe 1:10-12 NKJV Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, (11) searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. (12) To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things which angels desire to look into.

Even the last Old Testament prophet... John the Baptist... had become so confused about this that while he was in prison... he sent some of his disciples to ask Jesus...

Mat 11:3 NKJV ..."Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?"

For you see... the picture that John had painted of the coming Messiah was one of vengeance and judgment...

Mat 3:7b-8a, 10, 12 NKJV ..."Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? (8) Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance... (10) And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire... (12) His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."

But after the Messiah came... John heard that He wasn't doing any of these hell-fire and damnationthings that he had spoken of! Instead... Jesus was healing the sick... giving sight to the blind... hearing to the deaf... speech to the dumb... and doing good deeds all over the place.

He was wondering where the conquering King he prophesied of was... the one who would be slapping people around with His winnowing fan?

John was confused! He was trapped in the Prophetic Paradox... so, Jesus had to remind him of the other prophecies that He had to fulfill first... and he sent a message back to John, paraphrasing some passages from Isaiah 35:5-6...

Mat 11:4-6 NKJV Jesus answered and said to them, "Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: (5) The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. (6) And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me."

The OT prophets could never have resolved the various OT prophecies concerning the coming Messiah...

But all of the paradox's are resolved in Jesus Christ! They wouldn't have been able to see... looking forward as they were... what we clearly see... looking back.


II. The God-Man Paradox

Syria and Israel are in a confederacy to overthrow Judah. Judah... is attempting to to make a treaty with Assyria (rather than seek assistance from God).

The prophet Isaiah goes to King Ahaz and tells him not to worry... God will thwart their plans and protect the line of David. Then, Isaiah tells King Ahaz to ask God for a sign...

But Ahaz, being one of the most wicked Kings of Judah, doesn't want anything to do with Yahweh... and refuses

So... Isaiah responds with... Isa 7:14 NKJV ...Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

In essence... God told Ahaz that since he wouldn't trust in Him for his deliverance... He would raise up a Deliverer apart from David's physical seed. He will by-pass David's physical seed and cause a virgin to conceive miraculously.

And... this child that would be born to the “virgin”... will be called “Immanuel”... “God with us”

The paradox of... a baby...who is God.

The paradox of a child born of the seed of a woman...who has no seed... who is God!

Isa 9:6 NKJV For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

How could a child be born who is the Mighty God? How could a child be born in “time”... who is the “Father of Eternity”?

How could... A woman will bring forth a son... who made the woman... who brought forth the son!

And we see another paradox of the God-man beginning with Isaiah's vision of the Throne Room of God...

Isa 6:3 NKJV And one cried to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!"

Isa 40:3 NKJV The voice of one crying in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the LORD; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God.

Mat 3:1-3 NKJV In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, (2) and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" (3) For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: "THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS: 'PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD; MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT.' "

Now let me remind you once again that in the Bible... when we see LORD... spelled out in all caps... that tells us that the original word used there is the tetragrammaton... YHWH... the name of the God... Yahweh...

So, the vision of Isaiah of the LORD in heaven... sitting on His throne... is a vision of Yahweh! The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob... the God of Israel.

And in chapter 40, verse 3... Isaiah prophecies of the voice crying in the wilderness who would be preparing the way of Yahweh...

Then In Matthew... we see that this voice is John the Baptist who is preparing the way of Yahweh... Jesus Christ...

Jesus is the Yahweh of the OT... The Jehovah (Yahweh) of the OT is the Jesus of the gospel!

Another example of the God-man paradox is seen in the Lord's sabbaths...

In the book of Leviticus, Yahweh tells us to keep His Sabbaths... Lev 19:3 NKJV ...keep My Sabbaths: I am the LORD your God.

And yet Jesus tells us that the Sabbaths are His... Mat 12:8 NKJV For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath."

Then we see... that after a day of answering “gotcha” questions from the religious leaders... Jesus turned the tables on them... and asked them a question.

Jesus, probably wanting to shut them up for good...asks them in...

Mat 22:42-45 NKJV saying, "What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?" They said to Him, "The Son of David." (43) He said to them, "How then does David in the Spirit call Him 'LORD,' saying: (44) 'THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, "SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, TILL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES YOUR FOOTSTOOL" '? (45) If David then calls Him 'LORD,' how is He his Son?"

You see, even today people wonder how Christ could be both God and man... and the Son of God. None of us can really understand it, so we accept it in faith because it's what the Bible teaches... and we move on.

Jesus knew that this was a difficult question, even then... So what was the response from the religious leaders?

They didn't ask Him any more questions... Mat 22:46 NKJV And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore.

The paradox of the God-man? The babe born in the manger was both FULLY God... and FULLY man.


III. The Line of Judah Paradox

We read in Genesis that the Messiah will come from the tribe of Judah...

Gen 49:10 NKJV The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people.

Whoever this King is who holds the scepter and is the lawgiver... will be the King (of the the Kingly line) until Shiloh comes.

Shiloh (pronounced “shee-lo'”) means... “the one whose right it is”... in other words... the King... the ruler... And it is a reference to the coming Messiah.

So... what's paradoxical about this? Moses wrote it.

Because you see... Judah was pretty much an evil man. In the 38th Chapter of Genesis... we read something about his history, and the type of self-righteous man he was.

We won't read the whole chapter, but you know the story. Judah had some sons and one of them died without any children. So according to the custom, the sons wife... Tamar... was given to the next son so that he could raise up sons to the dead brother...

Well, before this happened, that son died too. Judah told Tamar to remain a widow in her father's house until the third son became old enough... making her believe that she'd be given to the third son... when Judah actually had no intention of this at all.

Well, over the course of time... it became clear to Tamar that she'd never be given a son if she waited for Judah to do what he was supposed to do... so one day she dressed like a harlot and went to an area where she knew Judah would pass by.

To make a long story short... by playing the harlot she was able to become pregnant by her father-in-law. After a few months went by... it became known that she was pregnant... and in self-righteous indignation... Judah wanted her to be killed as a harlot.

But you see... Tamar had planned for this, though, and had proof positive that the father was Judah himself... There was little he could do other than to leave her alone.

In due time she bore twin sons... Perez and Zerah.

Now... the same Moses who wrote the prophecy about the line of Judah being a Kingly line... also wrote this story about Judah's incestuous relationship with his daughter-in-law... is also the author of...

Deu 23:2 NKJV "One of illegitimate birth shall not enter the assembly of the LORD; even to the tenth generation none of his descendants shall enter the assembly of the LORD.

The offspring of Judah... the children of Tamar... Perez and Zerah were illegitimate. So if the line of Judah is now cursed... how could anyone from Judah ever reign?

And if David could never reign... then there would be no “line of David” through which the Messiah could come?

I think Moses probably scratched his head in wonder at this paradox. How could this come about if Judah appeared to void the promise?

So, remember... this curse is removed at the 10th generation...not before.

Now let's look at... Mat 1:3-6 NKJV Judah begot 1Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez begot 2Hezron, and Hezron begot 3Ram. (4) Ram begot 4Amminadab, Amminadab begot 5Nahshon, and Nahshon begot 6Salmon. (5) Salmon begot 7Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot 8Obed by Ruth, Obed begot 9Jesse, (6) and Jesse begot 10David the king. David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah.

David is the 10th generation. The curse is removed at David—the 10th generation from the sin!

The prophet could never have known this!

Now... I only have time for one more...


V. The Succession Paradox

By the “Succession Paradox”... I'm referring to “Royal Succession”. The Messiah is to be a King... that's clear from the prophecies...

The title itself... Messiah... means “Anointed One”... and He was to come through the Royal line of David.

Now... the Royal line of succession is passed on, to the firstborn sons through Solomon...all the way to Joseph... the husband of Mary.

Let that sink in for a second... Can you see what this means? What it means is that IF there were a “legitimate” King on the throne, ruling in Israel at the time of Jesus' birth... it would have been Joseph!

The right to rule went to the first-born son in the line of David through Solomon. There may be other sons of each parent in that line... but only the first-born has the legitimate right to rule.

Joseph was the only person in Israel at the birth of Christ who had that right.

Herod was the ruler... but he wasn't a Hebrew.. He wasn't a Jew.

The Kingly line of David, beginning with his son, Solomon, progressed down through Judah's history until it reached Jeconiah. Jeconiah (also called Coniah and Jehoakim), was the last King of Judah when the Babylonians conquered Judah and took him and many others into captivity.

There has never been a true King on the throne ever since. And the Babylonian captivity began the “times of the Gentiles”.

Now, the Jews in captivity kept their genealogies... and in the genealogy as found in Matthew... we see that Joseph had the “right of succession” through his father... on up the line to Jeconiah... and then up to Solomon and David.

The line of Mary that we read in Luke's gospel is also of the line of David... but through another son... Nathan (not Solomon)

So... though Jesus was born in the Davidic line though Mary... it's through his step-father, Joseph... that he inherits the Kingly line.

But this presents us with another paradox... because we read in...

Jer 22:28-30 NKJV "Is this man Coniah a despised, broken idol— A vessel in which is no pleasure? Why are they cast out, he and his descendants, And cast into a land which they do not know? (29) O earth, earth, earth, Hear the word of the LORD! (30) Thus says the LORD: 'Write this man down as childless, A man who shall not prosper in his days; For none of his descendants shall prosper, Sitting on the throne of David, And ruling anymore in Judah.' "

The Kingly line of David... through Solomon was effectively ended right here. No more sons of David... after Jeconiah... would ever sit on the throne of David!

THAT is a PARADOX! That is a BIG paradox! How could the Messiah possibly come through the line of David... and sit on his throne... when God said through Jeremiah that after Jeconiah... there would be no more of his sons to sit on the throne?

Well... I've got some good news for you! This is where that “seed of the woman” question gets answered. “How could the seed of a woman defeat Satan... when women have no seed?”

You see... Joseph wasn't Jesus' natural father... He was His “adoptive” father.

The Messiah had to be born of David's line... but he also had to have the “right” to rule in that line... but not be subject to the divine curse against Jeconiah...

Through the virgin birth... God accomplished His sovereign purpose, and upheld His divine judgment!

The curse was by-passed because Joseph wasn't the natural father...

Through His adoptive father... Jesus had the legal right to the throne of David...

Through the virgin... the Father maintained Jesus' physical right to the throne...

And through the Holy Spirit... Jesus was born with the divine right to the throne..

Folks... when God writes history... He writes it RIGHT!

Every paradox of Christmas... every single one of them... finds it's fulfillment in Jesus Christ.

God will order time... lives... and events...

He will move heaven and earth... to accomplish His purpose...

Which is the salvation of His elect...



Invitation