Jeremiah – A Christmas Connection

Jeremiah’s Christmas connection is found in Chapter 31:15. The Gospel of Matthew repeats the verse in Matthew 2:18.  This is the foundation for the special day called the Feast of the Innocents (December 28), which remembers the murder of the male children in Bethlehem at Herod’s command.  

Tradition has the visitation of the Magi on Christmas Day but it could have been up to two years after the angels sang the Gloria and the shepherds found Jesus in Bethlehem.  We also tend to ignore that Jesus was in a house (Matthew 2:11; not a stable) and that the Magi (maybe) went east (2:9) from Jerusalem following the star.  This argument could be pointless, but Nazareth is north and east of Jerusalem while Bethlehem is south and west from the Holy City. The terminology about the star and its behavior could come down to who is doing the translating. Okay back to the connection.

The History behind Jeremiah’s prophecy that refers to Rachel weeping for her children and that she will not be comforted was first said by the Prophet Micah.  Micah’s first mention of a ruler is in chapter 4:8 (kingship will come to the Daughter of Jerusalem, NIV) with the mention of a watchtower of the flock.  Chapter 5:2 completes the location by predicting Bethlehem as the birthplace of Jesus.  This is the region where the sacrificial lambs came from for the Temple. The watchtower connects the sheep, shepherds, Bethlehem, and Rachel.

Rachel and Jacob – Rachel, Bethlehem, and the mourning all started in Genesis 35:16 – 20.  This is the story of Rachel dying as she gave birth to Benjamin.  Some back story here is good.  Rachel named the boy, son of my trouble, and Jacob renamed him the son of my right hand.  It is also worthy to mention that this makes Benjamin the only child of Jacob born in Israel.

Jacob retells a version of this story to Joseph on his death bed in Genesis 48:7. He adds some details about the distance from Bethlehem, and the burial by the road, with the detail of his returning from Paddan.  Paddan is where Jacob worked for Laban. 

Jeremiah’s word recounts the pain of Rachel, as it foreshadows the loss of the children of Bethlehem. Its Christmas connection goes further as this would be the warning for Joseph to take his family and flee to Egypt.

Special pic is from http://www.LumoProject.com.

The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament – Isaiah

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse: from his roots, a Branch will bear fruit.  The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him- the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord- and he will delight in the fear of the Lord. Isaiah 11: 1-3a (NIV)

This is the first mention of the Spirit in the Book of Isaiah, he will refer to the Spirit a total of thirteen times.  Other prophets talk about the Spirit but Isaiah and Ezekiel have the most references about Him.  I feel this verse is important because it directly connects Jesus with the Spirit, and adds a layer to the Spirit’s work not only in Jesus but in us.  It also introduces the gifts and working of the Spirit that we can see Him doing in the Church today.

Since I have stressed other verbs that have been used to describe the Spirit coming upon someone, we need to look at the one here for “will rest on.”  Nûwach (Strong’s #5117) is the word used and it carries the idea of “remaining,” which again if you think about it perfectly describes what happened in Jesus’ life.  This is not “the rest” or stop working idea that is shabath that is used when God rested after creation.

(Please read the post about Jesse.  The imagery of a stump and roots would show that the family line of Jesse through David was all but dead at the birth of Jesus, but God is faithful to His promises.)

The remaining verses carry several themes as they paint a clearer picture of the Holy Spirit, His work, and His interaction with Jesus and us.  Obstinate children who look to Egypt for help is the theme of 30: 1 and the final three references of 63: 10 -14 are about the Children of Israel during the Exodus and their rebellion.

  • 30: 1, 32:15, and 34: 16 bring together several chapters that deal with going to Egypt for help instead of looking to the Spirit for help even though He has the power to change the landscape into a productive environment and He will keep the animals in their homes.
  • 32: 15 and 44: 3 state that the Spirit would be poured on His people and reflects the verse from Joel 2.
  • Who has understood the Spirit (mind) of the Lord and who has instructed Him 40:13 is part of the great chapter that transitions from woes and judgments to the good news of Jesus and the work of the Gospel.
  • 42:1, 44: 3, 48: 16, 59:21, 61: 1 all speak to Jesus and His earthly work and then go on to Pentecost and the Church.

The Wonders That Plagued Egypt

http://www.sofiatopia.org/maat/eyes.htm

Before the Exodus of Israel God did eleven wonders against Pharaoh and Egypt.  I did not make a mistake Moses did eleven wonders, not ten.  The first wonder is in Exodus 7: 10 were Aaron threw down the “rod of God” and it became a snake, probably a cobra.  The court magicians threw down their staffs and they were/became snakes.  (The snakes were probably paralyzed so as to be walking sticks for the magicians.)  All eleven of these wonders/signs defeated an Egyptian god.  The cobra was a symbol of Pharaoh who considered himself a god.

The wonders of blood, frogs, and gnats happened to both the Egyptians and Israelites.  I think this had to happen because the People had gotten too much of Egypt in them and Father God had to get their attention.  These wonders are against water and land but also the attack of the frogs was wrapped up with beer and important food in Egypt.  The magicians could do the snake, blood, and frogs, but the gnats they proclaimed the “finger of God.”  (See Frogs in the Bible and Reflections on Judgments)

During ten of the wonders, Pharaoh hardened his heart and “would not listen” or “let the people go.”  This phrase is repeated many times and three different words are used for “hardened.”  I will look into these words in a separate post.

If you accept the snake as one of the wonders there is a pattern of 1, 3, 3, 3, 1 to the plagues (hard hits).  In the “second three” the stakes go up and only the Egyptians are affected (Exodus 8:22).  I know that people had to deal with dead fish and frogs but in this “three” livestock died, so a loss of food/income hits Egypt.  The plague of the livestock would also be the sixth wonder (six is the number of man) and it hits them in the pocketbook.

In the next three wonders (hail, locust, and darkness) God says he unleashes the “full force of the plagues” (9: 14, 16).  In the plague of hail, people die because some officials would not bring in their slaves and field workers.  This is the first time people died, before this, it has only been animals dying.  The hail would be the “eighth” wonder, eight is the number of new starts, and these last four plagues finally break Pharaoh and the Egyptians.  The People don’t get any of these plagues as God continues to show both sets of people that He is choosing one over the other.

The last “hard hit” of the firstborn is special in that it will purposely affect man and animals.  It also had the potential to affect the People of Israel and Egyptians alike.  If the firstborn of the People were not covered by the blood of the lamb they also would have died.

How about it?  Are you covered by the Blood?  If not please read the “Got Jesus” button at the top of the page.

PIC  http://www.sofiatopia.org/maat/eyes.htm

Reflections On The Resurrection #1

The Resurrection, Easter Sunday, the day that Jesus came out of the tomb but is that The_Resurrection015really what the Resurrection was to the early church?  C.S. Lewis in the sixteenth chapter of his book Miracles makes the point that the modern church may have that wrong.  Instead of five minutes or an hour or even until sundown the Resurrection is the forty-day period of time up to the Ascension.  Lewis says,  “It is not the action of raising from the dead but the state of having risen.”  This period of time is only lightly covered in the Gospels but has its foretelling in the Feast found in Leviticus 23 and Exodus 23.

Many people witnessed the Resurrection and their testimony on the topic was The_Resurrection014important in the Church.  It started with the women on the morning of the Lord’s Feast of Unleavened Bread and that of “Firstfruits.”  This was also the beginning of the Feast of Weeks, which ends in what we call Pentecost.  So following Paul’s list in 1 Corinthians 15: 5 – 8 and adding in the ones from the Gospels the appearances of Jesus during the Resurrection were:

  • The women (Mary Magdalene)
  • Peter
  • The disciples on the road to Emmaus
  • The Twelve (twice)
  • The five hundred
  • James
  • The other apostles
  • Paul

After the meetings with the Twelve they went to Galilee like Jesus had instructed them and they saw Him there on the mountain.  The story of Peter and the “great catch of the fish” (John 21) took place in Galilee but the Ascension happened near Bethany.  So it seems that the Disciples did a lot of traveling during this forty-day period.

I found that the two appearances to the Twelve in John 20 were based on the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  The first one would have been the start of the Feast and the second visit was the end of the Feast (Leviticus 23: 4 – 8).  The Disciples were observing the Feast and honoring their Jewish beliefs.

Pics from: http://clipart.christiansunite.com/Easter_Clipart/The_Resurrection_Clipart/index3.shtml 

The Birth of a New Adam

Why do a post about Adam during Christmas?  The first week of Advent was to reflect on the Old Testament shadows and prophecies of Jesus and since Adam was “a pattern of the one to come” (Romans 5:14) my reading went to Genesis, Isaiah, and several other places.  Most references to Adam outside of Genesis are family tree notations like 1 Chronicles 1:1, Luke 3:38, or Jude 1:14.  1Corinthians, 1Timothy, and Romans actually do some of the explaining of the “pattern” so I am comparing the first Adam and the second Adam (Jesus).

Adam 1

Adam 2

Other comparisons that are interesting: Adam sewed fig leaves together; Jesus cursed a fig tree before His crucifixion.  Eve came from Adam and the Bride is found in Jesus.

Notable things in Adam’s life – He was the first to operated on, first to make clothes, first to blame some else for his mistake, named all the animals in the Garden, first gardener, and the first to bury a child.

A word about Eve; evolutionists have come to the conclusion that there must have been an “Eve” who birthed all of mankind.  I saw a program where they spent forty minutes stating why there had to be one (Eve) and twenty minutes denying the concept.  The problem here is dual evolving of human DNA is unbelievable and I am sure that mathematically it has to be impossible.

In Hebrews, the first chapter, Jesus is clearly shown as “The Son.”  Several quotes from the Old Testament such as “You are my Son today I have become your Father” from Psalm 2:7, other verses that are mentioned at the beginning of Hebrews are     2 Samuel 7:14, and Psalm 45:6,7.   Several other verses that tell of things to come are Psalm 110:1 and Isaiah 8:17 where everything is put under His feet showing Lordship of all things.

The word “Adam” comes from a word that means, “to show blood”, “be flushed, or to turn rosy or ruddy.”  This possibly referred to his color. This leads to a question I just did not understand, “Why did God “hate” Esau (Edom)?”  He was a type of Adam (the sinner-man) being the firstborn and he was “red.”

Since Jesus was a second Adam, if we are found “in Him” we are a completely new and different race of people.