Christmas Verses – The First Coming #9

Malachi 3:3b NIV

Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness.

Start reading at verse 1 of chapter 3, it is very much a Messianic passage.  It opens with John the Baptist, then the presentation of Jesus in Luke 2:2, His mission to “clean us,” and then this section on what could be the Wise Men.

 

Christmas Verses – The First Coming #8

Ps 72:10-11 NIV

10 May the kings of Tarshish and of distant shores
bring tribute to him.
May the kings of Sheba and Seba
present him gifts.
11 May all kings bow down to him
and all nations serve him.

Psalm 72 is labeled “Of Solomon” but it is reasonable David wrote it. I would put it at 1 Kings 2 or 2 Samuel 12:25. Look at verse 8 and 9, also view 12 -17 for more about Jesus.

Verses 10 + 11 may not be the countries of the “east.”  Actually, these countries may have been in Africa or the Mediterranean area.  But it does announce that kings would come and bow down!  Even the Wise Men were predicted.

http://clipart.christiansunite.com/1512214861/Christmas_Clipart/The_Wise_Men_Clipart/The_Wise_Men006.jpg

Christmas – The Wise Men

Christmas – The Wise Men

Epiphany, the day the Wise Men show up to worship Jesus. It marks the end of the copy-wisemen-2.jpgTwelve Days of Christmas (See Epiphany or Three Kings Day) and in some countries, it is celebrated with as much enthusiasm as December 25th. Matthew 2: 1-18 record the story in the New Testament (See Magi and Herod for OT verses). Matthew, who starts with Joseph’s family line, continues telling the story from “Joseph’s viewpoint.” (The angelic dreams and his reactions.) Even if you combine Matthew and Luke’s narratives there are a lot of unanswered questions. I guess there should be but we can look at what we know.

Mary and Joseph being good Jewish parents fulfill the requirements of the Law with the trip to the Temple. There they receive blessings and prophecies to settle both Joseph’s and Mary’s fears and doubts. For us, facts are added like Luke stating, “they went to Nazareth and Jesus grew” while Matthew tells the story of the Magi and the trip to Egypt all starting from a “house.” But I have a feeling that times and locations are not what is important here.

The Magi or Wise Men were the scholars and learned men of the day. They counseled kings and influenced decisions. They are found in Daniel and other books of the Bible like Ezekiel 21: 21 checking the “liver” for the king so he knows which way to go. What they represent in the Christmas story is huge. These are Gentiles/heathen (us) acknowledging Jesus and his kingship. They are the college professors of the day following their studies and observations looking for a baby that was talked about in Jewish scriptures. It was no little trip for them to show up in Judea looking for a king, several months of travel were required and the supplies and then the gifts. I would guess it was not just three guys on camels it may have well been a caravan(s) with guards and servants. Were they sent as a diplomatic envoy?

Plus them showing upset Herod off so that the prophecies in Jeremiah 31:15 and Hosea 11:1 would be fulfilled – Herod killing the babies and Jesus coming out of Egypt.

Christmas Trivia

Now for some Christmas trivia questions!

 1. Was Jesus actually born in December?

No, because just like now shepherds are not “in the field keeping watch over their flocks at night” in December – it is too cold.  What is really important is not when we celebrate but that He was born and that the world celebrates Jesus with us.

2. How many wise men were there?

We do not really know. Tradition holds to three wise men and we have even given them names.  I think we have concluded that there were three because there were three gifts.

3. When did the wise men show-up?

Probably two years after the actual birth. In the book of Matthew the wise men find Mary and the baby in a house not in a stable.  Also Herod killed all the baby boys two years old and under because that is the “time” that the wise men gave Herod.

4. Is Jesus a grandson of Solomon?

No, Mary’s lineage that is listed in the book of Luke goes back to David’s son Nathan (Luke 3:31,32). However, both Mary and Joseph do have Zerubbabel in their lineage.  Zerubbabel is the governor of Israel that is responsible for rebuilding the Temple – see Haggai, Zechariah and Ezra.  There is an interesting reference in Zechariah 12:12 about the family of David and Nathan.

5. Jesus is our High Priest but how could He be a priest if He is not in the line of Aaron?

This may be a stretch but please follow long. Mary went to go visit Elizabeth her “cousin.” Elizabeth had to be in the line of Aaron in order to be married to Zechariah, who was behind the curtain in the Temple when the angel visited him; so Mary was related to Aaron probably on her Mom’s side.  The scripture that backs this up is in Zechariah 6:9 -15 especially verses 12 + 13.

So have a very Merry Christmas and in the words of Tiny Tim, “God bless us ever one!”