Articles/Illustrations of Faith, Quotes, poetry and devotions…
Smokey Barn News Sunday December 21, 2014 Robertson County, Tenn.
“The Sunday Post” is a non denominational column comprised of articles of Faith, poetry and devotions…
Merry Christmas Robertson County &
“A Christmas Reading” From The County Mayor
As usual, many will be traveling this Christmas and exchanging gifts at grandma’s house and mom and dad’s. For the next few minutes as you read this story I want you to take a journey backward with me in time. We will travel in the car of our imagination and our road map will be the Holy Bible. Our destination is a little town called the House of Bread. Perhaps you know it better as Bethlehem.
Think back with me to that mystic night when the angels sang; “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” In the theater of your mind picture that strange star that hung like a shining diamond in the black Judean sky over the birthplace of the babe called Christ the Lord.
Wander with me back, back, back, some two thousand years and see the caravan of Persian Magi with all their attendants as they come slowly riding into town with their marvelous gifts in tow, fantastic gifts: of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, all for this One who was born King of the Jews.
Where did they come from? Where did these magi get their information about the Christ child? How did they select their gifts, and why the myrrh, a spice with the smell of death about it? The answers to these questions are well worth our consideration and lend many lessons we desperately need to learn in this day of Santa Claus, elves, and singing snowmen.
The magi rode in from the east from what is today known as Iraq, but in those days it was called Persia, and before that we find it as the pagan kingdom of one Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon the Great. These wise men, as the Gospel of Matthew calls them, were direct descendants of the magicians of Nebuchadnezzar’s court.
Gifts of the Magi
“We Three Kings of Orient Are
Bearing gifts we traverse afar
Field and fountain, moor and mountain
Following yonder star
O Star of wonder, Star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding, Guide us to thy perfect light.”
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, 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.
So how did they learn of the mysterious star that had appeared over Bethlehem and the child who would be called the Son of God, and how did they select the very special gifts they would bring? The answer is simple. They believed the Scriptures they possessed and acted upon the prophecies they had read there. They faithfully watched the western skies with great expectation for a star that would arise out of Jacob and mark the birth of a King. (Numbers 24:17)
The magi carrying the gifts would have most likely traveled with a small army to protect against thieves and bandits as they traveled a long and treacherous journey. Three wise men would most likely have never captured King Herod’s attention….300 might as they rode slowly into town bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh….
Nearly seven hundred years previous to the birth of Christ, God sent some amazing missionaries into the very heart of Babylon. Four of these men were especially notable. The greatest of them was, of course, a man named Daniel and his three closest brethren: Azariah, Hananiah, and Mishael. Perhaps you know them better by their Babylonian names: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Their task was to bring the truth of God to the heathen king Nebuchadnezzar and to the wicked empire of Babylon. The legendary faithfulness of Daniel had such an impact on Nebuchadnezzar that Daniel was appointed ruler over all the governors and made chief of the magi. (Dan. 2:48)
Daniel exerted a godly influence over Babylon and almost certainly taught the magi from the Book of Isaiah and from the five Books of Moses. He taught them the day would come when a great and wondrous star would come forth out of Israel and a Great King would arise out of Judah. (Numbers 24:17 and Genesis 49:10)
The prophet Isaiah foretold that the people of Galilee who walked in spiritual darkness and lived in the very shadow of death would see a great light and both Gentiles and kings would be drawn to this marvelous light of the world. (Isaiah 9:1-2 & 60:3) The magi, as students of the stars, and scholars of the Scriptures, kept a close eye on the western horizon for the appearance of the prophesied new star that would signal the birth of the Great King.
They had the prophecy of the star to guide them, and now they needed to select their gifts for the newborn Christ child. Perhaps they had studied Isaiah 60:6 and based on that verse selected the gold and incense. Gold was the obvious choice for a kingly gift but the frankincense and myrrh were odd. The verse in Isaiah 60 would account for the choice of frankincense but not the myrrh.
Now myrrh, like the frankincense was a perfume. But unlike the frankincense myrrh smelled of death. In the ancient world it was used to embalm a corpse. After his death, Jesus himself would be wrapped with myrrh. (John 19:39) But is it not a strange thing that the magi coming to worship a newborn would bring a gift for his burying? Where would they get such an idea?
May I suggest that they got it from the prophetic words of Daniel himself? (Daniel 9:24-27) Daniel, who foretold the entire future of the world, had stated clearly that from the going forth of the decree to rebuild Jerusalem till the death of the Messiah would be four hundred and eighty three years. The decree went forth in Nehemiah chapter 2 and it was a date that the magi would be very familiar with since it was their own ancestral king, Artaxerxes, who gave the decree.
The magi not only knew to look for a new star, but they knew where to look for it and when. They also knew that the child was prophesied to die for the benefit of others and so they brought myrrh for his burying. They also knew that the death of the Great King would bring atonement for sin and eventually bring in everlasting righteousness. Even at the birth of our Savior, the shadow of the cross is already falling over his face.
So we find in this first Christmas story taken from Matthew chapter 2 that there were three classes of people in Bethlehem that historic night. The theologians of King Herod’s court knew the Scriptures but did not believe them. They were fools! Herod believed but he disobeyed. He was a madman! The simple shepherds believed and the majestic magi believed in the infant Savior and it was reckoned to them for righteousness. May we all follow in their train this Christmas season in this year 2014?
Today there is no mystical star standing over Bethlehem and there is no angel hovering over an empty manger. Today the Star that stands over Jesus Christ is the Holy Bible. If you would know Him you must study His Word. (2nd. Tim. 2:15) He will not return the second time as the world’s Savior but as Jehovah God to rightfully take his place as King of Kings!
Luke 1: 31-33 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. 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.
He was the “lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world” when He came in the manger, He shall return the second time as the “lion of the tribe of Judah” with glory, honor, and praise!….
Revelation 11:15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
Revelation 19:16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King Of Kings, And Lord Of Lords.
As you celebrate Christmas this year I hope you will give God’s Word prayerful consideration and I leave you with these verses from 2nd Thessalonians 1:7-9 and the 3rd chapter of the Gospel of John, and I ask that you remember that God’s Christmas tree is not a fir tree but an old rugged cross decorated not with tinsel and colored lights but with rough iron nails and the blood of God’s only Son.
2nd Thessalonians 1:7-9 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;…………BUT
God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
– Pastor Brown Sims
Below, Luke 2 is read by Robertson County Mayor Howard Bradley
Below, enjoy some special music with lyrics so you can sing along……..