Pride and Humility

the perils of pride

In the second book of Samuel is a study of human nature and the consequences of disobedience. The prophet Samuel is sent to Saul to anoint him as the first King of Israel.

15 Samuel also said unto Saul, The Lord sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the Lord.

Saul’s only condition for being King was to obey the words of the Lord.

Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt.

Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.

God’s instructions to Saul are clear; kill all of the people and the animals.

And Saul smote the Amalekites from Havilah until thou comest to Shur, that is over against Egypt.

And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword.

But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but everything that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly.

Did Saul obey God’s instructions? No. Saul chose his way instead of God’s way.

10 Then came the word of the Lord unto Samuel, saying,

11 It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the Lord all night.

A Prophet’s life requires a high level of commitment and is not dependent on comfortable relationships. Samuel cried because of his empathy with the heart of God.

12 And when Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning, it was told Samuel, saying, Saul came to Carmel, and, behold, he set him up a place, and is gone about, and passed on, and gone down to Gilgal.

13 And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the Lord: I have performed the commandment of the Lord.

Really? Did Saul obey God’s Word? This is a warning to us to not be deceived that we are being obedient when we are not. If we are off then we should welcome correction.

14 And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?

15 And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.

Saul defended his disobedience by justifying that they the best animals were saved for religious purposes – sacrificing. He was saying I’ll kill them when we offer them to God.

16 Then Samuel said unto Saul, Stay, and I will tell thee what the Lord hath said to me this night. And he said unto him, Say on.

17 And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the Lord anointed thee king over Israel?

18 And the Lord sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed.

19 Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the Lord, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the Lord?

Notice that God considers disobedience evil. We have leaders that dismiss disobedience as “misspoke”, “don’t recall”, and “plead the 5th”.

20 And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, and have gone the way which the Lord sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites.

21 But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God in Gilgal.

Saul reasserts his obedience by saying he killed all of Amalekites but saved only the King. Killing all but the King is still disobedience. He saved the King because since he was a King and his people were all killed then he would be saved. This is justification for self-preservation. Then he credits the people with saving the best animals for sacrifice.

22 And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.

Obedience is better than religious service. We can serve with all of our heart but if it’s not in accordance to obedience of God’s Word then it’s evil.

23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

Rebellion and stubbornness are manifestations of pride. They are always a result of elevating our thoughts above God’s thoughts. Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft. Witchcraft is the summoning or channeling of devil spirits. Stubbornness is compared to iniquity and idolatry. Iniquity is wickedness and idolatry is worshipping anything above God. We do not see the worship of stone idols as in the Old Testament but we do have idol worship in the forms of Money, music artists, film stars, and in pornography. I have been to concerts that were a corporate worship experience. Parents beware of allowing stubbornness and rebellion to become established in your children.

Therefore rebellion is like actively partnering with God’s enemy and stubbornness is like worshipping God’s enemy. There are consequences for stubbornness and rebellion.

24 And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.

Finally, Saul is honest about the sin. He was afraid of the people and listened to their voice instead of obeying God’s commandment. His pride has dissolved and his humility is on display.

25 Now therefore, I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turn again with me, that I may worship the Lord.

He apologizes and asks for forgiveness so that he can worship the Lord.

26 And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee: for thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord hath rejected thee from being king over Israel.

Samuel declares God’s judgement as a consequence of Saul’s disobedience which results in his loss of Kingship.

27 And as Samuel turned about to go away, he laid hold upon the skirt of his mantle, and it rent.

28 And Samuel said unto him, The Lord hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou.

29 And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent.

30 Then he said, I have sinned: yet honour me now, I pray thee, before the elders of my people, and before Israel, and turn again with me, that I may worship the Lord thy God.

31 So Samuel turned again after Saul; and Saul worshipped the Lord.

32 Then said Samuel, Bring ye hither to me Agag the king of the Amalekites. And Agag came unto him delicately. And Agag said, Surely the bitterness of death is past.

Agag thought that he was safe.

33 And Samuel said, As thy sword hath made women childless, so shall thy mother be childless among women. And Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the Lord in Gilgal.

Samuel completed the commandment of the Lord by butchering King Agag. Samuel was a feisty prophet with a commitment to God.

34 Then Samuel went to Ramah; and Saul went up to his house to Gibeah of Saul.

35 And Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death: nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul: and the Lord repented that he had made Saul king over Israel.

The people demanded to have a King like the other nations so God chose Saul. However, God’s true King was David.

Rebellion and stubbornness are manifestations of pride. All corrupt and dysfunctional relationships will be rooted in these attributes. The opposite of pride is humility. The foundation of humility is in Ephesians 6

1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.

Obey means to hear and then do after the first hearing, for this is right.

2 Honor thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)

Honor means to place a high value on something, therefore to esteem your parents. This is the fifth commandment. Even though we are not under the Law of Moses this commandment is continued in the New Testament.

 3 That it may be well with thee, and thou may live long on the earth.

That it may be well with us. This means physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. We will have fewer illnesses, think clearer, and be in harmony with others. Honor and obey are the foundation of all healthy relationships. Every child needs to learn the habits of honor and obeying their parents so that their social and emotional states will be settled. Honor and obedience are manifestations of humility.

Pride or humility is the daily choice in our lives. Choose wisely if you want the rewards of humility or the consequences of pride.

Rebellion and Stubbornness

Crowley

In 1 Samuel 15 an important verse is highlighted

23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

Every family, organization, business and nation is damaged by rebellion and stubbornness. A rebellious or stubborn teenager causes grief for the family. Prisons are filled with rebellious and stubborn law breakers. God has a strong opinion on this topic in Deuteronomy 21

18 If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: 19 Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; 20 And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. 21 And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.

This is a sobering thought for parents. I can’t imagine declaring to the community that my son is so dysfunctional that the only solution is to stone him to death. This demonstrates the gravity of the problem resulting from ignoring stubbornness and rebellion.

Now let’s dissect 1 Samuel 15

23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

This is comparing the sin of witchcraft to rebellion. Witchcraft or divination is the practice of summoning any spiritual source other than God. We see much of this in society today—horoscopes, astrology, tarot cards, witchcraft, sorcery, magic, séances, psychics, palm reading, spiritism, fortune telling, necromancy (communicating with the dead), yoga, New Age meditation, chants, spells, potions, charms, et cetera. Therefore, witchcraft is the active involvement to channel or usher spirits for help. Rebellion is an active, radical disobedience. This active extreme disobedience is likened to pursuing God’s enemy for assistance.

Continuing in 1 Samuel 15

23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

Stubbornness is a refusal to obey.  This is compared to iniquity (wickedness) and idolatry. Idolatry is the active worship of anything other than God. It’s usually something that can be seen. Therefore, stubbornness is compared to the wicked, active worship of something other than God. Stubbornness and rebellion violate the first two commandments,

First Commandment – Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”(Deuteronomy 5:3)

Second Commandment – Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:  thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them” (Deuteronomy 5:4,5)

Rebellion and stubbornness have become ingrained in our culture since the early 1960’s when prayer was banned from schools, rock and roll music became a dominant force, illicit drugs like marijuana and hallucinogens (e.g. LSD) penetrated all classes,  movies were more free spirit with R rated movies, and fornication became an accepted form of sexual expression.

This led to a rebellious environment creating a divide between parents and their children.

We can choose to honor and obey those that are in authority and reap the rewards or we can choose to rebel or be stubborn to those that are in authority and reap the consequences. Choose wisely.

 

Cultural Promotions of Satan

Supernatural occurrences are common in our culture in books, movies, and music. Spiritual forces only come from the Father of Jesus Christ or the Devil. If Jesus is not the obvious source then by default it’s of the Devil and therefore demonic power.

American Idol – This is a blantant but accurate title for a singing competition.

Charm

Harry Potter

Twilight

The Exorcist

Star Wars

Ouija

Beetlejuice

Rosemary’s Baby

Bewitched

Sabrina the teenaged witch

Lucy

Other outlets

Wicca Homeschool

Covens

Most Stephen King books and movies

Most JRR Tolkein books and movies

Jumanji

Cinderella, Alladin, Mulan, Enchanted, Brave, Sword in the Stone, (Many Disney movies)

Sphinx

Egyptian Abominations

One of the challenges that Christians face is how to live in this world without being influenced by the corruption in the world. Let’s consider Romans 12.

1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

We are called to present our lives as a living sacrifice, not a dead sacrifice, demonstrating holiness which is acceptable to God. This is our reasonable or logical service. We can easily arrive at this conclusion based on Romans 8.  Continuing in Romans 12.

2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

We are not to conform (have the same form) as the world.  What does this mean? We are not to have the same dress, habits, and behavior as the world. Our dress, speech, and actions should glorify God. This will require a strong backbone to avoid succumbing to peer pressure. When the world zigs we should zag. It takes strength to swim upstream.

Instead we are to be transformed (have a different form) as the world.  This is accomplished by renewing our minds to the Word of God. Renewing our minds requires us to first read the Word of God to learn about the heart of God in knowledge and wisdom, then to practice applying the word of God in our daily lives.

There may be a need to separate from past friends and situations if you are struggling with old habits of conforming to the world. If you used to drink alcohol, have sexual relations, ingest drugs, or have a salty tongue then separation may be necessary as you strengthen your roots in this new pattern of thinking.

In the Old Testament there is a record of how a family lived in another culture without being tainted.

Genesis 46

26 All the souls that came with Jacob into Egypt, which came out of his loins, besides Jacob’s sons’ wives, all the souls were threescore and six;

27 And the sons of Joseph, which were born him in Egypt, were two souls: all the souls of the house of Jacob, which came into Egypt, were threescore and ten.

28 And he sent Judah before him unto Joseph, to direct his face unto Goshen; and they came into the land of Goshen.

29 And Joseph made ready his chariot, and went up to meet Israel his father, to Goshen, and presented himself unto him; and he fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while.

30 And Israel said unto Joseph, Now let me die , since I have seen thy face, because thou art yet alive.

31 And Joseph said unto his brethren, and unto his father’s house, I will go up , and shew Pharaoh, and say unto him, My brethren, and my father’s house, which were in the land of Canaan, are come unto me;

32 And the men are shepherds ,for their trade hath been to feed cattle; and they have brought their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have.

33 And it shall come to pass, when Pharaoh shall call you, and shall say , What is your occupation?

34 That ye shall say , Thy servants’ trade hath been about cattle from our youth even until now, both we, and also our fathers: that ye may dwell in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians.

Genesis 47

1 Then Joseph came and told Pharaoh, and said, My father and my brethren, and their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have, are come out of the land of Canaan; and, behold, they are in the land of Goshen.

2 And he took some of his brethren, even five men, and presented them unto Pharaoh.

3 And Pharaoh said unto his brethren, What is your occupation? And they said unto Pharaoh, Thy servants are shepherds , both we, and also our fathers.

4 They said moreover unto Pharaoh, For to sojourn in the land are we come ; for thy servants have no pasture for their flocks; for the famine is sore in the land of Canaan: now therefore, we pray thee, let thy servants dwell in the land of Goshen.

5 And Pharaoh spake unto Joseph, saying , Thy father and thy brethren are come unto thee:

6 The land of Egypt is before thee; in the best of the land make thy father and brethren to dwell ; in the land of Goshen let them dwell : and if thou knowest any men of activity among them, then make them rulers over my cattle.

The phrase in Genesis 46:34 “…for every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians.” arrested my attention when I read this section. I inquired from God why this phrase was included in this section. Joseph instructed Jacob and his brothers to clearly announce that they are shepherds from a long line of shepherds. This immediately would alert Pharoh of their place in the Egyptian culture.

I believe that God wanted them to live in this wealthy country but not to be influenced by the Egyptian culture. They established their community in the Land of Goshen in Northern Egypt on the Mediterranean for their homes so that they would prosper during a time of world famine. This allowed them to be separate in a foreign country both geographically and culturally. This allowed them to live as God instructed them without interference from the Egyptians.

Egyptians thought that ranching was dirty work and beneath their race which is why Pharaoh asked if they would care for his cattle.

Another Egyptian abomination is mentioned in Genesis 43. Joseph’s brother visited Egypt to purchase food during the regional famine. They did not recognize Joseph but he recognized them. He has a meal prepared for his family but eats in a separate location.

31 And he washed his face, and went out, and refrained himself, and said , Set on bread.

32 And they set on for him by himself, and for them by themselves, and for the Egyptians, which did eat with him, by themselves: because the Egyptians might not eat bread with the Hebrews; for that is an abomination unto the Egyptians.

Not only were shepherds an abomination to the Egyptians but also eating a meal with the Hebrews was also an abomination. This ensured that the Egyptians were not going to fellowship with the abominable Hebrew shepherds.  The wisdom of God to maintain the Christ line by his attention to detail is fascinating.

How old is the earth?

how old is the earth

How Old is the Earth?

There is a chasm that separates the Evolutionists and the Creationists concerning the age of the Earth. Both sides are vehement about their positions. The Creationists believe that the earth is about 6000 years old because of the approximate timeline back to Adam in the Bible. The Evolutionists believe the Earth is Billions of years old due to carbon dating and science. These differences are vast and seemingly irreconcilable.  Let’s look at the Bible to see if what God reveals.

In second Peter the first clue is revealed.

2 Peter 3

6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:

7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word, are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the Day of Judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

There was a previous earth that perished – covered with water — which was replaced by the present heavens and the earth. So there is a first earth that has been replaced by the second earth (the ball that we live on now). This is important as we read Genesis.

Genesis 1:1-2

1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

2 And the earth was without form [tohu], and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth and the earth was without form and void…” It appears that God created the earth without form and void. However, Isaiah sheds light on this statement.

Isaiah 45:18

For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain [tohu], he formed it to be inhabited : I am the LORD; and there is none else.

Genesis says that God created the Earth “without form” and Isaiah claims that God created the earth “not without form” with the intent for it to be inhabited.  This results in an apparent contradiction in the Word of God.  Since I always assume the Bible is perfect then the problem is in my understanding or in the translation. In this instance the problem is with the translation.  In Genesis 1:2 the “was” in the phrase “the earth was without form” should be “the earth became without form”. This means that the first earth was formed correctly and was inhabitable as stated in Genesis 1:1. Then something happened and the earth was uninhabitable. This was the end of the first heaven and earth.  The second heaven and earth begins in Genesis 1:2.  This is the earth where Adam and Eve were formed, made, and created, which was about 6000 years ago.

We do not know the age of the first heaven and earth? It could be billions of years since their creation. There is plenty of time to account for dinosaurs, fossils, and all of the different types of cavemen classified by the anthropologists. God does not tell us the duration so we do not know.  I believe that scientists could be correct with their calculations and the creationists could be correct with their calculations because the creationists are calculating earth’s age for the second earth and the scientists are calculating the earth’s age for the first earth.

In Revelation 21 there is mention of a future third heaven and earth.

Revelations 21:1

1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

Why did the earth become without form after it was created to be inhabitable? What happened? In Isaiah 14 Lucifer has a change of station after his stint as the chief Angel.

Isaiah 14

12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning * ! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:

14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

16 They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble , that did shake kingdoms;

His pride, indicated by his five “I will” statements, leads to his down fall. After being cast from heaven Satan does not depart  alone.

Revelation 12:3-4

3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.

4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.

The great read dragon, Satan, along with a third of the angels (“the third part of the stars of heaven”) are cast to the earth. Satan resides on the second earth.

Now we know that the first earth perished and that we live on the second – present – earth help to explain the discrepancies of dating the age of the earth.

These are some closing thoughts.

Genesis 1:1-2

1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

This verse is the end of chapter 1. It is all that we know about the first heaven and earth.

Verse 2 begins the second chapter. This is the precursor for the second heaven and earth.

2 And the earth was without form [tohu], and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

The earth is covered with water which aligns with Peter

2 Peter 3

6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:

Creationists think Noah’s flood of 40 days destroyed the dinosaurs and created the fossils found on mountains. Fossils take longer than 40 days to form.

There are caveman bones that appear to be similar to modern man. They probably came from the  first earth. We do not know anything about their life. It’s all conjecture by observing a bone and drawings on a cave wall. We don’t know about their life and if they had the spirit of God.  Regardless of the caveman’s origin there was a new race created when Adam was made, formed, and created. We are all descendents of Adam and not a caveman, monkey, or primordial ooze.

The Key of Knowledge

key of knowledge

In Luke 11 is an intriguing verse of scripture

52Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered .

Jesus told the lawyers (people that had mastered the Law of Moses) that they had taken away “the key of knowledge”. This prevented them from entering in but also stopped others from entering. When Jesus said “the key” my question is “What is the key?” that he is referring. He did not say “the keys” or “a key” but “the key”.  Jesus does not tell us in the context of this chapter. I started studying knowledge in the Old Testament and found this verse in Proverbs 1

7The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. A key gains you access to a house, car, or safety deposit box. A key is never the final goal but provides an entrance, start, or beginning to the thing being sought. This was the verse that explained Luke 11:52 but I had to find it in the remote context.  To ensure that we are right let’s consider two more verses in Proverbs. In chapter 1

29 For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:

And chapter 2

5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.

These verses show that the fear of the Lord is a prerequisite for knowledge.  The prase “the fear of the Lord” is used 14 times in the book of Proverbs. In Proverbs 9 it’s also the beginning of wisdom.

10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

The fear of the Lord is significant to our walk if we want to wise and knowing. So now we have a new question, What is the fear of the Lord mean? Fear is commonly used to refer to being scared. This word means to give reverence or respect to something. If you fear a snake then you are giving respect to the power or danger posed by the snake. When we fear the Lord then we give reverence or respect to God. So how do we give respect to God? This is done be respecting the Word of God. As we read the Word of God and obey it then we are showing respect to God.  As we show respect to God in this way then he allows us to begin in our quest for knowledge, and wisdom.  The Word of God is unfathomable because it contains infinite knowledge and wisdom. That’s why the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom because we will never live long enough to apprehend and comprehend the full knowledge and wisdom contained in the book.

Here are all 14 verses in Proverbs which contain the phrase “fear of the Lord”. If you read, study, and meditate on these verses then God will give you more knowledge and wisdom. God is waiting for you to spend some quality time with him. Enjoy the journey.

Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 1:29; Proverbs 2:5; Proverbs 8:13; Proverbs 9:10; Proverbs 10:27; Proverbs 14:26-27; Proverbs 15:16; Proverbs 15:33; Proverbs 16:6; Proverbs 19:23; Proverbs 22:4; Proverbs 23:17

 

His Star

Who knew and when? That is a common question during an investigation and usually established by analyzing the evidence and cross examining witnesses. This study is an analysis of the birth of Jesus Christ with the focus on “who were the wise men?” and “when did they know?”.

Matthew 2

1Now 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,

2Saying, 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.

3When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

4And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.

5And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,

6And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out ofthee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

7Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.

8And 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.

9When 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.

10When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

11And 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.

12And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

Who are these wise men and why are they the only ones aware of Jesus birth? None of these locals seem to be aware which disturbs the king. The wise men arrive unannounced and assume that everybody knows about the birth of the King. How did they know about this important event and nobody local knew?

Magos is the Greek name for the wise men. Magi is the name for a wise man. The magi are from the Chaldee area of Persia, also known as Babylon. The magi that went west were called magicians. Magicians are the group that practiced astrology and other black and white arts. The Magi were astronomer scientists that studied the stars. Magicians studied the stars also with an eye to corrupt the star knowledge for religious application.

How did these magi from Persia know about Jesus birth? The key is revealed in the book of Daniel chapter 2,

48Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon.

Daniel was the leader of all of the wise men of Babylon. He learned what sign to look for in the stars to signify the birth of Jesus Christ. Daniel probably received revelation from God since this was not common knowledge in Israel. Daniel then taught the magi the signs to look for in the stars. They were faithful to observe the stars nightly for over 400 years. Once they saw the proper signs in the sky then they packed up and headed for Bethlehem. The travel took months and probably was a caravan. They arrived months after the birth since he was in a house at the time. He was over a year old since Herod had all of the male children two years old and under killed according to his calculations for the birth.

What was the star that the magi saw? Matthew 2,

2Saying, 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.

 

The key to this understanding is the word branch in the old testament. Specifically the Hebrew word tsemach which is translated into the word branch.

Jeremiah 23

5 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.

Jeremiah 33

15 In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land.

Zechariah 6

12And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD:

Zechariah 3

8Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH.

Isaiah 4

2In that day shall the BRANCH of the LORD be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel.

These are all Old Testament references to the Lord Jesus Christ.  In the following picture is the representation of the Virgo constellation. Zemach (tsemach) is the bright star in the wheat sheaf in the ladies left hand.

 

 

The zodiac is a picture of the Word of God written in the stars. It begins with Virgo the virgin and ends with Leo the Lion. The beginning of the story is the birth of Jesus Christ and ends with Jesus Christ as the Lion of the tribe of Judah (King of Kings).

The tsemach is the star that the magi saw in the sky to signify the birth of Christ. There were a series of signs over months that finally culminated in the sign that assured them that the birth had occurred and then they traveled to see the King.

 

 

Has your identity been stolen?

Has your identity been stolen? Has anybody ever told you that you are not worth much? That you are not smart enough, not pretty enough, not sophisticated enough, not rich enough? To be blunt, that you are just not good enough? This could be due to your family inheritance: alcoholism, laziness, physical abuse, emotional abuse, anger, minimal education, overly submissive, peer pressure, poor eating habits, poor exercise habits. Your past is not your identity. Your family is not your identity. Many of us grew up in dysfunctional families but that does not give us our identity.

We are all born with the same God given gifts. We all have 24 hours in every day. We are all born with freedom of will. This gives us the ability to make choices. Within this freedom of will we are given response-ability. You may have always reacted a certain way but you have a choice to not act that way.  That should put some wind in your freedom sails. We also are given the opportunity to believe God’s Word. This is the secret for radically changing your life. We all steward our time, our choices, and our believing.

This means that we are influenced by our past and our families but we have the choice of how we want to respond. In Isaiah 55 is the synopsis of our struggles,

8For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

9For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Pause and consider these verses. God’s thoughts and ways are way, way, way higher than our thoughts and ways. That means that God’s thoughts and ways are always superior to our thoughts and ways. But due to freedom of will we can choose to believe that our ways are better. When you are born again your identity is now a Son or Daughter of God. Now you have to think and act in a different way because your citizenship has changed. Now you are a child of God with Christ in you, the hope of the glory.

So where do we begin in order to change how we think (because thinking always precedes our actions). Observe Romans 12,

1I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Before you are born again then your life is conformed (of the same form or look) as the world. But after being saved then your life can be transformed (of a different form) than the world. This is how to live out your new identity.

The next verse in Romans 12 provides further instruction.

3For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

Since we are to think soberly (sanely) then we need to think what the Word of God says about us. We are not to think more OR less than the Word says about us. Here are some of the things that God’s word asks us to consider.

1-    Now you are a Son of God

2-    You are seated in the heavenlies

3-    You have grace and peace from God our father and the Lord Jesus Christ

4-    You are complete in him(Jesus Christ)

5-    You have the mind of Christ

6-    You are a member of the body of Christ where Christ is the head.

7-    God is light and in him is no darkness

8-    Jesus Christ has already paid the price for your sins and sicknesses.

9-    There is no condemnation for those that are in Christ.

10- You can love with the love of God because of your new nature. This includes loving God, yourself, and your neighbor. Also includes loving those that have hurt you to the extent of blessing them.

11- You are guaranteed that you will get a new body when Christ returns for his saints.

12-You are promised eternal life.

13- You are forgiven. Unforgiveness is a scheme of the devil which dominates and oppresses many people. You have a choice of not partnering with the Devil and choose to live in freedom.