The Road To Bethlehem Part III (The Significance of History)
History is His-Story
(Galatians 4:4 KJV) But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, having come into being out of a woman, having come under Law,
At first I wanted to discuss the historical evidence concerning Jesus. And I had a wonderful time digging into antiquity. I researched the writings of the Church fathers. I read the historical accounts of Josephus. I read the rabbinical writings in the Talmud. I even read parts of the Koran that spoke of Jesus. Then as I set to put it all together in a great apologetic sermon, God spoke to me in that still small voice and for a change I listened. It is not proof that God wants you to see today, it is time. Jesus came at the precise and perfect time in history. The stage was set from the foundations of the earth.
Let me begin with a brief glimpse of the stage being set before Christís coming. Letís begin at the beginning. Genesis 3:15 is the first mention of Godís plan for redemption.
(Genesis 3:15) You and this woman will hate each other; your descendants and hers will always be enemies. One of hers will strike you on the head, and you will strike him on the heel."
From the time of the fall; I believe even before, God knew what He would have to do, and when He planned on doing it. The world was a small place in mankindís beginnings. Most of all activity occurred around what was known as the fertile crescent. This was the Holy Land. Egypt, and Babylon.
The world was filled with war. One empire, after another, after another. When Babylon ruled over Israel Daniel gave Nebuchadnezzar the interpretation of his dream and pointed out the path to come.
(Daniel 2:31- 33 CEV) Your Majesty, what you saw standing in front of you was a huge and terrifying statue, shining brightly. Its head was made of gold, its chest and arms were silver, and from its waist down to its knees, it was bronze. From there to its ankles it was iron, and its feet were a mixture of iron and clay. This told of the five empires that would rule the world.
This is the kingdoms that Daniel spoke of:
Gold head: Babylon
Silver Chest and arms: Medo-Persia
Bronze waist to knees: Greece/ Alexander the Great
Legs of Iron: Roman Empire
Feet of iron and clay: One World OrderÖ..
When we leave the Old Testament in Malachi, Israel was under the Persian Empire. Then the world changed as Alexander the Great came on the scene. The Grecian Empire brought with it philosophy, Trade and one uniform language. They also brought with them death and abominations. After Alexander the Great died a ruthless general came into Israel and killed the priests and desecrated the temple. Antiochus Epiphanies offered a pig on the alter and forced the priest to eat itís meat.
From the fires of affliction rose up a small band of men who took on, and overcame the entire Grecian army. The Maccabees took back the temple and the miracle of the oil lamp brought in the festival of lights, known as Hanukah. In rededicating the temple there was not enough oil to last but one day, and it would take eight days to prepare more. The lamp burnt for the entire 8 days until new oil was prepared. That is why you see the nine candle menorah which represents the days of Godís miraculous provision.
By the time that the Romans came to power most of the known world understood and spoke the Greek language. It was the language used for trade. Recently in the caves of Pakistan scrolls have been found dating 22 years and 40 years BC written in Greek and an unknown dialect. They demonstrate how people in the most distant villages who spoke their own language that no one else could understand, could speak and understand the Greek language. It was the language that Paul used to spread the gospel.
But, if the Romanís had not come to powerÖ the legs of iron, the roads would have never been built to travel from one city to another to spread the gospel. The Roman Empire made it possible to travel the whole known world with the truth of Godís love.
So you might sayÖ So why could not have Jesus came after the time of the Romanís. Basically because it was a short lived empire, and the Greek language almost completely disappeared. Remember that Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD, less then 40 years after Christís crucifixion and resurrection. Then in 476 AD Rome fell and the world fell into the dark ages.
There is far too much history to cover in one short message, the important thing for us to know is that Jesus came to earth at the exact right moment and when we get a grip on that knowledge, we can rest assured that the things we put in Godís charge will work out according to His good will, in His perfect time.
What I do want to talk about now, which I very rarely spend much time on at all, is the realization that Jesus is coming back. How and when is not for us to say, but one thing we all must do is to be ready. I am not going to suggest in any way that I know that the time is short, but as I see things going in the world today, the writing seems to be clearly upon the wall. It would be easy for us to worry and be upset. But Jesus tells us not to be troubled by these things.
(John 14:1-3 KJV) Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
So if there is a proposition for todayís message it would be that we can trust God in all things at the right time. Oh, yes, I wish I could be more eloquent in the setting of these words but the communication of the ideal is more important to me then the poetic sound of the sentence.
It has been said that if we do not learn from history we are bound to repeat it. Too often today we find our culture re-writing history to fit their own agenda, and in doing so the same mistakes that have been made in the past are being once again made today.
I also want to point out that if God has said something is going to come to pass, and it seems real impossible for what he says to happen, happens, then maybe we should listen to him.
Remember the star that the wise men were following? God put those stars in place from the beginning of time and knew the exact moment they would shine on that little town of Bethlehem. Look at the kings that he put in power and took out of power by small bands of men. God determines the times of our lives.
(Mark 13:32 & 33 KJV) But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.
So you can take two things from todayís message. First. Trust in the LORD. He has the entire universe in his hands. He is LORD of all and that includes time and space. So rest in his arms of love. Place all your burdens and worries at his feet. Come unto him and he will give you rest. Wait upon him and he will renew your strength.
The second thing you can take, is the realization that we are on this side on the infinite. There is a thin veil separating us from all eternity. The decisions we make today will determine our eternal destiny. Are you ready, if you were to be called before the LORD today would you enter in as one of his children? Or are you not sure of your welcome? You can be sure today. Letís go back to our original verse of scripture.
(Galatians 4:3-7 LITV) So we also, when we were infants, we were under the elements of the world, being enslaved. But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, having come into being out of a woman, having come under Law, that He might redeem the ones under Law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because you are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba! Father!
So that you no more are a slave, but a son, and if a son, also an heir of God through Christ.
Letís all call upon the LORD today, so we can come together as one family of God calling out Abba! Father. Let me pray with you today and as you pray, open your heart and let the Holy Spirit enter in and fill you will the fullness of Godís love.
Father God; we call upon the name of the LORD. We confess that Jesus is LORD and we ask you to forgive us of all of our sins, change us right this moment into your children. Lord you know everything we have done and all of our intentions. Wash us clean and make us whole. Fill us to the over flowing with your Holy Spirit. I thank you for loving me and making me your child. In Jesus Name AmenÖ. And Amen
You are indeed a child of the KING!!!!