December 21, 2008

Hello,

I greet you once again in the Name of Jesus!

I want to take a break from our current series to take a look at what could easily be the most important holiday on the Christian calendar. I am speaking of course of Christmas. Why do I say that Christmas is the most important holiday? Wouldn’t Resurrection Sunday (Easter) be the most important? The resurrection of Christ is the central truth of the Christian faith. Without it we would all still be in our sins, with no hope of redemption. While that is true, without the birth of Christ we wouldn’t have His death on the cross, His burial in Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb, and His triumphant resurrection.

Whenever we discuss Christmas, it seems that there are always those who will say that believers should not observe Christmas. They will point out that Christmas has pagan origins. These same people will point out that Christmas was not among the feasts of the Christian Church until around the third or fourth centuries. They will say that many of the traditions surrounding the Christmas season have pagan origins as well (I.E. the Christmas tree, Yule log, presents, etc). While all of this is true, I still see no reason Christians cannot take one day out of the year to celebrate the birth of our Lord.

Some point out that the observance of the birth of Christ is not in the Bible. That is true, but I want to celebrate His birth anyway. The last time I checked, my birthday is not in the Bible either; but I still appreciate birthday cards, cake, ice cream, and all of the other fun associated with it. Some believers need to lighten up! We are well versed in what we are against, but often not as well in what we stand for. If you choose to not observe Christmas, that is your privilege. Just don’t judge the rest of us.

Just what is Christmas all about? If I had to choose one verse of scripture to sum up the true meaning of Christmas it would be John 3:16. You know it well, it reads, 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. [John 3:16 NKJV] That really sums up the true meaning of Christmas. It is all about Him. Christmas is not about lights, tinsel, candy canes, Christmas trees, and all of the other festive parts of the season; it is about God the Father giving the gift of His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Lord Jesus did not come into the world like any other man. The very first prophecy of the Bible indicates how He would come into the earth realm. The Word says, 15 And I will put enmity
      Between you and the woman,
      And between your seed and her Seed;
      He shall bruise your head,
      And you shall bruise His heel
.” [Gen. 3:15 NKJV]

This verse promises a redeemer, one who would defeat the serpent and his seed. It would be the seed of the woman. Biologically speaking, this is impossibility. The woman doesn’t have any seed, the man does. Yet God declared that the seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent. This hints at a virgin birth. The prophet Isaiah makes it a bit clearer, he said; 14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. [Isa. 7:14 NKJV] Liberal theologians have struggled with this concept. They have said the word virgin really means, young woman.

In fact, one liberal version known as Good News for Modern Man actually translates Isaiah 7:14 that way. This edition of the New Testament was based on The Revised Standard Version. I submit to you that to translate Isaiah 7:14 with young woman substituted for virgin is textual dishonesty. There are two distinct Hebrew words, one which can be translated young woman, the other to be translated as virgin. The two words are Bethulah and Alma. The first word, bethulah, can refer to a young woman of marriageable age, whether a virgin or not. The other word, Alma, can also be translated as young woman, however it refers to a young woman who is chaste and has never known a man sexually. “There is no instance where it can be proved that ‘almâ designates a young woman who is not a virgin. The fact of virginity is obvious in Gen 24:43 where ‘almâ is used of one who was being sought as a bride for Isaac.” (R. Laird Harris, et al. Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, p. 672.)

Why is this concept of a virgin birth, a conception apart from the involvement of a man, so difficult for some theologians? Think back to the creation of man. How did the first man Adam come into being? The Bible says, 7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. [Gen. 2:7 NKJV] I mention this passage to show that in the beginning God brought forth a man without a woman. So what is more difficult for the Lord? To create a man without a woman, or to bring forth a man without a man? Jesus was born of a pure, chaste virgin, and His birth was completely supernatural!

Thank God for Christmas! We celebrate the supernatural birth of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ! It was of a necessity that He be born of a virgin. Why? Because the first Adam committed high treason against the high court of heaven, sold his dominion to an outlaw spirit, Lucifer, and plunged the entire human race into sin. Thereafter every single person born into the human family was born in sin, separated from God. The blood line of the entire human family was tainted by sin. Had Jesus been born of natural means, He would have inherited that tainted blood, and consequently could not have offered that blood to purchase our redemption.

Paul writing to the saints in Corinth referred to Jesus as the last Adam. Why is this significant? Because like the first man Adam, the last Adam stood as the representative of the entire human race. His actions, like the first Adam, would impact all of humanity either positively or negatively. This why He is the last Adam.

I want to delve into this a bit deeper next time, as well as share some additional thoughts on the Christmas season.

May you and yours enjoy a truly BLESSED Christmas, and a prosperous and joyous New Year!

The Weekly Word is found in 1 Corinthians 15:45. Here the Bible says,

45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. [1 Cor. 15:45 KJV]

Until next time, this is THE WEEKLY WORD.

Pastor Kevin E. Johnson

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