Isaiah the Prophet’s Perspective. Jerusalem . 700 BC
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6
Micah the Prophet’s Perspective . Moresheth, Judah . 700 BC
“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Too little to be among the clans of Judah,
From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.” Micah 5:2
Joseph’s Perspective . Nazareth, Israel . January 3 BC
“But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’” Matthew 1:20-21
Shepherds Perspective . Near Bethlehem, Judah . September 3 BC
“But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
“The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.”
Mary’s Perspective . Bethlehem, Judah . September 3 BC
“And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.”
Simon’s Perspective . Jerusalem, Israel . September 3 BC
“And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed— and a sword will pierce even your own soul—to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” Luke 2:34-35
Magi Perspective . Jerusalem . December 2 BC
“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 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.” Matthew 2: 2,10-11
We often hear the phrase, “from Genesis to Revelation” to express the broad sweep of men’s experience on earth and God’s plan for the same.
In Genesis we read:
“The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.” Genesis 49:10
In revelation we read:
“A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; and she was with child; … And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a scepter of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne.” Revelation 12:1-5
This story seems to swirl about a King, righteous and true. And his subjects, who have loved his appearing.
I was inspired to write a poem a few years ago at Christmastime that I read every year reflecting on this King and his story, in worship. It is titled, “Twice a King.”
While worshiping again this year with wide eyes and an open heart, watching “The Star of Bethlehem,” I saw something completely new, like I many times do.
The two scepters in Genesis and Revelation are really one, and belong to the same King. His story is written in the Bible, on countless hearts, and in the stars.
The King of the universe, visits a virgin, who has His Son. His Son becomes the ruling, loving, righteous, rightful, and everlasting King of all mankind. There is lots of romance involved, and an evil opponent, as His beautiful story plays out upon the earth over time. It’s a story that fills the pages of our literature, our history, our very lives. And, it and it is written in the stars.
It’s the same story known to the magi, perhaps through the prophet Daniel, and to the prophet John, who recorded it in the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ.
I hope you can take time to watch Rick Larson explain it in detail this Christmas season. You will experience awe, the wonder and joy of Christmas, and a blessing.
The King of heaven symbolized by Regulus the King star, moves toward earth symbolized by Jupiter the king planet, to a conjunction with Venus the queen planet and through the constellation Virgo, the virgin, to give birth to a redeemer prince, a Son, the King of heaven and earth, the everlasting One.
Ponder the majesty and magnitude of one who would write the story on earth and in the heavens, for all to see, for all time.
Bethlehem and the Cross
This “celestial poem” as Larson calls it, is one of “terrible beauty” that gives one pause, and makes one shutter.
I pray He who wrote it in history, and in the stars, will write it on your heart this year if He hasn’t already done so. That’s my Christmas prayer.
Bethlehem and the cross were both necessary to the story and are shown by a clockwork star — from the moment God flung the universe into existence. He knew what he was going to do and marked it in the clockwork, faithful heavens for all who have eyes to see.
Hidden from most, but real, and present.
I pray the beautiful music, artistry, storytelling, and cinematography, of this video will help you see the mystery and truth of this story.
This is my time. This is your time. These are our times.
We know so much. Yet we know so little.
Humble yourself. Look at the stars, especially the Star of Bethlehem.
Then say with the ancient wisemen,
“Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” Matthew 2:2
“And I will grant wonders in the sky above And signs on the earth below, … Before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come. And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Acts 2:19-22
“The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them.
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:2,6
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
“He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. And he will be our peace.” Micah 5:2,4-5
“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).” Matthew 1:23
The winter solstice just passed a few days ago, December 21, the shortest day of the year. On that day there also appeared in the sky a planetary conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. There was a lot of hubbub about it because it’s so rare, occurring about once every 800 years. There were lots of articles in newspapers, magazines, and the visual media hailing it as the Star of Bethlehem.
I personally don’t believe it was the star of Bethlehem. Rather the Bethlehem star was a conjunction of Jupiter and Venus which appeared in December, 2 BC, over Jerusalem as viewed from the East, modern day Iraq or Iran, ancient Persia, making it the brightest star anyone alive had ever seen.
There is something in the human psyche that both loves and loathes mystery. We want to know all we can, and yet we are attracted to the unknown. We like to puzzle things out for ourselves and we like to learn from what others have puzzled out.
Signs in the Sky and Wise Men from the East
I think that Rick Larson got it right in his 2015 DVD titled “The Star of Bethlehem.” He is an attorney, and after reading the biblical account in Matthew chapter 2 came up with nine clues about the star as evidence to what it might have been. That’s what lawyers do. Then he purchased some astronomy software that allows one to view the actual sky and stars on any given date and time from any point on earth. What he discovered is what makes this presentation so riveting.
He contends that in September, 3 BC the king planet Jupiter made three close passes or conjunctions with the king star Regulus, in the constellation of Leo the lion. Many theorize along with Larson that this rare astronomical event, or sign in the sky, may have been anticipated and handed down to the magi from the chief of the magi, Daniel the Hebrew prophet, when he served the kings of Babylon and Persia who in their time ruled the whole known world.
And that the magi made preparation at that time, then followed the king planet Jupiter nine months later as it arrived at it’s conjunction with Venus, and that would lead them to the location of the most famous King who would ever be born, the King of the Jews.
On December 25, 2 BC, the star (Jupiter) was over Bethlehem, 5 miles south as viewed from Jerusalem, and appeared stopped (in retrograde.)
The magi followed it, along with new information from the Hebrew Scriptures provided by Herod’s scribes that Bethlehem was the place of the Messiah’s birth. They went to worship the King, who was a toddler by that time, then returned secretly to their home country, with great joy!
The conjunction a few days ago was unusual because of its rarity, but it wasn’t that bright, and even with the naked eye one could see a little space between the two planets.
What did the wisemen see in the stars that sent them on their journey? It appears that it was the king planet coming very close to the king star, three times in rapid succession, in the constellation of the lion. The lion is the animal representation of the tribe of Judah in Israel. A prophecy that Daniel and the Magi would have known is that the Messiah would come from the tribe of Judah. (Genisis 49:10) And following that, Jupiter coming in conjunction with Venus, stacked to make them appear as one, very-bright star.
I wonder what the sky looked like to them when they started their 700 mile trek, full of anticipation, awe, and intrigue?
“After hearing the king, they went their way; and the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.” Matthew 2:9-10
To watch the best YouTube video of “The Star of Bethlehem” click here, and the information for ordering the DVD with better resolution and bonus material is listed below it. Enjoy!
I was awakened yesterday morning with some thoughts about our times and the state of the republic. I think we can barely call it a union at the moment.
The overarching reality and truth for those who know God and His grace by faith is that they will be fine, and fare well under any political system or government.
God rules over the nations. They are but a drop in the bucket to Him. Psalm Two states that fundamental and foundational truth, supported by many, many other Scriptures that tell us the same thing.
“Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed, saying, ‘Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.’ The One enthroned in heaven laughs;” Psalm 2:1-4a
“Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales; he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust.” Isaiah 40:15
Jesus said as much while being purposely specific and purposefully ambiguous in the “woe to you” passages of Matthew chapter eleven. He addresses the cities of Sodom, Sidon, Capernaum, and others for their unbelief and bad behavior when they should have known better.
God has righteously judged these people and their rulers in their times, and for all times. Righteousness and justice are the foundations of his throne. That is Who He is. That is what He does.
“Clouds and thick darkness surround him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.” Pssalm 97:2
Black Lives Matter is a pale, secular-humanist, misguided effort to take these justice matters into human hands where hearts are bitter with self entitlement (pride) and/or unforgiveness. They evidently feel that there is no God, thus they must right these wrongs themselves. For those who ascribe to it, it is destructive, even self-destructive, accomplishing little and festering much anger that will reap a bitter end. Those who climb high on this ladder will do so only to find it leaning against the wrong wall. But I digress.
“I said to myself, ‘God will bring into judgment both the righteous and the wicked, for there will be a time for every activity, a time to judge every deed.’” Eccl 3:17
“‘Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.” Romans 12:19
The twelve minor prophets as well as the whole of Scripture tell us and show us that it’s possible and desirable for believers to live a quiet and peaceful life and work with their hands, no matter the government of the times being good or bad, honest or evil, God-fearing or God-ignoring.
“Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who esteem His name.” Malachi 3:16
Note Ruth and Boaz toward the end of the dark, Judges period in Israel’s history. Note Jesus coming during the dark times of Rome and Israel. Note Paul the apostle of Jesus Christ, along with Peter and their fellows, birthing and establishing the church of Christ and furthering the kingdom of God during those same dark times. Followers of The Way flourished and grew and spread the news of life in Christ from Asia to Europe, from where it would go around the globe. These disciples and friends of Jesus lived quiet and peaceful lives, with faith, hope, and love — righteousness, peace, and joy in the midst of whatever government or epoch they found themselves. Often with suffering and persecution, as foretold and experienced by the Apostles and fathers of the faith, but they would enjoy each other and supernatural help in times of trouble from the Spirit of God himself, and get to know Him better as the merciful, gracious, loving, all-powerful One He is.
Psalm 37 and Psalm 73 perhaps describe the practical aspects of these relationships best — the sacred and the secular. The secular humanist are usually seeking power and control, fueled by greed. Those seeking the Sacred would come to know the power, the touch, the beauty of the Holy One helping them along. And actually lowering Himself, humbling Himself to tabernacle with them, to even dwell within them — indeed God comes near.
“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). Matthew 1:25
“To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Col 1:27
As for their times and whatever blessings or struggles they would face, they trusted God, His Word, and His indwelling Presence. As Paul by the Spirit told the stoic philosophers on Mars Hill in Athens, those words recorded in Scriptures for believers of all ages, “God chooses where men will live and their times.”
“And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us,” (Acts 17:26-27)
Who do we admire 2000 years after the times of the Caesars and the Apostles? The simple witness of history is that today people name their sons Paul, and their dogs Nero.
From Over Arching Truth to January 6, 2021
January 6, 2021 could either become one of the most momentous dates in American history, or slip by unnoticed like a small but malignant cancer.
Let me explain. Some trusted friends a few days ago made me aware that President Trump could still legally be the 46th President of the United States. A very simple summary of how that might happen follows.
The founding fathers who with Gods help gave us the constitution of the United States, the electoral college, and the best, most free, republic in history; also wrote a little known and seldom used provision for the presidential election in the event the vote has questionable validity.
On January 6, vice president Pence acting as president of the Senate will assemble both houses of Congress to officially present them the voting results from the electoral college. Typically and historically they have been accepted and the next president officially declared.
The main stream media, as you are no doubt aware, has already declared the next president to the masses. Boldly and loudly they have said there is little or no evidence of fraud in the election that would have altered the outcome.
While it’s true the courts have been reluctant to hear the evidence and by and large have refused to do so on jurisdiction or technical grounds, not wanting to touch it with a ten-foot pole, at least one judge has and ordered forensic computer folks to investigate, even publishing their findings of fraud and possible manipulation on a sophisticated and widespread scale. So while evidence of this possibility or actuality has been collected, it has not been widely reported or heard.
That is, until Wednesday, December 16, when the Senate had a hearing to examine the evidence themselves.
On to January 6, 2021. If the evidence is substantial that cyber skulduggery and other forms of improper or unethical voting in the swing states is presented, one member of each house of Congress can motion in writing that those states make the electoral vote invalid, not reflecting the will and actual vote of the people.
In this event both houses are ordered to their separate chambers to examine the evidence and debate the issue for two hours. When they reconvene, then Congress votes to elect the next president.
Only this vote is by state. Each state gets one vote, and there are more republican states than democratic states.
Can you imagine the chaos and confusion this could cause?
IF the evidence is there? IF the congressmen have the fortitude to do right according to the evidence? Those are two very big IFs!
What it could show is at the vote was stolen from the American people and from President Trump.
What the populace would probably believe is that by political maneuvering the vote was stolen from the American people and from President elect Biden. After all, his victory has been confirmed by the media!
So could there be protests, property destruction, loss of life, and violence in the streets? Of course there could be and almost certainly would be to some extent, given our recent history, albeit probably not on the level people fear.
And it begs the question, the age old question, which is more important truth or peace? Acting on fear or with courage? Being on the side of what’s right or what’s expedient?
If you fear God more than man, you choose what’s right. Because historically if you don’t, He will, and after some time passes the ramifications will be much worse and harder to bear.
What will happen? Ready or not?
One side of me thinks the probability of this scenario playing out, even if it be true and the evidence clearly shown, is slim. Why? Because of fear. Our people are increasingly afraid. They typically have shown themselves to prefer “peace and safety,” “in our time,” and “come what may” to standing up for what’s true and right with courage and conviction as an antidote to future tyranny and slavery.
Also the leaders, some of them anyway, prefer the riches that come by being allied in someway with the deep state or bureaucratic swamp, to what is right or best for the people, even what the law says. That is quite different from our Founding Fathers, men like Benjamin Franklin saying, “We must hang together or we most certainly will hang separately.” And saying, “[We’ve given you] a republic if you can keep it.” Men who risked it all to establish our country, and indeed many of them sacrificed it all.
Haman’s Gallows — Purim in the USA?
The other side of me, the spiritual side, says, “This would be a miracle, but this could happen!”
Remember the story of Esther? Haman, a high-ranking official who appeared on his way to being Prime Minister of Persia, the nation ruling the whole world at the time, had an evil heart. He had hatched an evil scheme to murder all the Jews in Persia. His plot was in place. Dates were set. Actions laid out for the plan. It appeared it couldn’t be stopped. He had even deceived the king of Persia about these people he hated because of jealousy and the fact they wouldn’t bow to him, and the king had approved his plan. You can read this story for yourself in Esther chapter five and there about.
But when the truth and the evil came to light, the king issued another decree because the laws of the Medes and Persians issued by the king couldn’t be altered. This turned out to be even better in its results, as the evil people and enemies of the truth were exposed and eradicated.
This caused the kingdom, the king, and the people much joy as good rulers and good rule could continue going forward.
So What to Do?
We wait. We pray. We act as the Spirit leads. But we mainly watch for Him to act, and pray for His mercy and His justice to prevail.
I know personally, I want to get back to the reason for the season. To meditation, contemplation, and worship of Jesus Christ, the ruler of all of history and all eternity. Come what may in our circumstances, the government ultimately rests upon His shoulders, and of the increase of His kingdom there will be no end.
Christmas peace and blessings to you all in His magnificent Name! Amen.
“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.”
Ron, a longtime friend unloaded a bombshell Tuesday morning when our 2020 reading group met. Sitting in the very chair where I’m sitting right now he read to us what could happen January 6, regarding who will be the 46th President of the United States.
Since I don’t watch the news, this was intriguing to me and continues to be as I’ve spent some time researching the matter.
Who knew? The founding fathers had this provision framed into our laws. On January 6, Vice President Pence, a man of character and Christian conviction, will preside over a joint session of Congress to open, present, and have them approve the outcome of the duly elected and appointed electoral college.
In years past this has been a formality, with a few notable exceptions like the Kennedy election of 1960 where there were concerns in Congress about fraud in the Chicago voting.
But this time, contrary to the narrative being projected by the media, if there should be enough evidence of fraud in the voting in key states, evidence which the Republicans say they have, one member of the House and one member of the Senate can motion in writitng that the vote is in question and not valid.
In this event, the vice president overseeing these proceedings as the president of the Senate would instruct both houses of Congress to separate and debate the matter for two hours, then reconvene and decide the matter by vote.
Each state would have only one vote, no matter how densely populated. There are more republican states than democratic states, so if every Republican state represented sees the fraud evidence sufficient and has the courage to vote that way, Donald Trump would likely remain the president of the United States of America.
Shocking! Can you imagine the shock? Of the majority of the population! Who have been told over and over that it’s over and Mr. Biden has won.
I remember two recent presidential elections where the media practically declared the outcome of the election in the weeks and days before — but it went unexplainably the other way? I digress.
So could there be political unrest? Maybe rioting in the streets? I’m sure there might be.
I would suggest that is not the biggest issue, although for many it is. Peace and safety at all cost, is the mantra or guiding position of many. The trouble is, it doesn’t work that way with evil in the world, and evil continues to plague mankind.
Evil is very much like cancer. You want to cut it out early to stop the spread and preserve the life of the whole! Do you not?
Or do you consider surgery too invasive? And the temporary pain and inconvenience too much of a sacrifice, and go on your way, letting it grow and spread? Thinking, “It will probably be all right.”
It’s exactly the same with evil. This is the best analogy I know. If free-will people do not stand up for truth and against evil, then more evil will come more powerfully to their door.
“You can pay me now, or pay me later.” We’ve all heard this about preventive maintenance and facing the truth or reality of a situation. We also know the price of “later” usually is much, much “greater.”
Ask the German people in Hitler and Bonhoeffer’s time. As the Russian people in Stalin and Solzhenitsyn’s time. Ask Israel in pre-Babylon and Isaiah’s time?
Dr. Ben Carson said it well when he was on the campaign trail for president, as he ended many of his speeches. “America will continue to be the land of the free, as long as she is the home of the brave.”
Let us not be like the British before World War II. Churchill was seeing things clearly and pointing out to the people Hitler’s true nature and plans. British Prime Minister Chamberlain at that time went to meet with Hitler and came back with his personal reality saying, “Peace, peace in our time.”
Of course people wanted to hear that. We all do. But the reality of what was about to happen was much different. The people were deluded by themselves and their leader to their own hurt. Many bombs would subsequently fall on London, many buildings would be burned or blown up. Many, many lives would be lost. The world would be plunged into a world war that might have been averted. When war came to England they went looking for Churchill, who saw the reality clearly in the beginning, to lead them through the terrible ordeal which by God’s grace he did.
Reality! Who do we celebrate, the doctor who makes an early, correct diagnosis of cancer, then addresses is the matter? Or the doctor who is casual, maybe inept, too busy with his life to be thorough with yours, or otherwise misses the reality of unhealthy, destructive cells growing in your body?
Truth is important! Reality is important! Seek to know both. Be willing to sacrifice for them. Pray for courage and insight. Then take courage.
The sooner you confront cancer the better off you are, no matter what the treatment looks like. The sooner you confront evil and lies the better off you are no matter what the ramifications look like.
It pleases God. And He will help you.
“But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings….” Malachi 4:2
What do you want? Righteousness and justice, which the Bible says is the foundation of God’s throne, and which will result in a better and more lasting peace? Or “Peace, peace in our time,” no matter the cost and the future consequences?
Hopefully January 6, 2021, the truth will be known. And then men and women in positions of leadership will act with integrity? Will they act for their own enrichment? Or for the present and future good of the country? Or for “Peace, peace in our time?” God knows.
The stakes seem pretty high for our republic and our way of life. The church and culture seem to be spiraling on a downward path away from God and his ways. One senses this could be an opportunity to slow the slide or reverse it.
There appears to be much evil in our government and it seems to be gaining ground. There are many snares being laid for the righteous. There is much boasting, bribery, and pride. There are many thinking their evil ways are hidden and will not be revealed. But Jesus reminded us that is not how it will work.
“Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed upon the housetops.” Luke 12:3
Historically, these are activities that happen in many cultures and countries. But they have been relatively few and out of sight in our country due to our founding father’s God-honoring roots, and moral population not willing to tolerate such.
These activities also historically have been shown to ignite the corrective actions of the Almighty. God is only unpredictable in the question of “when” and “how” He acts. As far as acting, He is the same yesterday today and forever.
At times it seems like His timetable is more like that of volcanoes, earthquakes, or geologic time. His timing is hard to predict and His judgments patiently delayed at times. He even says that about himself, as a warning to us.
“Whom have you so dreaded and feared that you have not been true to me, and have neither remembered me nor taken this to heart? Is it not because I have long been silent that you do not fear me? Isaiah 57:11
“These things you have done and I kept silence; You thought that I was just like you; I will reprove you and state the case in order before your eyes.” Psalm 50:21
But His judgments are true, and all together righteous. Only He has enough insight, wisdom, kindness, righteousness, and might, along with a merciful heart, to judge and act perfectly. He will act in His time.
We should decide what sort of time we think it is? And what our part or course of action should be? Practice justice and what’s right in your own life and realm. And pray for our country and leaders as in fact He instructs us to do.
“He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8
“First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be offered for everyone— for kings and all those in authority— so that we may lead tranquil and quiet lives in all godliness and dignity. This is good and pleasing in the sight of God our Savior,” I Timothy 2: 1-3
May God have mercy on our country. Christmas peace to you all.