Christmas: Redemption’s Story

Friday, December 23, 2016

When, “the woman being deceived, fell into transgression” (1 Tim. 2:14), God said to Satan, “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). And redemption was announced.

But Satan lost no time producing his own seed when, “the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode” [heaven] (Jude 1:6), “and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose…when the sons of God [fallen angels] came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them” (Gen. 6:2, 4). Their offspring were the Nephilim giants of Gen. 6:4.

For 2,000 years Satan’s seed corrupted flesh and, “the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually…So the Lord said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them”” (Gen. 6:5–7).

Noah’s flood destroyed nearly all flesh. “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord…Noah was a just man. Noah walked with God” (Gen. 6:8–9). Noah kept himself from Satan’s seed.

Then Noah and his wife and his three sons and their wives began to repopulate the earth with an undefiled people. But Satan’s seed returned, “also afterward” (Gen. 6:4), and again defiled flesh.

Then God called to Himself a people called Israel, and commanded them, “You shall have no other gods before Me; You shall not make for yourself a carved image; You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain; Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy; Honor your father and your mother; You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; [and] You shall not covet” (Exo. 20:3–17). The Law.

Unable to obey the Law, God said, “The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet [Christ] like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear…and [I] will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him” (Deut. 18:15, 18–19).

Then, as the time drew nearer to that fulfillment, the prophet said, “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isa. 9:6).

“Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this” (Isa. 9:7).

Then through another prophet, God said, “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah” (Jer. 31:31). And through yet another prophet God said, “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them” (Ezek. 36:27).

“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him”” (Matt. 2:1–2).

One of Christ’s identities being, “King of the Jews” is so significant for us today, for truly, God identifies a true Jew, saying, “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, [meaning by nationality or genealogy] nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; [by new birth faith] and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God” (Rom. 2:28–29). Do you identify as a true Jew?

Today, that Prophet whom Moses foretold and that Child Son of whom Isaiah prophesied, reigns in power, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:18–20).

That promise, saying, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age”, is precious because we will need Christ to be with us to the end of this age! Only then, at the end of this age God will, “send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:20–21). Saints of Christ are gathered at, “the end of the age”, not before.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” (John 1:1–5).

“Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid” (Luke 2:8–9).

“Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10–11). Have you made Him your personal Savior?

“And this will be the sign to you: You will find the Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:12–14). The love of God becoming fully man, to redeem fallen man, had arrived.

Yet, this stern warning remains: “And it shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet [Jesus] shall be utterly destroyed from among the people. Yes, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days” (Acts 3:23–24).

And, “when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His son into your hearts, crying out, Abba Father!” (Gal. 4:4–7). Does the Holy Spirit of Jesus reside in your heart?

“And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3:29). And “I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, [Israel] as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God” (Gen. 17:8).

Christ died once for all, even those in Noah’s day, for upon His death, “He went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly were disobedient…in the days of Noah…in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water” (1 Peter 3:19–20), for, “there is one body” (Eph. 4:4).

The birth, life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ and His ascension to the right hand of God the Father, has everything to do with His promised return for His elect saints, for, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable” (1 Cor. 15:19).

“But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming” (1 Cor. 15:20–23).

“Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death” (1 Cor. 15:24–26).

The promised resurrection of the dead is the saints’ glorious hope as Christ taught saying, “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:40). The word, “everyone” in John 6:40 includes you and me, just like the word “whoever” in John 3:16 also includes us.

Martha, the sister of Lazarus who died, listened when Jesus taught the resurrections (John 5:28–29), for when she mourned for Lazarus, Jesus said, “Your brother will rise again”. And Martha replied, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day” (John 11:23–24).

The resurrection in which Lazarus will be raised is the same resurrection in which the saints of all the ages are raised, “at the last day”, and is summarized, saying, “Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years” (Rev. 20:4–6).

This agrees with the testimony of Jesus Christ saying that He gathers His elect, “Immediately after the tribulation” (Matt. 24:29–31). Therefore, we must prepare to endure the tribulation to the end at, “the first resurrection” (Rev. 20:4–6), “at the last day” (John 6:40, 44, 54) when, “we shall all be changed – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet” (1 Cor. 15:51–52) when, “the Lord Himself will descend from heaven” (1 Thess. 4:16), “whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things” (Acts 3:21). MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Marlin J. Yoder

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