About a year ago Pastor Scott gave a very interesting message, which proved by the Scriptures that Jesus was not born in December.
The mother of John the Baptist was a cousin of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Through the study of these two births, Pastor Scott came to some conclusions which bring us face to face with the truth about Christmas.
Most of you already know that Jesus was not born on December 25th. But there was a time when the clergy was always trying to “put Christ back into Christmas.” And in a way that was okay. The birth of our Savior should be celebrated every day of the year, not just following dead traditions, but from the heart.
I have learned so much from Pastor Scott, and I give her all the credit for teaching me HOW to read the Bible. For years I read these verses, not letting the meaning sink in. Pay close attention to this verse: “There was a in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.” (Luke 1:5) The fact that he was of the division of Abijah gives us a clue as to when Zacharias was in the temple and away from home. And knowing when he will return gives us a clue as to the birth of John. The birth of Jesus and John are closely connected in history.
Now from here we go to 1st Chronicles 24:1-10. When the laws were given by God to Moses, there were not only ten laws on two tablets. During the forty year journey from Egypt God gave Moses a law or rule for every conceivable need or behavior. The laws involved education, taxation, inheritance, real estate, loans, appointment of judges, and laws about marriage, children, how your animals should be treated, etc.
It is all in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Chronicles, and many chapters are devoted to the worship in the temple, which is what we will be looking at.
Moses had a brother named Aaron. He became the first priest. He had four sons. Two died and two were left as priests, Eleazar and Ithamar. In time, more sons were born and the priestly line grew. 1st Chronicles 24:10 tells that the division of Abijah fell to number 8 as they drew lots: “So it was, while he (Zacharias) was serving as priest before God in the order of his division (which was Abijah), according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.” (Luke 1:8-9)
His service would have been from Sabbath to Sabbath, twice a year, except for feast days, when all the priests would need to serve, because of the multitude of people that came at these times. And it was when Zacharias was in the temple serving that an angel appeared with a message from God. His wife, Elizabeth would bear a son and this son would be “great in the sight of the Lord.” (Luke 1:15) This child would, of course, be John the Baptist. He would be the one to announce the coming of the Messiah, the Savior.
“So it was as soon as the days of his service were completed, the he departed to his own house. Now after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived and she hid herself five months.” (Luke 1:23-24)
“Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.” (Luke 1:26-27) So by these verses it is clear that John was six months older than Jesus, because it was six months later that the angel appeared to Mary (Luke 1:26) and she conceived by the Holy Spirit. The angel also told Mary: “Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.” (Luke 1:36-37)
When Mary heard about the blessing upon Elizabeth, she went there for a visit, and when she “. . . entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth and it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.” (Luke 1:40-41) So the word of the angel to Zacharias was fulfilled, for he had said “He (John) will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s WOMB.” (Luke 1:15)
No one but God knows exact days and hours of any happening. But since Zacharias’ service was done in late April or early May, his wife probably became pregnant in June or July. It was in December or January when Mary visited her relative Elisabeth, who was then in her sixth month. John was born three months later. Its nine months from that time that Jesus was born. Simple math (adding six months to the date of John’s birth) shows that Jesus was born in September.
The origin of Christmas being celebrated on December 25 goes back to the time of Constantine the Great, about 200 years after the death and resurrection of Christ. It was his mother, Helen, who brought the worship of relics and idols into the church. Before this the early church was more interested in the second coming of Christ than they were in His birth.
All of the apostles wrote about his return, not his birth. But in a couple of hundred years things changed. Constantine converted to the Christian faith. He never stood his ground but allowed the Christians to join the Babylonian mystery religions. This is partly how the “Christmas story” got started.
Jesus could not have been born in winter. Shepherds are not in the field watching sheep during the cold winter when there is no grass for the sheep to feed on. (See Luke 2:8) It is during September when the shepherds heard the message of the angels.
The wise men did not come to see the baby Jesus in a manger. They came months later when Jesus is spoken of as a young child, and he was in a house, not a manger. It is true that He was BORN in a manger. But the wise men did not come to see Jesus there. “And when they (the wise men) had come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshipped Him.” (Matthew 2:9-11)
Nowhere in the Bible does it speak of three wise men. Just because three different kinds of gifts were brought, it does not prove that three men brought them. It just says “MEN’-plural.
And the wise men could not have travelled alone, just three men and three camels. This was a dangerous trip from a far country. They must have had a huge caravan of camels and mules laden with blankets, food, tents, and other provisions. They would have also had many servants with them. These are examples of how the Bible is read, as if it was a fairy tale.
I like history and these facts of the birth of Christ were of interest to me. However, knowing that Jesus was not born on December 25th will not change anything, and it shouldn’t. It’s a happy time of year. Everyone seems to have more peace and joy, and a spirit of giving. I wish this attitude would last throughout the year. And one day it will, when Jesus comes, not as a babe, but as a conquering King. Then He will set up His Kingdom on earth for a thousand years. Then Peace will reign because only Jesus Christ can set all things right.
Merry Christmas to you all.
By Dr. Gene Scott
C Stands for Christ
Christmas is Christ. You don’t have to start there, but you should: With Christ the person. You can read the Bible for creeds, for rules of behavior, you can read it as history, and you can read it to find directions for ritual. And you can still miss the essence of what it is, which is a communication from a person, about a person.
Every giant in God’s book differs from the other in qualities of human behavior, but you’ll find one common denominator that appears through all the other matters of their religious experience: A LIVING RELATIONSHIP with a LIVING PERSON!
The word “Christian” means “follower of Christ,” and that is a relationship with a person. It’s not what one does and does not do that makes him a Christian. A Christian follows Christ.
Before Christ the relationship was largely an unseen relationship with a reality not seen until that first Christmas day when the unseen became seen. That’s when the substance of God moved onto the stage of history and that’s what was laid in a manger! God revealed Himself in a Person. Christmas was BORN.
H Stands for Helper
What kind of person is Jesus? When the angel appeared to Joseph, the father of Christ, to announce to him that Mary was to bear a son conceived by the Holy Spirit, He said, “Thou shalt call His name Jesus” (Matthew 1:21). You know where that name comes from? Jesus is the Greek designation for the Old Testament name, “Joshua,” meaning literally “God our helper.”
At Christmas in that manger, in that little baby child, we confront God the person coming out of the unseen to the seen, and His name shall be called GOD, OUR HELPER. That’s what God gave us on the first Christmas day: A person to help us.
R Stands for Redeemer
We read in the Gospels that Jesus came to give His life as a ransom, and to the Jewish people the word “ransom” was the price you always paid to restore lost freedom from bondage, to provide life where death was to be the portion, to pay a penalty in order to set free or redeem the one who was in bondage or going to die. That was a ransom. Jesus came to give His life as a ransom, and among the joys of Christmas, remember He came to REDEEM us all through that ransom.
The book of Ruth is the only book in the Bible that portrays the role of a kinsman-redeemer out of
Hebrew theology in the person of Boaz. At Christmas time I like to think about the kinsman-redeemer. Under Jewish law he had to have four qualities: (1) He must have the means to pay for the redemption; (1) He had to do it voluntarily without coercion; (3) He must actually pay it; and (4) He had to be one near of kin.
That last item is why Christmas has the meaning it has. Not from heaven’s throne could the help man needed in redemption be given. It had to be a REDEEMER NEAR OF KIN. So he had to be conceived and born of woman, that we might have one who is “kinned,” who is touched with an awareness of our infirmities. That’s what Christmas is: He had to be born of flesh to become like us in order to be a REDEEMER-KINSMAN.
I Stands for Immanuel
If you want to know what God is like, those disciples could say, “He’s with us.” “In the beginning was the Word,” John said, “. . . and the Word was God . . . And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us . . .” (John 1:1, 14). From the rough language of wartime Grecian armies of the day, the Word “dwelt” meant to strike a tent and move in.” Literally, the Word was God, and that Word was made flesh and “tented.” God with us - Immanuel! (The New Testament spells it with “E” but the Old Prophet word was with an “I.”) God struck a tent of human flesh in a miserable little land, in those dirty, dusty roads to be “with “ us! An eternal Christmas presence was given there.
S Stands for Sermon
The Latin Bible reads in John’s Gospel: “In the beginning was the “sermo,” and the “sermo” was made flesh and dwelt among us. The English word “sermon” is a cognate of the Latin word “sermo.” A sermon was therefore BORN on that first Christmas. That sermon was Christ, and that’s the only true sermon. God came to preach a sermon, and the sermon was Himself.
If there is any one thing that stands out about Jesus Christ in contrast to other founders of religions, it is that only Jesus preached Himself. That babe lying in that manger came to walk dusty streets, to be seen, heard and watched by mankind. And if you want to know what God is like - He is like Jesus. Do you know what Stood out in New Testament preachers? Other learned men said of them that they were ignorant and unlearned men, but they saw something else. They had been with Jesus. They communicated the true SERMON, which must ever be the Christmas message: Know Christ! (John 17:3)
T Stands for Truth
The bible says, “God is love.” That He is! But the bible also say of Jesus, “He came full of grace and truth.” The joy I have at Christmas is the revelation of God’s integrity, as well as His love. God is against sin. He says, “for sin came death.” But He loves me, and one who did not sin had to die to pay the price that took care of my sins. God kept His word.
When I see that babe in the manger who ultimately paid the price of your and my redemption with His life, every challenge to redemption must fall at the feet of God, who kept His word. Calvary expressed love,
but it was made necessary by truth. God would keep His word and cause full payment for sin, even though paying the full price Himself. That “scar” on Christmas must always remind us of the price for the gift.
M Stands for Messiah
When sin came, God could not join with sin, and man was separated from the source of life itself. When Jesus was born, “. . . the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Matthew 18:11). That’s the mission of His coming.
Messiah means “deliverer.” God’s deliverer for us from that which is the consequences of our sins: That’s the messiah concept in its fullness. The death of Jesus opened the door for God to reach and deliver us out of our separation to deliver us from sin and its death.
The Messiah in a manger was the deliverer. That’s why the angel sang that first Christmas night: “Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy . . .” (Luke 2:10).
A Stands for Adam the Second
When Christmas came, one arrived from heaven’s throne to help, to become near of kin with the price of redemption. By the first Adam came death. By the second Adam came life (1 Corinthians 15: 45-55). Peace with God is obtained. Joy to the world! You can relate to God again because a new race is born. The bible says that he is the Firstborn among many brethren. He not only died for my sins and yours, but God raised him up to redeem us all that we might be born into the family of God. That gives us hope for life eternal and that, too, is what Christmas is about.
S Stands for Son
There are two interesting references to the “son” in the Psalms. “The Lord hath said unto me, thou art my son; this day have I begotten thee” (Psalms 2:7). The Hebrew word for “son” used here is “Ben,” and refers to the firstborn. “Kiss the Son” (Psalms 2:12). Here, the Hebrew word for “son” is “Bar’ and it refers to the one who carries the full inheritance of the race, not just the front runner of the line.
The difference is subtle; but the meaning is different in Hebrew. Christ the firstborn son of God, also carries the full inheritance of God (Philippians 2:9-11).
God places us in Christ and He puts us into this lineage, and He says, “Thou art my son.” Then He says, “Kiss the Son,” and here it is the Son who is the heir of all things; and we become “joint heirs” (Romans 8:17) with Him when we accept His lordship over our lives (symbolized by “kiss the Son” which so beautifully expresses love).
Oh what a Christmas gift.
So, what is Christmas?
Christmas is Christ: Our Helper, Redeemer-Kinsman, Immanuel, Sermon, Truth, Messiah, and The Second Adam - The Son. That babe in the manger one day will rule over all this earth. One day He’ll become King of Kings, Lord of Lords. And you can join His kingdom in the symbolic act of giving your life to Him. “Kiss the Son” on Christmas!
Copyright, © 1973 by W. Eugene Scott, Ph.D.
Reprinted with permission from Pastor Melissa Scott
For Willie Grady (Pinckneyville, IL), that he gets an evidentiary hearing granted in his case.
For Robin Harris’ dad (Oklahoma City) who has glaucoma and liver problems.
For Mary (Oklahoma City), who has lost muscle movement in her legs and right shoulder.
For Isaac Douglas (Illinois), that he gets approved for work release soon.
For Robert Casto (Cushing, OK) and His family, for health.
For Vangie Gonzales (Silver City, NM), for health.
For Dennis Martin (Lexington, OK) who has had several heart surgeries and is now having another pace maker put in.
For Willie Scott (Grady, Arkansas), that he will be granted clemency from the parole board.
For Ronald Macon (Illinois) who has suffered kidney failure.
For Ronald Wells (Illinois) who is facing surgery to remove a cancer from his back.
For Ponnell Buchanan (Joliet, Illinois) who seeks favor from God on his case.
For Michael Small’s Mom, Suzanne (Illinois).
For Anthony Grayson (Elmira, New York), that he finds legal assistance.
For Mike Long (Larned, Kansas), for health.
For Sister Ann & the Carmelite nuns in Little Rock.
For Freddie Lee Lott (Chicago, Illinois), to stay “cancer free.”
For Robert Heffernan (Grady, Arkansas), who has been ill with a kidney and bladder infection.
For all the Wingspread brothers who have recently gotten out of prison. There have been a lot of them.
For Pastor Scott’s health; & her ministry in Los Angeles.
For Margaret, for healing of glaucoma.
For Shirley. She broke a couple of bones in her foot and ankle and is still healing.
For all of us at Wingspread.
“You’ll never get relief from worry until you confess it as sin. Worry doubts the goodness of God; it says He doesn’t care. Worry doubts the wisdom of God; it says He doesn’t know what He’s doing. Worry doubts the power of god; it says He cannot deliver me from the thing that’s causing me to worry.”
“The Revolutionary Teachings of Jesus Christ”
“The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.”
-Psalm 18:2-3 (KJV)
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