Advent is such a blessing to me. During this sacred time I am reminded of the gospel and the amazing remembrances of the season. In this article I will share a few of my favorites.
Philippians 2:1-11 (NASB)
Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
I’m reminded that the stories in the Bible are not some Aesop’s Fable, Grimm’s Fairy Tale or an exagerrated Paul Bunyan myth, but every word is true. It’s a stunning and fantastic reality.
It’s so hard to wrap my mind around this and so old hat that the effort to remove the numbness and awaken my heart to this stunning truth can be overwhelming.
Still, there it is: the Eternal, Self-Existent, All Powerful, All Knowing, All Present, King of the Universe, I AM THAT I AM, ALMIGHTY, HOLY-HOLY-HOLY, Creator, Sustainer, ALPHA, OMEGA, First and the Last, emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, taking on flesh and making Himself nothing in the form of a helpless, defenseless baby to show that His love would go as far as it takes.
What love is this?
Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. 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. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”
When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.” So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. 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. The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.
Stunning. Surreal. Bewildering.
Can you imagine? Can you put yourself in the fields outside of Bethlehem?
One angel and men fall as though dead.
Two angels and Sodom and Gomorrah are utterly and completely destroyed.
Suddenly, legions and legions, a great multitude, descend on a lonely field and declare to those below “don’t be afraid” (Don’t be afraid?!).
In my estimation, this is perhaps the most amazing passage since Genesis 1:26 (“let us create man in our image”).
The House of Bread
Bethlehem – “Bread House” – House of Bread
Home to the Bread of Life – Yeshua HaMaschiach – Jesus the Messiah.
Migdal Eder the tower of the flock is at Bethlehem, where the spotless blemish free temple sacrificial sheep were born in a stable. Where perhaps the once for all perfect blemish free spotless lamb was born.
I would encourage you to visit these links and spend some time studying this further.
The information is stunning.
I recommend Daniel 8 through 11 as a primer. Dr. Constable’s famous commentary is also recommended – link.
Alexander the Great – 356 BC to 323 BC. His kingdom was so vast it was divided into 4 kingdoms.
100 years later, Antiochus Epiphanes, also called Antiochus IV, was in power. This ruthless king called himself a god. He made it illegal to practice any Jewish worship or to own any part of the Torah (Old Testament).
There were some Jews who practiced gorilla warfare and fought against these oppressors. So much so that despite having won several battles, Antiochus unleashed his own retrobution and 40,000 soldiers were levied upon Israel and it was destroyed.
In December 168 BC – Antiochus:
In one assault on Jerusalem, 40,000 Jews were killed in three days and 10,000 more were carried into captivity.” This suppression came to a head in December 168 B.C., when Antiochus returned in frustration from Alexandria,where he had been turned back by the Roman commander Popilius Laenas, and vented his exasperation on the Jews. He sent his general, Apollonius, with twenty thousand troops under orders to seize Jerusalem on a Sabbath. There he erected an idol of Zeus and desecrated the altar by offering swine on it. This idol became known to the Jews as ‘the abomination of desolation’, (Daniel 11:31), which served as a type of a future abomination that will be set up in the Jerusalem sanctuary to be built in the last days (cf. Christ’s prediction in Matt 24:15).
This event not only occurred in history, but will occur again in the middle of the 7 year tribulation (the time of Jacob’s trouble). It says in Daniel 9:27:
He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.
In Daniel 11:31 we learn that forces from him will arise, desecrate the sanctuary fortress, and do away with the regular sacrifice. And they will set up the abomination of desolation. If the Jews weren’t mad before, they certainly were after this occurred and the revolt that ensued resulted in an overthrow of the oppressors (can’t help but think of Bill Bixby’s famous line – “don’t make me angry – you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry”).
On December 25th of 164 BC the Jews rededicated the temple.
Leviticus 23 and 24 tell us that the time of purification is 8 days, however all of the sacred oil had been destroyed, except enough for 1 night. God caused the oil to continue to burn the fire for 8 days, until more oil could be made.
Chanukah celebrates the cleansing of the Temple following the revolt of the Maccabees against the Seleucid Greek Empire of Syria.
The Stone the Builders Rejected
John 10:22-32 (Hanukkah)
22At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place at Jerusalem;
23it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon.
24The Jews then gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, “How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.”
25Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me.
26“But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep.
27“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;
28and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.
29“My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
30“I and the Father are one.”
31The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him.
32Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?”
Jewish tradition tells us something about these stones.
This was the Temple Mount. Fastidiously clean. The Levites kept the temple immaculate. This was their full time job.
So where did this pile of rocks come from?
Tradition tells us that these were the original altar stones, from before the first Abomination of Desolation. These were holy to the Lord, but a pig had been sacrificed on them.
You can’t use them and you can’t get rid of them. There they sat on Solomon’s Portico as they waited for the Messiah to tell them what to do.
If you make an altar of stone for Me, you shall not build it of cut stones, for if you wield your tool on it, you will profane it.
Therefore thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed.
having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone,
For this is contained in Scripture:
“Behold, I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone, And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.”
For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. ‘If you make an altar of stone for Me, you shall not build it of cut stones, for if you wield your tool on it, you will profane it.
from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
just as it is written, “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense,
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief corner stone.
He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief corner stone.
Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures,
‘The stone which the builders rejected,
This became the chief corner stone;
This came about from the Lord,
And it is marvelous in our eyes’?
It is interesting that the stones that were to be a foundation for worship and sacrifice were used to try to kill the once for all sacrifice.
Trying to kill the KING OF KINGS and SAVIOR of the world with pig blood stones, by those whose lives where supposedly intent on bringing worship to the one they were trying to kill.
How often do we participate at throwing stones at the one who is our source of life? We are to be living sacrifices, yet here we are.
Jesus came to declare the truth that God is good, God loves, God is for us, God has made a way and God is returning.
Everything that declares otherwise is a damnable lie from hell.
Daniel 9:24-27 (ERV)
“God has allowed 70 weeks for your people and your holy city, Daniel. The 70 weeks are ordered for these reasons: to stop doing bad things, to stop sinning, to make people pure, to bring the goodness that continues forever, to put a seal on visions and prophets, and to dedicate a very holy place. “Learn and understand these things, Daniel. From the time that the message went out to go back and rebuild Jerusalem until the time for the chosen king to come will be seven weeks. Then Jerusalem will be rebuilt. There will again be places for people to meet together in Jerusalem, and there will be a ditch around the city to protect it. Jerusalem will be built for 62 weeks, but there will be many troubles during that time. After the 62 weeks, the chosen one will be killed. He will be gone. Then the people of the future leader will destroy the city and the holy place. That end will come like a flood. War will continue until the end. God has ordered that place to be completely destroyed.
“Then the future ruler will make an agreement with many people. That agreement will continue for one week. The offerings and sacrifices will stop for a half of a week. And a destroyer will come. He will do terrible, destructive things, but God has ordered that destroyer to be completely destroyed.”
So much has been given to declare truth, declare His gift, His coming and His return.
- The Word declares.
- The Spirit declares.
- The prophets declared.
- The great multitude of the heavenly host declared.
- Anna and Simeon declared.
- The Star of Bethlehem declared (Jupiter, Regulus, Virgo) – KING KING KING.
- The wise maggai declared.
- Some lowly shepherds declared.
- The Heavens declare as noted in Psalms 19.
- Christ tells us even the stones will cry out in Luke 19:40.
- Babes cry out Psalms 8.
- 1897 declared
- 1917 declared
- WWII and the Holocaust declared
- 1947 declared
- 1948 declared – Isaiah 66:8
- 1967 declared – Psalm 83.
- The Arab Spring declared – Isaiah 19
- The Blood Moons declare. Luke 21:25
- The Super moons declare. Luke 21:25
- The Revelation 12:1-2 sign from Virgo declared. Luke 21:25
- The U.N. is declaring – 1 Thessalonians 5:3
- The breakdown of the E.U. is declaring.
- The breakdown in the moral fabric is declaring – Isaiah 5:20
- The breakdown in the world’s humility before Truth – 2 Peter 3:3-10
- The political stalemates and impending economic collapse declare.
- The incoming meteors declare.
- The ecological disasters declare the soon return and unsustainability.
- The sun’s coronal mass ejections declare. Luke 21:25
- The earth is declaring with volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunami’s.
- The birds, fish and acquatic life are dying in their declaration. Hosea 4:3
- From Russia, to Iran, to Syria, Lebanon and North Korea – the nations are declaring. Ezekiel 38-39, Isaiah 17
- The bride has been declaring to the uttermost parts of the earth for two millennia.
- …so men are without excuse. Romans 1:20
- and we the body of Christ are the altar to light the way, bring praise and bring the gift of surrendered lives.
It would be fascinating if Christ’s return for the bride coincided with the Festival of Dedication, as we the Church, the newly born baby, is dedicated/rededicated and we the Church complete our journey to fulfilling the exact part we were created from the foundation of the earth to play in becoming a part of the altar of praise to Very God of Very God. (Click to Source)
An final end to drug & alcohol recovery is as close as this website: VictoryRetreatMontana.com