DIG for Tuesday the 12th of December…..how many wise men…..Matthew 2 v 1

Well, I was hoping to write some DIGs about how ‘wrong’ the narrative about the birth of Jesus really is, but I’ve not got round to it yet (see DIG on December 1st).

My big ‘new’ revelation this year is why we have such an emphasis on the 3 wise men coming to see Jesus at His birth.

Looking at the Word we can clearly see that the wise men actually came to see Jesus when he was about 18 or 24 months old, and they actually came when He was home in Nazareth.

The Bible does not tell us how many wise men there were, but tradition says three (Matthew 2 v 1).

The Bible says the wise men met Jesus as a young child (look at the Greek) and not a baby (Matthew 2 v 11).

The Bible tells us that Jesus was taken home to Nazareth after going to Jerusalem, and that was where the wise men met Him (Matthew 2 v 11 and Luke 2 v 22 and 39).

So why is tradition so strong in telling us that the 3 Wise Men were in the stable at the birth of Jesus.

I believe that the Lord told me the answer to this question; it is to take away from the significance of the shepherds.

If we look at the Word we can see that the only people to see Jesus at his birth, other than Mary and Joseph, were the shepherds.

And if we understand whom these shepherds were we could see why Jesus was born, we get an amazing piece of typology about the mission of Jesus.

If we understand about the shepherds we can see that Jesus was born to die!

More later!

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord that we can read the truth about the birth of Jesus in your Word”.

Matthew 2 v 1…..Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem

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DIG for Monday the 12th of December….. what, I have to remove the star from my Nativity scene as well…..Matthew 2 v 9

Once again in this DIG I am going to advise you to read the Word of God instead of listening to the traditions of men.

We have been looking in DIG at what did happen and what did not happen at the birth of Jesus.

Much of what we see in nativities and on Christmas cards did not actually happen; the star over the birthplace of Jesus is one other such myth.

We generally think that the wise men (3 of them) followed the star to the baby Jesus when He was born, that they visited Him at the same time as the shepherds.

We have seen that this was not the case for the wise men; they visited when He was a child (see my DIG for Friday 9th December).

So the star was above His home when He was a young child not a baby.

There were no wise men at His birth and there was no star above the stable (and we will see later in DIGs from the 22nd to 25th December that there was no stable either).

These things are traditions of men that seem to have come through time as truths, but they are not Biblical truths (Colossians 2 v 8).

It is the Word of God that is important and it is the Word of God that we should go into in order to learn about Jesus.

The world is full of nonsense about Jesus and the traditions of men abound.

Forget about them and see what the Word says.

The Word of God is where you will find the truth, not only about His birth but also about all things regarding Jesus.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord for your Word and thank you for the truths held within”.

Matthew 2 v 9…..When they had heard the king, they departed: and, lo, the start, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was

DIG for Friday the 9th of December…..how many wise men were there…..Matthew 2 v 1

OK, so I started yesterday looking at what is ‘wrong’ with what we say about the birth of Jesus, in that He came to bring peace to man not peace on earth.

There are lots of others things that we believe about the birth of Jesus that is not actually in the Bible.

For example do you know that the wise men did not bring gifts to Jesus at His birth?

Now I know most of you will be thinking that they came at His birth, we see this every time we watch a Nativity play and we see it on our Christmas cards, however it is not Biblical to say they were there at His birth.

They came to Him when He was a child, the Greek is clear about this in Matthew 2 v 9.

They came to Him when He was in the family home, the Word is clear about this in Matthew 2 v 11.

So there were no wise men in the stable (or was it a stable; more on that later) when he was born.

And I have one other point about this.

Where in Scripture does it say there were three wise men?

Three wise men visiting Jesus at His birth is a tradition of men (read the DIG for the 1st of December if you missed it) and is not borne out in the Word.

The Word says they came to Jerusalem when He was born (Matthew 2 v 1).

The Word says they met Him (and brought Him gifts) in His family home when He was a small child (Matthew 2 v 11).

Anything else is conjecture or theory, but not Biblical truth.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord for your Word and thank you that in His Word we can see the truth about Jesus, including His birth”.

Matthew 2 v 1…..Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem

DIG for Thursday the 1st of December…..not the normal Christmas verse to start with…..Colossians 2 v 8

Well, it is December already, another year just about over and Christmas just about upon us.

As we are in December I thought I’d start writing about the “Christmas story” and I want to start with a verse that describes what we see, read, hear and speak about Christmas.

This verse is Colossians 2 v 8.

A lot of what we believe about the account of the birth of Jesus (that for me is the “Christmas story” by the way) is traditions of men (Colossians 2 v 8).

Much of what we think is true about Jesus’ birth is not actually Biblical.

This actually is in common with a lot of things we see in the Christian life, like dragging up sin and asking for forgiveness in communion and like thinking God sends illness and disease on us for example.

These two “truths” like much of what we “know” about the birth of Jesus are not actually Biblical truths but traditions of men.

I will cover a lot of truths in the run up to December the 25th, but I will also make you aware of what I consider to be traditions and not Biblical truths.

For example Jesus did not come to bring peace on earth, there is nothing in the Word that says Jesus was born in a stable, the Bible does not tell us that the wise men visited Jesus at His birth and also says nothing about how many of them were eventually in His home approximately 18 to 24 months after His birth.

Much of what we see in a “traditional” Nativity scene should be removed!

The Bible is our account of all things about Jesus and we should read this and study this to find out about all aspects of His life, including His birth.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord for your Word and thank you for the truths about Jesus held within”.

Colossians 2 v 8…..Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ

DIG for Tuesday the 22nd of December…..God sent forth His Son…..Galatians 4 v 4 and 5

God sending forth His Son is an amazing truth (Galatians 4 v 4).

Until I have been studying Galatians for my latest series of messages I had not realised that the “Christmas story” is in the middle of this epistle.

Galatians 4 v 4 reminds me of Isaiah 9 v 6.

This is a favourite verse to use in the run up to Christmas, telling us about the coming of Jesus.

Jesus was sent as a Son, this tells us about His divinity (Isaiah 9 v 6).

Paul says a very similar thing in his epistle to the Galatians, telling them that God had sent forth His Son.

Jesus, God in His own right and the agent of Creation (Hebrews 1 v 2), came to this earth knowing that most people would reject Him.

He was rejected then and He is rejected now, yet He still came.

He came, as it was the will of His Father for reconciliation to take place between Him and man.

God wanted to bring man back into relationship with Himself, and Jesus was the route for this to take place.

I still think that it is amazing that Jesus, the Son of God and yet God at the same time came onto the earth that He had created.

This displays His love for every single one of us.

He came to bring reconciliation so that every man would then have the chance to be saved and made righteous; that is love.

He came to suffer so that we could have this; that is love.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord that you loved me so much that you sent forth your Son to pay the price for my redemption”.

Galatians 4 v 4 and 5…..But when the fullness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem then that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons

DIG for Monday the 21st of December…..”Christmas” was always part of God’s plan for mankind…..Galatians 4 v 4 and 5

The birth of Jesus has been called the “first Christmas” and the account of His birth known as the “Christmas story”.

I have been preaching through the epistle to the Galatians at MGF for the last couple of months.

In the last message before Christmas I was at the start of Galatians 4 and was surprised and encouraged to read the “Christmas story” in verses 4 and 5.

The first thing we can take form this verse is that the birth of Jesus was God’s plan for mankind.

He needed a way to deal with sin, He needed to reconcile man to Himself and Jesus was to be the way.

Jesus is indeed the way, and also the truth and the life, and only through Jesus can mankind come into relationship with Father God (John 14 v 6).

God’s plan was for man to come into His family through faith in Jesus, it was always to fulfil Genesis 12 v 3.

This was His plan and He put it into operation through Jesus.

The Word says God sent Jesus “when the fullness of time was come” (Galatians 4 v 4).

This shows to me that God had a plan and Jesus was sent when everything was ready for Him to come; this happened in God’s timing.

There are lots of things that God has delegated to us, but when Jesus came (and when He is coming back) always was in God’s timing.

When the time was right God sent forth His Son.

His Son was born as a man, and God came to earth in the form of flesh (Isaiah 9 v 6 and John 1 v 14).

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord that Jesus came and thank you that your plan was for our reconciliation through Jesus”.

Galatians 4 v 4…..But when the fullness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem then that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons

DIG for Thursday the 17th of December…… ordinary shepherds or special shepherds…..Luke 2 v 8

For the last couple of DIGs we have been looking at the birthplace of Jesus; if you have not done so, please read those first before you read this one…….

Let me describe Migdal Eder to you; it was a tower that was used as a farm building.

It was like a barn or a stable, but solely for sheep.

It was made up of stalls, or different areas, where individual sheep were kept separate.

Individual stalls were used for single sheep to give birth to the temple sacrificial lambs.

This was written down and in the archaeological record.

Now, if you go to Bethlehem today you will be taken to an area on the edge of the town called Shepherds Field.

A guide will tell you this is where the angel and heavenly host made their visit to the shepherds described in Luke 2. This is the same area shown by the archaeological record and Jewish writings where the lambs for the Passover sacrifices were raised.

At the time of Jesus all the lambs sacrificed in the temple were bred in one place on the edge of Bethlehem. Jerome, an early Saint, said that this area was “1,000 paces from Bethlehem”, so it was very close.

You could say this was in or at Bethlehem, similar to the Greek meaning in Matthew 2 v 1.

At this place sacrificial lambs were born and raised for the temple by the temple shepherds.

It was the job of the temple shepherds to ensure that the lambs used for the Passover were perfect and spotless.

These shepherds were the first people to see the sacrificial lambs.

They knew which lambs were perfect and without blemish; they were the experts when it came to sacrificial lambs.

So we have lots of evidence saying that the sacrificial lambs were raised on the edge of Bethlehem at Migdal Eder or Shepherds Field; I believe that this is the same place.

Could the shepherds we see in Luke 2 have been the temple shepherds raising the sacrificial lambs for the temple?

This mini DIG series about the birth place of Jesus will be concluded tomorrow when we will see where Jesus was really born and who say Him first!

Luke 2 v 8…..And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night

DIG for Tuesday the 2nd of December…..yes, no wise men at the birth of Jesus…..Matthew 2 v 11

It is the time of year for Nativity plays to take place, with the vast majority of them (if not all) not true to what actually happened according to the Bible.

Take the wise men for example that we read about in Matthew chapter 2.

We are told that they were “wise men from the east”; yet our tradition tells us that they were kings and that there were 3 of them.

Tradition tells us that they followed a star to the stable in Bethlehem where they met with the baby Jesus.

Every Nativity scene or play that I have seen shows the 3 kings in the stable at the same time as the shepherds, but this is not what the Bible says.

Rightly dividing the Word shows us that the wise men (however many of them that there was) met with Jesus when he was a small child in the family home in Nazareth.

The Greek word for young child in Matthew 2 v 11 tells us that Jesus was not a baby, but the Greek says he was a baby when the shepherds met Him in Luke 2 v 17.

In Luke 2 v 39 we are told that Joseph, Mary and Jesus returned to Nazareth after meeting all the obligations that they had to in the temple; this occurred when Jesus was 8 days old.

The Word says that Herod sent the wise men to Bethlehem, but it does not say they went to Bethlehem; after leaving Herod they followed the star to Jesus and this would have been to Nazareth.

We can all remove the 3 kings, or 3 wise men from our Nativity scenes!

So, am I writing this to spoil the Nativity for you?

No, I am pointing this out to show you that the traditions of man have spoiled and perverted the Biblical account of the birth of Jesus, and if they did it for His birth they can do it for other parts of Scripture.

Traditions of man have come in and twisted Scripture so that we do not get the full significance of His birth, the understanding that His birth was a picture of His mission and eventual death.

That significance has been lost in all the traditions.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord for your Word, help me rightly divide this without the influence of the traditions of man”.

Matthew 2 v 11…..And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and they fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh

DIG for Monday the 10th of November…..on earth peace, not peace on earth, there is a difference…..Luke 12 v 51

On reading Luke 12 this morning my mind was taken back to the “Christmas story” in Luke 2 where we hear the proclamation of the heavenly host to the shepherds.

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward me”, was the cry (Luke 2 v 14).

The peace described here was peace toward men, or good will, from God; it was not describing peace on earth between men.

When Jesus came His mission was to complete a work of reconciliation between man and God; He would pay for the sin that was between man and God and bring them back into relationship.

This verse has nothing to do with peace on earth that Christmas cards portray and dodgy Christmas records (or mp3 downloads now) sing about.

Jesus confirmed this in Luke 12 v 51 by saying (and I paraphrase), “do not think that I came to bring peace on earth”.

If Jesus came to bring peace on earth then He failed spectacularly; there has never been peace on earth between men since He was born, there have always been wars and fighting.

He did succeed in His mission however, bringing reconciliation between man and God, in that He succeeded spectacularly.

We are now in relationship with God having been reconciled (2 Corinthians 5 v 18 and 19).

Good will, through the finished work of Jesus Christ, has flowed from heaven toward man and in that sense there is on earth peace.

Please do me a favour this Christmas, do not send any Christmas cards that say “peace on earth” (or with 3 wise men, oh, but that’s a DIG for another day).

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord that through the finished work of Jesus Christ I have been reconciled and can now be in relationship with you”.

Luke 12 v 51…..Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division