The Christmas Story

Dicken’s A Christmas Carol starts with;

MARLEY was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that… This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate.

The Christmas story similarly has a backdrop without which nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate.

That backdrop is that man as fallen from his creator’s hand was cast out of paradise as penalty for rebellion against His creator.

This is taught in Genesis and the Christmas story cannot be understood apart from Genesis because Christmas is the beginning of the story of how paradise was restored.

So, the whole context of our story requires that we understand that apart from God’s solution in Jesus Christ for man’s rebellion man is without God and without hope.

Another thing we should say here is that the Christmas story presupposes the existence of the supernatural. Christians believe in God creating the world in 6 days. Christians believe that God created Adam and then Eve out of Adam’s rib. Christians believe in talking snakes. We believe it all and without believing it all none of the Christmas story makes sense.

So, we start the Christmas story with the fact that after man’s rebellion God promised someone who would restore paradise lost. God said to the Serpent who had been the agent of Lucifer,

And I will put open warfare Between you and the woman, And between your people of darkness and her people; The champion of her people shall [fatally] crush your head, And you shall [only] bruise His heel.”

Thus the contest was set and Christmas tells the story of how this promise of the coming champion of God came to pass.

Before God’s champion and our champion comes however long millennium pass. There is expectation that God is going to provide this champion immediately as our Mother Eve gives birth to Cain but of course, those hopes are not fulfilled.

Indeed, so long is the wait that people begin to mock the idea that God will ever send a champion to deliver His people from their sin. A proverb circulates among the Hebrew people;

“If you have a sapling in your hand, and someone should say to you that the Messiah has come, stay and complete the planting, and then go to greet the Messiah.”

So, we understand why one of our favorite Christmas hymns has the lyrics,

Long lay the world in sin and error pining

The world was waiting for the promised champion who would deliver the world from its bondage.

The Christmas story then tells how God finally provided a champion to deliver us from our continual rebellion against God. Christmas tells the story of how God brings paradise restored. Christmas tells how our sin nature begins to be healed.

As we hinted at, the Old Testament Scriptures hints at all we might expect to find in the Champion. However, while there are many who are thought to be the long-expected champion (Noah, Abraham, David, Moses) ultimately none of them are the champion but finally, things begin to stir.

First, we are given an account of the providential birth of the one who would be the Herald of the champion. This Herald’s name was John and his birth is recorded in the Bible in such a way that it is clear that God is at work. An old woman long past childbearing age conceives the child that is to be the Herald of the long promised champion. His name is John and his purpose is to announce that the time of fulfillment is at hand and that nothing could impede the arrival of the Messiah …. the champion who will restore paradise and deal with the self-inflicted sin problem mankind has carried since the failure of man’s first father.

The opening of Matthew and Luke makes it clear that God is moving among His people in a supernatural way. First, as we have noted there is the birth of the Herald, John. Second, Matthew teaches us that God has so superintended history that this champion is from the exactly correct racial and ethnic line that God Himself said that His champion had to descend from.

As an aside then we see that the Christmas story teaches that race is not a social construct. Jesus had to come not only from the Hebrew people in general. He had to come, after long generations, from a particular tribe and particular family. He had to be of the tribe of Judah and of the family of David. Both Matthew and Luke go out of the way to demonstrate that God had been so superintending history that for generations and generations he had made sure that the right genetic line would be kept clean so that it would be undisputed that His champion to deliver could not have his royal credentials questions. He was the lion of the tribe of Judah … who as to his genetics was a descendant of David – a branch from Jesse’s stump.

This is just the first supernatural miracle in the Christmas story. Let’s continue to see how the supernatural is imprinted all over our true Christmas story.

The Christmas story finds Mary – a girl/woman, perhaps as young as 14 or 15 being visited by an angel and told that she is going to conceive a child quite apart from the rudimentary requirements necessary in order to conceive a child. She is going to remain a virgin in this child’s conception. Further her virgin conception is a fulfillment of a prophecy given hundreds and hundreds of years prior.

The assurance to Joseph concerning the child conceived in Mary (1:18-25 corresponds to Isaiah 7:14).

We see again that if we refuse to embrace the bald supernatural of genetic lines protected through centuries, of Angel visitations and of virgin births and of ancient prophecies fulfilled we can’t be Christians.

In this Christmas story, we should pay attention especially to the name that this child is given. The Angel tells Mary that they are to give the name of God’s champion Jesus, “For He shall save His people from their sin.”

The name Jesus literally means …. “Jehovah is salvation.” In Hebrew, the name Jesus is Joshua and we know what a warrior Joshua was. This champion then that was long ago promised after man’s first rebellion is going to save man from his rebellious nature and it is hinted at that He is going to be God’s warrior in order to do so.

Here we see that Christmas doesn’t make any sense apart from the supernatural and apart from the reality that the majority meaning of Christmas is that God has provided someone who will deal with the rebellion of the sin of our first parents and our own sin by taking it away, by paying the just punishment sin deserves, and by giving God satisfaction against sin and so turning God’s just anger away from us by the paying of the debt man owed to God’s holiness as incurred by man’s rebellion.

Here we learn in the name of Jesus (Jehovah is salvation) that man can have no peace with God apart from coming under the umbrella of the safety that can only be found in Jesus. Jesus came that man may be safe from God. This is why His name was “Jehovah is salvation.” Apart from Jesus, it is the case that “Jehovah is damnation.”

So, we are now at the point in this true supernatural story that Mary is with child but the wonder of it all is still ahead of us.

We see in the Christmas story the arrival of the shepherds. The wonderous thing about these shepherds is severalfold.

1.) First it is thought that these shepherds may well have been those shepherds who were assigned the task of keeping watch over the flocks from which the sacrificial lambs were taken in order to offer up a sacrifice in temple worship. If this is the case then the Angels announce the birth of Christ as the lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world to those shepherds who spent their lives watching over the flock from which the lambs for sacrifice were taken.

2.) It is interesting that Shepherds in this culture were at the bottom of the societal pecking order. So, God decides to bring shepherds who in this culture are the “least of these,” to be His witness to the “greatest of these,” Jesus the Messiah … the champion of God who is assigned the task of curing man of His sin and so restoring Him to paradise.

3.) It is interesting that the Shepherds end up being evangelists as they spread the news of what they had been witnessed. Would that we had more of those shepherd’s instincts about sharing the good news.

The Christmas story continues apace.

Eventually, the Kings of the East arrive to worship Jesus. We are not told in Scripture how many Wise-men showed up to worship Jesus. Legend has it at three but we really don’t know how many Kings from the East showed up having followed that supernatural star as hung by God to direct their paths.

And as to that supernatural star … well, we don’t have time to get into all the marvel there but some great scholarly work has been done to tell how God did all that.

The Kings of East in the Christmas story are not Hebrews but are Gentiles. Some think these Gentile Kings retained a residue of knowledge about the long-promised champion of God coming to heal man of his rebellion because a famous Hebrew named Daniel once lived among them. It is thought that perhaps Daniel left behind a storehouse of Knowledge that these Kingly astronomers were familiar with.

Their importance in the Christmas story is several-fold

1.) Those Kings are representatives of the fact that Jesus is to save both the low-born (shepherds) and the high-born (Kings of the East.)

2.) Those Gentile Kings represent the fact that Jesus has come to save men from every tribe, tongue, and nation, and not just the Hebrews. Jesus is God’s champion for all nations… for all men … and for all the elect. Indeed the Jews, according to God’s predestined plan, will reject God’s champion thus opening the door for the Gentiles to come in. We have an interest in God’s champion because the Jews rejected the Messiah that all men must bow to if they are to have peace with God and if they are to be delivered from their idols and their sin.

The Wisemen thus are instrumental to the Christmas story for their presence there is promissory that we Gentiles … we who are listening now … can have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

3.) The Kings of the East come to offer worship. This teaches that the only mindset that mortals should have towards the one who cures our sin is worship.

4.) We must not forget the gifts of the Wisemen for they are pregnant with meaning. The gifts recorded that the Wisemen brought are gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

The gold is a gift befitting a King. The frankincense was a gift bespeaking the divinity of Jesus. Myrrh is a gift that points to the fact that Jesus was a man.

Gold is associated with kings. Gold is the metal of royalty, exuding wealth and majesty. When the wise men presented this gift to Jesus, they were acknowledging and recognized Jesus as King. It points to Jesus’ royalty as the King of Kings.

Frankincense was often used as a type of incense or perfume in that time, and the Jews would use it in temple worship. Frankincense was mixed with the oil that was used for anointing the priests of Israel. By offering this gift, the wise men were “pointing to Christ as our High Priest.”. While the priesthood was established to stand as representatives of Israel to God, Jesus would be our ultimate representative and would be perfectly righteous and pleasing to God, the Father. It shows Jesus’ complete divinity apart from us.

 

Finally, myrrh. Myrrh is actually a rather inappropriate gift in most circumstances. Myrrh is a resin that was often used for medicinal purposes in this time, specifically for embalming a dead body. Not a good gift for an infant nor a king. However, it turns out to be a rather appropriate gift for Jesus. Appropriate because this child was born to die .. born to be a sacrifice for sin… born to be embalmed and laid in a tomb that could not keep him. And so the myrrh is a most appropriate gift for those with eyes to see. Jesus could not be God’s champion or our champion without death on a cross which was the penalty for sin. Paradise can not be restored until the wound of paradise is removed.

Having set this forth. Let us not forget the part of the Christmas story where Jesus is born in Bethlehem. This of course was likewise a supernatural fulfillment for hundreds of years prior it was prophesied that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem. Jesus birth in Bethlehem (2:1-12 corresponds to Micah 5:2)

But there is more than that; Jesus is born in Bethlehem. Bethlehem literally means “House of Bread.” And so we find that Jesus, who later Scripture teaches is the bread of God being born in the House of Bread.

Then there is Herod. The Christmas story finds the supernatural again in Herod if only because the Scripture hundreds of years prior prophesied that Herod would do exactly what he did in his slaughter of the children.

Herod was a pretender to the throne of Israel. The man was an Edomite and no leader of Israel. As such, He was forever insecure about his throne and was willing to kill anybody who might have aspirations for the throne. When the wise men come to him reporting one who would be the King of the Judahites had been born Herod was troubled and all Jerusalem with him.

So, Herod goes on his killing rampage, but God protects the Holy Family and finds them departing before Herod’s sword can fall on Jesus. The supernatural shows up again in the warning an Angel brings to Joseph to flee.

Escape to Egypt and return (2:13-15 corresponds to Hosea 11:1 which is a reference to God having brought Israel, his son, out of Egypt at the Exodus).

In all this, we should remember that with our celebration of Christmas we are celebrating that the King has come and with the coming of the King there is the Kingdom He brings. When Christmas rolls around each year it is a celebration not only of Salvation won but also of Triumph we have now and are guaranteed will continue to come. The King has come and now all lesser Kings must make obeisance. The Fauci’s, the Soros’, the Gates, the Rothschilds, the demonic politicians drunk on adrenochrome will either bow before Jesus as King or will spend eternity sharing quarter with Satan in hell. With the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, the age to come – the age of restoration – has come face to face with this present evil age and is rolling the present evil age back as the epochs of time pass by.

“The joyful news of the birth of Christ is the restoration of man to his original calling with the assurance of victory. This has long been celebrated in Christmas carols… The cultural mandate [i.e. fulfilling the Dominion Mandate (Genesis 1:26-28) and the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20)] and postmillennialism is either explicit or implicit in Christmas carols.”
~ R.J. Rushdoony, ‘Institutes of Biblical Law’: Volume 1

 

Jesus has brought victory and we as His people walk in that triumph and victory. We press the crown rights of King Jesus into every area of life, every calling, and every institution. Jesus the one who restored paradise and healed us of the sickness of sin, calls His people to disciple the nations. Because of Christmas, we can command all men everywhere to repent.

Our expectation is that the Kingdoms of the world shall become the Kingdoms of our Lord and because they are now His Kingdoms. Our expectation is that the glory of the knowledge of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. Our expectation is that because Christ has dominion Christ shall have dominion.

Our expectation is that the enemies of Christ will sue for peace lest the Son become angry and those Kings perish in the way. Our expectation is that the Sons of Allah and the Sons of the Demon God of the Talmud will bow to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Our expectation is that before Christ returns that the globe will be converted and in space and time every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of the Father.

Christmas is a time to renew our confidence that though the wrong seems yet so strong God is the ruler yet and has set His resurrected Regent on Mt. Zion to rule over the affairs of men. Merry Christmas and let’s do Battle for the already victorious King of Kings. 

Author: jetbrane

I am a Pastor of a small Church in Mid-Michigan who delights in my family, my congregation and my calling. I am postmillennial in my eschatology. Paedo-Calvinist Covenantal in my Christianity Reformed in my Soteriology Presuppositional in my apologetics Familialist in my family theology Agrarian in my regional community social order belief Christianity creates culture and so Christendom in my national social order belief Mythic-Poetic / Grammatical Historical in my Hermeneutic Pre-modern, Medieval, & Feudal before Enlightenment, modernity, & postmodern Reconstructionist / Theonomic in my Worldview One part paleo-conservative / one part micro Libertarian in my politics Systematic and Biblical theology need one another but Systematics has pride of place Some of my favorite authors, Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Tolkien, Chesterton, Nock, Tozer, Dabney, Bavinck, Wodehouse, Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Schaeffer, C. Van Til, H. Van Til, G. H. Clark, C. Dawson, H. Berman, R. Nash, C. G. Singer, R. Kipling, G. North, J. Edwards, S. Foote, F. Hayek, O. Guiness, J. Witte, M. Rothbard, Clyde Wilson, Mencken, Lasch, Postman, Gatto, T. Boston, Thomas Brooks, Terry Brooks, C. Hodge, J. Calhoun, Llyod-Jones, T. Sowell, A. McClaren, M. Muggeridge, C. F. H. Henry, F. Swarz, M. Henry, G. Marten, P. Schaff, T. S. Elliott, K. Van Hoozer, K. Gentry, etc. My passion is to write in such a way that the Lord Christ might be pleased. It is my hope that people will be challenged to reconsider what are considered the givens of the current culture. Your biggest help to me dear reader will be to often remind me that God is Sovereign and that all that is, is because it pleases him.

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