Hark! The Herald Angels Sing #3

Monday, December 5, 2022

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:5-8 KJV).

The third verse of the classic Christmas carol highlights today’s Scripture.

“Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die,
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them spiritual birth.
Risen with healing in His wings,
Light and life to all He brings,
Hail, the Sun of Righteousness!
Hail, the heaven-born Prince of Peace!”

Jesus Christ was literally the perfect example of living in fellowship with Father God. He did not make Himself the issue but rather glorified His Father who had sent Him. Yea, He said to His Father, “Not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matthew 26:39). What was Father God’s will? Check Hebrews 10:1-10. It was for Jesus to become a human that that human body die on that awful cross for our sins!

As our King James Bible says, Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Modern versions so butcher this passage, saying Jesus Christ “did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing.” Blasphemy!)

The Bible says, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). That man may die and live through Him, Jesus Christ died. That man may die and live through Him, Jesus Christ resurrected. There is no greater name than the Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 2:10)! Friends, let us join the angels in praising Him!

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing #2

Sunday, December 4, 2022

“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (Matthew 1:21-23 KJV).

The second verse of the classic Christmas carol highlights today’s Scripture.

“Christ, by highest heaven adored;
Christ, the everlasting Lord;
Late in time behold Him come,
Offspring of the virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail the incarnate Deity,
Pleased as man with man to dwell;
Jesus, our Emmanuel!”

The first time in history that the Bible records angels singing joyfully, it was when they watched the God of the Bible create the heaven and the earth. The book of Job, chapter 38, verse 7, says in retrospect, “When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.” Now, some 4,000 years later, in the books of Matthew through John, the angels are singing because God the Son has become a Man, the God-Man.

Without the incarnation, the Word becoming flesh and dwelling among us (John 1:14), the God of the Bible would be distant and cold. He would have no intimate relation to us. There would be no manifestation of the invisible Godhead—Father, Son, and Holy Ghost would just be immaterial Beings. But, the incarnation made Jesus Christ the most unique Person in all of the universe. “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9).

There is no other Being who is both fully God and fully man, total man and yet total God, untainted humanity and undiminished deity. The angels had never seen such a Person. They saw what God was doing and they took great value in it. They certainly did not understand what we know today, but they knew enough to sing and rejoice.

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing #1

Saturday, December 3, 2022

“And again, when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him” (Hebrews 1:6 KJV).

The first verse of the classic Christmas carol highlights today’s Scripture.

“Hark! The herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!
Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With the angelic host proclaim
Christ is born in Bethlehem!
Hark! The herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King!”

Angels are very strange, and thus, often misunderstood, creatures. They are like humans in some respects but also drastically different from us. According to today’s Scripture, angels have a capacity to find worth in, and hence worship, their Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ. God the Father, according to the book of Hebrews (today’s Scripture), does not consider His Son an angelic being but rather Someone apart from the angelic host, Someone worthy of their worship.

Psalm 103:20,21 says: “Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. Bless ye the LORD, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure.” And Psalm 148:2, “Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts.” In the spirit of these verses, the writer of the book of Hebrews penned what he did in today’s Scripture.

The angels knew that God’s Son, Jesus Christ, had finally become flesh, and He could now fulfill the Old Testament prophecies going all the way back to Adam—chiefly, God’s literal, physical, visible, earthly kingdom. On the night of Christ’s birth, Luke 2:13,14 says: “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, good will toward men.” In perfect accordance with the book of Psalms, the angels filled the night sky of Palestine and joyfully sang to praise the Lord of glory! (What that massive angelic choir sounded like to human ears, we can only wonder!!)

Let us, by faith, join that angelic host in praising the Lord of glory!

What Child Is This? #4

Friday, December 2, 2022

“O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms” (Psalm 95:1,2 KJV).

The final verse of the classic Christmas carol highlights today’s Scripture.

“This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing:
Haste, haste to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.”

As the shepherds and angels gathered around Baby Jesus’ manger, we can only wonder what immense joy filled their hearts. In that world of old—plagued by the same basic problems of our modern world—He was a Beacon in the dark and a Solace in the misery. They undoubtedly sang right in the midst of all those farm animals! They were so thrilled to see God working in their presence. They were now standing before His baby crib!

Sinners today are greatly encouraged—yea, urged—to come by faith to God’s Son, Jesus Christ, right this moment. They are not to come by faith to His crib, for He is no longer a Baby. Rather, they are to come by faith to His cross, where He gave up that life for us! “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). What we need to do is rely exclusively on Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork, His shed sinless blood and His resurrection, as sufficient payment for our sins.

As with Jesus’ birth, for those who do not want to see anything, they do not see anything. Those who see are people who want to see. It has nothing to do with God hiding anything from anyone. What did Jesus tell the Jews? “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (John 7:17).

Although Jesus Christ is not physically here today, we can still haste to bring Him laud. We can praise Him highly in a public context. First, we can believe on Him and His finished crosswork. Then, we can tell others how they too can be saved through Calvary!

What Child Is This? #3

Thursday, December 1, 2022

“But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:20,21 KJV).

The third verse of the classic Christmas carol highlights today’s Scripture.

“So bring Him incense, gold, and myrrh,
Come, peasant, king, to own Him.
The King of kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.
Raise, raise a song on high,
The virgin sings her lullaby
Joy, joy for Christ is born,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.”

While commonly assumed the wise men came to visit Baby Jesus in the manger in Bethlehem, a careful study of Matthew chapter 2 shows us that they met Jesus in Joseph’s house in Nazareth, when He was as much as two years old (verse 16). The Bible never specifies “three” wise men or three “kings,” either. Regardless of their number, these wise men, Gentiles from the East, came to Jerusalem looking for Israel’s King. Upon hearing the wise men, King Herod and all of Jerusalem were “troubled” (verse 3). Israel should be ready to receive her Messiah-King, but she is not. Gentiles are seeking Israel’s King, and they, the Gentiles, are ready! How odd!

The wise men learn that Israel’s Messiah was born in Bethlehem-Judah (verses 4-6), but a “star” (angel) leads them to Nazareth (verses 7-10). Verse 11: “And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.” Jesus is a King, so the wise men have brought gold to Him. They have brought Him frankincense because He is a Priest. Myrrh has been brought to Him because He is a Prophet. Gentiles treat Israel’s King with more respect than Israel does!

Nothing has changed today. Some reject Jesus Christ while others accept Him. The songwriter, as does this author, urges people to accept Him!

What Child Is This? #2

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

“And they [the shepherds] came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds” (Luke 2:16-18 KJV).

The second verse of the classic Christmas carol highlights today’s Scripture.

“Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spears shall pierce Him through,
The cross He bore for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.”

It was just as the angel of the Lord had told them. The Saviour, Christ the Lord, the King of Israel, was indeed born in Bethlehem, but not in a palace. The shepherds found Him lying in a trough, a structure out of which farm animals ate! How odd!

There were just so many things about Jesus’ nativity that did not make sense in the human mind. Firstly, a virgin had conceived and borne a child. Secondly, the God of creation had confined Himself to a tiny body that could be held in human hands. Thirdly, that the King of Israel had been born in a stinky, dirty barn and His crib was literally a trough. Lastly, that Someone so important did not have thousands of people flocking to His crib. Strange!

As the shepherds left Joseph, Mary, and Baby Jesus, they spread the news about what they had heard and seen. The Bible says that this audience “wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.” They could not fathom how it was possible, either. Even today, the natural (lost) mind of man not only struggles with, but outright refuses, to believe the simple truths of the Bible. They rather rail against and reject that which they do not understand, than acknowledge that they do not know everything and the God of the Bible is wiser than they are. To accept those truths would mean validating how Jesus Christ came to live that He would die for us sinners.

Yet, some hearers believed!

What Child Is This? #1

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

“And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1:30-33 KJV).

The first verse of the classic Christmas carol highlights today’s Scripture.

“What child is this, who, laid to rest,
On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing:
Haste, haste to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.”

Such an event had never before happened in human history. God had promised “the seed of the woman” to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:15), but it was 4,000 years later that Mary was identified as that “woman.” That the Creator God would take upon Himself the flesh of sinful man, though Himself never being defiled by sin (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:22). Unheard of in pagan religions!

The angels understood the Old Testament prophecies about God’s Son being born of a human mother. She was a “virgin,” a young woman (perhaps in her teens) who had never had any sexual relations with a man (Luke 1:34). On the night of Baby Jesus’ birth into the human race—the culmination of humanity added to His deity—the angels appeared in the sky and sang, to encourage the shepherds in the nearby fields to hurry to Bethlehem to see a little Baby wrapped in swaddling clothes (Luke 2:8-14).

“[15] And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.”

Once the shepherds came to Bethlehem, and found Baby Jesus, they beheld such a strange sight!

NOTE: Saints, this is our 4200th devotional! Onward by God’s grace to #4300!

Lead By Good Example

Monday, November 28, 2022

“And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God. And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar, And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself” (Luke 23:35-37 KJV).

When we compare today’s Scripture to Matthew chapter 27, we can make an interesting deduction….

As the Lord Jesus is crucified, they make fun of Him, taunting and insulting Him. They simply cannot fathom how this “great” “Saviour,” this “mighty” “King,” could now seem so defenseless while they mercilessly torture Him. Why does He not deliver Himself? The Roman soldiers tease Him, “If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself.” From where did they get this notion?

If we turn to the Book of Matthew, we find these remarks: “Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him” (Matthew 27:41,42). These “chief priests,” “scribes” (Bible copyists and teachers), and “elders” (aged men) are all members of Israel’s leadership. Apparently, once the Jews ridiculed the Lord, the Gentiles heard it and copied them! This was a reversal of God’s Old Testament hope for Israel, for the Jewish people (the worshippers of the one true God, sole possessors of His Book) were to be good spiritual examples to the Gentiles (who had nothing but mere idols and darkness).

“Therefore I [a Jew] will give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen [Gentiles], and I will sing praises unto thy name” (2 Samuel 22:50). “O praise the LORD, all ye nations [Gentiles]: praise him, all ye people” (Psalm 117:1). Declare his glory among the heathen [Gentiles], his wonders among all people” (Psalm 96:3). Saints, lest we be like ancient, apostate Israel at Calvary’s cross, may we properly represent the LORD before the unsaved world around us—leading them to honor the LORD instead of dislike Him!

NOTE: Brethren, this is our final original devotional for 2022, as our classic Christmas studies will now run the rest of the year.

The King and the Copy

Sunday, November 27, 2022

“And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel” (Deuteronomy 17:18-20 KJV).

Behold, Israel’s King and God’s Word!

Sin, unfortunately, causes people to have an extremely negative view of government. Whenever individuals oversee others’ affairs, there will always be the high risk (and presence) of abuse of power—leaders taking advantage of or not seeking the wellbeing of those under them, governmental officials allowing evildoers to go unpunished, and the like. God took great care in minimizing that possibility in today’s Scripture.

Centuries prior to their demand for a king (see 1 Samuel 8:1-9), the LORD in today’s Scripture foresaw the day when Israel would have a monarch. The LORD God could not be clearer through Moses’ parting instructions. Once a new king came into power, that king was to “write… a copy of this law in a book.” That is, whatever Bible had been written up to that point, the king was required to have a copy of it himself so he could study it. Whereas the Levitical priests kept the original manuscripts in the Ark of the Covenant, the king was to have a copy of these sacred texts and he was to read and study that copy of the Bible his entire life. “And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life.” As long as that king valued God’s words, God’s blessing would be upon his kingdom.

“The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just [fair, righteous], ruling in the fear of God” (King David in 2 Samuel 23:3).

NOTE: In case you have not noticed, concerning our New Testament Survey Project, we are now studying Acts verse-by-verse. The introduction to Acts video can be watched by clicking here. Stay tuned for additional studies!

He Will Teach the Sinners

Saturday, November 26, 2022

“Good and upright is the LORD: therefore will he teach sinners in the way. The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way” (Psalm 25:8,9 KJV).

What King David penned here 3,000 years ago is just as true in our modern world….

Recently, I was reading the biography of a famous politician. Although he was raised in a “Christian” home, and has even joined two “Christian” denominations in his lifetime, his faith (in his own words) “comes and goes.” He states he is not a “serious practitioner” of Christianity. It is a rather unfortunate situation, but this poor soul is definitely not alone in his grim predicament. When you study the questionable—yea, false—theology to which he has been exposed over the course of decades, it is no surprise that his spiritual life turned out the disastrous way it did. Countless millions in these groups also habitually experience the same type of “faith” that “comes and goes!”

As King James Bible believers, as Pauline dispensational believers, as grace believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are truly blessed to have an overwhelming amount of spiritual light. Except for the grace of God, we too would be dead in our trespasses and sins, and deceived in religious circles. (Let us be grateful.) After all, considering the 38,000 (!) denominations in Christendom, the chances are extremely high that we (if not already) will eventually wind up getting involved with one or more of them and their heretical and/or apostate theological systems. While there is only one version of the truth, there are countless versions of error—and that solemn statistic alone should always prevent us from bragging “but I will always be loyal to the Lord and His pure Word!”

In today’s Scripture, “Good and upright is the LORD: therefore will he teach sinners in the way. The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way.” Provided we are “meek” (not proud), submissive (not defiant), the LORD is more than willing to show us what to believe and do. As long as this is our attitude, our faith will be settled, stable, and appealing to those seeking meaningful answers.