Emmanuel’s Tabernacle

Thursday, December 24, 2020

“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 1:23 KJV).

Using the Scriptures, we can date the birth of Emmanuel, Jesus Christ.

John the Baptist’s father, Zacharias, was a priest, “of the course [order] of Abia [Abijah]” (Luke 1:5). Under King David, Israel’s priests were organized into 24 courses (1 Chronicles 24:7-19). A priest from each course served a week in the Temple ministration (and thus served one week twice a year). Israel’s calendar began with Abib/Nisan, equivalent to March 16-April 15 (Exodus 12:1,2; Exodus 13:4). Passover was observed on April 14, starting Israel’s religious calendar.

Passover week (The Feast of Unleavened Bread) lasted from April 15-21. The first course of priests served in the Temple around this time. Zacharias’ course, Abijah, was the eighth course after Passover (1 Chronicles 24:10), thus placing Zacharias’ service roughly eight weeks after Passover (or June 17-23). This was the time when the angel appeared to Zacharias to announce John’s conception (Luke 1:8-22). Once Zacharias and his wife Elisabeth leave the Temple and go home, Elisabeth conceives John (late June; Luke 1:23-25).

Six months after Elisabeth conceived John in late June (Luke 1:26), Mary conceived Jesus—in late December. Contrary to religious tradition, the birthday of Christ is not December 25. Late December is the time of Christ’s conception. The conception of Christ in Mary’s womb, not Mary’s conception in her mother’s womb, is the biblical immaculate conception: it was Christ’s conception, not Mary’s, that was sinless (Luke 1:35).

If a perfect human gestation lasts 280 days (9 months), late September/early October is the time of Christ’s birth. During this time of year, recall that God had Israel observing the Feast of Tabernacles, when Jews would dwell in “booths” (tents, tabernacles) for seven days (Leviticus 23:39-44).

While Israel was observing Tabernacles in September/October, God was born as a man (Jesus Christ) of the virgin Mary, and dwelt (“tabernacled”) with them! Sadly, very few Jews paid any attention to Jesus, “Emmanuel,” “God with us” (today’s Scripture). The rest of Israel ignored “God dwelling among them” (John 1:14).

For more information, see our archived Bible Q&A: “Was Jesus born on the 25th of December?

You may also see our other archived study: “Why do people use ‘Xmas’ instead of ‘Christmas?’

Bethlehem of Judaea

Saturday, December 19, 2020

“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2 KJV).

Today’s Scripture, written about 700 B.C., prophesies the exact birthplace of Israel’s Messiah.

Notice the Bible is very specific: “Bethlehem Ephratah pinpoints the Bethlehem in southern Israel (there was another Bethlehem, in Galilee, northern Israel). Bethlehem of Judaea, as today’s Scripture teaches, is “little among the thousands of Judah” (a little-known village).

The Bible tells us that Bethlehem Ephratah was the birthplace of King David (1 Samuel 16:1-18). John 7:42 reads: “Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?” Jesus Christ will inherit His father David’s throne, and David is a type/preview/shadow of Christ (Isaiah 9:6,7; Luke 1:31-33). Thus, they share Bethlehem Ephratah as their birthplace (cf. Luke 2:4).

“Bethlehem” is an interesting term. Jesus Christ likened Himself to the manna of the Old Testament. He claimed, “For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world…. I am that bread of life: I am the bread which came down from heaven…. I am that bread of life” (John 6:33,35,41,48). Jesus was born in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:1,5,6): “Bethlehem” is Hebrew for “house of bread.” Thus, the “Bread of Life,” Jesus Christ, was born in the “House of Bread,” Bethlehem. Fascinating!

Furthermore, Joseph (Jesus’ legal father) lived in Nazareth. When Roman emperor Caesar Augustus sent out a decree for taxing the people of the empire (conducting a census), Joseph had to leave Nazareth and go to Bethlehem of Judaea, taking pregnant Mary with him (Luke 2:1-5). Christ was born there in Bethlehem. Some 700 years beforehand, the Bible knew Joseph and Mary would not be in Nazareth for Christ’s birth, but in Bethlehem, thereby fulfilling the prophecy of today’s Scripture. Amazing!

These are evidences that the Bible is a supernatural Book—indeed, it is God’s Book.

God’s Perfect Timing

Thursday, December 17, 2020

“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Galatians 4:4,5 KJV).

As today’s Scripture indicates, the birth of Jesus Christ was no accident—God planned its exact moment from eternity past.

When God placed the first man, Adam, on earth, He purposed that man would “subdue [control] it,” to “have dominion” over it and everything on it (Genesis 1:28). Nevertheless, Adam sinned by joining Satan in his rebellion against God. Because of sin, man was now unable to accomplish on earth what God originally created him to do. God left the human race a promise, however, that there would come a Man, who would do what Adam failed to do. Instead of cooperating with God’s adversary like Adam had, this “seed of the woman” would “bruise [Satan’s] head” (Genesis 3:15).

Traveling up through the Scriptures, we see how God lays the groundwork for that seedline. In Genesis 12:1-3, or 2,000 years after Adam’s sin, we read God’s covenant with Abraham, that through Abraham a nation, Israel, will be born, and salvation and blessing will flow to the Gentiles through Israel. The seed of the woman becomes the seed of Abraham (Galatians 3:16).

In 2 Samuel 7:12-16, and 1,000 years after Abraham, we read of God’s covenant with King David, that “his seed” will inherit his throne and reign forever. The seed of the woman and of Abraham becomes the seed of David.

About 1,000 years after David, Matthew 1:1 speaks of Christ’s birth, and declares, “…Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” This is exactly what God had promised for thousands of years!

Jesus Christ’s birth was not some haphazard event of nature. God the Father had preplanned the exact moment of the incarnation of His Son, Jesus Christ (today’s Scripture). Over a period of some 4,000 years, the three members of the Godhead worked to bring about the birth of man’s Redeemer, a plan they had even before man was created! Amazing!

Vote!

Saturday, October 24, 2020

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;… (Colossians 3:23 KJV).

While today’s Scripture refers to servants (employees) working on the job, it is a handy verse for all of life’s activities and decisions….

Obviously, it is a presidential election year here in the United States. Indeed, never have politics been as divergent as now. Each party vehemently accuses the other of corruption, deceit, and incompetence. The bickering and belligerence make disgust and discouragement abound. Moreover, as with every election, there is much conversation about “low-information voters,” people entering the voting booth with little to no understanding of which candidates support what issues and hold to what values. What seems to motivate these voters is pure emotion—especially spite and defiance. Instead of investigating matters for themselves, they sit in front of television and computer screens and let others tell them how and what to think. This is most unfortunate—particularly for Bible-believing Christians!

Long ago, a wise brother in Christ lamented, “People cannot take a stand on anything because they do not know anything!” Even concerning the fundamental teachings of Christianity, church members struggle to articulate exactly what they believe and how to prove it from Bible verses. If such “fuzzy thinking” dominates spiritual issues, we need not wonder why perplexity proliferates everywhere!

Finally, it is truly silly to be an “undecided” voter so late in the election season. Just as we will not find a perfect church or perfect pastor, we will not find a perfect candidate in any political race. They all have their flaws: they are all sinners. Yet, no matter the election (presidential, gubernatorial, mayoral, et cetera), we can always see one person being closer to Scripture than others. If we fail to see a difference in any of the candidates, or if we are unable to discern which one matches the Scriptures the most, then we had better study some more verses before we vote! “The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue. The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God” (2 Samuel 23:2,3).

Love or Hate?

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

“Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish” (Proverbs 12:1 KJV).

The Book of Proverbs is Divine wisdom for Israel as she experiences the deception of the end-times. As we see in today’s Scripture, there are those who are willing to hear that instruction from the LORD God. Moreover, there are those who are not willing to be corrected. May we be like the former and not the latter!

Let us read these other related verses found in Proverbs. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (1:7). “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise” (12:15). “A wise son heareth his father’s instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke” (13:1). “Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured” (13:18). “A fool despiseth his father’s instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent” (15:5). “He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding” (15:32). “Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words” (23:9).

Though “fools make a mock at sin” (Proverbs 14:9), their levity is but for a moment. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7). In chapter 5 of Proverbs, the rebellious reader, reaping the awful consequences of his foolish decisions, will confess in verses 12 and 13: “How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof; And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me!”

In the Word of God rightly divided, we see “reproof” and “instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). By listening to it, we can “increase in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:10). Yet, there is a common proclivity among many to “hate [such] reproof” (today’s Scripture). They are “brutish,” which is descriptive of the stupidity of cattle (the sense of the Hebrew word). So as to avoid being labeled with this pitiful trait, let us read and believe Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “‘As the LORD liveth?’

Lack of Knowledge!

Friday, September 4, 2020

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children” (Hosea 4:6 KJV).

Despite living in this prosperous world, one possession is often scarce. What?

Recently, I heard a religious man remark concerning a devastating natural disaster: “I don’t know why bad things happen to good people, but if I make it to Heaven, I am going to ask about it.” This is a disturbing statement for two reasons. Firstly, even as a faithful church member of a “Christian” denomination, he lacks the very answers the Bible has already provided on that subject (Genesis chapter 3, for example!). Secondly—and this makes it most unsettling—he said “if” he would get to Heaven!

Never can we fault church members for being idle. They know how to go through the motions of praying, fasting, kneeling, hand-raising, clapping, singing, confessing, shouting, weeping, dancing, speaking in “tongues,” jumping, giving alms, lighting candles, water baptizing, and so on. Yet, most lack even a basic understanding of Scripture. This was the Jews, over 700 years before Christ. The LORD commented, “For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings” (Hosea 6:6). Dutifully offering animal sacrifices, they were unfamiliar with God’s words! Written around the same time was Isaiah 5:13: “Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honourable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst.”

The Hebrew word rendered “knowledge” in today’s Scripture is “da`ath.” It was paired with the negative prefix “beliy” (“without”). The same idea is found in Deuteronomy 4:42—“unawares”—when someone killed his neighbor unintentionally. It is translated “ignorantly” in Deuteronomy 19:4 and “unwittingly” in Joshua 20:3. Just as this manslayer was oblivious to his victim neighbor’s presence, so we can be equally ignorant of Scripture. Unfortunately, that is sometimes deliberate: Therefore they say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways. What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? and what profit should we have, if we pray unto him?” (Job 21:14,15; cf. today’s Scripture). May spiritual ignorance—especially purposeful—not be true of us!

To Look Beyond the Makeup #13

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window (2 Kings 9:30 KJV).

Removing her “paint,” what do we see?

Prior to our Dispensation of Grace, Satan’s evil world system contaminated ancient Israel with pagan idolatry (especially through King Ahab and Queen Jezebel). After our Dispensation, this will be repeated via “King” Antichrist and “Queen” Whore of Babylon. Remember, once Satan learns something works to his advantage, he will use it repeatedly. For thousands of years now, false religion has deceived mankind. If it was beneficial to the Devil’s plan then, and it will be helpful to him later, then he is indeed (!) operating it right now… and practically no one detects it!

Scripture explains how the harlot seduces a young man “void of understanding” (Proverbs 7:7). He is among the “simple [uneducated, unskilled] ones.” Carefully read the whole chapter. Exercising great subtilty, she lures him with the promise of physical delight (cf. 1 Timothy 4:1-3). Naïve and uninformed, he absolutely cannot resist. He merrily jumps in bed with her… and then she kills him! That man represents unsuspecting Israel—or even gullible “Christians” today—falling for Satan’s lie program of evil religion. The LORD God gave them His Word, but they ignore that Divine wisdom. Focusing on mere outward appearance (a “painted” face), they lack any sense to realize they have joined themselves to a “woman of the street!”

Finally, consider “eye-opening” 2 Corinthians 11:13-15: “[13] For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. [14] And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. [15] Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” False religion is attractive yet sneaky, Satan’s precise method in Genesis 3:1-6. It shoves aside God’s grace, and stresses our (self-) “righteousness.” With our eyes on the creature, they are off the Creator (Romans 1:25). Ignoring God’s Grace Message through the Apostle Paul, the Bible Books of Romans through Philemon, we have failed to look beyond the makeup… yea… fakeup!

To Look Beyond the Makeup #11

Monday, August 31, 2020

And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window (2 Kings 9:30 KJV).

Removing her “paint,” what do we see?

While the Book of Proverbs is often considered “God’s wisdom,” we can qualify that. Proverbs is God’s wisdom that Israel must adopt to avoid the pagan idolatry and deception of the Antichrist and his religious system (the Whore of Babylon).

Proverbs chapter 5: “[1] My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding: [2] That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge. [3] For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil: [4] But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. [5] Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell. [6] Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them. [7] Hear me now therefore, O ye children, and depart not from the words of my mouth. [8] Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house:….

Now, chapter 7: “[1] My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee. [2] Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye. [3] Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart. [4] Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman: [5] That they may keep [guard] thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words.Read verses 6-23, how this prostitute seduces a thoughtless man to have intimate relations with her (like Jezebel attempted to lure Jehu in today’s Scripture!).

“[24] Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth. [25] Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths. [26] For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her. [27] Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death. Israel should heed these warnings, as should we….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why was the Temple’s veil rent when Christ died?

World Lost! #10

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

“Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons; Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children” (Deuteronomy 4:9,10 KJV).

Some have cried out, “This world is going to hell in a handbasket!” Others have exclaimed, “We have lost our country!” Surely, surely, they are all correct!

For centuries, church members have constructed buildings, lit candles, walked aisles, distributed religious literature, donned choir robes, knocked on doors, held “revivals,” organized concerts, and raised money for “missions.” Our leaders have wasted decades and billions of dollars on seminary and Bible college, having learned nothing but man’s speculations and traditions. Spreading their error to the congregations, the Body of Christ—lacking God’s wisdom and power—is rendered impotent and unable to withstand the deceitful cultural revolution already begun.

The formalism was but a veneer. All its gold and silver cannot hide the spiritual poverty of the professing church. Neither can all the water in every baptistery fount wash away its hypocrisy. All the professions of “faith” cannot mask the unbelief that pervades it. Simply put, people have been “playing church”—and the “actors” have finally taken off their masks! In the Apostle Paul’s time, the challenge was preaching the newly-revealed Gospel of Grace so the nations would trust it and abandon their paganism. Now, having gone through 20 centuries of individuals rejecting that Good News, we are witnessing a reverse. Light refused becomes darkness. Today, the nations know the Gospel of Grace—and are returning to heathenism anyway!

Jesus Christ’s return will right everything wrong. Until then, we Christians need to believe and proclaim a clear Gospel message (1 Corinthians 15:3,4), and then believe teach sound Bible doctrine (the Word of God rightly divided—especially Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon). Brethren, let us faithfully pass that to future generations, so we may say, “We are not responsible for the world lost!”

An Ambassador Turns 32!

Friday, August 7, 2020 🎂

“A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:” (Proverbs 1:5 KJV).

A certain ambassador marks another birthday!

With the passing of every year, today’s Scripture should be increasingly applicable to the saint of the Most High God. As the aging process continues—mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually—more strength should be gained. It is the intention of the Holy Spirit to use the Holy Bible to focus especially on “the inner man,” affording the reader or listener the opportunity to augment his knowledge. Once this is allowed to occur, the person graduates to “wise counsels,” having not simply disjointed fragments of assorted information but possessing a comprehension of the larger picture.

Over in 2 Timothy 2:22, we read: “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” Pastor Timothy was a young man, so he still had a lot of growing to do. As opposed to being conformed to this world, he was to make steady progress in being transformed by the renewing of his mind (Romans 12:2). Sin was to have a lessening grip on him, and it would—provided he set his focus on uprightness, trust in God’s words, love in action, and tranquility.

In His grace, the Lord has blessed me with 32 years of earthly life. However, there is an afterlife to anticipate too. “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3). For the past 25 years, I have come to enjoy eternal life—and that will continue forever. There is still so much for me to learn about this life and the life to come. If I were granted another 50 years here—to come to an even greater spiritual maturity, and to bring many more lost people to Christ and many more Christians to full-grown status—that would be awesome beyond description. Still, the Lord may have other plans. For example, before then, He may decide to return and close the Dispensation of Grace with our gathering together unto Him. We shall have to see! Since we have opportunity now, let us continue being about our Father’s business! 🙂