Emmanuel’s Tabernacle

Saturday, December 24, 2022

“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

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

“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

Saturday, December 17, 2022

“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!

Is the God of the Bible “Anti-Intellectual?” #10

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

“And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:16,17 KJV).

Is the God of Scripture “anti-intellectual?”

Bible-haters can methodically prove complex mathematical theorems, wisely dissect and repair human bodies, diligently translate ancient manuscripts, scrupulously draft elaborate blueprints for a megatall building, tirelessly endeavor to be a pioneer researcher in nuclear physics, boldly explore the mysteries of outer space, doggedly acquire a “brilliant” legal mind to obtain a political office, prudently develop budgets for entire nations, creatively sculpt incredible works of art, carefully investigate the ocean depths, and regularly compose technical articles for publication in “scholarly” journals.

As educated, admired, and outstanding as these souls are, until they believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thereby receive the indwelling Holy Spirit, true wisdom will forever elude them. The knowledge of eternal worth is a foreign language to them. Certainly, they struggle to fathom even the simplest sentences in a sixth-grade English Bible. While the human brain is remarkable, it has a Creator or mind superior even to it (and never forget that!). There is the Divine mind, what Almighty God possesses, who gave us the ability to think and comprehend these very thoughts. Why does the natural world exist? Only when we read His Book do we understand and appreciate the real meaning and purpose to what we see, hear, touch, smell, and taste. However, if we are content with just the “how,” we will go no further than natural explanations and natural reasoning, thus overlooking what matters most (1 Corinthians 2:9-16).

“For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (1 Corinthians 1:19-21).

Is the God of the Bible “Anti-Intellectual?” #9

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

“And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:16,17 KJV).

Is the God of Scripture “anti-intellectual?”

The Lord Jesus Christ through the Apostle Paul advised in 1 Timothy 6:19,20: “O Timothy, keep [guard] that which is committed to thy trust [sound Bible doctrine, grace-oriented teaching], avoiding profane [common, unholy] and vain [empty, worthless] babblings [drivel, silly talk], and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.” In Greek, “science” is “gnosis,” translated as “knowledge” 28 times in our King James Bible (for instance, see Luke 1:77, Romans 2:20, 1 Corinthians 8:1, 2 Corinthians 10:5, Ephesians 3:19, 2 Peter 1:6, and 2 Peter 3:18).

Observe how there are “oppositions of science falsely so called.” False teachers fight against sound Bible doctrine by promoting information that is wrongly titled “science” (as in knowledge). In other words, it looks like it profits its hearers and adherents—but it is as advantageous to the Christian (or even lost person) as fools’ gold is to the prospector! What appears to be substance is but shadow, what seems to be treasure is merely trinket, yet the undiscerning mind is none the wiser. Usually, what is advertised as “knowledge” turns out to be nothing more than pointlessness.

Re-read 1 Corinthians 2:9. If we desire to ascertain God’s words and will, we do not appeal to the “eye” (scientific method, empiricism), the “ear” (church tradition, secondhand data), or the “heart” (soul-searching, intuition). Moreover, if we do not have the indwelling Spirit of God to teach us, we have no hope of ever obtaining God’s wisdom. “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God” (verse 10). We can gain all the “knowledge” we want by attending every world “institution of higher learning,” yet this is but child’s play when we survey the wealth of Divine wisdom contained in the Holy Scriptures rightly divided….

True Wisdom

Saturday, November 5, 2022

“And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:4,5 KJV).

Dear brethren, may our faith stand in the power of God!

A few days back, I had a delightful phone conversation with a dear brother in Christ who “just so happened” to find our ministry websites roughly a year ago. He had been seeking someone who used the Bible alone, so how grateful he is to Father God to have landed on our webpages. In the 12 months since he came across our online studies (devotionals, Bible Q&A articles, and videos), he claims he “has not put his Bible down!” How we thank God for him, just as he gives thanks for us.

We counter Bible ignorance by Bible education. Naturally, this goes far beyond mere talking about the Scriptures, reading books about the Scriptures, quoting “authorities” who comment on the Scriptures. Usually, false teaching in Christianity is a verse misunderstood because it has been removed from its dispensational context. The aforementioned brother had struggled with certain difficult Bible passages for years, but, being a “right division” Bible student with us these past 12 months has greatly enhanced his outlook. He now understands and enjoys the Scriptures, skilled enough to identify spiritual error when he sees or hears it. Moreover, he has reached a point where he can teach others (and, like us, he has had his share of “opposition” from denominationally-minded church members!).

The Apostle Paul, though a learned man in both the Hebrew Bible (see Acts 22:3) and heathen literature (Acts 17:28; Titus 1:12), was careful not to use worldly education to persuade the Corinthians to the point of faith. He visited and ministered in Corinth in Acts chapter 18 as God the Holy Spirit enlightened him—that their faith would stand in God’s words, not the speculations or hunches of a religious leader. Brethren, may we endeavor to follow 2 Timothy 2:15 and 2 Timothy 3:16-17 as we reach the masses with the pure, rightly divided Bible… while we still have time.

Saints, please remember this work of the ministry requires monthly financial support to operate (Galatians 6:6; Philippians 4:16-17; 2 Corinthians 9:6-7). Those who prefer electronic giving can donate securely here: https://www.paypal.me/ShawnBrasseaux. Anyone who wishes to donate by regular mail can visit https://333wordsofgrace.org/contact-us-mailing-address-for-donations/ for details. Thanks to all who give to and pray for us! Unfortunately, since our ministry audience is so large and our ministry staff is so small, I can no longer personally respond to everyone. Thanks so much for understanding in this regard. 🙂

Graduation to Degradation

Thursday, July 28, 2022

“For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (1 Corinthians 1:19-21 KJV).

Famed Protestant Reformer Martin Luther (1483–1546) said: “I am much afraid that the universities will prove to be the great gates to Hell, unless they diligently labor to explain the Holy Scriptures and to engrave them upon the hearts of youth. I advise no one to place his child where the Scriptures do not reign paramount. Every institution where men are not unceasingly occupied with the Word of God must become corrupt.” Dear friends, that concern 500 years ago is just as real today!

Many of the world’s most celebrated “institutions of higher learning” were originally founded as Bible schools. Of course, their anti-Christian faculty and graduates make them unrecognizable today. What happened? So as to maintain “prestige” before the unsaved public, these universities began to cease occupying themselves with the Word of God. After all, who is willing to spend all that time and money learning “narrowmindedness?” The curriculum had to be broadened—changed to be more accommodating of alternative worldviews—if enrollment, revenue, and secular praise are to be high! As the decades passed, the “scholarly” (human-wisdom-worshipping) crowd assumed leadership positions. Students who graduated became teachers themselves. The Scriptures were no longer reigning paramount or supreme. Other belief systems were presented in the classrooms with equal conviction. Eventually, the Bible became “just another Book” in their eyes.

Our human flesh (sin) always wants to be in the “driver’s seat,” running our lives, churches, schools, and everything else. If we do not have a clear, intelligent understanding of what the Holy Spirit is doing today, we do not have a prayer in the world of ever glorifying the God of creation, the God of the Bible, the God of Christianity. We had better head over to the Lord Jesus Christ’s words through the Apostle Paul, Romans through Philemon!

Order My Steps #10

Sunday, July 24, 2022

“Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me” (Psalm 119:133 KJV).

May we share the Psalmist’s wish!

Describing victorious Christian living, Paul taught in Romans 8:5-9: “[5] For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. [6] For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. [7] Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. [8] So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. [9] But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”

If we think like lost people, our conduct will resemble that of lost people. Our Christian life will die with “carnal” or fleshy thinking (chapter 7). “Minding” nothing but natural-man thoughts, our lifestyle reflects that faulty reasoning (chapter 7). Fighting against God, we live contrary to whom He made us in Christ. If, however, we are renewed in the spirit of our mind (Romans 12:1,2; Ephesians 4:20-24; Colossians 3:9-16), studying and trusting sound (grace!) Bible doctrine, we will “mind [pay attention to, think about] the things of the Spirit.” This spiritually-minded believer enjoys the life and peace impossible in Romans chapter 7 but achievable in chapter 6.

“This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,…” (Ephesians 4:17). “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:15-17). “Brethren, be followers together of me [Paul], and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample” (Philippians 3:17). “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;…” (Colossians 1:10). “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:…” (Colossians 2:6).

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is the United States of America in Bible prophecy?

Order My Steps #9

Saturday, July 23, 2022

“Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me” (Psalm 119:133 KJV).

May we share the Psalmist’s wish!

The first five chapters of Romans lay out the doctrine of justification—to wit, how a sinner worthy of God’s righteous wrath in Hell and the Lake of Fire can trust Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for his sins and thereby be declared a Christian or saint (eternally righteous in God’s sight, bound for Heaven).

Chapters 6–8 outline the doctrine of sanctification—namely, how the Christian, in light of his position, is set apart unto God’s purpose and plan on a daily basis in practice. The believer’s walk each and every day will be victorious over sin only if two facts are never forgotten. Firstly, we are under grace not law (Romans chapter 6). Secondly, we are under the Holy Spirit’s authority not the flesh’s power (Romans chapter 8). To ignore (or fail to learn) either of these principles is to suffer that horrendous spiritual shipwreck of chapter 7!

Let us state it another way. When sin masters or controls us, we have not been mindful of Romans chapter 6 (dead to sin, alive unto God). Abandoning chapter 6, we have fallen into the snare of Romans chapter 7 (defeat, misery, hopelessness). To be recovered from the dreadful trap of fleshly living, we learn the lesson Paul himself realized in chapter 8: “[1] There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. [2] For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. [3] For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: [4] That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

There, right there, is the Christian overcoming sin on a daily basis….

Order My Steps #8

Friday, July 22, 2022

“Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me” (Psalm 119:133 KJV).

May we share the Psalmist’s wish!

Brethren, our Heavenly Father has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). “Ye are complete [lacking nothing] in [Christ]” (Colossians 2:10a). All we truly need, we permanently have in the Lord Jesus Christ. Four necessities given us in Christ are defined in 1 Corinthians 1:30,31: “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”

Firstly, we need spiritual wisdom, the ability to correctly apply spiritual truths to life. Jesus is our spiritual wisdom. Secondly, we need righteousness, a right standing before God. Christ is our righteousness. Thirdly, we need sanctification, separation unto Father God’s will. Jesus is our sanctification. Finally, we need redemption, a buying back from sin’s dominion. Christ is our redemption. God’s instructions to us are simple: Walk according to the people we already are in Christ!

After three chapters presenting our wealth in Christ, the Holy Spirit through Paul opens the final three chapters of Ephesians concerning our walk: “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,…” (Ephesians 4:1). “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:…” (Ephesians 5:8). After concentrating on our wealth in Christ for two chapters, the second half of Colossians begins with our walk: “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above [in heaven], where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:1). “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:…” (Colossians 3:10).

Paying attention to the Holy Spirit’s words through Paul, we enjoy victorious Christian living. “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh [sin]…. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law…. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16,18,25). Here is Romans chapter 8….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How are the LORD God and His works ‘terrible?’