While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks #2

Friday, December 9, 2016

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger” (Luke 2:11,12 KJV).

The third and fourth verses of the classic Christmas carol paraphrase today’s Scripture.

“‘To you, in David’s town, this day,
Is born of David’s line
A Savior, who is Christ the Lord;
And this shall be the sign
And this shall be the sign.
The heavenly Babe you there shall find
To human view displayed,
All meanly wrapped in swaddling-clothes
And in a manger laid
And in a manger laid.’”

Bethlehem-Judah—not to be confused with the Bethlehem of northern Israel—was known for being King David’s birthplace (1 Samuel 16:18). It was also where his great-grandmother Ruth had lived (Ruth 1:19). But, Bethlehem-Judah (or Bethlehem-Ephratah, or Bethlehem-Judaea) was no Jerusalem, or Rome, or Alexandria, major cities at that time. Nevertheless, the shadows/types/previews were present.

Jesus Christ had come to fulfill the Davidic Covenant (2 Samuel 7:12-16). He is the Son of David who can accomplish the governmental part of the Abrahamic Covenant. Reading from Luke chapter 1: “[31] And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. [32] 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: [33] And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” God had His Son born in Bethlehem of Judah, the same place where King David was born 1,000 years earlier!

The angel said it was easy for the shepherds to find Baby Jesus. There was only one Bethlehem-Judah, and there was only one manger in that little town that held a little Baby tightly wrapped in clothes. That little Baby would grow up to be a Man, mature and thus fully able to reign from David’s throne. No wonder the angels proceeded to sing such wonderful news!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Could you explain 1 Timothy 2:15?

While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks #2

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger” (Luke 2:11,12 KJV).

The third and fourth verses of the classic Christmas carol paraphrase today’s Scripture.

“‘To you, in David’s town, this day,
Is born of David’s line
A Savior, who is Christ the Lord;
And this shall be the sign
And this shall be the sign.
The heavenly Babe you there shall find
To human view displayed,
All meanly wrapped in swaddling-clothes
And in a manger laid
And in a manger laid.’”

Bethlehem-Judah—not to be confused with the Bethlehem of northern Israel—was known for being King David’s birthplace (1 Samuel 16:18). It was also where his great-grandmother Ruth had lived (Ruth 1:19). But, Bethlehem-Judah (or Bethlehem-Ephratah, or Bethlehem-Judaea) was no Jerusalem, or Rome, or Alexandria, major cities at that time. Nevertheless, the shadows/types/previews were present.

Jesus Christ had come to fulfill the Davidic Covenant (2 Samuel 7:12-16). He is the Son of David who can accomplish the governmental part of the Abrahamic Covenant. Reading from Luke chapter 1: “[31] And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. [32] 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: [33] And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” God had His Son born in Bethlehem of Judah, the same place where King David was born 1,000 years earlier!

The angel said it was easy for the shepherds to find Baby Jesus. There was only one Bethlehem-Judah, and there was only one manger in that little town that held a little Baby tightly wrapped in clothes. That little Baby would grow up to be a Man, mature and thus fully able to reign from David’s throne. No wonder the angels proceeded to sing such wonderful news!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why does Acts 2:35 use ‘foes’ but Psalm 110:1 use ‘enemies?’

A Party Invitation to Ignore

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

“And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me” (Ruth 1:20 KJV).

Discard this invitation to Naomi’s self-pity party!

The Jewess Naomi, her husband Elimelech, and their two sons Mahlon and Chilion leave Bethlehemjudah due to famine, and they travel to Moab (on the opposite [or eastern] side of the Dead Sea). There, Elimelech dies, and Mahlon and Chilion intermarry with the Moabites. About ten years later, Mahlon and Chilion pass away, leaving widowed Naomi with two daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah, also widowed.

When Naomi hears the news that God has provided food for His people in Bethlehemjudah, she decides to leave Moab and return home. Naomi instructs her two daughters-in-law to return to their (pagan) families, for she is returning to Bethlehem. However, Ruth 1:16 says, “And Ruth said, Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:”

Ruth accompanies Naomi back to Bethlehemjudah, and when the townspeople recognize Naomi, they ask in Ruth 1:19, “Is this Naomi?” Naomi replies, “Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me” (today’s Scripture). She has lost her husband and both sons, and is thus poverty-stricken, so she feels sorry for herself. Naomi (“pleasant”) prefers to be called “Mara,” Hebrew for “bitter.” Like many today, she is hurt and resentful, angry with God and blaming Him for her troubles. She cannot see with the eyes of faith—JEHOVAH has used her to rescue a former pagan (Ruth) from idolatry! God, for His own purposes, has used “poor” Naomi to reach out to lost Gentile Ruth.

Centuries after Naomi’s passing, we see her pity party was unjustified. Ruth 4:13-22 verifies Ruth became the mother of Obed, who was the father of Jesse, who was the father of King David, and King David was… the ancestor of Jesus Christ (Luke 1:32). Who is Naomi? Someone God used to establish the bloodline of Jesus Christ via Ruth!

Often-Overlooked Truth in the Book of Ruth

Friday, February 22, 2013

“And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried…” (Ruth 1:16,17a KJV).

Ruth did not know it, and (sadly) neither do many church members today, but she was actually uttering what believing Gentiles will say in Christ’s earthly kingdom!

The book of Ruth is usually known for its theme of the “kinsman-redeemer” (a wealthy next-of-kin who willingly redeems [“repurchases”] family property that was lost). It actually pictures what Jesus Christ, Israel and humanity’s “wealthy next-of-kin,” would do over 1,000 years later when He shed His perfect blood on Calvary’s cross in order to redeem them from sin’s penalty, hell. However, today’s Scripture identifies a second type (shadow/prophecy) in the book of Ruth, one often overlooked.

Ruth is a Moabitess (Gentile); her mother-in-law, Naomi, is a Jewess. Naomi, now bereaved of her husband and her two sons (one of whom was Ruth’s husband), wants to leave Moab (east of the Dead Sea) and return to Judah (the area of Jerusalem, northwest of the Dead Sea), now that Judah’s famine is over. Naomi says she will go back to Canaan and instructs Ruth to return to her (pagan) relatives in Moab. Ruth refuses: in today’s Scripture, she renounces her heathen (Gentile) religion and she wants Israel’s God to be her God! Eventually, she accompanies Naomi back to Judah.

Zechariah 8:22,23 describes believing Gentiles in the millennial reign of Christ: “Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.” Amazingly, this is basically what Ruth had said 3,000 years earlier!