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A ‘Christmas’ Testimony

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To the Jews who had believed Him, Jesus said, “If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples.  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” [John 8.31-32]

The truth, which is the word of Jesus, is borne out over time with endurance of faith and perseverance of practice.  This is something I can testify to time and time again, so that for all who hold onto the teachings of Jesus, you will come to a place where you no longer believe that the word of Jesus is true, but you know that the word of Jesus is true.  It is at that moment of knowledge that doubt disappears, for faith has been fulfilled and knowledge has come, and with knowledge understanding, and with understanding wisdom.

The truth that you will come into as you hold onto the words of Jesus sets you free from anything and everything that may harm you.  And in this context we tend to think of sin, but it sets you free from worse than sin… it sets you free from the doubts that are perpetrated by the liar – Satan – and his lies.  It sets you free even from the lies and disinformation that have penetrated the body of Christ… lies that have blended in as traditions… traditions that go against the word of Christ.  Traditions are fine as long as they uphold the word of Christ, but traditions that detract from the word of Christ are damned by the words of Jesus Himself who said, “Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition.  You hypocrites!” [Matthew 15.6-7]

The lies and disinformation about Jesus were officially condoned by the religious from the day He was raised from the dead when the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole Him away while we were asleep.’ … And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day. [Matthew 28.12-13, 15]

As an elect of the Holy Spirit, you are trained and taught to examine all traditions against the word of Christ, so that you know which to keep and which to discard.  For example, the tradition of listening to Jesus is worthwhile, but the tradition of calling other men, “father,” is not worth keeping.  The tradition of celebrating the birth of Jesus is a very worthwhile tradition, for such a celebration reminds us of the truth that indeed Christ was born in the flesh so that we do have a Saviour and Redeemer who is fully Man, who understands us as He makes intercessions for us.

However, the traditional inaccuracy as to the time and the inaccuracies of the story of His birth that we present are not worth keeping.  And the truth of the timing and the place and the sequence of the events of His infant period come to light because we have held onto the teachings of Jesus, and as He has promised, we will know the truth and the truth will set us free.  Free from the inaccuracies and lies of the time of His birth.  It was not December 24 of the Gregorian calendar – a gentile timepiece – but rather, it happened in the season of the northern spring when there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night, [Luke 2.8] because it was the season for lambs to be born.  And the shepherds kept watch to keep the wolves at bay as the scent of blood and lambs made for an easy meal for the predators.  The truth is Jesus was born… but in the season of the northern spring on a date, which to our shame has been lost in time, unless the Holy Spirit reveals it.

And contrary to popular well wishers, the angels praising God who appeared to the shepherds did not say, “And on Earth peace to all men,” but said, “Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace to men on whom His favour rests.” [Luke 2.14] The truth is this:  The birth of Christ does not bring peace to all men on the Earth, for Christ Himself has said, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth.  I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.  For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law — a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ “ [Matthew 10.34-36]

No, elect, no, world, the birth of Christ brings peace only to those on whom God’s favour rests, like the shepherds in the field who diligently stayed up through the night to hold onto what was given them – their flocks – and who were watching, waiting for the promise of the blessing – the birth of the lambs.  Men who when told of great and wonderful news do not dismiss it, but go and confirm it, like the shepherds who said, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about,” [Luke 2.15] did.  And having seen it for themselves, were not afraid to tell others of what they had heard and seen, as it is written:  When they had seen Him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this Child… [Luke 2.17]

See that no angel appeared to the pharisees, sadducees, elders or chief priests that night, for those men had not held onto the word of the Lord they had, but had nullified much of it for the sake of their traditions.  On them the favour of the Lord did not rest, but rather, His disfavour, as it did on Esau, the man of God about whom God testified, “…Esau I have hated…” [Malachi 1.3] A man disfavoured by God because he was a man who did not value his birthright, which in the days before the Law was given was the most precious gift from God after your life.  For the birthright of the firstborn is to be the inheritor of the father’s estate, but Esau, as the account tells us, squandered his birthright for a meal.

No angel appeared to the religious who were comfortably asleep in their beds, but to shepherds who kept vigil over their flocks.  So Christ brings peace only to those who appreciate what God has given them, but to those who show no appreciation to the gift of God, He brings a sword.

So the truth is that we should not delude the world and say, “Peace to all men,” but warn them that it is peace only to those on whom God’s favour rests, that they may be convicted and perhaps repent.  Even if they do not, at least they have heard the truth.  By word and also by vision we have permitted traditions to nullify the truth so that when we present a Christmas pageant to the world, we show them the magi visiting the Baby Jesus in Bethlehem in a manger when the Scriptures clearly state that after the circumcision of Jesus on the eighth day, Joseph and Mary went to Jerusalem to dedicate the Child and offered a pair of doves as sacrifice – the sacrifice of the poor according to the Law – and then returned to Nazareth in Galilee, [Luke 2.21-39] which clearly means that the magi had not yet presented them with the gold, myrrh and incense.  So the truth is that the magi found the Child in a house that was in Nazareth and not in Bethlehem. [Matthew 2.11] Nazareth because the Lord had already said through the prophet Jeremiah that Herod would slaughter the children from Bethlehem up to Ramah in order to kill Jesus. [Matthew 2.16-18; Jeremiah 31.15]

So what is the truth?  The truth is this:  Jesus Christ was born in the season of spring on a date that we have lost and was seen by the shepherds only.  The truth is this:  Those magi from the east never visited Him on the night of December 24 but later, and not in Bethlehem but in Nazareth.

And what does knowing this truth do for you, elect?  It sets you free to commemorate the reality of His birth on any day and away from the hollow religiosity that is the tradition.  It sets you free from giving gifts to one another just on that day, but reminds you that there are gifts that money cannot buy, and these are the gifts of love, joy, peace, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, self control, truth, righteousness and praise – gifts that can be given to others on any day without the need of money, and gifts that can change a person’s life more than a discounted bottle of perfume or wine.

The real gift is the truth, and Christ came full of grace and truth.  His birth is God’s grace to men, but the truth is that men do not appreciate it because of its simplicity, and so we have dressed and fancied it up with traditions to add to it some glamour as it were and ruined the power of the story – its truth.

It is in the holding onto the teachings of Jesus that I have come to know these truths, and it has set me free.  Free from the religious hypocrisy that is pagan practice, and free to celebrate the birth of Christ and His life and death.  And there is no better way to celebrate and honour the truth of Christ’s life than to take Him at His words by preparing for that greatest of all festive days yet known to men – the day of His arrival on clouds of glory and power with all the angels and His elect.

Yes, it is true, Christ was born in the flesh in a manger and lived amongst us, died on a roman cross and was raised on the third day by the power of the Holy Spirit who declared Him Son of God.  And this is also true:  Christ is coming back.

Now even as the angels have declared, “Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace to men on whom His favour rests,” so we wish one and all, “May His favour rest on you to keep you alive until He arrives.”  Glory to God!  Amen.

May this 2011 year of the time of the gentiles be a year of the Lord’s favour to all who love the truth.

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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®,
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