|Luke 2 |
1 And it came to pass in those days, that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
2 (This taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3 So all went to be taxed, everyone into his own city.
4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; because Joseph was of the house and lineage of David,
5 To be taxed with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was great with child.
6 So it was, that while they were there, the days arrived for her to give birth to her child.
7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 Now in the same country there were shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.1 [From the Word of the Lord within: "My birthday is September 17." See Footnote 1 for more.]
9 And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were greatly afraid.
10 Then the angel said to them, "Fear not. For behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign to you. You shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger."
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased, men who are of goodwill."2
15 And it came to pass, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go now to Bethlehem, and see this thing which has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us."
16 And they went with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17 Now when they had seen it, they spread the word that was told them concerning this child.
18 And all those who heard it wondered at those things that were told them by the shepherds.
19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.
20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told to them.
21 Now at the end of eight days, when it was time for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
22 And when the days of her purification had been completed, according to the law of Moses, they brought him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord;
23 (As it is written in the law of the LORD: Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;)
24 And to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord: A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.
25 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and this same man was righteous and devout, and was waiting for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
26 And it was revealed to him by the Holy Spirit, that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Christ.
27 So prompted by the Spirit, he came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary according to the law,
28 He took him up in his arms, and blessed God and said,
29 "Lord, you are now letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word;
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31 Which you have prepared in the presence of all people;
32 A light for revelation to the Gentiles,3 and the glory of your people Israel."
33 And Joseph and his mother marveled at those things that were spoken of him.
34 And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a standard that will be spoken against;
35 (Yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." [The sword is the words from the Spirit of Christ that He speaks to a man, which words reveal that man's evil ways and thoughts. From the Word of the Lord within: "The Lord is gentle and kind to those whom He corrects, and even more than usual to those in suffering circumstances."]
36 Also there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser. She was very old, and had lived with a husband seven years after her marriage;
37 And had been a widow for about eighty four years, who did not leave the temple, but served God with fasting and prayers night and day.
38 Coming in that moment, she also gave thanks to the Lord and spoke of him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
39 So when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth.
40 And the child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon him.
41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover.
42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom.
43 When they had finished the days, as they returned, the child Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem; but Joseph and his mother did not know of it,
44 But supposing him to have been among their company, they went a day's journey; and then they sought him among their relatives and acquaintances.
45 And when they did not find him, they returned again to Jerusalem, seeking him.
46 After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the middle of the teachers, both hearing them and asking them questions.
47 And all who heard him were astonished at his understanding and his answers.
48 And when they saw him, they were amazed; and his mother said to him, "Son, why have you done this to us? Look, your father and I have sought you anxiously."
49 And he said to them, "Why did you seek me? Didn't you know that I must be about my Father's business?"
50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them.
51 And he went down with them to Nazareth and was obedient to them; and his mother treasured all these things in her heart.
52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.
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1 Now in the same country there were shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. Christ is generally acknowledged to have been born in April or September, the time when shepherds kept watch over their flock at night to protect the new born lambs. From the Word of the Lord within: "My birthday is September 17."
Roman Emperor Constantine, (who had his son poisoned to death and his wife boiled to death), the effective head of Christianity in 336, declared Christ's birth to be celebrated in concert with the celebration of the birthday of the UnConquered Sun God of Rome, the winter Solstice. The exchange of gifts took place the week prior (December 17-25) in celebration of the dedication of the temple to Saturn, another Roman God. So the Roman sect called the same day Christmas instead, celebrating in much the same way — thus the pagans and Christians conformed to the same celebration and festivities, which conformity created the Emperor's desire of peace between the two groups. The exchange of gifts is nowhere suggested in all of scriptures; we in no way imitate the wise men's honoring of the new King of the Jews with gifts, (a tradition of gifts to kings); instead we give to each other usually without any real need of the receiver and expecting a gift in return. In this Roman pagan imitation we encourage covetousness, materialism, wasteful use of the creation, and pride. The only real beneficiaries of this heathenish tradition are the merchants who promote Christmas to increase their profits and sales. Feasting, revelry, and partying was not a practice of the early Church. Christmas trees, boughs, wreathes, candles, decorations, etc., was not a practice of the early Church; and if you do a little research you will see they are all pagan traditions adopted by so-called Christians.
The birth day referenced above is for when Jesus was born as a man, but before he came to earth in the flesh, Christ created the universe, in his heavenly, glorious form: For by him [Jesus] all things were created; things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together — so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself (God the Father) all things, whether things on earth or in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Col.1:16-20
2 Did God send Jesus to give peace to all men on the earth? We all grew up listening to the Christmas Story, hearing the words: "and on earth peace, good will toward men," from the King James Bible. We all assumed this spoke about all men, naturally us included; but look at what the other Bibles translate the original text to:
Amplified Bible — and on earth peace among men with whom He is well pleased.
New International — and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.
New American Standard - and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.
I submit that Jesus did not come to bring peace to all men. He came to give peace only to those men with whom God becomes pleased and upon whom he grants his favor; which favor is the anointing of the Holy Spirit, whose fruit is: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness [or meekness], and self-control. The Holy Spirit is only given to those who are obedient; therefore peace is only given to those who are obedient, and then the peace of God rules your heart. Col 3:15. Peace is given to those who are obedient to what?—obedient to the law that is on everyone's heart and then obedient to the spoken words that you hear from Him by sitting in humble silence to wait on the Lord, watching and listening for the Lord to speak to you — when you hear, you must obey.
Further Jesus said: Do you think that I have come to bring peace on the earth? I tell you, No; but rather division. For from this time forward there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. Luke 12:51-53. The Lord must destroy the peace a man has in this world before he can impart the peace of God to him.
3A light for revelation to the Gentiles. Jesus came in the flesh to the Jews, but he is the Light to be revealed to the Gentiles: A light for revelation to the Gentiles. Jesus is known by revelation, as Jesus was revealed to Peter in Mat 16:16-17, Peter said, ‘you are the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus answered and said unto him, blessed are you Simon the son of Jona, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.’ Note! revealed, (by revelation), that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, by the Father, who is in heaven. A light that was revealed to Paul in Gal 1:15-16, where he said, ‘it pleased God to separate him from his mother's womb, and call him by his grace, to reveal his Son in him, that he might preach him;' who first appeared to Paul as the Light on the road to Damascus. The Father and the Son are only known through revelation, by the son revealing him. Because what may be known of God is revealed in them; for God has shown it to them, Rom 1:19; not reading about God, not hearing someone talk about God, for God is known by revelation in your heart, where you hear him and see him teach you by revelation about sin, righteousness, and himself.
Jesus said, ‘I am the light of the world, he who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.' John 8:12. Mark! The promise for following Jesus is to come out of darkness, to walk in the light, to have the light of life; this is to be restored to the life of God, exactly the life that Adam and Eve lost in the garden; as God had told them they would surely die, and die they did to the life of God, since they then lived in the life of Satan. But here is the glorious promise fulfilled, that God would restore man again to the life of God — and here is our opportunity, by belief in the Light, which enlightens all men, by obedience to that light, we can become children of the Light, restored to the light of life, the life of God, restored to the spiritual image of God.
Fallen man is in spiritual darkness. He cannot see through the eyes of God, which is to see by the light of God. In darkness, we stumble, we grope, we guess what is good and what is bad. The best we can do is choose the least evil alternative, and each of us sees and chooses differently, based on our conditioned experiences. When we are restored to the light of life by Jesus, we see by His light, we walk by His spirit, we are prompted by His thoughts, His words, His deeds. In all situations, we see perfectly, the exact virtuous deed to be done, we hear the perfect virtuous word to be said — we are united with God's spirit, and He supplies the direction and energy to do His will. The kingdom of God within us is entered in our consciousness; we are in his presence continually, beholding his glory in the face of Jesus Christ. His promptings are received with obedient joy; His will is done, on earth as it is in heaven. We walk in glorious service to God enjoying holiness, while on earth. Jesus Christ is our true Lord, whom we continuously serve, whom we continuously obey, whom we continuously praise, whom we continuously worship; this is to have the light of life. Jesus described this obedient life:
Regarding Christ, the light of all men, God said: I will hold your hand, I will keep you and give you for a covenant to the people, and a light to the Gentiles, to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and those who sit in darkness out of the prison-house. Isaiah 42:6-7. And thus says the Lord, "In an acceptable time have I heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you; and I will preserve you and give you for a covenant to the people, to restore the earth, Isaiah 49:8. And the Lord said: It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel. I will also give you for a light to the Gentiles, that you may be my salvation to the ends of the earth. Isaiah 49:6. And the Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Isaiah 60:3.
Now concerning the inward Christ: In him was life; and the life was the light of men... which was the true Light that enlightens every man that comes into the world. John 1:4,9. So the Light of Christ is in every man and of the true measure of the gift of God, given to every one to profit withal. 1 Corinthians 12:7. And Christ said: believe in the light, that you may become children of the light (John 12:36), so believing in the light, you become a child of the light. As Jesus said: I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in me, shall not abide in darkness, John 12:46. However, it is not believing that there is a light, or believing that Jesus is the light, but it is believing what the light shows and tells you — and then acting on it.
Peter said: And we have the prophetic word [what you hear within when listening] firmer still. You will do well to pay close attention to it, as to a lamp shining in a dismal (squalid and dark) place, until the day breaks through and the Morning Star rises (comes into being) in your hearts. 2 Peter 1:19. Paul said: God has commanded light to shine out of darkness, and has shined in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. And John said: But the anointing that you have received of him abides in you, and you do not need any man to teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you all things, and is truth, and is no lie; and even as it has taught you, abide in him. 1 John 2:27. The glory of the mystery; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Col 1:27.
The Old Covenant focused on outward observation of rules, laws, ordinances, and rituals; hearing the Law read from the lips of the priests. In the Old Covenant, to access his changing power of God, one had to very closely follow the entire Mosaic Law. The New Covenant of Light allows all to approach God and access his changing power by grace. Whatever our past burden of sins, we can approach God to receive his cleansing, purifying grace. The Old Covenant was able to free few, and even those freed from sin were subject to falling back into sin, like David. But the New Covenant has released thousands of men and women from sin, a forever cleansing and perfection that protects them from evil, and allows their entry into God's glorious kingdom, even while on earth and then forever.
The New Covenant of Christ the Light, is inward, focusing on the circumcision of the heart, the cleansing of the heart, the purifying of the heart, the purifying of the soul — so that the cleansed, purified believer can be united in a spiritual marriage with Christ's spirit; to form an entirely new creature, with a new heart and spirit, and renewed mind united with Christ and God in union, living in His light, walking by His promptings and energizing, no longer living by their own wills, but to the will of God.
The true hope that Christ offers to all is to be released from the slavery to sin, to come out of darkness to light, for the new cleansed nature to join in union with God, and to then live in the Kingdom of Heaven forever as a king and priest to God.
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