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- Be reconciled with the following:

Ezek: 18:20 "The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father ...and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him."

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Born In A Manger

Posted by: Administrator on June 22, 1997 1:30:20 PM (5681 Reads)

- What significance is our Lord being born among the sheep and the cattle?

- Why did the angels give "swaddling clothe covering" as the sign to identify the Messiah?

- How did the 1st century Christians celebrate the birth of our Lord?

 

BORN IN A MANGER

 

As Christmas is approaching, people are reminded of the MANGER where our Lord Jesus Christ was born. The incident, of the Messiah being born in a manger, was the result of the rejection from the INN. Many preachings and sermons have been heard on the subject.

 

Perhaps, it is about time that distinction is made between the explanation of man of the word of God, and God’s own explanation of His words. While man sees only the story and injects some moral lessons in it, God has His way of elucidating the great spiritual message in every story contained in the Holy Bible.

 

 

Ruler of Israel

 

The birth of Jesus Christ was long prophesied by prophet Micah in:

 

Micah 5:2 "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..."

 

From the beginning, God already revealed that His words are SPIRITUAL. Who was to be born in Bethlehem is the RULER in Israel. Jesus Christ in His lifetime had never been a ruler in Israel. When the Jews, mindful of the prophecy, forced Him to be their king, He left them:

 

John 6:14 "Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world. 15 When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone."

 

God speaks in parables.

 

Ezekiel 20:49 "Then said I, Ah Lord GOD! they say of me, Doth he not speak parables?"

 

Many people think that Jesus Christ spoke in parables in order to be easily understood. On the contrary, it is just the opposite:

 

Mark 4:11 "And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: 12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them."

 

In the wisdom of God, He knows who the deserving are and those that are not. Did not our Lord say:

 

Matthew 7:6 "Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you."

 

God spoke in parables, and without His explanation, no one can understand them. Those undeserving are denied the meaning, but to the chosen everything is made clear:

 

Mark 4:34 "But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples."

 

Example: The parable of the destruction of the temple:

 

John 2:19 "Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. 20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? 21 But he spake of the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said."

 

Did the undeserving benefit from the "parable" or words of our Lord?

 

 

"No room in the INN"

 

To many people, the following is just a simple story. In truth, it is a parable!

 

Luke 2:6 "And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 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.

 

Comparing the INN to a MANGER, the inn is only for those who have the means to be there. The manger is good only for the sheep and cattle. Does not our Lord deserve to be born in an pleasant place like the inn? Why among the cows and sheep?

 

 

Born among sheep and cows

 

In the Old Testament, there is a law stating that animals that chew the cud and having split hooves are clean:

 

Leviticus 11:2 "Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, These are the beasts which ye shall...3 Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat. 4 Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof: as the camel, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you... 7 And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you."

 

For man to interpret this literally, Jesus Christ appeared to have nullified the law when He said:

 

Matthew 15:11 "Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man."

 

However our Lord said:

 

Matthew 5:17 "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil."

 

True to what our Lord said, when Peter was told to "eat the unclean food" that he saw in his vision, he refused, thinking that the law was to be literally applied.

 

Acts 10:9 "...Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: 10 And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, 11 And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: 12 Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. 13 And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. 14 But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. 15 And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. 16 This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven."

 

As stated, our Lord did not nullify the law on "clean and unclean food." From the incident, and the succeeding event, the law is expounded SPIRITUALLY.

 

Clean beasts are those that "parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat." Unclean animals are those "that chew the cud but divide not the hoof, as the camel; and the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud, he is unclean to you."

 

Peter refused to eat the "unclean food" presented to him in his vision. However, God told him to eat what he thought were unclean food. Peter would have refused to "come to the house of Cornelius," a Gentile, had he not received the revelation of the "unclean" food in his vision.

 

Acts 10:17 " Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon's house, and stood before the gate, 18 And called, and asked whether Simon, which was surnamed Peter, were lodged there. 19 While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee. 20 Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them. 21 Then Peter went down to the men which were sent unto him from Cornelius; and said, Behold, I am he whom ye seek: what is the cause wherefore ye are come? 22 And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee. 23 Then called he them in, and lodged them...24...And Cornelius waited for them, and had called together his kinsmen and near friends. 25 And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. 26 But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man. 27 And as he talked with him, he went in, and found many that were come together. 28 And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath showed me that I should not call any man common or unclean."

 

By demonstration, God explain what is "clean" and "common or unclean." Literally, clean beasts are those that "parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, and cheweth the cud."Examples: sheep and cattle. "Common or unclean" are those animals "that parteth not the hoof, and cheweth not the cud." Cornelius, a Gentile, is supposed to be "common or unclean." But God showed to Peter that Cornelius, although a gentle, was worthy of His mercy. So, Simon Peter was sent to his house to bring the good news of salvation. Cornelius, therefore, a gentile, a spiritual "unclean food" was made clean by virtue of God’s mercy. It is clear that "clean" and "unclean" animals refer to people.

 

The "clean" or "clovenfooted and cud-chewing" are the chosen people. The "unclean" are the Gentiles. Literally-physically, the chosen people are the Jews. However, again, God speaks SPIRITUAL THINGS:

 

Galatians 3:28 "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus."

 

Galatians 3:29 "And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."

 

The spiritual Jews, therefore, are the real Christians -- the "cud-chewing" people. Chewing the cud is chewing the food. The spiritual food is the word of God.

 

Jeremiah 15:16 "Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts."

 

Revelation 10:10 "And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter."

 

 

"Chewing the cud"

 

"Chewing the cud" means assimilating, digesting, and discerning the word of God. It appropriately refers to "rightly dividing the word of truth."

 

2 Timothy 2:15 "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."

 

Isaiah 28:10 "For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:"

 

The dissertation of the current topic is an example of "chewing the cud." Jesus Christ was born among the sheep and the cattle. They are "clean" because they chew the cud and are clovenfooted animals.

 

Jesus Christ is the TRUTH. The truth is born among people who "chew the spiritual cud", that is, "rightly dividing the word of truth that, as workmen, would not have to be ashamed." How many people see the great spiritual message in the word of God without "chewing the cud?" Without it, Bible incidents are simple stories and, utmost, yield moral lessons only. Moral should be distinguished from spiritual. Spiritual has deeper meaning than moral.

 

2 Corinthians 3:6 "Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life."

 

 

"Clovenfooted"

 

The "clean" animals do not only chew the cud, but clovenfooted as well. This is a SIGN:

 

Romans 2:29 "But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God."

 

Romans 4:11 "And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised...though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:"

 

Jesus Christ was born in a manger. How true is the "birth of Christ among the sheep and the cattle." How relevant is the birth of TRUTH among the people "who rightly divide the word of truth," and have the "sign of the circumcision of the heart." ONLY THE REAL CHRISTIANS HAVE THESE CHARACTERISTICS!

 

Animals like the camel that chew the cud, but not clovenfooted. They are unclean. These refer to people who appear to be knowledgeable of the word of God, that is, they have rightly divided the word of truth; but do not have the SIGN of a "circumcised heart." Other animals like the swine, clovenfooted, but do not chew the cud; they are unclean. These refer to people who appear to have the sign of a "circumcised heart," but have not "rightly divided the word of truth." They are the sincere people, but who do not have the truth:

 

Romans 10:2 "For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God."

 

Our Lord was born among the sheep and the cattle. They are "clean animals." The TRUTH is expected to be born in the the real Christians, not in the "unclean animals." The law on "clean and unclean beasts," actually a parable, truly had not be nullified by our Lord. True to what He said, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil." Matthew 5:17

 

Further boosting the truth that the Holy Bible contains the words of God, written by men, but perfectly inspired by God:

 

2 Timothy 3:16-17 "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."

 

2 Peter 1: 21 "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."

 

Since the words of God represent Him (John 1:1); who can explain it but God Himself through His words!

 

2 Peter 1:20 "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

 

Mark 4:34 "But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples."

 

 

The shepherds went to see the "babe"

 

Of all people, they were the lowly shepherds who were notified of the birth of our Lord.

 

Luke 2:8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

 

Why was the good news relayed to the lowly shepherds and not to the religious elite? In the story, these people missed the birthplace of the Messiah. Christ was indeed born in Bethlehem, but the religious people thought He was born in Galilee. They knew what was written, but they missed the message for not recognizing our Lord. Our Lord is the word of God (Revelation 19:13):

 

John 7: 41 "... shall Christ come out of Galilee? 42 Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?"

 

The religious people thought that our Lord was born in Galilee knowing that He grew in that place. That is why they could not believe that, indeed, our Lord is the Messiah. They were "rich in spirit." Only the "poor" deserve the kingdom of heaven:

 

Matthew 5:3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

 

Who are the poor in "spirit?" The "spirit"could not have referred to the Holy Spirit. Rather, it refers to the human spirit or the soul of man. The attributes of the soul are the intellect and feeling. The "poor in spirit" therefore are the people who are less philosophical as not to question the bitter truth, but to accept it as sweet as honey (Psalms 119:103). The "poor in spirit" are less emotional as not to reject the sharpness of the two-edged sword in the word of God (Hebrew 4:12). Christ put it this way:

 

Matthew 18:3 "And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven."

 

Christ’s disciples had these characteristics that they were called as such. They were the "shepherds" who heard the good news:

 

John 13:33 "Little children, yet a little while I am with you..."

 

The story of the birth of Jesus Christ in a manger matches perfectly the story of the life Jesus Christ and His disciples. This is being repeated and replayed all the time for, indeed, the word of God will never pass away.

 

Who are the spiritual sheep and cattle in our time? Who are the spiritual shepherds? Where is the spiritual manger? The real Christians have a discerning spirit.

 

 

"Wrapped in swaddling clothes"

 

The SIGN given to the shepherds is the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes.

 

Luke 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

 

This is not just a simple story. Words of God are expressed in parables. What is spiritual nakedness? What is a spiritual clothe or garment to cover spiritual nakedness? Our Lord was born naked. He had to be covered with swaddling clothe.

 

Jesus Christ is the Way (John 14:6). He had to show the example; otherwise, He is not a perfects model. As a perfect model, He showed that He needed a garment, as all people are "spiritually naked." Spiritual nakedness is expressed in the following:

 

Romans 3:10 "...there is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one."

 

Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"

 

Did not our Lord carry our sins? Therefore, although He was born spotless and sinless; like us, He had to be covered with a "garment" to show the WAY.

 

1 Cor 15:3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

 

1 Pet 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

 

The swaddling clothe is a garment that covers nakedness. The spiritual clothe is the garment of salvation:

 

Isaiah 61:10 "...my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments..."

 

That is the child born in a manger among the sheep and cattle, naked but covered with swaddling clothe. The "swaddling clothe" is the SIGN given to identify the "babe." The "swaddling clothe" is not a "tight-fitting garment" as human doctrines are for salvation. The "swaddling clothes" are the great spiritual message in the words of God that know no end.

 

The "garment of salvation" is the sign given to identify the TRUTH.

 

2 Corinthians 3:6 "Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life."

 

Let the real Christians join the heavenly hosts in rejoicing at the birth of the TRUTH in a sinner!

 

Luke 15:7 "I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance."

 

Who are the 99 just persons which need no repentance? They are the SELF-RIGHTEOUS who are ‘rich in spirit." Why? Is there any just person in the eyes of God?

 

Romans 3:10 "...There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one."

 

If the world celebrates Christmas once a year; the spiritual birth of our Lord is "celebrated" the whole year round, as the TRUTH is "born" on the chosen. They are spiritually wrapped in "swaddling clothes" of salvation as our Lord was born in a MANGER.

 

Let the real Christians join the heavenly hosts in rejoicing at the birth of the Messiah!

 

Luke 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, good will toward men. 15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. 16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger."

 

- END -