Sunday, December 20, 2009

CHRISTMAS WRAPPING

The conception and birth of Jesus is a miraculous matter! His conception and birth was forecast by God through Isaiah some seven hundred years before the actual event: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” Isaiah 7:14. Seven hundred years later when the angel told Mary that she was the virgin spoken of by Isaiah she said to the angel, “‘How can this be, since I don’t know a man?’ And the angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God’” Luke 1:34&35.

Who is this Man whom all the angels of God worship? (Heb. 1:6). He is God the Son, the Word become flesh. (John 1:14). He is the Seed of the Woman, the virgin. (Gen. 3:15; Matt. 1:23, Gal. 3:16). He is the One who holds all creation together. (Col. 1:17). He is God’s gift to the world. (John 3:16; Rom. 6:23). And He is the One who will in the process of time present the saved world as a gift to God the Father. (1 Cor. 15:24).

Jesus’ conception and birth was God the Son wrapping Himself in the dust of this earth. (Heb. 2:14). And the Day of Pentecost was when God began wrapping His creation in His Holy Spirit. (Psalm 139:7-10; Acts 1:8; 2:1f.) However, this is not to suggest the Creator/creature distinction is being removed. But it does mean that God’s creation has been saved and will therefore continue to be held together by Jesus Christ forever. To be sure, creation will be renewed. But just as Jesus after His crucifixion burst forth from the tomb with the same body He had before His death, so will this same creation be resurrected on the Last Day. (Psalm 102:25&26; Luke 24:39-43; Rev. 21:1f.).

The birth of Christ is testimony that God’s creation will not be annihilated (Gen. 8:21; John 3:17). This promise was ratified by His death and resurrection, and, is presently being consummated by the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ is God and Man in one divine Person forever. His divinity will never absorb His humanity, nor will His humanity take on attributes of divinity. His two natures will remain distinct for evermore. The mixing of these distinctions results in their mutual annihilation. For it would mean that God would become the creation and the creation would become God. But God says in the 1st Commandment: “You shall have no other gods before Me” Exodus 20:3. Thus God must forever remain distinct from His creation.

Theologians speak of the ‘pre-incarnate Christ’, i.e., temporary appearances of Christ before His permanent incarnation. Indeed Christ is the Older Testament’s ‘Angel of the LORD’. We believe it was He who walked in the Garden with Adam. He was the Angel in the burning bush who spoke to Moses. He was the Angel who spoke to Abraham. He was the Man Jacob wrestled with. He was the Angel who spoke to Manoah, Samson’s father. He was the Angel in the furnace with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. The LORD through His prophet Malachi some four hundred years before the event promised: “‘And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight. Behold, He is coming,’ says the LORD of hosts” Malachi 3:1.

All creation ought to thank God for sending the gift of His Son the Lord Jesus Christ. For, He has redeemed the dust of creation.

2 comments:

  1. Hello!
    You quoted John 3:16 and Romans 6:23.

    (le-havdil) I want to comment about foregivness by writing about what is written in Tan’’kh.

    How to live in order to enable the Creator in His loving kindness to provide His foregivness is outlined in Tan’’kh ( the Jewish Bible) ; and was also taught by the first century Ribi Yehoshua from Nazareth (the Mashiakh; the Messiah) (You will find Ribi Yehoshuas teachings here: Netzarim)

    Tan’’kh – for example Yekhëzqeil (Hezekiel) 18 – promises foregivness in His khein (loving kindness) to those and only those who do their sincerest to keep Torah. The Creator cannot lie and He does not change (Malakhi 3:6)! According to Tehilim (“Psalms”) 103 the Creator gives His foregivness to those who do their sincerest to keep His berit (“covenant”; the pre-conditions to be included in the berit is according to the Jewish Bible to do ones sincerest to keep Torah). The foregivness of the Creator is much needed because no human can keep Torah (the instruction manual of the Creator) perfectly. The conclusions of this two paragraphs is that the NT-view of foregiveness contradicts the Torah-view of foregiveness.

    All the best, Anders Branderud


    (le-havdil) I want to comment about foregivness by writing about what is written in Tan’’kh.

    How to live in order to enable the Creator in His loving kindness to provide His foregivness is outlined in Tan’’kh ( the Jewish Bible) ; and was also taught by the first century Ribi Yehoshua from Nazareth (the Mashiakh; the Messiah) (You will find Ribi Yehoshuas teachings here: Netzarim)

    Tan’’kh – for example Yekhëzqeil (Hezekiel) 18 – promises foregivness in His khein (loving kindness) to those and only those who do their sincerest to keep Torah. The Creator cannot lie and He does not change (Malakhi 3:6)! According to Tehilim (“Psalms”) 103 the Creator gives His foregivness to those who do their sincerest to keep His berit (“covenant”; the pre-conditions to be included in the berit is according to the Jewish Bible to do ones sincerest to keep Torah). The foregivness of the Creator is much needed because no human can keep Torah (the instruction manual of the Creator) perfectly. The conclusions of this two paragraphs is that the NT-view of foregiveness contradicts the Torah-view of foregiveness.

    All the best, Anders Branderud

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dear Anders, thank you. My comments will need to be brief.

    May I comment on three things you wrote?:

    1. Where does it say in the Hebrew Scriptures, as you stated, that "the Creator gives His foregivness to those who do their sincerest to keep His berit (“covenant”)?
    2. I agree whole-heartedly with your statement: "The foregivness of the Creator is much needed because no human can keep Torah (the instruction manual of the Creator) perfectly."
    3. I strongly disagree with your statement: "that the NT-view of foregiveness contradicts the Torah-view of foregiveness."

    Regarding point 1 above, it's the word "sincerest" that I take issue with. Psalms 14 & 53 teach us that no one is truly sincere. In other words, as Jeremiah says, "The heart is deceiful above all things, and desperately wicked" Jer. 17:9. Mankind has had a heart-problem since Adam broke the pre-Fall (berit) covenant in the Garden. (Hos. 6:7 margin)

    Regarding point 2, yes, no one can keep the covenant "perfectly." This is because of our sinful disposition (as indicated by our deceitful heart-problem etc.) - which we all acquired when Adam fell. This is on account of both our covenant and natural relationship with him, Eg, Psalm 51:5; Isaiah 24:4-6; Hosea 6:7 margin etc.

    Regarding point 3, contra your statement above, the NT view of forgiveness is exactly the same of Hebrew Scriptures' view of forgiveness. Eg, Psalm 32, "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit." - 2 Corinthians 5:19, "God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them..."

    Christians, such as myself, believe the whole Bible teaches that Adam was threatened with death upon breaking (berit) covenant with God. Conversely, life was promised for the keeping of it, Gen. 2:16-17; 3:17f. etc. That way of (everlasting) life remains open, but not to you and me! The problem is that it is open only to those (ie, Him) who are completely without sin - sincerity is not enough tp save us! Lev. 18:5; Ezek. 20:11,13,20; Luke 10:28; Rom. 10:5; Gal. 3:12.

    Christians believe that Jesus fits all the Hebrew Scriptures' criteria for the promised Messiah. Conceived and born without sin, Luke 1:35 etc., He did not come to destroy the Law or the Prophets, but to fulfill, (Matt. 5:17).

    By fulfilling every jot and tittle of the Law and the Prophets Jesus was keeping (berit) on behalf of all whose trust is in Him as their covenant representative, instead of trusting in their own "sincerity" at doing the good works of (Torah) God's Law or Ten Commandments. The Decalogue condemns us, but Jesus' righteousness, imputed to us, saves us! His death on the cross was to pay the debt of death we owe to God for breaking the (berit) in Adam and to pay for our own sins.

    Pre-New Testament Hebrews trusted in the Promised Messiah to save them (ie, for everlating life), and NT believers trust in the Messiah who has come - for the same forgiveness and salvation.

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