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THE KING’SBUSINESS Magazine isa Publication of Biola Schools &Colleges, Inc. Louis T. Talbot, Chancellor, S. H. Sutherland, Pres., Ray A. Myers, Board Chmn. DECEMBER/VOLUME 58/NUMBER 12/ESTABLISHED 1910 CONTENTS ARTICLES The Christian and Science— LEWIS C. HOHENSTEIN
.......................... ..................... - ---------------------
10 14 1®
Christmas is God’s Wonderful Work— GORDON CHILVERS
Out to Crown a King— VANCE HAVNER The Feast of Weeks— LEHMAN STRAUSS
Names of Our Lord— LOUIS T. TALBOT-------------------------------------------- 23 Christmas Meditation— HELEN KOOIMAN —
Innovation in Learning— NORMAN WRIGHT
The Devil's Despot— JOY GAGE ----------------------------------------------------- 34 Noah’s Liberty Ship— ARCHITECT MEIR BEN URI
39 40 42
Building A Church— HERBERT RICHARDSON
Prophecy and our Lawless Generation— EDGAR C. JAMES
FEATURES Message from the Editor— SAMUEL H. SUTHERLAND .........................
New Adult Sunday School
People in the News ........____________________
Cults Critique— BETTY BRUECHERT
Dr. Talbot’s Question Box— LOUIS T. TALBOT------------------------------
Excitingly different kind of Bible study manual that replaces the old “ quar terly” . . . another “ first” from the publishers of Youth Illustrated High School Magazine. Living Today is ALL new . . . dramatic in color, design, and content. Features special articles that speak out on cur rent personal and social problems. Real-life situations are viewed under the searchlight of God’s Word—and adults are drawn into in-depth Bible studies as they discover how to cope with today’s problems. Exalts the Lord Jesus Christ as the Answer to the needs of adults—LIVING TODAY. See it! Get your free preview sample packet. M A IL C O U P O N T O D A Y . . . or see your Christian Bookstore I--------------------------------------- ~ ~ ~1 I S C R I P T U R E P R E S S ® ! I SCRIPTURE PRESS PUBLICATIONS, INC. I Dept.KBA-128» Wheaton, Illinois 6 0 1 8 7 ® "" I Without cost or obligation, send FREE preview | packet of Living Today — the all-new Adult | Sunday School lesson material. ■ Address__________________ ________________________ I City--------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ! State___________________________ Zip-------------------- | Church_______________ ______ __________________ I Name _______________________________________
Over a Cup of Coffee— JOYCE LANDORF Talking it Over— CLYDE M. NARRAMORE
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"a m essage from the ed ito r * The World Council of Churches
J u l y 4 t o 20, 1968 the World Council o f Churches met in what was termed the Fourth Assembly in Uppsala, Sweden. The significance o f the meeting is due in large part to the fact that the National Council o f Churches o f America is a very vital segment o f the World Council o f Churches. The claim is that there is no organic relationship between the two; however, the fact is that they are working together in complete harmony to advance the ideals, aspirations, and goals that were expressed in the recent World Council conclave. From reports both in the secular press and religious press, there was evidently practically no reference whatever to any spiritual problems that exist in the world today. Only casual mention was made o f the Bible, and there was no indication whatever that it was to be considered as an authority on any subject with which it deals. Individuals who professed to be Christians and individuals who claimed not to be Christian in any sense o f the word shared the podium in the days o f the plenary sessions. The colored American novelist, James Baldwin, gave a "fervent and eloquent speech which was filled with the bitterness o f the colored man toward the white race.” His audience, which incidentally was made up in large measure o f representatives from countries from around the world other than the United States, was "extremely enthusiastic; it rose and applauded him for a long time.” Lord Caradon, another o f the main speakers, admitted that "he had no Christian qualification to speak in a church assembly.” He, too, spoke on racism, con demning in a wholesale manner the United States and indeed all the Caucasion countries for their attitude toward the colored man. One o f the main themes running throughout the whole assembly seemed to be to blame the rich nations for being rich and for allowing the poor nations to be poor. According to re ports, it appeared that the proper thing to do was to condemn the United States for the war in Viet Nam, the race problems here in our homeland, and almost anything else that the speakers could conjure up to find fault with our country. One o f the most blatant decisions o f the Council was the avowed principle o f selective conscientious objection to war. In solemn session the delegates condemned the principle o f the draft as it has been carried on in the United States for almost its entire history and praised to the skies the treasonous individuals who have burned their draft cards and publicly stated that they are to be the sole judges o f what wars in which they will engage. In other words, the World Council o f Churches went to great lengths to encourage the defiance o f the laws o f the United States on the
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4. Further shows its hand
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Uj part o f him who for any fancy whatever decides that he will not fight in defense o f his Country or defend the very freedom which has been bought by the blood o f those countless others who fought and died for these liberties which we enjoy. Indeed, the very attitude on the part o f the World Council o f Churches had been expressed previously by a number o f clergymen in the National Council o f Churches. One o f the more articulate advo- cates o f this ideology is Dr. William Sloan Coffin, Chaplain at Yale University. He and others like him have encouraged young men to burn their draft cards and in other ways defy the constituted authority o f the United States. These men are assuming authority to determine what laws they will obey or disobey. They claim that their decisions are to be placed above the law o f the land. This is nothing in the world but open and blatant anarchy. The tragic part o f it is that these men have been encouraged in this rebellious attitude by recent interpretations o f the law on the part o f the United States Supreme Court. The National Council o f Churches this past June endorsed the recommendations o f the President’s Commission on Civil Disorders. In their pronounce ment they described civil disobedience as "a valid instrument for those seeking justice, consonant with both Christian tradition and America’s political and legal heritage.” Denominations that belong to the National Council o f Churches are tacitly endors- ing this attitude. Individual churches which belong to such de nominations are at least allowing their names to be identified with such attitudes. People who belong to such individual churches cannot possibly escape blame for allowing this condition to exist. It is an extremely dangerous condition in which we find our- , selves. One does not need to be an extremist at all to become greatly alarmed at the direction which the National Council o f Churches would have the United States take in the years immedi- *> ately ahead. Not only is the World Council and its counterpart, the Na tional Council o f Churches, advocating defiance o f the law in regard to active participation in our military services, but also these Councils are advocating co-operation with Communists. In an editorial appearing in March, 1968 the Chicago Tribune termed Eugene Carson Blake, the Executive Secretary o f the World Council o f Churches and former stated clerk o f the United Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., "a preposterous apologist for Com munism.” Whether Dr. Blake would admit this or not, his actions both as stated clerk o f the great Presbyterian church and now Cont. on Page 46 4 to A 1 < i * ► U
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MR. PAUL MICKELSON, president of Supreme Records in Glendale, California has announced the appointment of the REV. DAVE PETERS to the position of ad ministrative assistant to the president. Rev. Mr. Peters has been associated with Youth for Christ and served various c h u r c h e s throughout the West. For three years, he was president of Radiant Song Records in Santa Cruz, California. Radio Station HCJB in Quito, Ecuador is now broadcasting to Brazil, according to MR. THOMAS ED STEELE. The radio station also has programs in German and Greek. Broadcasting into Europe is planned for later this year. Programs are also in preparation for Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific. HCJB is scheduling short-term radio schools to be conducted during 1970. Instruc tion will be geared to preparing Spanish speaking broadcasters for radio service in Latin America. The Leighton Ford Greater Edmonton Crusade drew capacity crowds in the Edmonton Gardens with more than 300 people turned away on the opening Sun day. A member of the Billy Graham As sociation, the evangelist drew 3500 young people on the first youth night of the crusade conducted in September. Dallas Theological Seminary has an enrollment this semester of 428 men. One hundred fourteen of these are first- year students. The Seminary is in its 45th year. The new students represent homes in 34 states, Canada, France, Guatemala, Hong Kong and Korea. Un dergraduate study at almost 200 colleges and universities is represented in the student body as well as study at more than a dozen other theological semi naries. Evangelist JOHN EDMUND HAGGAI of Atlanta, Georgia was awarded an hon orary Doctor of Literature Degree by John Brown University at the organization's 50th anniversary. The degree was award ed “in appreciation and recognition of outstanding service to God and our com mon humanity.” Dr. Haggai is the author of the best seller, “How to Win Over Worry.” DR. WALTER L WILSON was honored in Kansas City, Missouri, in October with the dedication of a memorial room at Calvary Bible College. The room contains collections of his books and messages, Mr. Peters
BIBLE FESTIVALS AND HOLY by Barbara Bates Illustrated by Don Fields
In story form, this book describes the holy days mentioned in the Bible and explains the modern-day Jewish celebrations of them. Endorsed by three Jewish rabbis, it includes: Yom Kippur, Sukkoth, Purim, Rosh Hashanah, Hanukkah, and others. A Pronouncing Index, Selected Bibliography, authentic illustra tions, and Hebrew Calendar of Bible Festivals are included as reference guides. Ages 10-up $3.25 THE BIBLE STORY BOOK by Bethann Van Ness Hlustrated by Harold Minton This living narrative of the entire Bible is a must for every child’s library. Each of the 298 stories includes the scripture references. Ages 8 and above can read it for themselves. Special features are the beautiful pictures—85 in full color, and 130 in all, and a special 70-page supplement explaining life in Bible times. Completely indexed; 672 pages $4.95 A BIBLE DICTIONARY FOR YOUNG READERS Simply and clearly, this dictionary defines almost 2,000 words found in the Bible or associated with Bible study. This resource book gives many extra facts that widen the reader’s knowledge of the Bible. Enhanced by 85 interest ing illustrations. Ages 9-up $2.95 HOW THE BIBLE CAME TO US by Robbie Trent Illustrated by Don Fields This history of the coming-about of the Bible lets the Bible, as BROADMAN far as possible, tell_ its own thrilling story. As exciting as an adventure story, this book begins with the earliest record of God’s command to write and traces the history of the Bible up to the present time. Has authentic line drawings. Ages 9-14 $2.95 Give lasting gifts this Christmas . . . Books from BROADMAN PRESS 127 Ninth Avenue, North Nashville, Tennessee Available at your favorite book store by William N. McElrath Illustrated by Don Fields
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pictures, scrapbooks and other memen toes of his life of service to God and man. Dr. Wilson has been a medical doctor, preacher, church organizer, radio broad caster, author, editor, naturalist, and tent manufacturer. He also was one of the founders of Kansas City Bible College, which merged with Midwest Bible Col lege of St. Louis in 1961, to form Cal vary Bible College. He is a president emeritus of Calvary Bible College. C. PETER WAGNER has been named as the first Associate General Director of the Andes Evangelical Mission. Mr. Wag ner moves into the newly-created post after serving as Assistant Director for four years. The Andes Evangelical Mis sion, formerly the Bolivian Indian Mis sion, is the largest evangelical group working in Bolivia. Its affiliated national church, Union Cristlana Evangelica, counts nearly 10,000 members. Their 88 field missionaries come from Great Brit ain, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Germany and Bolivia as well as from the U.S.A. Christian Nationals’ Evangelism Com mission, Inc. included in its 25th Anni versary celebration the dedication of the campus of the Hong Kong Bible College in the Kowloon District of Hong Kong. Present for the unveiling of the main building was MRS. MARGARET JEPSON, the widow of the founder of CNEC, the late DR. N. A. JEPSON of Seattle. The building was named Jepson Hall. CNEC also operates seven Christian Day schools in Hong Kong with a total en rollment of over 5,000, plus a Laymen's Institute and various other projects in Literature and evangelism. DR. THEODORE H.
Little Rosma knows
that Jesus loves her, but she longs for the love that you can give also . . . the tender love of a sponsoring “parent.” Y ou r love can b rin g
And what a blessing! You'll know blessing and reward beyond compare when you choose your own little boy or girl in Korea, Indonesia, India or Haiti. Letters and small gifts are exchanged. Your child knows you by name. Prayers span the miles. Your life is enriched through sharing your love. Follow your heart! Know the joy of sponsoring a love-starved child today. YES! I want to sponsor a lonely child today. I understand I may dis- , continue at any time. m m m K128 'Rev. Henry Harvey, President My choice is _________________ _ If this child has been chosen, please select similar child. I prefer a □ boy or □ girl, approximately________years old, from the land o f ___________________ Please rush FULL particulars. Enclosed is □ $12 for first month □ $144 for first year. □ Select a child for me from the most needy country. □ I am unable to sponsor, but wish to contrib ute $____________for general child care. □ Please rush further information today. 7774 Irving Park Road Chicago, Illinois 60634 (Canadian residents write Box 880, Blenheim, Ontario)
a sm ile to h e r fa c e and d riv e f e a r from h e r eyes . Little Rosma is only eight, but she's known more suffering and heartache than most people experience in a lifetime. Oh yes,she's heard about the Lord Jesus, and she truly trusts Him. But, deep in her heart she longs for a human care and love that she has never known . . . a love that perhaps only you can give her. And, Rosma is but one of more than 22,000 children in COMPASSION Homes—children yearning for human expressions of Christian love. Their plight is heartbreaking. These needy children have suffered the terrors of war, poverty, famine and disease. They pray for the love of an American "mommy or daddy" or "big brother or sister." They need food, clothing, medical care and a Christian Home. And, this is what you offer when you sponsor one of these lovely boys or girls for only $12 a month (just pennies a day). THESE NEED HELP RIGHT NOW.
EPP was principal speaker at the 75th Anniversary of the General Conference Mennonite Mission to the Hopi Indians in Oraibi, Arizona where Mr. Epp himself was born. H is parents, the REV. and MRS.
J. B. EPP, were among the earliest mis sionaries to the Hopi Indians. In 1903, his father was co-founder of the South west Missionary and Bible Conference in Flagstaff. Mount Hermon Christian Conference Center, near Santa Cruz, Calif., will con duct its Second Annual West Coast Pas tors’ Conference, January 20-24, 1969. Several hundred ministers from churches throughout the western United States will gather for the four-day, interdenomi national conference. Special emphasis will center on "how to communicate Biblical truth to a world so indifferent to God." The conference will be limited to full-time vocationally involved minis ters at the local church level.
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Also, concerning “ baptism for the dead” without which their complex multi-million-dollar genealogical pro gram and at least two-thirds of their temple activity would be meaning less, they state: “ The glories to be revealed in the last days, and in an especial manner this most glorious of all subjects belonging to the everlast ing gospel, namely, the baptism for the dead . . .” Notwithstanding the importance of this Mormon doctrine, no mention of it is made in the Book o f Mormon, the Book which is sup posed to contain the “ fulness” of the everlasting gospel. Practically all of the “ gospel” of Mormonism was in troduced several years after the Book of Mormon was printed. Although we have mentioned spe cifically these two “ Mormon gospel” teachings, the following list reveals that many others vital to Mormon ism are found wanting in the Book o f Mormon: The Mormon church organization upon which they place so much em phasis, cannot be found in the Book of Mormon. The Mormon so-called “Melchize- dek priesthood order” cannot be found in the Book o f Mormon. The Mormon so-called “ Aaronic priesthood order” cannot be found in the Book o f Mormon. The Mormon doctrine of the plu rality o f gods cannot be found in the Book o f Mormon. The Mormon doctrine that God is an exalted man cannot be found in the Book of Mormon. The Mormon doctrine that men may become gods cannot be found in the Book o f Mormon. The Mormon doctrine o f the “ three degrees of glory” cannot be found in the Book o f Mormon. The Mormon doctrine o f the plu rality o f wives cannot be found in the Book o f Mormon. The Mormon doctrine of “ the Word o f Wisdom” cannot be found in the Book of Mormon. The Mormon doctrine o f “ Pre-ex istence” cannot be found in the Book o f Mormon. The Mormon doctrine of “ Eternal Progression” cannot be found in the Book o f Mormon. The Mormon doctrine of “ a heav enly mother” cannot be found in the Book of Mormon. In short, if all the above named doctrines were removed from the “ Mormon gospel,” the M o rm on church would cease to exist, yet not one of these basic and important doc trines is found in the so-called “ ever lasting gospel in its fulness” — the Book of Mormon 1 be
REMEMBER NOW THY CREATOR IN THE DAYS OF
b y B e t t y B r u e c h e r t
“ FULNESS” or Foolishness?
THY YOUTH —Ecclesiastes 12.1
The following article appeared in the May-June, 1968 issue of the pub lication o f the Utah Christian Tract Society, of La Mesa, Calif., of which Mr. Arthur Budvarson, convert from Mormonism, is President. It is used with permission. I N A RECENT ADDRESS at the Salt Lake City Mormon Conference, a high official o f the Mormon church stated that the Book o f Mormon was a true account of God’s dealings with the ancient inhabitants o f the Ameri can continent and that it contained “ the fulness of the everlasting gos pel . . He also said, “ Joseph Smith, the founder o f Mormonism, declared that the Book o f Mormon was ‘the keystone o f our religion’ meaning that the whole structure o f restored truth stands or falls depending on its truth or falsity.” Three o f Joseph Smith’s so-called “ revelations,” all dated in the year of 1830, declared that the Book of Mor mon contains the “ everlasting gospel in its fulness.” I f the Book of Mormon really con tains the “ everlasting gospel in its fulness” then it is clearly apparent that nothing else pertaining to the gospel is necessary. The Mormon church would have no need for the Bible, the Doctrine and Covenants, The Pearl of Great Price, or so-called “ modern-day revelation.” It is sim ply impossible to add to fulness. In the light o f the above state ments, it is astonishing to discover that only an infinitesimal quantity of the “ Mormon gospel” can be traced in the Book of Mormon. For example, regarding the M o rm o n church’s teaching o f “ celestial mar riage” we read, “ The crowning gos pel ordinance requisite for Godhood is celestial marriage . . . thus we see that celestial marriage is the crown ing gospel ordinance.” Although this is one of the major doctrines o f the Mormon gospel and is basic to their “ exaltation,” it cannot be found in the Book o f Mormon.
There is no book of guidance, no textbook for the young, that can equal the Great Textbook of the Ages — the Book that gives us rules for living that will never be superseded, that will never pass away. There are no Bibles made with more care and skill than the Bibles made in Cambridge, wheretheprintingof Bibles has been a responsibility of fine craftsmen since the sixteenth century.
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WHERE CAN A JEW FIND CHRIST? On street corners, in homes, in shops, and in our witnessing cen ters, our workers faith fully proclaim the story of redemption accord ing to Moses and the prophets, and the gos pel message from the New Testament, and Jews are finding the Saviour. For help in witnessing, or for your own spiritual need, write to: Rev. A. A. MacKinney Général Director American Messianic Fellowship 7448 N.O am en Avenue, Chicago, III. 60645 to determine with certainty the disposal after their death of that which the lord entrusted to their stewardship without delays, deductions, inheritance taxes, and probate court costs. generous income, and
the CHRISTIAN and Science b y L ew is C . H o h e n s te in ^
A Jewish boy accepted a tract, "Isaiah's Por trait of Messiah" and immediately asked, "Can you tell me more about this?" There on a street corner in Chicago a 12 year old boy listened intently to the skillful presentation of the Scriptures arid ac cepted Jesus Christ as his Messiah and Sav iour. A middle-aged Jew ess, after hearing the gospel for several years at Miami Beach called and. said, "I am terribly distressed. Please come over. I must find the Lord today."
space probing, nuclear physics, electronics, etc. It is true man cannot create life, but he might be able to dis cover life’s process. If he discov ers, through experiment, the proc ess of the inception of organic life, then he will have discovered only a little more about the omni science of our God and Saviour. If man goes beyond the reef o f space, he will not disprove God’s existence; he will unfold another chapter in our understanding of His omnipresence. Whatever sci ence discovers, it only succeeds in opening the lid which conceals the evidence of His glory. Every step into the unknown in the field of research unveils another monu ment to His omnipotence. Why should man fear science? When he does, he is afraid o f the full capabilities of his own mind which God gave him to use. Only the Christian who knows the re demptive LOVE o f God is moral ly and spiritually capable o f ap preciating the results o f research. We dare not worship at the shrine o f science, for this is idolatry. We dare not deprecate science, for this is intellectual bigotry and ignorance. We dare not destroy the truth of science, for this would be sin. We must dare to use it, every tried vestige of it, to the GLORY OF GOD.
D u r in g t h e p a s t 1 0 0 years there has been a growing fear, on the part o f Christians, of the findings o f the sciences. On the other hand, because o f state ments o f ignorance on the part of some Christian leaders, there has been an increasing amount o f skepticism toward the Scriptures by the scientist. We must under stand that there are often moral reasons why the scientist stands in rebellion to what the Bible has to say. Man, when he is honest, realizes that if he accepts the Bi ble as authoritative on such sub jects as Creation, he is bound by logic also to accept the ethics, morals and redemptive patterns that accompany such belief. Should we fear science? Is it contradictory to what the Bible says? The Bible is not a textbook on science but where it speaks it has been proven, and is being proven each day in the research field and laboratory, to be 100% correct. Probably the difficulty arises from the fact that we do not have the ultimate answers of science on the one hand, or we are erroneously interpreting the Bible. An inductive study of the Word, rather than going to it with traditional prejudices, r educ e s the problem greatly. Also, we must discern between an hypothe sis and the proven facts. Mechan istic views of science are only dangerous when predicated and controlled by theological preju dice. When God placed man on the earth He said, “ . . . and subdue it.” This includes bio-chemistry,
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“ r a n g e r , m e n a t w o r k ,” is a necessary notice sometimes. “ Blessing, God at work,” is also a necessary notice, because men often overlook God’s activities in this world. Christmas calls our atten tion to God’s work for men. At the same time, it assures us that His purpose always will be fulfilled. As we look, we marvel. What a variety of people and objects God used to carry out His plans! Heaven and earth were both called in to help. God included poor people such as Joseph and Mary. He used uneducated and very ordinary people such as the shepherds, who were guarding their sheep. He called too on scien tists who lived hundreds of miles away from the scene o f the drama. He also used emperors and governors, who wanted information for govern mental purposes, to work for Him. All events meshed into the wonderful mosaic. Nor were the angelic hosts, God’s celestial servants, ignored. Creation, with its stars, also had a part to play in the marvel of Christmas. A two-fold preparation had been going on for centuries. God had been speaking to men and tell ing them that He was arranging for Christmas. He began by saying why Jesus would come (Gen. 3 :15). He followed this by telling us that He would be bom a Jew (Gen. 12:3) and then which tribe He would honour by His birth (Gen. 49:10). Not least did God indicate that He would be a royal person o f David’s family (2 Sam. 7:12 & 13). His birthplace was also revealed (Mic. 5 :2). Further, He would have a unique birth—from a virgin (Isa. 7:14). Although He would be bom as a baby, He would be the mighty God (Isa. 9:6 & 7). The world’s preparation indicated that “when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son,” as the Apostle Paul said (Gal. 4 :4 ). The Romans had given the world h ighw ays that stretched from Rome to the farthest part of her empire. They had brought the known world under one government; their laws protected the rights of individuals. The Roman postal system made rapid communication easier. As Rome had finished her conquests, the world was enjoying a time of peace and prosperity. The Greeks had given a language and culture to the world. Alexander had spread the Greek lan guage with his conquests of Western Asia and Egypt. Surprisingly enough, the Romans did not impose Latin on the world, but educated Romans learned the Greek language. Hence a large part of
the known world had no barrier against the spread of ideas. This included the thought o f man’s re ceiving God’s revelation. The Jews knew God’s purposes for the world better than any other nation. Scattered every where throughout the Roman world, they took with them the knowledge of the one true God and His power and love. As the only optimists in the old world, they believed God would send what the world so sorely needed, a Redeemer. Only God could choose this moment for His Son to come to this earth. By both speech and silence God concentrated men’s attention on Christ’s birth. For thousands of years, He had spoken to men through His prophets. Often in the previous thousand years more than one great prophet had appeared at the same time. Yet for the 400 years prior to the Incarnation, when Malachi had been God’s messenger, He had not spoken or given any written revelation to His people. As men waited expectantly, this silence made them the keener to hear God speak again. It was not until a year or so before Jesus’ birth that the heavenly visitor to Zacharais brought a message from God to men. To fulfil His purposes, God had to find various people and objects to carry out His will. He needed a man and woman of character to form the family into which Christ should be bom. The man must be so virtuous that he could avoid the slightest sus picion o f any loose living, let alone immorality. He must also be obedient to the commands o f God whether naturally they pleased him or not. God found him in Joseph, a man who received God’s in- struction five times, each time responding with complete obedience. God needed a girl who was unquestionably a virgin. She also must have a strong faith, be will- ing to follow God’s plan and be prepared to suffer shame and misunderstanding in fulfilling God’s purposes. God found her in Mary. As Jesus was to be given “ the throne o f his father David” (Luke 1:32) God was seeking a family in which Jesus could be bom as a descen- dant o f David. God found it in Joseph. Matthew traces back his genealogy to the great King of Israel, so He had a legal right to the throne. Yet God had removed a family that was in the very line of the succession because of the sin of Jehoiakim (Jer. 22:30). God overcame this diffi- culty. The royal line can be traced through another
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a world or a single star, called on one part of His creation to announce Jesus’ birth. This star had its peculiarities. It was not a fixed star, but could move as and when required. It went before the wise men just above the road on which they were travel ing and moved from North to South. When needed, it re-appeared and guided the wise men to the exact spot where Jesus was. It was not a recognized star in the sky for it was so near the earth that its beams could indicate the exact house the men were to visit. When the three travelers came from the East, they worshipped Jesus and gave Him the treasures they had brought for Him: gold, frankincense and myrrh. Knowing the working of Eastern minds, we should be right in finding a typical significance in these gifts. Yet they had another purpose. God knew that Herod would seek to kill His Son and that Joseph would have to take Jesus and Mary to Egypt for safety. These valuable gifts would pro vide the essential funds that would enable the three to make the journey, pay for their stay in Egypt and the cost o f their return journey. Consider the varied people and objects wanted for the occasion; the various events which had to take place; and the exact timing needed to bring in the Christmas event. Only one conclusion is possi ble. Perfect wisdom as well as unlimited power were essential for every act to take place with the precision required. Only God could bring about the wonder o f Christmas for He alone knows how it could be done; only He could speak to men and urge them to fulfill His will, even though they did not know they were doing it. Using only ordinary and extraordinary events, God alone could work out such far-reaching and significant purposes. Also, only God could cause the events to coincide in time. As we watch God at work at Christmas, we see not only His wisdom and power. We also see that His choice was so different from what many people would have expected. God did not choose a regal setting for Jesus’ birth; instead He was born in a stable. The place had none of the glamour of the Christmas card picture; it was a scene o f poverty, squalor and filth. Though Jesus was rich, “ yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich” (2 Cor. 8 :9 ). In the dawn of history, God had promised that Jesus would come as the Redeemer. God was at work. At Bethlehem the promise was fulfilled. So “ the Word” that “was God” and that was “with God” was “made flesh, and dwelt among us.” True, “ he came unto his own, and his own received him not.” Yet having done so much already, God did not allow the matter to rest there. So to “ as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God” (John 1:1, 2, 13, 11 & 12). No wonder we rejoice at Christmas! Q b J
relative of David, Nathan. Jesus was born into David’s family. Joseph and Mary lived in Nazareth; God had foretold that Bethlehem was the place where Jesus should be born. Through the prophet Micah (5 :2 ), God had declared hundreds of years earlier: “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; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” Nazareth was about 85 miles from Bethlehem. Why should Joseph and Mary make this journey at this particular time? True, God could have many reasons for choos ing Bethlehem as the town where Jesus should be bom. It had many hallowed associations. Near the place was the site o f Rachel’s tomb. The ancestress o f David, Ruth, settled there when she married Boaz. The city was described as the city of David and therefore a suitable place for the birth of “David’s greater Son.” Yet, how marvelous is God’s choice of the place for Christ’s birth! Its insignificance made it a most unlikely place for a King to be bom. When Micah spoke of Bethlehem, it was a village so small that it was not even referred to on a caravan route. By selecting a village so remote, the identification of Christ as the baby bom there became so much clearer. Indeed the identity o f the village is so exact that when the Jewish elders were questiond by Herod, they had not the slightest hesitation in naming Bethlehem as the place o f Messiah’s birth. Further, the means God chose to fulfil His pur poses were so unexpected that He was the only One who could have chosen them or been able to make them work for Him. Rome was accustomed to take a census o f the population every 14 years. The time had come for Palestine to have its enrollment. Difficulties had arisen between Herod and Rome which caused it to be postponed. The census was timed for the moment it best suited God’s purposes. Further, Rome made a concession to Palestine and allowed them to make the enrollment in their own form. This required Joseph to make the jour ney to his own city—Bethlehem. It was Mary rather than Joseph whose presence in Bethlehem was necessary for God’s purposes. The census re quired a wife to go with her husband. The birth of Jesus was near. Mary made the journey with Joseph and the Babe was born in the place God had named specifically for Him. For a unique birth, God gave a unique an nouncement. He opened the heavens from which one of His messengers appeared and heralded the birth of His Son. Soon multitudes of angels ac knowledged the goodness of God in sending His Son to earth to die for men’s sin. God wanted some scientists from a distant country to visit His Son. He who alone could create
out to crowd
w # h e n D a v id w a s a fugitive from Saul, he shared * * his adventurous days with a band o f men whose names and exploits are listed in the Scrip tures. These lists cover several periods and I am not now concerned with arranging them. One thing marks this hardy company; they were comrades in a common venture. They endured hardness as good soldiers bound by one central purpose. They were out to crown David king. It was a rough road to that goal but they reached it together. Jesus Christ is the Son of David. He came to earth and offered Himself as King to the Jews but they refused Him. He is King of kings and Lord of lords but this world will not have this Man to rule over it. He is a rejected King but, like David, while He may be in exile, His coronation is coming. In the meantime, He gathers around Him a band of followers who bear His Name and are out to crown Him King. There were certain characteristics that marked David’s band and they also identify, in their spirit ual application, the comrades o f our Christ. David gathered his men in the Cave of Adullam. Many of God’s great men through the ages have had such shelter. We are reminded of the heroes of faith who abode in caves and dens of the earth (Heb. 11:38). It is not a very cheery setting for such a glorious undertaking as crowning a king but the way to the throne often has led from a cove. Our Lord Jesus was despised and rejected o f men. He had nowhere to lay His head. He spent many a night in the solitudes, on the mountain or in the wilderness. True Christianity has been a despised faith and is well acquainted with dungeon, fire and sword. When it wears the garb o f the age and is popular in the courts of this world, it is not run ning true to form. When we wear our crown down here, likely we will wear no other. There is some thing in the Gospel cause that is akin to the cave. Its message is foolishness to this world and its messengers are o f necessity to the world fools. The early church was a fellowship o f the cata combs — o f the caves — and an underground move ment. But when it wore gay robes and sat in the Colosseum, when it exchanged its reproach for
riches, then it joined Saul instead of David and forgot what it started out to do. There gathered around David all who were dis tressed, in debt and discontented (I Sam. 22:2). Distress, Debt and Discontent! What strange con ditions to produce comrades for a king! But are we not driven to Christ the King in a state very similar? What distress is greater than conviction of sin, our lost estate, our fear of judgment? Are we not all eternally in debt to Him who died for us ? “Jesus paid it all; All to Him I owe.” And in most of the faces you see you will read dis- content. Money, pleasure, success, learning all these are ashes in the mouth — and we are restless until we rest in Him. Has there ever been a gen eration as distressed, as deeply in debt, as discon tented? Alas, so few o f them go to David’s Son and join the band around the Coming King! There is a pompous and showy ecclesiastical super-corporation that calls itself the church but the true ecclesia is more like this miscellaneous aggregation that rallied around David. The pattern of the true church always has been more in keep ing with the cave of Adullam. God’s people are pil- grims and strangers in this world. This vale of tears is our passage and not our portion. There may be some millionaires and people in high sta- tion who belong to this despised band but they are poor in spirit. Not many mighty and noble are called. The exceptions prove the rule. God hath chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom. Every great revival move ment has started in a cave of Adullam. From the days when the common people heard our Lord gladly, plain people have made up most of His church. Rowland Hill spoke of Wesley’s “ lay lub- bers,” his “ ragged legion o f preaching tinkers, scavengers, draymen and chimney sweepers.” Vachel Lindsay pictured General Booth leading a motley throng into heaven: “Walking lepers followed rank on rank, Lurching braves from the ditches dank,
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