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C O N T E N T S
Devotional Thoughts . President's Message . J. Richard Chase Weary in Well Doing Education: A New Face? . Robert Posegate Samuel H. Sutherland Road to Bethlehem George Peek Panel Discussions Christmas Message Study in Ecclesiastes . Lloyd T . Anderson Lloyd T . Anderson
THIS MONTH’S COVER: “ Sunrise on the Desert” photographed by Pete Schwepker WHEN REQUESTING EXTRA COPIES OF THE BIOLA BROADCASTER, PLEASE ALLOW TIME FOR DELIVERY. Th e quotations used in the Biola Broadcaster this month are excerpts from the w ritings of Dr. R. A. Torrey in the 1917 issue of King's Business Magazine. Second Class postage paid in La M irada, California. Printed in U.S.A. b y Penn Litho graphies, Inc., W hittier, California. Address: Biola Broadcaster, 13800 Biola A venue, La M irada, California 90638.
Matthew 3:1-12 For four centuries the voice of the prophet had been silent, but now God breaks the silence of the cen turies and speaks through his ser vant John. John’s earnestness, rug gedness, fearlessnes, renunciation of self, and stem declaration in the power of the Spirit of the message God gave him, awakened a great in terest on the part of all classes (vs. 5-7). FRIDAY Matthew 3:13-17 Jesus was not Himself a sinner, but He took the sinner’s place, He was made sin for us (Romans 8:3; II Cor. 5 :21), both at Jordan ( “the wa ter”) and Calvary ( “the Blood”). SATURDAY Matthew 4:1-11 Jesus was tempted in all points like as we are. He met each temptation with the Word of God, “it is writ ten.” He had God’s Word hidden in His heart that He might not sin against Him (Psalm 119:11), and so He was perfectly safeguarded at every point of attack. On the other hand, our ignorance of the Word leaves us more vulnerable. SUNDAY Matthew 4:12-25 “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men,” said Jesus. The word translated “fishers” is a peculiar word. It signifies one whose calling is on the sea; one whose business is fishing, not merely one who fishes as a matter of sport. Every true follow er of Jesus will make fishing for men the business of his life. Are you a follower of Jesus? E d itors Note: There was an im mense sense o f aw e on the part o f this Editor to read and edit the writ ings o f so great a man o f God as R. A. Torrey, and to h e working on the same copy 55 years later in prepara tion fo r a similar Biola publication. Page 3
DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS by R. A. Torrey
This is the first in a series of excerpts from a devotional guide written by R. A. Torrey in the January, 1915, issue of The King’s Business Maga zine. Dr. Torrey was, at that time, the Editor of the magazine. “These notes are not intended to take the place of individual thought and meditation upon the Word. They are intended for daily family wor ship and foi* daily individual study of the Bible. Commit at least one verse of the passage to memory each day.” MONDAY Matthew 1 This geneology is full of significance and precious teaching. The passage emphasizes the fact of the virgin birth of our Lord, a truth much con tended against and rejected in our day, but a vital truth, intimately con nected with the doctrine of the Deity and the sinless perfection of our Lord. TUESDAY Matthew 2:1-12 One great truth that stands out prominently in this passage is that of the certainty of God’s Word. WEDNESDAY Matthew 2:13-23 In these verses we have one of the most striking illustrations in all his tory of the desperate wickedness of the human heart, and also how God overrules it to the carrying out of His own purposes of love and grace, and of the fulfillment of His sure word of prophecy.
In a few sh o rt y e a rs she w ill be handed a w orld .. jl | B iola w an ts to equip h e r fo r th a t world. m
La Mirada, California 90638'
This new publication is not for just anyone. It is for our Biola fam ily — our friends and co-laborers in the work of the Lord at Biola. Hope fully, it will help you in your Chris tian life, and be a constant reminder of Biola’s great educational ministry. Biola College with its Graduate School, Talbot Theological Semin ary, is firmly committed to the Word of God. You will see this same em phasis in the edited “Biola Hour” broadcast messages, and in other ar ticles that will make up our new Biola Broadcaster. This Biblical em phasis is a hallmark of Biola. We are interested in a variety of views and subjects, but the ultimate guide to life and service is the Bible alone. In the final analysis, we must decide whether we will choose man’s views or God’s Word. Biola is firm in its commitment. At times you may dis agree with the thrust of a message, but you will never find our writers or speakers turning their backs on the Bible. We pledge to make this new pub lication one you can share with con fidence. As you can imagine, it was a large task producing and mailing two separate publications each month. We merged our King’s Busi ness and Biola Broadcaster so that we could concentrate our efforts on one solid publication. We think it is a better idea — the best of both under one cover! Dr. Chase will write an Editorial each month that will appear in this column.
A BETTER IDEA? J. Richard Chase Our staff is excited with this new publication. The potential service to the Christian home and community is great. As in the sixty-year tradi tion of the King’s Business, this new Biola Broadcaster will present Bibli cally-based messages and thoughts that, we trust, will stimulate, inform, and comfort.
Dr. Samuel H. Sutherland, President Emeritus of Blola College, will con tribute a Feature article each month in the Biola Broadcaster. Reprints are available on request. Weary inWell-Doin
simply lie low for a period of time and wait until the zeal dies down. They know full well that weariness of conflict will set in shortly and well-meaning people will not want to “hear any more of it.” Evildoers then rise up and go on their way triumphantly. The liberal leadership in the vari ous denominations is aware as well of this tendency and weakness on the part of the church membership. Consequently they push their nefar ious ideas and schemes with such vigor as to put Christians to shame. Good people frequently become disturbed over the actions and atti tudes of the leaders of the National Council of Churches and threaten to do something about it but actually nothing is ever done. Radical liberal leadership goes on its way abetting, aiding and encouraging in word and deed what surely delights the heart of every Communist and even of the devil himself. The NCC General Board went on record last fall “urg ing church members across the nation to give active support to anti-war candidates in last fall’s elections.” The National Council, as far as can be determined, never once has de nounced the role Communist Russia is playing in the Vietnam war nor condemned the atheistic nation of China for its support in perpetuating
It is sad, but true, that people be come weary in their fight to maintain righteousness, not only in their per sonal lives, but also in the home, the church, the community and in the nation at large. The forces of evil never seem to grow weary in their zeal to propagate their ideologies and manner of life. The left-wing members of the news media are still hammering away at the foundations of the American way of life. Of course, they have modi fied their extreme statements tem porarily until the current storm of protest blows over. Then one can be sure they will resume merrily their disruptive way. Astonishingly, there are indications at present that Vice- President Agnew is beginning to lose his influence over right-thinking peo ple as he continues to point up the potential dangers that will destroy our beloved country if they are allowed to continue their present course. It is tragic indeed to hear good people say that they are be coming weary of the Vice-President’s courageous and continuing exposé of what he and many of us believe is a harmful and disastrous trend in our land today. Christians become righteously indignant when some gross evil is brought to light and there are loud protests on the part of the citizens. So the forces of evil Page 6
this conflict. Meantime, misguided people continue to pour their funds into denominational churches which whole-heartedly uphold the National Council of Churches. Recently the NCC General Board also went on record as opposing the sending of more U.S. planes to Israel. During last October, the newspapers reported a massacre in Angola, a country on the Atlantic shore of Af rica. Over 30 persons, mostly chil dren, were brutally slaughtered by a group of terrorists who were deter mined to bring that country under complete subjection to their commu nist-inspired rule. The newspaper account stated that this group of fanatics received $20,000 from the World Council of Churches. Of course, the National Council is the dominant organization of the larger group, known as the World Council of Churches. A release sent by the WCC’s office declared: “It is true that the World Council’s action has some risks attached to it.” Appar ently this liberal leadership could not care less about the risks involved. The Executive Committee of the World Council must sit back with a warm degree of satisfaction to con sider this blood-thirsty mob’s gun ning down 30 innocent, defenseless men, women, and children. Twenty- thousand dollars of good American dollars went to the support of this and the blood of those people is upon the leadership and those who partook of the crime by their financial sup- .* 4 port. We cry out for something to be | done. A few weeks later the cries I diminish in intensity until at last I they are heard no more. We have J become weary in our protests, dis- 11 approval and the fight for the right! The United Presbyterian Church 1; I General Assembly recently endorsed I a proposal recommending the use of I marijuana be considered merely a I misdemeanor, not a felony, under the I law. This great church was once set
for the defense of the Gospel and in years gone by carried on with holy enthusiasm every cause that was right. Now it has so degenerated in its outlook and influence for righte ousness that it actually is encouraging our youth to indulge in a soul-and- body-destroying habit, who know full well that if the strongest charge that can be leveled against these partici pants in this hallucinogen is that of a misdemeanor, it will amount to nothing more than a slap on the wrist and will do nothing to deter the young pèople in this deadly course. According to the Fi-Po News, a publication put out bi-monthly by the Fire and Police Research Associa tion of Los Angeles, recently stated that “the Episcopal diocese (of South ern California) came to the defense of the demonstrators who were ar rested in the recent East Los An geles riot by offering ‘assistance of funds and asked others to do like wise for the release of dozens of Chicanos’ who were jailed as incit ers and violent participants in that riot in which lives were lost and so much property damaged.” These are but a few examples of the continu ing trends in religious life today. These would-be destroyers of our nation and our great denominations know full well that after the first flush of righteous anger has passed, our churches and their people soon forget and settle back into their lack adaisical manner of life with the atti tude, “I would rather not hear any more about it.” If God’s people lose the battle, it will not be because of a frontal at tack from without. Rather, it will be from complacency and lethargy within our own ranks. If it ever hap pens, we shall have no one to blame but ourselves. God help us to con tinue our defense and proclamation of the Gospel with all that implies! Page 7
Huge school districts resulting in loss o f personal approach and inabil ity to adapt the educational process to peculiar local situations. Rather, teachers and pupils are handled as so many cogs in an educational ma chine, and both groups feel that they are subservient to administra tive procedures. Taxpayer rejection o f increasing funding needs o f the schools with resultant cuts in teaching personnel and school services. Growing abdication by the schools o f any attempt to develop and sus tain moral values. Faced by paren tal opposition, organized protest groups, and court decisions which appear to place individual rights above society, the schools have of necessity given way to individual li cense in issues of ethical and moral behavior. A growing attemtp by some to use the schools for societal ends other than education, to capture the schools for ideological indoctrination. Widening acceptance o f the pupil benefit principle leading to increased tax appropriations for the provision of supplies and services to private schools. In large measure, this pro cedure has made the concept of sep aration between church and state of little consequence for application to education. New York now provides yearly subsidies for nearly one mil lion students in private schools. Pennsylvania will appropriate 30 mil lion dollars for private schools next year. Ohio instituted aid to private schools for the first time this year. Other states are taking similar ac tion. A shift in emphasis from the pe riod in American history when the schools had a primary responsibility to assimilate immigrants and func tion as a melting pot to produce a homogeneous citizenry. In contrast, some now see the desirability of di verse educational programs related to varied cultural emphases, which
EDUCATION: A NEW FACE? by Robert Posegate
American education is undergoing basic changes which will result in profound differences for the nation. So striking are these changes that they will affect the educational strat egy of every church and denomina tional group. The issues which are involved are divergent and complex. A few of these however can be identified with some precision. Growing criticism o f the effective ness o f public education. Many in vestigators have found the results to be substandard. If this be the case, it might well be in part due to the impossible task which has been as signed to the schools of seeking to teach a varied and mobile popula tion in oversize class units and with limited educational resources. What ever the cause, it is resulting in widespread dissatisfaction with the schools.
several recent editorials to advocate the voucher system, with $900 per school aged child being paid to the school of the familys ’choice. They see such a procedure as introducing competition into the educational pro cess, thus increasing efficiency, saving millions of dollars, giving parents, children, and teachers the choice of educational institutions, and lessen ing the probability that children will become the victims of the pet social theories of politicians. What might such a course mean to evangelical churchesP For those already operating day schools, it could well mean increased resources to offer the strongest possible school program. It would probably mean the establishment of standards for educational programs and personnel and state enforcement of those stand ards. For churches not presently op erating schools, it could mean week- long utilization of facilities presently used for brief periods during the week. Or it might make building programs essential where facilities are limited. It could well be that evangelical churches would be faced with unprecedented opportunities to minister to families through a school with a staff of teachers of full edu cational competence plus the vital spiritual factor which must be cen tral to any Christian day school wor thy of the name. In any case, pastors, lay leaders, parents, and church members of evangelical faith would be advised to keep alert to the changes in the offing so that they might be prepared to act in accordance with the Lord’s leading and with the opportunities for witness and instruction which open to us. Dr. Posegate is Associate Professor o f Religious Education at Talbot Theo logical Seminary, Graduate School o f Biola College. Page 9
make up the rich tapestry of Ameri can life. Protestants have varied greatly in their views of education. Originally, American education was established on a spiritual base. During the first half of the 19th century, a combin ation of circumstances led to the adoption of a dual system of educa tion with public schools and Sunday schools as the cooperative elements. This system was approved by most Protestants, the notable exception being those denominations which were committed to parochial schools. But during the present century, a widening gap of secularism has been evident, with a tendency to make democracy the religious basis for public education. Many parents and church leaders have determined to pay the extra support needed to de velop Christian day schools, most of which have faced a continual struggle to finance the enterprise. Diverse voices are now raised for enlarged state support for private schools. President Nixon has created an Education Commission to “study and report to the President on future revenue needs and resources of the nations’ public and non-public ele mentary and secondary schools.” Half of the eighteen itemized responsibil ities of the commission relate to non public schools. Christopher Jenks is directing a study in Cambridge, Mass., funded by the Office of Economic Opportun ity and devoted to investigation of the voucher play whereby parents would have the privilege of selection from among qualified schools the place of their childrens education. George R. Vick has suggested this course as a means of preventing the state from establishing an orthodoxy which it would impose upon stu dents in the schools. Edgar Z. Fried- enberg views private schools as a desirable element in maintaining di verse forms of education. Radio sta tion KNX of Los Angeles has devoted
ROAD TOBETHLEHEM Dr. George 0. Peek Member, Biola Board of Trustees Pastor, North Long Beach Brethren Church
Chapter One There are many roads which lead to Bethlehem. The one from Jerusa lem only takes a few minutes to get to the city of our Saviour’s birth. Others lead from Nazareth, Hebron, and various other parts of Israel. The most important, however, is the Bible road leading to Bethlehem. It has its beginning in Genesis 3:15 and con tinues to the second chapter of Luke in the New Testament. God said in the first passage men tioned, “And I will put enmity be tween thee and the woman, and be tween thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:15 is sometimes referred to as the “seed plot” of the Bible. Matin Luther declared, “The entire Bible was simply the out working of this great prophecy. Ev ery tear, every heart-ache, all wars and disappointments, discourage ments of life, greed, envy, and grief of all sorts can be traced right here to the third chapter of Genesis.” In this important chapter we see the fall of man in his separation from God. Man’s fellowship and commun ion with God happened in the Gar den of Eden. After God created the garden, placing man in it, He gave Adam the responsibility of tending it. It was a place of supreme enjoy ment. One prohibition was placed upon Adam and Eve in that they were not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Man was most certainly a free moral agent, as he is today with the ability to choose right and wrong. He had intelligence to discern that which was acceptable with God and that which He would not allow. The same is true today. Then came the temptation of Sa tan. The devil was more subtle than any creature of the field. The ser pent, being indwelt by Satan him self, came and tempted Eve. He sowed the seeds of doubt. This was his sharpest wedge. He appealed to
her flesh. There was the suggestion to behold that which was beautiful and desirable (I John 2:15). Every sin man has ever committed will come in one of these three categories: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. When Adam sinned he knew he was guilty. He hid himself. Even to day man knows when he does wrong. He reveals this by his actions. As an example, ritual ceremonies are sim ply devices which reveal the fact that man wants to curry favor with God. The second thing that stands out •in this chapter is the judgment of God. It came immediately when man sinned. How foolish to hear people say, “How can a holy God punish man?” We must understand that it is God’s holiness that demands pun ishment for sin. What kind of world would it be if the unjust were allowed to go unpunished? This judgment came first of all on the serpent (verse 14). This creature was cursed above all cattle and every beast of the field. It was relegated to crawling in the dust all the days of its life. The next part of this judgment came upon the woman (verse 16). Her sorrows would be multiplied in conception and childbirth. Her hus band was to rule over her. This verse shows us the way people come into this world by natural reproduction. Then in verses 17 to 19 we find described God’s curse upon Adam and all mankind. The ground would even bear the marks of his sin. Thoms also and thistles would be brought forth. Just to eke out an existence would require the sweat of the brow. Adam was reminded that he had been made from dust, and that ulti mately to this state would he return. How beautiful the earth must have been before the fall! Even today there is a semblance that remains. Much is being said about ecology today. It all brings us to this one Page 11
Ur of the Chaldees had enjoyed a high state of civilization, the people had long since departed from any knowledge of the true God. This alone shows us a God of grace. The call Abraham received was very clear. He understood perfectly what God wanted him to do. The same is true today for those who are listen ing and willing to know what the Lord wants them to do. The Word of God today is just as David saw it, “A lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path” (Psalm 119:105). Next, notice Abraham’s obedience. He did not hesitate a moment to obey. Doubtless he sold everything he possessed. With his loved ones, he immediately started out to the land of God’s choosing (Hebrews 11:8). His unusual actions were based upon implicit faith in what the Lord had said. The Apostle Paul uses Abraham as an example of the faith which men must have for the salvation of their souls (Romans 4:1-5). “Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” This same principle functions today when men put their faith and trust in God’s promises for salavtion. In this way they receive the righteousness which alone can take a person to heaven. The promises to Abraham came in several parts. God promised to give him a land, to make of him a great nation, and to bless those who blessed him, and curse those who cursed him. Some of these things literally have been fulfilled. All parts of the cove nant are unconditional. There are no The words of Christ have not only prov en themselves flawless, they have also proven themselves inexhaustible. strings attached. The reception was all based on faith. As for us, it is not a matter of putting our faith and trust in Christ and then having to do something to keep our salvation. All we do is receive Jesus as our Re
point. While we should treasure what we have in natural resources, think what this earth would have been like without the fall of man! The greatest judgment of all, how ever, was separation from God Him self (verse 22). Adam and Eve were removed from the garden. How sad to see them driven out of this human paradise! You and I are born the descendants of fallen Adam. The curse that came upon him befell the entire race (Romans 5:12). But amid such a dark picture there is set forth the promise of a Saviour (verse 15). Notice that it occurs before the judgment pronounced on woman in verse 16. What grace to promise the Redeemer amid such circumstances. Why did not God destroy man, wip ing him from the face of the earth? Instead a guarantee of the Saviour is promised. At the cross Genesis 3:15 was fulfilled to the very letter. There the Lord was bruised (Isaiah 53:6). Here, too, the head of the serpent was crushed. Satan was defeated and overthrown as the work of re demption was accomplished through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. By faith in Jesus Christ all man may share in the victory of Calvary. For giveness today from the penalty of sin is available to everyone. It is simply a matter of putting your faith and trust in the Redeemer who was promised. We urge you to do so now. Chapter Two The Biblical road to Bethlehem begins in Genesis 3:15. The second point along the road is God’s promise to Abraham. Here the race is identi fied from which the Redeemer will come (Genesis 12:1-3). It is tremen dous to consider the call of Abraham. Was there something unusually good about Abraham as far as his relig ious conviction was concerned? Why should he be singled out? He came from a heathen country where men worshipped idols. While the area of Page 12
deemer. It is all and entirely of grace through faith. First of all, God promised to make Abraham a great nation. In Genesis 14:13 we find him described as a Hebrew. This is the first instance where a man is called a Hebrew. In John 8 we have Christ facing His adversaries, the people of Israel. They readily testified “We be Abra ham’s children.” It is true that Israel was not the only nation to come from Abraham (Genesis 17:5). He is the father of many nations. Genesis 17:21 clearly reveals that “In Isaac shall thy seed be called.” Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel, was the son of Isaac. The second promise was for bless ing to those who blessed Abraham and his seed, or cursing likewise for those who cursed them. History re cords that when a nation persecutes the Jews, it eventually experiences the wrath of God. God has preserved the Jew in a miraculous way through all kinds of unbelievable persecution. The Scriptures cannot be broken. The third promise concerns the fact that through Abraham all fami lies of the earth are to be blessed. Many great scientists have been Jews. Think as an example, of the field of medicine. In the arts there are many Jewish musicians, poets, and com posers. The same is true in every area: philosophy, psychology, and business. Many Jews have made real contributions to the benefit of man kind. These are nothing at all, how ever, considering the greatest bless ing from Israel, namely the Messiah of the world, Jesus Christ. The Sav iour Himself said, “Salvation is o f the Jews.” While it is not for the Jew alone (John 3 :16), it is the human source of ultimate blessing. Remember that the Bible has told us that the Redeemer would be of the seed of a woman (Genesis 3:15). Through His virgin birth salvation is for all the world today.
Chapter Three As we continue along the “Bible Road to Bethlehem,” we find that God identifies the tribe from which the Redeemer would come (Gen. 49:8-10). What a wonderful promise this is. God had told Abraham that the Messiah would come through Isaac. Abraham sent for a bride for Isaac. He did not want his son mar rying one of the wicked daughters of Canaan. The story of Rebekah’s selection is probably one of the best- known love stories in the Old Testa ment. A prophecy was given to Re- bekah when she was about to bear children (Gen. 25:23). God told her she had two nations in her womb. One would be stronger, and the old er would serve the younger. This was literally brought to pass in the birth of Esau and Jacob. As the boys grew to manhood, Jacob stole the birthright of his brother Esau. In anger, Esau determined to kill his brother. To escape such retribution, Jacob ran away to his mother’s old home and to Laban. On the way he stopped to rest (Gen. 28:10). God then appeared to him. He had used stones for a pillow. In his dream he saw a ladder set up on the earth. The top of it reached to heaven and he saw the angels of God ascending and descending on it. When the Lord appeared, He repeated His covenant to Jacob. God simply reaffirms His infallible promises (Gen. 28:15). Years later, when Jacob returned to the land, God again appeared to him with a reminder of the fact that He had made this covenant with him, and that He would fulfill it to the letter on his behalf. It was here that he wrestled a man until the going down of the sun. Jacob’s hip was touched in such a way that he be came lame. He acknowledged that the One with whom he had wrestled was none other than God Himself. Jacob, of course, had twelve sons. Before he died, he gathered them all around him. All of them had brought Page 13
shame upon their father’s name. Jo seph, their own brother, had been sold to a group of traders. God al ways moves in the affairs of men to accomplish His own purposes. God gave Joseph the ability to interpret a dream. This brought his release and elevation in Egypt. This old pa- triach, Jacob, going down into Egypt with his sons found his long-lost, , beloved son, Joseph. Again today we see the nation of \ Israel going back to their land of promise. Unfortunately, they are not returning for their Messiah, but rath er to secure the things of life for which they are searching: material wealth, security and comfort. Jacob’s sons are gathered around him. As he is about to leave this earth, he brings his sons before him that they might be blessed. In this moment he was prophesying. He looked down the centuries of time through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Some may wonder why Ju dah, who had been as guilty of sin as were his brothers, was singled out in this special manner. Again, we turn to the sovereignty of God. Ja cob believed that even though he was in Egypt at this moment, never theless one day would come when his seed would be back in the land God had promised to them. The pro phetic reference Jacob made to Ju dah concerns the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The very word Judah means praise. Certainly, the Lord Jessu Christ is the One who is de serving of all our honor and glory. The day is coming when all men will praise the Lord Jesus Christ. Judah is also referred to as a lion. In Revel ation 5:5 to 6, we have another refer ence to the person of Jesus Christ. Here He is called The Lion of the tribe of Judah. The sceptre, a sign of authority and power, was not to depart from Him. Shiloh is a refer ence to Christ. It means “Sent One” or “The Seed” or “The Peacemaker.” The kingdom was divided after the Page 14
death of Solomon. Ten of the north ern tribes later were taken into cap tivity. The genealogical records were ac curately kept until Christ was born in Bethlehem. Since the dispersion fol lowing the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D., all such records have been lost. Shiloh must have come. Jesus came through Judah’s line as Matthew and Luke plainly tell us. Chapter Four In our studies together, we have seen that “The Road to Bethlehem” begins in Genesis and continues on until we see the Redeemer, our Lord Jesus Christ, born of the virgin. Not only does the lineage come from Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Judah, but Scripture pinpoints the family by showing us that it is from David that the Saviour will come forth (II Sam. 7:1-17). Of course, David fol lowed Saul as the king over Israel. David had defeated the enemies of the Lord’s people so that the nation could be at peace. He made Jerusa lem the capital of his kingdom. The Ark of God was returned to Jerusa lem where it was again in possession of the Israelites. It contained the ar ticles God had instructed Moses to put there. This included the tablets of the law, Aaron’s rod that budded, and manna. The Ark had been in the tabernacle and it represented the presence of God among His people. David purposed in his heart that he would build a place for the Ark of God that would be even more beau tiful than his own dwelling. This was shared with Nathan the prophet who approved of the project. The Lord, however, had other plans. It was not His will that a man of war should build the temple. Nevertheless, God was pleased with David because the idea was in his heart. Many of us would like to do things for the glory of the Lord but because of a lack of strength, wisdom, or wealth, we are unable to do it. Yet, as in David’s case, our God can be pleased with
the intent of our hearts. Having given him this prohibition, God made a promise to David that his son would build the temple. The king was told that this son would be great in power and in wealth and would reign forever. He stated that His kingdom would be eternal. Here is the view of the supernatural king dom. Such a prophecy could not re fer to anyone who is finite. But we know David’s son to be Solomon. As his father had reigned for 40 years, so Solomon reigned for 40 years. In answer to his prayers, God gave him great wisdom and riches. Solomon’s temple was probably the most beau tiful structure ever to stand on the face of the earth. God was the archi tect. Not long after the temple was built, Solomon became a very wicked man. He took many wives, some of whom were from heathen nations. He turned to false gods. What a warning for us today! We should be careful about those with whom we fellowship. When people play with fire, they are going to be burned. Finally, when the temple was de stroyed and the Babylonians swept in, the children of Israel were car ried away captives. What happened to the prophecy God had promised to David? We cannot help but move down the corridor of time to David’s greater Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. In the Bible, there is the law of double reference. Quite often a prophecy may refer to something that is to happen immediately as well as some thing that will take place in the fu ture. There is a partial fulfillment, followed by a complete fulfillment. This is exactly the case here. The partial fulfillment came during Solo mon’s reign, but the complete and final fulfillment is future (Luke 1:26- 33). In this passage God promises that Jesus “shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David: and He shall reign over the house
Crowell Hall (above) was the Registration point for over 600 high school students visiting campus on College Day recently.
of Jacob for ever; and of His King dom there shall be no end.” Christ Himself is going to sit upon David’s throne. Of His reign there shall be no end. In the Gospels there are over 20 references to Jesus as the Son of David. He readily accepted this des ignation. In Rev. 22:16 we have Christ declaring, “I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and the morning star.” Scrip ture makes it clear that the Redeem er who was promised would come from the family of David. Chapter Five It is nothing short of amazing to realize with what precise accuracy the very city of Christ’s birth was prophesied long years before He was bom of the virgin. This we find in Micah 5:2. Micah was a contem porary of Isaiah who lived during the reigns of three kings in Judah. The Southern kingdom, made up of Judah and Renjamin, came into exis tence following the death of Solo mon. Micah wrote during the reign of Ahaz. These were dark, dark days for Israel as apostasy was rampant. Micah did not mince words when he rebuked them for their idolatry. They were also a very coveteous people (2 :2 ). Constantly God’s servant brought their gross sins to their at tention. He warned them very clearly that they could not play around with God (3 :12 ). Without repentance judgment would be certain. The prin ciple has not changed one bit. It is still true. Yet, in spite of it all, Mi cah saw a day coming when Israel would be exalted. What a beautiful picture he paints. A day is to come when men will no longer leam war. Hatred and greed will vanish. He tells them of the great kingdom that is coming. Looking down through the centuries of time, he sees in a humble village the birth of the King who will rule over the world. Beth- lehem is specifically pointed out in 5:2.
You might wonder why the name, “Bethlehem Ephratah”. The second word means “fruitful”. Bethlehem has always been a very small town, even as it is today compared to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. But from such a humble locale came the One who has blessed the whole earth. Yes, Bethlehem is indeed fruitful above all cities of the world. In Hebrew, the expression, “whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” can be translated that the One who was to be bom in Bethlehem would have a previous eternal existence. A number of cults profess to believe that Jesus Christ existed prior to His coming. They perhaps look on Him as an angel. But this is in gross error for He can only be acknowledged as God in the flesh. The text says that the one who is to be Christ was not created; He is the Creator! The wise men who came from the East properly asked the question, “Where is He who is born king of the Jews?” Herod did not know; the chief priests and scribes were not looking for the coming of the King. The same is true today. But why was not the Messiah to be born in Jerusalem? After all, this was the city of the king. It was a much larger place than Bethlehem. This is the way we would have done it. The smaller city was certainly in keeping with the humble character of the Lord Jesus Christ (Phil. 2:5- 11). Bethlehem was the birthplace of David. As his greater Son, Christ, the Eternal King naturally would come from that place. Bethlehem means, “house of bread,” or “house of food.” In John 6:35, Christ rightly refers to Himself as the Bread of life. By believing on Him, no man will ever know spiritual hunger or thirst. Yes, it was fitting for Christ to be born in Bethlehem. There are many hungry people in the world today. Leaders everywhere are concerned about a coming fam-
ine. The population explosion is something of great concern. But far worse than this is the world-wide famine for the Bread of Life. People are hungry for things that satisfy the soul. Only Christ can meet this need. If there is a void and emptiness in your inner man, if you have been trying to satisfy this hunger through “things”, turn to the Lord. Only He can satisfy the longing heart and fill the hungry soul with joy. Why not receive Him today as your Saviour? Chapter Six It should never cease to amaze us when we consider the miraculous manner of the Redeemer’s birth. How wonderful it is to realize that God would tell us centuries before the birth of the Saviour how He would come into this world. This is exactly what is stated in Isaiah 7:14: “There fore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall con ceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah lived in the days of wicked King Ahaz. The promise was made to the entire house of Israel. Some liberal theologians would have us believe that the word “virgin” should be translated “young woman.” But what would be so miraculous about a son being bom to a young woman? This verse speaks of die supernatur al. Keep the occasion in mind. Israel was surrounded by enemies. God promised she would not be over-run, but that victory would be given. The New Testament gives us the proper interpretation of this particu lar verse, for the Bible is die best commentary on the Bible. Matthew 1:21-23 gives us the fulfillment. Here we have the Spirit of God interpret ing the prophecy of Isaiah who lived 700 years before the actual birth of Christ. The word Matthew uses for virgin can only mean that and not young woman. The message the an gel gave to Mary is very clear and explicit.
Mary came from Nazareth, a vil lage near Gallilee. Jesus was known as a Nazarene and a Galilean. To day Nazareth is governed primarily by Arabs. This was not true in the days of our Lord. It is interesting that Joseph and Mary did not select the name for their child. This is cer tainly not true with us. The Bible tells us that Christ’s name properly came from heaven. Further, the an gel told Mary that her baby would be called the Son of the Highest. There are those who erroneously feel that the term “the Son of God”means that Jesus is somewhat less than God and not equal with Him. The term does not imply inferiority at all. It simply means that He is of the very same characteristics and attributes, for Christ is God. Mary was told that her Son would be a*Ruler. The One who was cruci fied on Calvary’s cross some day will come back to be Ruler over all the earth. Of His kingdom there will be no end. Mary responds in a beauti ful manner (vs. 46). The desire of any Jewish maiden was to be the mother of the Messiah, Israel’s prom ised King. Mary acknowledged that she was not a sinless person. She said, “My soul doth rejoice in God my Saviour.” Her Son was her Sav iour! Finally, consider the condescension of God to come and five among men, to be born from the womb of a wo man, and to live among men. Why did He do this? John 3:16 gives us the answer which is all based on His love for us. “Though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich” ( I I Cor. 8 :9 ). Can you say today, “My soul doth rejoice in my Saviour”? Chapter Seven There are many signs along the road to Bethlehem, all pointing to the person and ministry of the Mes siah, the Lord Jesus Christ. One of the most graphic is Luke 2:1 to 7 Page 17
where we see clearly that Mary was Joseph’s espoused wife. This meant that they were engaged. A decree had gone out from the Roman ruler. The census was to be taken. This meant both registration and taxation for the people. Each person had to go back to the city of their family origin. So Joseph and Mary had to go to Bethlehem. Since we have no record of any world-wide census be ing taken before, how is it that it happened at this time? Whatever human reason may have been given, it is far overshadowed by God’s ov erruling in its direction for the ful fillment of divine prophecy. As Nazareth is a good-sized city today, even so it was an influential town in the days of Joseph and Mary. According to the genealogy in Matthew 1, Joseph was a descendant of David (vs. 16). The Bible care fully guards Mary’s virginity. The Scripture teaches us that she and Joseph were simply engaged. The Child was conceived by the Holy Spirit. In Matthew, when the gen ealogy comes to Joseph, the text does not say that he begat Jesus. It states only that he was the husband of Mary. There we have an amazing example of the exactness of Scrip ture. Mary also had other children (Matt. 13:55). While she did not re main a virgin after the birth of Christ, she certainly was up to that time. Bethlehem is about 80 miles from Nazareth. The road and means of transportation at that time left much to be desired. A woman in Mary’s delicate condition would have to be handled very carefully. The pace was necessarily slow, taking four and five days. When the young couple arrived at their destination, there was not any place for them to stay. It was in a stable that the Baby was bom. Perhaps it occurred on the very night that they arrived. As a police officer about thirty years ago, I can remember one night Page 18
we were cruising through the city. A car passed us at a terrific rate of speed. Immediately my partner and I took after it. We discovered a fran tic young husband with his wife in the rear seat. She was about to give birth to her child. We pulled ahead of him with the siren and the red lights going. He followed us right to the hospital as we pulled up to the emergency door. I ran inside for the doctor and nurse. But, it was too late. The baby was born in the back seat of the car. With one in such a condition, which was true with Mary, it could happen any time. The Lord Jesus could not have been bom somewhere along the way, for Mi- cah 5:2, pointing to Bethlehem, had to be fulfilled. The Scripture cannot be broken. This is also why the rul er’s decree went out. Christ could not have been born in Nazareth. The Bible is exact in every point. God’s hand is active in the affairs of men. Daniel rightly says that God sets up kings, and He takes them down. This can only give us added asurance that the promises of Scripture will be fulfilled for our lives. Christ said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Heb. 13:5). You can believe that. He will always keep His word. This old world has not seen the last of Him. The Babe born in Bethle hem, rejected by Israel, and nailed to a cross, is coming back as a mighty Conqueror and Lord of Glory. Just as the promise of His first coming was fulfilled so meticulously, so too will it be with His second coming. Chapter Eight God never intends for man to wander in doubt and unbelief. When it comes to the birth of His Son, He has given signposts to direct our thoughts toward the Saviour (Luke 2 : 8 - 20 ) . Appropriately the first witnesses to the Lord’s birth came from heaven. The angels worshipped Him. From eternity past throughout the future, Page 19
as we see in the book of Revelation, angelic hosts sing His praises. They surely marveled at His condescen sion in that He left the celestial city to come to this earth to die for our sins. Perhaps they could not under stand why the Lord of Glory would want to redeem such wicked and de graded creatures. You and I know why He came. It was because of His incomparable love and grace. The first testimony was shared with a group of shepherds in nearby surrounding fields. Some question how these men would be out on a cold December night. The truth is, no one knows for a fact that Christ was born on the 25th of December. It is the traditional day of our cele bration, but the exact date is com pletely unknown. It is the positive fact of His birth, not the date of it, that is so significant. But why shep herds? A fact like this should be told to kings and potentates, and most certainly be known in Jerusalem. Because man is a self-righteous crea ture, he does not like to hear of his need for salvation. He rather resents the fact. Human nature has been the same from the time Adam was put out of the Garden of Eden. The high and the mighty are slow to hear. There was a great queen in Eng land who was an outstanding believ er. Her reign was characterized by faith in Jesus Christ as her personal Saviour. She said that she thanked God for the letter, “M”, pointing out that the Bible says not many mighty would be saved. The “M” changes “any” to “many”. The shepherds properly heard first for they were servants. The Saviour Himself was a Shepherd (John 10). In my trips to the Holy Land, I have been very interested in watch ing shepherds with their flocks. I recall seeing a Palestinian shepherd with a little lamb wrapped around his neck, almost like a collar. He was singing with this little furry bundle around his neck. The other animals Page 20
followed him down the road. You see, the good shepherd always leads his sheep because he loves and cares for them. The real heart of the message to the shepherds is found in the Sav iour’s description. Note the first state ment: “Unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour...” Man desperately needs a Saviour. One ev idence of this fact are all the varied religious attempts to earn salvation. There are all kinds of rituals and ceremonies being observed. Christ was called “The Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). As the Old Testament animals had to be killed so that their blood might be shed, even so Christ had to give up His life. You see, it is only the blood of Jesus Christ that can cleansp us from all sin. There is no other way of salvation (John 14:6). The third emphasis in the message of the angels was that Christ was the Saviour for all men. He gave His life to ransom every person in the world. If your heart is hungry then turn to Jesus; He wants to satisfy the innermost longings of your soul. How exciting this must have been for the shepherds. Their response was immediate. Immediately they went to the Babe. They found Him exact ly the way the angel had described. Those who came to Him will never be cast out. The lives of the shepherds were changed. No one who meets the Lord can ever be the same. A man, having received Christ some time before, said, “I’m not what I hope to be; I am not what I ought to be; I am not what I want to be. But, thank God, I am not what I used to be!” Has your love been changed; have you become a new creature in Him? Voices are not coming from the skies now as they did to this little group of shepherds. But we do have a revelation from heaven — God’s Book, the Bible. We do not have to
younger, should be killed. He took no chances. He wanted to allow for the length of time the star first ap peared in Persia plus the necessary travel time. There has been a great deal of specualtion about this star. Many astronomers, as well as.others, con jecture that this was a new star. The theories are purely conjecture. We do know that the star led the wise men from their distant land to Her od’s palace. The star went before them, standing over the “house” where the young child was. The only way to account for this is by allow ing for the miraculous appearance of some heavenly body which had not existed prior to this time. Herod had called the priests to his coui;t. He wanted to know more about the new king. It is sad that men know Scripture, although they do not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour. They are not look ing for Him as their coming Re deemer. It is a dangerous thing to have nothing but a head knowledge of the Scriptures. That will never save your soul. You must believe and receive. Let us not overlook the ac tions of the wise men. These men were potentates and well-respected, yet they bowed before a young child. The Bible tells us that some day ev ery knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. All of this was prefigured in the ac tion of these wise men there in Bethlehem. Then consider the gifts they brought. What a beautiful les son! The first was gold, a fitting tribute for a king. This metal has always been the emblem of royalty. Then frankincense, which was used to produce a sweet fragrance. At the cross Christ offered Himself, a sweet- savor sacrifice. The Lord gave Him self as your Redeemer and mine. The third gift was a strange substance known as myrrh. This had to be gathered by crushing certain trees Page 21
go to Bethlehem as the shepherds did. We are simply asked to believe the revelation, putting our faith and confidence in Him. The One whom the shepherds met so long ago is waiting to minister to our hearts to day. If you do not know Him as your Shepherd, why not let Him come into your life? Why not put your faith in Him this day? Chapter Nine This is the last message in the series on “The Bible Boad to Beth lehem.” The Christmas season is a wonderful time of the year when we reflect on the consummation of this great prophecy concerning the vir gin birth of our Saviour. After the shepherds, another who came to see the Lord is mentioned. (Matt. 2:1-12). Who were these wise men? From their description, they may have been astrologers. They came from a high strata of society. Perhaps some godly Jews in their home area had taught them the prophetic Scriptures. The fact is nobody knows exactly how many wise men appeared that day. Just because they brought three gifts does not mean their numbers were so limited. There could have been many more. Their homes were evi dently near the land of Persia. In most Christmas plays and tableaux, shepherds and wise men appear at about the same time on the stage. In actuality, however, there was probably a lapse of time from be tween six months to more than a year. No one can be certain. With out a doubt, however, they appeared at a later date than the shepherds who first heard the message. Mat thew says that when the wise men came they found a young child, not a baby. All of this accounts for Herod’s actions. When he learned that the babe had been born in Bethlehem, he tried to determine just how long it had been since the birth. For this reason he sent out a decree that all the children, two years of age andPage 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44
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