THE REASON FOR CHRISTMAS
JESUS CAME TO BE WITH US
The people of Jesus' day did not want to recognize Him at His first coming, and many do not want to accept the fact that we are in the last days before the second coming of Jesus. They, in the days of the first coming, chose to ignore certain Old Testament passages. The people of almost every age choose to ignore a certain prophecy. Today, people are still ignoring prophecy.
Matthew 13:10-17, 34-35
"AND THE DISCIPLES CAME, AND SAID UNTO HIM, 'WHY SPEAKEST THOU UNTO THEM IN PARABLES?' HE ANSWERED UNTO THEM, 'BECAUSE IT IS GIVEN UNTO YOU TO KNOW THE MYSTERIES OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, BUT TO THEM IT IS NOT GIVEN...THEREFORE I SPEAK UNTO THEM IN PARABLES, BECAUSE THEY SEE NOT...FOR THIS PEOPLE'S HEART IS WAXED GROSS, AND THEIR EARS ARE DULL OF HEARING, AND THEIR EYES THEY HAVE CLOSED...BUT BLESSED ARE YOUR EYES, FOR THEY SEE, AND YOUR EARS, FOR THEY HEAR. FOR VERILY, I SAY UNTO YOU, THAT MANY PROPHETS AND RIGHTEOUS MEN HAVE DESIRED TO SEE THOSE THINGS WHICH YOU SEE, AND HAVE NOT SEEN THEM, AND TO HEAR THOSE THINGS WHICH YOU HEAR, AND HAVE NOT HEARD THEM.
The great revelation of the Spirit for us is -- the time has arrived for the "setting of the mark" that was prophesied by Ezekiel. Seven angels are to come in the last days, and six will go forth to slay all who do not have the mark that indicates they are the ones who "sigh and cry for the abominations of the world." These non-intercessors are slain, beginning at the sanctuary and the event is referred to in II Peter 4:17 ("judgment [krima = damnation] begins at the house of God"), in Matthew 13 (the harvest of tares), and many other places in our Bible. There is a judgment for the church, and it is seldom mentioned. It is so seldom mentioned, that most Christians have never heard or discussed this judgment.
"YEA, THE STORK IN THE HEAVEN KNOWETH HER APPOINTED TIMES; AND THE TURTLE AND THE CRANE, AND THE SWALLOW OBSERVE THE TIME OF THEIR COMING; BUT MY PEOPLE KNOW NOT THE JUDGMENT OF THE LORD."
God's people are purposely ignorant of this judgment. It is not a pleasant subject. We would rather not think about it. Yet, it is soon to occur, and thus we cannot continue to be ignorant of this judgment.
The people in Noah's day could have listened to Noah's warning. They chose to ignore his warning. We are told that it will be the same in the last days.
"AND AS IT WAS IN THE DAYS OF NOAH, SO SHALL IT BE ALSO IN THE DAYS OF THE SON OF MAN. THEY DID EAT, DRINK... MARRIED WIVES...GIVEN IN MARRIAGE, UNTIL THE DAY THAT NOAH ENTERED INTO THE ARK, AND THE FLOOD CAME AND DESTROYED THEM ALL."
As the Lord searched the earth before the flood, and found Noah to
save, so in the last days, the Lord searches for some to "mark" that He might spare them in the judgment of the church.
Lot and his family had to almost be forcibly removed from Sodom. They almost didn't escape that judgment. In fact, one of the group did not escape, Lot's wife. In that day also, much was happening that distracted the people from the judgment to come. We are warned that many will be distracted from the coming judgments in the last days also.
"LIKEWISE ALSO AS IT WAS IN THE DAYS OF LOT; THEY DID EAT, THEY DRANK, THEY BOUGHT, THEY SOLD, THEY PLANTED, THEY BUILDED. BUT THE SAME DAY THAT LOT WENT OUT OF SODOM, IT RAINED FIRE AND BRIMSTONE FORM HEAVEN, AND DESTROYED THEM ALL. EVEN THUS SHALL IT BE IN THE DAY THAT THE SON OF MAN IS REVEALED."
As in Lot's day, the Lord and several angels came to Abraham, allowing the intercession of Abraham to bring Lot and part of his family to safety from the destruction. The angels went to Sodom, found Lot, and offered escape to him. We live in a day where destruction for the world, and even for the church preceding that destruction, is very near. Several righteous were spared Sodom's destruction, and some will be spared the judgment of the church due to intercessors of our day.
When Ezekiel was shown a vision of what it was like in Jerusalem, he was shown an idol at the entrance to the temple, pictures of false gods painted in the rooms of the priests in the temple, and many other vile sins within the temple. God's presence left the temple.
Prophetically, it described the sinful state of the church of the last days. In Ezekiel 9, we find a vision described that pictures the judgment on the church of the last days. This prophetic vision has not yet been fulfilled, and many scholars believe this inspired Peter's reference to the judgment beginning at the house of God. In the vision, seven men come. Six have a slaughter weapon in their hand. The other has a writer's ink horn. He is told to go forth from the holy place and set a mark on the foreheads of those who "SIGH AND CRY FOR THE ABOMINATIONS." Then the other six are sent forth and told to slay all who have not the mark. They are told to "BEGIN AT MY SANCTUARY."
This vision pictures what will soon happen when the Lord sends angels, similar to the death angel that came on the first Passover in Egypt. The judgment sounds serious.
Those who are like "bumps on a log" within the church had better get stirred. The revival movement in the last days is God's work. It is not optional, it is mandatory that we join. God is sending Jesus back for a revived church. He will first judge that church, before He judges the world. He will purge it of those who hinder revival, offend others, or do iniquity. It is not a wise time to be in the ranks of backbiters, gossips, faultfinders, criticizers, etc. When God is done with the judgment upon the church, then the church will have the biggest revival the world has ever seen.
"THEN SHALL THE RIGHTEOUS SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN IN THE KINGDOM OF THEIR FATHER. WHO HATH EARS TO HEAR, LET HIM HEAR."
In Isaiah, there is a great prophecy that we have seldom truly considered, and usually only notice at all around Christmas time.
"Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His name, Immanuel."
This event of the incarnation of deity becoming human flesh is a foundation truth of the gospel. Jesus came as One equal to the Father, eternal, omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, and became a man, born of the Spirit into a virgin named Mary. He began to reveal Himself, and the message of the Father to us.
When He returned to heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit back to be another Comforter for us. However, look closely at the name "Emmanuel" (Immanuel in the Old Testament, and Emmanuel in the New Testament). It means, as we have been told often, "GOD WITH US". Yet, the word for "with" is not the usual word for "with."
Usually, in the Bible, the word "with" is the Greek word "para" meaning "among", or "suun" meaning "along with" or "near", but the word used here is one that is seldom used, and it means "in new association," "in union," "as a joint worker," "a partner with".
The Lord wants to come unto us as "Emmanuel", and be with us in a special way. Just as Jesus told His disciples about the Spirit Who would come.
"...He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you."
In the same way we have had the Lord dwelling with (near us) for He told us that He would never leave nor forsake us (Matthew 28:20). Yet there is a time now arriving in which we are to experience the "mark" of the Lord and this mark is the Hebrew letter "tau". Just before the judgment on the church, the mark is to be placed upon the ones to be spared. This "tau" was a mark like our X, a cross. It was used by the early church as a symbol, and it was the first letter of the word for "Christ".
The placing of the mark is a great event similar to the placing of the blood upon the doorposts the night of the first Passover, which indicated which households were to be spared the judgment of the death angel that night. In the same way, there are six death angels prophesied in Ezekiel 9 to soon come and purge the church of the hypocrites, troublemakers, false prophets, etc.
We need to be "marked" by the one angel with the writer's inkhorn, and have the mark, which is symbolic of a fresh relationship with our Lord. He is the "Tau", and He will come to us as Emmanuel, God with us in a special union with us for these last days of trial and revival.
The "mark" of the first Passover was the blood of the lamb that was slain, symbolic of Jesus Who would someday come as the ultimate Lamb of God. They ate the lamb and put its blood on the doorpost.
In the last days, we will again be marked and partake of the Lamb. He will become a part of us, as the Passover lamb became assimilated into the beings of those of that day. They made the journey the next day in the strength of the lamb that they had eaten. As the lamb of the first Passover became united with them, when they ate it, so Christ will become Emmanuel - God in union with us - for the night of judgment and deliverance.
Christ, before this event, was "with" (para, and suun) us, but now we can have Him "with" (hama) us in a greater way than before.
At the incarnation, Jesus came to be with us. He came into the world, step one!
At the crucifixion, a new way of being with us was provided, and He became our Savior, step two.
At His ascension, He promised to be "with" us in another way (Matthew 28:20), step three.
At this setting of the "mark", we will now experience another way in which He will be with us.
And finally, very soon, we will have the ultimate "with" us, at the rapture of the church, and He will be eternally, physically with us.
Just before the return of the Lord at the rapture, the Lord will return to His church in a special way to aid and comfort us in these last days. He will come as Emmanuel, and will be upon us, within us, in union with our ministries, and united to us.
The Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost to be our Teacher, Empowerer, Advocate. Jesus called Him "ANOTHER Comforter. For Jesus is also our Comforter. Jesus is preparing to return literally, physically, just as He left this earth, but this last day revival period is to be marked by a special union of the Lord with the ones spared the great purging called the harvest of tares.
At the first Passover, many likely said, "But I have served the Lord, why do I need to worry about putting blood on the doorpost, and why must I eat this lamb? Where did Moses come up with this heresy?"
This truth for today is just a prophetic fulfillment of what the Passover eating of the lamb, and the putting of its blood upon the doorposts represented. The people of that day were about to see the deliverance power of God, the waters to part, the cloud and fire to lead them, the provision of manna and water, etc. We are about to see the great miracles of the latter rain revival.
First, for them, came the Passover marking, and for us first must come the "mark" (tau), then the judgment such a marking spares us from will precede the great revival. Some resisted the marking, and were thereby judged with the others, and some will resist in our day also.
Let us take note of the great sermon Jesus preached about the BREAD OF LIFE. This is one of the best of the sermons of Jesus, and yet many have studied it very little. It was a sermon that caused the following of Jesus to shrink considerably. Thousands were following Him before the sermon, and at its end only 12, and one of them was planning a betrayal. This sermon must have been powerful, dynamic, and controversial. Why have we not studied it more in Christianity? The answer is that the truths taught are still as controversial, and many a pastor fears the loss of his crowd if he taught this sermon as Jesus did.
Note the description of the listeners of this sermon:
They followed Jesus for the wrong reasons. They thought Jesus would be a great "meal ticket," and they would simply have to follow Him and have all they could eat.
"Ye seek Me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled."
They were prosperity minded, and not seeking the Lord's teaching as much as they were the Lord's material blessings.
"Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for the meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of Man shall give unto you."
They wanted to be spectators of signs and wonders.
"...What sign shewest Thou then, that we may see."
They lacked true faith.
"But I have said unto you, That ye also have seen Me, and believe not."
They murmured at the hearing of the truth taught herein by Jesus.
"The Jews then murmured at Him, because He said, I am the bread which came down from heaven."
They found the truth too hard to understand.
"...when they had heard this, said This is an hard saying, who can hear it?"
They were offended by the sermon and its truths.
"When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples murmured at it, He said unto them, Doth this offend you?"
Many departed and followed Jesus no more following this sermon.
"From that time many of His disciples went back, and walked no more with Him."
The teaching of this sermon must have been very important for Jesus to teach it knowing it would cause most to turn away from Him. Perhaps we had better find out what it was that He taught.
The time of this sermon was shortly before the Feast of the Tabernacles (John 7:2), roughly six months before the time Jesus would be crucified. He teaches a lesson that the disciples would need to remember when they would soon sit with Jesus at the last supper, and be given the bread and the wine in the first communion service.
Jesus teaches in this sermon that God in the days of Moses provided them bread from heaven to eat, to sustain themselves in the days that they were to be traveling to the Promised land. Yet, Jesus says that He was the "true and living manna" that the first manna represented. He must be partaken of and assimilated or there would be no life.
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness and are dead. This is the bread that cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."
The world could not understand this teaching, and the disciples even were troubled by it. Jesus must come into union with us before the great time of trouble come upon the church and upon the world in these last days. This coming into union with us is the event of the Emmanuel coming to us.
We need an Emmanuel experience
For we are traveling a road similar to the road traveled by the disciples of that day. We are headed to the time when Jesus will purify the House of God, and the time when persecution will reach its peak. The resurrection time lay ahead also, but there were some trying events in the middle. They could only make it if they were following Jesus for the right reasons, and if they came into a union with Him that meant to partake of Him in a special way. Already, many in Judah were seeking to kill Jesus. The time of persecution had already begun, and the Lord knew the disciples needed a closer union with Him for them to make it through. As we know, they failed to fully comprehend this teaching, for they did not do well in the days of betrayal and crucifixion.
In these last days, just before the harvest of tares of Matthew 13, and the severing time of the six judgment angels of Ezekiel 9, we need to have the 'setting of the mark' upon us, we need the Emmanuel experience, and we need the special union of the Lord with us, so we will make it through.
During the church age, the Holy Spirit has been the operative One, manifesting the power of God, and telling us what the Lord and God the Father wanted us to know, but now, in the final days of the church age, we can have an Emmanuel experience that will bring the presence of the Lord in a close united way to our lives.
He will be our Protector, our other "Comforter" Who will be with us, as the Passover lamb was with the Israelites on that first Passover. The lamb of that day provided protection, blessing, and sustenance for the trials soon to come. We need the Lord in a special way, now we need His protection, fellowship, sustenance, and blessing.
The Lord is coming to the true church, to the saints that are to be marked with the "tau", and giving them a special impartation of Himself. We can partake of Him, as we would eat bread getting ready for a journey. We can appropriate Him, and assimilate Him into our beings, and then walk in fresh fellowship with Him.
Are there any takers? Do you want the mark? Do you want to partake of Jesus, the Bread of Life? Many of that day could not, or would not. We now know that for them to partake of Jesus and to stay in close fellowship with Him would have meant to partake of His sufferings, His unpopularity, and possibly suffer His death with Him. The Lord has told us to "Take up your cross and follow Me." (Matthew 16:24). We may take this mark, partake of the Lord as our Bread of Life. Or we may, as many did there, forsake His great offer!
In II Corinthians, the Spirit of Truth, desires to remove the vail's of blindness from men's minds, and the Spirit of Truth can bring liberty, freedom from veils.
Then in II Corinthians 3:18, the Spirit teaches us:
"But we all, with open face (unveiled from blindness of veils), beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed (Greek = metamorphoo = transfigured, as used of the Lord in Matthew 17:2) into the same image (Greek = eikon = copy, representation, resemblance) from glory to glory, even by the Spirit of the Lord."
The Spirit of Truth has a main job to do in each of us through which He works... to change us into the image of Christ. Just as Christ told the listeners in the sermon of the ABIDING IN CHRIST in John 14:9, that to see Him was to see the Father.
"he that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father."
In the same way, the Lord wants to come to us, and allow the Spirit of Truth change us into the same image as Christ, and to see us, know us, deal with us, etc. would be the same as to see, know, deal with Christ Himself. When the Lord told us to ABIDE IN HIM, He added.
"Abide in Me, and I IN YOU."
The final part of our abiding, and bearing the suffering that Christ endured, and doing the ministry to a rebellious world that Christ did is the part of Jesus abiding in, changing our image to His, going from "glory to glory" and finding a glorious presence of Christ with each step upward toward being like our precious Lord.
To see Jesus, was to see God. God abode within Jesus, and upon Jesus so much. God anointed the ministry of Jesus so much, and to hear Jesus speak, or to see Him minister was like watching the Father Himself speak and minister.
The Lord wants us to accept the ministry of the Spirit of Truth, allow Him to work, and then to abide in Christ, and allow Him to make us a blessing to the world, and HE WILL THEN MAKE US TO BE THE VERY IMAGE OF HIM FOR HE WILL BECOME EMMANUEL, GOD WITH US, SO MUCH, THAT TO SEE, LISTEN TO, OR DEAL WITH US WILL BE LIKE DEALING WITH CHRIST JESUS HIMSELF
What a blessed relationship to have with Jesus, and what a blessed relationship for the world to see in us. Jesus had that kind of relationship with God and He offered that kind of relationship with Him. The SPIRIT OF TRUTH must begin working in us. We must begin ABIDING in the Lord, and then be the BLESSING TO OTHERS that the Lord wants us to be and the end result will be: WE WILL TRULY HAVE EMMANUEL WITH US! Jesus is wanting to come in a special way in these last days!