GOD's ARMY, CONTENDING for the FAITH
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murjahel

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SCROOGE'S ROLE MODELS

Ebeneezer Scrooge is a fictional character that had no respect for the celebration of Christmas. He was interested in making money, and had no desire to honor the holiday, for its real purpose. He changed by the end of the book, but today we have many "Scrooges" who cannot even use the word "Christmas". They claim they do not want to "offend" anyone.


Many of these same people who do not want to offend any "non-Christian" are very offensive to Christians when they celebrate Halloween with witches and devils. Many can honor the devil, but cannot say "Christmas".


Some malls and some stores can only say a generic "HAPPY HOLIDAYS", but are unable to name the holiday they are celebrating. Money is the only reason for their celebration at all. They are worse than "Scrooge". They are hypocritical in their denial of their offensive slam against true Christianity, and the celebration of the conception of One of the Godhead into mankind.
In Bible days, there were "Scrooges" of that time also.

 
THE INNKEEPER

Luke 2:1, 4-7
"And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed... And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David😉To be taxed with Mary, his espoused wife, being great with child, And so it was, that while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.  And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger; because there  was no room for them in the inn."


The Hebrew word "malon" meant a "night resting place." Many inns were in use in the land. Rahab, of Jericho was an inn-keeper according to Jewish targums, and that is why the spies were in her home when they went to spy out Jericho. The people of Jericho who were searching for these spies therefore assumed these travelers would be in her home.


The upper room of the last supper was the large room used to house travelling people of that day. They did not have separate rooms for each family but a large room meant to house many weary travelers.   (Mark 14:14, Luke 22:11 uses the word "guest-chamber" to refer to the upper room, and it is the same word in Luke 2:7 that refers to the inn of Bethlehem.)


Joseph and Mary had expected to receive welcome at the inn within Bethlehem.  The inn-keeper was likely a friend, and perhaps a relative, for most people in Bethlehem were related as descendants of David.


The stable was a wood frame, covered by rocks and earth to help insulate from the cold and rain. The animals of the travelers would be housed within the stable of the inn.  Often there was an upper platform, slightly above the level of the floor of the stable, where someone having care of the animals would sleep. With the inn itself being so full, it is likely this shelf was likewise already occupied.



Therefore, Mary and Joseph were left with only the floor of a stable.  There amidst the excrement of horses, donkeys, and other animals, Mary and Joseph had to seek rest. When Jesus was born, the manger, a feeding structure for the animals was the cleanest and safest place for the newborn Messiah.


The innkeeper was so pre-occupied with:
 his work,
 his property,
 his business,
 his income,
 and his plans
that the baby being born in his stable was not so important to him.  The Holy Spirit and the prophecies of the Word of God were telling the people of a soon coming Messiah... and yet, the innkeeper was too busy  to hear,  to discern,    or to care   about a Savior. The innkeeper had no room for Jesus, as do many today. 


Like the wise men, he could have noticed the "star" that had appeared two years before, and could have known the well-known prophecy of a Messiah to be born in Bethlehem two years following this event. Yet, he was too busy and pre-occupied.


Like many 'scrooge-like' people today, the innkeeper had other interests.  We need to beware of such attitude. God gave this world the greatest gift possible to give. He gave us the "SON" Who came to live with mankind, die for our sins, and be resurrected to guarantee that we also could someday be resurrected to eternal life. There is no greater gift than that!  We give gifts at Christmas, to commemorate such gift.
 
HEROD


The name "Herod" means "heroic".  Egotism marked this family, and of nearly all the men called "Herod" it can be said that they died unmourned.

The Herodian family were not really Jewish. Herod the Great circulated the story that he was a Babylonian Jew.  The story had no historical basis... He was an Idumean, who were nominal Jews, since they were subdued by John Hyrcanus in 125 B.C., were embodied in the Asmonean kingdom through forced circumcision.


The first Herod was Herod Antipas (78 B.C.), who was appointed governor of Idumea by Alexander Jannaeus. His son, Herod Antipater (47-43 B.C.) succeeded him. Then came Herod the Great who was king of Judea (37 - 4 B.C.).


Antipater had great ambitions for his son, Herod the Great.  Herod the Great began to be governor at a very young age... Most believe that he was 25 years old when he began to rule.  Anthony appointed him to be "tetrarch" of Judea in 41 B.C.  


 
The first act of his reign was the extermination of the Asmonean house, to which Herod was related through his marriage to Mariamne, the granddaughter of Hyrcanus. 


Antigonus was killed with his 25  chief supporters. Hyrcanus was recalled from Babylon (to which he had been banished by Antigonus. The high-priesthood was bestowed upon Aristobulus, Herod's brother-in-law, but he was soon killed by order of Herod the Great. These murders turned the love of Herod's wife, Mariamne, into bitter hatred.   Hyrcanus, though maimed and helpless, was later murdered by Herod's orders in 31 B.C.  In 28 B.C., he had Mariamne killed. Still worried that that side of the family might attempt to succeed him, he had his mother-in-law, and his sons by Mariamne (Alexander and Aristobulus) killed (7 B.C.).

  
Herod the Great introduced Roman sports and heathen temples in his kingdom.  This offended many Jewish people.  A political party did develop that likewise favored accommodation with the Romans.  These "Herodians" were hated by both the Sadducees and the Pharisees, and the only thing we know they agreed upon with these other groups was the hatred for Jesus Christ (Matthew 22:16, Mark 3:6, 12:13). 


Herod the Great tried to win over the Jews, but was unsuccessful.  Numerous plots against his life were sponsored by Zealots and angry Jews who had been robbed by this ruthless ruler. One of his last acts was to order the execution of his son Antipater (son of Herod and Doris) who had helped Herod kill his brothers Alexander and Aristobulus.  Then he ordered that a number of well-loved nobles of Jerusalem would be executed on the day that he, Herod, would die.  He wanted to be sure there would be mourning on the day of his death.  He knew that people would want to rejoice at his death, so he knew that if these loved-nobles died on the same day, the mourning and weeping throughout the city could be construed to be for his own death.


So well known was the murderous acts of Herod the Great, that Caesar Augustus reported said of Herod: "I would rather be Herod's hog, than to be his son."


This Herod the Great is mentioned in Matthew 2 and Luke 1.  He is confronted by the wise men who are searching for the Messiah Whom they knew to have just recently been born. Herod ordered the massacre of all children around Bethlehem, two years and younger.  He died in 4 B.C.


Different groups down through the ages have estimated the number of those killed, the reasonable authorities give estimates that  vary from 20 to 14,000. The flight of Joseph, Mary, and the newborn Jesus to Egypt would have been largely unnecessary if it were any number close to the 20. But this attempt to kill the children must have continued for some time, as more and more infants were sought out, and killed. The early church reported the 14,000 number, and this is most likely the correct one.


This Herod, who had even his own wife and sons killed to protect the throne for his own self, would have not hesitated to have any unrelated child slaughtered due to this paranoia.


The devil knew the prophecies that dated the birth of the Messiah to this time, the event of the "star" would have been noticed by the devil and his cohorts. Therefore, the devil who had inspired a murderous paranoia within Herod the Great, also had him build a fortress like castle in Bethlehem.


There, upon the highest hill of the town, sat a home, wherein the devil could have a murderous, and insane sinner like Herod awaiting One Who would soon be born.


The devil places "tares" amidst the wheat of today. Hypocrites fill the churches. False prophets occupy pulpits... for the devil's strategies do not change. He wanted the Messiah dead, he wants revival stifled, and he wants true saints abused  and distracted from their true work.


Therefore, there are many a "Herod" who abuse the saints of today, who lie and deceive, and fall into doing the work of the devil.

CHIEF PRIESTS
 
 
Matthew 2:1-12
"Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod, the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying,  Where is He that is born 'King of the Jews' for we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea; for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou, Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda; for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule My people, Israel. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found Him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship Him also.


Herod called for the advice of the chief priests.  These were the religious leaders of the priesthood. The priesthood was divided into 24 courses (I Chronicles 24:7-18).  These 24 leaders of the priesthood each took turns in ministering in the Temple. Those leaders of the 24 groups were called "chief priests".  They would have necessarily studied the Scriptures, and been advisors and teachers of the other priests who would minister to the people. Thus they were "teachers of the teachers".


The  chief priests are the religious leaders who have much Bible knowledge but were only "knowledgeable dupes". For they knew wherein the Messiah would be born, but did not desire to follow the "star" with the wise men. They returned to their "pews" and sat there to discuss the "wise men".


Later when the reports of the shepherds began to be circulated... and the prophecy of Simeon and Anna were being preached in the temple court itself... they still sat upon such pew.


The church congregations of today often have such "high priests" leading them. Ones who should know the prophecies of the Bible, know little, of if they do know much, are too apathetic to show any excitement of the signs of the last days being fulfilled.  Their churches, and their own spiritual lives have no anticipation, no joy, no expectation. They are not anxious to leave the world that has given them wealth, power, and prestige.


There are also many religious in our day, who like the "chief priests" are duped by the Herod's, and are too dispassionate to care to be ready for the coming Messiah. They are the pew sitting, 'vegetating', tired, apathetic, unexcited multitudes found in many churches.


The wise men went to Herod, who was troubled at the thought of a coming Messiah, and Herod went to the chief priests who could care less about the coming of a Messiah. There are many today who are troubled or apathetic at the prophetic message of our day. They will seek to harm, deceive, and lie to any who follow the prophetic message... or simply to sit and calmly discuss the fanaticism of those who are excited about the coming of Jesus. Today, we call such people to be abusers, tares, false prophets, etc.  


This Herod called the religious people of his day, the 24 chief priests and they were knowledgeable enough to know that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Yet, these same religious people who were apathetic about the prophetic message, did not accompany the wise men to Bethlehem. They had eyes to see the same star as the wise men, and knowledge of the Scriptures, and yet they sat in their "holy" pew and did not care to see the infant Messiah. They were "knowledgeable dupes" of the day.


In our day there are "Herod's" and "chief priests" galore. The message that Jesus is about to return to earth is being proclaimed, and yet many today, like these "chief priests" are   
apathetic,
lethargic,
indifferent,
unconcerned,
uninterested,
unresponsive,
and dispassionate
to the exciting news of the second coming of a Messiah. 


Are we in similar company with the "scrooges" of today?  Are we, ourselves, behaving this Christmas, like unto the "scrooges", the innkeeper, Herod, or chief priests???

__________________
murjahel
John
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