(First published 25 December 2023 at Christine Darg’s Substack)

By Christine Darg

Jerusalem Channel

Merry Christmas, or as my British family more properly says, Happy Christmas!

Yes, joy to the world! The Lord HAS come and IS coming again soon!

The baby Lamb of God slumbering in the lowly king-sized bed, a manger, amongst God’s creation in a stable (succa) is no longer a babe but is coming back soon as the roaring Lion of Judah. (Revelation 5: 5)

Many believers eschew Christmas because of pagan traditions, but I appreciate this opportunity to ponder the Incarnation and Bible prophecies concerning the Lord’s first coming while also anticipating his Second Advent, our blessed hope!

Jesus, Yeshua, was probably born during the Feast of Tabernacles in a stable (succa), for a number of reasons, but since so many people globally acknowledge the Savior’s birth, let us contemplate his miraculous birth.

And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He 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 of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible. (Luke 1: 30-37 KJV)

Take to heart over and over and over again…. with God nothing is impossible.

Nothing is too difficult for the LORD! (Jeremiah 32: 17)

The Gospel of peace and joy seems amplified this year after we have witnessed the jihadists’ ugly face of hatred.

In fact, I was delighted to see this Facebook post by one of my Orthodox Israeli friends who is a rabbi . . . .

Furthermore, my own wonderment grows — God stands true to the standards of his Word, bringing many seemingly irreconcilable prophecies to pass in the life and destiny of his only Begotten Son.

I marvel how God wove together the circumstances of the Roman census causing Jesus providentially to be born in Bethlehem, fulfilling Micah 5: 2; yet also due to circumstances that endangered his life, his family fled to Egypt, where he was called out of Egypt, fulfilling Hosea 11:1; and finally, due to more God-orchestrated circumstances, before his public ministry, Jesus was secluded in Nazareth and was therefore was called a Nazarene. (Matthew 2: 23)

Bible scholars explain that Matthew associated the word Nazarene with the Hebrew word netser (“branch or sprout”).

The “Branch” was a common term for the Messiah, as in Isaiah 11:1: “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.” Hebrew is written with consonants, and netser would have appeared as the equivalent of NZR—the same main consonants as Nazareth.

Matthew saw Jesus “sprouting up” from an obscure village in Galilee. Jesus was the Branch predicted by the prophets, and the name of the town He grew up in happens to sound like the prophets’ word for “branch.”

The Scripture records that Mary’s husband Joseph went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register in the census along with his espoused wife Mary, who was with child. While they were there in Bethlehem, she give birth to her firstborn son; and wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

THE SIGN OF THE SWADDLING CLOTHS. The night Jesus was born in Bethlehem, an angel met shepherds tending flocks, along with a multitude of heavenly hosts praising God and declaring the Savior had been born. These weren’t ordinary shepherds; they tended the temple flocks. When a lamb was born, if the shepherds found it had a “spot” or physical defect, it would not be suitable for sacrifice. If the lamb was spotless, it was their job to ensure that the lambs’ feet were protected with clean swaddling cloths.

When the shepherds visited the manger, they saw Him wrapped in the same swaddling bands — they comprehended that Jesus was indeed the “Lamb of God” (John 1:29) who came into the world to be sacrificed at Passover, for without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins. (Hebrews 9: 22) “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were … redeemed … with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (1 Pet 1:18-19)

Furthermore, the Messiah MUST be born in Bethlehem. Full stop!

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times.”
 (Micah 5: 2)

Below: a Byzantine era mosaic map located in Madaba, modern-day Jordan, showing Ephratha located between Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

We greatly miss being in Bethlehem this year to honor the Lord’s birth. For many years our ministry has presented the Gospel in Bethlehem. But this year due to the war, dour churchmen “cancelled” Christmas. This Facebook post by one of the Trustees of our ministry, Barbara Dingle, has the correct perspective:

Heavenly Father, just as YOU coordinated all the Bible prophecies concerning the Lord’s first Advent, we are watching very closely now…..how you are coordinating with very great detail circumstances leading up to the Rapture and the Second Advent of King Messiah! Anoint our eyes to understand the times!

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