Friday, December 23, 2016

Christmas Devotional Day 23

Friday-Day 23

The questions that we are thinking about today is "Should the knowledge of the Rapture and Second Coming affect me?" and if so "how should the knowledge that there are a  Rapture and a Second Coming affect me? "

Without a doubt knowledge that Jesus Christ is going to come back to this earth should affect each one of us whether we are a saint or a sinner. When looking at the First Coming of the Lord at the time of His birth, we see that there are different emotions that people felt and these emotions affected their respond to the birth.

Simeon was motivated to give blessings to God.

Luke 2:28–33 (KJV 1900)

28Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,
29Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart In peace, according to thy word:
30For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
31Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;
32A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
33And Joseph and his mother marveled at those things which were spoken of him.

Secondly, he blessed Joseph and Mary.

Luke 2:34 (KJV 1900)

34And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;

In verse 28 and 34, the Greek word εὐλογέω is translated into the English word "blessed." Simeon is taking two different actions. In verse 28 "blessed" means to say something commendatory, speak well of, praise, extol [1]. Here Simeon gives praise and thanksgiving to God for fulfilling His Word and allowing himself to see the Messiah who would be the savior of all people whether they were a child of Israel or a lowly Gentile. When blessing Joseph and Mary it has another application. It means to ask for the bestowal of special favor, especially of calling down God’s gracious power[2]. It was the customary Jewish greeting when meeting someone. In both places, it shows the positive effect that the birth had on Simeon.

Let's look at Anna's response to the birth.

Luke 2:38 (KJV 1900)

38And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

The word to lets us know that Anna and Simeon both gave thanks to the Lord for being chosen to see the Lord at His coming! They understood that it was a privileged position and humbly offer thanksgiving.

A second action that is taken is that she begins to speak to everyone who looked for the coming of the Messiah. What did she declare? I'm sure it was that the Messiah had come and that Jesus was that expected One! The verb "spake" is translated from the Greek word λαλέω laléō. Its definition is to talk but with the thought of talking much as children do.[3] She is beside herself with excitement as she tells all she can that the Messiah has come! The word is in the imperfect tense that stresses that it was a continual action that she had done since the holding the baby.  It was not a one-time event Anna did out of duty. She had a lifestyle of sharing with everyone she came in contact the good news.

The shepherds did the same as Anna and Simeon speaking to others and praising God for what they had been privileged to experience.

Luke 2:17-18,  20 (KJV 1900)

17And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
18And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
20And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

The shepherd did not just describe the event to everyone who would hear but made known the saying! In other words, they told everyone what the angel had spoken to them which was:

Luke 2:11–12 (KJV 1900)
11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

They had the invaluable knowledge that the Savior, Messiah, had come to earth and was presently in Bethlehem! They shared this truth with everyone and supported how this miracle had come known to themselves by repeating the story of the coming of the angels! They described the angel's instructions of where to go and how they would find the baby. These instructions were necessary because they would pinpoint the location of the child. He would be lying in a manger! This would direct them not to a house but to a stable, cave any place where you would keep animals that would feed out of a manger. Since they were shepherds, they would know the location of these sites in the city because they might have had to lead the sheep to the owner's stables during times of storm or for shearing. Further identification was given. He would be wrapped in swaddling clothes which were strips of cloth that would be tightly wrapped around the baby. This was done to comfort the child as it would be the same tight feeling as being in the mother's womb.

Not only did they do like Anna and share the good news with everyone, like Simeon they joined the choir of the angels glorifying and praising God and returned to the fields (2:20)!

For Herod the announcement of a baby who was recently born to the King of the Jews was not joyous, in fact, it was troubling.

Matthew 2:1–5 (KJV 1900)
1Now when Jesus was born in Beth-lehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
2Saying, 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.
3When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
4And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.
5And they said unto him, In Beth-lehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,
6And thou Beth-lehem, 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.

ταράσσω is the Greek word that is translated "troubled."  It is defined as "to cause inward turmoil, stir up, disturb, unsettle, throw into confusion"[4].  He was standing in the presence of men who were not the peasants of the neighboring kingdoms but the dignities. For them to have traveled to his throne room was no small task! It meant they knew something he did not know about what was happening in his kingdom. For men of their stature to come and to admit they had seen something supernatural in the heavens that had pointed them to his country would mean that this had to do with the foolish thought of the Jews that a Messiah would come to lead them. Had He come?
The news was exciting for Herod but not in a positive sense! It stirred up thoughts that we not good. Thoughts of fear, loss of position, loss of power, and loss of finances. It would mean he would be under the control of someone else and possibly not the be master of his fate! This new King might destroy everything he had work for and have protected! The only solution was to find the baby and have it killed!

The inward turmoil caused his tongue to become sharp! He demanded of the scribe the knowledge of where Messiah would be born. This information would be relevant as to direct the wise men and at the same time show his awareness of the situation. It would also give him the location to order the destruction of the baby king!

It is evident that the First Coming affected everyone but not just those who were physically close to the child but even those who were looked upon as being in distant. All Jerusalem was troubled by the announcement of the wise mean that a king of the Jews was born. To those who looked for His coming, the report by Anna was like a drink of water on a hot day, refreshing!

Those same feeling are experienced by the announcement of a Rapture and a Second Coming. It is a joyous thought for some while for other it is troubling! Why is it different for each? The experience of Salvation and the living of that out in today's world will determine if you love to talk of the Rapture or if you shun to think of it. If your heart is ready to meet the Lord, then you will share your knowledge of the His coming with everyone. It will motivate you to hold nothing back, release your desire for self-control, and cause you to want the mind and will of God to direct your steps. Worship will flow from your lips and a drive to share the news with everyone will permeate your life.

The signs of the day speak volumes to everyone that Jesus is saying: "Surely I come quickly." There are two responses to those words:
·         If you are troubled by these words you will cry out "Wait a little longer." Give me more time to repent of my sins and to correct the conditions of my heart and life.
·         If you love these words you will cry out in response to the signs of the times with the words "Even so, come, Lord Jesus" (Revelation 22:20).  

Your Response

Ask yourself the questions:
·         Which of the two responses is me today?
·         Am I ready for the Coming of Jesus?
·         Are there words of forgiveness I need to ask of others?
·         Do I need to repent of any sins?
·         Am sharing my testimony of what God has done in my life to others?
·         Am I worshiping and praising God with my entire being in the church services, on the joy and with my family and friends?

Take time and seek the face of God today, crying out in humility and believing that He will use you to help others to know that there is a Savior who has come to change their lives and future.

[1] William Arndt, Frederick W. Danker and Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000). 407-08.
[2] William Arndt, Frederick W. Danker and Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000). 408.
[3] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament, electronic ed. (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).
[4] William Arndt, Frederick W. Danker and Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000). 990.

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