One, solitary birth is the basis upon which the future hangs for every person ever to enter this mortal realm we call Planet Earth. How each man, woman, and child who has reached age to understand the Salvation issue views this visitation determines where their home will be for eternity.
Many believe Jesus was sent by God to show us how to live a good life. Some believe He was a great prophet and teacher. Others believe He was a philosopher, right up there with Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and the rest. A few among the billions who have lived since His birth have believed Jesus is the Son of God, but perhaps one among others of a created angelic order assigned to influence the affairs of mankind. Still fewer believe that He was who He claimed to be –the only begotten Son of God – the way, the truth, and the life (John 14: 6).
No birth of any individual has ever caused the excitement and controversy that the birth of Jesus has engendered. Was this baby a stranger of an other-worldly order, sent to earth to provide moral guidance? Was Jesus sent to philosophize on the vicissitudes of the human existence? Or, was this visitation something more?
Jesus came into the world through the Jewish Race. Only those inalterably antagonistic to the truth of history will argue against that. So, we should examine this birth –this visitation—through the prism of Israel, and that Jewish nation’s dealings with the one called Jesus.
Although there are other histories about the era, the Bible’s historical account has, through archaeological unveilings, proven time after time to be accurate in details concerning matters surrounding Jesus, the Jews, and Israel. (One such example is the relatively recent discovery of artifacts and evidence that one called Pontius Pilate ruled the area of Judea during the times attributed to Jesus’ crucifixion. Until the discovery, Pilate’s existence as an historical figure was seriously doubted, even denied by many historians.)
We can know the accuracy of how the nation Israel –the religious Jews in particular—dealt with the one called Jesus. We can know with assurance that He performed miracles, and claimed to be God, Himself, by using the Bible’s documented veracity as proof that Jesus was born exactly as foretold in detail by Old Testament prophets. These Jewish religious leaders’ treatment of Christ’s first coming as a baby, lays groundwork for understanding what that first visitation means to the souls of all mankind. Understanding that first coming, also will help frame the vital importance of how each of us view Christ’s prophesied Second Advent.
Tragically, the pious Jewish leaders refused to accept that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah sent from Jehovah to be their King, and their Savior. They rejected Him, despite the precise prophecies He fulfilled in His coming, and His ministry. They chose to have Rome rather than Jesus rule over them. The results of their rejection continues to reverberate, not only in the region called the Holy Land, but throughout the entire world. Armageddon is building, its nucleus grounded in Satanic rage against God’s chosen people.
Jesus wept over God’s people of Israel and the city, Jerusalem. He foresaw times ahead that would eventuate in calamity for them.
“And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.” (Lk 19: 41-44)
Christ’s first visitation was ignored and scoffed at by the religious leaders of the time. Their choice was their own way, rather than God’s way. Each preferred to do what was right in his own eyes. True to Jesus’ prophecy, Jerusalem was laid waste, the temple destroyed, and the Jews scattered to every part of the world. Genocide was committed against them to the point their very existence as a race was threatened.
Israel continues to pay the price. Anti-Semitism is growing in Europe, and around the world. The nation is becoming marginalized, just as the prophet Zechariah forewarned in Zechariah chapters 12 and 14.
But there is a bright day coming for that people –those whom accept the Messiah’s second visitation. Paul the apostle warned believers not to feel superior to Jews. He forecast a coming time when Israel would shine among the nations.
“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.” (Rom 11: 25)
God foretold, again through the prophet Zechariah, that believing Israel will yet recognize the Lord Jesus –upon His second visitation to planet earth.
“And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for [his] only [son], and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for [his] firstborn.” (Zech. 12: 10)
The Apostle Paul foretold: “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.” (Rom 11: 26)
A parallel can be drawn between the ecclesiastical Jewish leaders of the time of Jesus’ first visitation, and many among mainstream evangelical clergy today. Neither group considered nor considers prophecies of Christ’s coming as relevant to their times. Their attitude is much akin to the one described by the Apostle Peter.
“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” (2 Pet 3: 3-4)
This sin-darkened sphere is on the brink of another visitation. Unlike the first, when He came as a humble baby, who was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, He will come the next time as the King of all kings, and the Lord of all lords. Let us who claim Christ as Savior heed His words about His coming again. And the first phase of that Second Coming will be unannounced, and in the twinkling of an eye –the Rapture!
“Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.” (Mark 13: 35-37)