FRIDAY MORNING MANNA
December 20, 2013
CHRISTMAS—A TIME TO HONOR CHRIST ALONE
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God . . . All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made . . .And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us. John 1: 1, 3, 14. Behold, a virgin shall be with a child, and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, God with us.”Matthew 1: 23, N.K.J.V.
“The story of Bethlehem is an exhaustless theme. In it is hidden ‘the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God.’ Rom. 11: 33. We marvel at the Savior’s sacrifice in exchanging the throne for a manger, and the companionship of adoring angels for the beasts of the stall. Human pride and self-sufficiency stand rebuked in His presence. Yet this was but the beginning of His wonderful condescension. It would have been an almost infinite humiliation for the Son of God to take man’s nature, even when Adam stood in his innocence in Eden. But Jesus accepted humanity when the race had been weakened by four thousand years of sin. Like every child of Adam, He accepted the results of the working of the great law of heredity. What these results were shown in His earthly ancestors [see Christ’s genealogy in Matt. 1: 1-21; Luke 3: 23-38]. He came with such a heredity to share our sorrows and temptations, and to give us an example of a sinless life.” – E. G. White, The Desire of Ages, pp. 48, 49.
“The twenty-fifth of December is supposed to be the day of the birth of Jesus Christ, and its observance has become customary and popular. But yet there is no certainty that we are keeping the veritable day of our Savior’s birth. History gives us no certain assurance of this. Had the Lord deemed this knowledge essential to our salvation, He would have spoken through His prophets and apostles, that we might know all about the matter. But the silence of the Scriptures upon this point evidences to us that it is hidden from us for the wisest purposes. In His wisdom the Lord concealed the place where He buried Moses. God buried him, and God resurrected him and took him to heaven.
This secrecy was to prevent idolatry. He who against whom they rebelled while he was in active service, whom they provoked almost beyond human endurance, was almost worshipped as God after his separation from them by death. For the very same purpose He has concealed the precise day of Christ’s birth, that the day should not receive the honor that should be given to Christ as the Redeemer of the world—one to be received, to be trusted, to be relied upon as He who could save to the uttermost all who come to Him. [Heb.7:25]. The soul’s adoration should be given to Jesus as the Son of infinite God.”- Ibid, Review & Herald, Dec. 9, 1884.
“The humanity of Christ of the Son of God is everything to us. It is the golden chain that binds our souls to Christ, and through Christ to God. This is to be our study. Christ was a real man; He gave proof of His humility by becoming a man. Yet He was God in the flesh.” -The Youth’s Instructor, Oct. 13, 1898. “That God should be manifest in the flesh is indeed a mystery; and without the help of the Holy Spirit we cannot hope to comprehend this subject. The most humbling lesson that man has to learn is the nothingness of human wisdom, and folly of trying, by his own unaided efforts, to find out God [Job 11:7, 8].” – Ibid, The Review & Herald, Apr. 5, 1906.
Thus I share the conviction with many, based on solid historical and Biblical facts that December 25 never was the day Jesus was born. Rather, it was the birthday celebrated in honor of the pagan sun-god, Mithra, long before our Savior was born.
“Mithraism, an outwardly refined sun worship, invaded the Roman Empire in B.C. 67, and made way for itself by gathering under its wings all the gods of Rome, so that in the
Middle of the third century, A.D., Mithraism seemed on the verge of becoming the universal religion.”- Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol.XVIII, art. ‘Mithraism,’ p. 624, 11th edition, 1911. “The pre-eminence assigned to the dies Solis [Sunday] by Mithraism also certainly contributed to the general recognition of Sunday as a holiday (among Christians),” – “Astrology and Religion Among the Greeks and Romans,” pp. 171, 162, 163. New York: 1912.
“Sunday, over which the Sun presided, was especially holy. . . . The worshippers of Mithra held Sunday sacred, and celebrated the birth of the Sun on the twenty-fifth of December.” –“The Mysteries of Mithra,” pp 167, 169. Chicago: Open Court Pub. Co., 1911. “It had so much acceptance that it was able to impose on the Christian world its own Sun-Day in place of the Sabbath, its Sun’s birthday, twenty-fifth December, as the birthday of Jesus.’”- “History of Christianity in the Light of Modern Knowledge,” Chap. III; cited in “Religion and Philosophy,” p. 73, 74. New York: 1929.
“How the Grinch Stole Christmas” is a children’s story by Dr. Seuss, published as a book by Random House in 1957. The book criticizes the commercialization of Christmas. . . It was one of the “Top 100 Picture Books” of all time in a 2012 poll by School Library Journal. “ Now, how about Scrooge? “Ebenezer Scrooge is the principal character in Charles Dickens’ 1843 novel, A Christmas Carol . . . His last name has come into the English language as byword for miserliness and misanthropy, traits displayed by Scrooge in the exaggerated manner for which Dickens is well-known. The tale of his redemption by the three Ghosts of Christmas (Ghost of Christmas Past, Ghost of Christmas Present, and Ghost of Christmas Yet to come) has become a defining tale of the Christmas holiday. Scrooge’s catchphrase, ‘Bah, Humbug,” is often used to express disgust with modern Christmas traditions.” (From Wikipedia).
My precious Bible tells me (1) there is only one way we sinners are going to be eternally saved–through the plan of redemption contemplated by Omniscience “before the foundation of the world,” taught in detail in the sanctuary doctrine. Now see Gen. 28: 10-22; John 1: 43-51. In a night vision “the plan of redemption was revealed to Jacob, not fully, but in such parts as were essential to him at that time. The mystic ladder revealed to him in his dream was the same to which Christ referred in his conversation with Nathanael. Said He, ‘Ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.’ . . The ladder represents Jesus, the appointed medium of communication. Had He not with His own merits bridged the gulf that sin had made, the ministering angels could have held no communication with fallen man.
Christ connects man in his weakness and helplessness with the Source of infinite power. All this was revealed to Jacob in his dream. Although his mind at once grasped a part of the revelation, its great and mysterious truths were the study of his life-time, and unfolded to his understanding more and more.”- Patriarchs & Prophets, p. 184.(2) there is only one Holy Ghost (K.J.V.), the Holy Spirit (in other versions) who imparts God’s grace, “the power of God unto salvation” in Christ, to every repentant believer even as there is only one Savior, Redeemer, High Priest, and Mediator—the Creator incarnate, Christ—the First Cause and Reason for all Seasons!
By God’s grace, I humbly believe I’m gradually grasping the wondrous meaning and profound significance of Christ’s birth (more accurately, His incarnation), death, resurrection, ascension, mediation—all preceding His soon return—as the real bright “Christmas” highlights on the “the tree” of the genuine Gospel. Indeed: “The gospel is a system of practical truths destined to work great changes in human character. If it does not work the transformation in life, in habits, and practice, it is no truth to those who claim to believe it. Man must be sanctified through the truth. And said Jesus, ‘Thy Word is truth.’ (John 17:17). Unless the truth of God shall lift up man out of his depravity, his intemperate and profligate habits, and make him reflect the image of God, he is lost.” – Ibid, This Day With God, p. 81.
It is in this sense and spirit that I wish and pray that all will receive with joy the Father’s “unspeakable gift” of His Son and Christ’s regenerating and sanctifying gift of the Holy Spirit—the reception of which brings all other gifts and “fruits” in its train! We can thus “sigh and cry” in spiritual disgust, “Bah, Humbug” to all the errors that, through constant repetition and tyranny of tradition, “have made of no effect the word and law of God” and truths concerning the true story of Christ’s birth, the knowledge of the plan of redemption, and the nature of the great controversy soon to reach its climax!
With these I share what a friend forwarded to me last week to ponder upon this Christmas, for, many, like Esau “lightly value the redemption purchased for them by Christ, [and] are ready to sacrifice their heirship to heaven for the perishable things of the earth.” They are also engaged and engrossed, in one form or another, in everything that obscures or counterfeits the true Gospel, blaming everyone and everything yet excluding themselves as also contributors to perpetrating popular errors and the confusion such create in their own minds, in the churches, and in the world today.
Never blame anyone in your Life.
Good people give you Happiness.
Bad people give you Experience.
Worst people give you a Lesson.
Best people give you Memories.
This reflects the precepts of what Apostle Paul wrote by the Holy Spirit in 2 Thessalonians 4:4-8:
“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I will say rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of a good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate (think, KJV) on these things.”
(“Are We Preparing for the Latter Rain-Part X, continued next week).