What Happens after Christmas?

A third narrative of the birth of Christ is found in Revelation 12, giving a different perspective from those of Matthew and Luke. Looking at the birth of Christ from that perspective helps you deal with the sufferings you face.

The sign of a woman about to give birth appears as a sign in heaven. The woman is the church, the people of God (Isaiah 54:1-8). The 12 stars take you back to the 12 sons of Israel, and Joseph’s dream in Genesis 37:9. She gives birth to a son, a male child. Satan, represented by the red dragon (picturing a combination of cunning wisdom, power, and authority–see Daniel 8:10), stands ready to devour the child. The conflict goes back to the first mention of the gospel in Genesis 3:15. Continue reading “What Happens after Christmas?”

I’m Dreaming of . . . .

“I’m dreaming of a white Christmas / Just like the ones I used to know. . . .” Irving Berlin’s song of 1942 struck a chord with those serving in distant locations during WW2. But Matthew 1:20-23 tells you of a more serious, much more real dream.

God reveals his message in a dream. Joseph’s situation resembled a nightmare. Engagement in 1st century Jewish culture was a much more binding relationship than in ours. Although it was not marriage, and the couple were involved in neither a domestic nor a sexual relationship, its violation was virtually equivalent to adultery. Joseph’s situation seems to be a nightmare. He discovers that Mary, this quiet woman who seemed so Continue reading “I’m Dreaming of . . . .”

The Rescuer We Need

Who has never gotten themselves into such a jam that they needed someone else to get them out of it? Some borrow money, but later find themselves drowning in debt and in need of rescue.

The Bible says that we actually incur debt with God every time we break one of his laws, like “do not lie” or “do not steal” or “do not gossip,” etc. These things are so commonplace that we take them lightly. But God doesn’t! Because he is a perfectly just Judge, he has sworn to inflict the infinite punishment that these sins against him deserve. And because the debt of each of our sins is infinite, we can never pay it back, not even if we suffer for all eternity—which is exactly the punishment that God has sworn to inflict.

That’s why it’s such good news that at the event we commemorate each year at “Christmas,” the eternal Son of God—who created and upholds all things—added to Continue reading “The Rescuer We Need”

A Blind Seer of the Star of Jacob

Craig Detweiler directs the Center for Entertainment, Media, and Culture at Pepperdine University, and is the author of a new book called iGods. This week he wrote a column: “What Amazon Is Priming Us For: Speed, convenience, and other values of our culture’s gods, announced at Advent,” contrasting Jeff Bezos’ expressed plans to deliver Amazon products by octocopters with the patient waiting associated with the onset of Advent. He concludes: “Amazon may deliver what we want, but it may not be what we need. There are cravings that can be solved in thirty minutes or less. There are interests we have that can be piqued by overnight delivery. But our deepest longings and heartfelt cries may not be met by an octocopter. It may takes years or at least seasons of life, before they are satisfied. . . . O Come O Come Emmanuel and save us from our insatiable need for speed.” In the strange incident of Balak, king of Moab, seeking to have Balaam curse Israel, you see in Numbers 24:17 a contrast between the desire for immediate victory and God’s patient outworking of his plans in the coming Messiah.

Recognize the Star out of Jacob. Balaam saw a distant figure. The setting of this prophecy is unusual. Israel is camped in the plains of Moab, preparatory to entering the promised land. Balaam is not one of the prophets Continue reading “A Blind Seer of the Star of Jacob”