But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”
(Micah 5:2)

Bethlehem Ephratah

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PROPHECY IN THE NEWS

A Christmas Prophecy – The Tower of the Flock

By Gary Stearman on December 1, 2013


Virtually the entire world knows the Christmas story. In one form or another, it has been told a million times. Having been so often featured in church services, novels, histories, motion pictures, television, radio and theatrical performances, it is the most iconic of all narratives. From A Charlie Brown Christmas to Carnegie Hall, theaters large and small, myriads of church services, books and the visual arts, the second chapter of Luke is known throughout the world.

Even those who don’t believe in Jesus know the story. Read its words once again, and take special note of its historical, geographical, political and prophetic aspects. But in the process, don’t fail to enjoy its majestic prose:

“1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. 2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. 8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. 16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. 18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. (Lk. 2:1-18).

What we have here is the story of all time. It involves a young Jewish couple who, at a time of socio-economic unrest are following the mandates of a census being taken by the leaders of the Roman Empire. It is perhaps the original tale of two cities: Nazareth and Bethlehem. The former, a village in northern Israel, reminds us of the seclusion and close family relationship Jesus experienced as he grew to manhood. The latter, a site at the focus of numerous prophetic events, is connected with the “lineage of David.”

The shepherds near Bethlehem are quite special. They are tending the lambs destined for Temple sacrifice. As we shall see, the location of these shepherds is quite near the place where Christ was born. It also marks the site of an ancient prophecy – the amazing prophecy of Christmas.

Why had Joseph and Mary come all this way from their hometown when she was in the late stages of pregnancy? Because their registration was decreed by the bureaucrats of the Roman Empire. Their genealogies were both out of the line of Judah. Joseph’s ancestry – the royal genealogy of Jesus in Matthew – came through King David, himself. Bethlehem, the city of David, was the place where Roman magistrates had located themselves to receive those who were of the tribe of Judah.

It was David who established the Kingdom that will eventually be given to the risen Christ, the Lion of the tribe of Judah:

“4 David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. 5 In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months: and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty and three years over all Israel and Judah” (II Sam. 5:4,5).

Mary’s genealogy – the legal genealogy of Jesus in Luke – presented His official right to rule over the House of David. The mandate of Caesar Augustus was a declaration that the entire Empire be forced to register at designated locations, which had less to do with taxation than identification. Concerning the word “taxed” in verse 1 of Luke’s account, above, W. E. Vine (in An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words) explains that it is translated from the Greek word apographo, meaning “to write out, enroll, inscribe, as in register.” He writes:

“Confirmation that this census (not taxation) was taken in the dominions of the Roman Empire is given by the historians Tacitus and Suetonius. Augustus himself drew up a sort of Roman Doomsday Book, a Rationarium, afterwards epitomized into a Brevarium, to include the allied kingdoms, appointing twenty commissioners to draw up the lists.” (pp. 32, 33).

In other words, this census was Caesar’s way of insuring that no pretender to any local throne would pop up, claim a following among the Jews (who were in rebellion against Rome), and be raised to claim regal authority against Rome. In the eyes of the Romans, such an act would deserve immediate execution.

In The Star that Astonished the World, Ernest L. Martin acknowledges a reference made by Josephus, the famous first-century Jewish historian: “The oath of loyalty mentioned by Josephus is what brought Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem …, then it makes sense why Mary had to accompany Joseph. In a regular census Mary would not have needed to go with Joseph, nor would Joseph have needed to travel so far. Some have suspected that [since] both Joseph and Mary were descendants of David, and were legitimate claimants to the throne of Israel (had such a throne existed). It could easily be seen why Mary, as well as Joseph, was expected to sign the oath of loyalty to Augustus. All “royal claimants” would have especially been singled out to give the oath of allegiance.” (pp. 186, 187).

Martin rightly points out that in Jewish reckoning, even Mary, a descendant of David, had the right of primogeniture and kingship for her offspring. Luke’s account (in verse 4,) says this very thing. The young couple came to the City of David, Bethlehem, to register as members of the royal tribe of Judah.

Certainly, taxation was on the Roman agenda, but control of the Empire was its chief concern.

Foreordained: A Watchtower and a Flock

Now, let us depart for a moment from Luke’s famous narrative of Christ’s birth. We go back in time to the most famous prophecy of His coming birth. It comes to us through Micah, who wrote at least seven hundred years before Christ was born.

“2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Mic. 5:2).

Ephratah, an ancient city originally located on the outskirts of Bethlehem, was associated with the death of Rachel and the amazing prophecy that accompanied her burial. To this day, her tomb is still known and honored in this region. A bit later, we’ll look at this important, ancient incident.

First, we must connect the verse above with some verses that precede it, beginning in Micah chapter Four, verse One. Speaking in the same context, the prophet Micah lays out the distant future in a prophecy of the coming Kingdom. He refers to that time period as “the last days.” Then, he goes on to say the following:

“6 In that day, saith the LORD, will I assemble her that halteth, and I will gather her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted; 7 And I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation: and the LORD shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever. 8 And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem. (Mic. 4:6-8).

Here, we have a prophecy that describes a mysterious location, and a strange edifice – a watchtower – that is presented as the key to understanding the birth of the Messiah. Micah wrote these words in the 8th century, B.C., long before Israel’s captivity in Babylon, which he also describes in the following verses: “9 Now why dost thou cry out aloud? is there no king in thee? is thy counsellor perished? for pangs have taken thee as a woman in travail. 10 Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail: for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and thou shalt dwell in the field, and thou shalt go even to Babylon; there shalt thou be delivered; there the LORD shall redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies. 11 Now also many nations are gathered against thee, that say, Let her be defiled, and let our eye look upon Zion. 12 But they know not the thoughts of the LORD, neither understand they his counsel: for he shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor. 13 Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion: for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass: and thou shalt beat in pieces many people: and I will consecrate their gain unto the LORD, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth. (Mic. 4:9-13).

Notice that Micah’s prophecy goes on beyond the Babylonian captivity, into the far future, describing Israel as being regathered and fully established as a people invincible against all the people who are gathered against her.

Thus, we discover that the strange watchtower over the flock is the centerpiece of an ancient drama – the downfall and rising again of the Kingdom of Israel. From the days of Jacob – father of the twelve tribes – to the present, God’s will has traced out an immense plan. It is centered upon Jesus, the most important person in all history.

The Momentous Death of Rachel

In Genesis 35, God instructed Jacob to rise up and take his entire family to Bethel. Arriving there, he purified himself and erected an altar to God. After this, God appeared to him and pronounced that his name would be changed from Jacob to Israel:

“10 And God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel. 11 And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins; 12 And the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land” (Gen. 35:10-12).

Shortly after this, they travelled southward to the place that has been known ever since as Bethlehem, the Hebrew word that translates as “House of Bread.” This was the place where Christ was to be born about eighteen centuries later:

16 And they journeyed from Bethel; and there was but a little way to come to Ephrath: and Rachel travailed, and she had hard labour. 17 And it came to pass, when she was in hard labour, that the midwife said unto her, Fear not; thou shalt have this son also. 18 And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin. 19 And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem. 20 And Jacob set a pillar upon her grave: that is the pillar of Rachel’s grave unto this day. 21 And Israel journeyed, and spread his tent beyond the tower of Edar. (Gen. 35:16-21).

Amazingly, the location mentioned here was marked out for the future fulfillment of prophecy. In Hebrew, the term “tower of Edar” is migdal eder. Its literal meaning of this title is “tower of the flock.” It is the place where Christ was born, as described by Luke’s Christmas story.

In his classic text, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Alfred Edersheim wrote, “That the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem was a settled conviction. Equally so was the belief that He was to be revealed from Migdal Eder, ‘the tower of the flock,’ This Migdal Eder was not the watchtower for the ordinary flocks which pastured on the barren sheep ground beyond Bethlehem, but lay close to the town, on the road to Jerusalem. A passage in the Mishnah leads to the conclusion that the flocks which pastured there, were destined for Temple-sacrifices, and, accordingly, that the shepherds who watched over them were not ordinary shepherds. The latter were under the ban of Rabbinism, on account of their necessary isolation from the religious ordinances, and their manner of life, which rendered strict legal observance unlikely, if not absolutely impossible …”

Edersheim is quick to point out that the mysterious prophecy of the watchtower, though known by Jewish teachers, was not understood by them:

“Thus Jewish tradition in some dim manner apprehended the first revelation of the Messiah from that Migdal Eder, where shepherds watched the Temple-flocks all the year round. Of the deep symbolic significance of such a coincidence, it is needless to speak.” (pp. 186, 187)

As lambs destined for Temple sacrifice were born in these special flocks, they were inspected to make sure that they were perfect, not having any defect, so that they were suitable for sacrifice by the priests at the Temple. The Apostle Peter refers to Christ in precisely this way:

“18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you” (I Pet. 1:18-20).

Some sources have declared that the “swaddling clothes” mentioned in Luke 2:7 were the pieces of woven material that the Temple shepherds used to wipe off the newborn lambs prior to their inspection. And thus we have the Christmas prophecy of a very special flock, and a very special watchtower. With the Lord, nothing happens by accident.

Later, as Jesus began His public ministry, he came to John the Baptist who rightly discerned His historical role and destiny: “And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!” (Jn. 1:36).

How amazing that in John’s Gospel, He also referred to Himself as the “bread of life” (Jn. 6:48). At a precise moment in the timeline of human history, in the City of David, the Lamb of God came to the House of Bread at the Tower of the Flock!

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Saint Nicholas Center

St. Nicholas

Artist: Susan Seals

The true story of Santa Claus begins with Nicholas, who was born during the third century in the village of Patara. At the time the area was Greek and is now on the southern coast of Turkey. His wealthy parents, who raised him to be a devout Christian, died in an epidemic while Nicholas was still young. Obeying Jesus' words to "sell what you own and give the money to the poor," Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. He dedicated his life to serving God and was made Bishop of Myra while still a young man. Bishop Nicholas became known throughout the land for his generosity to those in need, his love for children, and his concern for sailors and ships.

Under the Roman Emperor Diocletian, who ruthlessly persecuted Christians, Bishop Nicholas suffered for his faith, was exiled and imprisoned. The prisons were so full of bishops, priests, and deacons, there was no room for the real criminals—murderers, thieves and robbers. After his release, Nicholas attended the Council of Nicaea in AD 325. He died December 6, AD 343 in Myra and was buried in his cathedral church, where a unique relic, called manna, formed in his grave. This liquid substance, said to have healing powers, fostered the growth of devotion to Nicholas. The anniversary of his death became a day of celebration, St. Nicholas Day, December 6th (December 19 on the Julian Calendar).

Through the centuries many stories and legends have been told of St. Nicholas' life and deeds. These accounts help us understand his extraordinary character and why he is so beloved and revered as protector and helper of those in need.

One story tells of a poor man with three daughters. In those days a young woman's father had to offer prospective husbands something of value—a dowry. The larger the dowry, the better the chance that a young woman would find a good husband. Without a dowry, a woman was unlikely to marry. This poor man's daughters, without dowries, were therefore destined to be sold into slavery. Mysteriously, on three different occasions, a bag of gold appeared in their home-providing the needed dowries. The bags of gold, tossed through an open window, are said to have landed in stockings or shoes left before the fire to dry. This led to the custom of children hanging stockings or putting out shoes, eagerly awaiting gifts from Saint Nicholas. Sometimes the story is told with gold balls instead of bags of gold. That is why three gold balls, sometimes represented as oranges, are one of the symbols for St. Nicholas. And so St. Nicholas is a gift-giver.

One of the oldest stories showing St. Nicholas as a protector of children takes place long after his death. The townspeople of Myra were celebrating the good saint on the eve of his feast day when a band of Arab pirates from Crete came into the district. They stole treasures from the Church of Saint Nicholas to take away as booty. As they were leaving town, they snatched a young boy, Basilios, to make into a slave. The emir, or ruler, selected Basilios to be his personal cupbearer, as not knowing the language, Basilios would not understand what the king said to those around him. So, for the next year Basilios waited on the king, bringing his wine in a beautiful golden cup. For Basilios' parents, devastated at the loss of their only child, the year passed slowly, filled with grief. As the next St. Nicholas' feast day approached, Basilios' mother would not join in the festivity, as it was now a day of tragedy. However, she was persuaded to have a simple observance at home—with quiet prayers for Basilios' safekeeping. Meanwhile, as Basilios was fulfilling his tasks serving the emir, he was suddenly whisked up and away. St. Nicholas appeared to the terrified boy, blessed him, and set him down at his home back in Myra. Imagine the joy and wonderment when Basilios amazingly appeared before his parents, still holding the king's golden cup. This is the first story told of St. Nicholas protecting children—which became his primary role in the West.

Another story tells of three theological students, traveling on their way to study in Athens. A wicked innkeeper robbed and murdered them, hiding their remains in a large pickling tub. It so happened that Bishop Nicholas, traveling along the same route, stopped at this very inn. In the night he dreamed of the crime, got up, and summoned the innkeeper. As Nicholas prayed earnestly to God the three boys were restored to life and wholeness. In France the story is told of three small children, wandering in their play until lost, lured, and captured by an evil butcher. St. Nicholas appears and appeals to God to return them to life and to their families. And so St. Nicholas is the patron and protector of children.

Several stories tell of Nicholas and the sea. When he was young, Nicholas sought the holy by making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. There as he walked where Jesus walked, he sought to more deeply experience Jesus' life, passion, and resurrection. Returning by sea, a mighty storm threatened to wreck the ship. Nicholas calmly prayed. The terrified sailors were amazed when the wind and waves suddenly calmed, sparing them all. And so St. Nicholas is the patron of sailors and voyagers.

Other stories tell of Nicholas saving his people from famine, sparing the lives of those innocently accused, and much more. He did many kind and generous deeds in secret, expecting nothing in return. Within a century of his death he was celebrated as a saint. Today he is venerated in the East as wonder, or miracle worker and in the West as patron of a great variety of persons-children, mariners, bankers, pawn-brokers, scholars, orphans, laborers, travelers, merchants, judges, paupers, marriageable maidens, students, children, sailors, victims of judicial mistakes, captives, perfumers, even thieves and murderers! He is known as the friend and protector of all in trouble or need.

Sailors, claiming St. Nicholas as patron, carried stories of his favor and protection far and wide. St. Nicholas chapels were built in many seaports. As his popularity spread during the Middle Ages, he became the patron saint of Apulia (Italy), Sicily, Greece, and Lorraine (France), and many cities in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Russia, Belgium, and the Netherlands (see list). Following his baptism, Grand Prince Vladimir I brought St. Nicholas' stories and devotion to St. Nicholas to his homeland where Nicholas became the most beloved saint. Nicholas was so widely revered that thousands of churches were named for him, including three hundred in Belgium, thirty-four in Rome, twenty-three in the Netherlands and more than four hundred in England.

Nicholas' tomb in Myra became a popular place of pilgrimage. Because of the many wars and attacks in the region, some Christians were concerned that access to the tomb might become difficult. For both the religious and commercial advantages of a major pilgrimage site, the Italian cities of Venice and Bari vied to get the Nicholas relics. In the spring of 1087, sailors from Bari succeeded in spiriting away the bones, bringing them to Bari, a seaport on the southeast coast of Italy. An impressive church was built over St. Nicholas' crypt and many faithful journeyed to honor the saint who had rescued children, prisoners, sailors, famine victims, and many others through his compassion, generosity, and the countless miracles attributed to his intercession. The Nicholas shrine in Bari was one of medieval Europe's great pilgrimage centers and Nicholas became known as "Saint in Bari." To this day pilgrims and tourists visit Bari's great Basilica di San Nicola.

Through the centuries St. Nicholas has continued to be venerated by Catholics and Orthodox and honored by Protestants. By his example of generosity to those in need, especially children, St. Nicholas continues to be a model for the compassionate life.

Widely celebrated in Europe, St. Nicholas' feast day, December 6th, kept alive the stories of his goodness and generosity. In Germany and Poland, boys dressed as bishops begged alms for the poor—and sometimes for themselves! In the Netherlands and Belgium, St. Nicholas arrived on a steamship from Spain to ride a white horse on his gift-giving rounds. December 6th is still the main day for gift giving and merrymaking in much of Europe. For example, in the Netherlands St. Nicholas is celebrated on the 5th, the eve of the day, by sharing candies (thrown in the door), chocolate initial letters, small gifts, and riddles. Dutch children leave carrots and hay in their shoes for the saint's horse, hoping St. Nicholas will exchange them for small gifts. Simple gift-giving in early Advent helps preserve a Christmas Day focus on the Christ Child.

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WND

TAKING CAROLING TO A WHOLE NEW LEVEL

Journey of Faith flashmob at the South Bay Galleri

Christmas carolers are a tradition from days long past, but members of Journey of Faith took it to a whole new level when they hit the South Bay Galleria in Redondo Beach, Calif.

And more than 5 million people have heard their joyously sung Christmas carol selections since.

The video of the Dec. 18, 2010, presentation to Christmas shoppers has gone viral.

Journey of Faith started out by offering Sunday school classes to Hermosa Beach Children in 1911.

Today, the worship center numbers 2,000 members and occupies an 18,000-square-foot building as one of its several worship sites.

Its mission statement is: “As a community of worshipers we have been sent into the world to make mature and mobilize disciples who love the Lord our God above all else and who touch others with the reality of Jesus Christ.”

Its core values include celebrating Jesus Christ, leading with integrity, balancing commitments, targeting the unchurched, renewing minds, connecting with others, equipping for service and sharing faith.

Carols include “Oh Come, All Ye Faithful,” “Go Tell It On the Mountain” and “Oh, Holy Night.”

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Y E S H U - IN THE TANAKH

(The Name of JESUS in the Old Testament)

Arthur E. Glass
In dealing with my Jewish brethren for the past many years in Canada, the United States,
Argentina and Uruguay. I had one great difficulty, and it was this: My Jewish people would
always fling at me this challenging question,
If Jesus is our Messiah, and the whole Old Testament is about Him,
how come His name is never mentioned
in it even once?"

I could never answer it satisfactorily to their way of thinking, and I admit I often wondered why His name was not actually written in the Old Bible. Oh, yes, I could show them His divine titles in Isaiah 7:14, 9:6 and Jeremiah 23:5,6, and even the word MESSIAH in several places; but the Hebrew name that would be equal to Jesus, that I could not show. Then one day the Holy Spirit opened my eyes, and I just shouted. There was the very NAME, Jesus, found in the Old Testament about 100 times all the way from GENESIS to HABAKKUK! Yes, the very word - the very NAME - that the angel Gabriel used in Luke 1:31 when he told Mary about the Son she was to have. "Where do we find that NAME?" you ask. Here it is, friend: Every time the Old Testament uses the word SALVATION (especially with the Hebrew suffix meaning "my," thy," or "his"), with very few exceptions (when the word is impersonal), it is the very same word, YESHUA (Jesus), used in Matthew 1:21. Let us remember that the angel who spoke to Mary and the angel who spoke to Joseph in his dream did not speak in English, Latin, or Greek, but in Hebrew; and neither were Mary or Joseph slow to grasp the meaning and significance of the NAME of this divine Son and its relation to His character and His work of salvation. For in the Old Testament all great characters were given names with a specific and significant meaning.

For example, in Genesis 5:29, Lamech called his son Noah [Comfort], saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and tell of our hands. In Genesis 10:25, Eber calls his firstborn son, Peleg [Division]; for in his days was the earth divided. The same is true of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob (changed to Israel-God's Prince), and all of Jacob's sons (see Genesis, chapters 29-32). In Exodus 2:10, Pharaoh's daughter called the baby rescued from the Nile, Moses [Drawn-Forth]: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water. And so we can go on and on to show the deep significance of Hebrew names.

Now then, when the angel spoke to Joseph, husband of Mary, the mother of our Lord, this is what he really said and what Joseph actually understood: And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus [YESHUA (SALVATION)]: for he shall save [or salvage] his people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21). This text was so forcibly brought home to my soul soon after I was converted over 24 years ago, that I saw the whole plan of the Old Testament in that one ineffable and blessed NAME.

So let us proceed to show clearly the Hebrew name YESHUA - (Greek = Iesus English = Jesus) in the Old Testament.

When the great Patriarch Jacob was ready to depart from this world, he by the Holy Spirit was blessing his sons and prophetically foretelling their future experiences in those blessings. In verse 18 of Genesis 49 he exclaims, I have waited for thy salvation, 0 Lord! What he really did say and mean was, "To thy YESHUA (Jesus) I am looking, 0 Lord"; or, "In thy YESHUA (Jesus) I am hoping (trusting), Lord!" That makes much better sense.

Of course YESHUA (Jesus) was the One in Whom Jacob was trusting to carry him safely over the chilly waters of the river of death. Jacob was a saved man, and did not wait until his dying moments to start trusting in the Lord. He just reminded God that he was at the same time comforting his own soul.

In Psalms 9:14, David bursts forth, I will rejoice in thy salvation. - What he actually did say and mean was, "I will rejoice in (with) thy YESHUA (Jesus)."

In Psalm 91:14-16 God says, Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high [raise him above circumstances], because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life [eternal life] will I satisfy him, and show him my [YESHUA (Jesus)] salvation. Of course. That promise is realized in Revelation 22:3, 4: And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it: and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see HIS face.

In Isaiah 12:2, 3 we have something wonderful. Here SALVATION is mentioned three times. The reader will be much blessed by reading these glorious verses in his Bible, but let me give them as they actually read in the original Hebrew with Jesus as the embodiment and personification of the word SALVATION: Behold, might (or, God the mighty One) is my YESHUA (Jesus-in His pre-incarnation and eternal existence); I will trust and not be afraid:, for JAH-JAHOVAH is my strength and my song; He also is become my YESHUA (Jesus).... And the WORD (Jesus incarnate) became flesh, and dwelt among us. (John 1: 14). ... Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of YESHUA [Jesus - waters of salvation flowing forth from Golgotha]."

Something very interesting occurred one spring in St. Louis: I was visiting in the home of our friends, Brother and Mrs. Charles Siegelman, and another Jew was present there. He claimed Jewish orthodoxy for his creed. Of course the conversation centered around Him Who is the Center of all things -- Jesus. This good Jewish brother opposed the claims of Yeshua in the Old Testament verbally, and in a friendly fashion, most violently. His best offensive weapon, he thought, was to fling at me and at all of us there the well-known challenge: "You can't find the name of 'Jesus' in the Old Testament;" and this he did.

I did not answer him directly, but asked him to translate for us from my Hebrew Bible, Isaiah 62:11. Being a Hebrew scholar, he did so with utmost ease, rapidly, and correctly; and here is what and how he translated that text verbatim: Behold, Jehovah has proclaimed unto the end of the world. Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold thy YESHUA[ Jesus] cometh; behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him. Just then he crimsoned as he realized what he had done and how he had played into my hands, and he just fairly screamed out, "No! no! You made me read it 'thy YESHUA' Jesus], Mr. Glass! You tricked me!" I said, "No, I did not trick you, I just had you read the Word of God for yourself. Can't you see that here SALVATION is a Person and not a thing or an event? HE Comes, 'HIS reward is with HIM, and His work before him.' Then he rushed at his own Old Testament, talking away frantically saying, "I'm sure mine is different from yours." And when he found the passage, he just dropped like a deflated balloon. His Old Testament was, of course, identical. All he could use as an escape from admitting defeat was to deny the divine inspiration of the book of Isaiah.

Then skipping on to Habakkuk, we have the greatest demonstration of the NAME "Jesus" in the Old Testament; for here we have both the name as well as the title of the Savior. In Habakkuk 3:13 we read literally from the original Hebrew: Thou wentest forth with the YESHA [variant of ESHUA-Jesus] of [or for] thy people; with YESHUA thy MESSIAH [thine Anointed One: i.e., with Jesus thy Anointed] thou woundest the head of the house of the wicked one [Satan]. Here you have it! The very NAME given to our Lord in the New Testament - JESUS CHRIST! So don't let anyone - Jew or Gentile - tell you that the Name JESUS is not found in the Old Testament. And so when the aged Simeon came to the Temple, led there by the Holy Spirit, and took the baby Yeshua in his arms, he said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation [YESHUA (Jesus)] (Luke 2:29-30). Certainly! Not only did his eyes see God's Salvation - God's YESHUA (Jesus) - but he felt Him and touched Him. His believing heart beat with joy and assurance as he felt the loving heart of God throbbing in the heart of the holy infant YESHUA.

And thou shalt call his name Jesus (SALVATION = YESHUA); - for he shall save [salvage] his people from their sins!

***

My eyes have seen Your salvation”.
(Luke 22:30)

Until next week...keep on believing.
Almondtree Productions
God bless you and Merry Christmas



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