The Days Preceding …

                            Preparation for His Coming

 

What actually was going on in both the visible and invisible realms before His birth? Click To Tweet

 

This writing is the result of (1) musing on the Truth as revealed in the Word of God and (2) of imagining how the Lord was preparing particular people – and celestial beings – for His Advent.  What was happening in the lives of these people whom the Bible mentions  in connection with His appearing as a Babe in Bethlehem?  What thoughts were occupying their minds?  What actually was going on in both the visible and invisible realms?  And how does knowing these things, at least partially, help us presently?

 

                           On Earth:  nearby, in the fields …

 

These were men who were humble enough to simply believe what Heaven had told them. Click To Tweet

 

The shepherds … why were they among the first to whom God proclaimed the Glad Tidings?  There is really no evidence in Luke 2:8-20 of them having been prepared for this earth-shattering, prophesied event now finally coming to pass.  Verse 8 says that they “were in the same country abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.”, unassuming, simply and faithfully doing what their call was –  which was an unusual one.  These particular shepherds were not ordinary, nor were their sheep, which were being raised for the purpose of temple sacrifices.  The shepherds themselves were outcasts because they had to be isolated from the “normal” religious society with all of its ordinances.  It was to these disdained, doomed persons that God chose to first announce the Good News through His angels!  They led basically quiet lives, undistracted by much varied activity around them.  Undoubtedly they got physically weary though they worked in shifts, but they were trained to hear the slightest threat to the safety of their flocks and were intensely alert.  Perhaps they thought at times of the coming Messiah, when that would be, what He would be like.  Then,  this one memorable night, their lives were changed forever.  Suddenly, the Angel of the Lord appeared to them, the Glory of the Lord lighting up the skies above and all around them, and the Angel announced the most wonderful, perhaps unexpected, and unusual news they could ever have imagined:  the Messiah, the long-awaited Savior, had been born in Bethlehem!  Then a multitude of Heaven’s host erupted into praise and worship, saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!” (vs. 13,14)  There’s not a hint of hesitation on the part of the shepherds that the Lord had made known something to them that must be checked out immediately.  These were men who were humble enough to simply believe what Heaven had told them.  Maybe they had read or heard of the prophecy in Micah 5:2 or in Isaiah 9:6 and knew that the set time had come.

 

                                   Far away, to the east …

 

These Gentile wise men had been Providentially prepared by God to be among the first to meet the promised Messiah, the Son of God. Click To Tweet

 

In what was then Persia, there were certain wise men who apparently were aware of the Jewish peoples’ expectation of a Messiah coming to deliver them from oppression and to rule the world.  Today these men are referred to as “magi”, which, in Bible times was usually not a noble title, signifying those involved in magic and divination.  But in the second chapter of Matthew, the term is used respectfully,  denoting astronomers and astrologers.  When the Jews were scattered to many places outside of Israel, BC, the Gentiles among whom they lived learned about their religious beliefs, customs, and expectations.  Evidently, these learned men mentioned in Matthew were acquainted with words from the Torah.   “The expectations of the Jews, that their Messiah was to rule over the world, might at that period have been sufficiently disseminated throughout the foreign countries of the East to lead heathen astrologers, for the object in question, to the Jewish capital.” (Unger’s Bible Dictionary, p.799).  In fact, we see in Matthew 2:2 that when they had asked certain unmentioned people, “Where is He that is born King of the Jews?  for we have seen His Star [Num.24:17; Isa.60:3] in the east, and we come to worship Him.”, Herod heard of their inquiries and was very agitated as was all Jerusalem (Matt.2:3).  When he asked of the scribes and Pharisees where this King of the Jews was to be born, they quoted Micah 5:2 – “But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are not least among the princes of Judah;  for out of you shall come a Governor, Who shall rule My people Israel.”  These Gentile wise men had been Providentially prepared by God to be among the first to meet the promised Messiah, the Son of God.

 

                                     In Nazareth of Galilee …

 

Joseph and Mary were lowly, God-fearing, and humble enough to receive, believe, and act upon the words of the angels sent to them by God. Click To Tweet

 

It is well-known and evident in the Scriptures that Mary and Joseph were prepared by God for the arrival of the Son of God, Who was to be their son while He was on earth.  They knew and believed what the angels had told them regarding Who it was Who would be attached to Mary’s womb.  What, then, was the preparation process like for them, individually and as husband and wife, leading right up to His birth – and beyond?  How did God prepare them for the seemingly untimely timing of His Son’s arrival, when the couple found themselves in Bethlehem, where they had gone to be taxed per decree of the Roman Emperor, with  Mary just about to deliver the Baby?  We perhaps don’t know the particulars, but it is evident both Joseph and Mary were lowly, God-fearing, and humble enough to receive, believe, and act upon the words of the angels sent to them by God.  Also, in Luke the first chapter, as we read verses 46 through 55, we are led to believe that this young woman knew the Scriptures;  she had heard, perhaps read, them and internalized them, and it was those words of Life that were keeping her calm, wise,  and trusting  her God in these unusual days of her life:  “Blessed … the man whom You discipline and instruct, O Lord, and teach out of Your law, that You may give him power to keep himself calm in the days of adversity … ” (Psalm 92:13,14);  “Hear counsel, receive instruction, and accept correction, that you may be wise in the time to come.” (Prod.19:20).  Mary was prepared to walk in her high, Heavenly, and holy calling.

 

                               In Heaven:  the FATHER …

 

He was fully aware of what His Son would have to suffer on earth in order to have and to hold forever His promised Bride. Click To Tweet

 

At last, the process of redemption on earth for the crown jewel of His creation would begin.  The Father so loved these human beings whom the Trinity had created in Their image, that He was willing, He was prepared, to give up His Only Begotten Son.  The Plan had been “in place” since Eternity Past (Isa.46:10;  Acts 2:23);  His Son was indeed “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev.13;8).  His purposes, as always, would stand (Prov.19:21b).  Yet although we can’t say this with absolute certainly (because God is Infinite and our perception so finite) perhaps the Father experienced a degree of sadness, knowing how His Son would be missed in  Heaven and mistreated and misunderstood on earth.  He was fully aware of what His Son would have to suffer on earth in order to have and to hold forever His promised Bride.  But … the Father also fully knew that Jesus would unflinchingly endure the ordained suffering because He would steadfastly be gazing upon the joy set before Him:  us, the Church of Jesus Christ,  His Beloved Wife-to-be!

 

                                           The Angels …

 

The angels were ready, each with his assignment and role to play.  Some would announce the birth of the Beloved Son of Man;  some would issue warnings to those to whom the Father sent to avert danger;  but ALL of the host of Heaven would magnify and praise God,  sing, and fill the skies with the glory of Heaven at this memorable event, when the Savior of the world was born.  Yet undoubtedly, they too would miss His Presence in Heaven …

 

                                                   Jesus …

 

Jesus was ready to come to earth for us ... Click To Tweet

 

He knew, He understood, and He accepted the Plan of the Father, willingly offering Himself as the Sacrifice needed for the salvation of the world.  I believe there was no preparation needed for Him to leave Heaven and live on earth for some 33 years.  He had always been absolutely One with the Father and the Holy Spirit, and from the time He was placed in Mary’s womb ’til the time of His resurrection, He would do nothing of Himself but only what the Father would direct Him to think, say, and do.  He implicitly trusted the Father in Heaven since Eternity Past and would not do differently on earth.  He was ready to come to earth for us …

 

                                                      Us …

 

Let us receive the abundance of Grace as God shakes all of creation in these days preceding the Rapture of the Church. Click To Tweet

 

Us, the Body of Christ … we are being prepared now to be the Lamb’s wife for all Eternity!  He is refining us, individually and corporately, removing dross, getting us ready for our life in Heaven.  He is using relationships, financial difficulties, physical afflictions, persecutions, all manner of tests to prepare us for our new Home.  Will we accept and submit to this process, by Grace through faith?  Will we be as Joseph and Mary, and humbly receive the Lord’s counsel, instruction, and correction that we might be wise in the time to come?  Will we diligently seek Him as the wise men did almost 2,000 years ago?  Will we prepare to meet [our] God?  (Amos 4:12)  Will our lamps be filled (Matthew 25)?

Let us receive the abundance of Grace as God shakes all of creation in these days preceding the Rapture of the Church, in order that what cannot be shaken may alone remain and continue ! (Hebrews 12:27)