So, why were some so sure of the end of the world? Oh, and why did so many think that Bugarach in the French Pyrenees was the parking lot for alien UFOs and the place where they would be saved by these aliens when the end of the world happened? Also, there were thousands of visitors at the Mayan ruins in Mexico at this time. So, why is it so easy for people to believe these types of things than it is for people to believe what the Bible says? Mankind is a strange creature. We pride ourselves for being so intelligent but yet we can get so easily duped.
However, the clues of the Messiah’s birth were not really buried either – at least not to those that were observant. Let’s look at a few that the Jewish leaders at least should have recognized:
1. Daniel’s prophecy (Dn 9:25-26). He prophesied of when the Messiah would be revealed to his people. Now there is of course some knowledge of events that were needed but the Jewish leaders whose job it was to know their scriptures could have figured out a general timeframe of when the Messiah would be expected and they should have been anticipating his arrival. However, they were not. Jesus even stated that it saddened him that they were not expecting him (Lk 19:41-42).
2. The Magi came to Jerusalem (Mt 2:1-12). As we saw in previous posts, this created quite the stir. When asked about the birth of the Messiah, it was the chief priests that told Herod and the Magi of the prophecy in Micah that he would be born in Bethlehem (Mi 5:2). The Magi went, the chief priests stayed. Doesn’t that strike you as odd? If the Magi thought that the awaited Messiah had been born, why didn’t the chief priests go and find out? Both the chief priests and the Magi knew of the prophecy. The difference was that the Magi acted upon what they knew but the chief priests did not.
3. The shepherds (Lk 2:8-21). As we saw earlier, these were not just ordinary shepherds but those that tended the sheep for the temple sacrifices. Therefore, they were under the supervision of the temple priests. Undoubtedly the shepherds told the priests what they saw and I would think the priests would have told the chief priests. Why didn’t they put two and two together? They would also have known of Micah’s prophecy that the Messiah’s coming would be announced at Migdal Eder (the watchtower of the flock; Mi 4:8).
What about this Christmas? Are you missing the signs of the meaning of Christmas? Are you getting distracted by the business and commercialization of the season? Go back to the first few chapters of Matthew and Luke to rediscover the true meaning of Christmas. It will make a big difference and reignite the true holiday spirit.
Are there other signs we are missing? Well, the Bible does state that Jesus Christ will return one day and does provide signs for us to look for (Mt 24-25 plus others). Are we ignoring them? Are we believing them but not expecting them? Many say they believe but are not expecting that it can happen in their lifetime and so are not living with anticipation. Jesus expected the Jews to be anticipating his first coming (Lk 19:42). He expects us to be anticipating his second coming (2Tm 4:8). Are you learning and looking for the signs? Don’t make the mistake that the Jewish leaders made: the prophecy was made so long ago that they were not expecting it to occur in their lifetime. Just remember, the older the prophecy, the more likely for it to occur during your lifetime.
Therefore, this Christmas look toward the signs that most people have missed. It is there where you will find the true meaning of Christmas. I hope your Christmas is a very blessed one this year. And remember, you survived the false end of the world, be sure you’re ready to survive the real one! That is only possible by understanding the true meaning of Christmas.
Fall Jewish Holidays - Part 4: Salvation & Faith