Luke is a historian. He wants to help his readers understand the “facts” of the life of Christ. Keep in mind, Jews had to be “convinced” that Jesus was the Messiah who had been prophesied to come. The problem was, He didn’t come as the church had been teaching it. Therefore, Luke shows miracles along with Scriptural references to “convince” the Jews of the “truth” that Jesus was in fact the Messiah who was prophesied in the Old Testament to come. In part 1, Luke showed the first miracles which related to the birth of his forerunner, John, and how the news was widely spread abroad. Not only by miracles, but he showed how prophecy in Scripture came true in John and in Jesus. In other words, this whole thing was Divinely orchestrated and not a myth or conspiracy theory done in the dark. And to think, it was Luke, a Gentile, who showed Jews and Gentiles who their Messiah was. Luke 2:1 to Luke 2:52 Now in those days an order was published by Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be registered. This was the first registration taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. So all the people went to their hometowns to be registered. Joseph, too, went up from the city of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was a descendant of the household and family of David. He went there to be registered with Mary, who had been promised to him in marriage and was pregnant. There were still some hurdles Luke had to overcome. Since the Messiah was prophesied to come from the line of David born in Bethlehem, how do you get Jesus to Bethlehem when Joseph and Mary were in “Nazareth, in Galilee of Judea”? Luke shows the power of God over everything that happens in this world. He simply “motivates” the emperor to have people resister in their birth-towns. Another miracle! Now it was imperative for Joseph and Mary to go to the city of David. That is no different than the prophecies in the book of Daniel which show the power of God in the rise and fall of nations. Even Daniel was a “victim” of God’s circumstances to put him in the highest powers of governments. God can intervene in order to bring about His will. Keep in mind, up to this writing, all of Daniel, chapter 2, had been fulfilled, except for the ten toes. It was time for the “Rock” to be born who would completely destroy the nations of the world. I can not count the times God has moved, overruled and manipulated circumstances to bring about what this ministry needed. I stand in awe of Him when I look back and see what He has done. At the time, those circumstances seemed “normal”. But over time, seeing them in a historical setting, nothing normal about them. They were true miracles of God. Can you see the same in your life? While they were there, the time came for her to have her baby, and she gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him in strips of cloth and laid him in a feeding trough, because there was no place for them in the guest quarters. Since there was no “New Testament” for Luke to read, he had to study and investigate the prophesies of the Old Testament to learn the character of God. Having learned in Isaiah of the lowliness and humbleness of Jesus, Luke included in his narrative the humble beginnings of Jesus. Again, Luke is showing the power of God to move events to accomplish His design. At any other time Joseph and Mary could have rented a nice guest house or room at the inn, but that would have put Jesus above the lowliest of people. Jesus came to save all, including the lowliest. He had to be an example for all or some would have an excuse for their failure to enter Heaven. So God used events to make it impossible for Joseph and Mary to place the baby Jesus anywhere other than in an animal feeding trough with nothing but “strips of cloth” to cover Him. Luke is not trying to gold plate this. He is simply stating facts. Today, churches don’t want a “lowly” Jesus. They spend millions on their churches, their decorations, implements for services and salaries. Luke would have none of that. Jesus gave up heaven. There is nothing on earth that could ever compare with Heaven. I wonder if we have given up this world for Jesus? In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, watching their flock during the night. Ok, if we are making this up, and Jesus is the Messiah, we must have high-powered officials and leaders from the church coming to welcome the child, right? Oh, sorry, only poor, smelly shepherds out in the fields watching their flocks. Not exactly “royal”. When was Jesus born? Was He born on the 25th of December, Christmas? Well, let’s take a look. According to Google, the weather for Bethlehem during the month of December can be a high of 56* to a low of 47*. I think that would be to cold to have only a “few strips of cloth” on baby Jesus. To help you understand this concept, Jerusalem was cold enough for the king to have a fire going. The ninth month of the Jewish calendar would equate to December in our calendar. “It was the ninth month and the king was sitting in the winter apartment, with a fire burning in the firepot in front of him.” Jeremiah 36:22. Shepherds normally bring their flocks indoors by October/November to ride out the cold until spring when the flocks are returned to pasture. There is greater probability of Jesus being born in October. December 25 was celebrated as a pagan tradition centuries before the birth of Christ. “Sol Invictus (‘The Unconquered Sun/Invincible Sun’) was originally a Syrian god who was later adopted as the chief god of the Roman Empire under Emperor Aurelian. His holiday is traditionally celebrated on December 25, as are several gods associated with the winter solstice in many pagan traditions.” Wikipedia. The 7th-day Sabbath was commanded by God to be observed and kept “Holy”. Exodus 20:8-11. Not once in the Bible do we have any command from God to honor, observe or celebrate the birth of Christ or Easter. Paganism is that which sets up man’s opinions and worship above the commands of God. The only service divinely authorized to represent Jesus was the sacrifice of the lamb. Why? Only the death of Christ is important for our eternal life. The only service instituted by Jesus, to begin after the cross, to honor and commemorate the death of Jesus, was the Lord’s Supper. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. I suppose the angel of the Lord was not able to find any church members, leaders or officials willing to accept the truth of their Messiah. No different than today. Church leaders are not willing to accept what Jesus taught. They don’t want to be lowly and humble. They want to make a big show and splash, with lots of entertainment about the birth of Christ, or the resurrection of Christ, but refuse to live in obedience to the cross of Christ. Which do you think Christ would prefer? Then the angel told them, “Stop being afraid! Listen! I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people. The “good news” is “great joy for all the people” if they would be willing to accept it. Same today. Not one church, denomination or religion is willing to accept the “good news”. People don’t want a Messiah who will destroy their traditions, meaningless rites and ceremonies. They love their human rules. They are all afraid of Jesus. But you and I can “stop being afraid”. We can rejoice in the good news of this Messiah. He has “good news” that will change our lives and give us eternal life. Your church can’t do that. Today your Savior, the Lord Messiah, was born in the city of David. Luke is sharing the “good news” that it is their “Savior, the Lord Messiah”, the LORD of the Old Testament, who was born that night. That He is the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophesies. An angel from God’s throne came to Zechariah, to Mary and now to the shepherds to share the same glorious news. See the thread? And yes, He was their Savior. The same Savior who saved them from the Egyptians. He was the God of the Old Testament. And this will be a sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a feeding trough.” OK, back to our church brainwashing. The shepherds have been taught by the church of a glorious Messiah who would ride in at the head of armies and destroy Rome and all enemies of their church. Therefore, the angel had to prepare them for reality. A quick lesson in “never believe your church”. Go to the Bible, read it very carefully, leaving your brainwashing and preconceived opinions at the cover. Suddenly a multitude of the Heavenly Army appeared with the angel, praising God by saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth to people who enjoy his favor!” Oops, that is the part churches really hate, “peace” to those “who enjoy His favor”. How do we enjoy His favor? Well, we learned about that in our last newsletter. Those who were shown to have the “favor” of God were those who were living in obedience to His Ten Commandments. Here was a whole nation going to church on the Sabbath, paying their tithes, but they didn’t have the “favor” of God. Maybe we should be out in the fields, like the shepherds, and not sitting in church. When the angels had left them and gone back to heaven, the shepherds told one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see what has taken place that the Lord has told us about.” It is interesting that when I share the “Good News” from Jesus, not many go to see. The Lord, through His Spirit, has dictated and directed the information through this ministry and very few care to investigate the truth of it. Maybe we need to be more like these shepherds. So they went quickly and found Mary and Joseph with the baby, who was lying in the feeding trough. When they saw this, they repeated what they had been told about this child. All who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. Look folks, we need to stop reading the Bible as if it were a “novel” and begin looking closely at it for our eternal life. About thirty years before Jesus began His ministry, angels from God were awakening the church to the coming Messiah. Three times an angel was sent to prepare the “world” of its coming Messiah: 1) To Zechariah2) To Mary3) To the shepherds Talk about “The Three Angels’ messages”. But they were not heeded. No one cared. The good news they gave to the world back then was no more wanted then the Three Angels’ messages of Revelation are wanted today. The churches are not listening. They are brainwashed and refuse to look closely at the message that is given. Are you repeating what God has, and is, dictating and directing through this ministry? Are you a good “shepherd”? However, Mary continued to treasure all these things in her heart and to ponder them. Are you treasuring and pondering the things God is sharing with you through this ministry? Then the shepherds returned to their flock, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them. Not many glorify God and praise Him for what He is telling them today. Churches hate God. They don’t want to bow before Him and live in obedience to His commands. They prefer putting on a show, putting up symbols and praying long, senseless prayers. What will you do? After eight days had passed, the infant was circumcised and named Jesus, the name given him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. Circumcision of the child was a commitment on the part of Jewish parents to raise the child to live in obedience to the Ten Commandments. Adults who were circumcised made that same commitment. Circumcision, offerings, sacrifices, services and anything else your church may be doing does nothing to delight the Lord. Only living in obedience. That is what circumcision was all about. Listen to Samuel as he spoke to Saul. “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.” 1 Samuel 15:22. Circumcision required pain. Does your Christian life require pain? Physical circumcision represented spiritual circumcision of the heart. We are to cut out of our lives everything of this world. Trust me, that will cause great pain. When the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn son is to be designated as holy to the Lord.” This “purification” to be “designated as holy to the Lord” was for all firstborn sons. It was a symbol of dedication to God. We are all to be “holy” to the Lord in everything we do. Each of us are to be “firstborn” again into the family of God and dedicated to God and God alone. “Holy” isn’t about going to church. “Holy” isn’t about claiming the Name. “Holy” is living the perfect, sinless and Commandment keeping life, wholly. Are you living “Holy”? They also offered a sacrifice according to what is specified in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.” Since they were still under the temple laws, they fulfilled their duties and obligations. It would be another thirty-three and one-half years before the temple “laws” and rituals, services, feast days and rites would be abolished. However, the concept was, they “offered a sacrifice”. What are you sacrificing for Jesus? Now a man named Simeon was in Jerusalem. This man was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the one who would comfort Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. Light and darkness cannot live together. The Pharisees and priests of the temple thought of themselves as righteous, just as most “Christians” today think of themselves as “righteous” for belonging to a church or denomination. Yet they were not. However, Simeon was righteous and devout. “Righteousness” in the Bible is not about what you believe or going to church, but actually being righteous by living devoutly to the Ten Commandments: perfect and sinlessly. That is why the Spirit of God was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. As the Spirit of God has and is revealing information to this ministry, I am trying to relay it to you. Not many are listening. Most have committed the unpardonable sin. They are rejecting what the Spirit is saying. Led by the Spirit, he went into the Temple. Are you living the righteous life so the Spirit of God can lead you? Interesting to note, Simeon was not a priest or leader. He was just a righteous man. The priests and leaders of the church were all rejected by God. They had rejected the righteousness of God for their church-works. When the parents brought the child Jesus to do for him what was customary under the Law, Simeon took the infant in his arms and praised God, saying, “Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace according to your promise. Because my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared for all people to see— a light that will reveal salvation to the gentiles and bring glory to your people Israel.” As the angel Gabriel came to Zechariah in the temple to announce the coming birth of John, so Simeon was sent to announce the baby Jesus. I am sure this blessing was not done in a corner. It must have spread. God was trying to get the attention of the church leaders and the nation. They were not interested. They didn’t want the poor, lowly Jesus. They wanted a mighty ruler who would come to destroy their national enemies. They didn’t want to hear that their lock on salvation was to be revealed to gentiles. Again and again God was trying to wake up the church that they were failing in their duty to take the salvation message to the world. Jesus was going to have to do it Himself. This was a nation that was not very “Woke”. However, it appears that this message did get out to the world. It must have traveled all the way to Greece. As Jesus was teaching in the temple for the last time, about thirty years later, Greeks came to see and talk with Him. Word was spreading around the “world”. Jesus’ father and mother kept wondering at the things being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and told Mary, his mother, “This infant is destined to cause many in Israel to fall and rise. Also, he will be a sign that will be opposed. Indeed, a sword will pierce your own soul, too, so that the inner thoughts of many people might be revealed.” About thirty-three and a half years later I am sure Mary felt in her own body the sword that pierced the side of her Son. Why was only Mary mentioned? Because Joseph would die before the death of Jesus. And yes He did “cause many in Israel to fall and rise”. The church leaders fell, while the poor and undesirables would rise. Even today the “thoughts of many people” are being revealed through the life and teachings of Jesus. It is impossible to see the life of Jesus, listen to His words, and not have your “inner thoughts” be disturbed. Most go to church so their thoughts won’t be disturbed by the truth. Now Anna, a prophetess, was also there. She was a descendant of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher. She was very old, having lived with her husband for seven years after her marriage, and then as a widow for 84 years. She never left the Temple, but continued to worship there night and day with times of fasting and prayer. Anna, a woman prophetess, was waiting for the coming Messiah. She was not getting involved with the world while waiting. She was not thinking about herself while waiting. She wasn’t putting on a show and talking about the coming of the Messiah. She had studied the Old Testament and understood the true coming of the Messiah. She didn’t fall for the false narrative of the church. She was humbly serving the Lord as she understood it. She had dedicated her life to serving God while preparing for the coming Messiah. This was not accomplished by storing up food and water, but by cleanser her heart. Then the Spirit of God was able to use her to announce the coming Messiah. Is your heart cleansed of this world? Are you storing up the Word of God in your heart? Just then she came forward and began to thank God and to speak about Jesus to everyone who was waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem. Are you speaking about Jesus to everyone who is “waiting for the redemption” of the righteous? Is your heart purified and focused on only one thing, the coming Messiah? Or are you griping and complaining that YOU can’t do for God what YOU want to do? Are you bringing people down pointing out the difficulties, or are you uplifting and helping them do the work of God in their lives right where they are? After doing everything required by the Law of the Lord, Joseph and Mary returned to their hometown of Nazareth in Galilee. Since they were still under the temple laws, they did “everything required by the Law of the Lord”. Then they returned home and continued “doing everything required by the Law” by raising Jesus according to the Law of the Lord. Not many children are being raised by the Law of the Lord today. They are raised on the streets, by the schools, churches and companions that know not the Law of the Lord. Meanwhile, the child continued to grow and to become strong. He was filled with wisdom, and God’s favor rested upon him. Jesus, however, being taught the Law of the Lord, was growing, not only physically, but spiritually. He became strong in the wisdom of God by making the Bible His study. We need to follow the example of Jesus by growing in strength, not only in the physical realm, but in the spiritual realm. Most have stopped growing and are simply floating along on the sewers of life. Notice, Jesus wasn’t going to church or the church school to be filled with wisdom. He was fulfilling his duties to his family, society and to God. Every year Jesus’ parents would go to Jerusalem for the Passover Festival. Again, Luke is keeping his readers grounded in the fact that just because the church rejected Jesus, and may have been destroyed by the time of this writing, didn’t negate the fact that Jesus and His parents faithfully followed the requirements of God, for them, as members of the nation of Israel. Those “church rules” were only for members of Israel. No one else needed them. They were not essential for salvation. Remember, this was written about 30 years after Christ and Christians from both sides of the isle, Jews and Gentiles, were still feeling each other out and trying to find where they belonged. At this time in the life of Jesus, He was still a member of his family, who were of the nation of Israel, and fulfilling all their duties and responsibilities. Luke, a Gentile, didn’t want to prejudice his Jewish readers. When Jesus was twelve years old, they went up to the festival as usual. This is important. Between the ages of twelve and thirteen, a Jewish boy was to be instructed in the Law of God. Of course by this time in the history of the Jews, they spent more time studying the laws of the church than the laws of God. When boys passed the requirements they became responsible “for Jewish ritual law, tradition, and ethics, and are able to participate in all areas of Jewish community life.” Wikipedia. Jesus would have none of it. Church rituals, traditions and ethics were of no concern for Him. His concern was making sure He lived in obedience to His Father’s Law: the Ten Commandments. Through the life of Jesus we see the beginning of the end of the church system in the eyes of God. Sad! Today, most children by the age of 12 or 13 are barely able to take care of themselves, let alone be “able to participate in all areas” of community life. Parents have totally dropped their children into the arms of Lucifer. Today we see the results of decades of neglect by parents. When the days of the festival were over, they left for home. The young man Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Since Jesus was now considered a “young man” He was able to act on His own and He did just that. He stayed behind to see if there were any who were interested in learning about His Father. He saw the corruption. He knew His Bible. He saw that everything was about “church” and nothing about obedience to His Father. Young men today in their 30’s are hardly able to take care of themselves, let alone act on their own with responsibility. They thought that he was in their group of travelers. After traveling for a day, they started looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching desperately for him. Parents today are way too busy, involved with travel, business, relatives, having fun and making money, to keep an eye on their children. Their children are lost. But parents are too busy to notice. There will come a time when parents will wake up and realize they have lost their children. They will seek diligently for them, but will it be too late? Three days later they found him in the Temple sitting among the teachers, listening to them, and posing questions to them. For about 13 years God had been trying to reach the leaders of the church. He sent an angel to Zechariah. He sent an angel to Mary. He sent an angel to Joseph. He sent angels to the shepherds. Simeon and Anna in the temple proclaimed the Messiah had come. Now, God Himself is “sitting among the teachers listening to them and posing questions to them”. How humble of Him. How loving. He was willing to listen. Then, He simply asked questions trying to initiate deep thought in them. They were not listening. They were too proud and arrogant. Church was more important than truth. When I go online listening to what people have to say, I ask questions and put up the truth as Jesus teaches it. Church people are not listening to Jesus. It is all about their church, pastor, beliefs or religious teachings. They don’t care about Jesus and what He teaches. All who heard him were amazed at his intelligence and his answers. Churches, pastors and religious organizations are amazed, but they refuse to become intelligent. They are unable to refute, so they resort to throwing out a few memorized texts, out of context of course, that make Paul and Jesus liars. They don’t even realize that by making Jesus and Paul liars they have no salvation. When Jesus’ parents saw him, they were shocked. His mother asked him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been worried sick looking for you!” Yes, that is usually the response from those who have been inconvenienced by the truth. “Why have you treated us like this?” They are not willing to look at themselves to see the problem lay not in the Truth, but in themselves for neglecting the Truth. He asked them, “Why were you looking for me? Didn’t you know that I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he told them. We must all be in our Father’s “house”. Most won’t understand you if you are in your Father’s “house”. Few understand this ministry. They either judge it, think I’m judging them, or just ignore it. But few understand because they are not taking the time to understand it. There are many who are looking for Jesus. But they are looking in the wrong places. They are in church instead of in “My Father’s House”. That house is the Word of God. If people would get out of their churches and go to the Word of God and listen, they would find Jesus as they live in obedience to His every word. Then he went back with them, returning to Nazareth and remaining in submission to them. His mother continued to treasure all these things in her heart. Interesting to note, even though Mary had been instructed by the angel, it took thirty-three and a half years before she was convinced. However, she was treasuring all these things in her heart. Are you? Jesus went back with His parents and remained in submission to them. Not many children today live in submission to their parents. Most are living “off” their parents, not in submission to their parents. We are at the end of time. Are you in submission to your Father in Heaven? Meanwhile, Jesus kept on growing wiser and more mature, and in favor with God and his fellow man. Are we “growing wiser and more mature, and in favor with God” and our fellow man? Do we live such holy lives that people will love our behavior, even if they hate our message? Let us be like Jesus in every aspect of our lives.