Christmas and Reckoning with Yahweh’s ways

Far from the shopping and presents, far from the bustle of neighbours, far from the tinsel, evergreen trees, and family dinners, Christ was born in an unlikely place, practically not welcome. Our reflection on the Christ-child, whether daily or at this season, brings us to consider what treasures could there possibly be for us in the strange ways and unusual events that surround the grand event. There are those who might perhaps ask why is there a day, without biblical foundation, celebrated as the birthday of the king of kings. There are three days in the year when Israelites used to gather in Jeruslaem to celebrate various acts of Yahweh. It cannot be an accursed thing if the rulers of our nations have enacted laws creating three statutory holidays, each connected to the acts of Christ. Good Friday and Easter Monday can be related to the Gospel or to the Biblical Passover (which is an eight-day festival by the way), and Christmas day, although having roots in the annual solstice, bears the Lord’s name. If at all one deems it an unclean thing one might recall that contact with unclean people and food in exile was an essential part of Israel’s correction. When ways are logged one will find that human ways and God’s part. When he zigs, we zag. When he is busy up opening doors we slam them shut. The Christ-child concerns will be seen to accentuate the difference between God’s ways and ours, and a healthy and beneficial relationship with the newborn king will revolve around the preparation, the light, the correction.


And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, Luke. 1:76

As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way, Mark. 1:2

The preparation of which John speaks begins with repentance, a change of mind, so that the things of Christ will come into focus and not be drowned out by the things from one’s tradition.


Compared to the work and the person of Christ the previous messages and arrangements are a dark night.  He eclipses the lights of Israelite history as handily as pardon and grace outshine the condemnation of the Law

knowing (a) we have been stumbling on our journey and (b) injuring one another on an ill-advised warpath a change had to come and the visit in tender mercy meets the need.

[because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high Luke. 1:78] to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Luke. 1:79


Peace has been elusive even when it was the common interest we could not avoid.  The king’s messenger had the assignment to create a living connection to peace and not merely intangible atonement such as one gets from animal sacrifice. Violence and oppression have lingered in the air since the first homicide. They have accompanied all the crises in the Israelite experience. When given the resources humans have taken peace away from their neighbours and their own communities.

to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Luke. 1:79b


Correction was necessary since someone had been messing with Yahweh’s ways. Christ lumps his predecessors into a bag of robbery. Every human being, leaders and followers, is involved in robbing Christ of the glory due him.

For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.’”

Matthew 3:3

A confession that “We have been going down wrong roads” is in order, if people know anything about God’s call to holiness and human nature.

The entire generation in which John and Yeshua lived was characterized as crooked and perverse. Our generation is not less crooked and perverse. It is more so. Coming to the manger is secondary to coming to the cross. We can fill up the joy of living by accepting the coming of the Saviour into the world and by coming to the cross. Both movements are treasured by people in the modern era and this could not be said of the times of Christ’s arrival and crucifixion.

We Prepare Yahweh’s Ways by renouncing the crooked and perverse things we have inherited and embraced.

Swimming in the shallow end

Is it possible that this intellectual enterprise – populated by many whose testimony concerning the Lord Yeshua I have personally witnessed, and by many who remain unknown to me – has the diagnostics of Isaiah 29? It is not strange to me that what is advertised as nourishment turns out to be a dangerous diet. It is not wierd that there are people wanting to put their deep end diving into matters of the mind on public view who are actually swimming in the shallow end of the pool of redemptive matters.

Since when is it not noble to be one-track? We are in good company when our eye is single. This could be the kind of evidence that convinces people that the final hours of grace are indeed unfolding. Truth is not anything that fits the scenario we desire. Paul could retreat to the crucified Yeshua and John could was consistent in preaching repentance and the imminent kingdom of God.

But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;

1Cor. 1:23 (KJV)

For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

1Cor. 2:2 (KJV)

Hate speech is fine: perhaps accepted as animated opinion, but criminal.

A Christian worldview and Judeo-Christian entities

There is no heroic alliance between the Messiah and any government. The god of this world is Satan. There is no heavenly government – no matter what their religious claim may be – therefore it is an abomination to slap a divine label on any government. The fact that there are Christians in the legislatures across the globe does not make the governments Christian. Jews and Christians recognize humanitarian values and on that basis are able to work together, but it is a either a coward or a novice who thinks that committed followers of Moses can be committed followers of Yeshua the Messiah. We say,  without reservation, that the buck stops with Yeshua on all matters. Judeo-worldview should be happening all over the globe since it had a massive headstart. Both testaments confirm that the disciples of Moses were present all over the known world from in Bible times, with some success. The Jewish people have preserved the Bible for the world, but that way of life is attractive to fewer and fewer people. A Christian (or Judeo-Christian) worldview is a view that comes from observing , for example, that legislation across the nations have elements from Mosaic Law. Theories about secular government are fair game and I know that the paths of Christ and Caesar are on a collision course.

Tell us you are not Jerusalem

Isaiah 28:14-15

14) Therefore, hear the word of the Lord, O scoffers, Who rule this people who are in Jerusalem, 15) Because you have said, “We have made a covenant with death, And with Sheol we have made a pact. The overwhelming scourge will not reach us when it passes by, For we have made falsehood our refuge and we have concealed ourselves with deception.”

Matthew 6:24

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

Tell yourself that this cannot happen in the 20th century

Sleeping on the job

The Lord has poured over you a spirit of deep sleep, He has shut your eyes, the prophets; And He has covered your heads, the seers.

Isaiah 29:10

I am a witness to the parade of shallow diving

Here is why discussion and genuine education is in the dump. Does it surprise you that people love little milky soundbytes instead of hard food? Do you think you know what excellence looks like?

VISION! Do not talk about it, coreect your way

11) The entire vision will be to you like the words of a sealed book, which when they give it to the one who is literate, saying, “Please read this,” he will say, “I cannot, for it is sealed.” 12) Then the book will be given to the one who is illiterate, saying, “Please read this.” And he will say, “I cannot read.”

Isaiah 29:11-12

We have seen Isaiah 28 and 29 play out in New Testament times and I am not taken by surprise when the faith of Christ is ignored in personal responsibility and then shot like an arrow into the secular world to create the appearance of an exalted nation. The only secular government sanctioned by the Sacted Text is the Levitical model. Its best expression comes in the reign of Solomon. His unique gift was wisdom to govern. His success did not include compliance with the primary proposition in Mosaic instruction. He worshipped the gods of the neighbouring nations.

Does not our passion deserve the label lipservice?

Then the Lord said, “Because this people draw near with their words And honor Me with their lip service, But they remove their hearts far from Me, And their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote,

Isaiah 29:13

I know of no serious interpreter of the gospel who has proposed that any nation adopt the governance model of ancient Israel and you cannot find a coherent set of rules for government in the teaching of the apostles. I have not seen any nation, ancient or modern, that has adopted the content of the Old Testament (the Law, Prophets, and Writings).

Political inventions of any stripe by Christians is a dereliction of duty. The call to hallow the divine name, to depend on Him for daily sustenance, to forgive are not government business. We know what judges do to our loved ones in accordance with secular law. We know what officers of the law have been doing to innocent people.

Our dinner was once waste

Where does the idea of righteous nation come from? Can there be biblical government without a king, or more precisely, can there be biblical government without a priest-king? Let the arrival of the Christ-child inform your answer. We can also let the modern state of Israel and the host of nations giving up the idea of monarchy or those jurisdictions making the monarch ceremonial guide our feet into the contemporary political situations.

Due to what people were consuming for guidance God evaluated the table as ineffective.

Deadly Intoxication and Poor Nutrition

7) And these also reel with wine and stagger from strong drink: The priest and the prophet reel with strong drink, They are confused by wine, they stagger from strong drink; They reel while having visions, They totter when rendering judgment. 8) For all the tables are full of filthy vomit, without a single clean place.

Isaiah 28:7-8

The half-cocked leadership

14) Therefore, hear the word of the Lord, O scoffers, Who rule this people who are in Jerusalem, 15) Because you have said, “We have made a covenant with death, And with Sheol we have made a pact. The overwhelming scourge will not reach us when it passes by, For we have made falsehood our refuge and we have concealed ourselves with deception.”

Isaiah 28:14-15

Excuse me for kissing the sky when it comes to taking refuge in the Rock of Ages. Christian people do not fake respect for men and when they say they know anything we can be sure it is not secondhand. News is news, truth is truth, but truth seekers have reliable means of getting to the core.

The believer is Jerusalem

It is in the believer that God has chosen to live. The privileges and obligations of the believer can only be exported to a corporate entity at the risk of wasting the pearls. If there were to be a corporate entity (secular by default) composed entirely of Christians it would suffer defeat because of discrimination and nepotism,  especially if it were Levitical. Alliances between the holy city and other similar entities formed the basis for a curse and for the indictment of harlotry. We do well to take cues from these early developments and warnings.

Cursed for relying on human help

Thus says the Lord, “Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind And makes flesh his strength, And whose heart turns away from the Lord.

Jeremiah 17:5

An expectation of good government has to be rooted in the person and work of the Lord Yeshua and Daniel predicts a spectacular inauguration.

Raging prostitution, popular among the chosen

Their deeds will not allow them To return to their God. For a spirit of harlotry is within them, And they do not know the Lord.

Hosea 5:4

Christ’s government

Yeshua needs no help in setting up his government. There is no believer preparation for his reign except to simply live their lives as witnesses to the cross. For now, believers experience the kingdom of God in our participation in the daily work of the ministry. The kingdom comes every day as we submit to our pastors and every good thing.

Without (human) hands

34) You continued looking until a stone was cut out without hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and crushed them. 35) Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed all at the same time and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.

Daniel 2:34-35


For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the passion of her immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed acts of immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich by the wealth of her sensuality.”

Revelation of John 18:3

No Christian or other government in sight

And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth.”

Revelation of John 11:18

Let me be mad, a sold out fan, for holding up to the light of the gospel all the theories of government, progress, and excellence.

Unity more important than dying

In his Christmas message Prime Minister Justin Trudeau predicts that when the pandemic is over Canadians will be stronger and more unified.

There is more than wishful political thinking in the statement. If Canadians do not unite to insulate themselves from the covid-19 virus many will not know what the end looks like. Canadians will also lose their strength if they do not isolate themselves from the madness of American style politics and religion. The official opposition in Canada is traditionally on a shaky and decaying bridge and its contribution to the strength and unity of the nation had better not be hard to find.

People are strong when they work together. People prove their togetherness when they listen to and care for one another.

A different manger this year

Christians do not live in a soup of miracles.  There ought to be more stories of raven-delivered meals, over-flowing cupboards, storage bins that are bulging, and a dramatic reduction of hunger, poverty snd homelessness.  Can it be that money makes the  world go round and not love.  God has not made a habit of serving up wonders when human intelligence and creativity are the perfect means for spreading the non-miraculous glory of God.  God’s big moves have involved small players and his program proceeds triumphantly.  Pandemic conditions are no reason to try to find the Saviour in circumstances we create.

Most of us would not go near a stable even if cash and a life of service was involved and some of us would change the lowly circumstances to luxurious lodgings.  God was pleased to introduce His Son to the world in humility.  Celebrating the arrival of the Christ-child ought to have an appreciation –  jump right into a home without a bed, refrigerator or locks – of emptying oneself.  Maybe like Sukkot!

The festival of booths.  Sukkot!

42. You shall live in booths for seven days; all the native-born in Israel shall live in booths, 43. so that your generations may know that I had the sons of Israel live in booths when I brought them out from the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.’” 44. So Moses declared to the sons of Israel the appointed times of the Lord.

Leviticus 23:42-44

Since God’s mission was to become personally familiar with human circumstances it is important that humans embrace those circumstances that the Messiah came to.   They should not be strange to us. By Christmas 2021 we each should each become capable of emptying ourselves by immersing ourselves in the humble lifestyles of our neighbours.

The manger where we meet the worshipping foreigners, the Saviour and his family is a sign of God’s ways being different from humans. It is a sign that the old ways of thinking and acting were heading to the exit. It is a picture of the decay in Judean life and the miracle of survival against all odds, something all naturally born humans can relate to against the background of the one sperm out of millions that made its way through a hostile environment to make the fetus that becomes a human being.

Chaotic narcissism will define the remaining weeks to the Biden administration

There are people hoping that the misfiring 45 will find a way to undo his defeat. Pastors praying, decreeing and declaring the dawn of the evangelical utopia are a sign of the delusion that has gripped the globe. Even if all the judges were extremist conservative bigots there would be no Christian nation and no righteous revolution.

Tumulty and Brooks on PBS Buffalo, peering into the remaining weeks until the Biden-Harris administration, forecast chaos and narcissism. I wholeheartedly agree. A thick cloud of wrongdoing has been on display since 2016 and it has been clear all along that the GOP and its leadership are worse than farm animals in not recognizing their owners.

45 has no peacemaking bones in his body and his love is clearly totally directed to himself. The chaos may reach beyond the borders of the United States and so let us, everyone, sound the alarm wherever you are!

Christmas and the heart-moving ministry

Orienting the heart seems to be necessary before the actual change of the heart as forecast in by Moses and Ezekiel. While the mob in modern tmes has been trying to take credit for all of God’s work on the human family the people of Bible times were pretty sure that whatever innovation God was going to come up with was going to detour around Moses’ huge contribution. The evidence that a change was overdue in the civic, religious, and personal lives of people in New Testament times included the dominance of Rome, the corruption in the temple services, and the opposing religious or political factions. While the Hebrew Bible does not end with Malachi and the curse of apathy it does end with the people in exile and that situation has to, by any reckoning, has to find resolution in a temple in the Land of Promise. The prospect slipped away the focus on the heart dwindles. The last book of the Hebrew canon, 2 Chronicles, has more (42) references to heart (leb or lebab, bbl, bl@ or bb*l@) than all the minor prophets (31).

“Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, ‘The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all his people, may the LORD his God be with him. Let him go up.’”

2Chr. 36:23

The sign of change can be best tagged to a Gentile king, accepting a commission from Yahweh to build a house in Jerusalem. This puts Gentiles in the stream of people for whom the divine name is a priority.

The paths of the province of Judea since the return from exile stayed close to ignorance about about Abraham’s larger family; the innumerable Gentiles who are among the elect. Xenophobia made no sense after the unmistakeable call of God on the life of a Gentile king. It was not going to be overcome by simply revisting the ancestral heritage. The pride of being Abraham’s descendants was not going to cut it (Luke 3:8). Jews and Gentiles enter God’s kingdom by exactly the same route, a fact trampled by the Pharisees (and James!) in their attempt to turn Gentiles coming to faith in Christ into Jews (Acts 11:2, 12, 17)

But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” Acts. 15:1

But some believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees rose up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to order them to keep the law of Moses.” Acts. 15:5

We can see how the heart needed reorientation within the Jewish family and towards the rest of the world’s people. The arrival of Christ was satisfying news for all people.

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Luke. 2:10

The achievement of humanity’s destiny is rooted in God’s person from eternity. If the problem of the Sinai arrangement was one of the human heart the resolution has to be a new arrangement of matters of the heart (Deu. 5:29). Let us now survey the heart-moving developments of the Christmas story.

  1. Preceding the Messiah to prepare the heart is John the Baptist, who, by message and lifestyle proclaimed a break with the past
    • and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” Luke. 1:17
      1. this was necessary for the right balance between the past and the future
      2. the disobedient can only be a reference to the kingdoms of Judah and Israel, whose record of treachery and rebellion is without dispute. Indeed since New Testament times more convincing evidence of wrong-heartdness and resstence wto wisdom stands in the empty spot where the temple, the place for Yahweh’s name, used to be the centre of Jewish life.
    • and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child be?” For the hand of the Lord was with him. Luke. 1:66
      1. People’s response was more than “Oh, that’s interesting” or “How nice!”. The people put the things they had heard in their hearts. That is equivalent to
  2. Heart-moving developments relate the importance of the heart in the coming revelation and visitation. Without a work in the heart there is no value to a relationship with the God of Abraham. People were interested and proud of their descent from Abraham, and all the people who were part of the Spirit’s intervention in the lives of Zechariah, Elizabeth, Mary and Joseph, and Simeon, paid attention to what was happening to the human heart.
    1. Descent from Abraham was irrelevant.
      1. And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Matt. 3:9
    2. Prideful thinking of oneself brings divine judgment.
      1. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; Luke. 1:51
    3. The heart as the storage device for unfolding matters.
      1. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. Luke. 2:19
      2. Mary appears more diligent towards the things she had heard. She tagged and kept putting them together, fully believing.
    4. The exposure of the dark side of the human heart was also on tap and God inspired Simeon to inform Mary that her motherhood was not going to be just joy, blessing and honour, but also extreme discomfort.
      1. She was destined for a soul piercing with the result that the contents of many hearts were going to be exposed.
      2. (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” Luke. 2:35

Let every heart prepare Him room

Joel the fantasy Osteen

We die so we can live. That is the arrangement that glorifies God. Positive thinking is the lunch of a fool who had no breakfast and does not care for supper. Keeping the faith is not using what we have. Faith is the thing God introduced, sparingly in ancient times, but full blast in the unveiling of His pleasure.

Delimiting God and self = nobody needs to be saved

The Gift from God is his Son for the salvation of individuals from sin. Try positive thinking sin and rebellion away! You know that is neither the way, nor the truth, nor the process nor the soutce of life. We have to deny Christ to drive that car. That is why “Jesus” is a tack-on in many books, sermons, and soundbytes. Denial of the truth leaves people scrounging for the things of this life, victories and changes of standing in society.

Positive thinking is a fool’s lunch

If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 15) and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? 16)

James 2:15-16