On This Wise
On This Wise
It is written,
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.”
We all know this story and have heard how the Holy Spirit over shadowed Mary and she became pregnant with Jesus. What is fascinating to me is that we seldom stop to really meditate upon what actually happened and grasp the true significance of it.
Mary was betrothed to Joseph, which in those days was a binding agreement, and she was not considered a single girl any longer. Moreover, virginity was still a very sacred thing. Yet, God impregnated a woman promised to another man and then said the following,
“But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”
Stopping to think about these events in the light of our present understanding of scripture one could make the case that God’s actions were…uh…ungodly. Of course, being God, His actions could not be un-biblical or even sinful. But if that is the case I believe that we must consider why these things could and did take place, because they are certainly outside the limits of what is considered proper today.
Normally, in ancient Israel, a woman found with child in a similar situation would be considered either a fornicator or an adulterer. Jewish law stated that such women should be stoned. This is why Joseph was thinking about breaking off the marriage quietly so that she would not be punished and possibly stoned to death. However, God said to Joseph in a dream that he should not fear to take her to wife even though she was with child. Fact of the matter was that, in this situation, the normal rules did not apply simply because God said so.
In Christianity today we say that God is sovereign, but our doctrine declares He is not. We are taught that there are actually things God cannot do because if He took such actions He would violate His own word. Since, logically, God cannot break His own law, even though we don’t say it, we limit God to what we understand. However, in the example of the birth of Jesus Christ God steps in, does the unthinkable, and calls it holy. This indicates that there must be something we do not understand or grasp about God and what He will and will not do.
This is a very central truth that we must try to grasp:
“God cannot and will not be limited to our understanding of His word.”
Every time we say God cannot do something and then He does it we must realize that it was our understanding which was flawed and seek to comprehend His word in light of what He does. It is the Holy Spirit which is supreme, and we must modify our beliefs and accept Him on His own terms. All too often our doctrine limits what we will accept and if what the Holy Spirit does is outside our doctrinal box we reject Him, even sometimes calling what He does of Satan.
We talk glibly about the deeds that God did through the great men of the Bible and the prophets of old, but rarely stop to consider what it must have been like to actually live such events. Furthermore, what was it like for the people who saw them perform these God led missions? Perhaps many of these same heroes of our faith, if they were to come and do such things in our generation, would be ousted from our churches and be called heretics. It may very well be that, in an effort to systematize and analyze the scriptures, we have not left enough room in our minds and hearts for God to be God.
The Bible is a record of firsts. There was a first time God breathed the breath of life into Adam. A first time God destroyed all that held the breath of life through a flood. A first time God confused the languages of the world. A first time God’s people spake with other tongues as the Spirit gave the utterance. A first time God told Abraham, the father of our faith, to sacrifice his only son. A first time God commanded His only son to die in our place on the cross of Calvary. In fact, one of the most common characteristics of God is that whatever He does is unique, supernatural, and has never been done before.
So it was with the virgin birth. The way in which God choose to bring forth His only begotten Son had all the ear marks of His former miracles. A child was born from a woman who had never known a man, another first. A man was told to marry and women with child, another first. The king of kings was born in a manger among barnyard animals; you guessed it, another first!
Is God still the same today? Do not the scriptures state this very fact in the book of Malachi,
“For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.”
What if our Father chooses to do another first in our day? Does our belief system allow enough room for God to be and do as He pleases like He has done in the past? Or do we only pay lip service the concept of a sovereign God? Does God still get to be God in our lives and will we accept what He does just because of who He is? This is a central question that will become more and more important to each one of us as we approach the coming events.
I desire to know God for who He truly is. I recognize that my concepts about my Father are still childlike and I look forward to knowing Him in Spirit and in truth as I mature. I embrace the fact that my understanding will change as I come closer to Him and find out through experience what He is like.
Here is a truth if you can receive it:
“Even those who fancy themselves intimately acquainted with God are barely seeing the outer most fringes of whom and what He truly is. We are like Israel standing on the other side of Jordan looking at the Promised Land but not yet having tasted of it.”
I am concerned that God’s people are not being prepared to navigate the deep waters that we are entering into because they are not being taught to allow God to be God. Mostly, our doctrine is derived from what God did tens and even hundreds of years ago and we are not being fed the current word for today. Thus His people are unaware and ill prepared to receive Him, and many will stumble and fall if He comes in a manor they have not been conditioned to receive.
Brethren, the Holy Spirit is moving, and with Him is coming a new and wonderful revelation of who God is. We are on the cusp of a third reformation. Those who will embrace His Spirit will soar on eagle’s wings; while those who refuse His visitation will persecute it and do their best to destroy this holy thing. It is up to us, as watchmen on the walls, to sound the trumpet and declare to those who cannot yet see what is surely coming: obey God and not man. If we neglect to do so we will fail our brethren who depend upon us, as the seers of this generation, to declare what must surely come to pass.