The Christmas Story - Part 1

By Scott Webster
Dec 9, 2014
Matthew describes a drama which unfolded in a political and social context.

For many, Christmas evokes memories of childhood joy, opening gifts and feasting with family.  Favorite family recipes, a break from school, the gathering of family and friends or the exchanging of gifts – we all look at this holiday and time of year through a set of personal lenses.  However, if we take our view of the birth of Christ and his early years strictly from the pages of the Bible, we see that they were couched within political intrigue, murderous plots, acts of genocidal rage, state intelligence activities, issues of immigration and covert border crossings, a visiting delegation of foreign dignitaries and the census and tax decrees of an empire.  As we approach the holidays, it is time for a new angle of sight into how the Word of God describes the birth of Christ.

Many believers are alarmed that “Christ is being taken out of Christmas”, and some insist on saying “Merry Christmas” even though the phrase “Happy Holidays” is also based on recognizing the setting aside of days which commemorated Divine events – holy-days.  Regardless of your take on the verbiage, it is hard not to be conscious of the fact that what is engineered and purported to be a Christian holiday is much more about intense consumerism and corporate profits than about the values of Christ.

Moving past the obvious errors and extremes of consumerism, there are many that may not be as aware of the reality that the emphasis of Christ being birthed into the earth was not simply an act of individual salvation but a violent clash of kingdoms.  It is a tradition in many households to gather around the Christmas tree and read the opening words of Matthew’s gospel during the holiday season. But let us take this well known passage quoted often in December and look at it for what it really is: a clash of Kingdoms.

Matthew 2:1-6 (NIV) 
1After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."  When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.  When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born.  "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written: 'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'"

 Matthew describes a drama which unfolded in a political and social context.  The narrative opens with the empire conducting a census and levying a special tax upon the colonies (Luke 1:21), an exercise intended not just to raise revenue from the province but as a way for Rome to conduct political surveillance of a potentially dissident colony.  The first Christmas wasn’t about days off of work, gifts under a tree or jingle bells – it was defined by nations and kingdoms posturing themselves on the international field. 

Politics and the Church

After Rome declared a census, the local politician in Palestine who was loyal to Caesar, Herod, got involved also.  His first action was to gather the leaders of the church and ask them for the location of the birth of Christ, and Matthew records they provided this without reservation.  This is a church which had a complete lack of discernment; they are so blind, unaware and spiritually dull that they willingly participated in a political process that resulted in a bloody assault against the Kingdom of God!  We must wonder: where was the insight of the Church regarding this fresh new Divine initiative being birthed into the earth?  Weren’t they aware that a new move of God was at hand and required their participation?  Did they have no discernment regarding the true nature of Herod’s request for information?  How could they be so complicit in Herod’s evil plot?

Certainly the political leadership knew of this newly born King and took His presence very seriously indeed.  Herod’s response was political at its core; inherently competitive and wicked.  When Herod asked where the Christ was to be born, the church quickly acquiesced and gave him intelligence for his murderous plot.  Politicians who feign piety but whose true motivation is to extend their own political influence have always existed and apparently they have always been able to dupe that segment of the church that is enamored with carnal power.  Perhaps these church leaders were happy that the political power structure was asking their opinion, or maybe they chose to believe Herod’s actions were the beginning of a national revival that would begin in the highest levels of government?  I am only speculating here since we are not told, although it wouldn’t be surprising if this was the case since these things can be seen in the church down through history and up to the present day.  This is a church that makes it clear that we need a reformation in the earth!

Statecraft

Whatever the churches shortcomings, Herod initiated a multi-layered operation against Christ by using standard systems of statecraft that we can recognize, including:

A Need to Know Basis.  Matthew 2:7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star appeared.  The clandestine meeting was restricted to only those who needed to be involved in the discussion, and the limiting of information ensured that few would see into the king’s true intentions.  This was a clandestine operation managed very carefully by Herod, who told the Magi only what he wanted them to know.  He withheld his true intention, which was to murder Christ.

Syncretism.  Matthew 2:8 He (Herod) sent them to Bethlehem and said.  Syncretism is a word that means a mixture of things that are opposed, and we see this mixture when Herod tried to use the wise men for his political purposes.  His arrogance is manifest when he joined his purposes (seeking to find and murder the child) to the divine mission of the men from the East. Politicians from all sides of the aisle commonly engage in this unholy mixture, and the church has so diluted the message of the Kingdom of God that many have come to believe that “God and country” are one.  However, the Magi went to Bethlehem not out of obedience to Herod but because they had spiritual sight and were sent by God.

Disinformation.  Matthew 2:8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him."  Herod lied about his true intentions, which is called disinformation when it is a deliberate attempt by the state to deceive.  Herod told the men that he wanted to go and worship Christ when in fact his intention was to have the child murdered.  The release of disinformation seeks to obfuscate in order to cloak true intentions and therefore to produce wrong action on the part of others.

State Surveillance.  Matthew 2:12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.  The return of the wise men by a different route was done to evade the surveillance mechanisms Herod had ordered so that they would not be followed and coerced to give up the location of the Christ.  This dream was part of God’s intelligence apparatus which outmaneuvered Herod (and the devilish source of his human actions) at every front.

Genocide.  Matthew 2:16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.  Herod used the power of his security forces (army & police) to conduct state sponsored genocide, something predicted by Jeremiah 700 years before when the prophet looked into the spirit realm and heard the sound of Rachel weeping and lamenting for her children, but unable to be comforted because they were no more (Jeremiah 31:15).

Herod had in fact not been outwitted by the Magi, he was not aware that he was matching wits with the Eternal God.  Herod was being used as a pawn by the power of darkness, which sought to abort the purposes of God from coming into the earth.  The birth of Christ was a bold strike against the Kingdom of darkness, which responded with various schemes and mechanisms.  God provided prophetic insight to His people in the earth in order for them to outmaneuver darkness.  They were able to move the purposes of God towards completion because they were connected to the Lord and their actions in the earth were piloted from another realm.  We will look at that prophetic intelligence in the next issue.

Some Thoughts for Consideration

These insights into the first Christmas provide food for thought:

  1. We need a new angle of sight into the Word of God.  The Scriptures have always been true, but in the times in which we live when God’s Kingdom is becoming rampant upon the earth we must have a new angle of sight and understanding into the Word of God.  Seeing the Bible as simply a plan for individual salvation is to strip it of all of its richness, and this limited view has produced a people in the earth who are narrow and too limited.  We can look to the Word of God for answers about sin and salvation, but it is also filled with insight regarding economic principles, political leadership and international relations to name a few.  Having a more comprehensive view empowers us to understand what God is doing in the nations. 
     
  2. God is involved in the Nations.  Political and economic drama unfolded at Christ’s birth as God moved in the nations of the earth.  Just as God shook systems and nations then, He is presently at work, destabilizing nations and systems for “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens."  The words "once more" indicate the removing of what can be shaken-that is, created things-so that what cannot be shaken may remain.  Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe” (Heb 12:26-28).  Things being shaken around us must result in increased thankfulness and worship of God in our own hearts – we are comforted and strengthened when all that surrounds us falls apart. 
     
  3. God works in the Darkness.  Reading this increases my faith in God’s Sovereignty over the all things, even wicked actions and gross darkness.  Isaiah declared “I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things” (Isa 45:7).  God directed Caesar and Herod, and he superintended the series of events around the birth of His Son which not only brought salvation to all of mankind but also destabilized nations and Kingdoms.  Herod murdered all male children two and under, but God was still majestically working His purpose in the earth.  Even when political leadership in our day makes gross errors and devalues human life, God is moving His purpose forward. 

Comments

Tito Ndlovu | South Africa | December 10, 2014

We are standing in a brand new place in the purposes of God and God has prepared His army for this time . “The Kingdom of God suffers violence and the violent take it by force” . A new aggression and deliberate, conscious tracking of God must now be a new normal . We are praying for you ACT - and ready to hear and obey.

Matthew Thiru | Malaysia | December 10, 2014

a very profound perspective. the body of Christ needs to wake up to this undeniable truth to join God’s reformation of the churches and man made traditions!!

Stephen Johnson | Mexico | December 10, 2014

Very insightful and encouraging look at how the birth of Jesus reveals principles of how we are to interact with systems in the earth today.

Barnabas Obeng | Ghana | December 10, 2014

Scott with his team delves extensively into the Christmas subject and brings out a more deeper and accurate understanding of Christmas. This is a must read for all especially, those who have become disillusioned with the many activities that have clouded the true meaning of the advent of Christ - the clash of kingdoms. Well done Scott!

Christine Kamau | Kenya | December 10, 2014

“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe”. Indeed my heart is filled with thankfulness and worship in acknowledgement of God’s Sovereignty over ALL THINGS! 
He superintends all affairs of men and is in total control!  What safer place to be than in Him! 

Mbaga Tuzinde | Kenya | December 10, 2014

The Part that stands out to me is that “Even when political leadership in our day makes gross errors and devalues human life, God is moving His purpose forward”.....the church is the agent that God is using in the midst of human error God is building His Church to manifest His Kingdom.

Jacob Oduor | Kenya | December 10, 2014

Amen and Amen: i look at this and read to read again because i see more insight on how i need to operate in this season and time of crisis. Because in the midst of crisis God still speaks and i have to up my antenna, listen to what God is saying and obey His voice. That’s not a strategy of survival but a strategy of living in the face of the earth today according to His will which is done in heaven, on earth and His kingdom

Sakiusa Jitoko | Fiji | December 10, 2014

One of the things that came so strongly in my heart as I read was the Sovereignty of God. In the midst of all the earthly activities & events the manifold sovereignty of our King is strategically been made visible. This has increase my heart desire to live in a more righteous way and be more resolute in my pursuit for Christlikeness.

peter ayiro | Kenya | December 10, 2014

What a declaration of His Sovereignty - I form the light and create darkness… This is truly both a reassuring reminder and a firm statement of fact as in the case of a principled father or teacher guiding a son through what appears to be a crisis. My faith is built on this declaration that puts scriptures like 1 Cor. 10:13 in context. He is fully in control, directing the affairs of men so I would best be advised to ensure that I am in constant communication with Him.

Danielle Adefolaju | Nigeria | December 11, 2014

It’s a new day indeed! We need to begin to see the intent of God and build accurately as against ignorantly following Babylonian positions. We are the light of the world and we need to bring illumination to every aspect of human life. Scott brings in a totally new, deep and precise insight into the whole issue of Christmas! This is shifted me and adjusted my internal posture in a new way. We need to continually engage in the battle of sight to bring people out of captivity into light.

Emmanuel Varathan | South Africa | December 11, 2014

The church has been deceived and are still being deceived by the spirit of deception , which is an end time spirit. The Babylon systems have caused the church to bow down to it’s operating systems.
Scott brings great revelation and truth into the christmas story. How far the church as gone from truth? This article should cause the eyes of our understanding to be opened to present realty and truth from the word of God.

kamau | Kenya | December 11, 2014

no system in the earth is getting better,only the kingdom of GOD is safe and unshakeable in this last days.our focus is God even as darkness intensifies in the earth

Bidemi Alfred | Nigeria | December 11, 2014

“God provided prophetic insight to His people in the earth in order for them to outmaneuver darkness”, this portion in the write up for me creates a new desire and quest for prophetic sight in this end times. I see from this that in order to outwit the darkness in this season, we need deeper prophetic insight in all we do. From this quote, I also see the power of prophetic insight in the days of Moses when Pharaoh also unleashed a mass genocide of Hebrew children in the land in order to keep the people of God perpetually captive in slavery.

Moses’ mother saw that he was a beautiful child and decided to hid him from the kings degree. I see that prophetic insight is highly imperative in this season in order to nurture and bring every kingdom initiative in the earth to maturity in the midst of a very toxic Babylonian system.

My cry is for the lord to give to us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. May He cause the eyes of our understanding to be further enlightened to see him clearly in the midst of the darkness of the day.

Steve Karura | Kenya | December 11, 2014

God is sovereign and everything bow to Him in worship. A time for church to walk in full sight of Him who is Almighty. The time for shaking has come and that which is unshakable will be manifested as it stand to the end. We must build by pulling down from God His divine resources since nothing of Man will ever stand.

Michael LoBianco | Japan | December 11, 2014

God is very strategic and calculating in all of His actions and this telling of the “Christmas Story” speaks loudly to me of the vastness of God. It also reminds me that Man (and nations) is dealing with a superior intellect, far beyond his scope of comprehension and self-abased lives.  Yes, we understand that ‘God is Sovereign”, but to REALLY comprehend this reality, we must do so in order for us to respond accurately to “His” agendas and actions on the earth.  Herod should have listened to His very own words and “go and worship Him..”.  This is the correct response to everything of God’s dealing on the earth, especially if He decides to “show up” literally. smile

Ayinde Smith | Trinidad and Tobago | December 14, 2014

Very accurate and balanced perspective of the season, that forces me to look at the true intentions of God without being inordinately opposed to “Christmas”

Teddy Kochukoshy | United States | December 14, 2014

“New aggression and deliberate, conscious tracking of God must now be a new normal .” - Tito Ndlovu, S. Africa

I appreciate my brothers statement. It captures the response birthed in me through this article and within our present movement as a Congress. There needs to be a personal responsibility to be aware of how to see things from the clarity of the Kingdom; through the Holy Spirit. The ability to do so seems to be vital in how we will be able to shine as light in the midst of increasing darkness.

Taniela Koroivueta | New Zealand | December 16, 2014

Thanks Scott,
Our youth were just in discussion about this a few weeks back, as exams close and schools finish and the onset of Christmas set’s in. We were sitting and discussing this article and realizing how devoid of purpose the next few weeks will be and how confrontational its deception is. Its like gas filling the room and no one can see it, like the church that couldn’t discern Herod… That is not a position that we want to be in as the body and partner of God.. What you have shared is the very real reality of an enemy that is bent on making us continue to go around in circles. A time devoid of purpose ...but we will be full of purpose. Thank you for your sight and partnership.

Adeola Ogedengbe | United Kingdom | December 16, 2014

This elevated sight and penetrative insight into the true nature of the nativity story is an eye opener for me and it’s very timely.
Scott effectively captured the present state of things in Nigeria as “christian” politicians are preparing for 2015 elections ; they have deceived many religious leaders in the country affirming the statement by Scott -“Politicians who feign piety but whose true motivation is to extend their own political influence have always existed and apparently they have always been able to dupe that segment of the church that is enamored with carnal power.  Perhaps these church leaders were happy that the political power structure was asking their opinions”
Reading this Christmas Story by Scott is an answer to many questions i have asked recently . Thanks Scott.

Cheryll Guesno | United States | December 17, 2014

This article helps me to focus on the Divine Sovereignty of God so that I can See Him more clearly and walk in perfected intent in the hectic times of the Christmas season. I don’t want to be like the early church who gave into Herod all the information he wanted.I want my Christmas season to revolve around Christ despite the pressures and demands that the traditions of the world and family members try to impose upon this season.I want to shine as a light for them also.

Charles Kimani Njuguna | Kenya | December 17, 2014

This article has brought great sight into my life and a desire to partner with God in the accomplishment of His purpose in the earth. I shouldn’t be consumed by the prevailing human conditions and deception of the Babylonian system.

Zwelakhe | South Africa | December 18, 2014

Surely the sovereign Lord is in full control of all things and the kingdoms of this world will perish. In Daniel 2:44, we see that “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom. It will never be destroyed. And no other nation will ever take it over. It will crush all of those other kingdoms. It will bring them to an end. But it will last forever.

Lucy Ottley | Trinidad and Tobago | December 18, 2014

Thank you Scott for helping me to see deeper into the purposes of God. Very eye opening indeed!

BLEZZED TOYOZI | Nigeria | December 18, 2014

wonderful zight given. thnk God for Hiz redemptive nture.

Rosebell Muthee | Kenya | December 20, 2014

The birth of Jesus brought in the clash of kingdoms,and so it is indeed a time of reflections of God dealings in the earth and how well to partner with him instead of being lazy and reduce the momentum with the worlds delicacies that are temporal.Thank you for the massive insight released.

Marsha Webb | Trinidad and Tobago | December 21, 2014

Thank you! This has given me a proper and realistic perspective of the ‘clash of kingdoms’ which took place at the birth of Christ and helped my view on Christmas to be more informed. It also makes me want to partnership in whatever way necessary with God’s macro plans as clearly God is and always in charge of everything. Bless His Holy Name!

Kalala Malo | New Zealand | December 25, 2014

I just thank God for His pristine wisdom and insight given to Scott, so that the seals from his word can be broken.  This is amazing.  For all of us reading God’s word, we have access to see the depths of its relevance in our world today.  I am praying for my eyes to open so I can have this x-ray spiritual vision into events around us and be able to precisely run a line straight to the Word of God. 

I am so thankful for the wisdom of God so obvious through Scott.  But this must move me to take greater inquiry for myself

Emily Rowe | United Kingdom | December 26, 2014

Thanks. Refreshing to read.

Bheki Masikane | South Africa | December 31, 2014

Thank you Scott. What amazes me is that when we talk about Christmas the world has a different perspective of what it is all about. But for those whose eyes are open (Ephe 1:18) are able to see some learning that contrary to the world. It is very dissappointing to see that the spirit of blindness which blinded the church leaders of that time is still blind today’s church.

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