The Christmas Story - Part 2

By Scott Webster
Dec 16, 2014
The account of Christ’s birth shows us the sheer mastery of God over human events, and over the conspiracy of darkness which tries to stop God’s purpose.

It is so easy to get distracted with all of the activities around Christmas; preparing for time off work, shopping, traveling to see family, etc.  Nothing wrong with all of that – although some people spend money they don’t have – but life can quickly blot out the real series of events which occurred around the birth of Christ which Christmas time purports to celebrate.  When we strip off all of the traditions and definitions that have been added, we see that the birth of Christ into the earth was a strategic move from God against the darkness.

In the previous article I wrote that what we call Christmas was really a violent clash of Kingdoms, and a primary weapon in God’s arsenal was the prophetic.  As we examine the verses about the birth and first events in the life of Christ, it is important to note how God consistently spoke to and guided His people: 

Being Saved From Danger

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 Lord gave the wise men clear intelligence regarding Herod’s motivation and his true purposes and they immediately acted on this insight. Instead of returning to Herod or traveling back by the same route, they were warned by God to avoid the surveillance assigned by the state.  Herod wanted to force the wise men in order to find where Christ was so he could kill the Son of God.  Governments using torture is still in the news as the recently released report on the CIA's interrogations after 9/11 attests.  But God warned the wise men through a dream – the prophetic preserved them personally from capture and torture, and it also secured the young child.

Direction and Purpose

Matthew 2:13  An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him."

 God also warned Joseph in a dream of the impending assassination attempt of the boy, and told Joseph to flee with his family and reside under the jurisdiction of a foreign government where there were no warrants for his arrest and probably no treaties of extradition.  Jesus lived in Egypt as a ruler in exile – a political refugee – while waiting for the existing administration to perish.  God directed the family for His purpose. 

Wise Obedience

Matthew 2:14  So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt.

It isn’t enough to hear from God, we must walk in obedience.  Joseph did that with great wisdom when he took his family at night and left for Egypt.  The family’s migration from Israel to Egypt was done covertly at night in order to avoid the border and customs checkpoints.  Wisdom and being swiftly obedient to the voice of God empowered Joseph to evade the homeland security mechanism of the state.

We can’t focus on the expression aspect of the prophetic and forget that a human response is required.  When God talks we must internally bow and willingly change our lives to meet His demands.  What is the point in hearing from God if we’re not going to obey what He said?  Because we don’t know what the next command will be, our heart has to be postured to say “YES!” long before the command arrives.  As Paul’s life was moving towards exit he stood before King Agrippa and declared “I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven” (Acts 26:19).  That must be our lifelong testimony as well: God spoke, we obeyed and in doing so we accomplished His purpose.

Assurance of Safety

Matthew 2:19-20  After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, "Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child's life are dead." 

 After Herod died the family was released by God to return to the land of Israel.  But this was before newspapers and smart phones, so rather than allowing the news to eventually filter down from Jerusalem to Egypt God gave Joseph a dream and beyond it being informational – that Herod had died – it was an assurance from God that it was safe to renter the land. 

Fulfilling All of God's Purpose

Matthew 2:21-23  So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel.  But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: "He will be called a Nazarene."

Every word spoken about the Messiah had to come to pass, so God used Herod’s son who was equally corrupt and aggressively postured against the Lord’s purpose to cause Joseph to consider where he wanted to live.  He then gave Joseph a dream warning him not to locate too close to federal authority, so the family settled in an obscure northern district thus fulfilling the prophetic word “He will be called a Nazarene”. 

God's Mastery over Human Events

The account of Christ’s birth shows us the sheer mastery of God over human events, and over the conspiracy of darkness which tries to stop God’s purpose.  Quite apart from the drama being played out on the stage of humanity with Caesar and Herod on the one hand and Joseph, Mary and the wise men on the other, Kingdoms are violently clashing and darkness is trying to extinguish the greatest hope given to man.  But God’s mastery over darkness is made clear – God even gave “advance notice” about His intentions through multiple prophetic words spoken hundreds of years before, all mentioned in Matthew 2.  
These include:

  • Where Christ would be born (v 4)
  • The Son would be called out of Egypt (v 15)
  • Genocide would occur (v 17)
  • He would be called a Nazarene (v 23)

Some of these are apparently contradictory – if we were alive in those days and looking at the prophetic words about the coming Christ, we may have wondered how he could have been born in Bethlehem but also be from Egypt and also Nazareth. Beyond the inability of the human mind to figure it out in advance, God outmaneuvered the darkness and even with these clear descriptions of Christ and the context of his early days, satanic opposition could do nothing to stop the purposes of God from being birthed into the earth. 

The Call To Partnership / The Prophetic is for All

We can’t read the account in Matthew and stop with the fact that God has mastered all human activity. We must also conclude that this Sovereign God who moves in the affairs of man is also calling us to heightened levels of partnership.  That partnership is prophetic at its core – it is God speaking to a man or woman and revealing His purpose.  The call to partnership is a command from heaven to hear the voice of God, and access to His speaking has been given to all of us, not just some specially gifted prophets.

Nowhere does it say that Mary or Joseph were prophets.  She was a poor teenage girl who was encased in a culture that didn’t recognize her right to go into the temple and dialogue with God.  He was a tradesman of limited economic means – we know this because the law allowed for the poor to bring an offering of turtle doves instead of a more expensive lamb at the birth of a child, and Joseph and Mary brought birds to be offered to the Lord in thanks for the birth of Christ (Luke 2:24).  This was also prophetic, because there is no lamb that can be offered up on behalf of the Lamb of God who was slain from the foundation of the earth, so God found a poor couple who could only afford a couple of pigeons.  But these very average people were given access to high levels of revelation – they were intensely prophetic and it was the voice of God which guided and preserved them.

The couple existed in strong contrast to the established church leaders, who gave Herod information from the Bible regarding where Christ was to be born and were completely undiscerning regarding Herod’s desire to kill the promised Messiah that they purported to wait for.  The indication here is that the church needs a reformation, and a strong part of the change that must take place is a return to Kingdom people who are guided by the voice of God and not political considerations and natural definitions.

When we examine the kind of things God spoke to them about it is amazing how practical the voice of God was:  a) Directing their courtship and engagement (Mt 1:20);  b) Indicating where they should live and when they should move;  c) Managing their immigration to a foreign nation, etc.  God does have a preference for these prosaic things in our lives – the prophetic is not primarily a gift that operates in church but a necessity in order to be piloted from the next realm so we can live correctly here upon the earth.  Just as the voice of God guided and preserved them in a time of spiritual hostility, the present intense levels of darkness can only be overcome by an increased capacity to hear the voice of God.

Joseph and Mary’s ability to hear and interact with the voice of God produce a number of questions for us to consider, among them:  a) How can the prophetic be effectively distributed to the entire Body of Christ so that everyone hears?  b) What must we understand about the role of obedience, so that the prophetic is not just hearing the voice of God but also walking in the power of obedience?  c) What definitions and limitations about the prophetic functioning in the church do we have to overcome in order to walk in a higher prophetic competence?  d) How can I assess my own life to determine how I need to grow in the prophetic?

The Church must be guided by the voice of God.  We must have the speaking of God in our individual lives and our communities as never before if we are going to partner with God down to the End of Time.  Our ancient brothers and sisters heard the voice of God and they prevailed; Christ was birthed and his life preserved so He could offer His life as a ransom for all of mankind.  Now it is our time to fulfill God’s purpose!


Look for Part 3 of the Christmas Story next week

 

Comments

Charles Kimani Njuguna | Kenya | December 17, 2014

“The call to partnership is a command from heaven to hear the voice of God, and access to His speaking has been given to all of us, not just some specially gifted prophets.”

“God does have a preference for these prosaic things in our lives – the prophetic is not primarily a gift that operates in church but a necessity in order to be piloted from the next realm so we can live correctly here upon the earth.  Just as the voice of God guided and preserved them in a time of spiritual hostility, the present intense levels of darkness can only be overcome by an increased capacity to hear the voice of God.

These statements resounds deep in my heart. We are called to Hear and Obey the Voice of God so as to be effective in our times.

Kimberly Baird | United States | December 17, 2014

“This was also prophetic, because there is no lamb that can be offered up on behalf of the Lamb of God who was slain from the foundation of the earth, so God found a poor couple who could only afford a couple of pigeons.” —Something about this statement really got me because it really made me have even more understanding of the importance of identity and knowing who we are in Christ.  If Mary and Joseph would have allowed all the natural things about their situation to define them, they would have missed God.  This statement also helps me see just how much purpose there is behind each person’s circumstances and status in life.  In natural outlook Mary and Joseph could have thought….or we could think….we are just people living here that have a poor lot in life and what can we offer God.  But little do we know how much purpose is behind it, how God wants to and can use that to do something totally incredible.  I am so very grateful for Mary and Joseph’s obedience and the pattern of life that they set admist everything Babylon tried to do to oppose them.  It brings a smile to my face thinking about how they are of those in immortality waiting and cheering us on to help brings things to a finish.

Renae Betten | United States | December 17, 2014

“Amazing how practical the voice of God is…”
In a world much like their time where social/financial status equals power and pressure to be socially/corporately responsible, it is in the purposes and heart of God to use all or the people whose hearts are humbled to hear and obey. Their certainty of the internal make up moved beyond outward appearances of their situation and cultural perspectives although we see they followed some by the offering that was given of turthe doves. Responsibility is not just for the socially elite or those who “appear” to be moving or doing the things of God. Makes me ask myself, what are the practical things He’s said to me and know that my following in those practical things brings a partnership and outcomes that are beyond my social/financial status. He is Sovereign indeed.

Tevita Gucake | New Zealand | December 17, 2014

“ Because we don’t know what the next command will be, our heart has to be postured to say “YES!” long before the command arrives.”

this phrase, captured my heart, stir up my passion to posture my heart in readiness to excuse the will of OUR GOD.

It deepen the passion in my heart to pursue “the knowledge of GOD"and understand the intent in HIS heart. So when HE speaks it must be very clear in my heart.
The cry of my heart is,  GOD open my eyes that i may see and open my ear that i may hear and understand YOU.
Thank you SCOTT and ministry.

Eunice Mwabe | Kenya | December 18, 2014

This emphasized both the practicality of the voice of God in the life of the church and the fulfillment of His purposes on earth, as well as the importance of living a life governed solely by the sound of His voice, the politics of this world notwithstanding. While Part One shed light on his sovereignty thus assuring us of all things, good and bad, working toward the fulfillment of His purpose, Part Two created in me the urgency to tune in, to align myself with Him, and to accurately tread the path our fathers of old walked. Cannot wait to see what Part Three has in store!

Taniela Koroivueta | New Zealand | December 18, 2014

He is Beautiful. Wow to see my life as a chess piece in the hands of God who despite his awesome power will play with man. His ways before His power, obedience, obedience, obedience.

Rosebell Muthee | Kenya | December 20, 2014

in summary what sticks in my heart is that GOD QUALIFIES THE UNQUALIFIED for his service and the response is YES!!!! LONG BEFORE THE COMMANDS ARRIVES.

Ella Malatugu | Solomon Islands | December 21, 2014

Just the emphasis on the Voice of God and practicality of my response to that voice in terms of obedience and accurate building of my core to become relevant in season when God calls for it. Hearing the voice of God is my desire and passion and therefore continues to align to the intent of God “To reach the finish”.

Ayinde Smith | Trinidad and Tobago | December 21, 2014

Really impacted by the shift in part 2 to personal application and personal response coming out of the “Christmas Story”. I will partner with him.

Alemu Zeleke | Kenya | December 25, 2014

In reading part one of this article, my understanding into the scripture reading and application of the Word has been elevated one step higher. Now part two is even more powerful and critical in the areas of prophetic insight. God’s Word, His voice is a foundation for our lives if we are to succeed and be able to live according to His intent in the earth. I see that God is concerned in the minute details of our lives, and this is the basis for our accurate forward move in Him. Thank you Sir for this great work. This grace is given to you for us.

Joshua Musi | Kenya | December 25, 2014

This was indeed a battle of Kingdoms. When I look at Joseph he had to be alert and well tuned into the prophetic frequency otherwise had he not heard even one of the prophetic pulsations the results would have been catastrophic. Had he not heard of Herods genocide plan, they would have been in grave danger. had he not heard on which location to settle Herods son would have had an easy time accomplishing his earlier plan. What I learn from this is that I have to be alert all the time to hear Gods instructions and counsel in order to finish the wok that He has set before and to equally obey once I have heard just like my father Abraham.

Kalala Malo | New Zealand | December 25, 2014

I am really noting the language Scott is using which for me is shaping the utmost relevance of the word of God in this very day of the 21st century.  It is blowing me away and causing a desire to think in the same way.

I am looking to answering the questions Scott proposes to us in reference to Joseph and Mary being able to hear God’s voice (second to last paragraph).  This is through Scott tutoring us through the power of the Holy Spirit. 

I am continuously grateful and must show this through swift obedience to willingly transform internally to be one with God’s command as Scott talked about.

Reynolds Felicite | Mauritius | December 25, 2014

Part one helps in undestanding the Sovereignty of God in the midst of crisis and gives me more strength and faith to depned more on Him in every situation I am in.
Part two compels me more on the hearing and doing what He says. The comments are also very porwerful, thanks to all. Thanks to Scott and ministry. Awaiting Part three.

Barnabas Obeng | Ghana | December 27, 2014

Once more the content of this second article on the story of Christmas by Scott is quite on the score that life without the voice and command of God could be very dangerous and detrimental just to say the least.  And that embedded in every prophetic imperative lies the sovereign blueprint for our safety and most importantly the partnership of God to accomplish our ordained purpose in Christ! The insight gleaned from this sequel is both instructive and phenomenal!

ken | Kenya | February 4, 2015

Great encounter

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