XXI.10. In the Fullness of Time, Galatians 4:4 and 5

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"But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, (4) To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." - Galatians 4:4-5

"Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem," - Matthew 2:1

When the wise men or "magi" enter Jerusalem, about two years after the birth of Christ, they ask a question which stirs up or "troubles" all Jerusalem, including King Herod. The word "troubled" comes from the Greek word, "tarasso," and means " to stir or agitate, - trouble." It raises up the hopes of the common people that perhaps the King has been born that will set up the Kingdom and free them from the Romans.

"Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? far we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him." - Matthew 2:2

When the wise men began to ask around for a child that was "born" King of the Jews," this creates problems for Herod; as he was not a Jew; but a hated Edomite, appointed "King" under the Romans. When these strangers showed up from an eastern country looking for one "born a king," all the people hoped that meant the one who could be the Messiah, the only One who would have the right to sit upon the throne of David and establish the Kingdom.

Herod the Great, was made King of Judea when Jerusalem was captured by the Romans in 37 BC. He ruled Judaea as a Hellenistic kingdom, built and beautified cities, and gave peace and prosperity. However, he was tyrannical and unscrupulous; but, by his loyalty he retained Augustus Caesar's confidence for many years. As time went on, he exhibited such high-handed behavior; and cruelty to his family when he put to death his wife, her two sons, and his own eldest son; this finally lost him Rome's support. And now to hear rumors of one "born King of the Jews!" This would be another threat to his throne he would need to eliminate!

Not even his magnificent rebuilding of the Temple could win him the affection of the Jews, who hated him for being a foreigner. He was born in ldumaea (Greek form of Edom), south of Judaea and became a Roman citizen in 47 BC.

Herod sent for the chief priests and the scribes to learn the birthplace of Messiah. They were quick to answer, for they knew the Scriptures well.

"And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, (5) And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel."  - Matthew 2:5-6

Herod, operating under the influence of Satan; then set about to destroy Christ; as this had been Satan's purpose since God had pronounced sentence upon him in Genesis 3:15. To Satan this was another battle in the war to thwart God's plan of Salvation for mankind; but one he would lose.

Even though Herod questioned the wise men diligently as to when the star had appeared, God's plan was already in motion. Christ had already been born. The Incarnation had happened. There had been witnesses.

First Witnesses: The shepherds had been told,

"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. (11) And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger." - Luke 2:11-12

They had taken the Good News of the Savior's arrival abroad throughout the countryside. They did not worship Mary; but, spread the news of the Savior.

Second Witness: Eight days later, the Infant Jesus had been taken to the Temple for his circumcision. They had presented Him to the Lord, as required, and His name had been entered into the registry for the royal line of King David's descendants. It was at this time that Mary had presented her sacrifice to atone for her sin, as required by God's law. (Leviticus 12:6). Mary was not sinless, and needed a Savior like everyone else.

In Luke 3:31, Nathan was the older son of David (l Chronicles 3:5) and had a right to the throne. If Christ were the natural son of Joseph, He could not have occupied the throne because Joseph descended through Solomon's line, which was set aside by the curse in Jeremiah 22:28-30. But Christ, being the seed of Mary, and through Nathan's line, thus bypassing the curse, gave Him the legal right to inherit the throne as the adopted son of Joseph. Therefore, His blood rights came through Mary and His legal rights through Joseph.

Christ was the only one who could fulfill these requirements. He was the only one born during the period when the Temple was standing with all the records in existence, from which the correct ancestry could be proven. The Temple and all its records would be destroyed in 70 A.D, and Daniel had prophesied the exact time that Messiah would be cut off.

"Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times." Daniel 9:25

"And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined." - Daniel 9:26

"But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, (4) To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." - Galatians 4:4-5

The fulfilling of the 483 years from the edict (or commandment) given in 445 B.C. to Christ being crucified has been illustrated as the following.

445 B.C.          The Edict to Rebuild Jerusalem

  33 A.D.          Age Christ Died

    4 Yrs.           Calendar Off

      1 Yr. ___  Difference of Months

483 Yrs.          Of Prophecy Fulfilled.

After the captivity, genealogical records had been found by Nehemiah,

"And my God put into mine heart to gather together the nobles, and the rulers, and the people, that they might be reckoned by genealogy. And I found a register of the genealogy of them which carne up at the first, and found written therein, (5)

These are the children of the province, that went up out of the captivity, of those that had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away, and came again to Jerusalem and to Judah, every one unto his city;" -Nehemiah 7:5,6

The Temple that had been built after the captivity by Ezra and Nehemiah; had been much enlarged and beautified by Herod. But, the genealogical records were still there and had been maintained. Now, since the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D., the only genealogical records of Christ's, or any Jewish person's, lineage are contained in God's Word.

Third Witness: In the Temple when Mary brought Christ for circumcision at eight days old, was Simeon, to whom the Holy Spirit had revealed that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah. Dr. Luke sets him forth as an unimpeachable witness, as he is called "just and devout." That meant he was as righteous as a Jew could be, under the Law; furthermore, he was looking for the Messiah. Simeon would have been looking for the Messiah as he understood the prophecy of Daniel 9:25,26.

"Then (Simeon) took he him (Christ) up in his arms...and said, Lord now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the gl0ry of thy people Israel. " - Luke 2:28-31

Simeon did not worship Mary. His whole attention was centered on Christ, the One who was sent to be the Savior of the world. This little baby in his arms was to be the "Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world." (John l:29). He was "the glory of thy people Israel" as He was born of Jewish flesh, and to the Jews were committed the responsibility for God's Word.

"What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God." - Romans 3: l-2

We, Gentiles, should always be thankful to the Jews for our Savior, Who is the Living Word, and for the

Scriptures, which are the written Word.

"And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again (Greek: anastasis) of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;"- Luke 2:34b

One of the signs given for Messiah was that He would be Virgin born. This was spoken against by the Jews in John 8:41...

"Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him (Christ), We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God."

Simeon said to Mary,

"(Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.) "  -Luke 2:35

At the time, Mary and Joseph "marveled"; or, were thrilled with admiration, at the things that were being said about Jesus. Thirty-three years later, at the foot of the Cross, I am sure Mary remembered these words, as she felt the "sword" of sorrow piercing her heart; but, three days later she experienced the "rising again" or "anastasis" at the Resurrection of the Savior. "Anastasis" is a Greek word meaning, "standing up again; or resurrection from death." Even though our Savior never called Mary, "Mother," he did regard her Mother's love with great compassion when he looked down from the cross.

"When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!" - John 19:26

This meant that he wanted the Apostle John to take Mary into his home and care for her as his own mother.

Fourth Witness: Anna, the Prophetess, recognized by divine inspiration, that redemption, or salvation from sin, was the reason Christ Jesus had been sent to earth. She could say like Job,

"For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:" - Job 19:25

Anna was not only a reliable witness; she was a faithful witness. She spoke about Christ to all that were looking for redemption in Jerusalem. "Looking for redemption" meant they were looking for the Messiah to come. (Luke 2:36-38). By the Messiah being "cut off, but not for himself," is how mankind would be redeemed. Christ would go to the Cross as the Perfect Sacrifice to pay for the sins of the world. Anna did not worship Mary; but, talked to everyone about the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ.

God's wonderful plan of Salvation was now in motion. To move His plan ahead God would protect this helpless young child from the ruthless Herod. When the wise men found Christ, He would no longer be an infant in swaddling clothes; but, a young child living in a house in Bethlehem with Mary and Joseph.

"Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. (7) ...Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also." - Matthew 2:7-8

The wise men did not worship Mary; but, reserved all their worship for the Savior.

"And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshiped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh." - Matthew 2:11

"And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way." - Matthew 2:12

After the wise men's departure...

"...the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. (13) When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: (14) And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son." - Matthew 2:13-15

When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he flew into a typical homicidal rage and...

"...slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men. (16) Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, (17) In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not." - Matthew 2: 13-18

Approximately 30 years later, the son of Herod the Great, Herod Antipas, handed Christ over to Pontius Pilate to be crucified. The Messiah was about to be "cut off, but not for Himself." The Jews replied to Pilate's question...

"...Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King?.-.

"The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar." John 19:15

The sceptre had departed from Judah (Genesis 49:10); but, praise the Lord, Shiloh," or the Messiah, had already come during the only possible time in History. He had to come within the time frame prophesied by Daniel; and, before the genealogical records and the Temple were destroyed.

The Jews could have known nearly the exact day of the Crucifixion. They could have lifted him up with holy hands, and said, "'We'll be waiting at the tomb. We know you have to go to that Cross as the Perfect Sacrifice to pay for the sins of the world." (John l:29).

"For God so loved the world,(that's all of us) that he gave his only begotten Son (to die on the cross to pay for mankind's sin), that whosoever (that's you) believeth in him should not perish (you will not go to Hell), but have everlasting life." - John 3:16

Are you seeking Jesus? All you have to do is believe He died on the Cross to pay for your sins, and you have found Him!

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