Thursday, December 25, 2003

RTFM (or) Christmas/Chanukah - Reason for the Season?!

Ok... it's Christmas day and I'm playin' my favorite (FREE!) online video game and chatting with my online racing companions: keshutsu, wallywallwacker, louie, kawasaki, war monkey, etc. And kawasaki is admitting that he's (maayyybeee...) not as good as wally and wally sez (ever so humbly) "RTFM." My acronym-challenged brain took fewer seconds to respond than the first person to answer my question - "RTFM?" - but was unable to type a clever followup when (almost) everyone on the grid responded, "read the f...n (freakin) manual." In other words, wally wacks walls coz wally studied the manual and learned all the ins and outs of the game (and he practiced a whole lot!).

So... on a day when there's a WHOLE buncha confusion about "Santa" and shopping... and not enough questions asked about the babe in the manger... and not enough worship offered in response to His valiantly gentle, supremely vulnerable initial physical appearance to us on terra firma... I just wanted to offer some of what the Big Manual has to say about Him.

He is Yeshua (to his mother) and He is both Creator and Savior of our humble spinning rock.

It so happened that "armagoshdarn," the most famous Tron grid of all time, has (today only) featured a cycle named "Jesus" who is "unmanned" - signified by a yellow "chat" jewel that hovers above the helmet of the cycler. This has caused many interesting comments, most of which (interestingly enough) were respectful and thoughtful.

After the valiantly-named "bot" (auto-pilot, chat-mode rider) "chose" wrongly and turned into a wall, thus shattering, another player asked, "Why did Jesus sacrifice himself?" I had to respond...

"because He made the universe..."

"and it got broke..."

"and that was the only way He could fix it..."

And that's why the Baby came to a "manger" in Beitlechem ("House of Bread")... in a feeding trough for animals. To address both man and beast with the answer to our fallen state... "bread or manna from heaven - the bread of life..." the One who can fulfill the need within.

Micah 5:2-5 - "You, Bethelehm Ephrathah, are too small to be included among Judah's cities. Yet, from you Israel's future Ruler will come for Me. His origins go back to the distant past, to days long ago. That is why the Lord will abandon Israel until the time a mother has a Child. Then the rest of the Lord's people will return to the people of Israel. The Child will become the Shepherd of his flock. He will lead them with the strength of the Lord, with the majestic Name of the Lord His God (Yeshua means "God - our salvation!"). They will live in safety because His greatness will reach the ends of the earth. This Man will be their peace."

[Note: These prophecies cover two distinctly different eras - His 1st coming (as a babe, and a savior) and His promised 2nd coming (as warring conqueror). Scripture here uses a "prophetic pause" the same as Luke's account (4:17-22) of Yeshua's reading of Isaiah 61:1-2a. He actually stops mid-sentence... a sentence that spans 2 millenia of human history!]

Another verse from Isaiah provides more directions for this Christmas/Chanukah season -

Isaiah 9:2-7 - "The people who walk in darkness will see a bright light. The light will shine on those who live in the land of death's shadow. You will expand the nation and increase its happiness. It will be happy in Your presence like those who celebrate the harvest or rejoice when dividing loot. you will break the yoke that burdens them, the bar that is across their shoulders, and the stick used by their oppresor, as You did in the battle against Midian. Every warriors boot marching to the sound of battle and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel in the fire. A child will be born for us. A Son will be given to us. The government will rest on His shoulders. He will be named: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace. His government and peace will have unlimited growth. He will establish David's throne and kingdom. He will uphold it with justice and righteousness now and forever. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts does this!"

And in the Gospel of John we see Yeshua consumating the meaning of Chanukah - the festival of lights - the festival of the Temple Rededication in John 10:22-31.

The following (from VineyardoftheLord.org) clarifies further "instruction" from the Manual -

"Even though this is a very great historical moment in history, should we celebrate it? Yeshua is our example so let’s see what he did.  In John 10:22 “Then came the Feast of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter and Yeshua was in the Temple area walking in Solomon’s Colonnade.”

"The very fact that Yeshua was attending a post-Mosaic festival shows that He used it to set forth some hidden truth. At this time Yeshua taught the parable of the sheep. Inverses 19-21 show that at that time the people were divided over what he had said. Some said that he was a devil.  At this time the Jews challenged him to clearly and plainly tell them if he was the Messiah. Yeshua reminded them if they were his sheep, they would hear the voice of the Shepherd. This very fact that they did not hear the voice proved that they were not of his fold. The words of Yeshua spoke loud enough for all of Israel to hear, if they had ears that would and could hear the word of the L-rd. The people then took up stones to stone him; however he escaped out of their hands.

"At the Temple the people were commemorating the history of Chanukkah. They were honoring Judah Maccabee calling him the Temple Cleanser and the Illuminator. How much more was Yeshua this? Yeshua had cleansed the Temple, but they had rejected his cleansing. Yet, they kept the Feast of Dedication, but sought to stone the one to whom the Temple had been dedicated. They had missed him at another feast. The Word says the Feasts had become the Feast’s of the Jews, rather than the Feast’s of the L-rd. They had kept the letter, but missed the spirit. They had fulfilled the ritual and missed the reality.

"As we read on in Luke the angel Gabriel appears to Mary, to tell her of the conception and birth of Yeshua to come. So if Elizabeth got pregnant in June that would place this time in December; six months later. In verses 32-35 we see another prayer that Jews pray even today at Chanukkah. “May the Holy Spirit come upon you and the power of the Most High over shadow you.” So what may we conclude from this? Yeshua was conceived at Chanukkah. We believers should know as far as G-d is concerned life begins at the moment of conception. So, at the darkest time of the year, the light of the world came. This would bring the birth of Messiah at the end of Sept. or October. This would place his birth at Sukkot."