By G Mordaunt
A long time ago, in a Galaxy far, far away, in a place called Paradise
The Coming Messiah
Revelation 12:7 And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. 8 But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. 9 The great dragon was hurled down–that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.
Galatians 4:4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.
John 3:17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
It has been four thousand years since the fall of our first parents. Satan and his angels have been on this planet creating havoc on its inhabitants all that time. The dark side has fully entrenched itself, creating a lot of problems for God’s people throughout their history. So bad has it become that through the seductions of the dark side, that Israel continued to be caught up into Idol worship. This caused God to intervene and to punish Israel and Judah, to the realms of captivity in Assyria, and Babylon.
It is now over four hundred years since coming back from their captivity in Babylon. Judah, although in their own native land of Israel, is under the yoke of a new power: the iron Monarchy of Rome. Under the rule of a cruel dictator king by the name Herod the Great, things were looking quite grim.
The Zealots were causing problems with the Romans, because of their blasphemous idols and images that were introduced into Jerusalem which was against God’s law about idol worship, and had to quell the uprisings and minor skirmishes that occurred during their occupancy. The outcry to God to intervene on their behalf was great. As grim as it was, things were about to change. God Himself was about to enter onto this world’s stage and be with us as Immanuel: “God with us”.
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2. He was with God in the beginning.3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. Verse 14. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
The Birth of the Messiah
A child was about to be born that would cause the rise and fall of many in Israel.
Prophecy was about to be fulfilled with the birth of this child. First, with the mother being a virgin: Isaiah 7:14, and the very place of His birth in Bethlehem: Micah 5:2.
This event caught Israel by surprise, because they were not expecting this event at this time. It wasn’t until the appearance of the Magi who came to honour a new king in Israel that the Jewish leaders were made aware of this fact. The dark side working through the evil King Herod tried to destroy this child by killing all the babies, two years and under in the town of Bethlehem. Matthew 2:16,18.
Revelation 12: 1. A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. 2. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. 3. Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. 4. His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. 5. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron sceptre.
Here is a description of the struggle going on behind the scenes. Satan attacking God’s established Church, and especially the coming Messiah. If Satan could destroy the child, God’s plan would be thwarted and the war lost and mankind would be doomed.
But unbeknown to Herod the child was whisked away to Egypt. After the death of Herod in 4BC, the child and his family was able to return from Egypt. And the family settled in a town called Nazareth.
This Child who was named Yeshua or Jesus. He was no ordinary child. The record states that He bamboozled the experts of the Law, posing them questions and answering their questions when He went to Jerusalem with his parents at the age of twelve. (Luke 2:41-52)
It wasn’t until a few years later that he comes on the scene again when He was around thirty years of age. His cousin, John the Baptist who was baptising in the Jordan River was fulfilling prophecy as one crying out in the wilderness to make His paths straight. For Jesus mission was about to begin.
And in the background, behind the scenes, Satan and the dark side were working overtime to try and harass and to frustrate any plans that would save mankind from his clutches.
The Wilderness Temptations
Satan himself tried to get Jesus, our second Adam to sin against His Father. Through the temptations in the wilderness , unbeknown to mankind, the war was continuing behind the scenes. If Satan could somehow make Jesus to succumb to his temptations, by relying on His own strength to bow down and worship Satan, the human race would be doomed. But Jesus stood firm, even after fasting for forty days. Satan then left Jesus, but would be back to continue the warfare.
Jesus was about to embark on a mission to seek and to save the lost. Sin had taken its toll on mankind and man had degenerated over four thousand years. But now a new champion had arisen out of the depths of despair to take on the might and power of the dark side.
Starting small with a band of twelve followers, Jesus began to preach, teach, heal and do other miracles which gave the people a new hope that the Messiah had come to save this world from the dark side and redeem us back to where we belong. Jesus had created us in God’s image, now to restore us back to that image.
His preaching was not like that of the teachers of the law, and all the people that heard Him marvelled at the words that He said. And speaking to them in parables He was able to get His message, the good news of salvation across to those who needed it most, the poor and downtrodden.
Satan tried very hard to thwart Jesus’ preaching. Working through the Jewish leaders, they sent out guards to arrest Him.
John 7:32 The Pharisees heard the crowd whispering such things about him. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees sent temple guards to arrest him. Jn 7:45 Finally the temple guards went back to the chief priests and the Pharisees, who asked them, “Why didn’t you bring him in?” Jn 7:46 “No one ever spoke the way this man does,” the guards replied. Jn 7:47 “You mean he has deceived you also?” the Pharisees retorted.
No Warrior King
In the early days of His mission, Jesus became popular with the masses through the signs and miracles of healing. But at the height of his mission the tide of opinion started to turn against Him. The Jewish nation was expecting a warrior king that would lead them into a war with the Romans and free them from the Roman yoke, and they would rule the world.
But Jesus had a different agenda. His mission was to wrest the world from Satan’s clutches and his evil empire. Satan and his angels working through human agents tried on more than one occasion to kill Jesus. While preaching at His home town of Nazareth, telling them of some home truths about their history, the Jews being incensed tried to push Him off a cliff.
Lk 4:23 Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ And you will tell me, ‘Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’ ” Lk 4:24 “Truly I tell you,” he continued, “prophets are not accepted in their hometowns. Lk 4:25 I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Lk 4:26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. Lk 4:27 And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.” Lk 4:28 All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. Lk 4:29 They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. Lk 4:30 But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.
If ever there was an excuse not to go to church, it was that day.
In another synagogue in which Jesus entered, He healed a man in front of a disbelieving crowd.
Mt 12:9 Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue, Mt 12:10 and a man with a shrivelled hand was there. Looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” Mt 12:11 He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? Mt 12:12 How much more valuable is a human being than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Mt 12:13 Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other. Mt 12:14 But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.
Amazing! Instead of praising God for His compassion upon them, the Pharisees plotted to Kill Jesus. It was a different story with the common people.
Mt 15:29 Jesus left there and went along the Sea of Galilee. Then he went up on a mountainside and sat down. Mt 15:30 Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them. Mt 15:31 The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.
Under Satan’s Control
Unfortunately the religious leaders were doing the bidding of the dark side. They were in the control of Satan, who’s hatred of Jesus was so intense that he would do anything to rid Him from influencing the people of Israel.
The political situation was such that the religious leaders who were ruling were afraid of this man becoming more than an influence in Israel. Under the Roman rule, they were to keep the peace and to quell any suggestion of an uprising. They saw Jesus as a threat to their security.
In one instance, after Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, the Pharisees plotted to kill Jesus
Jn 11:45 Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him. Jn 11:46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. Jn 11:47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. “What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs. Jn 11:48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.” Jn 11:49 Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! 11:50 You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”
You would think that they would have welcomed Jesus with open arms seeing the He could raise the dead, and perform many other wondrous signs in front of them. But they were blinded by the dark side. They were more concerned about their own welfare than to acknowledge God had come down and was dwelling with them.
End of episode lV