Questions of Christmas

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photo-1447876394678-42a7efa1b6dbLesson 1

December 6, 2015

  1. The genealogy differences of Luke 3 and Matthew 1 how to reconcile them?
  2. The value of Christmas being celebrated by Christians today, does it matter?
  3. The Virgin Birth of Jesus and the Biblical evidence of it, what impact does it have?
  4. Was the star in the east a miracle that the magi followed?
  5. What were the days, months and years of events of the Christmas in sequence?
  6. Should believers use the Nativity or other Christmas symbols like trees to celebrate?

 

Answers

  1. Question: “What is the curse of Jeconiah?” reference answers from Moody Handbook of Theology and gotquestion.org and

 

Answer: “Jeconiah, 1 Chronicles 3:16 And the sons of Jehoiakim: Jeconiah his son, Zedekiah his son.) and “Coniah” (Jeremiah 22:24  As I live, saith the LORD, though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah were the signet upon my right hand, yet would I pluck thee thence;), was a king of Judah who was deported as part of the Babylonian captivity (Esther 2:6 Who had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captivity which had been carried away with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away .; 1 Chronicles 3:17 And the sons of Jeconiah; Assir, Salathiel his son, ). He is also listed in the genealogy of Jesus, in Joseph’s family line (Matthew 1:12 And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel;).

 

The curse of Jeconiah is found in Jeremiah 22. First, the LORD likens the king to a signet ring on God’s hand—a ring that God will pull off (verse 24 As I live, saith the LORD, though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah were the signet upon my right hand, yet would I pluck thee thence;). Then, God pronounces a curse: “Record this man as if childless, a man who will not prosper in his lifetime, for none of his offspring will prosper, none will sit on the throne of David or rule anymore in Judah” (verse 30).

 

The problem is that the curse of Jeconiah seems to invalidate Jesus’ right to the throne of David. The Davidic Covenant promised that the Messiah, the “Son of David,” would reign forever on Jerusalem’s throne (1 Chronicles 17:11-14 11 And it shall come to pass, when thy days be expired that thou must go to be with thy fathers, that I will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall be of thy sons; and I will establish his kingdom. 12 He shall build me an house, and I will stablish his throne for ever. 13 I will be his father, and he shall be my son: and I will not take my mercy away from him, as I took it from him that was before thee: 14 But I will settle him in mine house and in my kingdom for ever: and his throne shall be established for evermore.). If Jesus is a descendant of Jeconiah, then how can He be the Messiah, since the curse bars any of Jeconiah’s descendants from assuming David’s throne?

 

There are three possible solutions to this difficulty. First, the “offspring” of Jeconiah mentioned in the curse could be a limited reference to the king’s own children—his immediate offspring, in other words. On a related note, the phrase “in his lifetime” could apply to the entire verse. The curse would only be in force while the king lived. This is exactly what happened, as Jeconiah was not successful as a king (he only reigned for three months before he surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar’s forces), and none of his sons (he had seven of them, 1 Chronicles 3:17–18) reigned over Judah.

 

A second solution concerns the virgin birth. Jesus only had one human parent, Mary. His mother was of David’s line, but not through Jeconiah (Luke 3:31). Joseph was Jesus’ legal father, but not His physical one. Thus, Jesus was of royal blood through Mary, but the curse of Jeconiah stopped with Joseph and was not passed on to Jesus.

 

A third possible solution is that God reversed the curse on Jeconiah’s family. This is hinted at by the prophet Haggai, who told Zerubbabel, Jeconiah’s grandson, that God would make him a “signet ring” on God’s hand (Haggai 2:23). Zerubbabel was blessed by God as the governor of Judea, and he prospered in that role when the Jewish exiles returned to Jerusalem. The “signet ring” imagery of Jeconiah’s curse is repeated in Zerubbabel’s blessing, which must be more than coincidence. Several rabbinic sources teach that Jeconiah repented in Babylon and that God forgave him and lifted the curse.

 

  1. Should Christians celebrate Christmas with the worldly influence of the holiday?

 

This is taken from Lee Strobe The Case For Christmas and gotquestions.org

 

“Some Christians say that since the world celebrates Christmas—although it is becoming more and more politically correct to refer to it as “the holidays”—Christians should avoid it. But that is the same argument made by false religions that deny Christ altogether, as well as cults such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses who deny His deity. Those Christians who do celebrate Christmas often see the occasion as an opportunity to proclaim Christ as “the reason for the season” among the nations and to those trapped in false religions.”

 

  1. First, let’s look at the reasons why some Christians do not celebrate Christmas. One argument against Christmas is that the traditions surrounding the holiday have origins in paganism. Searching for reliable information on this topic is difficult because the origins of many of our traditions are so obscure that sources often contradict one another. Bells, candles, holly, and yuletide decorations are mentioned in the history of pagan worship, but the use of such in one’s home certainly does not indicate a return to paganism. While there are definitely pagan roots to some traditions, there are many more traditions associated with the true meaning of Christmas—the birth of the Savior of the world in Bethlehem. Bells are played to ring out the joyous news, candles are lit to remind us that Christ is the Light of the world (John 1:4-9), a star is placed on the top of a Christmas tree to remember the Star of Bethlehem, and gifts are exchanged to remind us of the gifts of the Magi to Jesus, the greatest gift of God to mankind.

 

  1. Another argument against Christmas, especially having a Christmas tree, is that the Bible forbids bringing trees into our homes and decorating them. The passage often cited is Jeremiah 10:1-16 , 1 Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel: 2 Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. 3 For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. 4 They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. 5 They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne , because they cannot go . Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil , neither also is it in them to do good . 6 Forasmuch as there is none like unto thee, O LORD; thou art great, and thy name is great in might. 7 Who would not fear thee, O King of nations? for to thee doth it appertain : forasmuch as among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, there is none like unto thee. 8 But they are altogether brutish and foolish : the stock is a doctrine of vanities. 9 Silver spread into plates is brought from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz, the work of the workman, and of the hands of the founder : blue and purple is their clothing: they are all the work of cunning men. 10 But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble , and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation. 11 Thus shall ye say unto them, The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens. 12 He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion. 13 When he uttereth his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens, and he causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures. 14 Every man is brutish in his knowledge: every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them. 15 They are vanity, and the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish . 16 The portion of Jacob is not like them: for he is the former of all things; and Israel is the rod of his inheritance: The LORD of hosts is his name. but this passage refers to cutting down trees, chiseling the wood to make an idol, and then decorating the idol with silver and gold for the purpose of bowing down before it to worship it (see also Isaiah 44:9-18). The passage in Jeremiah cannot be taken out of its context and used to make a legitimate argument against Christmas trees.

 

  1. Christians who choose to ignore Christmas point to the fact that the Bible doesn’t give us the date of Christ’s birth, which is certainly true. December 25 may not be even close to the time Jesus was born, and arguments on both sides are legion, some relating to climate in Israel, the practices of shepherds in winter, and the dates of Roman census-taking. None of these points are without a certain amount of conjecture, which brings us back to the fact that the Bible doesn’t tell us when Jesus was born. Some see this as proof positive that God didn’t want us to celebrate the birth, while others see the Bible’s silence on the issue as tacit approval.

 

  1. Some Christians say that since the world celebrates Christmas—although it is becoming more and more politically correct to refer to it as “the holidays”—Christians should avoid it. But that is the same argument made by false religions that deny Christ altogether, as well as cults such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses who deny His deity. Those Christians who do celebrate Christmas often see the occasion as an opportunity to proclaim Christ as “the reason for the season” among the nations and to those trapped in false religions.

 

As we have seen, there is no legitimate scriptural reason not to celebrate Christmas. At the same time, there is no biblical mandate to celebrate it, either. In the end, of course, whether or not to celebrate Christmas is a personal decision. Whatever Christians decide to do regarding Christmas, their views should not be used as a club with which to beat down or denigrate those with opposing views, nor should either view be used as a badge of honor inducing pride over celebrating or not celebrating. As in all things, we seek wisdom from Him who gives it liberally to all who ask (James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. ) and accept one another in Christian love and grace, regardless of our views on Christmas.

 

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