Friday Morning Manna
December 27, 2019
By Nathaniel Fajardo email:firstname.lastname@example.org
The “Fullness of Time” Never Specified Specific Time
“But When the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the [condemnation] of the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”Gal. 4: 4, 5, N.K.J.V.
Sent forth by the Father, the only-begotten Son of God was “born of a woman” and became the Son of man “when the fullness of time had come,” not a “twinkling of an eye” earlier or later. As the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, He was the subject of the first and beginning of all promises and propheciesof the Bible, coming first as “the seed” (Gen. 3: 15) and at last, “the Lord Jesus,” “King of kings and Lord of lords” in His glorious second coming!
“From the day when the first pair turned their sorrowing steps from Eden, the children of faith have waited the coming of the Promised One to break the destroyer’s power and bring them again to the lost Paradise. Holy men of old looked forward to the advent of the Messiah in glory, as the consummation of their hope. The doctrine of the second advent is the very key-note of the Sacred Scriptures.” Great Controversy, p. 299.
As important as they are, the precise moment and exact day of Christ’s incarnation and birth, respectively, are not part of the 2300-day prophecy of Daniel 8: 14, the longest time prophecy of Bible. They were to be fulfilled, and have been fulfilled, “made beautiful in its time” (Eccl. 3: 11), “in His appointed time,” and “in the fullness of time.” Therefore, as determined by Omniscience, the precise moment of His incarnation and day of birth are not relevant to the true gospel and one’s salvation. It is the events that not only matter but are key to the efficacy and efficiency of the plan of redemption as the divine remedy to the curse and problem of sin and “the way of escape” (1 Cor. 10: 13) for the sinner.
To do otherwise, as the backslidden and apostates have done in placing more value on the day rather than the salvific nature of the events—the incarnation preceding the birth—has but resulted in confusion, misunderstanding, misinterpretation and worse, adopting and amalgamating pagan practices and rites into its religious observances and celebrations. In a short while, because of man’s natural sinful propensities, the religious deteriorated into the secular and the secular became hedonistic. Just look up Wikipedia on the general topic “Date of birth of Jesus.” In the sub-topic “Christmas celebration,” it says
“Despite the celebration of Christmas in December, neither Luke nor Matthew mentions a season for when Jesus was born. . . . Alexander Murray of History Today says the celebration of Christmas as the birth day of Jesus is based on a date of a pagan feast rather than historical analysis. Saturnalia, the Roman feast for Saturn, was associated with the winter solstice. Saturnalia was held on 17 December of the Julian calendar and later expanded with festivities through to 23 December. The holiday was celebrated with a sacrifice the Temple of Saturn, in the Roman Forum, and a public banquet, followed by private gift-giving, continual partying, and a carnival atmosphere that overturned Roman social norms . . . .In the 1st and 2nd centuries, the Lord’s Day (Sunday) was the earliest Christian celebration . . .In the 2nd century, the Resurrection of Jesus became a separate feast as Easter [Sunday] and in the same century Epiphany began to be celebrated in the Churches of the East on 6 January. The festival of the Nativity which later turned into Christmas, was a 4th century feast in the Western Church notably in Rome and North Africa, although it is uncertain exactly where and when it was first celebrated.” (end of Wikipedia quote).
Lest we also lose sight of the true significance of Christ’s incarnation and birth and get swept up in the overwhelmingly mesmerizing way of “celebrating Jesus’ birthday” the way the world celebrates everybody else’s birthdays, let’s try to keep in mind the following, as we celebrate season, as given in Ellen G. White’s Desire of Ages, pp. 31-34 (emphasis mine):
“The Savior’s coming was foretold in Eden. When Adam and Eve first heard the promise, they looked for its speedy fulfillment. They joyfully welcomed their first-born son, hoping that he might be the Deliverer [How terribly mistaken they were!] But the fulfillment of the promise tarried. Those who first received it died without the sight. From the days of Enoch, the promise was repeated though patriarchs and prophets, keeping alive the hope of His appearing, and yet He came not. The prophecy of Daniel revealed the time of His advent, but not all rightly interpreted the message. Century after century passed away; the voices of the prophets ceased. The hand of the oppressor was heavy upon the Israel, and many were ready to exclaim, ‘The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth.” Eze. 12: 22.
“But just like the stars in the vast circuit of their appointed path, God’s purpose knows no haste or delay. Through the symbols of the great darkness and the smoking furnace [or lamp], God had revealed to Abraham the bondage of Israel to Egypt, and declared that the time of the sojourning should be four hundred years. ‘Afterward,’ He said, ‘’shall they come out with great substance.’ Gen. 15: 14. Against that word, all the power of Pharaoh’s proud empire battled in vain. On ‘the self-same day’ appointed in the divine promise, ‘it came to pass, that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt.’ Exo. 12: 41. So in heaven’s council the hour for the coming of Christ had been determined. When the great clock of time pointed to that hour, Jesus was born in Bethlehem.
“When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son.’ Providence had directed the movement of nations, and the tide of human impulse and influence, until the world was ripe for the coming of the Deliverer. The nations were united under one. One language was widely spoken, and was everywhere recognized as the language of literature. From all lands the Jews of the dispersion gathered to Jerusalem for the annual feasts. As these returned to the places of their sojourn, they could spread throughout the world the tidings of the Messiah’s coming.
“At this time the systems of heathenism were losing their hold upon the people. Men were weary of pageant and fable. They longed for a religion that satisfied the heart. While the light of truth seemed to have departed from among men [just like this very moment in time!], there were souls looking for light, and who were filled with perplexity and sorrow. They were thirsting for a knowledge of the living God, for some assurance of a life beyond the grave.
“As the Jews had departed from God, faith had grown dim, and hope had well-nigh ceased to illuminate the future. The words of the prophets were not comprehended. To the masses of the people, death was a dread mystery; beyond was uncertainty and gloom [See Heb.2: 15, 14]. It was not alone the wailing of the mothers of Bethlehem, but the cry of the great heart of humanity, that was born to the prophet across the centuries,– the voice heard in Ramah, ‘lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.’ Matt. 2: 18. In ‘the region and shadow of death,’ men sat unsolaced. With longing eyes they looked for the coming of the Deliverer, when the darkness should be dispelled, and the mystery of the future should be made plain.
“Outside of the Jewish nation there were men who were foretold the appearance of a divine instructor. These men were seeking for truth, and to them the Spirit of Inspiration was imparted. One after another, like the stars in the darkened heavens, such teachers had arisen. Their words of prophecy had kindled hope in the hearts of thousands of the Gentile world.
“For hundreds of years the Scriptures had been translated into the Greek language, then widely spoken throughout the Roman Empire. The Jews were scattered everywhere, and their expectation of the Messiah’s coming was to some extent shared by the Gentiles. Among those the Jews styled as heathen were men who had a better understanding of the Scripture prophecies concerning the Messiah than had the teachers of Israel. [Same danger today!] There were some who hoped for His coming as a deliverer from sin. Philosophers endeavored to study into the mystery of the Hebrew economy. But the bigotry of the Jews hindered the spread of the light. Intent on maintaining the separation between themselves and other nations [even today], they were unwilling to impart the knowledge they still possessed [at that time] concerning the symbolic service. The true Interpreter must come. The One whom all these types prefigured must explain their significance.
“Through nature, through types and symbols, through patriarchs and prophets, God had spoken to the world. Lessons must be given to humanity in the language of humanity. [One reason for the incarnation]. The Messenger of the covenant must speak. His voice must be heard in His own temple. Christ must come to utter words which should be clearly and definitely understood. He, the Author of truth, must separate truth from the chaff of man’s utterance, which had made it of no effect. The principles of God’s government and the plan of redemption must be clearly defined. The lessons of the Old Testament must be fully set before men. . . .
“The fulness of time had come. Humanity, becoming more degraded through ages of transgression, called for the coming of the Redeemer. Satan had been working to make the gulf deep and impassable between earth and heaven. By his falsehoods he had emboldened men in sin. It was his purpose to wear out the forbearance of God, and to extinguish His love for man, so that He would abandon the world to satanic jurisdiction. . . . Even among the heathen there were men through whom Christ was working to uplift the people from their sin and degradation. But these men were despised and hated. Many of them suffered a violent death. . . . Through heathenism, Satan had for ages turned men away from God; but he won his great triumph in perverting the faith of Israel. The principle that man can save himself by his own works lay at the foundation of every heathen religion; it had now become the principle of the Jewish religion. Satan had implanted this principle. Wherever it is held, men have no barrier against sin.
“The message of salvation is communicated to men through human agencies. But the Jews had sought to make it a monopoly of the truth which is eternal life. They had hoarded the living manna and it had turned to corruption. The religion which they tried to shut up to themselves became an offense. They robbed God of His glory, and defrauded the world by a counterfeit of the gospel. . . . The very priests who had ministered in the temple had lost sight of the significance of the service they performed. They had ceased to look beyond the symbol to the thing signified. In presenting the sacrificial offerings they were as actors in a play. The ordinances which God Himself had appointed were made the means of blinding the mind and hardening the heart. God could do no more for man through these channels. The whole system must be swept away.
“The deception had reached its height. All the agencies depraving the minds of men had been put into operation. The Son of God, looking upon the world, beheld suffering and misery. With pity He saw how men had become victims of Satanic cruelty. He looked with compassion upon those who were being corrupted, murdered, and lost. They had chosen a ruler who chained them to his car as captives. Bewildered and deceived, they were moving on in gloomy procession toward eternal ruin,—to death in which is no hope of life, toward night to which comes no morning. Satanic agencies were incorporated with men. The bodies of human beings, made for the dwelling place of God, had become habitations of demons. The sense, the nerves, the passions, the organs of men, were worked by supernatural agencies in the indulgence of the vilest lust. The very stamp of demons was impressed upon the countenances of men. Human faces reflected the expression of the legions of evil with which they were possessed. Such was the prospect upon which the world’s Redeemer looked. What a spectacle for Infinite Purity to behold!” (end quote).
This describes the final days of mankind. When “the sins of Babylon the great reach unto heaven,” earth’s probation ends and the plagues begin to fall. The grand climax will be Christ’s glorious second advent with the angelic choir that first sang at His birth two thousand years ago, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” “Oh that today the human family could recognize that song! The declaration then made, the note then struck, will swell to the close of time, and resound to the ends of the earth. When the Sun of Righteousness shall arise, with healing in His wings, that song will be re-echoed by the voice of a great multitude, as the voice of many waters, saying, ‘Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.’ Rev. 19: 6.”- Ibid, p. 45.
(Continued next week of the New Year 2020, God willing! A blest New Year to all!)