Clarification and Study

Proverbs 18:13 “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.”

John 7:40-43 “Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet. Others said, This is the Christ. But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee? Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was? So there was a division among the people because of him.”

Jesus WAS born in Bethlehem, where David was.

Prophecy did say that our Saviour would be born in Bethlehem.

Micah 5:2 “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”

This prophecy was fulfilled when Messiah was born in that city.

Matthew 2:1 “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,”

And when Herod asked about where Christ should be born, the chief priests and scribes answered in the following verses.

Matthew 2:5-6 “And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, 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.”

But there was more to the Lord’s birth given to us in prophecy. It is also written that He would be from Egypt.

Hosea 11:1 “When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.”

And this prophecy was fulfilled when we see that it was written that he did come from Egypt.

Matthew 2:11-15 “And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. And when they were departed, behold, 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. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: 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.”

There is still more to be said just about the birth of Jesus Christ! Scripture did say that our Lord would come out of Egypt and into the lands of Galilee to a place called Nazareth.

Matthew 2:19-23 “But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child’s life. And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee: And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.”

In the Gospel of Matthew, we see that the Apostle mentions several prophets who spoke about Jesus coming as Messiah. But it is only in 2:23 that he uses the word “prophets” instead of referring to one particular prophet.

Matthew 2:23 “And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.”

Moreover, whereas in other citations he uses the word “saying”, here he uses the word “that”, which suggests that it is not a direct quote. Instead, it represents a summary of what several prophets have said. The question is, then, what was said?

The words of Nathanael shed light on how people viewed Nazareth and Galilee as a whole.

John 1:45-46 “Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.”

Back in those days, if you were from Nazareth, you would be immediately held in disregard. People from Nazareth were considered “trashy” as some would say it today. In fact, Galilee as a whole did not have a very good reputation.

John 7:52 “They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.”

When the Pharisee Nicodemus defended Jesus in front of his fellow Pharisees, they replied, “Are you from Galilee too? Search and see that no prophet arises from Galilee”

Various prophets and other First Testament writers wrote that the Messiah would be despised and considered of low esteem. For example, Isaiah 53:3 says that,

Isaiah 53:3 “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”

Zechariah 11:4-14 speaks of a shepherd who is not recognized by his own sheep and his price was 30 pieces of silver.

Zechariah 11:10-12 “And I took my staff, even Beauty, and cut it asunder, that I might break my covenant which I had made with all the people. And it was broken in that day: and so the poor of the flock that waited upon me knew that it was the word of the LORD. And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver.”

It is even written of the prophet that the Lord would be pierced by those of Jerusalem.

Zechariah 12:10 “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.”

Zechariah went on to say that the Shepherd was even struck down by God’s sword.

Zechariah 13:7 “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.”

So, as it is written in Matthew, the prophetic expectation would be that Messiah would appear from somewhere that would immediately cause Him to be disregarded and rejected. His reputation would be first formed based upon the bias people had toward Galilee and Nazareth.

What does any of this have to do with the original subject we’re talking about, “Clarification and Study”? Do you remember in the beginning of this how there was a division amongst the people because they could not agree on where Messiah would come from? Had they studied the Scriptures to seek clarification on the birth of Jesus, there would have been no contentions between themselves; they would have seen all that was said of our Lord and come to an agreement where all would have been united in worship to their Saviour.

Moreover, they would have read about how the prophets said how He would be held in disregard and seen as a lowly man. Connecting that with the place of His birth and all other prophecies, the people would have seen Jesus Christ as the Messiah that He is.

John 8:51-52 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death. Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death.”

Because of their lack of faith and understanding, their lack of clarification and study, the Jews failed to grasp what is meant by death. Because they themselves, by their disobedience, have blocked out understanding of Scripture, they had no understanding that death is spoken about in different ways. All people have a choice … life eternal, or death eternal. The children of God can die in body but live in eternity. This is what He meant when He said, “he shall never see death”. Our Lord was speaking of eternal death, not carnal death. This loving truth is spoken about in various places throughout the Bible.

Hebrews 2:9 “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”

1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

Moving forward …

Genesis 39:7-10 “And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand; There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her.”

Having a strong and faithful walk in the Lord, Joseph knew about the wickedness and heinousness of adultery. In every way he desired to walk only with the Lord. To sin in any way is adultery against our spiritual spouse, Jesus Christ. Joseph understood, and had it deep in his heart, that to commit adultery with the wife of another man would be a most grievous sin against his God.

To be perfectly clear, at the end of verse 10 it is written, “or to be with her.” What this means is that Joseph refused to even be in her presence. Though he could not completely avoid her because they lived in the same house, he did all that was in his power to totally separate himself from her. It is written that, “he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her.” Joseph refused all her advances and also did all that he could to avoid speaking with her, seeing her, or even existing in her presence. He was a wise man who desired only his Lord. Because he knew that temptation from the enemy could come at any point, he took the necessary steps to avoid temptation altogether by refusing to even be around her. And we see that the Lord was pleased by Joseph’s actions.

Genesis 39:11-18 “And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within. And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out. And it came to pass, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, and was fled forth, That she called unto the men of her house, and spake unto them, saying, See, he hath brought in an Hebrew unto us to mock us; he came in unto me to lie with me, and I cried with a loud voice: And it came to pass, when he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled, and got him out. And she laid up his garment by her, until his lord came home. And she spake unto him according to these words, saying, The Hebrew servant, which thou hast brought unto us, came in unto me to mock me: And it came to pass, as I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled out.”

When we obey the Lord, others will become angry and vengeful. Like in Joseph’s case. He was falsely accused, dismissed from his job, and cast into prison. Nonetheless, Joseph was obedient to God.

Studying the Bible daily, as many times as possible daily, is how we learn to walk before our God with purity and strength. Without a submissive and relentlessly obedient relationship with Jesus Christ, it becomes easy to walk in opposition to Him. Confusion, argumentativeness, and division come from lack of relationship with Him. It is written …

Proverbs 18:17 “He that is first in his own cause seemeth just; but his neighbour cometh and searcheth him.”

The first one to speak on a matter is typically believed. And here is the pricelessness of study. Though it is easy to believe the first person who speaks, there is always another side to the story. Had the men of the house inquired with Joseph if the accusations against him were true instead of just believing what the woman said, they may have had a different response. Just like how there would have been no division amongst the people regarding Jesus … had they sought clarification and studied the Scriptures.

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