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MARY HIGHLY FAVORED: “BLESSED ARE YOU AMONG WOMEN!” (2)

Blog Pic 12.18.19

     

      The conventional perception of the mother of our Lord is off. It is way off. She is commonly depicted in religious art, iconography, and statuary as Caucasian, and often northern European.

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         Knowledge of her Hebrew heritage among Christians is largely lost. Even her actual name is mostly unknown. The name Mary derives from the Judeo-Aramaic variant Maryam, from the Greek Mariam, which was derived from the original Hebrew Miryam, the name of the elder sister of Moses and Aaron (which is translated into English primarily as Miriam). New Testament readers know this was a popular name for Hebrew women at that time, as there are several with the name in the Gospel accounts.

      As a young Hebrew maiden of eastern Mediterranean stock, she was likely dark complected with dark hair and Semitic features. Semitic refers to one of the three sons of Noah—Shem—whose descendants predominantly populated the Middle East and still do today. We know from early OT accounts that the ancient Hebrews shared their DNA with many different ethnos of the greater region, including the Canaanite tribes. There were also the two great disruptions to the nation when the ten northern tribes of Israel were deported to the east in 722 BC followed by the Babylonian captivity of Judah 136 years later. The three remaining tribes of the latter—Judah, Levi, and Benjamin—were removed to Babylon for 70 years. They were allowed to return but many chose to stay. The lands of Israel and Judah had been repopulated somewhat by foreigners in the interim, especially the Samaritan region. The land was then ruled by a succession of Persians, Greeks, and Romans. It is therefore difficult if not impossible to arrive at a definitive Hebrew nationality by the first century AD.

         Even so, we do have two extant genealogies of our Lord Jesus from that time, both of which stem from the tribe of Judah and feature the persons of Abraham and David. The genealogy of Joseph the carpenter in Matthew’s gospel descends through King David’s son Solomon, the third and final king of a united Israel. After Solomon’s death the kingdom split into the northern Kingdom of Israel and the southern Kingdom of Judah. Luke’s gospel contains the genealogy of Mary, which also goes through David but by his son Nathan, Solomon’s brother. This family tree divergence took place over 900 years before the Lord’s birth. The last of the Hebrew kings of the Judaic line ceased with the Babylonian captivity in 586 BC. Zedekiah was the last king of Judah, but was somewhat illegitimate in that he was installed by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar in 597 BC after the siege of Jerusalem. The king before Zedekiah was Jeconiah (AKA Coniah, Jehoiachin), who was carted off to Babylon a prisoner in chains. This is what the prophet Jeremiah said about him:

         “Is this man Coniah a despised, shattered jar? Or is he an undesirable vessel? Why have he and his descendants been hurled out and cast into a land that they had not known? O land, land, land, hear the word of the LORD! Thus says the LORD, ‘Write this man down childless, a man who will not prosper in his days; for no man of his descendants will prosper sitting on the throne of David or ruling again in Judah.’” [Jeremiah 22:28-30]   

         The Hebrew monarchy was thus abolished. There were no more kings. No one could ever again qualify. Joseph the carpenter’s line included Jeconiah and he is listed in Matthew’s genealogy. Nevertheless, it was established that Joseph, the legal stepfather of the Lord, could trace his direct lineage to Solomon and David. Mary’s genealogy could also be traced directly to King David. This means the Lord Jesus had a legal right as king through Joseph and a biological right through His mother. Though the monarchial birthright was essentially revoked by Jeremiah’s prophecy, this did not apply to the Lord Jesus because he was not a blood descendant of Jeconiah. Thus, the only possible way the Davidic line of kings could be restored, even after a six century interval, would be through the following:

       “Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.” [Isaiah 7:14]

GREETINGS FROM THE WOMB

         As described in Part 1, Mary was soon on the road south to Judea to visit her relative Elizabeth. The two women were anxious to share the great news of their pregnancies, both of which were only possible through direct miraculous means. Elizabeth was greatly humbled in her long life of barrenness but maintained her faith regardless. Mary was also burdened somewhat by an undisclosed life circumstance. Here we have the young and the old, both of whom must deal with the inevitable gossip of unbelievers, yet blessed abundantly as major players in the great plan of God for the salvation of Israel and humanity. But besides these two who knew each other well, there were others who met for the very first time:

        Now at this time Mary arose and went in a hurry to the hill country, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. And she cried out with a loud voice and said,

         “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord would come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.” [Luke 1:39-45][1]

         © 2019 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

MARY HIGHLY FAVORED: “BLESSED ARE YOU AMONG WOMEN!” (Intro)

MARY HIGHLY FAVORED: “BLESSED ARE YOU AMONG WOMEN!” (1)

MARY HIGHLY FAVORED: “BLESSED ARE YOU AMONG WOMEN!” (3)

MARY HIGHLY FAVORED: “BLESSED ARE YOU AMONG WOMEN!” (4)

MARY HIGHLY FAVORED: “BLESSED ARE YOU AMONG WOMEN!” (5)

Choose For Yourselves This Day Whom You Will Serve

         The invisible war rages. There are two competing kingdoms. Real Christians know the real fight is between the Lord Jesus and Satan. These two are the only leaders of the only two kingdoms that exist on the planet.

         Thus, the fight is not between this country and that. It is not a fight between Christians and Muslims. It is not a fight between Republicans and Democrats. And it is not a fight between Catholics and Protestants.

         The devil has authority over the entire world of unregenerate sinful mankind:

         And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. [2 Corinthians 4:3-4]   

         The Lord Jesus is the King of His kingdom:

         I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He will bring about at the proper time—He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen. [1 Timothy 6:13-16]  

         The devil offered the Lord all the kingdoms of the world as his second in command, which means the devil controls all the kingdoms, nations, and countries of the world, or he could not have made the offer. This means he even controlled and sat atop the powerful Roman Empire.

         If one purports to honor and believe the Word of God, one must believe this. Therefore, if a person wants life and real freedom, he must at some point leave the devil’s kingdom and join the Lord’s. Otherwise, do nothing. The Lord Jesus is only in authority over those who have confessed His Name and bowed before Him. He is the Father of those who have accepted His sacrifice on their behalf and have been released from their bondage to sin.

         According to His teachings, everyone else is under the authority of Satan.

         Thus, the devil creates sub-battles within his kingdom to deceive the lost and even Christian believers about the real battle. He divides us through political parties, culture, race, denominations, and a myriad of other subsets in order to take our focus off of him.

         This is why the only real change takes place when the Lord Jesus is able to rule in an area where the devil had previously ruled.

         In the present battle, Jesus gains authority through the submission of a human being to Him. It is the only way He gains authority. And it must be through a person’s free will and love for Him, and not by coercion. He has only ONE kingdom. He has only ONE community of believers. And He is the ONE leader of His community. Everyone else within it is on equal footing with one another. He created no hierarchies or clergy-laity divisions. He created no men ruling other men within His kingdom. He is the only Ruler.

         It is the same in Satan’s kingdom. Though it appears on the surface to be ruled by many different and disconnected leaders, rulers, presidents, dictators, financial kingpins, and religious quacks around the world, all of these are under his command whether they know it or not. If one has not submitted to the Lord Jesus, then one does not belong to Him and one does not have salvation. Such a one remains in His sins regardless of his station in life and receives his or her motivational feed from the original Beastie Boy.

         If sin rules a person’s life (and it will unless the Lord is allowed to remove it and its power), then one is prone to powerful deception. Sin is blinding, and those who live in sin are subject to it, controlled by it, and are easily deceived by the devil into believing any number of lies.

         And the devil is a master liar.

         When one submits to the authority of the Lord Jesus and accepts His only payment for sin, then one is released from the power of sin and the blinders come off. This is a very, very powerful event, and one becomes an entirely new creation. Old desires pass away and new desires come forth to serve God and live a holy life. This is why the Lord referred to a true conversion experience as being “born again.”

         This does not happen by merely converting to some branch of “Christianity.” It does not happen by merely joining a church or submitting to it and its particular doctrines. It happens only by submitting oneself to the Lord Jesus with one’s whole heart. He is the only One who can set a person free from the disease of sin, and give a person power over sin.

         In fact, His Name means that very thing: YHWH-Salvation, or YeHoshua. The real meaning of salvation is being set free. It is the granting of freedom. Everyone wants to be free, but sin is the one thing endemic to mankind that one will never be set free of without the Lord. He lived a perfect sinless life and thus gained power over sin, and shares that power with whoever will join Him. There is no salvation without Jesus. He is the only One who can bestow spiritual life.

         Yet, the devil has a field day dividing up Christians. It was not the Lord who created a million different Christian denominations. It is not the Lord who advocates hating one president and loving another, or siding with one political party and hating the other, or fighting for one Christian denomination and hating all others. The Lord’s community is in perfect unity, and is composed of all those who have bowed the knee to Him and no other.

         If the Lord Jesus could be president, then real Christians would vote for Him. Otherwise we should vote for a real Christian. If neither candidate is a real Christian then it doesn’t matter which one is elected, since both belong to the kingdom of the other guy and nothing significant will change.

         When the Lord Jesus is in charge there is liberty and blessing. When He is not in charge there is very little liberty and blessing. It should be obvious to Christians, since they supposedly know God’s written Word, that when the Lord is honored, the land of the people who honor Him is blessed. When the land is otherwise cursed, then…

         Ask yourself if America is presently in good shape. Does it look like the Lord Jesus has been given governing control of Washington D.C.? Does it appear that He has been given governing control of the fifty states?

         Some states are certainly in better shape than others, but most have very serious problems. People have been warning for decades that America is going in the tank, that the nation is filled with sin and murder, and that things are regressing ever faster. Yet, what do we do? We think a particular non-real Christian candidate is better than another? We think sinful human beings will somehow make the necessary gargantuan changes that are required?

         We need to look at the big picture. Look back at the last 100 years and one will see a steady downhill slide that keeps accelerating. Yet we do nothing to actually change it. We engage in a bunch of cosmetic garbage that has no effect. The Word of God even predicts that things will continue to grow darker:

         Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. [2 Timothy 3:12-13]

         But there is a reason for this. It is not set in stone. It is because most people refuse to give themselves wholeheartedly to the Lord. We as a nation refuse to repent and submit to His authority so He can fix things.

         And why is this surprising? The majority of churches don’t want Jesus in charge!

         Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the LORD guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain. [Psalm 127:1] [1]  

         So, with all the constant drivel on the airwaves and the ongoing political process, Americans are fools if they think anything other than our submission to the Lord Jesus will change things substantially for the better.

         Until then, the devil is in control of all those who refuse to bow the knee to the Lord, and if such people are in high office, the devil has that much more control.

         At the end of the day, whether we like it or not or understand it or not, each of us will either serve the devil or serve the Lord Jesus. There is no in-between. There is no third party.

         It may be the devil

         Or it may be the Lord

         But you’re gonna have to serve somebody [2]

         © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

        

         WATCH VIDEO: Gotta Serve Somebody [Won Grammy Award in 1980]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

[2] Bob Dylan, Gotta Serve Somebody, from the album Slow Train Coming 1979.