The angels announced to the shepherds on the fields of Bethlehem: “… for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luk 2:11). Which day did the angel refer to? I don’t mean Monday or Sunday, but which day of the year was it? In other words, on which date was Jesus born?
We are used to celebrating His birthday on 25 December. Municipalities put up special Christmas lights, businesses grab the opportunity by commercialising the day and families make arrangements to spend the day together. Big meals are planned as well as special church services. (But sadly, people without families are just as lonely as ever.)
We know 25 December as a special, but also very controversial day, with the controversy especially being about the origin of the date. While many declare it as the celebration of some or other pagan feast. But what is the truth about 25 December? Every year, for as long as I can remember I have heard varying explanations of the origins and customs of the celebration of Christmas as being on 25 December. Over all these years, I must confess that I never heard the same explanation twice. Now what is the truth about this day and date? Can a child of God wish others blessings on Christmas day?
The question is: how does a child of God celebrate the birthday of the Lord Jesus? Is the 25th of December the correct day or is it the truth that it is a pagan day that should be avoided? Continue reading Christmas and the Early Church
During our recent filming trip Dr Randall Smith showed us in the city of Corinth a bema. A bema is a built up platform in a city center. There is a short video showing this bema. On the home page, under “In the steps of Paul,” you’ll find it under the heading THE JUDGEMENT SEAT OF CHRIST. Dr Smith explained that a platform or bema such as this, was the stage from where a judge would sometimes pronounce judgment. We find an example of this in Acts 18:12-16 where the Roman proconsul, Gallio, had to judge Paul at this particular bema in Corinth. However, the bema was more often used to hand laurels to winners of competitions (1 Cor. 9:25). Even today at sporting events, the winners receive their trophies while standing on a podium. Paul used the image of athletes, receiving laurels at the bema in Corinth, to describe the reward that a believer will receive:
“We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ (the bema), so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10).
How on earth do you manage that? The answer is: because our Father in heaven has provided in the most amazing way financially and we also trust Him for the strength to do it. And so we share this with you in the belief that it will encourage you. For we can rely on the promise of the Lord Jesus that states:
“In that day you will not question Me about anything. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you” (John. 16:23).