Pt. 16 – The Christmas Story (A Voice Was Heard in Ramah)

A Voice Was Heard in Ramah

King Herod, when he realized that the wise men had outwitted him and were not returning, was exceedingly angry.

He sent soldiers to Bethlehem, and all its surrounding districts, to slaughter all the male children two years old and younger, for the wise men had told him that the star first appeared two years before.

This brutal massacre fulfilled the words of the prophet Jeremiah, who said: “A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted because they are no more” (Jeremiah 31:15).

Rachel is used figuratively to represent the city of Bethlehem. She was the mother of Joseph and Benjamin, the wife of Jacob, who was buried near Bethlehem. Ramah was a small farming community about 10 miles away from Bethlehem.

After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Arise, take the young child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead” (Matthew 2:20). So he arose and took the young child and Mary to the land of Israel.

However, when he heard that Archelaus, the son of Herod, was now reigning over Judea, he was afraid to go there. Being warned by God in a dream, he took Mary and the young child to the region of Galilee and dwelt in the town of Nazareth. This is where Jesus grew up, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets: “He shall be called a Nazarene” (Matthew 2:23).

The Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon Him (Luke 2:40).

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Pt. 15 – The Christmas Story (Wise Men From the East)

Wise Men From the East

When Jesus was born, there were wise men (also called magi or astrologers) in the East who saw His star and they journeyed to Jerusalem to find the One who was born King of the Jews so they could worship Him (Matthew 2:1-2).

The wise men inquired of the leaders in Jerusalem as to where the newborn King of the Jews was located. When King Herod heard about this, he was troubled, as was also all Jerusalem (Matthew 2:3). Herod was the king of the Jews and felt threatened by the idea of someone else being born to replace him as king of the Jews.

Herod gathered the chief priests and the scribes (religious lawyers) together, inquiring where the Messiah was to be born (Matthew 2:4-6). So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet ‘But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting’” (Micah 5:2 NKJV).

Herod secretly summoned the wise men to his palace to question them, to determine when the star first appeared (Matthew 2:7-8). Then Herod sent the wise men to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the young child, and when you have found him, bring word back to me—that I may come and worship Him also.”

In his evil heart, Herod had no plans of worshipping the Christ Child, but of murdering Him.

The wise men departed from King Herod’s presence, and the star that they had seen in the East went before them leading them to the place where Jesus and His parents resided. The star stood over a house where the young child was (Matthew 2:9-10). When the wise men saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy!

From the time that the wise men first saw the star, they didn’t arrive in Bethlehem until two years later. By the time they left for their journey and traveled hundreds of miles to Jerusalem and were detained there, when they finally arrived in Bethlehem, Jesus was around two years old. Joseph, Mary and the toddler Jesus were living in a house and remained in Bethlehem until Jesus was about two years old.

Although the wise men are depicted today as being three in number because they presented Jesus with three gifts, it was probably a whole caravan of magi that came. In those days travelers journeyed in caravans for safety purposes, as there were robbers along the side of the roads.

When the wise men came into the house, they saw the young child with Mary His mother. The wise men fell down and worshipped Jesus. They had brought costly gifts for Him that are suited for a king. When they had opened their treasures, they presented Him with gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Matthew 2:11).

Gold symbolizes Divinity and Eternity. The gold is representative of the fact that Jesus is God, who was in Heaven with His Father and sent to earth to take on human flesh to ransom mankind. Gold also represents the wealth of a King.

Frankincense is a sweet perfume, symbolizing the sweet fragrance of Christ (2 Corinthians 2:14-15). Song of Solomon 1:3-4 (NIV) says, “How pleasing is the fragrance of Your perfume; Your Name is like perfume poured out … let the King bring me into His chambers.” Frankincense speaks of Jesus being our bridegroom and king. Frankincense also speaks of worship and prayers that are offered up to God ascending to the Throne as a sweet-smelling aroma that is accepted by the Father. Frankincense symbolizes the Shekinah Glory of God.

Myrrh is a sweet smelling, but bitter resin, used for cleansing and burial of the dead. Myrrh symbolizes Christ’s sufferings and His death on the Cross. Myrrh also represents the sufferings we go through, and dying to the fleshly nature (Galations 2:20, 5:16-25).

The wise men were divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod. So they departed for their own country another way.

When the wise men had departed, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream saying, “Arise, take the young child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young child to destroy Him” (Matthew 2:13 NKJV).

When Joseph arose, he took the young child and Mary by night and departed for Egypt. They remained in Egypt until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying “Out of Egypt I called My Son” (Hosea 11:1).

Healing Scriptures – Old Testament

Exodus 15:26  I am the LORD that healeth thee [Jehovah Rapha]. This is the verse where God reveals Himself as Jehovah Rapha (the Lord who heals you). The Old Testament was written in Hebrew and Chaldea. In the original Hebrew text, the Jewish National Name of God “Yahweh or Jehovah” is translated into the English as “LORD” (all caps). The Hebrew word “rapha” means: “healing, cure, mending, stitching up, medicine, physician, repair, to be made whole, to invigorate.”

Exodus 23:25-26  Worship the LORD your God, and His blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you, and none will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span.

Deuteronomy 7:15  And the LORD will remove from you all sickness.

Deuteronomy 28:1-13

1 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:

2 And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.

3 Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field.

4 Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.

5 Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store.

6 Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out.

7 The LORD shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways.

8 The LORD shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

9 The LORD shall establish thee an holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, and walk in his ways.

10 And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the LORD; and they shall be afraid of thee.

11 And the LORD shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers to give thee.

12 The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow.

13 And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them.

Deuteronomy 30:19-20  I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.

Psalms 30:2  O LORD my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me.

Psalms 30:5  Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

Psalms 34:18  The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalms 42:11  Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise Him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

Psalms 69:32b  Your heart shall live (be rejuvenated) that seek God.

Psalms 91:9-11  Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation, there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.

Psalms 91:16  With long life will I satisfy him, and show him My salvation.

Psalms 92:12-15  The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, “The LORD is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”

Psalms 103:2-5  Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases. Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies. Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Psalms 105:37  He brought them forth [Children of Israel delivered out of Egypt) also with silver and gold: and there was not one feeble person among their tribes.

Psalms 107:20  He sent his Word, and healed them, and delivered them from destruction.

Psalms 118:17  I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD.

Psalms 147:2-3  The LORD builds up Jerusalem; He gathers together the outcasts of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

Proverbs 3:7-8  Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.

Proverbs 4:20-22  My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.

Proverbs 12:18b  The tongue of the wise is health.

Proverbs 13:12  Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.

Proverbs 13:17b  A faithful ambassador is health.

Proverbs 14:30  A sound heart is the life of the flesh.

Proverbs 15:4a  The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life.

Proverbs 15:30  A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.

Proverbs 16:24  Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.

Proverbs 17:22  A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.

Proverbs 18:21  Death and Life is in the power of the tongue.

Isaiah 38:16  You restored me to health and let me live.

Isaiah 53:5  But He (Jesus) was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes [from the scourging and beatings] we are healed.

Isaiah 54:17  No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.

Isaiah 55:11  So shall My Word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

Isaiah 57:18-19  I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will lead him and restore comfort to him and to his mourners, creating the praise of the lips. Peace, Peace to him who is far and to him who is near, says the LORD, and I will heal him.

Isaiah 58:8  Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy reward.

Isaiah 58:11  The LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your soul in drought. And strengthen your bones. You shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

Isaiah 61:1-3 (xref Luke 4:18-19)  The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound. To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn. To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees [oaks] of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified.

Isaiah 61:7-8a  Instead of your shame you will have a double portion; and instead of humiliation you will shout for joy over your portion. Therefore, you shall possess a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours. For I, the LORD, love justice.

Isaiah 65:24  And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.

Isaiah 66:14  You shall see it, and your heart shall rejoice; your bones shall flourish like new grass.

Jeremiah 1:12  Then the LORD said to me, “You have seen well, for I am ready to perform My word.”

Jeremiah 17:14  Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise.

Jeremiah 29:11  For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you a hope and a future.

Jeremiah 30:17  For I will restore health unto thee and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the LORD; because they called thee an Outcast, saying, This is Zion, whom no man seeketh after.

Jeremiah 31:3-4  I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness. Again I will build you and you will be rebuilt … again you will take up your tambourines, and go forth to the dances of the merrymakers.

Jeremiah 33:6  Behold, I will bring you health and cure, and I will cure you, and will reveal unto you the abundance of peace and truth.

Ezekiel 34:16  I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak.

Ezekiel 37:3-10  And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” So I answered, “O Lord GOD, You know.” Again He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the Word of the LORD!’ Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live.” Then He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these smitten, that they may live.’” So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet. (The breath of God refers to the Holy Spirit who quickens our mortal bodies—Romans 8:11.)

Ezekiel 47:12 (xref Rev 22:1-2)  All kinds of fruit trees will grow along the riverbanks. The leaves will never turn brown and fall, and there will always be fruit. There will be a new crop every month—without fail!  For they are watered by the river flowing from the Sanctuary. The fruit will be for food and the leaves for medicine.

Joel 3:10  Let the weak say, ‘I am strong.’

Nahum 1:9  Affliction will not rise up a second time.

Zechariah 4:6-7  This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” Who art thou, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a [level] plain. xref Mark 11:23

Malachi 4:2  But unto you that fear My Name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in His wings.

The word “wings” in Malachi 4:2 is, according to the Hebrew definition, referring to the hem, border, edge of the garment, such as of the priestly robe or the fringes of a prayer shawl.

In the New Testament, Matthew tells of the account in Matthew 9:20-22 of a woman who had an issue of blood (hemorrhaging) for 12 years and had spent all she had on doctors and was not any better. She heard that Jesus was in town. She said to herself: “If I might just touch the hem of His garment, I shall be made whole.” She spoke in faith, then took action and pressed through the crowds. When she made it to Jesus, she touched the hem of His robe or the prayer shawl He was wearing, and when she did, she was instantly healed of her affliction. Jesus felt virtue (healing power) go out of him and asked who touched him. Then the woman told her whole story to Him and all those around her … about how she had suffered with this affliction for 12 years and was only growing worse, she had spent every dime on doctors but was not any better, but that now she was healed and whole through the power of Jesus Christ.

Other passages mention that more people were healed when they touched the hem of Jesus’ garment. See Matthew 14:35-36 and Mark 6:56.

Jesus’ robe signified His Priestly authority. The priestly garment symbolizes a mantle of the Anointing of the Holy Spirit. He is our Great High Priest from the Tribe of Judah in the order of Melchizedek (which is a Heavenly and eternal Priesthood).

The prayer shawl represents being wrapped in all the promises of God that are legally ours through the Covenant we have with God.  One of those promises is healing and health.

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