Every year around Christmas we see nativity scenes. The details of the scenes differ but all of them show the baby Jesus in a manger with Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, and the Wise Men either standing or kneeling around him. These scenes serve a useful purpose by reminding everyone that Christmas is about Jesus, not Santa Claus. Unfortunately every nativity scene I have ever seen promotes an error. They show the Wise Men being present at the birth of Jesus. In fact they were nowhere near Bethlehem then and didn’t arrive until much later.
Here is Matthew’s description of the birth of Jesus.
When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus. (Matthew 1:24-25)
He doesn’t give any details about the birth except to tell us that Mary was still a virgin.
Luke 2:1-20 gives a more detailed description of Jesus’s birth. Joseph and Mary were forced to go to Bethlehem because of a decree by Caesar and Jesus was born there and placed in a manger. An angel revealed to a group of shepherds that the Messiah had been born and they came to see him. Read the rest of this entry
The stones used in Solomon’s temple were carved at the place from which they were taken, not at the place where the temple was being built.
When the house was built, it was with stone prepared at the quarry, so that neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron was heard in the house while it was being built.
1 Kings 6:7
Imagine that these stones were alive. How might they have felt about what was being done to them?
When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
This was the first time anyone was baptized with the Holy Spirit and two things happened to them: tongues of fire appeared and rested on each of them and they spoke in other tongues. There would be other occasions when people were baptized by the Spirit and spoke in tongues but this is the only time tongues of fire appeared. Read the rest of this entry