LUKE 2



1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.

2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

A decree was promulgated from Rome, ordering the enrolment of the population of the empire with a view to taxation. This decree took every Jew for the time being to his ancestral home.

"All went to be enrolled, every one into his own city."

It thus took Joseph to Bethlehem, where lay the hereditary family connection with the soil, and where therefore, his enrolment would have to be effected. It took Mary there also, which is one of the proofs of Mary's Davidic extraction: for had she been of another house than the house of David, there would have been no need for her to go to Bethlehem, "the city of David;" and had it been unnecessary for her to attend for the purposes of the enrolment, it is inconceivable that Joseph would have subjected her to the fatigues of Syrian travel at almost the last stage of pregnancy. He would have gone alone, leaving Mary in the quietude and repose of Nazareth, exerting himself for an expeditious accomplishment of the enrolment business at Bethlehem, and a quick return to Nazareth.

But he took her "to be taxed (enrolled) with" him in "the city of David which is called Bethlehem" (Luke ii. 4, 5). He took her because it was necessary for her to go, for she also was of the house and lineage of David; and thus compliance with a legal necessity of human origin for her presence at Bethlehem at that particular time, was the providential means of bringing about conformity with that higher necessity, that the Son of God and son of David should be born at Bethlehem.

It is worth while pausing to consider this peculiar combination of circumstances. Manifestly, it was a triumph of divine supervision that secured, by the operation of natural circumstances, the presence of Mary at Bethlehem at just the short particular period during which Christ should be born in the city of David, his human ancestor. But it might seem to a certain view of the case as if it would have been a more complete and natural realisation of the divine purpose on this point if Mary had been a resident of Bethlehem, instead of a visitor; and under no need to be regulated so as to secure the right birthplace for her son.

It might plausibly be argued that such an arrangement would also have been much more likely to secure attention afterwards for Jesus, at the hands of the nation, than one that threw a veil over his Bethlehem parentage, associating him with Nazareth, and thus preventing the easy recognition of the fulfilment in him of the prophecy that Christ should be born at Bethlehem.

No doubt the residence of Mary in Bethlehem would have been effectual on these two points: but then, other points would have been interfered with. In our last chapter, we were able to recognise the need for Jesus being insulated from all human prestige -- Jewish or Gentile. He was to be rejected of the nation: and his work was to stand upon a divine basis purely -- which two things necessitated his association with an obscure Galilean village, of which no one had a good opinion. In view of this, we can see why Jesus should not be known in his lifetime in connection with the royal city.

At the same time, it was a prophetic necessity he should be born there. It is here where the providential circumstance we have looked at, appears in its true character of consummate wisdom. By a public incident, which had no apparent connection with the purpose of God, the mother of Jesus was brought to Bethlehem at the right moment for the birth of Jesus, without ceasing her connection with that other city, which had been chosen as the sphere of the Lord's mortal life till thirty years of age.

Nazareth Revisited Ch 7



4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.



6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

Joseph and Mary were brought there for a short time only. A few days one way or the other would have caused a misfit; but the watchfulness of providence secured their presence in Bethlehem just at the right time, so that the scripture was fulfilled, and the angels were able to announce to the shepherds on Bethlehem's plains:

"Unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour which is Christ the Lord."

Ways of Providence Ch 23



9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

"There is joy among the angels over one sinner that repenteth."

If their spiritual interest and susceptibility are so keen as to be made glad by the reformation of one sinner, we may understand the interest they would take in the birth of one who came into the world to save a multitude of sinners. They manifested their interest in a way that has left its mark on the language and songs of mankind. They showed themselves outside Bethlehem on the plains, underneath the star-sparkling sky, where a company of shepherds kept watch over their flocks by night. First one only appeared.

...The shepherds were thrown into great fear by the unusual spectacle. An angel in his brightness is an impressive and terror-causing sight in the light of day: how much more in the darkness of the night.

Nazareth Revisited Ch 7



11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

The shepherds must have been capable of understanding this announcement, or it would not have been made to them.

Had it stopped short with the intimation of the birth of a Saviour, they might have supposed it to refer to some ordinary deliverer such as had frequently been raised up in the course of Israel's history -- a deliverer from the yoke of their enemies (in this case, the Romans) for which many were sighing

Nazareth Revisited Ch 7


Jesus was made the Son of God in three stages: first, his begettal by the Spirit-(Luke 1:35); second, his manifestation to Israel in the proclamation-

"This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased;"

and third, his resurrection and glorification, when he was

"declared to be the Son of God, by resurrection from the dead."-(Rom. 1:2.)

and "that day begotten."-(Acts 13:33.) He was "perfected" the third day."-(Luke 13:32.)

What is true of his sonship is true of his Christship. It was a gradual development, beginning with the operation of the Spirit upon his mother, and culminating in his being "filled with all the fulness of the Godhead bodily"-(Col. 2:9).

He was Christ all the time, but in different degrees. The middle stage was between his baptism and death, when the Spirit, without measure enswathed his mortal nature without changing it.

He was not finally "made (perfect) Lord and Christ," until he reached the last stage; and there was a moment, just before his death and immediately after his re-awaking, when he was "neither Lord nor Christ," being forsaken of the Father in the one case, and unascended to Him in the other. These things are true, however discrepant unprincipled cleverness may make them to appear.

The Christadelphian July 1870


12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

There was an unoccupied corner in the yard or enclosure where the camels and asses were stalled for the night. It was usual for this corner to have a horse or camel in it: but it was empty. It had a manger in it for which an unexpected use was found. Here, among the hay and straw, and in the midst of the close and stuffy odours of a stable, they settled themselves down for the night, in all likelihood tired out by the fatigue of the previous day's journey.

Before morning, Christ is born.

Such a lowly beginning to the life of Christ upon earth is an astounding fact. We have been so familiar with it ever since we knew the name of Christ, that it fails to strike with the force that belongs to it. A lowlier birth it would be impossible to imagine.

Parents lowly, though of noble descent; and forced, for the moment, into the lowliest position in the city of their kindred, to herd with "the ox and the mule which have no understanding," in circumstances offensive to every delicate sensibility, and repugnant to the most rudimentary sense of self-respect! What are we to think about it? It is surely easy to read the lesson. Christ, the highest, began the humblest.

"God hath chosen the weak things of this world to confound the mighty."

This mode of operation will not cease to be exemplified till God's own glorious power becomes visibly incorporate and manifest in the vessels of His choice. Who among us, then, need weary or be ashamed of the humbling circumstances meanwhile associated with the truth? It is natural to be ashamed of them: but reason forbids.

Who among us can wisely seek the great and honourable things of the present world? It is natural to seek them; but wisdom says;

"Be content with food and raiment. Be not conformed to the world. Pass the time of your sojourning in fear."

If Christ, from the very start of his career, was "conducted with the despised." we may gladly suffer with him on this point during the few days we are here. The reversal that comes with his return to the earth will compensate for all. The sufferings and humiliations of this present time are but "a light affliction," "working out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."

Nazareth Revisited Ch 7



13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

The beauty of order requires the surrender of some amount of individual liberty which may be irksome to mere mortals, especially to lawless mortals, of such an age as this, when the spirit of democratic insubordination is rampant. But to the multitude "redeemed from among men" because of the subjection of their will to the will of God, it will be as much a joy to respond to the organizing requirements of the Spirit of God as it is for the physical body now to respond to the lightning-like volitions of the brain.

The "army of heaven" is not a mob (Dan. 4:35). The "multitude of the heavenly host" did not sing on the plains of Bethlehem without concert and leadership (Luke 2:13). Even the simultaneous flight of a flock of migratory birds under leadership (one of the most interesting sights in nature)--is a divine work in its way--which does not mean the sacrifice of the wills of the individual birds, but their voluntary accommodation to a collective necessity in which they find pleasure.

So the movements of the saints in the perfect state to which probation is steadily taking them forward will have many glorious co-operations, in which the perfect order, which is "heaven's first law", will be the highest delight of myriads of co-operative wills. They will rejoice in the marshallings and movements of the host of the Lord as all true Israelites did in the movements of the camps during their march under Moses to the promised land.

Law of Moses Ch 33



14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

The shepherds heard music that has not fallen on human ear since, except in the case of John who heard, in vision in Patmos, the strains of the redeemed assisted by

"an innumerable company of angels;"

and perhaps Paul, who heard unutterable things when (in "visions and revelations") caught away into Paradise. But the music will be heard again, and many times again upon earth. For the work that brought the angels to the plains of Bethlehem 1850 years ago is not arrested, but will go forward to the appointed climax when every knee will bow to the Bethlehem babe; no longer a babe, but the glorified sufferer, in whom dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

"Of his kingdom, there shall be no end":

and in his kingdom, there will be no sorrow, but songs of everlasting joy, in which the angels will take effective part.

It is interesting to reflect how much in harmony with human ways it was for the angels to communicate thus to the shepherds. How natural it is to communicate good when you have it. The angels were full of interest at the arrival of a long-promised epoch in the purpose of God upon the earth. There is no evidence that they were commanded to tell the shepherds of the fact. They appeared to have volunteered the information in the fulness of their own joy.

Should we not feel moved to do the same if we knew any one that would be deeply interested in we had to tell? Man is in the angelic image, and reflects angelic features in a faint degree.

Making people glad when you can, is God-like. The tidings the angels had to tell would not have made any one glad. It would have had no meaning to a company of Roman soldiers, for example. To Israelite shepherds who knew the Scriptures, it was the best they could hear.

The choice the angels made in them is suggestive in another way. ...They chose a company of lowly men, whose recommendation lay in this -- that they were humble in their own eyes, and deeply interested in the promises of God.

The fact is profitable to note, because the principle is an everlasting one, and will shortly receive another exemplification when the angels arrive to announce the return of Christ. "Not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble" will hold good to the end. Not this class will be honoured with the visits of the angels; but those to whom in all ages God's preference has been shown: "the poor of this world, rich in faith."

Having delivered their message, the angels "went away into heaven." The shepherds would see them depart, mounting aloft and gradually disappearing from sight. We look with the shepherds, and get a glimpse of a higher life than we know, yet one that has a practical interest for us, because we hope to be made "equal to the angels." The angels, glorious in nature, exhaustless in power, immortal in life and strength, have the faculty of traversing the dizzy depths and boundless fields of viewless space at will.

Their number is countless; their mission, divine (Rev. v. II; Psa. ciii. 20, 21.) The contemplation of the fact impart a sublimer idea of the universe than is possible to those who suppose that "the splendid heavens a shining frame" exist for no higher end than the sustenance of the feeble orders of animal life that we know in this part of it.

The universe becomes in Bible light, a peopled arcanum of glorious and noble life, whose vast aerial fields are but so many highways that can be traversed from world to world, as the errands of Almighty Power and wisdom may require.

To the unenlightened secular mind, this revealed fact is but a pretty fable: to the higher intelligence, it is the garb of inevitable truth: for it seems a necessary induction of reason that the splendid framework of heaven and earth must have within it a use and application equal to its greatness and glory, which could not be recognisable if life, as it now is upon earth, is the only form of it throughout its measureless fields.

Nazareth Revisited Ch 7




Thus, the principle is oracular, that, ALL nations shall come and worship before the all-powerful Yahweh Elohim;" and that "they will learn righteousness." This necessitates instructors, and a system of instruction, such as does not exist on earth at this time -- an enlightening power no less than divine.

It also requires a disposition, a child-like disposition, which exists not in the public mind, neither in the ignorant people, nor in their blind and conceited guides. To correct this fatal evil, and to break the power of ignorance, which is "the power of Satan," the angelic "pillars of fire" must march through the land; for it is written, "When the judgments of Yahweh are in the earth the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness" (Isa. xxvi. 9; Apoc. xv. 4).

And when they have learned this lesson, so difficult for individuals and nations, their lofty looks will be humbled, and their haughtiness will be bowed down, and Yahweh alone will be exalted (Isa. ii. 10,11).

British and American pride will be prostrate in the dust: and "the people the source of all power," an exploded fiction of the past. "In that day, Yahweh alone shall be exalted." Popular sovereignty will be a dead putrescent carcass; and all who derive their power and authority from it will be abased. Such a consummation as this, and so devoutly to be wished, can only be developed by Omnipotence -- by the powerful angel of the covenant.

The fate of the old world must necessarily be the fate of this whole American continent; for it is written of the Spirit, saying to the Son of David, "I will give thee the nations for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession" (Psa. ii. 8). This is certainly comprehensive of the western hemisphere. The Eternal Spirit gives this to the Rainbowed Angel in fee.

All power and authority here must, therefore, be derived from him, not from the people; and in these there will be no democracy or republicanism, but divine and imperial despotism, pure and simple; for "he shall rule the nations with a rod of iron" (Psa. ii. 9; Apoc. xix. 15; ii. 26-27); "and Yahweh shall be king over all the earth; in that day there shall be one Yahweh, and his name one" (Zech. xiv. 9). This is conclusive. No one believing the scripture can respect the traditions of Americanism. The Monroe doctrine and the millennial perpetuity of the Union, will be a derision to the cloud-invested angel, as they are now to all who have "the patience of the saints," "the commandments of the Deity, and the faith of Jesus" (Apoc. xiv. 12).

All the States of the new world will be taken possession of by them; for "the kingdom, and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole of the heavens is given to the people of the saints of the Most High Ones ... and all dominions shall serve and obey him" (Dan. vii. 27).

It is manifest, therefore, that the destiny of all colonies, and republics, and empires, upon the American arena, has long since been decreed; and that destiny is unquestionably glorious and blessed -- that of being delivered by judicial power from the debasing tyranny under which they now groan; and of becoming the flourishing and happy provinces of an imperial dominion, co-extensive with the globe, under which life, liberty, and property, will be secure;

"mercy and truth meet together, and righteousness and peace embrace each other;" and "glory will be to the Deity in the highest heavens, over the earth peace, and goodwill among men" (Psa. lxxxv. 10; Luke ii. 14). "Hitherto is the end of the matter" (Dan. vii. 28). The wars of the Angel of the Bow culminate in the conquest of a peace, which extinguishes all belligerent conflagration in the earth for a thousand years.

Eureka 10.8.



An universal jubilee will celebrate the admiration of mankind and their devotion to the King of all the earth. The world will no more resound with wars' alarms for a thousand years; and among the highest there will be glory to God, on the earth there will be peace and good-will among men (Luke 2:14) The mission of the Lord's Christ will have been gloriously fulfilled.

He will have raised up the tribes of Jacob, restored the preserved of Israel, and been the salvation of Yahweh to the ends of the earth (Isaiah 49:6). In his days there will be abundance of peace; for the nations will beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into scythes, and practise war no more.

"At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord; and all the nations shall be gathered to it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem" as the metropolis of the world; "neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil "heart " (Jer. 3:17).

The things they delight in will then be an abomination to them; for "the Gentiles shall come unto the Lord from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things in which there is no profit" (Jer. 16:19). When enlightened by the Lord this will be their judgment of the "names and denominations," pagan, mohammedan, papal, and protestant, which now as a covering vail spread over all nations (Isaiah 25:7), darken their understandings, and alienate them from the life of God.

But when the King of Israel and his Saints shall rule the world, all these superstitions will be for ever abolished, and mankind will be of one faith and practice. They will speak one religious language, and serve Yahweh with unanimity; for, says he,

"Then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord with one consent " (Zeph. 3:9).

This must, indeed, be the Lord's doings, for who among men has the wisdom, knowledge, and power to bring the nations to speak intelligibly on religious subjects, and to be of one religion! The sword only can prepare the way for this. Mankind must be made to

"lick the dust like a serpent,"

before they will consent to change their creeds for eternal truth. Judgment will bring them to reason, and they will say at length,

"Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem" (Isaiah 2:3). 

Under such teaching as this the work will be accomplished.

As to Israel, the Lord will have gotten them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame; and have made them a name and a praise among all the people of the earth (Zeph. 3:19,20).

"All nations shall call them blessed, for they shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts" (Mal. 3:12).

Instead of being a bye-word and a reproach, as at this day, the Gentiles will glory in their patronage; for "in those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, we will go,with you; for we have heard that God is with you" (Zech. 8:23).

Yes, the kingdom and throne of David will then be in their midst again, and Christ the Lord God, and Holy One of Israel, sitting upon it in power and great glory. The gospel of the kingdom will be no longer a matter of hope, but a reality; and those who have believed it, and submitted cheerfully and lovingly to the law of faith in the obedience it requires, and have perfected their faith by works meet for repentance, will be shining "as the brightness of the firmament, and as the stars for ever and ever" (Dan. 12:3).

Elpis Israel 3.6.



16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

They were not long in finding Joseph and Mary, in the virtual cattle-pen at the inn.

But where was the babe? Was it nestling in it mother's bosom? Was it snugly laid in the straw by the side of its mother? It was very likely to be so. It was improbable that the babe -- especially such a babe -- would be put in a place used for the feeding of beasts. But there it was: they found the "babe lying in a manger."

This was the conclusive sign to them. What more natural than that they should at once "make known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child." This is Christ the Lord.

"All they that heard, wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds." (Luke 2:18)

It was natural it should be so. It is what would happen in any village at the present day. The people would open eyes and mouth and exclaim. The wonder would be but "a nine days' wonder," as it probably was at Bethlehem.

Intelligence rests and feeds on wisdom: ignorance gloats on the marvellous.

Nazareth Revisited Ch 7



19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

Her surroundings would indispose her to be communicative on the subject. Her state precluded it: and her position, amidst the bustle of a crowded inn, and amongst people mostly indifferent and unsympathetic, would not encourage her to say much on a subject of which, although she knew more than any one else at the time, she yet understood so little.

"Pondering them in her heart" was the natural thing for her in all the circumstances.

Nazareth Revisited Ch 7



20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

The shepherds were delighted. They had found things in accordance with the intimation made to them by the angels, and therefore felt the joy that was calculated to come from the confidence that this was the promised Messiah.

They would look forward to the growth of the child and the manifestation of the man, with the anticipation that in a single generation at the most, the glory promised to Israel would be revealed in their midst. They returned to their flocks

Nazareth Revisited Ch 7



22 And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord;

The presentation of the infant Christ to the Lord


The offering... was the atonement required for the mother under Lev. 12:6-7, and not for the redemption of the child. The redemption was by the payment of five shekels (Num. 18:16). There is no mention of this payment in the narrative of Luke, but it was doubtless made the same day

The Christadelphian, Feb 1886



In a little over a month after the circumcision, the time came to present the circumcised child to the Lord, as the law enjoined. Thirty-three days were required to run for the mother's purification and recovery (Lev. xii. 3), after which, in the case of a first-born son, it was needful to discharge the claim the law had on him under Ex. xiii. 12: Num. xviii. 15.

God slew the first-born of the Egyptians on the night of Israel's deliverance from Egypt, on which event he established a memorial claim for every male first-born of Israel, to be sacrificed to him afterwards, unless redeemed in the way appointed. This claim lay on Jesus at the very start of his life on earth: and from this (being "under the law" Gal. iv 4), he had to be redeemed like every first-born male child of Israel.

Nazareth Revisited Ch 8



24 And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.

There were two modes of redemption -- one for the well-to-do, and the other for the indigent (Lev. xii. 8). The first was by the sacrifice of a lamb; and if the mother was not able to bring a lamb, then she was to offer two turtledoves, or two young pigeons. From Luke ii. 24 it would seem that Mary offered the latter, from which we have an incidental clue to her position in life.

Nazareth Revisited Ch 8



...To the priest, it was an ordinary child, and he probably went through the ordinary routine with the indifference natural to official repetition. But it was not so with all.



All waiting is more or less of a weariness. People do not wait unless they know what they are waiting for, and are sure that it is coming. The certainty and value of what they are waiting for keep them in the waiting attitude. God has said,

"They shall not be ashamed that wait for Me."

In waiting for the consolation of Israel, we are waiting for God: because the only ground we have for expecting the consolation of Israel is the fact that God has promised it. Our neighbours think we are waiting for a poor thing in waiting for the consolation of Israel.

..."In this mountain shall the Lord of Hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things."

Wherein consists the fatness of the feast, we are presently told. First of all, the spiritual and intellectual obtuseness that afflicts mankind is to be brought to an end.

"He will take away the veil that is spread over all nations."

What an emancipation is this? Consider the difference between an ignorant, loutish man, and a man brimming over with loving intelligence. Such is the difference between the present state of the earth's population and that to which they will be brought by the new influences and institutions of the Kingdom of God. At present, darkness - oppressive and dreary - covers the earth: then the glory of the Lord shall shine: the nations shall walk in the light thereof. No longer will man have to say to man,

"Know the Lord;" "all shall know Me." "From the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, My name shall be great among the Gentiles."

How interesting will the human race be everywhere when the mortal veil is removed that now overspreads their understanding. It is a veil of different materials, just as the veil of the tabernacle was of different materials, with this difference, that the various materials of which the veil of the tabernacle was composed were all materials of excellence and glory, whereas the veil of darkness is made up of different forms of barbarism.

Seasons 2: 29




26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Spirit, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ.

An old man and his priestly blessing

Eli was already full of days by the time Samuel was born, and the Spirit depicted him in old age, as being distinctively associated with the temple. He was sitting on "a seat by a post of the temple" when Hannah first prayed in the desperation of her grief. 46 He was still to be found there several years later when she returned with her son "to present him to the Lord". 47

He was at the temple in subsequent years, when he blessed the child's parents as they came to that place in pilgrimage. 48 Small though Samuel was, Eli saw something in the lad that stirred the spirit of hope, and in his blessing, he focused on the significance of the child who had been lent to the Lord by his mother. 49

Rendered powerless as he was by the dominance of his evil sons, Eli found the presence of Samuel, in all his innocence and truth, to be a gift of joy. Yet even then, Eli had not fully understood the future of the young boy who lived with him at the sanctuary.

But one night when the old priest was asleep, Samuel was addressed thrice, until finally "Eli perceived that the LORD had called the child". 50 In the morning, he ordered Samuel to tell

him all, and the words which the child uttered, convinced him that Samuel had received a revelation from God himself. 51 Eli recognised, in a blinding flash of insight, what all Israel would soon know, namely that Samuel was chosen of the Lord. 52

With an awareness which must have astonished and thrilled him, he realised that here was the faithful priest of God's own appointing. Whatever might be the fate of his own household, whose wickedness he knew the purpose of God with Israel would be continued through Samuel.

The old man saw it now, in that morning at the temple, and at a time when his own course was run, the knowledge brought comfort. God had never left His people without witness or help, and He would not do so now.

Shortly afterwards, in a catastrophic battle, the ark of God was taken, and in the same tragedy, Eli's two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were also killed. The judgment of God had come with final and irrevocable force upon his household, and it was no doubt a mercy that Eli lost his life shortly afterwards, in the shock of hearing the news. But it was also a blessing, that before he died, he had seen and recognised this one to come, through whom the divine purpose would be outworked in a new and better priesthood.

In Mary's time, a remarkable meeting occurred in the temple between herself as she brought in her child, and an old man who waited in that place for her arrival. 53 When she and Joseph appeared with Jesus, the old man stepped forward to intercept them.

He was a devoted attendant at the temple, and whether of the priesthood or not, he certainly acted in a priestly role. This man, Simeon, had been warned by Spirit, that he

"would not see death before he had seen the Lord's anointed". 54

There could be little doubt, in this gospel of all gospels, that the anointed one whom he was to meet, would be as much a promised priest as a future king.

It was unusual for an old man to see the future written in the face of a little child. It was too early to know what the unfolding of life would bring, for there to be any certainty as to what the babe might accomplish. The old especially, know how the sweep of time and years can change a life that once looked so promising, into a story of sorrow and failure. But, warned of God as he had been, he gazed upon this child and knew that this was he.

Simeon felt compelled to hold the babe, and reaching out his arms, he lifted up the child and held him close. He knew deep within that he was cradling the most precious thing he had ever held, and felt the same trembling sense of realisation as Eli, that he had indeed looked upon the Lord's anointed. Filled with a happiness beyond his experience, Simeon expressed his deepest gratitude for such a privilege. It left him, so thankful for this gift of joy, that he could now die in peace.

"Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation."

He was an old man when at the temple, he saw him whom the Lord had chosen. 55 It was a mercy afforded to one who was "waiting for the consolation of Israel", that God gave him this glimpse of the one through whom that consolation was to come. And it was destined then, that Simeon should also perform the gracious act of blessing the parents of the child as they came to the temple.

Just as Eli had encouraged Elkanah and Hannah with a priestly benediction at the sanctuary in Shiloh, so Simeon bestowed the same upon Joseph and Mary, who had visited the temple at Jerusalem. 56

And just as Eli had focused on the significance of the child lent, so now Simeon made comment on the importance of Jesus, and the impact this child would have upon the nation of Israel. 57 The story of Eli was to become the story of Simeon, as the Spirit overshadowed this writing.

Bro Roger Lewis - Hannah Handmaid of the Highest Ch 8



30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,

... on the particular day when Mary arrived at the Temple with her little charge, the Spirit had drawn him to the same place, with the intimation that one of the children to be presented that day was he upon whom the hopes of just and devout Israelites had been for ages fixed.

We can understand with what interest Simeon would take up his position and watch the mothers who came to present their little ones; and when Mary, accompanied by Joseph, stepped forward with her child "to do for him after the custom of the law," the Spirit, making known to Simeon who she was, the old man, with what must have been a cordial and emphatic movement, took up the child in his arms, to the surprise of all parties, perhaps, and said:

"Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people: a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel."

It cannot but appear most fitting that such an incident should attend the official presentation of the newly-born Messiah to the Lord. It was a new testimony from God to the divinity of Jesus -- one of a series of testimonies divinely delivered at every well-marked stage of his introduction -- first, at the conception: then a few months further on when Joseph was distressed: then at birth: now at the presentation: afterwards at other seasons.

The reason for such a testimony will be apprehended when we realise that a foundation was being laid for faith in the most important transaction that had ever taken place among men.

...the divine attestation, was a necessity for the object in view, and this attestation was given at every stage, and in chaste and suitable form -- in this case, by the movement of the Spirit in an old man of the divinely approved type, whose utterances, though devoid of power to impress bye-standers at the time, helped, at a suitable moment, to complete the divine endorsement of the work being done.

Nazareth Revisited Ch 8



32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

It must have appeared in the highest degree improbable that the helpless carpenter's babe which he held in his arms would affect public events in the land of Israel: or that such a child could ever have any relation to the Gentile world as a "light." Looking back, we see how entirely the natural improbability has become historical fact.

... what little alleviation of natural barbarism the nations experience in these civilized times, is traceable to him whose infant form Simeon upheld.

Nazareth Revisited Ch 8




In the sense of new ideas being put into the mind with enlightening effect, apokalupsis is used in Luke 2:32, where Simeon, speaking by the Holy Spirit of the future of the child Jesus he then held in his arms, styled him "A light for an apocalypse of nations, and a glory of Yahweh's people Israel." In this text, it clearly signifies illumination. That is, that at some period of the history of the nations, Jesus would be, at one and the same time, a light and a glory to them and Israel. Moses says by the Spirit harninu, goyim, ammo, "Rejoice, ye nations, his people," but Paul, quoting from the Septuagint says, "with his people".

Either way answers to the truth; for when the nations are caused to rejoice, they will have previously become Yahweh's people (Zech. 2:11) and will also rejoice with Israel and the Saints. Now, when this shall be the order of the day, the nations will have been apocalypsed by him who will be "the glory of Israel." He will be a light in Zion in the midst of the nations, confounding the moon, and putting the sun of the former heavens to shame.

He will be "a light for an apocalypse of nations." The nature of this apocalypse may be discerned from a few testimonies of the prophets. "In Zion," says Isaiah, "shall Yahweh of armies make unto all people a feast. And in this mountain he will destroy the face of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death in victory; and Yahweh Elohim will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for Yahweh hath spoken it" (25:6)...

Eureka 1.1.1.



An universal jubilee will celebrate the admiration of mankind and their devotion to the King of all the earth. The world will no more resound with wars' alarms for a thousand years; and among the highest there will be glory to God, on the earth there will be peace and good-will among men (Luke 2:14) The mission of the Lord's Christ will have been gloriously fulfilled.

He will have raised up the tribes of Jacob, restored the preserved of Israel, and been the salvation of Yahweh to the ends of the earth (Isaiah 49:6). In his days there will be abundance of peace; for the nations will beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into scythes, and practise war no more.

"At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord; and all the nations shall be gathered to it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem" as the metropolis of the world; "neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil "heart " (Jer. 3:17).

The things they delight in will then be an abomination to them; for "the Gentiles shall come unto the Lord from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things in which there is no profit" (Jer. 16:19). When enlightened by the Lord this will be their judgment of the "names and denominations," pagan, mohammedan, papal, and protestant, which now as a covering vail spread over all nations (Isaiah 25:7), darken their understandings, and alienate them from the life of God.

But when the King of Israel and his Saints shall rule the world, all these superstitions will be for ever abolished, and mankind will be of one faith and practice. They will speak one religious language, and serve Yahweh with unanimity; for, says he,

"Then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord with one consent " (Zeph. 3:9).

This must, indeed, be the Lord's doings, for who among men has the wisdom, knowledge, and power to bring the nations to speak intelligibly on religious subjects, and to be of one religion! The sword only can prepare the way for this. Mankind must be made to

"lick the dust like a serpent,"

before they will consent to change their creeds for eternal truth. Judgment will bring them to reason, and they will say at length,

"Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem" (Isaiah 2:3). Under such teaching as this the work will be accomplished.

As to Israel, the Lord will have gotten them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame; and have made them a name and a praise among all the people of the earth (Zeph. 3:19,20).

"All nations shall call them blessed, for they shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts" (Mal. 3:12).

Instead of being a bye-word and a reproach, as at this day, the Gentiles will glory in their patronage; for "in those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, we will go,with you; for we have heard that God is with you" (Zech. 8:23).

Yes, the kingdom and throne of David will then be in their midst again, and Christ the Lord God, and Holy One of Israel, sitting upon it in power and great glory. The gospel of the kingdom will be no longer a matter of hope, but a reality; and those who have believed it, and submitted cheerfully and lovingly to the law of faith in the obedience it requires, and have perfected their faith by works meet for repentance, will be shining "as the brightness of the firmament, and as the stars for ever and ever" (Dan. 12:3).

Elpis Israel 3.6.



This lesson of the uncleanness of the whole mortal constitution had to be hammered home over and over and over again, century after century, pointing forward in hope to the final redemption. Strange indeed is the suggestion that the one who took upon himself this burden, and who concentered the sins of all the ages IN his own sin stricken body, should not require the age- foreshadowed cleansing.

A sacrifice must be offered at his birth. Why? What did it mean? They were very poor. It was just two common little birds. But what tremendous import! He was one of us, and we are one with him. What was the fulfilled REALITY of that typical, shadowly, forward-pointing offering that Mary made because HE was born of Adam's race? He fulfilled on Calvary the offering made at his birth.

Indeed, the whole typical, sacrificial cleansing process focused specifically on him, primarily and especially.

He himself, for the whole race, must be cleansed in the God appointed way. Not typically and symbolically; not in shadow and figure: but ACTUALLY, in the terrible, perfect life he lived and death he died, even to the moment he could at last triumphantly cry, "IT IS FINISHED!"

It was God's will to "make him perfect through suffering" (Heb. 2: 10). Was not the cross the apex of that suffering? - of that perfecting?

THEN, after first having been made perfect, cleansed by dreadful, actual "baptism" (Lk.12:50) for which his whole life was a preparation, he is NOW able to save them to the uttermost who come to God by, and IN, and as part of, him.

This is the true, scriptural, Christadelphian Christ of brethren Thomas and Roberts. All others are of orthodoxy of one shade or another.

We do not say that Christ's sacrifice was "for himself" as to motive. The entire weight of Scripture is on the side of the glorious fact that his motive was love for God and love for his brethren.

The supreme joy of bringing good out of evil, on a universal and eternal scale; of pleasing God and blessing man by removing the barrier between God and man; and opening a way that God and man may be eternally reconciled and eternally at peace in perfect communion; and being forever privileged to observe and rejoice in the consummation of that glorious Divine Purpose - what selfish, personal motive could ever have a fraction of the power of this!

Christ was far, far above self-centered motivation -

"It pleased the Lord to bruise him; He hath put him to grief ... He shall see his seed ... he shall see the travail of his soul and be satisfied."

The purifying of the heavenly ch 1



33 And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.

34 And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;

John the Baptist was‭ "‬filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother's womb‭" (‬Luke‭ ‬i 15‭)‬:‭ ‬how much more Jesus,‭ ‬the word made flesh,‭ ‬whose shoe latchet he was not worthy to stoop down and unloose.‭

But there are degrees and different forms of manifestation of the same Spirit‭ (‬1‭ ‬Cor.‭ xii. ‬4‭-‬6‭)‬.‭ ‬The growing babe,‭ ‬the obedient son,‭ ‬the faithful carpenter,‭ ‬would show the Spirit in character which was afterwards shown in works of power,‭ ‬and finally in the personal glory of the incorruptible‭ 

"‬filled with all the fulness of the God-head body‭" (‬Col.‭ ii. ‬9‭)‬.

TC 11/1896

The health and contented disposition of the Babe Yahoshua would be no surprise to his earthly parents following on from the marvels of his conception and birth.



35 (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.

The expectations associated with the appearance of the Messiah were those of blessing and prosperity only. It must consequently have appeared a curious darkening in the midst of light to speak of Israel "falling," and of gain-saying against the new born Messiah, and a sword piercing his mother's soul.

Nazareth Revisited Ch 8



36 And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity;

Not only Simeon, but Anna "a prophetess," "of a great age," was used for the same purpose. "She, coming in that instant," gave thanks likewise to the Lord, and spake of him (the newly presented infant) to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem. Joseph and Mary "marvelled at those things that were spoken." They knew that the babe was "Christ, the Lord;" but they evidently had not the large views opened out in the prophetic utterances of Simeon and Anna.

Nazareth Revisited Ch 8



37 And she was a widow of about 84 years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.


A virgin attendant and her temple service


Samuel was still so very little when first presented at Shiloh. Someone at the temple must have cared for him, for such an important responsibility could not be left to chance. Because God had claim upon the child, in the outworking of Hannah's vow, He also held responsibility for the child's safe nurture.

In an amazing display of divine providence, the child's temple guardian had been selected well before the child was even born. 58 That there were women at the temple was undoubted, for there were many activities associated with the temple worship which required the voluntary labour of faithful women. Those who served were provided for by the temple, and found their place within its buildings.

Jephthah's daughter was one of the women associated with the temple worship, who lived at the sanctuary, 59 and came under the jurisdiction of the High Priest of the time. Her example was already famed in Israel, celebrated for her faithfulness and holiness. At the time of Samuel's presentation, she had already been dedicated to temple service in her virginity. But here at hand was one so well suited to pour her love and devotion into the most wonderful task she would ever be asked to perform.

Her love of the lad, her commitment to his cause, her recognition of his role, were without question. Blessed by God with this precious charge, she rejoiced to be given in her unmarried state, the task of loving and guarding Hannah's firstborn son.

Indeed, there was a sign of her involvement in the child's life soon after his arrival at the place of the sanctuary. For Samuel was immediately given small tasks, which he undertook - with so serious a heart, that even in these he ministered unto the Lord. 60

From the outset, he was a priest in the making, and someone girded him with a linen ephod in recognition of his priestly spirit. 61 Wise hearted women had spun the fine linen for the ephods at the sanctuary. 62 But there were no such garments which would fit a three year old boy. Who then made this little ephod? Not Eli, whose eyes had begun to wax dim that he could not see. Who might it have been other than the guardian who watched so fiercely and so well over his every need.

Jephthah's daughter made her own mark on the child, but it was a mark which Hannah must have rejoiced in. The little ephod conveyed a woman's touch, and was the sign of a woman's care: a woman who shared his mother's conviction concerning the destiny of the child - his priestly destiny. As the climax of her sanctuary service, Jephthah's daughter watched over the one in whom God's priestly work amidst His people would be preserved. She would never forget the privilege.

58 See Appendix 6 - "Who was the guardian of Hannah's firstborn son?" on page 228.

59 Judges 11:39,40.

60 His labours even as a child were described this way (1 Samuel 2:11,18; 3:1). This term itself (ministered) carried priestly overtones.

61 The juxtaposition of the statement concerning his linen ephod (1 Samuel 2:18) against the comment concerning another garment which his mother brought up (1 Samuel 2:19), suggests that the ephod was provided by someone at the sanctuary.

62 As the law recorded (Exodus 28:3; 35:25).

***

In Luke's portrait, another dedicated woman suddenly appeared at the temple when the child Jesus was presented. But her presence at the temple was not in itself unusual, for she was so devoted as to be in constant attendance, serving God with fastings and prayers night and day. Anna, married but seven years from her virginity, had been devoted now to the sanctuary for eighty-four years, a period so long that her temple covenant now exceeded her marriage covenant by twelve times.

Counted against the total sum, her dedication to the service of the sanctuary represented by far the substance of her life. She was a virgin attendant at the temple after the spirit of old. 63 So committed was she, that a place of lodging had been found for her within the temple buildings. 64 Like Jephthah's daughter she was resident at the sanctuary.

Samuel met his guardian carer on his first visit to the temple. Luke was careful to record that Jesus would also encounter a dedicated woman on the occasion of his first visit to the temple. How thrilled Anna was to meet the Christ. For like Simeon, she also waited, 65 and like him she offered thanks at the moment of the meeting.

Surely it was in the providence of God that both she and Simeon were present at the sanctuary at that time, for their mutual song would fulfil the words of the prophet -

"Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion. Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the LORD hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem". 66

But Anna's song was no general outpouring of praise. She saw in Jesus the promise of redemption for the nation. She spoke of him because she believed in the destiny of the child - his priestly destiny. After a lifetime of temple service, Phanuel's daughter reached the fulfilment of her service in witnessing to the child she met. In Anna, 67 the story of another virgin attendant who served at the sanctuary would be seen, in an astonishing counterpart, that only providence could have ordained.

63 Why did Luke (guided by the Spirit) use such an extremely rare and unusual form of expression in describing the dignity of Anna's temple service? The phrase - "from her virginity" was not only unnecessary, but very arresting in its association. For there are only two women in all of scripture whose state of virginity is specifically commented on: the virginity of Jephthah's daughter (Judges 11:34,35), and the virginity of Phanuel's daughter (Luke 2:36). Why otherwise would the Spirit in Luke have used this phrase concerning "virginity", if not to draw attention to the parallel?


64 The phrase - "she departed not from the temple" (Luke 2:37) is suggestive of this idea.

65 The word "looked for" (Luke 2:38) is the same word as "waited" used of Simeon (Luke 2:25).

66 Isaiah 52:8,9.

67 How appropriate that the old woman bears the name of Hannah, the mother of Samuel (Anna being but the Greek form). It is yet another striking link in the two stories.

Bro Roger Lewis - Handmaid of the Highest Ch 8



40 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.

Now, if Jesus in his infantile stage was purely and merely human, how comes it he never fell into sin? Good organisation does not explain it, because organisation of itself is neutral; good

organisation is as ready to sin as bad organisation, in the absence of knowledge and experience.

There is only one explanation to it, and that is also furnished by Luke (ii. 40), The grace of God was upon him," which is equivalent to being filled with the Holy Spirit.

Someone may say "Then there was no difference between him and John, who was also "filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother's womb." If the begettal of Jesus is left out of account, this would follow; but with that in view, the great difference is visible: for while John was merely a natural man, acted upon from without by the Holy Spirit, Jesus was that Holy Spirit veiled in flesh, as it were, placed among men for the accomplishment of the mighty work which his Father had given him to do.

Here someone else may say, "If that be so, how can he be to us an example?"

Now, what is that question based upon? I think we shall see it is based upon a great fallacy. To manifest the fallacy of this assumption, we have only to ask, was he-even with the view of him taken by those who use such an argument-in all respects as weak as we? Had he not, even on their theory, a higher moral and intellectual energy? Do they not admit that in his conception of the Holy Spirit, he received a start that we never receive; and that, during his public career, in which his example alone is manifest, he had a power we never have, even the power of the Holy Spirit without measure?

These things are without dispute, and, therefore, the fallacy of the objection is demonstrated. Jesus was our example, in the sense of being a character for us to copy, but for the production of such a character, the Father himself had to interfere by the Spirit. He saw there was no man: therefore, His own arm brought salvation.

This is the great aspect in which Jesus is to be contemplated-the doing for us, by Almighty power, that which we could not do for ourselves, that the excellency might be of God, and not of man-that salvation might not be by works which we have done, but by the grace or favour of Eternal Wisdom, that no flesh should glory in His sight. On this principle, the man Christ

Jesus is "counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house: for every house is builded by some man, but he that built all things is God. (Hebrews 3:3.")

The relation between the Father in heaven and the Spirit Universal is inscrutable, and, for that

reason, there is in Jesus, who was inhabited by the Spirit, an element that is inscrutable. We

perceive the evidence of it in the fact that those who heard him speak, strove about the meaning of what he said. He said "I came from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me."

It cannot be said of any of us that we came down from heaven. And because those who heard

the statement were ignorant of the nature of Jesus, they did not see how it could be said of him: "He that cometh from above," "Ye are from beneath," he said at another time: "I am from above;" which is the contrast that Paul draws in saying "The first man is of the earth; earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven."

THE OPERATIONS OF THE DEITY

The Christadelphian, May 1870. p143-151



Samuel grew up straight and true, and evidently untouched by the wickedness around him. In the early life of every child, growth was dependent on the care of a mother. 68

In Samuel's case however, he was already weaned before being brought to the sanctuary, and once settled there, could no longer depend upon his mother for his needs. And yet, it was at Shiloh that the record would chronicle the stages by which he moved to maturity of mind, and strength of body.

"And the child Samuel grew before the LORD", "And the child Samuel grew on, and was in favour", "And Samuel grew and the LORD was with him." 69

Here was the lovely description of the steady progress of Hannah's son into the one who would become God's faithful priest. But given his mother's absence from that place, this report was the diary of his development under his Father's nurture. Almighty God has ever nursed His household thus. 70 Beyond the physical nourishment and growth which he experienced, Samuel received that sustenance which strengthened him spiritually towards manhood. God was at work in his life.

And there was one further aspect of Samuel's formative years. He grew "in favour both with the LORD and with men". 71 The two are very different. To grow in favour with God is to be recognised by Him, and this recognition is the result of a heart set on observing His principles. 72 To such a person, God extends the favour of His blessing, and Samuel from infancy stood in this special relationship with the Lord. But to be in favour with men, is to be respected by them because of an integrity of character which commands admiration, and offers no basis for rebuke, or disobedience. 73 Something in Samuel, sincere and godly, produced this reaction among those who observed him.

...With that one word "grew", Luke led his readers back to Shiloh, and to the little Levite who fulfilled his priestly ministrations with such care. And like Samuel, Jesus in infancy grew in steady stages distinguished by the Spirit. 75 The Lord's childhood was marked by his vigorous and healthy growth. And as his limbs lengthened, and his bones grew strong, so also his mind expanded, and his wisdom increased. But it was this latter development that was so clearly overshadowed by his Father, for "the grace of God was upon him".

In Samuel's case, the grace of his mother was upon him, for so was the meaning of her name. But with Jesus, whatever Mary brought to the child as a mother's gift, was enhanced by the Father's favour which was superadded. The result was a child, so endowed with spiritual attributes, that at twelve he could debate the priests of the nation and confound them with his thinking and his answers.

And as with the child, so with the man. For of Christ's growth to fulness of maturity, Luke would state, "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man". 76 No other gospel writer would record this detail, where, like Samuel, who was both approved of God and accepted by men, Jesus also would receive this twofold testimony.

There could not be a plainer parallel. But the one who found favour with God and man was thereby able to be "ordained for men in things pertaining to God". 77 The essence of his priesthood lay in being able to comprehend the claims of the one, yet understand the needs of the other. Jesus would be a priest, after the spirit of Samuel, who led the nation in sacrifice and prayer.

And just as there was another Samuel, so there was another Hannah. The veil would be drawn over the life of the Lord, from the age of twelve, until the age of thirty, but during those years in the home at Nazareth, Christ received an imprint of his mother's heart, just as Samuel had in his home at Ramah.

*verse 40 is the only one which comments on the early years of Jesus, for it relates to his development up until the age of twelve (Luke 2:42).

68 The word "grew" is frequently connected with the nourishment received from the mother's nursing (Genesis 21:8; Exodus 2:9,10; 1 Peter 2:2).

69 1 Samuel 2:21,26; 3:19.

70 Even the title Ail Shaddai, is expressive of God's power to be a nursing father to his offspring. God bears, and carries all his children (Deuteronomy 1:31; 32:10-12; Isaiah 46:3,4; Acts 13:18).

71 1 Samuel 2:26.

72 The counsel in Proverbs (3:1-4) is evidently an allusion to this earlier passage.

73 Samuel himself depicted this principle (1 Samuel 12:2-5). He was blameless in character.

75 The sense of the Greek in Luke 2 :40 is captured by Rotherham ''And, the child, went on growing, and waxing strong, becoming filled with wisdom".

76 This later statement (Luke 2:52) must refer to the time between twelve and thirty, when he began his ministry. It was an obvious allusion to Samuel's life (1 Samuel 2:26).

77 Hebrews 5:1.

Bro Roger Lewis - Hannah Handmaid of the Highest Ch 8



42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.

In Preparation for Public Life


Very little is disclosed of Christ's life there during the time that elapsed to the day of his introduction to the nation of Israel. We have just one or two glimpses....

"The child grew and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him." (Luke ii. 40).

This shows us a thriving healthy child, and a child of well marked character from the first; quiet, probably, and grave; but of clear, decided, and original mind. It must have been so in the childhood of a man like Jesus. It is said

"the child is the father of the man."

This is a universal truth, even in cases that may seem to be exceptions. The man is but the expansion and development of the germ existing in childhood. The pattern of "the man Christ Jesus" was latent in the child born of Mary. That pattern was the impress of the Spirit -- the impress of God -- "the power of the Highest" overshadowing her.

The Spirit took this part that it might do this work; for it was in order that there might be such an one as Jesus, that the Spirit departed from natural methods, and operated directly in the begettal of a child who was not the son of Joseph, except in family relation. It was "of God,

" that Jesus "was made unto us righteousness, sanctification, wisdom and redemption" (1 Cor. i. 30).

With such an inception to his being, it was in a sense natural that his developing childhood should exhibit the "strength of spirit," and "fulness of wisdom" recorded by Luke.

Till the age of twelve, there are no practical illustrations recorded of these mental characteristics. There was no need that there should be. The brief and chaste declaration of Luke sufficiently describes early years which chiefly became interesting from the manhood that followed.

Curiosity might have been gratified by personal details: but the mere gratification of curiosity never comes within the design of the Spirit of God's communications. What we are told is enough to illustrate its work in Christ.

Nazareth Revisited Ch 10.



Likely as the family grew all the children attended passover "every year" subsequent. Consequently becoming founding members of the Jerusalem ecclesia - Acts 1: 14. This journey with such a young and numerous family would involve no small amount of inconvenience. But to their spiritual minds this would be nothing compared to the pleasure of faithful service and the derived benefit of fraternization with fellow countrymen of like mind. 



Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover.

The law of Moses required every male to be present at the yearly passover

"in the place which the Lord shall choose,"

and all the members of the household besides;

"thy son and thy daughter, thy man-servant and thy maidservant" (Deut. xvi. 14.)

It is more likely that Joseph and Mary would act literally on this command than that they should yield a partial obedience. In that case, Jesus went with them every year from his earliest infancy.

If on the other hand the reduced state of the Jewish nation under the Roman yoke, was made a reason for a curtailed compliance with Mosaic requirements, then they did not take their household with them, but contented themselves with their own personal attendance -- leaving Jesus and the other members of the household at home.

However, this may be, "when he was twelve years of age," they took him with them to Jerusalem to keep the feast; and it was on this occasion that we have the first recorded exhibition of the deeply marked character of Jesus in his earliest years.

Nazareth Revisited Ch 10



A faithful husband and his yearly pilgrimage


Elkanah, like his wife, was a godly person in an ungodly age, yet despite the wickedness of his times, he sought to lead his family in spiritual ways. In his careful distribution of the portions of the peace offerings, 22 and his awareness of the principles concerning vows, 23 he displayed a knowledge of the commandments of Moses, that was exemplary in his day. Not only did he know the law of God, but he sought to uphold it in his life. But there was one aspect of his faithfulness that especially marked out Elkanah from those around him.

In his days, the ordinances of God concerning regular assembly at the place which God had chosen, were largely in abeyance. Instead, people sought to fashion their own worship activities and locations, 24 since every man did that which was right in his own eyes. Not so Elkanah. He was committed to the practice of going up to the temple in Shiloh every year to worship and to sacrifice. 25

It was easy to maintain such a standard when his family was smaller in number. But part of Elkanah's faithfulness lay in his continued visits to Shiloh, even when his family continued to increase in number, and the journey was made more difficult. 26 There was a price to pay to sustain this commitment, and to meet the obligations that such a journey brought, but Elkanah willingly did so because of the spiritual benefits it brought to his family.

This then, was the spirit and standard of his household, and it was faithful Elkanah who led his family on this journey every year. The very pattern of their spiritual life was marked by the rhythm of their yearly pilgrimage. 27

Luke would record the faithfulness of Joseph in a remarkably similar manner. Their visit to the temple at the dedication of Jesus was strictly in accordance with the law of God, and evidently Joseph was diligent in his observance of the statutes of Moses. 28 In fact, they were anxious that every aspect of the child's life, from his very beginning be in accordance with the law of the Lord. 29

But the visit to the temple in Jerusalem at the birth of Christ, although for a special purpose was not an unusual journey. It was but one incident in the life of a family, who already knew the holy city and the holy place very well. Their commitment to an annual pilgrimage was already an established practice in the household of Joseph, for they went to Jerusalem every year at the feast. 30

They spent sufficient time at the sanctuary to fulfil the days, and then returned afterwards to their home city of Nazareth, in the identical cycle followed by Elkanah and Hannah in an earlier age. 31

Nor did the journey become any easier over time. Jesus was the firstborn son, born by the direct intervention of the Spirit. But subsequently, Joseph's own household, with the blessing of God, expanded to a total of at least seven children, all of whom accompanied their parents on the yearly journey. 32

Yet despite this additional burden of responsibility, Joseph was steadfast in continuing to take his entire family to Jerusalem, because of the spiritual blessings they could share together in that place. Here was Elkanah's faithfulness manifested in Joseph. The time and circumstances were different, and yet the spirit of the man was the same. The story of Shiloh was to be retold.

21 The doubled account of Hannah, who "spake in her heart" (1 Samuel 1:13), and "rejoiced in her heart" (1 Samuel 2:1), will be matched by the double account of Mary, who "pondered in her heart" (Luke 2:19), and "kept in her heart" (Luke 2:51). Only when the story of Hannah is seen in Luke is the fulness of the parallel seen! The term "kept" here (diatereo) means to keep both carefully and continually.

22 The record is careful to note this - "and when the time was that Elkanah offered, he gave ... portions" (1 Samuel 1:4; cp. Leviticus 7:15,16; Deuteronomy 12:17,18).

23 The mention of his own vow, and his allusion to the law of vows again illustrated both his knowledge and observance of the teaching of Moses (1 Samuel 1:21,23; cp.

Numbers 30:2,14).

24 As witnessed by such episodes as the idolatry of Micah (Judges 17:5,6), and the apostasy of the Danites (Judges 18:30,31).

25 1 Samuel 1:3.

26 It is to be supposed that at the first, Elkanah and Hannah made the journey alone.

Later, when Elkanah had taken Peninnah as his second wife, and she bore him several children (1 Samuel 1:4), the journey would become more difficult. And after the birth and dedication of Samuel, the family grew in number again, with the blessing of another five offspring which Hannah would bear to her husband (1 Samuel 2:21).

27 Notice how marked the record is in describing this aspect of Elkanah _ "this man went up out of his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice ... in Shiloh" (1 Samuel 1:3), "And the man Elkanah, and all his house, went up to offer unto the LORD the yearly sacrifice" (1 Samuel 1:21), "when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice" (1 Samuel 2:19,20).

28 Note the references to "the days of purification" (Luke 2:22), "as it is written ... every male shall be holy" (Luke 2:23), "to offer a sacrifice ... a pair of turtledoves" (Luke 2:24).

29 The record will emphasise this spirit - "according to the law" (Luke 2:22), "they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; as it is written in the law

30 In the relevant passage (Luke 2:41,42) the phrase "every year" is rendered "year by year" (GLT), and "yearly" (Rotherham), The language is the exact counterpart of Elkanah's practice (1 Samuel 1:3),

31 The expressions "they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth, "when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned" (Luke 2:39,43), capture the very cycle of travel to Shiloh, seen in the life of Elkanah and Hannah "And they worshipped before the LORD, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah" (1 Samuel 1:19),

Bro Roger Lewis - Handmaid of the Highest Ch 8


46 And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.

...His Father and his Father's business filled his field of vision. The circumstances and exigencies of this ephemeral existence, which are all-controlling with merely natural men, were of small consequence in his estimation. Nothing is more prominent in his after life and teaching than this state of sentiment. It is a sentiment having reason as its basis, and that at last more or less infects and affects all true disciples of Christ, with the result of their being mis-appreciated by the people of the present world.

Nazareth Revisited Ch 10



47 And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.

Jesus was flesh,

but not merely so, because he developed Deity attributes at an early age. Was the flesh the basis of those Yahweh-attributes? Here is the trouble. Only that which is divine can develop divine-attributes.

Jesus was flesh and blood by his mother, but did that flesh and blood inherit nothing from his Father? Whence the wisdom with which he was filled as a child?-(Luke 2:40). The child born in Bethlehem had two sides, and by one of these-the Spirit which begat him-he was the Equal of the Father, regardless of anyone's ability or otherwise to explain it.

This spirit which came from above was virtue and wisdom, &c, and it was personally manifested in Jesus. He could therefore say "I came down from heaven." He was the only one that could say this. He that ascended was the same also that in the first instance descended. Enoch and Elijah ascended, but they could not say they had descended first as Jesus could. The "He" that came down from heaven and was manifest in Jesus, was the He that preached through Noah to the spirit of men in the antediluvian times.-(1 Peter 3:19.)

It was the same "he" that became mortal man and afterwards ascended to where he came from, which can be said of no other member of the Adamic race. A great mystery it may be (this "God manifest in the flesh," Tim. 3:10), but none the less the teaching of the word.

If this truth is not accepted, we must either make Jesus a mere man or consent to Trinitarianism, both of which are equally absurd and impossible. We prefer taking the divine testimony; and we know that Dr. Thomas fully acquiesced in this view, when he said to the effect that 

"Spirit was not annihilated in the process by which the Word became flesh."

Bro Samuel W. Coffman.

The Christadelphian, May 1872



48 And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.

49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?

The superior wisdom and grace with which Jesus was endowed even in childhood, led his heart to yearn toward his Father's business.

Yahweh Elohim Ch 3



51 And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.

And was subject unto them


This brings before the mind the daily routine of domestic life, with its quietness and simplicity, as the sphere of the boy Christ's upbringing, instead of in the stirring and ceremonious surroundings usually provided for those who are in training for a throne.

Part of that quiet routine would consist of work at the bench when he was old enough. We may gather this from the questions of neighbours afterwards, "Is not this the carpenter?" He learnt his father's trade while "subject to his parents at Nazareth.' We all know this, but how feebly the fact impresses us, except when we happen to get a glimpse of it in its right connection. It is best seen from the point of view of Christ's exaltation. An unexciting lowly life of private manual labour was chosen by God as the right school for the training of His beloved son, for "the heirship of all things."

How comforting this must be to Christ's lowly brethren of the poor of all ages, who have to earn their bread by the labour of horny hands. Rightly viewed, it will reconcile them to their present lot as the best adapted to develop true human character at its best when other conditions are favourable; and as the best preparation for the exaltation to which all men are invited who accept His Son.

To think of the coming king of all the earth having been a working man! What curious thoughts it suggests. Working men are looked down upon by the children of plenty; and lo, a working man is destined to divest them of their wealth and send them empty away. The life of a working man means the full development of manhood's strength, a strong frame, a firm and kindly muscular hand, a simple and independent character, combined with humility of deportment.

If to these we add the clearness of a divine intellect, the fire of a godly zeal, and the tenderness of true kindness and compassion, we get an approximation to the carpenter of Nazareth, in whom God was working out the archetype to which his family will be conformed. Such a training would give personal strength and plainness of appearance. The word of prophecy had said,

"When we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him;"

and probably, had we seen Christ in the days of his flesh, we should have seen such a man as the children of this world would not be likely to fancy, -- plain, grave, absorbed,noble withal, but the nobility of earnestness and purity, and conscious communion with God -- not the showy nobility that makes a man popular -- not delicate and refined, but manly and strong. That he had great strength of constitution was shewn by his endurance of the incessant fatigues of a three years and a half daily ministry.

Nazareth Revisited Ch 10.




52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

He had nothing in common with men beyond the infirmity of a mortal nature derived through his mother, from a common stock. His tastes lay where the human mind has no affinity.

His intellectual interest -- his mental affection -- intensely centred on God, from whom man is naturally alien (Rom. viii. 7). Even at twelve years of age, he showed this powerful bias which distinguished him from all men: "Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business" (Luke ii. 49); and "always" it is his own testimony concerning himself, "he did those things that were pleasing to the Father" (Jno. viii. 29).

His case, with reference to his own age, is only fitly classified in his own language; "Ye are from beneath: I am from above; ye are of this world: I am not of this world" (Jno. viii. 23).

Nazareth Revisited Ch 2