A Picture Perfect Christmas
The Scriptures call Jesus, Whose Name means “Jehovah Saves,” the Lamb of God from before the Creation. That is, from eternity.
The Father has seen this Picture of the Lamb from, well, forever!
God sees a Picture Perfect Sacrifice until the Picture becomes a Reality. That Reality is how the Western world understands its Calendar Year…2020 years from what? Anno Domini means the year of our Lord!
To get to the heart of Christmas, think of a Perfect God, whose Perfect Son, Who made a Perfect Sacrifice, was pictured in a Lamb.
That’s why, in the Old Testament, everything, and I mean everything, had to be just so…Perfect Pictures are just that…perfect.
The Nation of Israel went from slavery to nationhood. It started with the Perfect Picture, right down to the date.
On the first month of the Hebrew calendar, called Nisan (April is pretty close), on the 10th day of the month, the lamb (little lamb) had to be one year old and without imperfection. The lamb was to be taken into the house, like a pet, but then killed (also in a precise manner).
The blood of the lamb was applied to the doorposts of those who accepted the sacrifice, and by the faith of this sacrifice Israel was not only spared, but freed. The Nation of Israel had begun.
The history was real enough, but it was still a Picture of what was to come.
The Reality of the Picture was sheer Holy Perfection.
The prophet Daniel had about 500 years earlier pinpointed the arrival of the Perfect Sacrifice. It would be (no kidding) 173,880 days after the Persian king announced that Jerusalem would be restored! Just to be clear, that date would be Nisan 10, 30 A.D. (33 A.D. with the calendar change later).
On that day, Jesus came for the last time into Jerusalem (at least for a long time), during the same Passover that had begun when the first lamb was taken. Jesus also went into His House, the Temple.
And Jesus proclaimed that His Temple was to be a House of Prayer for all nations. But then His blood was shed brutally by the enemies of God, but also spiritually by God Himself. Jesus forgave the soldiers, but cried to God, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
His sins (He had no sins!) were mine. When I receive His gift of the Perfect Sacrifice, like Israel long before, I’m freed from the judgment of sin, and set off to be a new nation of God.
So what about Christmas? Well, let me say that my tree is up and shining! And I think it’s great to have a Birthday for Jesus! Jingle all the way!
It’s just that Jesus’ Picture is so Perfect. The other Picture of Jesus is called the Tabernacle. Or the Tent of Meeting. And it was a Tent, but a Holy Tent, in which God was present during the journey. So just as the Jesus Picture started with Israel, so the Jesus Picture had to continue with Israel as they journeyed. The sacrifices came along, too. But the Tabernacle, in Exodus 25, says that it’s the Presence of God among the people, like Emmanuel (“God with us,” get the Picture).
And guess what?! The very first service in which God’s Presence came to the Tabernacle, was the first day of Nisan (like April 1st). If the Lamb was a year old in Nisan, then Jesus was born in Nisan. If God came into the Presence on Nisan 1, wouldn’t the Picture Perfect Son be born the same day? No fooling…