Who exactly were the three wise men? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. Well, Merry Christmas to you and your family. I'm Bill Meyer, along with Pastor Adriel Sanchez, and this is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day. You can also post your question on one of our social media sites, and you can always email us your question. Here's our email address.
It's questionsatcorechristianity.com. Well, Merry Christmas, Pastor Adriel. Merry Christmas, Bill.
I'm curious. You have five young kids at home. Is there anything special you do at Christmas to help them understand the true meaning of Christmas and the incarnation? I don't buy them any gifts, just so that they don't get confused about what this is really.
No, I'm joking. We do Christmas presents. We like to read the Christmas story, like in the Gospels, and spend some time meditating on that every Christmas day together as a family.
So that's one thing that we do. My kids are actually getting more into some of the Christmas hymns and carols, Joy to the World. One of my sons, he wants to sing that all day long, which I'm fine with because there's so many great truths in those carols and hymns. So that's another thing that we do together, is families will sing. That is so cool. And you have such a beautiful voice, I must say. For those folks that have not heard your singing voice before, if you go online and watch Adriel's church service... No, no, no. Bill, stop. Stop. It is.
It's really nice. Well, Bill is the guy who has got the excellent voice for all sorts of different things, voiceover work and whatnot. Bill, you're the one who should be doing the singing. It's a great question for Christmas, and it comes in from Julie in Arkansas, and she writes, Merry Christmas, Pastor Adriel and Bill. My question is, who exactly were the three wise men? Wise guys of Matthew chapter two.
They're sort of mysterious, and there is a lot of mystery around the Christmas story. You think about the virgin birth, you think about Herod. So many different things, and the wise men here in particular.
A lot of people have questions. The text begins in chapter two, verse one of Matthew's gospel. After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him. When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled in all Jerusalem with him, and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where Christ was to be born, and they told him in Bethlehem of Judea. For so it is written by the prophet, And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah.
For from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel. Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly, and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word that I too may come and worship him. Now after listening to the king, they went on their way, and behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy, and going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshipped him, and opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way."
So a couple of things. These wise men, or kings, or magicians from the east, there are different ways in which they're described, but they come to pay homage to the king of the Jews who has been born. They've been led there providentially by this star, and they go to worship Jesus. Now I think what's happening here is a fulfillment of what the Old Testament said would be the case for the Davidic king. You know, you read in places like Psalm chapter 72. Speaking of the Davidic king, Psalm 72 verse 8, may he have dominion from sea to sea, and from river to the ends of the earth. May desert tribes bow down before him, and his enemies lick the dust. May the kings of Tarshish and of the coastlands render him tribute. May the kings of Sheba and Saba bring gifts. May the kings fall down before him, and all nations serve him. I think that's what we're seeing here is these rulers, these wise men, these kings from among the Gentile nations coming to Jesus at his birth and recognizing him as the true king of kings and lord of lords. It's this picture of the fact that the Gentile nations would be flocking to this king, bringing him their tribute, their gifts, and of course that's being fulfilled now even today as people from every tribe and tongue and nation turn to Jesus Christ by faith, offering up their lives, our lives to the king of kings and lord of lords. We see it there in the Christmas story, and we see it every time someone turns to Christ by faith. Really a beautiful picture and a great way to open up this program today. So powerful. Thank you for that, Adriel.
This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Let's go to the phones. We have Randall on the line from St. Louis, Missouri. Randall, what's your question for Adriel? Hi. Well, actually my question, comment is referring to your Monday show when you were discussing the Trinity. Okay.
Yeah. Well, what I was wanting to find out, I wanted to get a response to what I've observed when I read the Bible is that I don't see any real scriptural support for a Trinity at all. There's that one line that's I think in 1 John that seems to describe the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as three separate equal entities within the Godhead. But in the New King James Version Bible, in most Bibles, I don't know about new ones because I don't have one, but there's an asterisk there at that line and a little paragraph that says that that line was taken from a completely different manuscript from the rest of the New Testament.
I think it was from the 15th century and that that manuscript was highly questionable. And then the other thing as far as scriptural support or a lack of scriptural support is when the throne and room of heaven is described like in Ezekiel and in Revelation and I think another place in the Old Testament, when you hear the description, you'll get the agent of days, which is God the Father. And then you'll get the Son, you'll hear him describe like the Lamb of God or the Son of Man. But you don't hear a third description of the Holy Spirit at all in any of those. And then lastly, in John 1-1, when he goes back to the beginning before anything was created and says what was there, there was just the two. There was the Word, he said, and the Word was God and the Word was with God. But there's never any description of a Trinity anywhere in there, so I was just wondering what your response would be to that. Randall, thanks for bringing up those texts.
Can I just ask you a quick question? Randall, are you a part of a church community? Where do you go to church? I go to, it's called the United Church of God. Yeah, we do not believe in the Trinity, nor do we believe in Christmas, Easter, or Sunday either, as there's no scriptural support for those holidays whatsoever. There is, however, in 1 Corinthians, support for keeping the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread, as Paul instructed the church in Corinth to do.
Randall, okay, so a couple things. One, I encourage you to get a hold of our Christmas resource on whether or not Christmas is a pagan holiday. You can find it over at corechristianity.com. With regard to the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, you mentioned a few different passages. One, I have an article that I wrote recently over at corechristianity.com called Greek Grammar and the Logic of Trinitarian Worship or something like that, where I actually talk about that scene in the throne room in heaven in Revelation chapters 4 and 5, where all creation, Randall, is bowing before God and giving him worship.
God who? There, specifically, the Father and the Son. Now, the fact that the Son is worshiped is, itself, evidence that this is not a mere creature. And this is what the church has always said for the last 2,000 years.
We don't worship creatures. And all creation is bowing down before the Lamb, saying, Worthy are you to take the scroll and open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall rule on the earth. And then, in verse 12, worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing. Now, that's very interesting because those things that the Lamb is given, these attributes that are ascribed to him there, power and wealth and wisdom and so forth, those were the very things that were given to the Father back in Revelation chapter 4, verse 11.
In fact, there's a word in the Greek New Testament there in Revelation chapter 5, verse 12. Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive, it's not translated at least in the ESV, the power and wealth and wisdom and might. The definite article there, the, referring back to the same power and glory and honor that was given to the Father. And so, just like Jesus says in John chapter 5 that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Now, you say, well, but what about the Holy Spirit? Where is the Holy Spirit here in this whole scene? Remember, when John sees this Lamb standing back in earlier in chapter 5, he says, I saw a Lamb standing as though it had been slain with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. This is a symbolic way of picturing, if you will, the sending of the Spirit from Christ. So when the Lamb is being worshiped, together with the Lamb is also the Spirit, as John sees there through this symbolic image, this prophecy. So look, one of the problems that people who have rejected the doctrine of the Trinity, the deity of Jesus Christ have always ran into is, what do you do with passages like this, where all creation is worshiping Jesus with the same worship that they give to the Father? Either Jesus is God, or He isn't, and that's idolatry.
And so, question for you, Randall, I'm going to toss it back to you. What do you say about all creation worshiping Jesus there? Well, I mean, I don't have a problem with that. Jesus is God, He is with His God, His Father, and He is God.
I don't really have a problem with either of that. So you believe in, would you describe yourself as a binitarian, not a Trinitarian? No, it's like a family, because He's always called the firstborn of God. And you refer to the firstborn because there's going to be more, but they're not there. And Christ Himself said, He who overcomes, as I did, I will call Him Father, not Father, brother or sister or mother. And that is how, what the Holy Spirit does, is it signifies once you've been baptized and laid on of hands and everything, then you receive the Holy Spirit. And the Spirit designates, God identifies you as a promised adoption into His family because you have the Holy Spirit. Randall, some of the things that you said there, I think, I sort of understand, but what you're saying, even with regard to Him being the Son or firstborn, that language, firstborn, when it's used in scripture, isn't necessarily about, primarily even about one in a great line of many, it's about preeminence.
So for example, the psalmist in Psalm 89 verse 27, speaking of the Davidic kings, says, I will make Him the firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth. And so when scripture refers to Jesus in places like Colossians as the firstborn from the dead, it's not speaking about Him as the first created being. If He was created, then He's not the object of, or should not be the object of our worship. That would be idolatry. And so I would even continue to press a little bit further here in saying, you say that Jesus is God, that you don't have any problem with Him being worshiped.
But then in some ways, it sounds like your description of Him is very creaturely. He's just a son, just kind of like we're sons and we're adopted. The way in which the church is always distinguished here is saying, Jesus is the eternal Son of God by nature, equal with the Father, and substantial of the same substance with the Father. We are the sons and daughters of God by grace, the grace of adoption and the work of the Holy Spirit. Now this is just so important, brothers and sisters, because we're talking about who God is, and if we get this wrong, we don't have core Christianity. We don't have the faith once for all delivered to the saints. To reject the equality of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in terms of their essence is to not understand who God is, to be outside of the faith, if you will.
And again, this doctrine that we hold to, the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, that reality that God, the Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God is what we see in scripture. Think about Acts 5, the situation with Ananias and Sapphira. The disciples say after they had lied about this money that they used, what they used it for, Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own?
And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men, but to God.
There it is. To lie to the Holy Spirit is to lie to God himself. The apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians chapter 6 that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Now, who dwells in the temple, brothers and sisters? It's God.
It's God. For Paul to say that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit is to say that the Holy Spirit is God who has taken up residence in the temple of our bodies. I know I've gone long on this one, and Randall, I appreciate your question, but when you say I just don't see these doctrines or this doctrine in the Bible, I just have to disagree. And together with the whole church for the last 2,000 years that has confessed one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the Trinity, one in essence and undivided, I would just implore you, brother, and say open your heart to the truth of Scripture that has been revealed and received by the church and guarded, held onto. And we'd love to give you some resources to help with that.
I hope you stay on the line. There's a book, Core Christianity, that gets into some of these doctrines, really important doctrines that we'd be happy to send to you for free. God bless. Thanks for that, Adriel, and I appreciate that explanation. I think it's really important for all of us to understand the Trinity and how it is so core to our Christian faith. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.
Merry Christmas to you and your family. And we actually have a question from Adrian in St. Louis that has to do with the Incarnation. And Adrian, go ahead. What's your question for Adriel? First of all, wow, Pastor Adriel, that was awesome. With the last caller, that was so awesome. Appreciate you and Bill. I don't know if you guys really realize the help that you're giving the believers, and even the unbelievers. So just kudos to the show. I love it.
Every day I listen, I can't get enough of it. But my question is, thinking about the calendar year, so, and I'll try to explain this to you very soon. So, AD and ABC, how did the calendars go backwards until Jesus was hit, and then once he died, it went forward? Will that make sense?
I'm a little bit confused about that. Yeah, it's just a way in which you think about, you know, how we think about history and those significant events in the history of the world, in human history. Now, a lot of times today, people want to minimize those great redemptive events in history, like the birth of Jesus Christ and his resurrection.
But that wasn't always the case. And for a long period of time, and even still, you know, many people, when they think about the sort of breakup of history, that point there with the coming of Christ, the birth of Christ, and what you have after that, right? Really, there is no event in history that has shaped history more, I think. I mean, we're talking about the inauguration of the new covenant, the free forgiveness that God has given to people through his son, Jesus Christ. And so, you know, this is just culturally, historically, I think people recognize seeing the significance of that and how earth-shaking that was. The resurrection of Jesus Christ literally turned the world upside down as the gospel was preached throughout the whole world.
You think about the effect that it had on the Roman Empire, the way in which it spread, and continues to spread today. People want to minimize Jesus all around us. They want to minimize his significance.
They want to minimize his cultural influence and impact. But the fact of the matter is, you just can't. It's everywhere around us. We live in it.
We swim in those waters. And we're called to continue to herald that great truth. That God has sent his son into the world for us, for our redemption, so that we might have new life.
And so, I mean, that's one of the things I think is just remarkable about me. You think about how so many people understand the flow of human history and without even knowing, even, you know, the celebration of Christmas. So many people celebrating, but not really knowing what it is they're celebrating or why they're celebrating. And so it's on us as the followers of Christ to know what we believe, why we believe it, and to encourage others with that reality, those great truths as well. And Adrian, I pray that you have a blessed Christmas and that you are just encouraged in the Lord and that this broadcast continues to be an encouragement to you as well. Thank you for your words. Adrian, thanks so much for listening to Core Christianity.
We do appreciate you as one of our regular listeners. By the way, we mentioned this particular resource earlier, which is really great, perfectly appropriate for Christmas and for maybe you if you have any questions about celebrating Christmas. It's called Five Reasons Christmas Isn't a Pagan Holiday. We get a lot of questions every Christmas about this particular issue. We want to make this free resource available to you. Yeah, you know, especially as we've said this time of the year, and even with the previous caller, you know, saying, well, we don't celebrate Christmas because I don't see it anywhere in the Bible.
There's a lot of confusion about Christmas and the significance of Christmas and why we ought to or can celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. And so get ahold of this free resource, as Bill already said. You don't have to pay anything for it. It's over at corechristianity.com, really easy to access. You can just download it, and I know it will encourage you and be illuminating for you as you have discussions with friends about this important topic. Once again, it's called Five Reasons Why Christmas Isn't a Pagan Holiday. You can find that by going to corechristianity.com forward slash offers, corechristianity.com forward slash offers. I'd encourage you this Christmas weekend to dig into some of our resources. We have some great Bible studies there. We have some core questions and core guides on a wide variety of topics that will really help you grow in your faith, something to maybe commit to in 2023. Well, let's go to a voicemail from one of our listeners.
This came in from one of our listeners named Jackie. My question is, what simple scripture can I highlight for a non-believer that's tipping towards God? I want to give a New Testament Bible for Christmas and highlight a few scriptures.
I have in my heart certain ones, but which ones do you with your vast knowledge know are successful to make the non-believers know that God's been with them all their life and that God loves them? Thank you very much for being there. Thank you for your ministry. Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas. And may the Lord bless this conversation that you're having with a friend.
I give thanks to God for how He's using you here. And what a wonderful gift to be able to give the gift of God's Word, Jackie. There are a number of passages. I would focus on the Gospel of John, and let me tell you why.
Maybe that's even where you could tell them to start. Start in John's Gospel. John tells us in John 20, verse 30, Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples which are not written in this book, but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name. In other words, John says, I'm writing for that person, that person that you're talking about, Jackie, that person who's on the fence. They want to know who Jesus is.
It seems like they're right there on the doorstep of faith, if you will. Well, John comes and he says, I'm writing these things so that you might believe, that you might believe that Jesus is the Son of God, because I know that through that faith, believing in Him, you have true life and eternal life. And, of course, there are all those scriptures in John's Gospel that we often go to. John, chapter 3, verse 16, God's love for the world and sending His Son.
I think that's one verse you can highlight, but I would encourage you, you know this person, maybe read through the Gospel of John, and as you're reading, highlight those verses that the Lord brings to you, that stick out to you, and encourage your friend to read through the Gospel of John as well. Lord's blessings on you, Jackie. Merry Christmas, and thank you for giving us a call. May the Lord be with you. Thanks for listening to CORE Christianity. To request your copy of today's special offer, visit us at corechristianity.com and click on offers in the menu bar, or call us at 1-833-843-2673. That's 833-THE-CORE. When you contact us, please let us know how you've been encouraged by this program. And be sure to join us next time as we explore the truth of God's Word together.
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