Aloha Friday Message – December 16, 2016 – Here’s yer sign!

1651AFC121616 – Here’s yer sign!

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Isaiah 7:14b Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. ~ Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV) KJV reproduced by permission of Cambridge University Press, the Crown’s patentee in the UK.

Matthew 1:19-23 19 Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. 20 But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:

23 “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,”
which means, “God is with us.”


Mele Kalikimaka me ka Hauʻoli Makahiki Hou ʻŌmea! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Belovéd! It’s a little early – I’ll probably tell you that again soon – but it never hurts to start early this time of year. It seems like the hedonists have decided they should get a jump on the competition by having “Black Friday” up to a month in advance and then run all month long. It’s not so important to remember the meaning of Christmas; what’s important is to make the first sale. There is just such an unprecedented, huge, disgusting tidal wave of Worldly distractions this year! There are still those among us who cling tenaciously to the Spirit of Christmas – not to the exclusion of concurrent celebratory events like parties, skits, gift-giving, caroling, alms, and church-going – but really it’s almost as bad as when Ahaz got that prophecy about the Virgin. Do you remember Ahaz? Let me tell you a little about him.

Ahaz was a king of Judah. He was a contemporary of the Prophet Isaiah. Isaiah prophesied against four Judean Kings – Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. Of these, Ahaz was the wickedest one of them all. Sometimes people get him mixed up with AHAB who was a king of Israel and was the husband of Queen Jezebel. Ahab was a corker, that’s to be sure, and he did a lot of evil things. He was active during the time of Elijah – the middle of the 800’s B.C. Ahaz, on the other hand, lived during the time of Isaiah – around the middle of the 700’s B.C., or around 100 years later than Ahab. Here’s the introduction he got in 2nd Kings:

2 Kings 16:1-4 1 In the seventeenth year of Pekah son of Remaliah, King Ahaz son of Jotham of Judah began to reign. Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign; he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. He did not do what was right in the sight of the Lord his God, as his ancestor David had done, but he walked in the way of the kings of Israel. He even made his son pass through fire, according to the abominable practices of the nations whom the Lord drove out before the people of Israel. He sacrificed and made offerings on the high places, on the hills, and under every green tree.

He reigned for about 16 years. That phrase, “ He even made his son pass through fire.. ” indicates that his male infant was sacrificed to Moloch by being burned alive on a white-hot iron idol of the false God Moloch. He took up the practices of the Peoples surrounding him and forsook the God of Israel. He abused and desecrated the temple and its sacred vessels and candle stands. He erected a profane altar to Syrian and Ammonite gods. Because of the evil he did, his kingdom was subjugated by the Assyrians. And yet, it was to Ahaz that the prophecy of the birth of Jesus was made. He tried to get out of hearing it by protesting “I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test.” It was way too late for that! (See Isaiah 7:10-14)

And so it was that centuries later, the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her she would play a significant role in the birth of the Son of God, Emmanuel.

Wait a minute. The prophecy says “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” So why did she name him Jesus? Ah, the key to that riddle is in this little word call. (See Matthew 1:19-25) This verb is קָרָא (qara) { kaw-raw’} and it does not mean the same as the verb name. In this case, and in many other places in the Bible, “call” does not mean to name but rather to proclaim. It names a characteristic or characteristics of a person, place, or thing. Adam “called her woman because she came from man.” Her name was not “woman;” that was what she was proclaimed to be. “God called the dry land earth;” that was its nature and eventually became its name. “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve because she was mother of all the living.” We can see, then, that Jesus was called Wonderful, Counselor, Almighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace, Emmanuel (also spelled Immanuel), the Messiah, the Christ, and the Anointed of God – but his name was Jesus – YEHOSHUA. He got that name from Joseph: Matthew 1:25b and he named him Jesus.

Despite all of the wickedness Ahaz did in his life, it was he to whom the prophet Isaiah gave the news of a Savior of whom the Herald Angels would sing, “which is Christ the LORD.” That can be a source of hope and solace for us in these evil times when Satan has such a grip on the whole world. God can go into the dark and dismal hearts and minds around us and make everything bright and joyful. How can God to that? Because he is called Emmanuel, the Promised of Ages, the King of Glory, the Morning Star, God of Peace, Author of Life, Our Refuge, Our Strength, Our Rock, Our Salvation, The Good Shepherd, The Holy Infant, The King of kings and the Lord of lords, The Eternal, The Everlasting, The Almighty, The Dawn of Justice, The Branch from the Root of Jesse, Son of the Virgin Mary and The Only Begotten Son of God, Lover of All Mankind, The Way, The Truth, and The Life, and his name is Jesus, the Christ of God. And he is here. Μαρανα θα! Μαραν αθα! Maranâ thâ’! Maran ‘athâ’ – Come Lord! Our Lord has come! Just look for his sign in your heart. It’s the bright and joyful area right over there.

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Belovéd!

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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