Come Follow Me LDS- Christmas Part 1- Matthew 1, Luke 1

‘Zacharias & Gabriel’

–  Setting the Stage

–  Waiting for the Messiah or Waiting for The Son of God?

–  Zacharias as Priest in the temple

– The Christmas story starts in the temple

– The Aaronic Icon will be born, then the Melchizedek Icon

–  Gabriel was the last angelic visitor to be heard of when he visited Daniel to prophecy of the coming of the Messiah

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Come Follow Me LDS- Christmas Part 1- Matthew 1, Luke 1

‘Zacharias & Gabriel’ – Setting the Christmas Stage – Waiting for the Messiah or Waiting for The Son of God?

Raw Transcript

CFM: Christmas Part 1- Zacharias & Gabriel

okay in this Cwic media episode this

will be the first in a short series on

Christmas we’re going to cover a portion

of Matthew 1 and Luke 1 and what I

wanted to do here before we delve into

these two chapters is I want to give a

little bit of a setting set the stage a

little bit for the environment that the

baby Jesus is going to be born into the

first thing to understand I think is the

religious setting that he is born into

so let’s understand first of all that

he’s going to be born into Judaism as a

whole which is not necessarily the same

Judaism that had existed back before or

even during the time of Lehi 600 years

earlier right there’s been a apparently

a vast alteration in the theology of

Judaism where once there used to be more

of a belief in a father and a son and

there are plenty of proof texts for that

for the sake of a hyper monotheism just

having one God the hierarchy that we

talk often about is flattened and

because there’s only two they’re in that

hierarchy basically the hierarchy is

removed right we remove the son

completely and we just have the father

or just now God who is now considered to

be Jehovah of course we know that

Jehovah is actually Jesus Christ or

becomes Jesus Christ and that he is

actually the son of God and this was

known to the Jews previously but vast

reformations of the theology at the time

and me a little bit before

the time of Lehi and then maybe back in

the time of Isaiah might have been a

major event as well in the change in

theology the Sun has been removed s o N

and the theology then when you remove

the Sun the theology completely changes

because what does that mean when you

have a hierarchy between a son and the

son and the father you have two separate

beings so there is pluralism and that’s

another thing that ends up getting

removed is the con courses of angels

that get taken out of the theology that

we find in the temple and in several

visions throughout the scriptures and so

this rabbit approach to monotheism

removes the Sun and therefore removes

the doctrine of Christ completely and

remember what the doctrine of Christ is

and I hammer this may be a little too

much but it’s very important the

doctrine of Christ is that the Son of

God will be born into mortality in other

words he will have a mother and he will

take on a body and be tabernacled so to

speak that’s what we say when we say

that he’s going to be in the midst of

mankind it means he will be tabernacled

which is what the title Immanuel means

right God with us or God among us God in

the midst of us it means that he’s going

to lower himself that the greatest among

us will become the least among us in a

sense because he is going to lower

himself into mortality and then lower

himself further underneath each one of

us by taking on all of our sins and at

the same time then lifting us all up

through the sacrifice of the atonement

so the establishment and the majority of

Judaism at this time likely the

majority have removed the son of God

Jehovah is not the

to them he is just one single being who

is God but not everybody believes that

there are several instances that we can

see through history where a messiah who

is the Son of God is being waited upon

that he will be born soon we know of the

prophecy of Daniel and if you follow the

prophecy of Daniel you’ll know that that

for example the priests knew that the

Messiah would soon be coming now the

Messiah had been altered a lot in

Judaism – just a political figure and

not necessarily the Son of God in 32 BC

the priests were calculating when the

Messiah would come

because they knew what was coming up in

the not-too-distant future

and Herod had them all killed because

he’s a threat right the Messiah is going

to be a threat to him now it was thought

for a very long time until probably the

middle of the middle of the late part of

the 20th century that the title the Son

of God was just an anachronism something

that was brought in by Christianity but

that isn’t true right in fact we know

through the scrolls at Qumran right the

Dead Sea Scrolls that there was a title

of the Son of God oftentimes it’s called

the Son of God fragment here’s a short

quote from that fragment from Qumran it

says the son of God he will be

proclaimed the son of the Most High they

will call him so this is from the

Essenes right where the Dead Sea Scrolls

this is a sect of Jews out in the

wilderness and there were probably I

would guess other sects that were

waiting for the same thing there was a

tradition among some of the Jews not the

establishment but some of the Jews that

the son of God would be born into

mortality

so we have kind of this tinderbox at the

point of Jesus’s birth where the

whole of Judaism is not all on the same

page for one thing all of Judaism is

looking for a messiah and everyone knows

that the time is shortly at hand

based on Daniels prophecy too maybe

other prophecies from other prophets

there’s an excitement in the air but

most probably believe that this is a

political figure

but there are some Jews that are hanging

on to the old traditions the traditions

that are passed on before the time of

Lehi when the Kingdom of Judah had

become corrupted theocratic alee

theologically and was then brought into

exile into Babylon and Lehi it was going

to be stoned because he’s I believe

because he’s preaching about Christ and

he goes off and Nephi writes starts the

Book of Mormon Lehi writes about the

Book of Mormon in – in the Book of

Mormon about Christ and then we end up

with my new people and a new covenant so

to speak a new book that focuses on the

doctrine of Christ which is all about

that title the son of God so this is a

very combustible situation so to speak

because those in power in Judea do not

want to hear about something about the

Son of God the Messiah not real probably

not real big to them either but not

nearly the same thing remember that most

Jews probably even today don’t have a

problem with people saying that Jesus

they thought was the Messiah that’s not

the issue right the issue there is that

Christians believe that Jesus was the

son of God that he was divine that’s a

completely different issue there have

been other fake messiahs so to speak

that have come and gone between the time

of Jesus and modern day so that’s not

the issue

it’s is Jesus Christ the Divine Son

of God is he Jehovah that’s the deal

and later on our other good friends of

another Abrahamic tradition we have the

Jews here before the time of Christ and

since that don’t believe in the doctrine

of Christ don’t believe in God the

Father having a begotten Son into

mortality and then later we have our

Muslim friends that also do not believe

that Jesus Christ was the son of God

that he was divine they believed he was

a prophet for them they have no problem

with Jesus Christ being real with Jesus

Christ being born to Mary they believed

that they believed that he taught a lot

of great things but they believed that

he was a prophet and in fact on the Dome

of the rock right on the Temple Mount

they have a phrase they’re very very

large phrase that basically says that

God is not a beginner right that he did

not beget anyone so they’re pushing

against also the doctrine of Christ

there are also several scriptures in the

Old Testament that talk about something

to do with being born and being born

divine and being reborn and this all

goes back to for example Psalm 110 that

is the Melchizedek text and several

other Psalms and Isaiah Wright that

talks about the suffering servant to us

as Christians these are obvious proof

texts but they have been altered

somewhat we know that they have been

because we can see some of the changes

in the Qumran texts in the Dead Sea

Scrolls we can also see some very

important changes that are in the quoted

Isaiah chapters in the Book of Mormon

that differ from for example the King

James Version that we use that help as

proof text to Jesus Christ as the Son of

God

there are also other scriptures that

they had been used to for example we

know in the Book of Mormon we had the

book of zenus and the book of zenok that

seemed to be very particularly specific

about the son of God and about the

doctrine of Christ that are missing from

the Old Testament and of course Lehi and

Nephi know all about Jesus Christ and

they are pulling from Scripture that

they have in the brass plates like zenok

and zenus and neom and perhaps others so

these groups that are perhaps out in the

wilderness they have a different

tradition some of them and they’re

looking for the Messiah the new

Melchizedek and they are looking for him

as the Son of God now another thing to

look at another great reference to the

doctrine of Christ and him being born

into mortality is Lehigh’s vision his

dream and in the interpretation when

Nephi goes through that same dream and

he’s got his escort there that is his

angelic escort that’s kind of narrating

this and guiding him through it

Nephi asks what is the meaning of The

Tree of Life and the angel does

something very interesting there and he

starts telling me fie about Mary it’s a

first thing he goes to the first person

he references why did he go to Mary

about the Tree of Life

well first of all is the tree does in a

sense represent women oftentimes an

Egyptian theology ancient Egyptians

theology you would see that the women

would be there at the gates going down

into the underworld in a tree and then

coming out of the underworld into a

being reborn or a resurrection they

would be on the other side as well right

women represent those transitions in in

the plan of salvation so they are a part

of the Tree of Life but what he talks

about is the term the Condon says

condescension of God

which is Jesus Christ being born to

marry to a fair virgin which means a

pure righteous woman and so his whole

explanation of getting to the tree of

life going through all those obstacles

and ending up at the Tree of Life is all

about Jesus Christ coming down into

mortality so that he can take on a body

be tabernacled be born of Mary be raised

and going through pain and opposition

and temptation and everything that we go

through and then in a body which is

crucial in a body take on the sins of

the world as the suffering servant that

is the beginning of the explanation of

the tree of life because that is what

the fruit is that that tree of life

bears it is the love of God that is the

condescension of God and interestingly

enough along with that the angel then

talks to him about the one of the

one-two punch and that’s John the

Baptist why because that’s the way the

gospel is set up you have a preparatory

phase and then you have the real deal

right even in Isaiah and many of the

other prophets Zechariah Malachi you

have a description of someone who is the

preparer the Elias or Elijah and again

if you’ve seen what I’ve talked about on

precession you’ll understand that there

has to be someone who clears the path

first that goes to the temple and to the

Holy of Holies the stumbling blocks must

be removed the path needs to be made

straight so that is the job of the

preparer and that’s why it’s called in

the Aaronic priesthood is called the

preparatory priesthood not because young

men will eventually receive the

Melchizedek

priesthood and they’re preparing for it

that is not true it’s because it is the

preparatory phase that each of us need

to go through so that we can prepare the

way through obedience and repentance and

a commitment through baptism so that

then the king who is Jesus Christ can

then come through in that procession and

arrive at the temple and be crowned and

we can invite him into our lives into

our path so to speak where we also can

then because of him follow him in that

procession and sit on the throne and be

joint heirs of exaltation with him so

the prophets have always talked about

this one-two punch they have always

talked about the prepare John the

Baptist along with Christ you should

also take a look at the video I have on

the four phases of the priesthood

because that goes over it as well and so

we go into Matthew 1 here and just like

later in Luke we get a genealogy of

Jesus through Joseph and it’s kind of

interesting in this genealogy because we

get a few names here that show us just

what this means about Christ coming down

into mortality right it’s not a perfect

genealogy in the sense that everyone was

perfect

you have Tamar here and Judas right

Tamar was basically prostituted herself

out to make sure that Judas would obey

Jewish law and take her on as a wife you

have David and Bathsheba you have Ruth

and Boaz Ruth was a Moabitess she was

not of Judah and so you have an

imperfect genealogy and that’s part of

what Christ is doing he’s coming down

into mortality into imperfection a

perfect being coming into a very

imperfect world and then moving over to

Luke 1 we get unsurprisingly

the beginning of Christmas the Christmas

story starts basically in a temple with

Zacharias the father the soon-to-be

father of John the Baptist the husband

of Elizabeth who is in the temple

because he is assigned to be there he is

of the course of Abia right there are 24

different courses who kind of talked

about this in the book of Revelation

there’s 24 different courses of priests

and they take twice a year a turn the

lot falls to them for a week for seven

days they take a turn administering the

rituals and ordinances in the temple and

for Zacharias then in the course of Abia

that means that he would have been there

in the temple sometime either between

mid April and mid May or between mid

October and mid-November and each priest

can do this once in their lifetime it’s

the only time they ever do it so this is

the only time that Zechariah is doing

this and where is he at

when this happens he’s at the altar of

incense right in front of the veil and

what happens Gabriel the angel appears

to him and he’s there with a lot of

people this is a common thing so he’s

got a number of people outside of the

holy place somewhere in the temple or

right outside of the temple that are

praying along with him now why would

they be doing this well he’s

representing a group of people more than

likely perhaps these are friends and

family that are there with him and of

course they’re praying because that’s

what the incense at the altar of incense

represents he is there burning this

incense with prayers you know he’s got

the incense in a censer heated up and

the smoke is going up into the

air and those are representative of the

prayers of the people and so there’s a

number of people there with him not

around the altar but somewhere in the

outer court or outside of the temple

that are praying along with him

and what happens well there’s a an

opening of the veil so to speak right

where he’s standing not literally but

the angel Gabriel comes and this is how

we see the beginning of the first

chapter of the Book of Mormon Lehi sees

a vision not the dream that we usually

refer to he sees another vision that is

every bit as important right but this is

a story about the veil being opened the

Christmas story is about the veil being

opened right a complete restoration of

truth the fullness of the gospel coming

back the fullness of the priesthood the

Savior himself being born into mortality

and so Gabriel speaks to him and says

thy prayer is heard and so it appears

that Zacharias was there praying for a

child now he and Elizabeth were well

stricken in years this is just like the

story of Abraham and Sarah but Gabriel

says that he will have a son and that he

needs to call his name John

and unlike Abraham Zacharias does not

have complete faith in this he basically

wants a sign and says how will I know

this and so Gabriel says to him well

because you have asked for this and you

did not have faith in this you’re going

to be struck dumb now we know later that

he was actually also struck deaf so he

becomes deaf and dumb

he finishes out his seven days in the

temple goes back home and ends up for

the next nine months not being able to

speak or hear now of course Zachariah

then is a priest which means he is of

the lineage of Aaron within the Levite

tribe and we know that Elizabeth was

also a daughter of Aaron as they called

it so this is a very priestly line and

so John would automatically have through

that birth through that lineage would

automatically have the Aaronic

priesthood because of birth and this is

what Gabriel says to Zacharias about

John in verse 17 and he says and he

shall go before him in the spirit and

power of Elias to turn the hearts of the

father’s to the children and the

disobedient to the wisdom of the just so

calling repentance to make ready a

people prepared for the Lord that’s

exactly what the Aaronic priesthood is

supposed to do

the ironic priesthood is the preparatory

priesthood now a couple of things about

this visitation of Gabriel and his words

to Zacharias first in saying that John

would be the for Bearer the forerunner

the Elias this would have been very well

understood by Zacharias he would know

exactly what that meant and he would

have known about this prophecy that was

told by several different prophets and

he would have realized that his son his

soon-to-be son would be the one crying

in the wilderness repentance and prepare

ye the way of the Lord that he would

have been the one assigned to get the

people ready for the Son of God so this

is very overwhelming I can only imagine

to Zacharias secondly it’s Gabriel that

shows up the last time we see Gabriel in

the scriptures is when Gabriel gave the

prophecy of the Messiah to Daniel and

Daniel has the prophecy so to speak that

is typically used at this time to talk

about the coming of the Messiah

so Zechariah knows very well exactly

what is happening here and that he is a

part of the fulfillment of the prophecy

of all the prophets from all the way

back to the time of Adam so kind of like

Moroni is the last one to bury the

golden place and then come to Joseph

Smith to show him where they’re at

Gabriel is the last wine at least in the

scriptures

to show when the Messiah will be coming

and then he shows up to Zacharias to

tell him the time has come so he’s kind

of the connecting point of prophecy and

fulfillment and so Zacharias and those

that are with him go home and shortly

after that Elizabeth conceives and she

says here in verse 25 thus hath the Lord

dealt with me and the day’s weary and he

looked on me and to take away my

reproach or my shame so to speak among

men or men and women among society

because she was barren she was older and

barren and so it’s a miracle type birth

just like we’ll have in a different way

with Jesus when he is born and so this

is the beginning of the fulfillment of

the priesthood that is going to be

brought to the earth it is the ironic

priesthood first and then the mock

ascetic priesthood with Jesus Christ and

the scene is opened up with the opening

of the veil with Gabriel speaking with

the priest we’re in the temple and if we

recognize the temple imagery and the

temple drama throughout the Christmas

story I think we will have a number of

things there kind of like an aha moment

for us as we talk about the birth of

Christ about the shepherds about the

wise men

remember what Matthew and Luke are doing

here later on they are taking oral

tradition and maybe some things that

have been written down and they’re

telling the story of the birth of Christ

and they’re doing it in a way where they

can show the restoration of the gospel

in its fullness and in a way where they

can show the fulfillment of prophecy

from all of the Old Testament prophets

remember they have all testified of

Christ that’s what the prophets and the

Old Testament are all about they’re all

about the doctrine of Christ and so if

we look for those things those

prophecies and those that temple imagery

and drama we start to understand why

things are done and why the story is

told the way it is I’ll talk to you next

time

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