A Dream of Christmas Long Agoby Tony Bondhus (son of Tom Bondhus)
This is the story of Jesus and the events leading up to his birth. Some of these events may have little to do with the story at first but you will see later that they are part of the story. I left much of the story out to make the story easy to understand. You can get the rest of the story for yourself. You know where to find it (I hope).
Our story begins in Genesis with Jacob whom God called Israel. Now Israel had four wives of which Rachel, he loved the best. Much more than his other three wives and they knew it and were naturally jealous. Joseph was Rachel's son and Israel loved Joseph more than his other wives' sons. And his other sons knew it and like his wives were very jealous of Joseph.
Genesis 37:3-11 Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours.
4 And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.
5 And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more.
6 And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed:
7 For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf.
8 And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.
9 And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.
10 And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?
11 And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.
His father could see one extremely interesting problem with his dream. The moon or Joseph's mother Rachel is dead. Jacob buried Rachel in Bethlehem in Genesis 35:19. Despite overwhelming difficulty both of these dreams will come true. Enough dreaming as I can tell the rest of the children of Israel are quite fed up with it. So much do they hate their brother that they sold him to the ishmeelites. Eventually Joseph ends up interpreting a dream for Pharaoh.
Genesis 41:15-44 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it: and I have heard say of thee, that thou canst understand a dream to interpret it.
16 And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.
17 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, In my dream, behold, I stood upon the bank of the river:
18 And, behold, there came up out of the river seven kine, fatfleshed and well favoured; and they fed in a meadow:
19 And, behold, seven other kine came up after them, poor and very ill favoured and leanfleshed, such as I never saw in all the land of Egypt for badness:
20 And the lean and the ill favoured kine did eat up the first seven fat kine:
21 And when they had eaten them up, it could not be known that they had eaten them; but they were still ill favoured, as at the beginning. So I awoke.
22 And I saw in my dream, and, behold, seven ears came up in one stalk, full and good:
23 And, behold, seven ears, withered, thin, and blasted with the east wind, sprung up after them:
24 And the thin ears devoured the seven good ears: and I told this unto the magicians; but there was none that could declare it to me.
25 And Joseph said unto Pharaoh, The dream of Pharaoh is one: God hath showed Pharaoh what he is about to do.
26 The seven good kine are seven years; and the seven good ears are seven years: the dream is one.
27 And the seven thin and ill favoured kine that came up after them are seven years; and the seven empty ears blasted with the east wind shall be seven years of famine.
28 This is the thing which I have spoken unto Pharaoh: What God is about to do he showeth unto Pharaoh.
29 Behold, there come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt:
30 And there shall arise after them seven years of famine; and all the plenty shall be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine shall consume the land;
31 And the plenty shall not be known in the land by reason of that famine following; for it shall be very grievous.
32 And for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice; it is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass.
33 Now therefore let Pharaoh look out a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt.
34 Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years.
35 And let them gather all the food of those good years that come, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities.
36 And that food shall be for store to the land against the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of Egypt; that the land perish not through the famine.
37 And the thing was good in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of all his servants.
38 And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is?
39 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath showed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art:
40 Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou.
41 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt.
42 And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph's hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck;
43 And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt.
44 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.
The seven years of plenty came and went and then as predicted the seven years of famine came.
Genesis 41:57-42:6 And all countries came into Egypt to Joseph for to buy corn; because that the famine was so sore in all lands.
42:1 Now when Jacob saw that there was corn in Egypt, Jacob said unto his sons, Why do ye look one upon another?
2 And he said, Behold, I have heard that there is corn in Egypt: get you down thither, and buy for us from thence; that we may live, and not die.
3 And Joseph's ten brethren went down to buy corn in Egypt.
4 But Benjamin, Joseph's brother, Jacob sent not with his brethren; for he said, Lest peradventure mischief befall him.
5 And the sons of Israel came to buy corn among those that came: for the famine was in the land of Canaan.
6 And Joseph was the governor over the land, and he it was that sold to all the people of the land: and Joseph's brethren came, and bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth.
You remember Joseph's dream about his brothers sheaves making obeisance to Joseph's sheaf. In the following chapters the second dream also comes true except one little difficulty. Rachel is already dead and can't come to Egypt to bow down to her son Joseph. Since Rachel is buried and can not go to Joseph, Joseph will have to go to Rachel where she is buried in Bethlehem. The Famine was so bad that the Egyptians could not afford to buy food, so they sold themselves to Joseph as servants to buy food.
Exodus 1:6-14 And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation.
7 And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them.
8 Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.
9 And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we:
10 Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land.
11 Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses.
12 But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel.
13 And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour:
14 And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour.
This Joseph, son of Jacob, never got out of Egypt. Now we got an even more interesting problem, Joseph is also dead and buried in Egypt. For Joseph's part we must make a little substitution. And who is more suited for the part than a Joseph, son of Jacob. Another Joseph, son of another Jacob, in Bethlehem where Rachel was buried. Matthew 1:16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. Now Joseph is in Bethlehem where Rachel is buried. All that's left of this dream is for Rachel to bow down to Joseph. Before we go on let me warn you that you have certain instinctive beliefs. These beliefs which come from the subconscious are true if you look at them in the right way. Our minds often distort their meanings till they make little sense. This is affected by the purity of the reader and is one of God's ways of sorting his faithful servants. The Bible is very careful not to contradict these beliefs.
Matthew 2:1-6 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.
5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,
6 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
Notice here that Jesus is called the King of the Jews and that he shall rule God's people Israel. There is only two ways for a person to become king. One is to inherit kingship which is not the case here. The second is for that person to exercise the power of a king. In other words to give a kings order and have it obeyed. This position of King of the Jews comes from just such an act. Jesus was born King, in other words his very act of being born made him the King of the Jews. To understand this a little better lets back up a little.
Luke 2:1-7 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.
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.
7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
Now this is not a standard money tax because everyone had to go to his own city. According to Strongs concordance the word means 'an enrollment'. According to Donnegan's Lexicon the word means the act of transcribing; transcription; entry on a roll, or register - a register, roll, or inventory; a census, from a word that means to enroll one self into military service. I also would like to point out that interpreting the word into 'tax' is proper because according to the dictionary the word tax means to lay a heavy burden on. The tax we have here is an enrollment into the military or a military draft. And here is an approximation of how the story went. Joseph answered the call to service or draft with his wife, Mary being great with child. Joseph used the excuse that a man and his wife are one and what God has brought together let no man take apart. And the Romans who respected the law of the land had to submit to this logic so they had to take both of them into the army. There was no room for a woman with child in with thousands of men so they gave him a carpenter job to get him out of the way. In effect Jesus, by being born, ordered his father and mother (and many others) out of active service and the Romans followed the order. An order which could only be made by a king in this case the King of the Jews (Remember the two ways to become king). With both father and mother in the army the baby is also born into the army. The swaddling clothes were an army uniform, red in color (washed in the blood of grapes, Gen. 49:11). This example was copied by many other young men who wished to get out of the army. The Roman Army needed a way to get these men back into the army. Herod saw that these children are in the army and therefore expendable for any military cause.
Matthew 2:13-18 And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.
14 When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:
15 And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.
16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.
17 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying,
18 In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.
This is the final fulfillment of Joseph's dream about the son and the moon and the eleven stars making obeisance to him. Herod of course succeeded in getting all those men back in the army, although they were not extremely happy about the loss of their children. This is not the end of the story but a good place to end I think. I hope I have inspired a little thinking curiosity in you.
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