Christmas: A Taxing Time
“And it came to past in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed… And all went to be taxed, everyone into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem: (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her first born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn” – (Lk.2:1-7).
“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. Then was fulfilled with which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, 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 were not” – (Mt.2:16-18).
The wise men did not arrive at the time of Jesus’ birth in the stable or sheepcote, with the shepherds. The wise men came later and, according to (Mt.2:11), Joseph and Mary and baby Jesus had moved into a house by then. Having wiseman at the manger scene is not Bible truth. Joseph and Mary must have stayed in Bethlehem for 40 days, in order to circumcise Jesus and name Him at 8 days and for Mary to be purified in the temple on the 40th day (Lev.12:2-6). It was in the temple on the 40th day that Simeon held the baby Jesus and prophesied over Him – (Mt.2:21-35).
Caesar Augustus signed a decree, a tax bill, that the whole world of his
empire should be taxed. He needed money to pay for his army to control his vast
empire. He named himself Augustus because he was very proud (it means ‘exalted
one’). He began to deify himself and make himself a God and be worshipped. He
signed a tax bill which caused Joseph and Mary living in
Joseph and Mary are of the lineage of David, and so they must go back to
Christ’s first coming was a very ‘taxing’ time. Tax doesn’t only mean
‘to levy a tax on,’ but it also means (to make troublesome and burdensome – to
impose hardship on). The Devil came against Mary and Joseph and the Christ
child in all of his evil fury. “And the
dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be
delivered, for to devour her child as
soon as it was born” – (Rev.12:4). Satan was the power, and the spiritual
wickedness in high places, and the ruler of the darkness of this world, and the
true ruler behind King Herod’s slaughter of innocent children, as he tried to
kill baby Jesus. He killed all the boy babies in
Christ was born in humility, in a sheepcote and laid in a feeding through for sheep. And the only ones that were present there, besides Joseph and Mary, were the shepherds as they gazed upon - “The Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” – (Jn.1:29) as the Savior of the world. Christ was born like a lamb and He died on the cross on the Day of Passover, when all the Jewish lambs were being slain and their blood placed on the doorposts. We are redeemed – “…with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” – (I Pet.1:18).
Shepherds are watchmen that watch over their flocks. God chose to first reveal the greatest event ever – the birth of His beloved Son – to shepherds who were – “Keeping watch ever their flock at night” – (Lk.2:8). God help us pastors and shepherds to be bold and brave in protecting our flocks, even risking our lives like the shepherd David when a lion and bear took a lamb out of his flock. “And there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: and I went after him, and slew him, and delivered it out of his mouth… Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear” – (I Sam.17:34-36). The Lord Jesus, our great Shepherd, gave Himself for us lambs and died on the cross for His flock. Our shepherd gave Himself as the lamb and the supreme sacrifice for our sins.
God called us to be shepherds and watchmen, watching over our flock. The shepherd and his dog work together to protect the sheep from the beasts. God calls his preachers to be watchmen and watchdogs and bark and lift up our voices like a trumpet and warn the people and cry out – “The two beasts, the Antichrist and the False Prophet, are coming soon to devour our flocks.” Bark preacher bark and be a watchdog and not a lapdog that capitulates to the two Beasts – (Is.56:9-11).
And it will be a very taxing
time when the two Beasts rule on this earth for a time, times, and half a time
at the time of Christ’s second coming. The Antichrist-Beast will be the
greatest mass-murderer in human history: He will make Herod look mild by
comparison. He is “the son of
perdition” and in a unique way of his father the
devil – “And the lust is of your father
ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning…” – (Jn.8:44). Satan was
man’s tempter of man’s first sin in
And when the Devil can possess a man who is the emperor of the world like the Antichrist-Beast, he can devour millions of people like a beast of prey. And he will especially go after the Tribulation saints and the Jews. “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them, and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations… and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed” – (Rev.13:7,15).
“…and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads or in there hands, and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years” – (Rev.20:4). The slaughter of the innocent saints during the Tribulation.
Every year the
President Obama’s hometown of
Are you saved and born again and ready for the rapture? If not, repent of your sins and believe in Christ in your heart by faith, and you will become a new born again creature in Christ. Born again describes what happens to you when you’re truly saved – (2 Cor.5:17). There is a deep and radical change that takes place. You have a new heart and a new Spirit, and your mind and understanding is radically changed. You have new godly friends and you see the world with new enlightened eyes. You have eternal life and you have conquered death. “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son” – (I Jn.5:11). O do not spurn the love and grace of God in His beloved Son on the cross, or the wrath of God abides upon you. Make sure your name is written in the Lamb’s book of life – “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” – (Rev.20:15).
The two comings of Christ – a taxing time.
Pastor Mike Storti
5000 N. LaCholla-
Would love to hear from you!