One of my favourite places in Israel is a place that’s known as Banias, known as Caesarea Philippi in the Bible. Today, it’s just a big ruin and archeological dig. But to this day, you can see how otherworldly and strange and mysterious it must have been in its time. The city was built on a huge rock foundation, nestled up against the side of a steep cliff at the foot of Mount Hermon.
You may have heard about Mount Hermon. In the Bible, it’s often associated with strange and creepy things – demonic things. It was famous for idolatry. In fact, more than 20 pagan temples have been excavated there so far. It was the place where Jeroboam built golden calves and shrines to pagan gods and led the northern kingdom of Israel into idolatry.
There once was a very wealthy man. He was the heir of several generations of wealthy men before him, and each had increased the family fortune.
The Old Testament declared that Gentiles from around the world would come to the Messiah, bearing gifts that actually included gold and frankincense (Psa 72:10-15; Isa 60:1-6).
“After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.” Matthew 2:9
The story of the Magi communicates another striking truth. God delights to use the most unlikely people and unexpected situations to accomplish His purposes.
The Roman Senate had entitled Herod the Great, who was ruling over Judea, “king of the Jews.” But he was just a puppet of the Roman Empire.
The only other book in the Bible to mention “Magi” is Daniel. About 600 years before Christ, the Babylonians started to take Jews into exile.
How strange the “Nativity Scene” must look to someone who doesn’t understand it. It is a portrayal of Christ’s birth that blends elements from two Gospels and adds some traditional – and a few mistaken – details.
I was walking through the mall a few days before Christmas. The hustle and bustle of last minute shoppers filled the air like bees buzzing around their hive.
I will never forget the first healing I witnessed with my own two eyes. I was a very young man preaching in India. After the message, I invited all who needed healing to the front of the field where I would lay my hands on them and pray in Jesus’ name. Soon a young lady stood before me. I instantly recognised her because I had noticed her weeping and praying earlier in the meeting. She got my attention because her voice was loud, hoarse, monotone, and out of synch with the movement of her mouth. I did not know her language, but I could tell she was deaf.