“That first Christmas evening”

I wish a merry Christmas and blessed Christmas season to all my readers.

It is common, in some circles in which I move, to say that Jesus was born “that first Christmas morning” or even “that first Christmas morn.” But I, being curious and something of a quibbler by nature, have at times wondered: what time of day was the Christ Child born? Is the idea that he was born in the morning “possible, but in this life we’ll never know,” like the popular notion that there were exactly three Magi (or in fact that he was born on what is now December 25), or “unlikely,” like Rossetti’s charming, picturesque, theologically on-point, but in-details-dubious poem “In the Bleak Midwinter”? Continue reading

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The Purpose(s) of Prophecy

What is the purpose of prophecy in Scripture? Or, rather, what are the purposes—because each prophecy (and each passage not originally intended by its human author to be prophetic, but now interpreted prophetically) has at least two: its purpose for being written, and its purpose for remaining in our Scriptures. Continue reading

Prophecy or Promise?

One of the Sunday night classes at my church this semester is “One Hundred Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled by Christ.” But while understanding the background of the Incarnation is very important, there’s another important but subtle point that I feel needs to be made: Not everything that Jesus fulfilled was a prophecy. We need to understand the differences between prophecies, promises, and “the words of the prophets.” Continue reading