Join us for the best summer yet!

BRING BLESSINGS TO ALL (–YOU included) by APPLYING CHRISTIAN SCIENCE GEMS! USE BIBLE ILLUSTRATIONS** as SPRINGBOARDS for YOUR OWN MODERN-DAY PROOFS!
Let God Expressed Meekly/Mightily in you sparkle brightly with insights from Cobbey Crisler & others as found in The Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

“Christian Science”
for December 20-26, 2021

 (Cobbey’s insights are shared with the blessing of Janet Crisler janetcrisler7@gmail.com)
by Warren Huff, CedarS Executive Director Emeritus, warren@cedarscamps.org


On Christmas Eve ENJOY a NOT-to-be-MISSED EVENT (in English and Spanish) at 7:30pm Eastern Time on DECEMBER 24, 2021 a talk by Astrophysicist LAURANCE DOYLE, PhD, THAT HE CALLS “THE SCIENCE OF CHRISTMAS.”

Also, CHECK OUT the LATEST in a series of inspiring Christmas-themed “Daily Lifts”
for December 23, 2021 with clickable links within it to others in recent days

The best Christmas is selfless

by Judy Wolff, CSB
LISTEN TO TODAY’S DAILY LIFT

“ARISE, SHINE, for thy light has come…” AS ONE WHO SERVES — TO GOD’S DELIGHT!  See the Golden Text message from Isaiah 60:1 as embroidered in Hebrew as well as in English on a prayer shawl from Israel. It’s a message from God – meant for YOU today!

[The top Download is an online picture of my prayer shawl below, plus other insights by Cobbey Crisler from the book of Isaiah about the prophesied servant. [Isa. 61:1 (Golden Text) and Isaiah 42:1, 7 (Responsive Reading)]
[Cobbey:] “Chapter 42:1, in a prophesy of a servant who should come, the “elect of God” who would have “the Spirit of God upon him.” You will notice in Verse 7 (Responsive Reading) what the assignment of this servant would be, “To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, [and] them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.”

“Isn’t it interesting that the prophet Isaiah foresees this prophesied individual in the terms of “a servant” when the Greek word most often in the New Testament for healing has the classical Greek meaning of “to serve.” You remember how Jesus defined his ministry in those terms, “I came not to be ministered unto but to minister” [Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45]. Healing is serving by definition in Greek. Serving whom? God and man.”
­“Heal the Sick”: A Scriptural Record,” by B. Cobbey Crisler**

From Isaiah 60:4: “Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side.”

From Christian Science Sentinel – December 28, 2020 Bible Lens on The Christian Science Bible Lesson on “God” for January 3. 2021:
“Jerusalem’s return to glory is depicted with stirring images, including the reuniting of families. … Jerusalem lies upon the central ridge of the country. From the landward side she can see caravans streaming in; from the west over the Mediterranean ships are sailing in like flocks of pigeons. Along with this vast commerce come her returning exiled children.” [The Interpreter’s Bible: A Commentary in Twelve Volumes, Volume 6]


LIKE JESUS, EMBRACE UNIVERSAL HUMANITY & SEARCH the SCRIPTURES.  START & STAY IN THE ABSOLUTE WITH AFFIRMATIONS & DENIALS as does John 1:1-3
(Cobbey Crisler insights on citation B1/John 1:1-5) “In the beginning was the Word… without (the Word of God) “was not anything made that was made.”
The “Scientific Statement of Being” also follows this pattern on p. 468 of Science & Health]

[Cobbey Crisler:] “John 1:1. John starts off unlike any of the preceding gospels. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
He starts off, as a matter of fact, as only one other book of the Bible begins. Notice Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. ” Do you think the early readers of his gospel would have recognized that? Do you think that was John’s intent? That it should be recognized?

“There is something that is a major clue to studying the Bible. That is, when you get the remotest hint of an Old Testament verse in the New Testament, don’t ignore it or put it aside.  It’s there for a very deep reason.  It probably holds the key to the meaning of the New Testament event, or the author would not have included it.  By no means make the mistake which Professor Davies, Professor Dodd, Professor Albright and many others of our top New Testament scholars say we often make.  That is, when you find a verse in the New Testament which comes from the Old Testament, either an exact quote or a paraphrase, don’t just go back to that verse.  Read the context around it.  Study the environment; get deeply involved in the thought and intent of the Old Testament passage.  You may be more closely at-one with what the author in the New Testament means.  In other words, what do you have?  You have a blend of the whole Bible that way.  You find that Old and New Testaments become inseparable, which is virtually the view, I think, that the authors of the New Testament take.  The account of the “Walk to Emmaus” in Luke 24: 13-35 shows how much Jesus and the apostles used the Old Testament to show how much the New Testament fulfills Old Testament prophecies.

“It also seems clear to me that Jesus, in his approach to mankind, from his outlook, his acts, his attitudes, his words as well as works, embraced universal humanity. You’ll find hints of it passed down from his early students to their students, and so forth. But more than this, Jesus of Nazareth was a Bible student to surpass all Bible students. Therefore, if he knew in his own thought when an event affecting him or others of his period was the fulfillment of an Old Testament prophecy, or a lesson should be learned from a new/old truth that came out of the reservoir of the Scriptures, then he would so state it.

“But sometimes he allowed it to remain hidden.  It would force his hearers, as well as his readers in this century, to become Bible students with him if they wanted to understand what he was saying. He embraces universal humanity. He addresses and communicates particularly to Bible students. As far as Jesus’ comprehension of the word “Christian” is concerned, it probably would be fair to say that he would insist that Christians become Bible students just to comprehend what the word meant. What does that say to us today? Does that mean we should be reading these books, this collection, this library called the Bible?  Specifically, our focus today is on the New Testament and one of the gospels?  Should we be reading it as if it were a novel?  Is that how Jesus felt his life and mission should be conveyed?

“Should we weep real tears because of the suffering and the lack of understanding and the persecution that occurred to him? And then wipe our eyes and go about our business because we’ve read a very deeply moving story, as we might have turned on a television set? Is that the kind of surface research that Jesus expected of his followers? When he said in John 5:39, “search the Scriptures,” I doubt you could ever apply that to television.  Who wants to search television?  There is obviously an object in view which Jesus knew would not benefit him, but would be enormously rewarding. The yield on that kind of investment would leap out of the page into the lives of those who did it. Therefore, “the word would be made flesh,” (John 1:14).

John 1:1 starts his gospel off, “In the beginning was the Word.” The Greek is, en arche hin ho logos. Does arche look familiar to you? It is the root word in “archeology.” It’s an exciting word. It doesn’t just mean when things begin or when they have started in a human way, so much as, translated by some scholars, as “the first principle” of things.

“For instance, when Jerome, in about 400 A.D. translates the Greek Bible into Latin, here’s how he does those opening words.  “In principio,” which, of course, is our root of our word “principle,” in principio. He could have used another Latin expression which is “ab initio, ” which would have meant at the initial phases of things, but instead he chooses a Latin word which has a dual meaning which could be “principle,” the first principle, the origin, the basis of things.

“If we choose that particular Greek meaning for the opening of both Genesis and John, then it gives it an entirely different connotation.  If, in principle, God created the heaven and the earth, or in principle, was the word, it starts out like many mathematical or scientific textbooks which start out with the statement of principle.  Everything else derives from it.

“But then we come to a word which John uses in the first chapter and uses again in successive chapters but never with the same connotation.  It stands out in its uniqueness and it is so emphatically important to the author that we have to just dwell on it somewhat and see what it might mean.

“Let me give you a partial history of the word. What automatically occurs to you as the meaning of logos? We take this word, “Word,” and identify it with logosThis is likely being written at some point during the 1st century A.D.  Way back in the 6th century B.C., Heraclitus at Ephesus was attempting philosophically to explain continuity amid all the flux around him. He resorted to logos as the eternal principle of order in the universe, the kind of reliable, unchanging law and order.  This is several centuries prior to John’s use of it.  (Interestingly enough, people think that the Gospel of John may have been written there.)

“From that period, we can trace the word logos through many, many different concepts. Zeno (of Elea, c 490 – c 430 B.C.), a Greek philosopher used it in the connotation of right reason, of reality within the mind, pure thought.  Which leads me to what Professor Dodd has said, “It is only in Greek that a term is available which means both thought and word, and that’s logos.” Only in Greek have you that term that can convey both thought and word. So, when you’re talking about logos, even from the standpoint of word, if we are not giving to it what really is behind it, we’re losing something of the message, aren’t we?

“Why does the additional concentration on thought add to the definition of word? When you go behind the word to the thought, you’re dealing with ideas, concepts, and the meaning. It is where all human languages finally give up their fragmentation and meet, and become one, in a Pentecostal day of infinite communication. The “word” is but an instrument which we must meet at the thought or at the meaning. Then, no barriers, especially language barriers, can stand between us and comprehension of one another, of the universe, its laws, and the source of those laws.

“Dodd continues: “In Origen’s commentary on the 4th gospel which is being written, again very early in the history of the Christian church. In reading Origen’s commentary, there are interpretations in there, in the Greek that he’s writing, which absolutely depend upon taking logos not only in the sense of word, but it alternates without warning with the other sense of rational principles. So, the continual indication of this word principle is something that is significant.”

“Do you know where we use logos in the English language? Biology, physiology. Logos is the one that has been used to define the sciences in the English language. This was the comprehension at least of the lexicographers who developed our own language of the Greek term. Look how it’s lasted even in our language. We use it all the time without realizing it, taking it for granted. Is there a scientific connotation, then, that “In the beginning,” “In the first principle of things,” there is a scientific unvarying, inalienable, order that’s ruling.  And that it’s not only being uttered as an expression or word, but behind it is the immense thought that also must be based on the same principle.  Notice in Verse 1of Chapter 1 that it all related with and to God.

“John 1:3 continues with a statement that is quite absolute, “All things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” Is there any reservation for qualifications? “All things were made by him. That is [an] enormous commitment to make at the beginning of a book. The theology of this book is therefore committed right squarely on what principle if we’re now defining the theological principle on which the Bible is based? Not only oneness of God, but the fact He’s one, also means He’s all.  “All things were made by Him.” Everything is created by Him. That also poses problems, because all we have to do is open our eyes and look around us. And what we see, we’d rather not think was created by God. But as of now, we’ve just started the book. So, let’s see what the style of the author is and his theological commitments. “All things were made by Him.”

“He doesn’t leave it there. The very next sentence adds, “Without him was not any thing made that was made.” Why is he saying that? Doesn’t “all things were made by Him” take care of the other part?  What is the difference?  What’s the distinction that he is implanting in his readers’ thought right at the beginning of the book?  “All things were made by Him.” What would you call that? That kind of statement is an absolute, but is it also an affirmation.  It’s a real solid plus. This is a plus of the theological view of John.  “All things were made by Him.

“What have we got now?  Denial.  Here is how we’re going to deal with the minus element. The minus element is without Him, “without him was not any thing made that was made.” Any hint of a minus existing after the all-things-were-made-by­him being declared, is removed, because it is the other side of the same coin.

“The plus, the minus, the affirmation, the denial is a mathematical approach.  Dealing with the plus, dealing with the minus and ending up with one, not dualism.   One, so there’s no doubt that the key to the gospel is monotheism.  It challenges the reader’s thought to see if he’s there at that altitude before he continues any further in the gospel.  It forces the reader to get to that height in order to remotely communicate with what’s in the gospel.”

“Book of John, A Walk with the Beloved Disciple,” by B. Cobbey Crisler**


IN JESUS’ NATIVITY STORY GO DEEPER to the MEANINGS of the ORIGINAL LANGUAGE –
AS WELL AS WHAT IT MEANS TO YOU!  Cobbey Crisler on Matt. 1:18-23/cit. B2 & Matt. 2:1-11/cit. B4

[Cobbey:] “One of the recognizable features of the Messiah would be that he would be the son of David. Don’t you suspect that this is probably the prime, if not one of the prime, reasons why Matthew includes the genealogy?

But we have a problem with that. What is that problem? If they trace it through the male line, through Joseph, and if Joseph is a son of David, is there any connection with ancestry here with David if it goes through Mary? This is a challenging question. We can, perhaps, answer it, though, because of the Torah. The Torah is the Hebrew word for the first five books of the Bible, Torah meaning law, or the word of the law. We find in there a definite regulation that one should marry within his own tribe. This is so any inheritance that would come via the woman would remain in the tribe rather than going to some other tribe. I think the first one to suggest this was Eusebius around 300 A.D. This would seem to suggest very strongly that Mary was also related to the tribe of Judah to which David belonged.

(Verse 18). That isn’t the only problem, though, because we find “the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise.”  The word “birth” in Greek is our word “genesis.”  Writing to a Jewish readership, there would seem to be very little question that Matthew was relating a new genesis here.  The word would remind his readers of the opening book of the Bible. “The birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph.”  Our modem term “engagement” would probably best suit that.  It was a period in which the couple would promise to one another. It was regarded with as much sanctity as the marriage-period itself.  So that any violation of it morally was treated with the same severity as if it had been adultery during marriage.

When the news reaches Joseph that Mary is ”with child,” how do you think the average husband would greet that news? They aren’t even married yet. The news comes to Joseph that his wife­to-be in this very sanctified period of promise is pregnant.  Under the Jewish law, what would be the most severe measure that Joseph could take against Mary?  Stoning.  Publicly.  He could have chosen and elected to have exposed Mary publicly and had her executed.  But Joseph is as important an aspect of this great account of the introduction of Jesus humanly on earth as Mary.  We get an insight into his thinking.  Remember that Joseph is just you or I in the sense of going through the same reaction that one would have with this sort of news.  This shows some of the quality and character of Joseph.

(Verse 19), It says that “Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example.” We see right away that he doesn’t want to take the extreme measure, He wanted “to put her away privily,” and go through divorce proceedings, but quietly.

(Matthew 1, Verse 20). “While he thought on these things.” That isn’t exactly Joseph being a philosopher.  The Greek word suggests agony.  “While he agonized about these things.”  It gives us a view of what was really going on in his thinking.  At that point, “an angel of the Lord appears unto him.” “Angel,” actually comes from a Greek word, angelos.  It means “messenger” and is virtually inseparable from the message that the messenger delivers.  It is this inseparable message and messenger that comes to Joseph in what appears to him as “a dream,” addressing him as the “son of David” and saying, “Forget what you’re thinking,” which was a normal conclusion any husband would come to, “Because Mary is with child but what is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.”  How many husbands would exactly buy that?  It really flies in the face of the entire biological history of man.

“Therefore, this event itself has become one of the most difficult to believe for anyone reading it.  The virginity of Mary at the time of the birth of Jesus has been ridiculed by some, accepted religiously by others without question, and many of the rest of the readers somewhere in between.  But let’s go on with what this message is as recorded by Matthew.

(Verse 21). She will bring forth a son,” his identity already established to the point that a name is given to him by the angel.  That name really is a very common Hebrew name. It’s the same name as Joshua received in the Old Testament.  Joshua was not his original name. It was first Oshea, “help” or “salvation,” (p. 64, J. R. Dummelow, “The One Volume Bible Commentary”).

Joshua was a given name. It means something very dose to our term “savior.”  The explanation of the angel is that this name really will define his mission “to save his people from their sins.”

Now we come face to face with one of the characteristics of Matthew.  When we look at the gospel from an overall point of view, you see it over and over again.  It may reveal to us what inspired Matthew to put pen to papyrus and record the gospel or good news.  This is in Verse 22.

(Verse 22). He explains that “all this was done.”  What is he talking about when he says “all this”?  The virgin birth of Jesus.  He is about to give us what he considers absolute proof that the virgin-birth occurred.  It occurred as a result of prophecy.  Does that tell us at what elevation Matthew holds in prophecy?  If he’s using this as proof of one of the most unbelievable, incredible, events recorded in the annals of man’s history, then how does he view prophecy?  Does he view prophecy as a man-product or as revelation from God?

If he’s writing this book for the Jews, it shows he is bringing in his big guns right from the beginning to show his Jewish readers that this is it!  We can be fairly assured that he felt that what he is about to say would not be disputed, or at least be a matter of severe controversy in his audience.  His famous statement which he says so often “that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet.”

“Verse 23 is taken from the Book of Isaiah (7:14). We are really in the middle of a controversy.  Even at the time Matthew was writing, he obviously felt this was a major point.  Look at it from a common-sense point of view.  If that particular prophecy was extremely controversial when Matthew wrote this book, do you think he would have included it as his first means of proof of his whole statement in the gospel?  Suppose you or I were average Jews of that period, and we’d picked up the gospel of Matthew or heard it read, and he came to this point.  If we’d thought it a matter of controversy, do you think we’d even continue the book?  We’d probably laugh and close it up right there.

So, I think we have a very strong indication here that Matthew, at least, felt what he was reading from the Old Testament was proof-positive for his readers.  However, in the late first century and early second century, this came a matter of such tremendous controversy that it has lasted all the way up until our day.  Even many ministers of other denominations today discounting completely that verse in Isaiah as having any Messianic implications.  We find right in the first century Jewish writers responding to the tremendous impact of what Christian thinkers and writers were saying.  They go back to Isaiah and say, “Wait a minute, Isaiah really didn’t use a Hebrew word that means “virgin” in every case.  It can mean “virgin,” but he elected a word with more of a general meaning. Therefore, it could just mean “a young girl.”

“Of course, there isn’t much news in the fact that a young girl shall conceive and bear a child.  Where is the news value in that? … When he begins by saying that the Lord Himself will give you a sign, there is no sign about a “young girl conceiving.”  But there certainly is a sign or a wonder about a virgin conceiving because that is certainly unheard of…Matthew… is definitely convinced that early Old Testament prophesy is a prediction of a virgin conceiving.

 [Chapter 2 [of Matthew] is entirely original with Matthew.  No other gospel has what we read in this chapter.  Without Matthew’s record we would be ignorant of the following facts.

(Verse 1). “Jesus was born in Bethlehem.”  Does that ring any bells?  Let’s assume that we are a first century Jewish audience.  We’ve been handed a copy of Matthew’s gospel. It says “Jesus was born in Bethlehem.”  What does that mean to us?  What does that immediately conjure up in terms of our history?  David’s birthplace was in Bethlehem.  Again, what does that say to those who are expecting a Messiah? …

 (Verse 2). Therefore, when we see that “wise men” suddenly show up, have an audience with Herod and say to him, “Where is he that is born King of the Jews?” How would a man like Herod receive any news about another king of the Jews? After all, that’s what he was. “Where is he that is born King of the Jews? We have seen his star in the east.” Practically every king of that period employed soothsayers. Chaldeans from the area of Babylon, whose very profession was to predict, were astrologers, stargazers and prognosticators. They would attempt to give their particular employer, king or governor, some insight into the future so he could plan. I’m sure if this kind of profession were recognized today widely, the stock exchange would employ a few of them.

 Herod must have been impressed by the three. I’m sorry, I said three, but if you will notice no number is given. So, you see I was influenced by the Christmas carol which has no Scriptural authority here. Nor does it say they were kings, just wise men from the east, following what they felt was a guiding, directing star.”]

(Verse 3). When it says “he was troubled,” Herod was basically troubled much of the time…

(Verse 4). So, “he calls the chief priests and scribes.”  Herod is not a Jew.  He’s really a foreign ruler. One of his parents was Idumean, or from Edom. The other of his parents may have been Arab. Herod really never was received by the Jews very fondly. He had support of the Roman emperors, however. He was a close friend of Caesar Augustus, and Augustus gave him his position. He had been a close friend of Mark Antony before that. You can see how clever a politician he was. Herod apparently was able to shift his allegiance from Mark Antony over to Augustus just in time so Augustus could back him.

He calls the chief priests and scribes and he says, “Now tell me what tradition do we have anywhere that a Messiah is to be born? Is there anything that I can tell about a geographical location, or what?”

Verse 5 is the answer that the Bible scholars of the nation give. “They say to him, in Bethlehem of Judea: for thus it is written by the prophet.” Now, here’s the quote. You know how Matthew does this. This is his characteristic. It’s happening because prophecy said it would happen.

“That seems to be the key reason why Matthew wrote his gospel. To show his generation, and, of course, future generations like us, that every event in the New Testament is a fulfillment of what was written in the Old Testament, therefore, dovetailing both Testaments into what would eventually become the Bible. But now Matthew is virtually saying this happened because it’s a fulfillment of prophecy.

We are able to date the general time when Jesus was born, the general chronology, because it gives Herod the king as being the reigning monarch. There are a lot of Herods. It is like the name Caesar. It’s a dynastic name. This is Herod the Great. Again we have a the problem with chronology. Herod the Great died in 4 B.C. What you obviously see is a rather insoluble point. How could Jesus have been born in the days of Herod the Great, if Herod died four years before the generally accepted birth date of Jesus? Very frankly, it couldn’t have happened. Not that Jesus wasn’t born in the days of Herod the Great. That is undoubtedly accurate. But whoever figured out our calendar figured it out inaccurately: It has been determined that it is possible that Jesus was born as early as 7 B.C. but certainly no later than 4 B.C. if he were born during the time of Herod the Great.

Herod was a weird king. He had that combination of plus and minus that exists in human nature wherever you run into it. Herod certainly brought the nation of Jews to a peak of prosperity and beauty. He had cities in Palestine that rivaled any in the Roman world.

The capitol of Syria/Palestine was in Caesarea on the Mediterranean.  He built that city right from the ground up.  It was described by Josephus (historian, 37/38-100 AD). Coming from the sea it was just a magnificent white marble city that caught the sun and sparkled for many miles into the Mediterranean.  My wife, Janet, and I have dug at that spot.  There’s not much on the surface but I know some of you have seen the theater on television because Leonard Bernstein has conducted many orchestras in the theater which has been excavated at Caesarea.

“As a matter of fact, one of the stones that was found in the theater had inscribed on it the name Pilate and the name Tiberius Caesar.  It is the only epigraphical evidence of Pilate that has been uncover in the Holy land, other than coins.  It was found right in that theater. Herod built the magnificent Temple in Jerusalem, far exceeding Solomon’s in its magnificence: It was all white stone and then gilded, covered with gold. So that Josephus said, when the sun came up in the morning and hit that Temple, if one didn’t shield his eyes, he would be temporarily blinded because it flashed. From a distance, the Temple of the Jews looked like a snow covered mountain but with sun glinting off the gold. This is what Herod did on the plus side.

On the negative side, as you will learn, he went around killing and slaughtering. He murdered members of his family and was very suspicious that someone was plotting his assassination or attempting to replace him. This we know of Herod’s character from other records of the period.

“Can the Old Testament stand  alone then, as far as Matthew’s point of view is concerned? It can’t.

It is prophecy. But prophecy needs to have the Old Testament comprehended; it needs to be fulfilled. Can the New Testament stand alone? No, not without the fulfillment. Prophecy is the key to the fulfillment.  They are inseparable.

This quotation comes from Micah 5, Verse 2. It is the only verse regarded by the first-century Jews, at least, as giving any geographical location for a coming Messiah, Bethlehem is named specifically.

There is one thing we should just think about as far as the virgin birth is concerned, despite all the intellectual turmoil around all the arguments relating to it. If Jesus, as an individual, has had such a tremendous impact on humanity— uplifting the standards of humanity, healing all the wounds and illnesses that humanity had been unable to solve up to his time—then from the standpoint of what we might call spiritual criticism (since the fountain rises no higher than its source), could Jesus have had any source other than the most pure origin available on earth?  Could Jesus have emerged on the human scene in disobedience to the Ten Commandments?  Could there have been, in other words, immorality, as some critics have urged, connected with the conception of Jesus on earth?

In one way, Jesus’ birth is the most spiritually conspicuous in all history.  Isn’t that star in the heavens which the wise men thought they were following astrologically really symbolic of prophecy?  Isn’t it essentially prophecy that led the wise men?  Herod wanted to know why they were even there.  And he went to the chief priests and scribes and the chief priests and scribes went where for their answer?  To prophecy.  So, once again, we see the high regard for prophecy which Matthew had, and all the New Testament writers have.

So, Herod hears that prophecy indicates Bethlehem is the spot.  The wise men needed help.  They followed the star as far as they could and then wanted to know where this Messiah-king was to be born.  Herod consults prophecy and finds out that it is Bethlehem.  It is really prophecy that directs the wise men to Bethlehem.

(Verse 8). Herod, who wants to know exactly where this child is located, says the wise men are “to bring news back to him where this child is located.”  Do the wise men obey Herod?  No, fortunately.

(Verse 11). They go to Bethlehem and “find the young child with Mary his mother, falling down, and worshiping him, presenting gifts, gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” If there is deeper meaning to those gifts of the wise men to an infant, what perhaps, could it symbolize? Or we would be reading something into it that we shouldn’t?

In Isaiah 60, I think you will find how the tradition began that (these wise men were kings.

(Verse 1). I’m sure you’re familiar with its opening verse, “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” (Golden Text) What parallel might exist already? Light and the star, perhaps.

(Verse 3). Then we find that “the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising,” See how kings entered into the tradition here. It so happens that an early Christian writer saw this and suggested that the coming of the wise men was prophesied here in Isaiah.

In Verse 6 it says, “The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the LORD.” So, we do have early Christian commentators seeing a connection between these passages and the coming of the wise men.

Justin Martyr (A.D. 100-163) is the first commentator we know of to introduce this concept.

Here’s what one of our greatest American Bible scholars of recent years has written. Here’s what he suggests.  He goes beyond what the text would tell us but it’s an interesting thing to consider.  We’re talking about Professor William Foxwell Albright.  Professor Albright has made the comment, first, “that myrrh is used at the anointing of a king.” The wise men bring myrrh.  Does this have any implication of the Messiah?  Remember they said (Matthew 2:2), “Where is he that is born King of the Jews?”

Also, Albright says that “magical charms were written with myrrh ink,” and adds “the items brought by the wise men were regarded as the tools of a trade.  Offerings of the magi would not be gifts of homage,” he suggests, “but a declaration of dissociation from former practices.”

Suggesting what? That these wise men made their living off of magical charms. See, “magi” and “magic.” Although at that time those weren’t related, but magi were wise men and some of the results they were able to come up with later got the term “magic.”

Were these wise men bringing what represented the tools of their trade and dissociating themselves from them at the inauguration of a new era represented by the infant child who was to bring the Christ-solution to mankind?

Remember the magi were very concerned about astrology, predicting the future. If they were convinced that here was a child that came as a direct result of the fulfillment of prophecy, then those who were truly wise men would exercise the option to go for this new method and give up the old.

That, again as I indicate, is just an idea presented by Professor Albright.  He is a man I have found to be of deep insight and probably the most respected scholar of recent years. He passed away a few years ago and anything you can get authored by Professor Albright is worth studying. For one thing, he had a very deep humility in the presence of the Scripture.

Verse 12. “The wise men leave and go back to their own country,” It does not say which”· country that is.

Verse 13 gives us the next indication we have of divine direction, which is symbolized by the appearance of an angel, where Joseph, again, gets a communication which tells him to “flee into Egypt, and stay there until Herod is no longer around.”

 (Verse 14). They do that.

(Verse 15). Notice what Matthew does again. He goes to prophecy and sees this trip into Egypt as one that not only was fulfilled in earlier Scriptural times, such as when Joseph went down to Egypt and then Israel was called out of Egypt by Moses’ receptivity. But also, that Jesus would repeat that very same thing. Egypt represented bondage and Moses had freed the people from bondage in one way. Is this child who is coming out of Egypt going to free mankind from a universal bondage that has restricted his  activity by the manacle known as sin, disease, and death? Is this the mission of this child? All that, perhaps, implied just by use of the earlier Scripture which is found at Hosea 11, Verse 1.

(Verse I6). Herod’s brutal reaction to the wise men failing to return was what has been ca1led “the slaughter of the innocents.” “All male children two years old and under are slaughtered by Herod’s fiat.”

(Verse 17). Again, Matthew reaches back into Scripture and sees a prophetic direction signal, taken from Jeremiah, “spoken by Jeremy the prophet.”

Verse 18, “saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children.” Rachel was the wife of Jacob, one of Jacob’s wives. She died in childbirth, giving birth to Benjamin, Rachel was buried and her traditional tomb is still outside of Bethlehem. When you mention Rachel, it means Bethlehem, in that sense, the location. “Rachel weeping for her children in Bethlehem.”

Herod the Great does pass away in 4 B.C.E. You cannot believe the funeral which was given to him. Josephus, who was born just a few years after Jesus’ crucifixion, about 37 or 38 C.E., wrote “The Wars of the Jews and The Antiquities of the Jews.”   it used to be discounted, But more and more what Josephus has said is being proven by archeology to be correct.

“Josephus records the funeral procession of Herod the Great. It apparently stretched for twenty-four miles. Roman legions were involved. His private, elite guards were involved. The coffin was solid gold. He was buried at Herodium which is one of the many fortresses he built around the Holy Land. He was really scared somebody was going to get him.  He had fortresses in strategic locations all over the Holy Land.  One of them was at Herodium.

He took a very natural hill, lopped the top off, so that it was shaped conically. You can visit there today and go up on the top. As a matter of fact, in the book “Come See the Place” there is a photograph on the top of Herodium where his palace has been excavated. It has a beautiful view of everywhere. You can see the Dead Sea.  You can see Jerusalem.  This was for obvious reasons.  You could see who was coming, somewhere in that location, according to Josephus, Herod is buried.


[“THE WISE STILL SEEK HIM. Are you eagerly among them?”
A Warren proposed poem to apply to Matthew 2:1-11/ cit. B4]

“The Adoration of Innocence”
by Peter Henniker-Heaton

And entering now the humble house within,

science, theology, medicine,

lay down their triple empire at his feet

of him they come to greet.

The kind physician brings his gift of myrrh;

no more he needs it for the sepulcher.

This babe, who set aside the ways of birth,

shall triumph over death.

The theologian, keen and wise and shrewd,

lays frankincense before the cradle rude;

for here to all his deepest mysteries

the quiet answer lies.

And physics last, sifting the evidence

with careful honesty and commonsense,

lays down its wealth.  Its eyes at last behold

the substance of its gold.

Whether from camelback these kings alight

or come in aircraft throbbing through the night,

they stoop and enter through the lowly door

to bow the babe before.


“TURN THE TABLES” ON ALL FABLES! BE UNWAVERING & NEVER FOOLED by the FABLE FALSELY
CLAIMING that IT CAN MAKE DISAPPEAR ANY “PERFECT GIFT FROM ABOVE!” (James 1:17/cit. B5)

[W.] Turn the tables on fables to make “Loneliness, doubt, darkness… disappear”—as if by a miracle!  Discover in every “wilderness” experience a “vestibule” entryway where all that disappears is a material sense (like bulky outer garments) of “loneliness, doubt, darkness” while “spiritual sense unfolds the great facts of existence.” (Science & Health, 597:16) In the sacred refuge and solitude of this higher sense of wilderness, we find the constancy of perfect health, the confidence of spiritual light-heartedness and sufficiency…all of which can never be diminished or made to disappear!

[Cobbey Crisler on James 1:17/citation B5 and beyond thematically:]
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning—as in an eclipse”[W:] or as in illusionist David Copperfield’s trick to click here to see the whole audience slowly revolved to make the Statue of Liberty seem to disappear.   (“The audience wasn’t in on it. This was a real illusion. The audience was placed on a rotating platform and he slowly rotated it so no one would noticed. When the curtains dropped the audience was actually facing the other way. The whole set was designed so you wouldn’t know you were moving. The spotlights used to “pass through the empty space” was actually there to blind the audience should they turn around to where the actual statue was.“)]

[Cobbey again] “As promised in scriptures:
“God is not a man, that he should lie…hath he not said, and shall he not do it? Or hath he spoken and shall he not make it good?” (Numbers 23: 19}

And, “For I am the Lord; I change not.” (Malachi 3:6)

James 1:18 continues: “Of his own will begat he us with the word—logos—of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures”—a sample of what He created to be consecrated to Himself.”
[per Warren’s notes on Cobbey Crisler’s talk on “The Book of Job”]

… “We already know that James read Job because we read the verse (James 5:11) that mentions Job in it…
James 1:6 tells us how we should pray—[W’s 10/7/19 notes: pray like Job did who never wavered in proclaiming his spiritual innocence. Job so refined his powerful prayers of protest to God that he received his healing and “the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before” (Job 42:10)].

[Cobbey:] “You’ll find when prayer is not prayer… “Let him ask in faith nothing wavering.” Wavering suggests this to-and-fro state of mind…
James 1:8 “A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.”…

James 3:17 “But the wisdom that is from above” all stems from the commitment to oneness.”
“The Book of Job: A Mental Court Case” by B. Cobbey Crisler**

[W.] “Keep your eyes on the prize” of Liberty—
As James 3:17 declares wise prayer from above is committed to oneness and is guaranteed of success. Mary Baker Eddy says of the unsuccessful prayers for President McKinley when he assassinated: “Had prayer so fervently offered possessed no opposing element… the result would have been scientific and the patient would have recovered.” (Miscellany, 293:21)

[W.] For wise and successful, answered prayers keep your “eyes on the prize”—on the perfect law of liberty (like on the Statue of Liberty when David Copperfield seemed to make it vanish by turning the tables under his entire audience). When our perfect –free, large, full— liberty seems to have vanished by material illusions and false beliefs, we can instantly “turn back the tables on all fables” and look continually to the perfect, stable and unvarying LAW of liberty…
James 1:25 “whoso looketh unto the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”

[W:] So, let’s all be doers—applying these precious promises and principles to enlarge our “treasures of Truth and Love” (SH 265) and to share the divine blessings of putting into practice the perfect law of liberty – our permanent gift of Love from above.

Start & stay spiritually light-hearted!  Approach each waking hour with an attitude of gratitude and joy.
Be spiritual light-hearted in your constant prayers to “turn the tables” on the fables of aloneness of “loneliness, doubt, darkness” to see you all-oneness with God!  That is prayer with “no opposing element” – with no burdens that need to drop.  “I drop my burden at His feet, and bear a song away.”  Christian Science Hymnal 124:3] 

Principia’s Founder Mary Kimball Morgan, CS, has great advice for us:” If you ever feel that your work is becoming burdensome, just stop and place the responsibility where it belongs – in your Father’s hands.  Get rid of the sense of burden before continuing your work, for heaviness of thought cannot glorify God.”   This is part of an awesome, one-page treatment on how to be “equal to every demand placed on you” and “be deeply in earnest and at the same time spiritually light-hearted.” (Education at the Principia (EAP), page 222)


LIKE JESUS, ASK QUESTIONS OF YOUR PASTORS WHILE INCREASING IN FAVOR & in LOVE for GOD & LOVE for MAN. — Cobbey on Luke 2:40+/cit. B8: Jesus at 12 in temple.


[Cobbey Crisler:] “We’re told in verse 40 that the child “grew and waxed strong in spirit.”  The next thing and the last thing we know and learn about Jesus in the infancy period concludes Chapter 2.  Jesus is in the temple discussing with those rabbis who were schooled in every single literal word of the law.  We find in verse 46 that Jesus is not only listening to them, but he is asking them questions.  That is the rabbinical method.  Rabbis did that among themselves. They did that with their students. 

“For them to hear a twelve-year-old boy utilizing the rabbinical method, brilliantly dealing with Scriptural exegesis, must have fascinated them, to say the least.  For three days this phenomenon was observed.   During that period of time his parents were searching in vain for him.   They had already gone out of Jerusalem, “a day’s journey,” according to verse 44.  They looked for him, couldn’t find him, had to come back.  That’s another day. The third day, apparently, is when they locate him in the temple.  

“As human parent would they ask him where he’d been and why (Verse 48). Didn’t he realize the effect that it had on his parents? 

“This is the first public pronouncement we hear from Jesus’ lips (in Verse 49), “Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?”  Notice his definition of his father’s business has something to do with church, because that’s where he is, in the temple.  (It reminds us of Samuel who was also dedicated to the temple and was about his father’s business.)  But do even his human parents comprehend what he is saying?  

It says in Verse 50, “No, they didn’t understand what he meant.” They would have understood it in the ordinary sense.  If he were about his human father’s business, he would be a carpenter.  An apprentice working with his father like many young boys did, learned their father’s trade.  They certainly failed to understand what he was doing in the temple as far as carpentry is concerned.    

Verse 51 shows us that, despite that awareness and foresight of that twelve-year-old boy, he, nevertheless, went home and fulfilled his role as a small boy until he came to maturity.  

Jesus’ opening statement you notice relates himself to God, Father-son relationship, something that he recognized that early. 

Verse 52 (cit. B13) tells us “Jesus increased in wisdom and vigor, and in favour,” or grace, “with God and man.”  Kay Kyser, CSB once pointed out in a talk that when it states that Jesus increased in favor with God and man, that it implies quite strongly that he grew in both of the two great Commandments that he later gives us, love for God and love for man.”
“Luke the Researcher,”
by B. Cobbey Crisler**


OBEY GOD’S COMMAND TO LET the KNOWING LIGHT of CHRIST JESUS SHINE IN YOUR HEART TO GLORIFY GOD!   Cobbey Crisler on II Corinthians 4:6 (cit. B10)

[Cobbey:] “Chapter 4, verse 6 of 2 Corinthians. Here is a commandment from God. This commandment was for “light to shine out of darkness,” and to shine where? [Voice: “in our hearts.”]. Where is the finger of God at work? Where has Christ written his letter, his epistle?  If that’s shining, if we’re facing God, face-to-face, Mind-to-Mind, if our mentality is taking on the likeness of God Himself, then that light is showing.  But it’s a light that knows.  It’s a mental light, “the light of the knowledge.”  In the Latin Bible, do you know what that word is?  It’s our word for science, scientiae.  It is the light of the knowing in a sense of disciplined science “of the glory of God.”

“We have the ability, therefore we are without excuse, to know God because he has revealed Himself, His nature, to us.  We can call upon our divine nature.  We can begin the answer the question, “What is natural?” with the response, “The divine is natural for me.”  That “light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus” leaves not one slight dark spot of Adam’s amnesia left on the disc of our consciousness.”

“Glory: Divine Nature in The Bible,” by B. Cobbey Crisler**


CHERISH a CHRISTLY COMPASSION to HEAL, FEED OTHERS & have DOMINION!  Cobbey Crisler on Matthew 14:14 (cit. B11) and beyond for “the rest of the story”:

Matthew 14: “(Verse 13, before the verse in the lesson). Jesus hearing that John the Baptist had been beheaded, decides to make himself scarce, leaves into a desert place apart.
(Verse 14). “But the multitudes followed him.” Instead of saying, “Look, will you let a man be alone for once,” he turned around with compassion and healed their sick.”
(Verse 15-20). And out comes the famous loaves-and-fishes incident in which everyone is fed, with a balance left over despite the fact that we’re dealing with thousands of people. …
And, right after this (Verses 24-33) we have the walking-on-the-sea incident.”
“Book of Matthew, Auditing the Master, A Tax-Collector’s Report,”
by B. Cobbey Crisler**


[Warren:] A concomitant idea: Find in divine economics that our Shepherd’s supply is inexhaustible, because “LOVE IS, LIKE 5 LOAVES AND 2 FISHES—ALWAYS TOO LITTLE, UNTIL YOU START GIVING IT AWAY!” Cobbey Crisler on Mark 6:35-44 (similar to Matthew 14:14-21/cit. B11)

[Cobbey:] “The only so-called miracle in all four gospels is the feeding of the “five thousand,” Mark, Verses 35-44. I put it in quotes because they were only counting the men. Out of the little boy’s lunch box comes five loaves and two fishes. We hear that from the gospel of John Chapter 6, Verse 13. They feed a multitude. Now we have a lesson on economics given to us by the Master. He didn’t regard that as a problem either. No Malthusian limitation on man that we’re going to outgrow our supply, and, therefore, we should kill off sectors of the human race in order to meet the supply. That’s Malthus and his philosophy of necessity. But we find Jesus saying instead in Matthew 14:16, “They need not depart.” Malthus says they need to be killed, but Jesus is saying, “They need not depart.”

“Mark 6.37. The disciples say it would be impossible to feed the multitude, that it would take about “two hundred pennyworth” The group was considerably more than five thousand if you count the women and the children.

“What Jesus said to all the disciples made them become part of the remedy. Twelve baskets were taken around. There were twelve disciples. Each one was made to participate in the abundant result and learn from it. They started out with only five loaves and two fishes. They ended up with more fragments left over than they had when they started out. More available. That’s divine economics. It doesn’t exhaust.”
“What Mark Recorded,” by B. Cobbey Crisler**


CHERISH JESUS’ CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY THAT GOD NEVER SENDS SICKNESS—RATHER divine LOVE ALWAYS UNBINDS US from ALL LIES of LIMITATION & IMPERFECTION!  Cobbey Crisler insight on Luke 13:11-17/cit. B13:
Click to DOWNLOAD from the website version of these GEMs an image of Jesus healing the woman bent over for 18 yrs in synagogue on the Sabbath from Luke 13:11-17/cit. B13

[Cobbey:] “A woman with spinal difficulty is in a synagogue.  Notice that Luke doesn’t say she has an infirmity.  Luke, who is reputed to have been a physician, doesn’t even diagnose it as an infirmity but as a ‘spirit of infirmity,’ a sense of infirmity, a concept, a spirit, a thought. ‘She was bowed together. She couldn’t lift up herself.’
Verse 12. Jesus comes and announces to womanhood something that could be applicable in many ways, not just this one time.  ‘Woman, you are free from thine infirmity.’ Verse 13. ‘She’s made straight and glorifies God.’
Verse 14. (& beyond, outside the Lesson)  “Incredible, ‘the ruler of the synagogue’ in which this grand healing and correction in thought occurred ‘answered with indignation’.
Jesus’ explanation about the cause of disease is Verse 16. No longer should there be any room in Christian thought that disease stems from God or is God’s will when Jesus attributes it directly to anything that would oppose God.  Only what would oppose God could impose something on man that God Himself never created in His whole man.  Is this a new theology?  Satan and disease linked, and not God as the cause of loss, or pain, or sickness?
Because if it is, Jesus defines Satan as a liar in John (8:44).  Satan has bound this woman with an infirmity that has her bent over, and has accomplished this for 18 years (Luke 13:16). And Satan is ‘a liar and the father of it.’ Satan’s works must be lies as well.  If they are, they can be corrected mentally, by a full recognition of what is true.  Notice that Satan does the binding.  Jesus said (John 8:32), ‘Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.’
It’s a contest between the truth and the lie about God and His theology, about man, about woman, about children and about disease.  If Satan is a liar, he will never change his character. Our idea of God may have gone haywire, but God has never moved.”
“The Gospels, Volume Three, Luke the Researcher,” by B. Cobbey Crisler**


WORK TOGETHER on DEMONSTRATING the PROMISED “GREATER WORKSof the Comforter in families, churches, offices, neighborhoods, governments… from John 14:12/cit. B16 & a Met on “Christian Science” for 12-29-13:
“Jesus said… Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father…” John 14:12/citation B16

[W.] Christine Irby Williams nicely tackled the tough question of what works could possibly be greater than what Jesus did in a wonderful precamp inspirational talk to CedarS staff in May 2013, as well as in part of an inspirational address for the Christian Science Nurses conference at CedarS that September. She essentially said, in part: Have you ever wondered what in the world Jesus meant by greater works?  It does sound a little daunting.  We read almost every week in the Bible Lesson something such as Jesus “went about…healing ALL manner of sickness and ALL manner of disease among the people.”  He fed 5,000 men plus women and children with what had appeared to everyone else as a few loaves and fishes.  He walked on water and suspended time and space.  He raised to life a child who appeared to have just passed away, a young man who was on his way to be buried, and Lazarus, who had been in the grave four days already.  And then, of course, he raised himself after the crucifixion, and he ascended. So, what could possibly be greater than any, much less all, of that?  I’ve often wondered, and I’m still pondering his promise… There has been one particular area in which it’s likely that we’ve all been aware that there is plenty of room for “greater works,” and that is working together, or what might be called collective demonstration: in families, church work, any kind of organizational work—in a church context or otherwise, in neighborhoods, in governments of all sizes, in nations, among the people, and in the world at large.  Would you agree with me that these are areas that could benefit from the light of Truth, the touch of the Comforter—the healing and saving ministries of divine Love? Might we be so bold as to think about tackling the environment? World peace? World hunger?  If not, why not?  If so, let’s get on with it!  Let us “then up and be doing,” as our hymn [#18] says!” You can read more inspiration on this and other topics from Chris that she shared at the 2012 Fern Lodge Annual Meeting at http://fernlodge.org/2012/11/jesus-promise-you-will-do-greater-works/ ]


CHERISH the FEMININE NATURE of the COMFORTER which comes with CHRISTIAN as a
RECOGNIZABLE PART of its NAME.  Cobbey Crisler insights on John 14:26/cit. B16

[Cobbey:] “John 14:26 picks up the description. The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost.”
There’s another part of the list, identified with the Holy Ghost in Luke 3:22, the dove descending is the symbol of it. The words “dove” and “ghost” are feminine in the Greek, and the comfort aspect also introduces the feminine concept.

“The role of the Comforter, “will be sent by God in my name.” If one were to regard that literally, the Comforter’s name should at least have some recognizable aspect either relating to Jesus or to Christ. Another aspect of the Comforter is “he will teach you all things.”
“Book of John, A Walk with the Beloved Disciple,” by B. Cobbey Crisler**


 

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