Understanding Prophecy - 1st Coming of Christ - David Yamartino - 8 Para

Found nothing? (56:1)

Now, I am sure some readers considering what I have written above may question my line of reasoning. They may be thinking that surely, if one had searched earnestly enough, he or she would have come upon the holy family. After all, Bethlehem, could not have been large, and with effort and the help of God, and given the holy circumstances of the birth, He surely would have been found. Those who come to this conclusion, however, have allowed themselves quite a convenient assumption. And by this assumption they have removed, without basis, a dimension of life that would have complicated immensely the seeker's search. They have focused on an outcome and then shaped their "picture" to produce that outcome. But what they have done, is also nothing more than what we all do when we consider the past - and this by reason of our not having immediate access to the details of what we are trying to understand - we narrow the possibilities, simplify the circumstances, and generously whittle away at reality to fit into our own preconceived image (56:2)

The assumption is this: that the one searching for the Christ had arrived in Bethlehem at precisely the proper time. But how could one have known what the proper time was, and that he or she was living at that time? How could anyone searching for Christ have been sure that they hadn't arrived in Bethlehem eighty five years late? Or three hundred years early? The prophecy was given centuries before His Coming, and it gave no clue about the time it was to be fulfilled (56:3)

If the Bethlehem prophecy was indeed intended to lead the faithful to Christ, had God intended that they were to have settled in Bethlehem and spent the rest of their lives making their "inquiries"? Did God intend that they go to Bethlehem and wait? And after years, or generations, of not finding Him, then what? Wouldn't they possibly have felt that God would have to reveal the "ruler in Israel" in His own time? (56:4)

To me, it is clear that it would simply take much more than this prophecy to find the Christ. All those who worshipped Jesus at the nativity - His parents, the shepherds, the Magi - were given some kind of special blessing to be allowed to recognize Him. In the case of the Magi, we know that they were somehow in communication with God on a higher than normal level: God had led them to the knowledge of His Son's birth and greatness, had guided them by a star, and when they had completed their holy mission, we know that they were warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod (56:5)

Of course, we all have our own understanding of these events. I personally do not feel that the Bethlehem prophecy can take credit for the Magis' belief in and finding of the Christ. You may. If you do, then certainly you must consider this an outstanding instance of the power of prophecy and an exception to certain assertions that I make in this book. In any case, however, if this is an exception, as far as I can see, it is the only exception, for it is certain, that although the Magi may have been led by this prophecy, none of the Jewish people were led to Christ by way of this or any other prophecy (56:6)

To me, the incident of the Magi signifies a divine invitation to the people of Jerusalem to seek out their Lord. If you'll forgive my paraphrasing, basically, the Magi came and said "We know that your king is born, somewhere. Tell us where." The Magi announced His Coming (56:7)

Tragically, no one responded to this invitation (56:8)

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Understanding Prophecy - 1st Coming of Christ - David Yamartino