THE MESSIAH HAS COME
Numbers 24:14-19; Matthew 1-2
December 25, 2011
The Star out of Jacob and the Scepter out of
17 “I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh:” - Rather,
“I see him, but not now: I behold him, but not near” (WNr,Wva"…Wna,ra,
exactly as in ch.23:9). Balaam does not mean to say that he expected himself to see
at any future time the mysterious Being of whom he speaks, who is identical with the
“Star” and the “Scepter” of the following clauses; he speaks wholly as a prophet,
and means that his inner gaze is fixed upon such an one, with full assurance that
He exists in the counsels of God, but with clear recognition of the fact that
His actual coming is yet in the far future - “there shall come a Star out of
Jacob,” - Septuagint, ajnatelei~ ajstron – anatelei astron – a Star will
come. It may quite as well be rendered by the present; Balaam simply utters
what passes before his inward vision. The star is a natural and common poetic
symbol of an illustrious, or, as we say, “brilliant,” personage, and as such
recurs many times in Scripture (Job 38:7; Isaiah 14:12; Daniel 8:10; Matthew 24:29;
Philippians 2:15; Revelation 1:20; 2:28). The celebrated Jewish fanatic called
himself Barcochab, “son of the Star,” in allusion to this prophecy. [Barcochebas, or
Barcochab (Heb. son of a star), a Jewish leader, who persuaded his countrymen to rebel
in this verse, and adopted the name by which he is known in place of his patronymic Simeon.
made him king of
135 A.D. he was defeated and killed by Julius Severus.] - “and a Scepter shall rise out
in that sense in the dying prophecy of Jacob (Genesis 49:10), with which Balaam was
evidently acquainted. Accordingly the Septuagint has here ajnasth>setai –
anastaesetai – will rise - “and shall smite the corners of
two corners” (dual), or “the two sides of
“and destroy all the children of Sheth.” In Jeremiah 48:45, where this prophecy is
in a manner quoted, the word rq"r]q" (qarqar, destroy) is altered into rqodq;
(quadqod, crown of the head). This raises a very curious and interesting
question as to the use made by the prophets of the earlier Scriptures, but it
gives no authority for an alteration of the text. The expression tveAyneB] has
been variously rendered. The Jewish commentators, followed by the
Septuagint (pa>ntav uiJou<v Sh>q – pantas uious Saeth – all the sons of Sheth)
and the older versions, understand it to mean the sons of Seth, the son of Adam,
i.e., all mankind. Many modern commentators, however, take tve as a contraction
of tave (Lamentations 3:47 — “desolation’’), and read “sons of confusion,” as
equivalent to the unruly neighbors and relations of
dubious in itself, for tve nowhere occurs in this sense, and derives no support from
Jeremiah 48:45. It is true that tve yneB] is there replaced by ˆwOav; yneB], “sons of
tumult,” but then this very verse affords the clearest evidence that the prophet felt
no hesitation in altering the text of Scripture to suit his own inspired purpose. If it be
true that rq"r]q" will not bear the meaning given to it in the Targums of “reign over,”
still there is no insuperable difficulty in the common rendering. Jewish prophecy, from
beginning to end, contemplated the Messiah as the Conqueror, the Subduer, and
even the Destroyer of all the heathen, i.e., of all who were not Jews. It is only in
the New Testament that the iron scepter with which He was to dash in pieces the
heathen (Psalm 2:9) becomes the pastoral staff wherewith He shepherds them
(Revelation 2:27 — poimanei~ - poimanei – He shall rule; He shall be
Shepherding - after the Septuagint, which has here misread the text). The prophecy
was that Messiah should destroy the heathen; the fulfillment that He destroyed
not them, but their heathenism (Compare Psalm 149:6-9 with James 5:20).
The final prophecy, unsolicited by Balak, which indeed he would have been
glad to stop, goes far beyond the concerns of his kingdom and his reign. It
stretches over an ever-widening extent of space and time. As long as there
prevail. The kingdoms of this world not only will become the kingdoms of
our Lord and of His Christ (Revelation 11:15), but no other conclusion is easily
conceiveable. The power by which
all; and the disposition which leads it against one enemy must lead it against
all. It will again and again be attacked, and must defend where it is
attacked (Ezekiel 38). It must expand by the ever-strengthening life within. The
more it grows, the more room it will require, until at last the kingdoms of the
world become its own. Notice:
ONE, AS SHOWN BY THE DIFFERENT FIGURE EMPLOYED.
The lion destroys, and that most effectually, but he can do nothing more than
destroy. The horse or the ox will draw the cart, and thus serve constructive
purposes. Even the tiniest bird can build its compact and symmetrical nest,
but the lion can do nothing save destroy. You may cage it and curb its
savage propensities a little, but it is not tamed; (who ever heard of taming
a lion by petting it? - reminds me of modern educational theory in trying
to point rebellious children in the right direction! So far it hasn’t
succeeded – I am a poor example but I was spanked in the first grade
with a wooden spoon and in high school with a razor strap and they
only made me grow tall! In fact this whole section is dealing with
judgment. Since modern man has neither the understanding, nor the
resolve to do right, JESUS CHRIST WILL SET THINGS IN ORDER
and it could just be in your and my lifetime – Amos 4:12; Luke 21:31 –
CY – 2011) - the lion-nature is there, and the smallest taste of blood will
cause it to burst forth in all its fury. The lion being thus a destroyer, and
nothing but a destroyer, it is needful to present
able to destroy in order that there may be room for the construction of
something more worthy to endure. (The removal of religion in American
public life, since it was so deeply rooted, with its topple, has left a
massive hole which has been filled with nothing, except drugs, sex and
rebellious music. I think there musician influence in the days before
the Flood which contributed to bringing the house down – Genesis 4:21;
Matthew 24:36-39 – CY – 2011) It does not become God to stay the
current of prophecy with a menace of dreadful destruction as the last word,
and so He makes Balaam to speak of the Star and the Scepter. The lion,
as it rages about, can make a solitude; it can take away wickedness by
taking away all wicked men; but a solitude is not a kingdom. The true
destruction which is spoken of with such energy and almost fierceness of
illustration is for the purpose of completely taking away the evil out
of human society, so that only the good may remain to serve and
glorify the Maker of mankind – “new heavens and a new earth
WHEREIN DWELLETH RIGHTEOUSNESS” (II Peter 3:11-13)
“And they shall bring the glory and honor of the nations unto
it. AND THERE SHALL IN NO WISE ENTER INTO IT ANY
THING THAT DEFILETH, NEITHER WHATSOEVER
WORKETH ABOMINATION, OR MAKETH A LIE: BUT
THEY WHICH ARE WRITTEN IN THE LAMB’S BOOK OF
LIFE.” (Revelation 21:26-27)
METHOD IN WHICH GOD WILL WORK TO CONQUER EVIL AND
ESTABLISH GOOD. The star, it is said, is mentioned here as the symbol
of governing power, according to the astrological notions of antiquity. It is
further said that the joining of the scepter with the star shows that
authority and supremacy are the main things to be indicated by the
mention of the star (See Isaiah 9:6-7). Certainly the prophecy is full of the
idea of SUPREMACY and AUTHORITY; but if this idea was the only
thing to be considered, the mention of the scepter would be enough. The star
is a symbol of power, but it is also a symbol of many great realities besides.
Let us ask not only why the scepter is joined with the star, but why the
star is joined with the scepter.
Ø The very first thing that a star indicates is light. God will establish
His rule by sending the Star out of Jacob to rise in the darkness (See
Ibid. vs. 1-2). Christ, the fulfillment of the star, has come a light into the
world, a rival to-existent lights, and DESTINED TO OUTSHINE
THEM ALL! He is a light ever protesting against the darkness,
not comprehended by it, not swallowed up and lost in it (John 1:1-5).
Rejoice in this, that the Star out of Jacob is INACCESSIBLE
to the MEDDLING of those who hate its inconvenient revelations.
Christ comes to destroy, and at the same time to construct by letting
light in upon all dark, idolatrous chambers and all self-deceiving hearts.
The light is from Him who knows what is in man, his wickedness, his
weakness, and his wants. He brings reality where others only bring
appearance. He brings truth where they, even in their very sincerity,
bring error. There is no room for a Balaam in His kingdom.
(What about you dear reader? – What a paradox? There is plenty
of room in heaven, but NONE FOR YOU!!!!!! - (Luke 12:22-24;
Matthew 8:11-12; Luke 13:27-29) - The Demas who makes a few
steps within soon retreats from a light far too trying for THE
DARKNESS OF HIS HEART - (therein lies the problem –
II Timothy 4:10; John 3:19-21 - CY – 2011). Notice, further, that:
Ø The light of the star is in some respects more significant of the
work of Christ than would be the light of the sun. We must have
a figure which will keep before us both the light and the darkness.
To us, individually, Christ may be as the sun (and may He be!),
filling our hearts with light (See Malachi 4:2a). We know, alas, that He
is far from being a sun to many. Their light is still darkness, but THE
STAR OF BETHELEHEM SHINES IN THE FIRMAMENT
WAITING for the hour when in humility they may betake themselves
to it. After all the search for truth, and whatever knowledge may be
gained, there is still THE SENSE OF INCOMPLETENESS
(God has made our hearts too big for the world to fill - see Ecclesiastes
3:11 – ONLY GOD CAN FILL THAT BLACK HOLE in YOUR
LIFE – CY – 2011), THE KNOWLEDGE STOPS WITH THE
INTELLECT; it does not find its way to enlighten and comfort the
whole heart. We can by no means dispense with the Star out of
Jacob, the Star that shines from every page of the Scriptures.
REALITY OF THE DOMINION. The scepter is that of Christ’s truth,
wielded with all the power of God’s Holy Spirit. We must have much
assurance, not only of the illumination that comes from Christ, but of the
consequent actual illumination in accepting human hearts. We must ever be
ready in our approaches to God to say, “Thine is the kingdom and the
power (Matthew 6:13). Thine is not only the RIGHTFUL AUTHORITY,
but also the ACTUAL AUTHORITY. What is a more offensive sight than
a merely nominal submission to Christ? How soon it becomes evident to the
discerning eye that there is an utter want of harmony! Those who are really
Christ’s subjects soon justify their loyalty by the commotion they make
among the accepted customs and traditions of the world. There is a
sense in which they may covet often to hear the word, “They that have
turned the world upside down have come hither also” (Acts 17:6).
As we read the acts of the Apostles, we feel that there was not only a new
teaching being diffused among men, but, above all things, a new power.
It was not only fresh thought they brought to men, but a new and gladdening life.
AS INDICATING THE EXTENT AND COMPLETENESS OF THE
DOMINION. The details connected with each nation have of course their
peculiar significance, but the significance of the details is not quite so clear
as that of the great common element which runs through them all. All the
details point forward to a time when the Star out of Jacob shall outshine
the star out of every other nation, when the Scepter out of
break every other scepter. The kingdoms of the world ARE TO FALL —
the kingdoms of mammon, of pleasure, of unbelief in Christ, of science
falsely so called, of rationalism, of atheism, of individual self-assertion.
These are kingdoms that now stretch their authority far and wide, in all
continents, and in all ranks of men, and many are subjects of more than one
of the kingdoms. In the kingdoms of this world it is largely true that there is
neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor free, male nor female. The Star out of
Jacob then has a large work to do in subduing and transforming the many
and mighty kingdoms of this world. And all the glorious burden of
prophecy heaves and swells with the emphatic assurance that HE WILL
DO IT! The day is to come when we shall all learn that to be king over
one’s own nature is more than to sway the most populous and wealthy
territory among men. Then indeed will the description, “King of kings,
and Lord of lords,” (Revelation 19:16) fully apply, when GOD IN
CHRIST JESUS REIGNS over kings and lords such as these. “EVEN
SO COME LORD JESUS!” (Ibid. ch. 22:20) - The cry concerning man
will no longer be,
“Lord of himself, that heritage of woe!”
but, lord of a heritage reclaimed, purified, and made docile by the
work of Jesus as He inspires in the breast every loving, righteous,
and truthful motive.
v. 1 - "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ"
Relating the redeeming work of the "Son of God, who
loved me, and gave Himself for me"
Reverence, awe and adoring love are the tempers of
mind worthy for such a study!
Life is short - eternity is long - Set you affections on
A message for us, God's voice calling and telling us
all that we need to know of Himself, of His will, of
His redemption of the human race from sin and death!
Bone of our bone, flesh of our flesh - He was made in
all things like us, yet without sin! Though He appeared
in the form of man, He is in truth God!
Perfectly one with His Father on the Divine side of His
nature - He is equally one with us on the human side.
In Christ God looks at us with human eyes, speaks to us
in an earthly tongue and touches us with a brother's hand!
The Incarnation of Christ was a literal graft of the Divine
upon human nature.
In the whole human family there is no one to compare to
John 3:16 - He belongs to humanity - He is the Hope of the
human race - He is the Light and Life of men - He is the
Son of God! He also is a Light to lighten the Gentiles
"But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus
is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might
have life through His name" - John 20:31
"This is the work of God that ye believe on Him whom
He hath sent" - John 6:29
But it is no gospel to us, no glad tidings, but only an
ancient book unless by its guidance we find CHRIST!
In CHRIST ALONE is the life of men!
God has predestinated us to be conformed to the
image of His Son! If we have missed on this we
have missed the purpose of our being!
Jesus the Christ, the Son of God and His
human ancestry via Mary, His mother.
The promise of Jesus was originally to Adam
in the Garden of Eden - Genesis 3:15
The promise was made to Abraham - the head
of the covenant nation of
"in thy Seed shall all the nations of earth be blessed"
The promise was made to David - II Samuel 7:13-16
"of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne"
vs. 2-16 - the natural descent of each son from his father
is emphasized until we come to Jesus and then
the phrase is varied - "Joseph the husband of
Mary, of whom was born Jesus"
The only women besides Mary who are mentioned are
Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and Bathsheba - three were stained
with sins (Tamar, Rahab and Bathsheba) and two were
not of the race of
Matthew, in the onset of this gospel, proclaims Christ
as the Friend, even Kinsman, of sinners, and the Savior
offered to Gentiles as well as to Jews!
Sinners as well as saints are reckoned in His genealogy. His human ancestry
was not uniformly holy, any more than uniformly royal. The poorest have an
interest in Him as much as the noblest, the sinful as well as apostles and saints.
"Abraham begat Isaac and Isaac begat Jacob and
Man comes and man goes - a man is born and a man goes to his long home -
each man represents a long line of ancestors stretching back into the remotest
past - most of us know very little of those who have gone before us - they are
gone and we must follow - we too shall be but names in the memory of posterity
and soon forgotten - it matters little now to them what their rank, their wealth,
was in life - the king, the carpenter, the patriarch are distinguished now only
by their faith and holiness. Many that once were last are first now and there
are first that shall be last.
Worse still, who can say how our own children and
grandchildren will turn out and what extent that their
disgrace is due to inherited tendencies?
As the promise of the Messiah was to the house of David,
and this was known to every Jew, we need not be surprised
that families, descended from that king, preserved family
v. 16 - "Jesus, who is called the Christ" -
Jesus, a form of Joshua which means
"Jehovah is help"
This begins the history which tells of this Jesus
as the specially Anointed One of God, the true
Messiah, of which all others were but a figure.
In Jesus were fulfilled all the prophecies of the
Old Testament which the Jews referred to as
Messiah and for whose appearance all the pious
Compare Heb. 9:28
The world at the time of the birth of Christ had done as much as it
could do without the new influence Christ brought to it - No government
had at its disposal as much command
for regeneration than
its enlightened policy, bold statesmanship - the Greek culture had done
its best - in the East, Buddha, Confucius, Zoroaster had done all that
human wisdom and purity could do to regenerate life - nothing had succeeded -
the Jewish Law had gone to seed - there was a general feeling throughout the world
that it needed help from above and it was given in the person of Christ-
Compare modern world and its plight and the
Second Coming of Christ on the horizon.
vs. 18-25 - the object here is to show that Messiah in
origin was of God and not of man.
The foretelling that a son would be born, that this
Son would be the expected Savior and showing from
prophecy that such union of God with man was no
unheard of supposition, but the fulfillment of ancient
thought, suggested by God.
v. 20 - "that which is conceived in her is of the Holy
Ghost" - insisting that the Child was by origin
Divine. Luke 1:35 compare Gen. 1:2b
Both Testaments begin with a miracle - a world of order
and beauty arising out of chaos is a miracle as truly as
is the birth of a divinely human Savior by the Divine
overshadowing of Mary!
He is born "not of the will of a man, nor of the will of
the flesh" but the holy will of God! - John 1:13
Mary was the chosen woman - Luke 1:28-30
It was the task of
be the mother of the Son of God -
It was not the task of
God Himself "will provide a lamb" - Gen. 22:8
This holy and immaculate conception is the
profoundest unity of nature and spirit - God and man!
Mary is to be the medium of the new creation!
vs. 19-20 Joseph was insistent on his personal and
family purity but was delicate and thoughtful
to the one he loved.
vs. 21-23 - "He shall save His people" - He and no other!
He in His own person - I John 2:2 - "by Himself" - Heb. 1:3
and by virtue of who He was - John 2:23-25
Unfortunately, the last thing that many people want from
Christ is to be saved from their sin - they would love to be
delivered from its pains and penalties but sin itself they love
and have no wish to abandon it.
"from their sins" - full salvation from sin is the final part of
"Now all this was done" - that human nature might be
cleansed by its union with the Divine nature in the Person
of Jesus Christ - The Messiah!
"they shall call His name Emmanuel .... God with us"
vs. 24-25 - Joseph's obedience and restraint
"and he called his name JESUS"
This chapter contains four references to the birth of Christ
the place of His birth -
b. His stay in
c. the slaughter of the innocents - vs. 16-18
d. His dwelling at
vs. 1-12 - Christ receives the homage of representatives
of the heathen world.
"wise men from the east" - the learned need a Savior as
much as the ignorant.
They were the leaders of the long procession of Gentiles who,
drawn by grace, have sought the Lord.
Wise men seek Him still! - Christmas card refrain
They traveled far -we must persevere
From the House of Bread (
True Bread, the Bread of Life!
"Where is He?" - not "whether there is"
v. 8 - Herod - goes not to seek - sends others - he will come
later - he puts off the great work of life but never
gets it done - "Today is the day of salvation" -
finally the end comes according to the scripture in
Jeremiah 8:20 - "The harvest is past, the summer
is ended and we are not saved"
v. 9 - "And lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went
before them" - guidance
God will not leave us to grope in the darkness when we
are seeking Him by faith - the great principle - "Seek
and ye shall find!"
God's will becomes clearer and more definite as the
faithful Christian draws nearer to the end of his journey.
They had gone to great trouble and expense to see Jesus -
contrast the Jewish people
An awe was on the people - there was a universal expectation
of the Messiah - "Who may abide the day of His coming? and
who shall stand when He appeareth" - Malachi 3:2
That awe soon passed away, the visit of the Magi was soon
forgotten, the warning was lost,
of her visitation!
v. 11 - "they fell down and worshipped Him" - not the virgin
They gave gifts: frankincense - offered to God in the temple -
it confessed Christ's Divinity.
gold - offered as to a king
myrrh - was used in preparing a person to
v. 12 - God warned them in a dream.
vs. 16-18 - The innocent victims - they were martyrs indeed -
they died for Christ, unconsciously, but yet for Him,
to insure His safety, that He might live to die for them,
to save them, with all His people, through His most
v. 19 - "But when Herod was dead" - Wickedness, however
gilded by rank and riches must end in misery,
probably in this world, certainly in the world
v. 21 - Joseph's continued obedience
"Excerpted text Copyright AGES Library, LLC. All rights reserved.
Materials are reproduced by permission."
This material can be found at:
If this exposition is helpful, please share with others.