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Luke 2:1-7 No Room for them at the Inn
People in Christmas celebrations
everywhere overlook the content and the intent of the passage we’ve been
studying. The first thing that
should impress you in this passage should be how God uses the nations of the
world as if they were pawns on a chessboard.
We think of this nation in which we live and other nations and empires
that have come and gone and we think that some man or group of men determine the
destinies of those nations, but we read in Acts 17 that God almighty has
determined the time that a nation appears, the boundaries of that nation, and
when that nation shall pass. All of
these things are for the specific purpose of making it easy to spread the gospel
to the ends of the earth.
Caesar thought he was making a
great move when he issued the decree that required everyone to return to the
town of their birth for a census. But,
Scripture tells us that God moved on the heart of Caesar to have this done in
order that the prophecy concerning the place of the birth might be fulfilled.
We looked at this previously, and we saw that Caesar had tried to require
this census years earlier, but a war prevented it, and it was just now at the
perfect time that he was able to fulfill his plans.
One of the surest evidences that
the Bible is truly the revealed word of God is that every time you read it, you
learn something new. Kind of like a
flower bud, as it just keeps opening, and opening, and is beautiful at every
level. The enrollment was for the
purpose of a census only, but as everyone knows, a tax will result from the
government shortly after. Each and
every person had to go to the city of his birth and of his people.
Caesar issued that decree and
people hastened to obey. There was
living in Nazareth a couple, Joseph and Mary, both of whom were of the house of
David, both of whom had come from Bethlehem.
They make the journey, as was required by law. The time of the birth of her baby was drawing nigh.
This journey would be a hazardous and severe journey for anyone, but
particularly for a pregnant woman.
There is some contention among
Bible students as to whether Mary was of the house of David, completely ignoring
the study of the genealogies that are presented to us in Scriptures.
But, if you study them, you will find that from Abraham to David, the
genealogies are the same, then the diversion at Solomon and Nathan.
In verse 4, we read that Joseph also went up from Galilee out of Nazareth
unto the city of David, because he was of the house and lineage of David to be
taxed with Mary his espoused wife. Both
of them were of the house of David. We
read in other places that she was, I don’t know why the contention.
Should you desire a thought on which to hang your thoughts, this is it.
“No Room for them in the inn.” No
room for Christ in the world in which he was born.
There was no room for them in the inn.
He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world
knew him not. He came unto his own,
and his own received him not. The
question arises, “Is he any more welcome in the world today than he was
Why didn’t someone make room?
Why was there no place in the inn? From
what we read in the Scriptures, we can judge that no one knew.
Zechariah and Elizabeth, the father and mother of John the Baptizer, knew
of his coming. Their son was six
months older than Jesus. There was
Simeon in the temple, and the prophetess Anna who knew of his coming, and they
all watched and they waited. I’m
sure there were others who were paying attention, but apparently, very few knew
or cared. They should have known
and cared. Not only had the
announcements been made by the Lord, but God had given many signs foretelling of
his coming birth. My opinion is
that this was part of the plan of God because of the image surrounding inns in
that they were considered dens of adultery and harlotry and the innkeepers were
considered on the same level as adulterers and harlots.
I want you to look at the significance of the signs that our Heavenly
Father gave, whereby anyone could have known that the birth of the Messiah was
approaching. There is an analogy
between his first advent and his second; according to Scriptures, the world
won’t be any better prepared the second time than it was the first.
[Matthew 16:1] The
significance of the Sadducees and the Pharisees together is that they were the
two great religious sects of their day. They
were diametrically opposed to one another.
The Pharisees were
traditionalists and ritualists, just as their fathers were, with little or no
deviation. They believed in God,
the supernatural, the ministry of angels, the resurrection of the dead, and they
believed in the person, power and work of the Holy Spirit.
But, they were so absorbed in the rituals and traditions they had no
neither time nor place for the Lord.
The Sadducees were the
rationalists and materialists of their day.
They didn’t believe in the supernatural, the power of the Holy Spirit,
they didn’t believe in the resurrection of the dead, and they didn’t believe
in the ministry of angels.
Here they are, these two groups that were diametrically
opposed to one another are forming a coalition, trying throughout the earthly
ministry of our Lord to rob him of his testimony. Here in this passage that we read, they have come to him
asking for a sign from heaven. He
had shown them plenty of signs from the earth:
The water into wine, the healing, the raising of the dead, his power over
water and over fish… but, they want a sign from heaven.
They want some supernatural phenomenon among the stars and planets.
He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It
will be fair weather: for the sky is red.
And in the morning, It will be
foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye
hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern
the signs of the times?] These are
signs portending the weather.
In this passage in
Matthew 16, the latter part of verse 2 and all of verse 3 have been added at
some point. However, Luke 12:54-56
does say, “And he said also to the people, When ye see a cloud rise out of the
west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it is. And when ye
see the south wind blow, ye say, There will be heat; and it cometh to
pass. Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the
face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this
time?” It’s a valid statement
and is indicative of the way men are. They
can see the minor things, but they’re oblivious to the major things.
God had given signs
that revealed his first advent, and the signs had given the approximate time.
Man can go outside and look at the sky and can say that because the sky
looks a certain way, then the weather will be such and such.
“Rainbow at night, sailor’s delight; rainbow in the morning,
sailor’s take warning.” He’s
saying, “you can read the face of the sky and discern the weather and claim
that you are wise, but you’re hypocrites because you can’t read the signs of
the times! All you Sadducees and
Pharisees and all your party should know that the time of my advent is at hand.
Every one of you should know that this is the time the Messiah should
Signs of the times is what he
called them. Now, in the
Scriptures, we find many different types of signs:
We find chronological signs, topographical signs, celestial signs, the
sign of Bethlehem, the sign of the star in the East, the sign of the wise men…
Ample signs whereby they could and should have known that it was time for
the birth of the Messiah. The point
is, I think, that if we read things right, if we look at the signs and what is
given to us in the Scriptures, we can know that the second advent is at hand.
[Daniel 9; put a marker in
Matthew 16] I want us to look
together at the chronological sign. This
one should have been easy for them. [Daniel
9:1-2: “books” is referring to
books of the prophets] Daniel is
saying, “I was studying the prophecies of Jeremiah, and I read there about the
captivity of the children of Israel and how they would be captive for 70
years,” and Daniel having been carried captive at the age of 14 and now being
in his 80’s could tell that the 70 years of captivity were about to expire.
He began to think, “With the
expiration of the 70 years, we’ll be permitted to return to Jerusalem, rebuild
the city, rebuild the temple, rebuilt the walls, and reestablish our worship,
and surely that will be the time of the coming of the Messiah”, and as he
thought about the coming of the Messiah and how it would be accomplished
possibly in the next few years, the Lord spoke to him here in verse 23.
Here came Gabriel to speak to Daniel and he said, “At
the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to
shew thee; [When you started to pray,
anticipating the soon advent of the Messiah, the command came to me and I’ve
come to show you] for thou art greatly
beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.” Daniel had in mind 70 years, he was reading of the 70 years
in Jeremiah, and the Lord sent him the message “70 7’s”, not just 70.
The word translated as “week” is literally “Sabbath”.
“Seventy 7’s are determined upon thy [finish verse 24].”
The first question that confronts us here is, “are these 7’s days,
are they weeks, months, or are they years?”
Because Daniel was reading of 70 years, thinking of years, praying about
years, that here, it’s 70 7’s of years.
Now, 70 7’s is 490. 490
years. And here’s what Gabriel is
telling Daniel. You’re thinking of 70 years, I’ve come to tell you that
it’s 490 years. You’ll find
that in God’s dealing with the children of Israel, that he has dealt with them
in periods of 490 years.
Now, “Daniel, God
has determined 490 years yet upon the children of Israel”.
God is saying, “I’m going to deal with Israel as a nation for 490
more years”. Now, in [verse 25]
There’s going to be issued a decree, for the children to return to Jerusalem
and to rebuild the city and the temple.
There were actually
three decrees issued: One by
Darius, one by Artaxerxes, amd one by Cyrus.
Now, it’s immaterial for which one you contend this prophecy applies
(I’ll show you which one is correct in a moment, but many don’t accept
that), but there’s going to be a period of 7 7’s, which is 49, that will be
followed by three score and two 7’s which is 434, add them together and you
get? “Now, Daniel, you’re
thinking about 70 years and the coming of the Messiah, but I’m here to tell
you there’s going to be 483 years before the Messiah appears.”
[verse 25: the street shall
be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off.]
At the end of 483 years, the Messiah will be cut off.
The Messiah will be crucified. Not
for himself, but for you and me. “Now,
Daniel, you’re thinking the Messiah is coming soon because 70 years have been
accomplished, but I have yet 490 years in which I’m going to deal with Israel
as a nation.”
Now, the first
division of this 490 years is 7 7’s or 49 years. After they returned, it took 49 years for them to rebuild
everything. Then, add to that, 62
7’s of years and we come up with the time of the Messiah being cut off.
Here in verse 26,
we see that after the three score and two years, which is after the 7 7’s,
which gives us a total of 483 years, the Messiah will be cut off.
Take the decree of Cyrus, or the decree of Darius, or the decree of
Artaxerxes, and anyone who was paying attention could have figured out that from
that time, 483 years was at an end. He’s
saying here, “Daniel, 483 years from the going forth of this decree, the
Messiah will have appeared and have been cut off.”
I want to put your mind at ease as to which decree this is referencing,
whether the one from Cyrus, Darius, or Artaxerxes.
There’s much discussion on the subject, but here in [verse 28; this is
talking about the Lord God Almighty]. God
tells us that Cyrus is the messenger and he will issue the decree and from the
time that Cyrus issued the decree until the time the Lord is speaking to them in
this passage in Matthew 16, the Messiah had appeared and will be cut off.
The chronological sign was that 483 years from the time that Cyrus issued
the decree to return to Jerusalem, the Messiah will appear and will be cut off
(crucified), and all the Pharisees and Sadducees could have and should have
known that the time had come. Many
of them probably did know.
That’s the reason
he called them hypocrites. He said,
“You cannot read the signs of the times.”
But, that’s 483 years for the cutting off of the Messiah.
That leaves one period of seven years that has not been fulfilled; one
period of seven years in which the Lord will be restoring Israel to her land.
He’ll deal with her once again as the way he did in the days of old
until the 490 years has been fulfilled. Of
course, that’s another study in itself, but I want you to see here this first
sign that has been given. Any of
them could have known that the time of the advent of our Lord was at hand.
Another sign is to
be found in [Genesis 49]. Jacob has
gathered his sons around his bed as death is approaching and he said to them as
death is approaching, gather around and I’ll tell you of the things that are
going to happen to you in the days that lie ahead.
And here, as he gives these things to his sons, he gives them a preview
of the coming history of the children of Israel. [Genesis 49:9] Here,
he announces the blessing upon his son Judah.
Now, here’s the prophecy [verse 10].
“The scepter shall not depart until Shiloh shall come”.
Shiloh is one of the names of Jesus Christ.
The scepter shall not depart until Jesus shall come.
The scepter was the
emblem of civil authority. Judah,
being appointed the king of the tribes after Reuben had defaulted and given up
the birthright, was now in the position of being the judge.
When Reuben blew it, that position devolved upon Judah, and the tribe of
Judah shall have the scepter until Shiloh comes.
In other words, when the scepter is gone, you can look for the Messiah.
representing civil authority takes us back to Genesis 9:6, which says, “Whoso
sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God
made he man.” God laid down there
at the beginning of history that capital punishment for capital offenses is the
basis for all civil government. Capital
punishment for capital offenses is the basis our foundation for all civil
government. The power to execute
capital sentences for capital offenses would not leave Judah until Shiloh comes;
the scepter would not depart from Judah until Shiloh has come.
Understand that as
we study the crucifixion of our Lord. Judah
and Israel were under Roman government and Herod was king over Judea, and Pilate
was ruler in Jerusalem. The indictment against Jesus was blasphemy (he claimed to be
God) and he had come to be a king (he had come to replace Caesar), or so they
He was guilty of
capital offenses, and they wanted to put him to death.
They had two choices: They
could do what the Lord said, or they could shut him up.
They chose the latter; rather than obey his commandments, they would
execute him; they would shut him up and silence him once and for all.
They wanted to put him to death, and they had these two capital offenses:
Blasphemy and usurping the throne of Caesar.
The Sanhedrin met, and with perjured testimony, they convicted him of
those crimes and sentenced him to die.
Remember what Jacob said concerning Judah:
The scepter shall not depart from Judah until Shiloh has come; when it
reaches the point that Israel cannot execute the capital sentence for a capital
offense, then you know that Shiloh has come.
[verses 28-30; accusation=indictment] “now, you quit worrying about the
offense or the crime; if he weren’t a criminal, we would not have brought him
to you, and that’s enough!” They
knew their charges were false, and they weren’t about to repeat them to
[Verse 31] The
scepter has departed from Judah! Someone
there should have said, “Remember what Jacob said?
The scepter will not have departed from Judah until Shiloh has come…
Shiloh must be here!” They
could have said, “Yes, 483 years from the decree of Cyrus has passed, and now
it’s time for the Messiah to be cut off, and now the scepter has departed from
Judah… Shiloh must be here!”
That’s the reason the Lord called them hypocrites; to see signs as
plain and evident as these were, and they paid no attention to them at all.
We also have a celestial sign. Balaam
had accepted a promise of great honorarium or reward if he would curse Israel
and cause God to forsake them, thereby making it easy for Balak to overcome
them, but every time Balaam would open his mouth to curse them, God spoke words
of blessing. [Verse 17]
Balaam’s speaking, not knowing what he’s saying…
“There shall come
a star out of Jacob.” This star
was reckoned by many of the prophets to be a literal star.
Many stars were studied. We
read in Psalm 19 that until the law was given by Moses and written in books that
the gospel was written in the stars. They
read the gospel in the stars; they studied the gospel in the stars.
That is not astrology! Don’t
get excited and go looking for the horoscopes in the daily paper, because
they’re worse than nothing: “Nothing”
may not get you into trouble, but these things will get you in serious trouble
because they put you in intimate contact with Satan and his minions.
A star shall come
out of Jacob. One day, the silence
and quiet undisturbed life of Jerusalem was shattered with the question,
“where is he that is born king of the Jews, for we have seen His
star in the East and are come to worship him.”
The announcement of the appearing of a star, in the form of a question
was made in the streets of Jerusalem. According to Scriptures, the star appeared in the east.
These men who made that announcement and asked that question, spoken of
as the wise men, made that proclamation. It
doesn’t say how many there were. Some
suppose that because of the three gifts that were spoken of, it was three men;
others suppose it was a large caravan; it’s really immaterial.
Where the Bible is silent, it becomes us to be silent.
“We have seen his
star. Balaam prophesied of that
star, now here’s that star being announced.
The interesting thing about the star is that the Bible tells us that the
star appeared in the East. The
Scriptures do not say it led them to Bethlehem, and I don’t think it did.
It was about two years before these wise men showed up in the streets of
Jerusalem, they didn’t find the baby in a manger; they did not find a baby at
all; they found the young child. That’s
a different word entirely. They
found the young child in a house with his mother Mary; not a baby and not in a
manger or a stable.
As we read
concerning that star in Matthew 2, we read that these men had come into the
streets of Jerusalem, asking, “where is he that is born king of the Jews”,
giving evidence of the birth of the Messiah, but they came because they had seen
His star, which manifested at the time of his birth, and they said, “we saw
his star in the east and we’ve come to worship him”.
They knew he was the king of the Jews, and they knew that Jerusalem was
the capital of Jewry, and they knew that the palace was in Jerusalem, and they
knew that the king should be born in the palace.
They came to
Jerusalem. They needed no star to
guide them. We hear nothing more
about that star until after Herod called his advisers together and asked them
(this is a truly amazing question: these
wise men asked where is he that is born King of the Jews), but Herod turned to
his advisers, and he asked, where the Christ would be born.
Herod knew something that most people don’t know even today:
The King of the Jews and the Christ are one and the same.
“Where’s the Christ to be born”. They
didn’t even have to look in their books, they said, “Bethlehem!”
“Everybody knows that!” Why?
Because it’s written in the book of the prophet Micah.
These wise men knew the Messiah had been born in Israel, and they came to
worship him. They had probably been
exposed to the prophecies during the Babylonian captivity.
I’m not sure why they were unaware of the prophecies in the book of
Micah, but they were certainly aware that the Messiah and the King of the Jews
had been born.
Herod called these
wise men aside and said unto them, “now listen fellas, you’ve come to
worship the Messiah, and I admire him and believe in him and want to worship him
too, now you go and find him, and when you’ve found him, send word back to me,
so that I can go and worship him”. Well,
they were warned in a dream by God not to go back to Herod, but to go on another
way, and Joseph and Mary were told to take Jesus down into Egypt.
So, when Herod saw that the wise men paid no attention to him, he got
this calendar, and he studied it and he figured as near as he could when this
star appeared, and having ascertained to his own satisfaction the time of the
appearing of the star, he sent to Bethlehem and had all the male children 2
years old and under slain, according to the time when he determined the star
Now, to show you why the star didn’t lead them from the
East to Jerusalem, we find that when the wise men departed from the palace of
Herod, the star that they had seen in the East appeared.
Matthew 2:10 tells us, “When they saw the star, they rejoiced with
exceeding great joy.” Great joy!
They knew then that their mission was successful, because there was the
star they had seen a couple year earlier. Then
the star led them from Jerusalem to Bethlehem and it came to stop over the house
in which the young child Jesus and his mother Mary were.
Now, that star, the
star out of Judah, out of Jacob, the star of our Lord having appeared, should
have revealed itself as an omen of something to many people.
The appearance should have created some great excitement and some
disturbance. The going down of the
wise men into Bethlehem, in fulfillment of the prophecy should have made many
people stop and think.
The Lord had given
all these signs. You hypocrites,
you’re talking about signs from heaven; you can read the signs of the sky and
prophesy the weather of tomorrow, and the next few days, but you can’t read
the signs of the times. I told you
that 483 years after Cyrus gave his decree to rebuild the city that the Messiah
would be cut off. And you can take
your calendar and see that the 483 years are about up.
I told you the scepter would not depart from Judah until Shiloh had come,
and the scepter has departed! You
should know that Shiloh is here. I
told you that a star was going to appear out of Jacob and the star has appeared
and the wise men came, they announced it, and the star led them to Bethlehem and
you didn’t believe. I told you in
Micah that he was going to be born in Bethlehem and you believed it not.
I’m not going to give you any more signs; you’ve got all the signs
I’m going to give you.
It’s a wicked and
adulterous generation that seeks for a sign.
All those signs pointing to the first advent. They didn’t believe the Scriptures, the revealed word of
God, they didn’t believe the prophets of old, they didn’t believe the signs
that were visible to the eye, and which were recognizable to the brain or the
mind, as they studied. They laid
him in a manger there in the stable because there was no room in the inn, and
there wasn’t any room for them in the inn, because no one believed in the
prophecies of God.
coming back, and he’s coming soon. But,
nobody believes the signs that point to his coming. Sometime in the near future, we’re going to look at some of
the outstanding manifest signs of our Lord’s soon return. But, he came and he’s coming again. Why did he come? We
have a motive, we have a purpose, and we have an accomplishment.
Why was he born in
Bethlehem; why did he lay aside the glory he had with his father and take upon
himself the likeness of his creature, apart from sin? Why did he do all that?
It’s all summed up in one verse: For
God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever
believeth on him should not perish!
What was the motive
of his coming? He came to save you
and me. Think about heaven and
earth being moved to accomplish the advent of our Lord!
And it wasn’t in vain, as far as I’m concerned.
(I have believed, and I am saved forever.)
It’s not in vain as far as I’m concerned, but for how many millions
of people did he come in vain?
The motive of his
coming was to save. What prompted
his coming? It was the love of God.
For God so loved the world. What
was the accomplishment of his coming? Life
to all who believe.
One thing about
studying the birth of Jesus outside the Christmas season is that during the
Christmas season, he has little prominence in the world, and it’s growing less
every year. He’s less thought of,
less honored, less respected, less worshipped, less loved… Mammon has become the god of the season.
Christmas can be summed up in the experience of a group of children
unwrapping toys, toys, and more toys, throwing them aside, and finally saying,
“is that all?” They haven’t
even looked at them or paid attention to them, and they want more, more, more.
But, the birth of Christ means something to us; it means something to you and me. Christ died for our sins, according to the Scripture, was buried and rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures. Listen, to what I’m trying to say: God loved me and gave his son for me that if I believed on Him I will have everlasting life, and I may have life for the age to come. I have believed on Him, so I will have everlasting life. I hope you have this same knowledge and certainty as I do.