NOWHERE does the Bible instruct Christians to observe the birth date of Christ. Yet, strangely, among the multiple millions who do believe they are commemorating the Savior's birth (not knowing the real origin of "Christmas"), very few have heard the reason why Jesus Christ was born. During the Christmas season, almost the total emphasis is on a tiny babe who "lay down his sweet head," or a "little Lord" in a manger. Millions pay lip service to the "Christ child"; school children reenact the story of the Savior's birth in pageants and plays. Yet, in all this, it seems virtually none understand what the ultimate destiny of the infant Jesus will be — the office and work that this "child" was prophesied to grow up to perform. To find what this destiny is, let's examine some clear, plain, basic scriptures that speak about the "Christ child."
King of the Jews
First, Matthew 2. The office that Christ will fulfill is found in the oftrepeated, but little-understood, story of the wise men. The wise men came from the east to Jerusalem, asking: "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" (verse 2). The wise men were looking for a young child who was born to be a KING. When Herod, the king of Judea, heard of these things, he was greatly alarmed. In fact, all Jerusalem was stirred by the news. Herod called the chief priests and scribes together, demanding that they tell him where Christ (the Messiah) would be born. They answered, "In Bethlehem of Judea" (verse 5). How did they know exactly where Christ would be born? They quoted to Herod the prophecy in the Old Testament found in the book of Micah: "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be RULER in Israel..." (Micah 5:2). Or, as it is quoted in Matthew 2:6: "... Out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel." The Christ child, then, was destined to grow up to become a governor, a ruler, and to exercise kingly powers.
Christ's Office Involves Government
Granted, during the Christmas season, Jesus is frequently referred to as a "king." But in most people's minds this means a "king over men's hearts" or some other empty, nebulous, ethereal, spiritualized phraseology or title that men assign to Jesus Christ — not meaning a literal monarch exercising kingly prerogatives and authority over a literal Kingdom with real subjects, actual territory and laws. Notice what the Prophet Isaiah predicted nearly 700 years in advance concerning the birth of Jesus: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder.... Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever" (Isaiah 9:6, 7). This child would eventually grow up to be the One who will bring that which this earth needs more than anything else: righteous government and peace. His government — based on God's laws, the only righteous standard of government — will establish judgment and true justice. His Kingdom will be established forever — as will the throne of David.
Jesus' Birth Announcement
In announcing to Mary that she would bring forth a son, the angel Gabriel said: "He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end" (Luke 1:32, 33). As a literal king, Jesus Christ will receive a literal throne — the throne of David — and will rule over a literal nation, the house of Jacob (Israel). Other prophecies show that this Kingdom will eventually include all the nations of the earth. The throne of this King will be located in Jerusalem (Jer. 3:17) from where His government will be administered. All nations will learn of God's laws and ways, which when obeyed will produce a fantastic utopia of peace and prosperity unimagined in mankind's wildest dreams (Isa. 2:1-4; Ps. 22:27, 28; Zech. 14:16-19; Ps. 72:1-8). The fact is, Christ has already qualified to replace Satan as ruler of this world (Matt. 4:1-11). After Jesus successfully overcame the devil's temptations in the wilderness, He immediately proclaimed the Kingdom of God (Matt. 4:23). But Christ has not yet taken over the reigns of government. After His resurrection He ascended to the throne of God the Father in heaven, where He will remain until "the times of restitution of all things" (Acts 3:21). Soon now, Christ will receive His Kingdom and His own throne — the throne of David — from the Father. The crowning and the coronation o ceremony of this coming great King, who will be given dominion over all nations and peoples, is described in Daniel 7:13, 14. The Apostle John also wrote of this event in the book of Revelation: "... And there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign forever and ever" (Rev. 11:15).
Rule With a Rod of Iron
Prophetically speaking of the future office of the Christ child, in Revelation 12:5 we read: "She gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to shepherd all nations with an iron flail..." (Moffatt translation). When Christ returns to this earth, it will not be as a tiny, helpless babe or a little Lord in a manger. His next appearance will be with power and glory as King of kings and Lord of lords to rule over all nations with a rod of iron (Matt. 24:30; Rev. 2:27; 19:15, 16). God's Word reveals that the kingdoms of this world will not welcome this returning King (Rev. 17:14). Nor will they willingly accept His rule. Christ and His heavenly armies will wage war in righteousness (Rev. 19:11), destroying those who would destroy the earth (Rev. 11:18). You can read of this climactic battle and find its outcome described in Revelation 19 and Zechariah 14. With all the talk about the "child" Jesus and the "little Lord Jesus," you probably have not heard about the Jesus Christ who will shatter and destroy human governments, the KING who will "sit upon the throne of his glory" and who will gather all nations before Him, separating them "as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats" (Matt. 25:31, 32, 34).
The Lord's Anointed
Notice also the time of Christ's intervention spoken of in the book of Psalms. In the second chapter, we read: "Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed..." (verses 1, 2). Who is the Lord's "anointed?" The appellative "Christ" is from the Greek Christos, which means "the Anointed One." The apostles referred to this passage in the New Testament: "The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ" (Acts 4:26). They used "Christ" instead of "anointed," because both words have the same meaning. Did the apostles understand the destiny of the Christ child? The next verse speaks of "thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed" (verse 27). Anointing involves consecration to a holy office, as David, for example, was anointed with oil to be king of Israel (II Sam. 2:4; Ps. 89:20). Though this earth's rulers will rise up against the Lord's "anointed" — Jesus Christ — "Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.... Thou shalt break them [the nations that will fight against Christ] with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel" (Ps. 2:6, 9). The same ruler that we read about in Micah 5:2, the One who was prophesied to come from Bethlehem, is, continuing in the same chapter, destined to "stand and feed [rule, see margin] in the strength of the Lord... for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth. And this man shall be the peace... "(Micah 5:4, 5). Truly He will be great in the earth, for in that day He will "be king over all the earth" (Zech. 14:9). And the effect of His righteous government and reign will be to restore peace to this earth, forcibly putting down warring nations forever (Isa. 32:1, 17, 18; Psalm 72; Isa. 2:4). The infant Jesus was the promised descendant (called in the Bible "seed," "root," and "Branch") of David whose ultimate destiny will be to fulfill this prophecy: "Behold, the days come... that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a KING shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely ..." (Jer. 23:5).
Why Was Jesus Born?
Jesus Christ plainly stated the reason that He was born. When brought before Pilate just before His crucifixion, Pilate asked Him a direct question: "Art thou a king?" Christ answered, "Thou sayest that I am a king. To THIS END WAS I BORN, AND FOR THIS CAUSE CAME I INTO THE WORLD..." (John 18:37). Jesus was born to be a king. He is "the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God," to whom is "honour and glory for ever and ever" (I Tim. 1:17). Not only was Christ born to be a king, but He promises to His true followers the same reward of rulership — to be kings and priests with Him, sitting with Him in His throne, sharing the administration of government over all nations (Rev. 2:26, 27; 3:21; 5:10; Dan. 7:18, 27). Jesus Christ emptied Himself of equality with God, humbly " taking the nature of a servant; BORN in human guise [incarnated as a mere human infant] and appearing in human form..." (Phil. 2:6-8, Moffatt). His life in the flesh was an example "that ye should follow his steps" (I Pet. 2:21). Will you QUALIFY to join Him in His destiny — to bring peace and justice to the earth?