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The Birth of Jesus Christ 

The Event : The Gospel is 2,000 years old

 

 01.  The vision of Zacharias in the Temple

 02.  An Angel at Nazareth

 03.  Magnificat

 04.  The birth of John the Baptist

 05.  The monks of the Dead Sea

 06.  The first Christmas

 07.  Christmas now

 08.  Hérode le Grand et la légende des Rois Mages

 09.  La présentation de Jésus au Temple

 

THE   EVENT : 

 THE GOSPEL IS 2,000 YEARS OLD  

 
 

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.

THAT was the true light,
Which lighteth every man
That cometh into the world.

He came unto his own
And his own received him not.
For the law was given by Moses,
but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
            ( John chap. 1)

 

The word and the truth came to his own people, but even those in his own land refused to believe his word and message. The symbolic feast of Christmas must remind us that on this blessed day the light starts to increase on the Earth, bringing heat and fertility with its benevolent rays.

The child Jesus, the source of light, is the GIFT from our father in the sky, but he is also the guide that brings us peace and love, without which a happy life is not possible on Earth.

It is solely in this spirit that Christmas (the favorite Festival of children) keeps its significance and symbolism.

 

1. THE VISION OF ZACHARIAS IN THE TEMPLE

 

Let us carefully examine the first two characters chosen by The Eternal One to receive the message transmitted by the archangel Gabriel.

Zacharias :

Elisabeth's spouse - Righteous before God - He was the priest in a small Judean village near Jerusalem - (its name is not mentioned in the Bible). He and his wife Elisabeth were well past middle age when suddenly we could say divine destiny came upon them, as he was chosen to burn incense at the altar of the Great Temple in Jerusalem .

One day while he was doing this duty, there appeared near the altar an Archangel of the Most High. He was very surprised by the apparition, but even more so by the news that was given to him :

But noticing the old man's sceptiscism, and especially thoughts of denial that were flooding his mind, the angel rendered him dumb until those things were accomplished.

How many times have we refused to answer God's calling when the Eternal asks us to do something for HIM, to help our neighbour in need, to give of ourselves ?

 

Elisabeth - Cousin of Mary :

She was also well on in age, and barren. The latter was viewed as a curse among Jewish women of that era, because they were called to be fruitful and multiply for the sake of their husbands and Israel!

Elisabeth suffered for a long time because of this, and the neighbours of this small Judean village were quick to gossip about it. But now that her menses had ceased, she had a reason to be peaceful.

But when she suddenly realized that she was pregnant, she experienced great joy and strength once more. She was still worried about what her family and neighbours would think . Also she did not want to appear ridiculous, so she hid her pregnancy for as long as possible.

Elisabeth was not only the wife of a priest, but also a very devout woman, who served God with all of her heart. She knew many verses of scripture that she recited to the Lord as a continual prayer. This was what she wanted to do, and it occupied her simple life in this mountainous village which no evangelist even mentioned by name.

 

2. One day, an ANGEL appeared at NAZARETH

 

During this time in Galilee, in a small town called Nazareth beside a hill near Mount Tabor, (588 m.high), the archangel Gabriel came to announce to Mary, an innocent virgin girl, that she would conceive a son who would be called "the son of the Highest".

For one instant can we measure the impact the apparition must have had on that troubled girl who had never known a man? After a moment of stupor, Mary, reassured by the angel, asked him a common sense question:

And the angel told her:

Mary could not have a better example than her cousin, who had been considered barren by everyone! And the girl finally accepted her destiny.

 

 

But who was that beautiful girl, Mary ?

 
We know very little about her family, but according to James' gospel, we know the first-names of her parents :   Joachim, the father was a priest, and belonged to the tribe of Levi, who were servants of the Lord. ANNE, the mother was a devout and educated woman. For a very long time, Joachim served God at the temple in Jerusalem. In all probability Mary was born and raised in this big city. From her pious mother, she must have received the first texts of her religious education, which was the foundation of her life. Discreetly, one day, the small family returned to Galilee to settled in Nazareth, precisely at the place where the angel visited her.

It was also in this village that she would meet Joseph, a carpenter born in Bethlehem. Before the Jewish community, to quiet the rumours that the baby's father's identity was unknown, he accepted her as his fiancee.

Mary was most likely about 17 years old when Gabriel appeared to her. She was indeed very pretty with an angelic face, full of youthfulness, with innocent eyes clear as water from a spring.

Her look was so pure and so full of freshness that it drew respect and admiration;

her smile so soft showed a glimpse of teeth with the whiteness of mother-of-pearl or fresh fallen snow;

She had a faint crystal clear voice, and long silken hair, half-covered by a light veil tossed by the wind, which took pleasure in caressing it with its invisible breath.

With a pitcher on her shoulder, it was in this manner that she went to fetch water at the village fountain where she met the women & girls of the village.

Sometimes when she tended the sheep, one could notice her profile full of youth as she was running among the tall grass of the mountain to gather her flock under the shade of hundred years'old olive trees. In the evening, before nightfall, she would remember to carry in her arms a big bouquet of wild flowers to adorn her parent's home with a touch of freshness and delicate aroma.

In an other word God had sculptured His image, and the perfection of this workmanship full of beauty, drew admiration, even from its Creator.

According to Luke1:39 : " Immediately, Marie arose and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Judah. She entered into the house of Zecharias. She saluted Elisabeth. "

However as soon as Elisabeth heard Mary's greeting, she spontaneously began to prophesy, as Mary had not announced the visit of God's archangel:

"Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb." (Luke 1:42)

Spontaneously, Mary echoed this most beautiful hymn to the glory of God, that entire generations have recited for 2000 years.

 

3. M A G N I F I C A T

 

My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.
For he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden,
from henceforth all generations will call me blessed.

For the Almighty has done great things for me.
Holy is His name.
His mercy is on them who fear him from generation to generation.

He has shown strength with his arm. He has scattered
the proud in the imagination of their hearts.

He has put down the mighty from their throne, and exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things.
The rich he has send away empty.

He has helped his servant Israel in remembrance of
his mercy as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his seed forever
              (Luke 1:46 - 56)

This is a Thanksgiving prayer that Mary spontaneously retrieved from her memory. It proves how well she memorised the Old Testament Psalms. From the heart she thanked the Eternal One who had chosen her above all the other young women of the earth.

Mary offered genuine praise to the Eternal One for His deeds, His goodness, and His mercy...

When reading the Old Testaments Psalms, one can reconstruct Mary's prayer in its entirety with the help of the verses:

Psalm 103:1   My soul blesses the Lord, and may all that is within me bless His Holy Name.
Psalm 30:1     I exalt you, O Eternal One, for You lifted me up.

Psalm 71:19  You Have done great things.
Psalm 31:21  You have shown Your marvellous grace towards me, O how great is Your kindness.
Psalm 145:2   I will praise Your Holy Name forever and ever.
Psalm 25:6     Remember, O Lord, Your mercies and Your lovingkindness, for they are eternal.

Psalm 89:13   You have a mighty arm, strong is Your hand, and high is Your right hand.
Psalm 31:25   He severely punishes the proud.
Psalm 98:2     His righteousness He has revealed in the sight of the nation.
Psalm 22:29   All the prosperous of the earth shall worship Him.

Psalm 25:9     The humble He leads in justice.
Psalm 22:26   The poor will eat and be satisfied
Psalm 34:10   Those that fear Him will lack nothing.
Psalm 72:4     He will bring justice to the poor and will save the children of the needy.

Psalm 98:3     He has remembered His mercy and His faithfulness to the house of Israel.
Psalm 105:9   He remembers His covenant which He made with Abraham, and His oath with Isaac.
Psalm 105:10 He confirmed the same to Jacob for a law and to Israel for an everlasting covenant.
Psalm 45:17   The people will praise Him forever and ever.
Mary is unaware of the trials and sufferings awaiting her but she completely trusts the One who has chosen her.

 

So speaks the ETERNAL ONE in the KORAN

Koran Ch 21: Remember Zacharias, we granted unto him that his wife who was aged and barren should give birth. We breathed our spirit on Mary whose virginity was intact. She and her son were allowed to be a universal sign.

Koran Ch 3: Angels told Mary: God chose you and exempts you from sin. He elected you among all the women of the earth.

 

4. The birth of JOHN the BAPTIST

 

According to Luke's Gospel, Mary stayed three months with her cousin Elisabeth and her husband Zacharias, until the baby John was born. It was a difficult task for Elisabeth to carry a child at her age. The body tires more easily, as the muscles don't have the same suppleness as in youth. Love and faith enlivened Joachim, Elisabeth and Mary. They felt recompense for their pain and sufferings.

Elisabeth delivered the child as predicted by the angel. Neighbours in the village and friends of the family were astonished when they learned of the incredible and happy event that occurred to Zacharias' family.

This woman had been considered barren! This middle-aged couple had just received a heavenly gift: an unexpected baby who was going to upset the plans of their quiet life.

On the eight day, conforming to Jewish law, the child was circumcised, and like all firstborn children, (according to custom) was presented at the temple. He was presented to the Lord with a small animal offered as a sacrifice. As was the tradition, everyone already called the child by his father's name, Zacharias, but Elisabeth answered:

Zacharias was mute for nine months. His friends brought him a writing tablet so he could write down the name of the child. He wrote down "John." Immediately his tongue loosened and he started praising the Lord.

Mary was then in her fourth month and she returned to her parents in Nazareth.

In the gospel there is no more mention of the parents Zacharias and Elizabeth of the child John, except for a brief account in Luke 1:80 :

" The child grew and became strong in spirit. John stayed in the desert until the day of his introduction to Israel."

 

5. The MONKS of the DEAD SEA

 

How long have men or women felt the need to "withdraw" from the world, individually (as a hermit), or in small communities? These people who lived apart from ordinary mortals were trying to find God by prayer, selflessness, silence and solitude.

Precisely at the time when John (the future Baptist) grew up, there was in Palestine a religious Jewish Order, which accepted layman followers and supporters from all the Roman Empire. Their Mother House was located in QUMRAN (a village beside the Dead Sea). Pliny, Philon and Flavius Joseph, historians of the time, called them  : "the Monks of the Dead Sea" or "the Assenians".

This third Jewish religious sect must not be confused with the Pharisees or the Saducees (who were representatives of rich and noble families in Israel). This third sect rigorously observed God's law and even put spiritual matters before all temporal needs.

During the reign of Alexander Jannée (103-76 BC), a civil war erupted between this Jewish king the and the Pharisees. The Pharisees considered the king immoral for holding the religious office of High Priest. Alexander had 800 leaders, members and supporters of the Pharisees' sect crucified, after having watched their women and children slaughtered!

The Assenians reproached him for these odious acts, but he continued to execute many monks and their Superiors. Fleeing for their lives, the survivors of the massacre fled to Damascus in Syria.

They didn't returned to Qumran until the year 63BC, when the Pompeii Legions imposed their Protection Act. The monks remained there until 69AD, when the Roman Legions of Titus slaughtered all that would not flee. Then the monastery was transformed into a garrison.

However we estimated that at 69AD the Order had about 4,000 members in Palestine! Fortunately, before the Romans' arrival, the monks had hidden, in underground caves around the Dead Sea many manuscripts recording the Exodus and the Laws of Israel. These remained hidden there until 1948! It was quite by chance that a shepherd in pursuit of a stray sheep discovered some of these precious documents in a very critical state.

Even though most Assenians living at the Monastery made chastity vows, there were in the cities couples who lived in harmony with the Assenians' ideas. They always gave them free lodging and assistance when they travelled. Even though no one was born at the Assenians monastery, female skeletons were discovered buried in the Jewish tradition next to the ruins of Qumrân . We can assume that nearby was a female community abiding by a set of rules as rigorously strict as that of the male monks.

 

Assenian monastic life

 

After a three-year probation period the novice was accepted into religious life. In the meantime, they had to respect the communal rules and learn to live in truth, justice, charity, poverty and absolute obedience to all superiors. Their purpose was to defend the sacred LAW and keep away from men of sin.

He then became then a true monk: "A Son of light". We need to mention that the Assenians never made blood sacrifices, but instead offered cereal, fresh or dried fruit, vegetables and incense to the Lord.

 

The Assenians and the Christian mind

 

In the year 30BC, Herod the Great installed Rabbi HILLEL (born in Babylon) as President of the Sanhedrin. He maintained that office until his death in 10BC. This man considered Herod an unavoidable hardship. In spite of it he endeavoured to teach neighbourly love, based on three fundamental principles :
  1. Love mankind
  2. Live in peace and  
  3. Learn the sacred Law (divine will).

Rabbi Hillel taught gentleness, patience and modesty. He summarised all the Law in these two sentences : Judge not your neighbour until you have been where he is. Do not do unto others what you would not want them to do unto you.

Like the Assenians he was pacifist and gentle. Surprisingly enough this priest had a mind similar to the Christian : 25 years before the birth of Jesus of Nazareth.

Even though the four Evangelists don't mention the Assenians, note that neither John the Baptist nor Jesus condemned the Assenians, whereas they angrily rebuked the Pharisees, scribes and the Doctors of the law.

Assenians exercised open door hospitality to whoever respected their rule. Most likely John, who often baptised at the ford of the river at Bethabara, a few kilometres from Qumran , maintained good relations with this Order.

Strangely enough, Christian doctrines fit well with the Assenians' ideas :

History completely lost all trace of them from the beginning of the great Jewish revolt of the year 68AD. We also wonder what happened to the survivors of the Roman Legions' massacre.

Did they become Jews in exile, or followers of the first Christian community ? It is a total mystery !

 

  6. THE FIRST CHRISTMAS

 

Matthiew 1:18 -
Mary, mother of Jesus Christ, having been betrothed to Joseph, was pregnant by the intervention of the Holy spirit. Her fiancee Joseph, although he was a just man and did not want to make her a public disgrace, was thinking of secretly breaking off the engagement. While he thought on these things, an angel appeared to him in a dream, saying :

When Joseph woke up he did as the angel had ordered him. He took Mary as his wife, but did not know her until after she had given birth to a son, who was named Jesus.

Luke 2:1 -
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. So with Mary , his wife, Joseph went up from Nazareth in Galilee to Bethlehem of Judea, because he belonged to the house and lineage of David.

This was in the year 6AD. In Jerusalem reigned king Herod the Great, who had been for the previous 18 months King of Palestine and Governor of the Roman guardianship.

One day knights who went about from city to village stopped in Nazareth: a small provincial town among the hills. They sounded the trumpet. When the inhabitants were all gathered around them, they declared with a loud voice:

Marie who was in her eighth month of pregnancy knew that the date of the census coincided with the date she was to deliver the baby.

Every year, on the 25th of Kislev, in Galilee children celebrated the festival of lights. Dressed in white robes, they lit torches and marched through the streets of Nazareth with lights in their hands.

Beeswax candles and small oil lamps were lit at nightfall. In the year 150AD , in the temple a similar lamp was found lit even though no one had replenished it with oil. This was eight days after it had been robbed and desecrated by the Greco-Syrians.

The great day finally arrived for the Bethleem departure. Early in the morning Joseph the carpenter and Mary started on their journey, taking with them Joseph's small gray donkey carrying on its back water, food, blankets and clothing supplies.

In spite of the winter, there were many travellers on the road because of the census. First they went through the small neighboring township of Naïm before going down the Jordan Valley from Salem. Mary and Joseph knew this route by heart, as they took it at least two or three times a year, accompagnied by neighbours and friends, to visit the large temple in Jerusalem to celebrate traditional Jewish Holidays.

Since light snow was falling on the mountains of Samaria, it was wiser to choose the highway along the Jordan, even though the route to Jerusalem via Shichem was the shortest. This highway had been built by Herod the Great to facilitate the Roman army's movements. It was more practicable, more travelled and warmer at this the beginning of winter than the route which joined Galilee to Judea passing the mountains of Samaria, a country hostile to the Jews of Jerusalem.

 
At nighttime , they stopped at an inn halfway between Salem and Jericho. At daybreak they continued their long trek, even though Mary was very tired. The most difficult part of the journey was going uphill from Jericho to Jerusalem. (This steep and winding road was where the ambush took place in Jesus' parable of the Good Samaritan.)

Mary began to suffer. She had shortness of breath and dizziness. She hung on to Joseph's arm who supported her with all his might. She prayed and maintained her faith in the Eternal One for renewed vigor. Early in the afternoon, they finally arrived at the foot of the enormous ramparts protecting the center of Jerusalem. The sun was high in the sky, and slowly warmed the earth which was numbed from the cold weather.

Mary felt her heart beat faster when she saw again Jerusalem, the old "HOLY CITY", where she had been born. So much remained engraved in her memory: these old streets, the white houses, and the shops where she had grown up in the arms of Anne and Joachim.

As if on fire, the temple doors sparkled on their hinges. The massive ochre stones which overhung the precipices had reddish reflections, as if embers were burning inside them and never going out.

They didn't stop for too long, because they needed to be in Bethlehem before nightfall to avoid danger on the way. They were relieved when they caught sight of the small town of Bethlehem on the hillside where Joseph was born.

 
As the sun was disappearing on the horizon, they entered the hamlet. While Mary sat down beside of the village fountain, Joseph went to look for a room to rent at the inns and homes of the area.

Alas, there were no more beds available. Rooms were being rented for the high prices in gold because of the huge gathering. Where was the spirit of hospitality? Everybody had refused him, even his former friends, with whom he attended synagogue and school. He had been away too long!

Besides who would be interested in a woman in labor, moaning in pain, and ready to deliver a baby? Completely discouraged, Joseph returned to Mary.

 
He seemed so sad that in spite of her pain Mary tried to comfort him. They refilled their water supply water at the only village fountain. Joseph knew the region perfectly well. As a youth tending sheep, he remembered seeing a cave in the rock at the entrance of the village.

Leading the way with lantern in hand , Joseph entered the small stable where the smell of fresh straw was in the air. After so many years, nothing much had changed in this stall that served as trough and shelter for animals during the winter.

In front of a wooden trough, an motionless ox stopped ruminating for an instant to look at these strange nocturnal visitors accompanied by a small donkey.

Joseph prepared a bed of straw for Mary, then he unloaded goatskins of water, blankets and clean towels that they brought with them for the impending childbirth.

Mary, stricken with pain, went to bed. While clenching her teeth with every contraction, the child came into the world. Joseph took the newborn and wiped him delicately with his thick craftsman fingers. As he lightly tapped him on the back, the child gave his first cry.

After Joseph wrapped the baby in swaddling clothes, he lean over toward Mary and gave her the child so she could take him in her arms and hold him close to her heart. Such intense joy came upon Mary that she forgot all about sufferng she had just endured!

Half a mile away, shepherds were assembled around a camp fire. Protectors of nature, draped in their large woolen coats, they warmed themselves over the flames, while gazing at the stars. Howerever this night it seemed as if the stars shone brighter than usual.

 
To their complete surprise an angel suddenly appeared to them saying: (Luke 2:10-16)

Suddenly the sky became illuminated as if it were daylight, and a multitude of angels and heavenly hosts appeared singing :

The shepherds hurried off and found Mary and Joseph with the small child lying in the manger. Touched by it all they glorified God.

Thirty three years later, about twelve miles from Bethlehem an innocent man and a prophet were crucified. The prophet had healed the sick and accomplished miracles. While this crucifixion was taking place a shepherd remembered from his youth that unforgettable night, a night where things happened as in a dream. It was a strange night filled with exceeding joy.

 
It came to pass as it was prophesied in Isaiah: Ch 7:14

...The Lord himself will give you "A SIGN" :

A virgin will become pregnant and will give birth to a son. She will call him Emmanuel - "God with us."

Ch. 9:6
For unto us a child is born , unto us a son is given
The government will rest on his shoulder
He will be called Wonderful Counsellor,
Mighty God - Everlasting Father - Prince of the Peace.

Ch. 11:1
A shoot will come out from the stump of Jesse
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him-
The Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The Spirit of counsel and of power,
The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Eternal One-

He will stand as a banner for the peoples,
and the nations will rally to him and his place of rest will be glorious.

 


Our small Christmas crèche...

 

7. CHRISTMAS NOW

 

Christmas, the FESTIVAL of LOVE.
We prepare family rituals as well as prepare ourselves spiritually for it...

Christmas memories! Christmases from our childhood,
with memories of past joy,
which is no longer and will never return.

Christmas, with its delicious-smelling fir tree, colourfully decorated,
with gifts at its foot and branches full of lights.

Christmas of intense joy, when we sang
good old time carols that we knew by heart.

A child is born ...
O Christmas tree...
Angels we have heard...
Silent night...

Christmas for all small children,
with mouths wide-open and sparkling eyes.

Christmas is old cathedrals with finely sculptured stones
and resounding organs.

Christmas is modest chapels, isolated by snow
and filled with devotion.

Christmas is in all the mangers in the world, none of which is alike,
but all are marvellous...

Christmas, when we remember that neighbours are near,
even if we don't get along well!

Christmas for those who will be born and
those who will leave this earth for the Eternal Garden...

Christmas for those who work and have no choice
in the matter because they must be there!

Christmas for those who are alone
for everyone is frightened of them!

Christmas for the poor who are unable to buy anything
for themselves because they are unemployed or aged!

Christmas for those who are slowly dying of hunger and
know tomorrow will be the same...

Christmas in the rice paddies of Mekong, in the African jungle,
in the desert sand, in the tundra of Siberia, in the summer of
Australia and on the mountain top of Cordillera in the Andes...

Christmas for prisoners who no longer want war,
who dream of escaping, to return home...

Christmas is for soldiers who put away their weapons.
Christmas is a time of prayer. One night
to remember the brotherhood of all men -- but how quickly we forget!

 

8. HERODE le Grand et la légende des trois : ROIS MAGES

 

Son père ANTIPATER 1er était un Cheikh d'une province située dans les steppes au sud de la Judée  : l'IDUMEE

Constatant la montée du pouvoir Asmonéen sur Israël, il préféra rapidement se faire convertir au judaïsme plutôt que de se voir annexer ses terres et son patrimoine ancestral.

Antipater 1er (le Père d'Hérode le Grand ) avait cinq enfants dont quatre entrèrent dans l'Histoire de la Palestine :

Le Général POMPEE qui restitua le trône royal de Judée à Hyrcan II en - 63 de notre ère, apprécia l'aide militaire, la diplomatie et le dévouement d'Antipater 1er et de ses deux garçons ( Phasaël et Hérode) qui savaient commander et se faire respecter par le peuple juif en cette période de troubles constants.

Comme ils se montrèrent " très dévoués " à la cause de ROME, Pompée, nomma le Père aux côtés du roi des juifs Hyrcan II comme un genre de gouverneur adjoint et il donna à ses deux fils : un commandement militaire.

 

Vous trouverez également sur AOL du même auteur un site avec toute :

 " l'HISTOIRE du SIECLE AVANT NOTRE ERE  
concernant l'Orient, la PALESTINE et ROME ..."

Un résumé des plus beaux récits de l'Historien FLAVIUS JOSEPHE

Lien direct vers le site Hérode

 

HERODE : un MONARQUE " sans pitié "

 

C'est parce qu'il se savait " détesté " du peuple juif qu'il écrasa impitoyablement tout début de révolte, vivant dans la peur quotidienne d'être empoisonné ou assassiné.

Il fit exécuter son épouse préférée et trois de ses enfants !

Il eut dix épouses, dont neuf à la fois. D'ailleurs une atmosphère de haine, de rivalités et d'intrigues avait envahi tous les appartements de son palais royal de Jéricho, ce climat était hélas soigneusement entretenu par la mère et Salomée, soeur d'Hérode.

Celles-ci étaient très jalouses de MARIAMNE, une princesse juive asmonéenne de sang royal qui descendait directement des princes et anciens rois Asmonéens qui avaient gouverné Israël avant la première invasion romaine.

Et pourtant un jour, l'innocente Mariamne fut dénoncée par la soeur d'Hérode comme l'ayant trompé durant son absence. Hérode la fit exécuter mais douta toujours de sa culpabilité.

La nuit sa conscience lui faisait revoir les fantômes et les scènes de ceux qu'il avait fait atrocement torturer pour leur soutirer des aveux !

En l'an -7, il fit exécuter ses fils Alexandre et Aristobule IV ses deux enfants qu'il avait eu de la princesse Mariamne, sa 2è épouse dans l'ordre des mariages.

En l'an -6 de notre ère, c'est son fils aîné : ANTIPATER III qu'il fit juger par Varus qui le reconnut coupable et le livra à son père. Jeté en prison, il sera également exécuté cinq jours avant la mort du Roi, son père.

Autres exemples de cruautés :

 

Concernant : le massacre des "petits Innocents"

 

Matthieu ch. 2 v.1

Jésus étant né à Bethléem en Judée au temps du roi Hérode voici que des mages (des astonomes) venus d'Orient, arrivèrent à Jérusalem ...

Il ne faut " pas prendre à la lettre " la visite des trois Mages et le massacre des Saints Innocents, mais pour en comprendre l'Esprit il faut la placer dans le contexte de l'époque et les rapporter aux destinataires à qui ces lettres étaient adressés !

 

CONTEXTE de l'EPOQUE :

 

Lorsque Matthieu écrivit son Evangile les chrétiens étaient à la fois persécutés par les juifs et par les romains que Néron avait accusé injustement d'avoir mis le feu à la ville de Rome.

En cette période d'occupation romaine : croire c'est s'engager et exprimer ses idées parfois en mots à double sens. N'oubliez pas que Jésus a souvent enseigné en " PARABOLES " ... donc en dépersonnalisant les acteurs de l'histoire pour ne blesser personne, d'ailleurs les gens comprenaient mieux lorsqu'on leur parlait à l'aide d'images et de symboles.

Que le " méchant " roi Hérode ait pu tuer tous les premiers-nés de Bethléem et de sa région lui ressemble et il n'est pas un juif qui ne l'en aurait pas cru capable ! A un détail près c'est qu'un tel massacre aurait obligatoirement " laissé des traces " dans l' Histoire de la Palestine ou dans les écrits de l'époque...

Mais en ce qui concerne l'ETOILE des trois Mages, il y a eu effectivement un phénomène astral exceptionnel et visible dans le ciel de Jérusalem et dans celui de tout l'Orient il s'agit de la :

 

conjonction de quatre planètes :

 JUPITER - SATURNE - URANUS - MARS  
 
alignées dans le signe du POISSON (!)

 

Ce qui donna aux astronomes de l'époque l'impression de voir : la naissance d'une étoile de grande magnitude qui semblait " bouger dans le ciel " de la nuit.

Détail important :

Ce phénomène a atteint son point culminant en intensité dans le ciel à la date du 15 décembre de l'an -7 avant l'an 0, or lorsque nous recherchons dans les cartes du ciel programmées sur ORDINATEURS la date du 15 décembre de l'an -7, nous constatons que les logiciels ramènent automatiquement ce phénomène au " 15 décembre de l'an -6 " puisque pour eux, l'an 0 est inexistant et donc non comptabilisé.

 


la conjonction Jupiter-Saturne

 

Nous savons que Jésus est né avant la mort du Roi Hérode et cette conjonction apparue dans la constellation du Poisson peut effectivement avoir un rapport avec le phénomène décrit par Matthieu au moment où Jésus est né à Béthléem. Est-ce vraiment un hasard si Jésus inaugure l'ère du poisson et si les premiers chrétiens ont précisément adopté le signe du poisson comme leur symbole de reconnaissance ?

 

DESTINATAIRES DES TEXTES :

 

Durant les dix premières années les premiers chrétiens étaient composés exclusivement de juifs convertis au catholicisme! Ils avaient connu et vu Jésus durant sa vie publique ou du moins recueilli auprès de leurs contemporains les témoignages de tous ceux qui l'avaient approché et vu les miracles de leurs yeux...

Ils adoptèrent le christianisme comme une sorte de réforme ou de complément " à leur croyance d'origine. Jésus avait bien précisé : " le salut vient des juifs, je ne suis pas venu ABOLIR la Loi et le message des prophètes mais les PERFECTIONNER ... "

Or ces juifs attendaient " un Messie, un nouvel Elie, que certains voyaient comme un libérateur une sorte de Nouveau Moïse qui serait le guide et le chef du peuple d'Israël ... "

Dans l'esprit de Matthieu, Jésus est ce nouveau Moïse qui mène son peuple vers le ciel (la nouvelle Terre promise ) en sortant du pays  (la Terre) où les chrétiens vivent en exil  (comme chez Pharaon).

Comme Moïse, Jésus échappe symboliquement au massacre des premiers-nés juifs, et ce n'est pas un hasard si celui que Jean le Baptiste appelle " l'Agneau de Dieu sera immolé à la Pâque Juive " pour que son sang versé sauve tous les enfants de Dieu, comme celui de l'agneau placé au dessus de la porte des enfants des Juifs, a permis aux anges exterminateurs de faire la différence entre les premiers-nés juifs épargnés et les premiers-nés égyptiens condamnés à mourir ...

Sans le vouloir, Matthieu continue de nous donner après vingt siècles de christianisme une preuve d'authenticité de son Evangile par le genre de dialogues et l'esprit qui anima les premiers chrétiens qui ont suivi les apôtres après le départ du Maître.

N'oublions pas que Jésus, Marie et les apôtres étaient de vrais juifs observant la LOI de Moïse ce qui les autorisait à pénétrer librement dans le Temple pour participer aux fêtes juives, dans l'enceinte où toute personne non juive aurait risqué sa vie.

 

ANALYSE DES TEXTES CITES PAR MATTHIEU

 

Matthieu s'est donc efforcé de démontrer que les textes des Ecritures de l'Ancien Testament concernant le Messie écrits par les prophètes s'appliquent bien à la vie de Jésus :
Prophète Osée (ch. 11 v 1)

Quand Israël était jeune, je l'aimais  et j'appelai " mon fils " hors d'Egypte mais " ils " (les juifs) se sont éloignés de ceux qui les appelaient ...

Le Prophète Juif Osée fait bien mention dans sa prophétie d'un fils que Dieu appelle hors d'Egypte (ce fils symbolise le peuple juif que Dieu a affranchi de l'esclavage) - Matthieu a choisi ce passage pour montrer que le peuple se comporte comme un fils ingrat qui s'éloigne de son Père bienfaiteur, malgré l'amour que Dieu lui a témoigné.

Prophète Jérémie ch. 33 v 15

En ces jours-là et en ces temps là, Je ferai éclore à David un germe de Justice qui pratiquera la justice et l'équité dans le pays. David ne manquera jamais d'un successeur, assis sur le trône de la Maison d'Israël.

Concernant la période Jérémie :

Nous sommes en - 585. Jérusalem est assiégée par les Chaldéens de Nabuchodonosor II. Le temple de Salomon sera pillé et détruit, le peuple sera déporté en Babylonie. Le peuple de Dieu sera réduit à l'esclavage et devra exécuter les lourds travaux que les babyloniens ne veulent pas faire.

Le prophète Jérémie dont la vie est menacée par les babyloniens va s'enfuir en Egypte pour échapper à la colère de Nabuchodonosor dont les juifs viennent d'assassiner le gouverneur qu'il a mis en place !

Le royaume de Juda s'effondre mais pourtant par la bouche du prophète Jérémie, Dieu redonne un espoir de liberté à son peuple en exil.

Jérémie : ch. 31 v 15

On a entendu des cris à Rama - Rachel pleure ses enfants, elle refuse d'être consolée car ils ne sont plus. Dans ce texte Jérémie annonce la mort des petits-enfants de Rachel, c'est à dire les juifs déportés à Babylone.

Rachel est une des quatre épouses du Patriarche Jacob, précisément celle qui fut enterrée sur le chemin d'Ephrata : là où se construira plus tard : Bethléem la ville où naquit David - l'ancêtre du futur Messie selon les écritures juives.

Prophète Michée : ch. 5 v. 1

Et toi Bethleem Ephrata - Petit village entre les milliers de Juda de TOI sortira celui qui dominera Israël (Allusion à la naissance du futur Messie libérateur à Bethleem)

Prophètie d'Esaïe : ch. 60 V. 1 - 62  

Lève-toi Jérusalem, car elle est venue ta lumière
Sur toi se lève l' " ETOILE du Seigneur "
Les Nations marchent vers ta lumière et les
rois vers la splendeur de ton aurore

Quand viendront jusqu'à toi les trésors de l'étranger
les chameaux en caravanes déferleront
sur ton sol  et les dromadaires de Madian et d'Epha.
Les foules viendront de Saba portant
de l'or et de l'encens en proclamant
la louange du Seigneur.

 

Matthieu essaie d'attribuer TOUTES ces citations à la personne de Jésus puisqu'il le considère comme le Messie des Ecritures et la personne que les prophètes voulaient désigner dans leurs messages prophétiques.

D'ailleurs Matthieu écrira l'arbre généalogique de Jésus en le faisant descendre tout simplement au roi David et mentionnera comme ancêtres de Jésus : les noms des rois juifs qui ont régné entre David et l'Exil.

Il est de toute façon difficile d'interpréter ce texte d'Esaïe avec exactitude, car le Royaume de SABA a complètement disparu des cartes géographiques depuis la période après Salomon et on se demande si cette reconnaissance de peuples arabes n'est pas plutôt futuriste dans l'esprit du prophète Esaïe qui voit ici une fusion des nations dans une seule gloire à Dieu ?

Contrairement à Matthieu, Jean a un esprit plus mystique. Pour lui l'enfance de Jésus n'est pas le plus important de son message ! Jésus ne s'est pas fait homme pour montrer sa grandeur et sa royauté mais pour nous inciter à mieux nous aimer durant notre vie terrestre.

C'est pourquoi tout son message sera essentiellement basé sur le commandement nouveau : aimez-vous les uns les autres... Pour Jean c'est " l'essentiel du message ". Fais cela et TU VIVRAS (éternellement)!

Il faut dire que Jean a écrit son texte vers l'an 80, il restait alors peu de juifs libres dans l'empire romain et la plupart des communautés d'Asie Mineure où il vécut en exil, étaient surtout composées de gentils = des païens convertis au Christianisme.

Comme les santons de Provence symbolisent notre présence et tous les personnages débonnaires autour de la crèche (symbole de paix) ces touchantes figurines nous font participer davantage au mystère de Noël.

Toujours est-il que cette merveilleuse légende de trois rois-mages de couleur de peau différente à la recherche d'une lumière dans le ciel, est un vibrant appel à l'union des hommes et à la paix qui pourraient un jour régner sur cette Terre.

Pour s'en persuader, il suffit d'ouvrir les yeux et de regarder un instant toute la lumière qui brille dans les yeux de nos enfants pendant qu'ils contemplent la bouche ouverte la crèche et ses mystérieux personnages venus tout droit du pays des mille et une nuits.

Et pendant que Matthieu fait partir la sainte Famille en Egypte, l'évangéliste Luc précise une seconde version du voyage de la Sainte Famille - Ch .2 v 39 :

Lorsqu'ils eurent accompli : tout ce qu'ordonnait la LOI du Seigneur, Joseph et Marie retournèrent en Galilée, à Nazareth leur ville... "

 

9. Présentation  de  Jésus au  Temple

 

Luc 2 v. 22 :

Les jours de purification (de Marie) étant accomplis, Joseph et Marie portèrent l'enfant au temple à Jérusalem pour le présenter au Seigneur. Et comme tout premier-né (selon la Loi de Moïse) ils le rachetèrent au Seigneur contre deux tourterelles.

Le jeune couple venant d'être recensé à Béthléem, revient à Jérusalem (où Marie a encore de la famille) et lorsque les jours légaux de purification furent écoulés, le couple se présenta au temple pour " racheter leur premier né " à l'Eternel. Comme ils n'étaient pas très fortunés, ils le rachetèrent modestement contre deux colombes.

Luc 2 v. 34 :

Or au même moment un vieillard vint au temple " poussé par l'Esprit ". Il prit Jésus dans ses bras et rendit grâce au ciel en disant à haute voix :

- Maintenant Seigneur tu peux laisser aller ton serviteur. Car mes yeux ont vu le salut que tu as préparé devant tous les peuples, la lumière pour éclairer les nations

Combien de fois le destin ou la main de l'Eternel nous a-t-elle fait rencontrer tel homme, ou telle femme à tel instant, à tel endroit ... dans des circonstances surprenantes ?

Et s'adressant à Marie le vieillard va être illuminé de l'Esprit et va prophétiser un message qui les concerne directement :

Mais plus terrible encore cette parole adressée à Marie :

Marie ne comprendra pas cette prédiction de mauvaise augure, mais pourtant elle la gardera gravée au fond de sa mémoire et longtemps après lorsqu'elle rapportera ces phrases au médecin évangéliste Luc d'Antioche elle saura que le vieillard avait vu juste et que cette épée lui a un jour réellement " transpercé l'âme et brisé le coeur ! ..."

Et la Sainte Famille retourna à Nazareth. C'est là que le bébé Jésus a grandi, qu'il a fait ses premiers pas, dit sa première prière au Père dans les Cieux.

Le soir, lorsqu'il sera fatigué, Marie le prendra dans ses bras et le serrera tout contre son coeur, comme l'image que représentent tant de tableaux et de sculptures du monde entier.

Alors il écoutera Marie lui chanter une de ces douces mélodies que connaissent toutes les mamans du monde avant de fermer les paupières dans le petit lit en bois que son père adoptif lui a sculpté avec plein d'amour.


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