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Saturday, November 7, 2020

 11-7-2020 Joseph’s Dream

No, I don’t mean the sheaves.  Not that Joseph.  I mean Joseph, the carpenter of Nazareth.

Matthew 1:18-25

This is how the birth of Jesus happened.  When His mother Mary had been espoused (engaged) to Joseph, as they were not yet living together, she was found to be with child of the Holy Ghost.

Her husband Joseph was a just man and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.

But while he thought on these things, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream saying “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost (Isa. 7:14).

And she shall bring forth a son whom you shall name Jesus for He shall save His people from their sins.” 

 Now all this was done so that the word of the prophet of the Lord might be fulfilled which was:

“Behold, a virgin shall be with child and shall bring forth a son and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which is interpreted ‘God is with us’”

Then being raised from his sleep, Joseph did as the angel said and took upon himself his wife.

And he did not know her until she had brought forth her first born son and named Him ‘Jesus’.

In those days, families would arrange marriages between a man and a woman.  I guess this was kind of like an engagement for Joseph and Mary as they were not living together as man & wife, that is until he brought her into his home. 

It was during this engagement period that Mary was found to be pregnant.  We know that when the angel told Mary she would have a child, she replied that she had not been in an intimate relationship with any man, how could this be (Luke 1:34)?  A woman, untouched by any man and now is with child, how could this be (conceived, of course, by the Holy Ghost)? 

How did God create the world?  He spoke and the Holy Ghost put His Words into action (Gen. 1:1-31) so God spoke and put His Word into Mary’s womb.  In the natural, though pregnant, she remained a true virgin!

Let’s take a closer look at Joseph.  Joseph knew that, if he brought Mary’s condition to public knowledge, people who engaged in pre-marital or extra-marital activities could be stoned – to death (John 8:3-11).  He wasn’t going to let this happen.  So, before anybody else could realize what had happened, he brought her into his home as his wife – knowing that she was with child.  Realizing the lack of virginity in a wife, a Jewish man could divorce his wife (Deut. 22:13-30, 1 Corinth. 7:32-40, Matt. 19:7-9).  Joseph did not, but kept Mary.  He decided to keep her as his wife though all he had was the angel’s word. The angel’s word was from God.  Dare I say that Joseph believed God? 

Now, the angel says two things to Joseph about Jesus.  First, Joseph is told to call his, yet to be born, son “Jesus”.  This is New Testament so the word used for Jesus is the Greek word ‘Iesous’ (G2424) which is derived from the Hebrew word ‘Yeohowshuwa’ (H3091) and ‘yasha’ (H3467).  Today, so we see it as Jesus, meaning ‘God-saved’ and ‘preserve, save, get victory’ (respectively from the Hebrew root).  So we translate Jesus as savior.  Second is Emmanuel which Matthew translates for us as ‘God is with us’.  The base words here are ‘Emmanouel’ (G1694) & Immanuwel (H6005), either of which is a combination of im (H5973) and el (H410) which mean ‘with us is God’.

Understanding that this was prophecy from Isaiah, Joseph, believing prophecy, took Mary as His wife (so none could accuse her) and did not have intimate relations with her until after Jesus was born.  No chance of misconstruing who was, or was not, the father.  Mary was a virgin before conception until after the time that Jesus had been born.

Though people may assume that Jesus was the son of Joseph (Matt. 13:54-57).  Joseph knew who Jesus’ real Father is and Mary was spared the disgrace of being accused (therefore stoned).

Now, Jesus also knew who His real Father is.  When He was about twelve, his family had gone to Jerusalem to celebrate the feast of the Passover and after, when they had travelled about a day, headed home, they realized that Jesus wasn’t with them.  Not finding Him with any of the other relatives, they went back to Jerusalem and found Him talking with the doctors (G1320 – didaaskalos -  doctor, teacher, master).  Mary explained that they were worried about Him, but Jesus asked “Why were you looking for me?  Didn’t you know that I should be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:42-49) Jesus spoke not of His step-dad but, of course, His real Father.

So, now, when we look at the two names the angel of God gave to Joseph we draw a conclusion that, from the Old Testament, God is with us and in the New Testament, to save us.  In short, God, Himself, came in the flesh to save us from our sin!  You ask “How can this be?”  Can we separate Father from His Word which is put into action via the Holy Ghost? 

An example from my youth.  A bunch of us were together.  I think I was saying that I could take a punch to the gut, so one of the boys punched me in the stomach.  It knocked my breath out – completely.  My lips moved, but no sound came out.  I was trying to tell them that I was OK, just trying to get my breath back.  Father used this incident to explain (later) how Father, Son and Holy Ghost work together.  We know that when someone speaks to us, the breath from their mouth carries that sound to our ears.  The outer ear funnels that sound into the middle ear which stimulates the inner ear causing vibrations enabling us to hear the noise or words.

Briefly, God speaks.  What does He speak?  What do we speak when we talk?  Words!  Our breath carries our words to others so they can hear what we say.  If you will, our breath puts our words into action.  Now, the only action our words can take is to enable someone else to hear what we say.  When we speak, we stimulate the air around us.  If you will, that means our words ‘shift’ the atmosphere.  God, being God, when He speaks Words, His breath (the Holy Ghost) shifted not only the atmosphere but everything that was, bringing everything into being, existence.  The big difference is that it takes some sort of physical action to back up the words when we speak (James 2:17-19).  When Father speaks, the Holy Ghost shifts the atmosphere to accomplish what Father has said.  All we do is moves the air around us.  When God speaks, the Holy Ghost moves everything to accomplish God’s Word.  We should be careful of what we say, though, for we don’t know when words will come to pass (Prov. 18:21).  God’s Words don’t come back void (Isa. 55:11) and whether we realize it or not, He honors our words and brings them into being. 

Joseph had a dream.  He did as the angel directed so our Lord could be born into this world, as a human, to redeem us from our sins.  Joseph’s dream helps us to understand John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and he Word was God.”

Joseph of Nazareth had a dream, or a vision (if you will).  His dream fulfilled prophecy that God (Himself) was coming into this world to redeem us back into His kingdom!        

Concerning his bride to be, Joseph did right in the sight of God.  He chose to keep Mary as his wife even though the law allowed him to ‘dump’ her.  Joseph demonstrated that he was most likely to follow the ‘Spirit’ of the law rather than just the ‘letter’ of the law.  We may conclude that Joseph was not just a ‘just man’ but a righteous man therefore a good role model for the child Jesus.

Just something to think about in respects to the unity of the Godhead and how Father works in our lives.  And, being righteous through Jesus Christ, maybe we should be following Joseph’s example.  Hmmmm?


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