I make it no secret that my favorite authors are Brock and Bodie Thoene. I love their World War 2 series (what’s the plural of “series” anyway? Serai? Serieses?), but I almost love more their A.D. Chronicles. I’ve mentioned them here before – they’re so worth your time to read. They put a whole new spin on the time surrounding Jesus’ life here on earth. They are Jewish history savants – I have learned so much about the Jews and have such a deep, deep respect for them from reading these “simple” (I use that word ever so lightly) novels.
To celebrate Christmas, I dug out the 4th, 5th, and 6th books in this series.
They are all focused on the births of John and Jesus, from the angel coming to Zachariah in the temple to Joseph and Mary’s flight to Egypt and the murder of all the baby boys in Bethlehem. I tell you, you will never read the verses about “Rachel mourning for her children” the same again after you read these books. The description of a shepherd’s wife named Rachel hiding in a well with her baby boy while listening to babies being slammed into concrete above her head will forever be with you when you read those simple, quick verses in Scripture.
I know I used to never really think much about the political climate surrounding Jesus’ birth until I read these books. It was not a sweet, pretty time in the history of the nation of Israel. King Herod was evil and insane and paranoid – not a good mix. The Romans didn’t really care about the Jews and crucifixions were rampant. You dared not speak your mind about King Herod or talk about the future coming of Messiah for fear of those being the last words you say.
The book has some interesting thoughts. Some of them are most definitely true. Some could be – I, personally, haven’t done the research to know if they’re true or not. However, they very well could be, so I think it gives us a bigger imagination of what the surrounding events could’ve been like. Here’s a few examples [stuff in blue are things I’m not sure are true or not]:
- Herod had the genealogical records of the Jews burned by his henchman, then decided he needed the records again, so that’s why he ordered the census.
- All the stars (constellations) and planets have Jewish names. [This I do know: Jewish astronomers used to read the stars to get signs from God.] In the book, the Magi are astronomers from Persia who are reading the stars and the turning of the planets and in doing so, they read a sign from God that the Messiah has been born. It’s not just a single star, but a whole meshing of planetary objects that have come together to showcase the birth of the Son of God. [It goes along with the verses in Psalms about the heavens themselves declaring the glory of God.]
- The father of Joseph the father of Jesus was a man named Jacob. Joseph the father of Jesus was told in a dream to take Mary as his wife. He is compared frequently in the books to Joseph, the Dreamer of the book of Genesis, whose father was also Jacob (Israel).
- Joseph and Mary had to go through 9 months of Jewish festivals, knowing all the while that these celebrations that point to a coming Messiah were in the process of being fulfilled – yet they really couldn’t say a word about it!
- A few months before Jesus’ birth, during a festival, some of the Jewish rebels tore down a statue Herod had put on top of the Temple. This caused a riot and massacre of hundreds of Jews. Herod crucified even more who were involved in the destruction of his statue.
- Basically every word in Scripture in Hebrew has a meaning. And the meanings all point to the coming of Jesus as Messiah. For those Jews that were truly seeking Christ, they could’ve easily pointed Him out when He arrived – prophecies were crystal clear for those who were looking.
The book uses a lot of Hebrew words and it explains a lot of Hebrew Scripture, which I find just fascinating. God used Hebrew for the Old Testament for a very specific purpose. You can say so much in Hebrew with just one word. A cool example is this:
The first word of Torah [the Hebrew Scriptures – our Genesis] is? BeRESHiYT which is 6 Hebrews letters: bet, resh, alef, sheen, yod, and tav. The whole word means: “in the Beginning.” But, if you take the letters apart, you get: Bet Resh – Son. Alef Sheen – foundation. Yod Tav – who. Bet Resh Alef – created. “… son… heir of the Father…from foundation…who…created…So, you see, within the Hebrew word In the Beginning is also the identity of the Creator. He is The Son. He is The Heir. He has existed From the Foundation. He is The Word. The Creator. The Son and Heir is one in being with Elohim…”
The first word of the Bible and look what treasure it holds! Isn’t our God amazing?
And to think – this God came to our earth as a tiny baby. What wondrous love is this?? What an amazing God we have.