Kenneth Copeland - Why Did God Choose Nazareth?
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— Hello and merry Christmas everybody. I'm Kenneth Copeland, and this is Greg Stephens. And this is the class. And this is the Believer's Voice of Victory broadcast. Praise God. So it's Christmas. And 2023 is in the rearview mirror. Whatever you need to get done, you better get it done in a hurry. Amen. I always look forward to it, because this ministry began in January, January the 24th, in 1967. So anyway that just means I've been at it a while. But in studying Christmas and the fact that God in the beginning, God. No, in the beginning, Elohim, plural. Let us make man. So anyway, everything in the first covenants has been called the Old Testament or the old covenant, but just study it. In fact, the English translators, I think really I think they were trying to get over the fact that this is a testament, it's a will and testament, that it is the absolute truth. But they missed the fact that it's blood covenant. But you have to go inward into the text to find that. But then that's what it's all about and the timing is impeccable. Jesus said, "Only the Father knows". He's the only one that knows when it'll happen. But then he said, "This Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached to all nations as a witness, then the end shall come", and now we have the technology to do that. Amen, glory to God. And before we get through, we'll talk some more about that. But now let's talk about Nazareth. They came because it was that it might be fulfilled. Because he'd be called a Nazarene. So that's why they went to Nazareth. Let's talk about Nazareth from Rick Renner's study. The village of Nazareth scripture tells us the Angel, Gabriel came to Mary she was living in Galilee in a very obscure town called Nazareth. Although Nazareth is named in the New Testament, very little is known about it from ancient sources. It was such a small agricultural village that archeological research concludes that in Jesus' time, no more than 120 to 150 people ever lived there. Well, he was raised there. Everybody knew the whole family. They knew he was a very nice boy. But then he went back to his own hometown and they said, We know him. In other words, how could he be... How could he fulfill these scriptures... Because he sat there and told him he's the Messiah, I am anointed. God has anointed me. So that's what he told them right then, he began to preach. They just infuriated the whole bunch. Who does he think he is? He knew exactly who he was. And how did he find it out? Through the different scriptures he found himself in the book of Isaiah. And that day he quoted the book by Isaiah from the 61st chapter.
— Nazareth is quoted in there. The Hebrew root is Netzer means a root or branch. And so even Isaiah is quoting the city where he's going to read Isaiah to them. So it had to work that way. And now Nazareth is derived as Greg said, from the Hebrew word Netzer, a word that means a shoot or a branch. Isaiah 11:1. Isaiah gave a messianic prophecy and said, "A shoot will spring up from the stem of Jesse and a branch from his roots will bear fruit". So whether we know it or not, or whether we understand it or not, every jot and tittle, we would say dotted every "I" and crossed every "T", every word of it. And we are blessed to have copies of it. It's several translations. We can check it out in different ways. And so now this... The word branch in this verse Netzer. Nazareth called a place where a branch... of David lived referring to a branch of David's family in 100 B.C, one clan from the line of David did move there. So Nazareth did indeed become home to one branch of David's line. Oh, isn't this good.
— It is good.
— I tell you, it's just so rich. Luke 2:4, Joseph was of the house and lineage of David. Gabriel stated that Christ would be born of a virgin, which no male involvement, that her divine offspring would be given to the throne of the father of David. Now, he did a lot of research on Mary, where she went to school, her parents, and I've heard people say, "Well, his parents were obviously poor". No, they were not. She came from a wealthy family and Rick names her father and her mother, where she came from and where she was schooled. I wish... But thank God for Rick.
— Yeah, both sides of Jesus family, Mother's side and father's side come from David. But there are two different sides of the tree. And we'll get into this next week. This is how we had to have a virgin birth, it's required, and how God got around a trap Satan tried to lay, Satan can't ever win, but God got around it through Mary, through a virgin birth. So we'll tell you about that next week during Christmas.
— That's so cool.
— But you're right, she was from an influential family. Her cousin is married to who should have been the high priest in their day. What we talked about last time in Luke, Zacharias. So she's married to a Levite, although she's from Judah. And it will be important for Mary to marry in Judah. And I'll set that up. It'll be important.
— Glory to God. Thank You, Jesus. Now, then, here are some powerful words. Let's talk about here in the book of Luke in the first chapter there. And well, you know, thank You, Lord I'll do that. "Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things... most excellent Theophilus".
— Acts Chapter 1.
— Acts Chapter 1. "The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:" So this is very extensive research on his part. I mean, and he traveled with Paul. And like we said, you have to know the different languages that the man spoke in order to interview all these people. So because a whole lot of them were not bilingual. So he spoke Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic.
— Most likely Latin.
— Well, yes.
— Listen, he's traveled with Paul. Paul is one of the most educated rabbis of all time. He's not going to have... I was going to say they're not going to have some dummy travel writing stuff down.
— He was traveling with him. And this was a man to whom the apostle Paul would reveal things that they could sit and discuss these things together and they could travel together and go into different parts of the world and speak whatever language was there... When they went to Malta. Of course, when they were there, they had to have interpreters there, what a magnificent book.
— I had somebody asked me, "Why do you have so many notes when you go with Brother Copeland? You have tons of verses and notes"? I said, "Because I'm sitting with Kenneth Copeland," Luke and Theophilus they would have been ready with a bunch of stuff sitting with Paul. I know what it feels like.
— Now, we see all of this. We've talked about Nazareth. What about the city of Sepphoris, is that the way you pronounce that?
— Yeah. What do you know about that city? Did you ever hear of it before? It is interesting that Christian tour groups almost always include Nazareth in their itinerary, but hardly ever mention the ruins of Sepphoris, which lie less than four miles away. Yet Sepphoris was a capital of Galilee and so sophisticated as a city that the historian Josephus referred to it as the jewel of Galilee or the ornament of Galilee. The reason I mention Sepphoris is that it plays an important role in this story. So let's see what we know about the City of Sepphoris and what relationship to Nazareth that played a role in the account of Jesus birth. And he goes to talk about Sepphoris, the capital of the Northern District of Galilee. So importantly, it was the principal seat of power in Jewish Sanhedrin and so forth... 4 miles from Nazareth.
— That's right.
— And it was a city sitting on a hill.
— Very modern, would have had all the columns that you expect to see in Greece.
— And lights...
— Always be lit up. Where have we heard that? A shining city on a hill, Sepphoris. That's what I said. Whoa. And the conquest of Pompeii, Herod the Great and so forth and so on. So the reason this is so important is like what Rick said, this is the rest of the story and all of the pieces come together. So this copy of mine that Rick gave me, this was the first copy. So now from now on, I teach my children and grandchildren all at Christmas out of this book.
— There were ten cities in the time of Jesus in the first century called The Cities of the Decapolis. You can read it in your New Testament. They're largely Greek or Latin cities. Well, the mad man who had the legion of Demons, he's from that region. And so the Jews don't have a whole lot to do with them. But there are Jews there. But they are what we call Hellenistic Jews. In other words, they've been influenced by Greek culture. Many of them took Greek names. James, you know, Mark, different names that are Greek rather than Hebrew. But a lot of people are Jewish that lived there, but they're very sophisticated, largely very wealthy cities with bathhouses and amphitheaters. And you can go Beit She'an is one of those. You can tour the ruins of those places now. But Jesus ministered all along there. The Greeks were ready to receive him at one point because they saw miracles and things happen. And so this city is one of those cities. Tiberius would have been another one. So you'll get little hints of this, Caesarea Philippi, where he says, "Upon this rock I'll build my church and the gates of hell should not prevail against it". So there were Greek temples in all of these places. It's not a place that Jesus would have lived, but it's a place that his father would have done work, it's a place they would have gone to from time to time. It's a place he definitely saw.
— Rick brings out the fact that the word translated, "Carpenter" is also the word for technology. So he could have been an architect as well as a carpenter. And so did he help build that city?
— Likely, it's likely. Yes, likely. And they had arches and they had columns and they had frescoes and they had running water and they had sewage systems and they had steam rooms and bathhouses. This was not cavemen.
— That's right. The only part about this, the only one was a caveman. Jesus was born in a cave. And it... those caves were hollowed out places, very large, and the shepherds protected their sheep inside those caves. And so Jesus was born there.
— In Judea when Rome destroys Jerusalem and Israel in 70 A.D., beginning about 66 to 70 A.D., the Israelis will run and they'll run to the caves in the Judean wilderness. How we get the Dead Sea Scrolls? The Qumran? So they're used to running into the Judean...
— That's were those were hidden within those cave.
— Yes, sir, in the Judean caves. And this is exactly where he was born. In one of those shepherds' caves. David knew all about them, because he hid from Saul in them. So we yesterday we'll mention and I'll touch briefly on this in the Gospel of Luke chapter one, verse five, we're talking about Zacharias, though. "A certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous". That phrase of the course of Abia is critical. When you understand that phrase...
— Now where are you?
— I'm in Luke chapter one, verse five.
— Oh yeah, verse 5.
— "There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia:" The priesthood rotated Brother Copeland, class, the priesthood rotated and I can't remember if there were eight or nine courses you would... How many courses there were, but they would rotate and do a week at the temple and then they would go back to the Galilee or back to wherever they lived and work as a priest there. But they would rotate, high priest stayed the same, but the priest working in the temple would rotate and they were on a rotation basis. Now, Josephus and other historians in 70 A.D. when the temple was destroyed, tells us what course was on duty when the temple was destroyed. So if we know what course that was, we can do the math backwards and find out when Zacharias would have been working in the temple and when this all happened. And so by doing the math, I can figure out pretty close when John and Jesus were both born. So Mary would have conceived, John we know was full term, scripture tells us, Jesus is full term. When the fullness of time had come, he was born and God had to move on Caesar to move them out of Nazareth and get them down to Bethlehem because it had to be fulfilled.
— Because it had to be fulfilled what Micah the Prophet had said.
— That's exactly right. So when we talk about this, we now know that Mary would have conceived during the feast of dedication. Now, what one is that? Well, that happens to be what we know now is Hanukkah. She would have conceived by the Lord during the feast of dedication, meaning he would have been born probably then in September after that. So that's also the Festival of Lights. So the Light of the World was conceived in a woman during the Festival of Lights and the dedication. This is why she would have gone to the temple. The probability odds of one man fulfilling over 300 prophecies in a 33 year time span. It's not a calculable.
— Well, not only him, but it had to be a certain man, a certain woman, that the planning of it was before the foundation of the world. And he had it all put together. And we know that from the plural creation of the world.
— That's right. When that angel came to Zacharias that day in Luke chapter one, that's the first angelic visit in the New Covenant.
— The very first time. And it's so serious he shuts his mouth.
— Yeah, well, he had to. So here we've got a barren couple like Abraham and Sarah. So we're repeating. We have a pattern happening. And this priest, he's offering the sacrifices. He's doing all this stuff. And that's when the angel approached him while he was tending the table of incense. That's when the angel appears to him. Who says that they were blameless, they had prayed for a child. Now, he didn't laugh, but he doesn't fully believe. So this is why the angel... The angel shut his mouth. And that's New Covenant, guys. Don't think that... because he can't grade on the curb, Brother Copeland, he's on a timeline. He doesn't have time to mess with this. We don't have 25 years for you to be fully persuaded.
— It has to be accurate to the second. So he had to close his mouth. And then as you follow through it and we'll get there before it's over, he lost his hearing too and when I saw that, I thought... I haven't decided in my spirit yet why that took place, but I expect, we know it's his fault. And anyway, but we see that that happened. "The angel answering said, I am Gabriel". Oh, yeah. So the messenger, an Archangel of God. The messenger Angel. The same one that came to Daniel. The very same, the messenger Angel. And it's very interesting what happened there, maybe we'll touch that before this week is over with. Anyway, I am Gabriel. Boy, I can just hear him, don't you know, he's standing there looking at him. And he didn't say that politely.
— No, he didn't.
— No, he did not.
— He said that forcefully.
— Now he spoke to Mary. And again, how do we know all this? Because Luke interviewed Mary at Ephesus. Amen.
— I like this. He gave him his assignment too in verse 15 of chapter one. This is Gabriel talking again. He says, "For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink;" God called him to be a Nazarite, a Nazarite vow, "and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb". I mean, Gabriel gave him his assignment right there to the priest. That priest should have known everything about it. There should have been, be unto me like it was with Mary.
— Yeah. Praise God. But he was an old man. And I'm thinking, what am I going to tell Elizabeth?
— Well, he even says that in verse eight. I'm an old man. That's just confession.
— She's not going to believe me. I don't know of course what he said, but we're out of time, anyway. Praise God. Thank You, Jesus. We'll be back in just a few moments. Halleluiah, Glory to God.