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" Joy to the World "
    "And the angel said to them...I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord... And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill among men!" (~Lk2:10-14)
The traditional song begins: "Joy to the world! the Lord is come; let earth receive her King"

But how did the world react to the King? Herod tried to eradicate Him along with all the other little tykes. (Mt2) Pilate recognized that He was the "King of the Jews" and yet turned him over for crucifixion. (Mt27:11,26, Jn19:22) The Jews on one hand welcomed "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!" (Mt21:9) and scarcely four days later screamed out, "Crucify Him!" (Mk15:13)

    "He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him" (Jn1:11)
So... what is this song talking about? Is it about the coming of -baby- Jesus? It is in alleged commemoration of that event that people traditionally sing it. And if one pays any attention to the 'wisdom' of Homer Simpson, one learns that "baby Jesus" eventually "became Jesus"

I dare say that people sing this song today much in the same way OT Jews would recite Isaiah 61. They would lump the "liberty to the captives" and "acceptable year of Jehovah" along with "rebuild the old wastes" and "repair the waste cities, what lay desolate for many generations". (vs1-4)

But right now "every heart" is -NOT- "preparing Him room" and "heaven and nature" are -NOT- "singing". As Paul writes, "For we know that the whole creation groans and travails together until now." (Rom8:22) The opening line of the song has NOT yet happened.

However, the song does proclaim truth. Only, its joy is for a time yet future. And the way things are looking, probably very soon after about seven years.

    "For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of Jehovah, as the waters cover the sea." (Hab2:14)
When will this be?
    "Thus says Jehovah of Hosts: In those days ten men out of all languages of the nations shall take hold and grasp the sleeve of a man who is a Jew, saying, Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you." (Zec8:23)
Seeing as how Israel today is still in unbelief, how will this come about?
    "Behold, the days are coming, says Jehovah, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah...this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel: After those days, says Jehovah, I will put My Law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. And they shall no more teach each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, Know Jehovah; for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says Jehovah. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more." (Jer31:31-34)

    "I will also give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh." (Ezk36:26) "And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob" (Rom11:26)

    "And I will pour on the house of David, and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and supplication. And they shall look on Me whom they have pierced; and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they shall be bitter over Him, like the bitterness over the firstborn." (Zec12:10)

There is one topic that is typically sure to bring tears to my eyes. Recently there was a TV show set to the Holocaust; I forget it's name, something on the order of "a beautiful day" or something like that; I didn't take enough mental note to remember it. This famous Italian actor (or at least he acts like an Italian) getting onboard a cattle train with his little boy, along with all the other Jews. His wife, apparently having attained to a high standing that she could 'order' the guards to stop the train so she could get on. (This was the point at which I had turned on the TV, I didn't see what had come before in the plot) The father trying to make the entire labor/death camp experience seem like a 'game' to the boy, and the 'big prize' at the end, if they wracked up enough points, would be a -real- 'tank' (not just a toy). Right at the end, as the Nazis are destroying evidence and leaving before the approaching Allied troops, the dad gets shot, and after everybody has left, the boy comes out from hiding as his father had instructed, and then as he is surveying the now-empty silent compound, around the corner comes this huge tank, right up to the boy, and stops...and the friendly soldier hoists the boy up into his arms and the boy gets to ride on the tank. As the tank travels through the escaping ex-prisoners he sees, and cries out, "Mama!" The soldier lets him down, he runs to his mother, they hug, and he cries out excitedly, "Mama! We won!" Mama: "Yes we did!" (End of show, and me dabbing at my eyes)

To the little boy, the 'tank' ride meant he had won the imaginary 'game' his father had devised.

But after the time of "Jacob's trouble" (Jer30:7) Israel is also going to "win". And as the devil and his demons are bound in the "bottomless pit" for 1000 years (Rev20:1-4) what many today consider a 'failed' kingdom will "win". Satan presently has the "power of death" (Heb2:14) But in that day the proclamation will be fulfilled: "The kingdoms of this world have been made those of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!" (Rev11:15) as He will have fought "against those nations, like the day He fought in the day of battle" (Zec14:3)

The "Child" who was born will take to the "throne of David" and assume command of the "government" in "judgment and with justice" (Is9:6-7)

And when that happens, the rest of the song will also, then, be true. Nature will be restored. People will plant and the earth will produce. Animals will no longer be predatory. (Is11,65) People will still die, and "dust shall [still] be the serpent's food" (Is65:25); but wherever the "curse (of death) is found" God's "blessings" will flow. A person a hundred years old will be considered a "child" as people will "fulfill" their days. (Is65:20)

He rules the world with truth and grace
   And makes the nations prove
      The glories of His righteousness
         And wonders of His love
    "And I will pour on the house of David, and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the SPIRIT OF GRACE and supplication." (Zec12:10a)

    "...the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Strong and Mighty God, the Eternal Father, the Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace upon the throne of David there will be no end; and upon His kingdom, to order it and to establish it with judgment and with justice from now on, even forever. The zeal of Jehovah of Hosts will accomplish this." (Is9:6-7)

The next evening after the show about the boy and the tank, was a documentatary (I think CBS' "60-minutes") telling how all the old Nazi Holocaust records had recently been unsealed. The Germans kept meticulous records of everybody they sent to the gas chambers and ovens. They found a few survivors and showed them some of the old documents, especially ones with -their- names (and signatures). In one case this page was filled with names of people slated for extermination, and in the middle of the page a single line struck through one name, the name of the survivor being featured on the program. To see the silent emotion of the person, remembering back all those years, seeing that 'line' through his name. His life had been spared by one line of a pen.

A similar event is coming when all of history's humanity stands before the Great White Throne, and they look through the 'books' for names. And what they will be looking for is names "found written in the Book of Life". All the rest to be "cast into the Lake of Fire" (Rev20:15)

On what basis is one's name found in the Book of Life?

    "...as many as RECEIVED Him, to them He gave the authority to become children of God, to those beliving into His name" (Jn1:12)
And what is Jesus' primary quality by which He gives this right?
    "And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the Law was given through Moses, but GRACE and TRUTH came through Jesus Christ" (Jn1:16-17)
It is this same essence by which Jesus came into the world: "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of GRACE and TRUTH" (Jn1:14)

Jesus said, "I am the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (Jn14:6)

Right now the world, under satan's rule (Lk4:5-6), is full of Wayward Rebellion, Lies and Death; the very antithesis of Jesus Christ.

However Jesus said, "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." (Jn10:10b)

The Christian has the 'promise' of eternal life: "And this is the promise that He has promised us: Eternal Life." (1Jn2:25) And soon will be its fulfillment, the eagerly awaited "adoption, the redemption of the body" (Rom8:23) where we shed this earthly "corruption" and take on His "incorruption" and "immortality" (1Co15:50-54)

Yes, the angels proclaimed praises at Jesus' birth. But the total fulfillment is in yet "a little while" when we will see Him. (Jn16:19) Then it won't be just angels proclaiming praises, but those redeemed from the earth will proclaim, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb" (Rev7:10) And the 144,000 from the twelve tribes of Israel will sing "a new song" which "no one was able to learn" except for the 144,000 who are redeemed. (Rev14:3)

This song "Joy to the World" begins with four notes, the same opening 'tune' Handel wrote for a selection from his famous "Messiah"

    "Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of Glory shall come in. Who is this King of Glory? Jehovah strong and mighty, Jehovah mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O you gates! Lift up, you everlasting doors! And the King of Glory shall come in. Who is this King of Glory? Jehovah of Hosts, He is the King of Glory." (Ps24:7-10)

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