Today is Epiphany with a Promise
“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commands.
Today, January 6th, is the traditional date of Epiphany which has been celebrated in the church since the Third Century. Its theme has primarily been the visit of the first Gentiles to Jesus, the Magi from the East, who were led by the Sovereign God and a mysterious star to come and worship him. The word Epiphany means to show, reveal, appear; that is, the revelation of God in the flesh, of Jesus, to the world. For the believing church, Epiphany is a reminder of her responsibility to declare who Jesus is to the whole world. Not unlike other people in the Bible who are historically recorded as having seen the Savior and whose lives were eternally transformed by Him, these Magi are never mentioned again in the Bible. Where did they come from; why were they looking for His sign in the night skies; what did they do when they returned to their homes? Likewise, we do not know what happened to the shepherds who witnessed the glorious display in the skies over their fields near Bethlehem, and came to worship the baby Jesus in the stable and believed all they saw and heard. There is so much we do not know, even today in a world of modern technology and worldwide communication. We really do not know what God is doing in many corners of our world. We do not know the number or the names of those serving and worshipping Him and His Son in every nation. We too often forget the “Elijah principle. Elijah at one time believed that he was the only one in his country who worshipped and served the One true God. The Lord educated his ignorance, revealing to Elijah that there were actually over 7,000 followers of God in his little country whom he did not know existed.
None of us know for sure where the Magi (wise men, scholars, astronomers, counselors to kings) came from. But an educated guess that carries the most significant weight is that they were descended from the Magi, of whom Daniel was chief in Babylon and its empire which at various times was the empire of the ancient Babylonians, Medes and Persians. The godly Daniel, appointed Chief of the Magi (Daniel 4:9), became the 2nd in charge of Babylon after the King (Daniel 2:48-49). Daniel served in this capacity for a succession of at least four Kings, and because of his godly example and witness must have led many fellow Magi and other citizens to worship the true God. The Scriptures tell us that God continues his covenant to children’s children and to a thousand generations of those who love Him and obey His commands. I believe the Magi who traveled far to bring gifts and to worship King Jesus, descended from godly wise men who served with Daniel. Not too many years ago I traveled in South India. The Province of Kerala is near the southern most point of the country. Today it is reportedly the most Christian province in all of pagan India. While on one of her beaches I was approached by an Indian man who was with the Gideons International who wanted to witness to me about the Lord Jesus. I did not expect that of all things in India where the West continues to send missionaries. Traditionally, it is believed that the Apostle Thomas was the first Christian missionary to India and that he planted churches in the area which is today the Province of Kerala. Who knows whether some of those believers living there today are descended over many centuries from Thomas’ converts?
Even now we do not know all that God is constantly about in His world. Most of it is simply never reported. The church is growing exponentially in China, Indonesia, the Southern Hemisphere, in places where it is persecuted and underground, but impossible to wipe out. “The blood of the martyrs is the seedbed of the church. We often believe from what we hear and see from the unbelieving and ignorant media that the church is dwindling, believers are a struggling few, and paganism is taking over everywhere. But I believe in the Principle of Elijah; that there are possibly 7,000 times more Christians than we know. God is prospering the remarkable growth of His church in a way that “flies under the world’s radar. The covenant of God’s grace to successive generations of believers is not abrogated. May Epiphany remind you again of your responsibility to declare Jesus and the Good News to the world, beginning with your own children, your wider family, the community in which you live and work, and to the farthest corners of the world. Christian parent!. . . Leave an eternal legacy by discipling your own children into a committed relationship to Jesus Christ, that they might do the same with their children and grandchildren. Earnestly carry out your responsibility in seeing your own seed walk in Christ and in step with the Holy Spirit to a thousand generations! God calls you to it and backs it up with a promise. He is faithful. Will you be?
“Those who His gracious covenant keep The Lord will ever bless; Their children’s children shall rejoice to see His righteousness.
(5th verse of Psalm 103:13-18 from The Psalter, 1912)
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