Guidance, Results Of
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Now after the birth of Jesus, which took place at Bethlehem in Judaea in the reign of King Herod, excitement was produced in Jerusalem by the arrival of certain Magi from the east, inquiring, "Where is the newly born king of the Jews? For we have seen his Star in the east, and have come here to do him homage." Reports of this soon reached the king, and greatly agitated not only him but all the people of Jerusalem.read more.
So he assembled all the High Priests and Scribes of the people, and anxiously asked them where the Christ was to be born. "At Bethlehem in Judaea," they replied; "for so it stands written in the words of the Prophet, "'And thou, Bethlehem in the land of Judah, by no means the least honorable art thou among princely places in Judah! For from thee shall come a prince--one who shall be the Shepherd of My People Israel.'" Thereupon Herod sent privately for the Magi and ascertained from them the exact time of the star's appearing. He then directed them to go to Bethlehem, adding, "Go and make careful inquiry about the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and do him homage." After hearing what the king said, they went to Bethlehem, while, strange to say, the star they had seen in the east led them on until it came and stood over the place where the babe was. When they saw the star, the sight filled them with intense joy. So they entered the house; and when they saw the babe with His mother Mary, they prostrated themselves and did Him homage, and opening their treasure-chests offered gifts to Him--gold, frankincense, and myrrh. But being forbidden by God in a dream to return to Herod, they went back to their own country by a different route. When they were gone, and angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Rise: take the babe and His mother and escape to Egypt, and remain there till I bring you word. For Herod is about to make search for the child in order to destroy Him." So Joseph roused himself and took the babe and His mother by night and departed into Egypt. There he remained till Herod's death, that what the Lord had said through the Prophet might be fulfilled, "Out of Egypt I called My Son." Then Herod, finding that the Magi had trifled with him, was furious, and sent and massacred all the boys under two years of age, in Bethlehem and all its neighbourhood, according to the date he had so carefully ascertained from the Magi. Then were these words, spoken by the Prophet Jeremiah, fulfilled, "A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and bitter lamentation: It was Rachel bewailing her children, and she refused to be comforted because there were no more." But after Herod's death an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, and said to him, "Rise from sleep, and take the child and His mother, and go into the land of Israel, for those who were seeking the child's life are dead." So he roused himself and took the child and His mother and came into the land of Israel. But hearing that Archelaus had succeeded his father Herod on the throne of Judaea, he was afraid to go there; and being instructed by God in a dream he withdrew into Galilee, and went and settled in a town called Nazareth, in order that these words spoken through the Prophets might be fulfilled, "He shall be called a Nazarene."
Now there were in Antioch, in the Church there--as Prophets and teachers--barnabas, Symeon surnamed 'the black,' Lucius the Cyrenaean, Manaen (who was Herod the Tetrarch's foster-brother) While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for Me, now at once, Barnabas and Saul, for the work to which I have called them." So, after fasting and prayer and the laying on of hands, they let them go.
About that time He went out on one occasion into the hill country to pray; and He remained all night in prayer to God. When it was day, He called His disciples; and He selected from among them twelve, whom He also named Apostles. These were Simon, to whom also He had given the name of Peter, and Andrew his brother; James and John; Philip and Bartholomew;read more.
Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon called the Zealot; James's relative Judas, and Judas Iscariot who proved to be a traitor.
It was on one of these days that Peter stood up in the midst of the brethren--the entire number of persons present being about 120--and said, "Brethren, it was necessary that the Scripture should be fulfilled--the prediction, I mean, which the Holy Spirit uttered by the lips of David, about Judas, who acted as guide to those who arrested Jesus. For Judas was reckoned as one of our number, and a share in this ministry was allotted to him."read more.
(Now having bought a piece of ground with the money paid for his wickedness he fell there with his face downwards, and, his body bursting open, he became disembowelled. This fact became widely known to the people of Jerusalem, so that the place received the name, in their language, of Achel-damach, which means 'The Field of Blood.') "For it is written in the Book of Psalms, "'Let his encampment be desolate: let there be no one to dwell there'; and "'His work let another take up.' "It is necessary, therefore, that of the men who have been with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us-- beginning from His baptism by John down to the day on which He was taken up again from us into Heaven--one should be appointed to become a witness with us as to His resurrection." So two names were proposed, Joseph called Bar-sabbas--and surnamed Justus--and Matthias. And the brethren prayed, saying, "Thou, Lord, who knowest the hearts of all, show clearly which of these two Thou hast chosen to occupy the place in this ministry and Apostleship from which Judas through transgression fell, in order to go to his own place." Then they drew lots between them. The lot fell on Matthias, and a place among the eleven Apostles was voted to him.
The following night the Lord came and stood at Paul's side, and said, "Be of good courage, for as you have borne faithful witness about me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness in Rome."
And, in a vision by night, the Lord said to Paul, "Dismiss your fears: go on speaking, and do not give up. I am with you, and no one shall attack you to injure you; for I have very many people in this city." So Paul remained in Corinth for a year and six months, teaching among them the Message of God.
Now Saul, whose every breath was a threat of destruction for the disciples of the Lord, went to the High Priest and begged from him letters addressed to the synagogues in Damascus, in order that if he found any believers there, either men or women, he might bring them in chains to Jerusalem. But on the journey, as he was getting near Damascus, suddenly there flashed round him a light from Heaven;read more.
and falling to the ground he heard a voice which said to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" "Who art thou, Lord?" he asked. "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting," was the reply. "But rise and go to the city, and you will be told what you are to do. Meanwhile the men who travelled with Saul were standing dumb with amazement, hearing a sound, but seeing no one. Then he rose from the ground, but when he had opened his eyes, he could not see, and they led him by the arm and brought him to Damascus. And for two days he remained without sight, and did not eat or drink anything. Now in Damascus there was a disciple of the name of Ananias. The Lord spoke to him in a vision, saying, "Ananias!" "I am here, Lord," he answered. "Rise," said the Lord, "and go to Straight Street, and inquire at the house of Judas for a man called Saul, from Tarsus, for he is actually praying. He has seen a man called Ananias come and lay his hands upon him so that he may recover his sight." "Lord," answered Ananias, "I have heard about that man from many, and I have heard of the great mischief he has done to Thy people in Jerusalem; and here he is authorized by the High Priests to arrest all who call upon Thy name." "Go," replied the Lord; "he is a chosen instrument of Mine to carry My name to the Gentiles and to kings and to the descendants of Israel. For I will let him know the great sufferings which he must pass through for My sake." So Ananias went and entered the house; and, laying his two hands upon Saul, said, "Saul, brother, the Lord--even Jesus who appeared to you on your journey--has sent me, that you may recover your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit." Instantly there dropped from his eyes what seemed to be scales, and he could see once more. Upon this he rose and received baptism; after which he took food and regained his strength. Then he remained some little time with the disciples in Damascus.
"Teacher," said one man, coming up to Him, "what that is good shall I do in order to win the Life of the Ages?" "Why do you ask me," He replied, "about what is good? There is only One who is truly good. But if you desire to enter into Life, keep the Commandments." "Which Commandments?" he asked. Jesus answered, "'Thou shalt not kill;' 'Thou shalt not commit adultery;' 'Thou shalt not steal;' 'Thou shalt not lie in giving evidence;'read more.
Honour thy father and thy mother'; and 'Thou shalt love thy fellow man as much as thyself.'" "All of these," said the young man, "I have carefully kept. What do I still lack?" "If you desire to be perfect," replied Jesus, "go and sell all that you have, and give to the poor, and you shall have wealth in Heaven; and come, follow me." On hearing those words the young man went away much cast down; for he had much property.
As He went out to resume His journey, there came a man running up to Him, who knelt at His feet and asked, "Good Rabbi, what am I to do in order to inherit the Life of the Ages?" "Why do you call me good?" asked Jesus in reply; "there is no one truly good except One--that is, God. You know the Commandments--'Do not murder;' 'Do not commit adultery;' 'Do not steal;' 'Do not lie in giving evidence;' 'Do not defraud;' 'Honour thy father and thy mother.'"read more.
"Rabbi," he replied, "all these Commandments I have carefully obeyed from my youth." Then Jesus looked at him and loved him, and said, "One thing is lacking in you: go, sell all you possess and give the proceeds to the poor, and you shall have riches in Heaven; and come and be a follower of mine." At these words his brow darkened, and he went away sad; for he was possessed of great wealth.
The question was put to Him by a Ruler: "Good Rabbi, what shall I do to inherit the Life of the Ages?" "Why do you call me good?" replied Jesus; "there is no one good but One, namely God. You know the Commandments: 'Do not commit adultery;' 'Do not murder;' 'Do not steal;' 'Do not lie in giving evidence;' 'Honour thy father and thy mother.'"read more.
"All of those," he replied, "I have kept from my youth." On receiving this answer Jesus said to him, "There is still one thing wanting in you. Sell everything you possess and give the money to the poor, and you shall have wealth in Heaven; and then come, follow me." But on hearing these words he was deeply sorrowful, for he was exceedingly rich.
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