"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .


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Sunday, December 18, 2022



~ For a SHINE BRIGHT presentation, delivered by pastors Sonny, Albert and James, check this out!


Of the three gifts the first is gold, which represents divinity and kingly wealth and dignity. Long before GOD the Son took on humanity, He was (and is) GOD eternal and King of Heaven. Yet He did indeed take on humanity (JOHN 1:1-3,14) and the wondrous mystery of Majestic GOD and sinless Man came to be – we beheld His glory, the glory as the Only Begotten of the Father!

As we know the Old Testament is full of foreshadowing and types of Christ from GENESIS to MALACHI. In the visions that Moses received on Mt. Sinai concerning the building of the Tabernacle and all the details revealed to him on how everything was to be built, the ark of the covenant (essentially a box that would hold the ten commandment tablets, Aaron’s rod that budded and a jar of manna) was to be made of acacia wood and overlaid with pure gold. The mercy seat, the lid that covered the ark was not made of wood covered with gold, but solid, pure gold!

The mercy seat, a picture of the throne of GOD with its accompanying cherubim, represents the pure deity of Christ, entirely GOD. The ark of the covenant represented the hypostatic union of His Deity and humanity in perfect unity and harmony because the gold still represents His Deity, but the wood, His humanity.

A heard a radio program once where a Christian, who was a metallurgist professionally explained that there really isn’t any such thing as pure gold as we know it. Our technology by which we purify gold isn’t sufficient to make it absolutely pure. If we were able to do so, then gold would actually become translucent – you’d be able to see through it! This made me think of the description of the New Jerusalem, where the streets of gold is “like clear glass” REV 21:18!

We know that Christ came with a holy purpose and such glorious intentions that were as clear as glass; so clear that any lover of the truth would be able to see clearly and declare along with the Roman centurion, “Surely this Man is the Son of GOD” (MARK 15:39)!

We purify gold with a lot of heat, and purging baser elements from this precious metal, skimming it off as it rises to the surface. This process is repeated over and over again by the gold smith. And they know that the gold is pure once they can see the reflection of their face in it.

Yet we haven’t been able to figure out how to heat gold to its purest form without destroying it. Apparently, GOD knows how it’s done as we just saw, looking at the New Jerusalem.

Christ being absolutely pure, we can see the face of the Father in Him, just as He Himself said: “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (JOHN 14:9). And just as Christ is entirely holy, pure, and righteous, He is working out this sanctification in us as we proceed in our discipleship, following Christ as we carry our Crosses whereby we die to self. One Blessed Day, when we see Him face to Face, we shall be like Him – absolutely holy, with no trace of sin nature found anywhere in us!

1 JOHN 3:2-3
2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

As we look with expectant hearts and eyes for the return of our LORD, understanding that He can come and take us, His bride home at any time, this has a purifying effect on us. What if we knew beyond any doubt that Christ was going to return today, this very day: what would our conduct be like? How does our conduct yesterday compare with what it would be today with such an expectation of Christ’s return?

If there is a difference, this indicates that there is room to grow in our sanctification… the greater the difference, the more sanctification we need!

This is why we need to cooperate with the LORD, yielding to Him, allowing Him to do this work in and through us; willingly and intentionally dying to self that Christ may live in us! We patiently endure trials and hardships, understanding that GOD allows these things into our lives as a means to purify us by His Holy Spirit.

All of this with the plan and purpose of reserving for us an inheritance in the kingdom of GOD. And just as faithful watching for the LORD’s return brings about a purifying hope, so too we have “a living hope” by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, proving that He is the Author of Eternal Life and therefore GOD made flesh!

1 PETER 1:1-9
1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith--the salvation of your souls.

By the suitable and acceptable sacrifice of Christ on the Cross (propitiation) our sins are forgiven and we are counted worthy as we place our faith in Him as LORD and Savior. We are granted the position of righteousness even though we still have a sin nature.
But GOD’s ultimate goal is to bring us to a reality of righteousness in our very being – a process that’s already started and will be finished once we arrive in heaven!

HEBREWS 2:10-15
10 For it was fitting for Him [JESUS CHRIST], for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 saying: "I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You." 13 And again: "I will put My trust in Him." And again: "Here am I and the children whom God has given Me." 14 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

Just as we are now adorned with godliness and holiness, these same virtues given by our Bridegroom will course through every fiber of our glorified beings as the bride of Christ!!

ISAIAH 61:10
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.


This second gift to the Christ child, who at this time was not an infant as is so popularly represented in any manger scene you might see at this time of year, but probably a toddler approximately two years of age, this gift was also prophetic of another office that Christ would fulfill. Just as gold represented His kingly office, frankincense represented His high priestly office.

Gold is something buried in the earth, that is brought up and revealed for its beauty, just as Christ was raised up from the earth, from the tomb, revealed in the beauty of His resurrection. Gold, as we have heard represents Christ’s Kingship as well as His Deity. Who can pray to GOD as perfectly as GOD Himself?

That’s what Christ, GOD the Son does when He prays to the LORD, GOD The Father.

Frankincense and myrrh come not from the ground like gold does, but from the sap of certain trees:
Frankincense comes from the deciduous trees of the genus boswellia, and myrrh from some species in the genus commiphora, all of which are found on the Horn of Africa and the coastal countries of the Arabian Peninsula.

The resinous sap is acquired by piercing and cutting away the bark from these trees and allowed to bleed out. This is a tremendous insight for those of us who are followers of the LORD Jesus Christ, Who was pierced on Calvary’s tree and He was bled out, and we receive from His atonement, our salvation!

The sap from the deciduous tree when dried becomes milky white recognized as frankincense. The whiteness of this dried sap speaks of the righteousness of the Righteous One, the Messiah of Israel, Who alone possesses the purity and the required righteousness to pray to GOD and intercede for us sinners.

This very same sap was used in the Old Testament tabernacle and temple as the priests ministered to the LORD before the altar of incense, offering their prayers on behalf of the people of Israel.

Likewise, because of Christ’s atonement, we are made righteous in Christ (ROM 5:17; 3:22), having the robes of righteousness, the garment of salvation (ISA 61:10), the fine linen granted to us, which is “the righteousness of the saints: (REV 19:8). Frankincense is fragrant enough all on its own, but if you grind it, its aroma is even more powerful, and if you burn it, even more so!

Let us be mindful that if we as followers of Jesus feel as though life is grinding us down, we have only to surrender and like crushed frankincense we are a sweet aroma to the LORD. And if in the fire of affliction, we will remain submitted to the LORD, the sweetness of the prayers we offer in such suffering is all the greater a blessing to His heart.

Getting back to the LORD’s high priestly office and His ministry of prayer for us: In HEBREWS 7 we read about this:

HEBREWS 7:17-28
 17 For He testifies: "You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek." 18 For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, 19 for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God. 20 And inasmuch as He was not made priest without an oath 21 (for they have become priests without an oath, but He with an oath by Him who said to Him: "The LORD has sworn And will not relent, 'You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek'"), 22 by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant. 23 Also there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing. 24 But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. 26 For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; 27 who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people's, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. 28 For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever.

This is a unique priesthood, something like the Levitical priesthood but in other ways, not at all like it.

For example, the priesthood in Israel came from the tribe of Levi, and those elite priests from the house of Aaron that continued from one generation to the next. But there were never any kings of Israel from the tribe of Levi; the kings came from the tribe of Judah, of the house of David – and you never saw any of the tribe of Judah becoming priests. In this way, the royalty of Israel in the lineage of her generations of kings, and the priesthood of Israel in the lineage of the priests were kept separate and distinct.

Not so with Melchizedek however; he was both king and priest, and he was without father and mother as a type of Christ our High Priest, and without descendent – in fact he was a king of righteousness and of peace (HEB 7:2); and we know Who the LORD Jesus is: The absolute King of Righteousness and Peace, as well as our Great High Priest who needs no ancestors or descendants, because He is eternal. This is a new priesthood not after Levi, but after Melchizedek (and we the church of the LORD Jesus Christ, are made kings and priests as well (REV 1:6; 5:10; 1 PET 2:9). This priesthood is not based on the Law which made nothing concerning our spirituality complete, but it did point to a better hope (HEB 7:19).

That is, the better testament based on the atonement of Jesus Christ (HEB 5:9), the foundation of the new testament, and fills the office of High Priest permanently and forever (HEB 7:24).
He is Holy and able to stand before GOD the Father righteously and is heard of the Father because of His undefiled holiness and will always as High Priest pray in perfect obedience to the perfect will of GOD; utterly sanctified from sinners having nothing in common with their sinful nature. He is harmless in that we never need fear being condemned by Him Who is also the Holy Judge that presides over the Holy Law (HEB 7:26).

Because of the fact that He was born in the flesh, made like unto sinful flesh (yet without sin) and was tested in all points and found flawless (HEB 4:15), but is a compassionate High Priest, who ever lives now in the hallowed halls of heaven and intercedes in His prayers for you! And me! For all believers everywhere all over this planet (HEB 7:25)!

CHRIST Who is GOD: the perfect representation of the Father to us, and also the perfect man to represent us, in our place.

Just as He is the perfect and holy High Priest, He is also the perfect role model of a prayerful intercessor; His disciples didn’t ask Him to teach them how to preach, how to teach, how to share the ‘Four Spiritual Laws’, how to grow a big church – they asked Him to teach them how to pray and He gave us the framework of prayer, template or a model of how to pray in MATTHEW 6:9-13.

We begin, according to this passage with worship of the Holy God our Father; we seek His kingdom to come and for His will to be done in this fallen, sinful world; once we seek and pray for these kingdom of GOD priorities, we then pray for our own needs, such as food and shelter (1 TIM 6:8). We seek for the LORD’s forgiveness of our trespasses and sins and likewise forgive any that have sinned or trespassed against us. We also pray for the LORD to deliver us from all the power of the enemy.

This holy and high priestly office that Christ continues was awesomely demonstrated in the Garden of Gethsemane where His prayer was so intense, so powerful, so earnest that He sweat drops of blood.
What’s our prayer life like? Do we have room to grow in how we pray; what we pray?

While GOD welcomes our prayers for our pains, our problems, our parents, peers and pets, I’m convinced that He awaits the sort of prayer that will profoundly impact our lives in transforming us, that will impact and challenge the church to go deeper in prayerful worship of GOD, that will impact this fallen world with the power behind our prayers: the very Spirit of GOD Whose mission is to lead sinners to Christ.

As the royal priesthood we intercede as our LORD does, for the needs of the saints, and Scripture abounds with examples of this.

18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Yet like the Levitical priesthood, whose duties were to pray for the people, we have our Great High Priest doing likewise. The Levitical priesthood was also to make offerings and sacrifices for their own sins (which Christ never, ever needed to do!), and then for the people – but those offerings and sacrifices were of animals: sheep, goats and bulls; whereas in the Melchizekian priesthood, that is the priesthood of Christ, the sacrifice was made with the High Priest Himself, The Lamb of GOD, the Supreme Sacrifice of sacrifices.

HEBREWS 9:22-24
22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. 23 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:

And this sacrifice Christ made on our behalf leads us to the next gift given to the Christ child, the gift of myrrh!


Notice the order in which these three gifts are listed under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in MATT 2:11: it wasn’t myrrh, gold and frankincense or frankincense, myrrh, and gold.
It was gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Gold representing His Deity, and Jesus is GOD firstly from all eternity. He then while on Earth entered into His priestly duties and praying for His disciples as seen in JOHN 17. And lastly, the climatic crescendo was the crucified Christ, thus, myrrh is presented last.

What’s fascinating is that the LORD was presented these three gifts upon His First Advent, but He will also be presented with gifts at His Second Advent: two of the three same gifts as were given the first time: gold and frankincense (“incense”).

ISAIAH 60:2b,6b
2b But the LORD will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you.
6b They shall bring gold and incense, and they shall proclaim the praises of the LORD. (See also PSALM 72; especially vs.10-11).

No myrrh will be offered to the Messiah at that time because His death is forever behind Him and “He dies no more” ROMANS 6:9.

Myrrh was of course used in the Old Testament as one of the primary ingredients of the anointing oil used on the priests and all the Tabernacle altars and implements.
It was harvested mostly from the Arabian and African peninsulas and used for perfume in the days of ESTHER (2:12).
It was also used as an embalming element in the burial of Jews, as we see of Christ Himself in JOHN 19:39.
Myrrh was also used as an analgesic – a pain killer for crucified criminals when mixed with wine and offered up to the victim by a sponge soaked with the mixture (MARK 15:23).
At the time of Christ, myrrh was valued even above gold.

Myrrh comes from a tree from the genus Commiphora; it’s harvested by beating the tree trunk continuously until this resinous sap bleeds into what are actually referred to as “tears” that harden and later ground up into powder; interestingly enough frankincense is harvested in a very similar method.

Spiritually speaking myrrh is a perfume for us as the sacrifice of Christ’s death is granted on the basis of our faith in His salvation: for the LORD, ourselves, and all the saints, this is a sweet aroma, but for those who are lost and perishing, it’s the spiritual stench of death.

14 Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. 15 For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things?

As an anointing oil, this of course is representative of the Holy Spirit which was given to Christ without measure:

ISAIAH 61:1-2a
1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, Because the LORD has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; 2a To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD...

JOHN 3:34
For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure to Him.

We share in this anointing, not in the fullness of measure as Christ has, but nonetheless, the legitimate and powerful anointing as sanctified saints and children of GOD!

1 JOHN 2:27
But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.

The medicinal value of myrrh was discovered as an analgesic, a pain killer.
As we know when Christ was in His agony upon the Cross, gall was offered to Him (MATT 27:34), that contained some myrrh. And when He tasted it, He refused it – why?

Because He intended on drinking the entire cup of GOD’s wrath upon all the sin of the world that He willingly took upon Himself (JOHN 18:11). All of our sin, along with all the fruit of sin: decay, destruction and death; suffering, sickness, and sorrow.

The agony of Jesus as He sacrificed Himself is something that we can appreciate, inasmuch as He went through all of that hell for us, but we can hardly comprehend the fullness of the Passion of the Christ.

But such is the love of Jesus for you, that He suffered, and suffered alone, without any comfort or even companionship from the Father, Who at that time, was always with His Son. Think if it: there was never a point in all eternity when the Son knew any sort of separation from the Father. Theirs was a sweet communion, a glorious fellowship of perfect love – until that bond was broken, the communion crushed, the fellowship fractured.

Well beyond the mere physical torture that was intense enough to drive people insane – that agony was mild compared to the utter abandonment of the Father, to the point that the LAMB of GOD reared up from the Cross, though that action caused every nerve is His beaten, bloody body was white hot in excruciation and cried out in misery:

My GOD! My GOD!! Why have You abandoned Me?

Do you know this is the only time that the LORD Jesus doesn’t call the Father, His “Father”? He constantly referred to the First Person of the Trinity as Father. In JOHN 20:17 the LORD calls Him “Father and…GOD”. This is the only place where He refers to Him only as GOD. Why couldn’t He call Him Father?

Because at this point, He was the sin bearer and by right couldn’t call Him Father. He was condemned in our place. GOD’s holy wrath against our sin was taken out on JESUS.

And just as the Commiphora tree was beaten in order to extract the myrrh, so was the Son bruised and beaten for our iniquities:

ISAIAH 53:4-5
4 Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.

And finally, myrrh as the embalming agent that would help to mask the stench of a rotting corpse and retard the deterioration of the flesh.

The myrrh in this case was a formality, and where Christ was concerned, unnecessary. For though He was indeed dead, GOD would not allow His body to see corruption (PSALM 16:10; ACTS 2:27).

PSALM 49:8-9
8 For the redemption of [our] souls is costly, and it shall cease forever 9 that He should continue to live eternally, and not see corruption.

Having finished the work of the Cross, purchasing salvation for sinners, and granting it for all who will repent and confess JESUS as LORD, He waited for those three days when in victory He would resurrect from the dead, having defeated the devil and death, offers us eternal life in spiritual rebirth, whereby we can call GOD by the same appellation as the LORD JESUS: “Father”!

ROMANS 6:9-10
9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.

Listen to this Christmas - Nativity song written and produced by pastor Sonny Islas of SHINE BRIGHT Church, Tucson, AZ!


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