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Opinion

I Dared To Ask God An Honest Question And He Gave Me An Immediate Response -By Joe Dauda

One day, I decided to read through the synoptic gospels one more time. The synoptic gospels (according to my secondary school CRK teacher, Mrs Achebe) are the gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. So these four Books of the Bible are the synoptic gospels. They each contain the biography of Jesus Christ from the varying perspectives of the four writers.

Naturally, I began at Matthew. It was interesting to be reminded once again that, “all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.” Matthew 1:16.

But I began to feel uncomfortable when I got into Matthew Chapter 2. This is the chapter that records the visit of the wise men who came from the East. Don’t mind the Christmas story which claims that the wise men were three: the Bible did not say the wise men were three. They could have been 5 or 10 or 29. What the Bible says is that, when they eventually met Baby Jesus, they worshipped Him and then gave Him gold, and frankincense, and myrrh; verse 11. There is no room for conjecturing that there were three wise men, each of which gave a certain type of gift. Three types of gifts does not equate to three visitors and this is an example of how false doctrines are concocted from the Bible. The story of the wise men is in Matthew 2:1-11. But that wasn’t the part that bothered me.

My sadness was ignited when I read verse 16 of chapter 2. For non-Christian readers or those who may just not have read or heard about this story, what happened was that God gave a revelation to certain men from the East. The Bible refers to them as wise men. Since the fear of God (according to the Bible) is the beginning of wisdom, you can be sure that these wise men were God-fearing men. Through the mercy of God, these specially chosen men understood by divine revelation that the Messiah had been born and that He was born in the land of Israel. They were even enabled to understand a deep mystery written in an ancient prophecy stated in Numbers 24:17. So they knew that the star they had seen in the East was no ordinary star but that it pointed to the star that was prophesied to come out of Jacob, which we know is Jesus Christ.

For reasons best known to Him, God stopped short of making these wise men understand the particular town in Israel where Jesus Christ was born. And that was why they went to meet king Herod and asked him where the “king of the Jews” was to be born. Since he was not a student of the Bible, Herod called the Pharisees and the Pharisees nonchalantly said Christ would be born in Bethlehem. For their authority (these guys knew the Bible so well) they simply referred to Micah 5:2.

Micah 5:2

“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”

If the wise men were wise, they seemed also naive in asking an incumbent king reigning over the Jews where a new “king of the Jews” was to be born. 

Didn’t they estimate that Herod will be jealous?

But, as you would soon discover, the seeming naivety of these wise men was all part of a divine plan to fulfill another prophecy. This one was by Jeremiah the prophet. 

Jeremiah 31:15

“Thus saith the LORD; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.”

If you read Matthew 2:1-12 and analyze the information, you will realize that the fact that the wise men came to Jerusalem to ask about the exact location of the birth of Jesus Christ was what set off a chain of events that culminated with the fulfillment of the prophecy of Jeremiah 31:15. Reading Matthew 2:1-12 will make it clear to you that, if God had only revealed the exact birth place of Jesus Christ to the wise men, they would not have come to Herod to ask him about the birthplace of the new king of the Jews. And Herod would not have devised a secret and diabolical plan to eliminate the new king, which was what led to the massacre in Mathew 2:16.

The million-dollar question is this: why did God not reveal the exact location of the birthplace of Jesus Christ to the wise men, even though He apparently revealed enough to lead them to the land of Israel in search of the Messiah? 

Note that this would have prevented Herod from even knowing about the birth of Jesus Christ because the wise men would just have gone straight to Bethlehem without passing through Jerusalem to agitate the king and galvanize his genocidal instincts.

After hearing that a new king had been born, Herod pretended to be happy about the breaking news. And he told the wise men to “diligently” search for the new child and let him know when they succeeded so he could come and worship the child himself; verse 8. But of course Herod wanted to kill Jesus Christ. And he didn’t want to miss the target. So he needed accurate information from the wise men.

When the wise men did not return to king Herod (because God had warned them in a dream not to) Herod got angry and, to be sure that he did not miss the new king, he ordered for the butchering of all babies in Bethlehem, from two years and below, calculating from the time the star had appeared in the East, based on the account given by the wise men. It was this cold-blooded brutality by Herod that was foretold by prophet Jeremiah in Jeremiah 31:15.

I spent a few moments to think about the tragedy in Bethlehem. As a Christian, I had been told and I had read several prophecies in the Bible about Jesus Christ. These prophecies (like the one in Micah 5:2 that indicated Bethlehem as the birthplace of Christ) was to help in identifying and validating Jesus Christ as the Messiah and the Son of God. It meant that Bible students who understood Micah 5:2 would not (should not) accept as Messiah anyone who was not born In Bethlehem, no matter how Messianic they may seem in all other areas. 

What bothered me and what I began to ask God in my heart was this: why did many innocent little children have to die to validate the credentials of Jesus Christ as the true Messiah?

Couldn’t God have orchestrated other harmless events to validate the personality of Jesus Christ and to foretell His birth in Bethlehem?

Why should so many women be bereaved of their little children?

Why?

God why?

I was afraid to admit it to myself but I began to feel like God was a sadist for allowing the mindless butchering that took place in Bethlehem just so that the timing of the birth of Jesus Christ could be known and just to prove His foreknowledge of the tragedy.

I groaned for an explanation.

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