THE ETERNAL MANGER - The Father's Bosom
THE BOSOM OF THE FATHER
By Pastor Paul M Hanssen
Every Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. We place manger scenes in our homes, out in the front yard of our homes, inside and outside of our churches, along with other public places. We do so to remember the day that Jesus came to this earth, sent by His heavenly Father, was born in a stable in Bethlehem, and was placed in a manger.
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:7)
A manger is a place of nourishment and feeding. The word manger means to eat, and it also means, a crib for fodder. Without the provision given in a manger, the livestock would perish. The masters of old nourished their livestock through the manger, much like the farmers of today who use troughs to feed their farm animals.
However, the day of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem (The House of Bread) was not the day of His beginning. The very first deed of the Father in eternity past, in regards to Him revealing Himself and His purpose to creation, was that of bringing forth His only begotten Son who was the first of all of His works in the manifestation, uncovering, or revealing of Himself. God’s very name is YHVH, Yahweh. The meaning of this name is, “The Self Existent One who reveals Himself”. God is indeed self-existent, as well as being a revealer. It is His nature to reveal Himself. Hence, to fulfill His Own purpose and will, God brought forth His only begotten Son for the purpose of revealing Himself. (1 Peter 1:20, 1 Timothy 3:16)
For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. (Hebrews 1:5-6)
The “firstbegotten” of all of the Father’s seed life was Jesus, the Christ, the Eternal Word, the Lamb of God. This was the Son’s beginning as far as His exposure was concerned. From the eons of eternity, the Son had always existed within the loins of His Father. However, at some point, He was “born”, or brought forth, or revealed.
Speaking of Wisdom, the Living Word, the Christ, Proverbs describes the moment that He was brought forth:
The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. (Proverbs 8:22-24).
In the very beginning of the Father revealing His way, or the revealing of His Purpose, Will, and Plan, God brought forth wisdom, the Living Word, His Son. This simply means that Wisdom was travailed to birth. This is not to be confused with something or someone being created. Wisdom was not created. The Son of God was not created. He was begotten. The birth that took place in eternity past was not a creative work. It was a “revealing” work. The Son was revealed first, before anything else was revealed of the Father’s purpose. (Acts 13:33, Hebrews 1:5-6)
Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: (Colossians 1:15)
The true meaning and connotation of this verse is seen clearly in many other Bible translations. They read: “the first-born over all creation”. After the “bringing forth” of the firstborn, creative life began to flow. The Son had to be “born”, or revealed first, because it was through Him that all creation came into visible existence.
For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. (Colossians 1:16-17)
Jesus, the Son, the revealed Word (John 1: 1-5), existed before ALL things, then, out from Him, came all creation, or all things.
The purpose of this article is to convey the point that the stable/manger in Bethlehem was not the beginning of the Lamb of God. His beginning was in eternity, in a heavenly manger. Some may ask the question, “What was the manger in Heaven where the Christ was swaddled, or bound, to His Father’s will and purpose after He was brought forth?”
No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. (John 1:18)
Jesus is not only the first begotten, but also the only begotten. (John 3:16.18) He is the only begotten in the sense that there will never be one like Him. There is only one that the Father brought forth and poured the fulness of Himself into. There is only one that was revealed as the eternal Son of God. There is none like Him. There is only one who was brought forth with the purpose and promise of God’s beloved Son. In contrast, even though Abraham had other children, the Word refers to Isaac as Abraham’s only begotten (Hebrews 11:17). Isaac was the only begotten because he was the only one brought forth with the promise, purpose and destiny given to him by God. There was none other like him. So also, with the Son of God.
But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. (1 Corinthians 8:6)
God’s Son was revealed, brought forth, and wrapped, as it were, in the swaddling bands of the Father’s will and purpose. He was, is, and shall evermore be in the bosom of His Father. The Father’s bosom is the eternal manger where the Son not only resided but continues to reside without end. The bosom of the Father is the place of nurturing, rest, completeness, love and union with God. When the Son of God was brought forth, the Father cradled Him in His bosom of love. There, He was swaddled and fastened, as it were, to His Father’s eternal purpose. It was here, that Wisdom, the Living Word, was “brought up”, or nourished with and by the fulness of God.
Referencing once again Proverbs chapter eight, we see how Wisdom was brought up.
Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; (Proverbs 8:30)
To be brought up, means to be trained, build up or support; to foster as a parent or nurse; to go to the right hand, bring up, establish, be faithful (of long continuance), stedfast, sure, surely, trusty, nursing father. This word explains to us the very concept of the bosom of the Father, the eternal manger. The Christ was nourished, fed, brought up in the crib, manger, and feeding trough, as it were, of the Father’s bosom of love.
To give a Biblical example of a father’s bosom, in regards to a newborn, we can look at Moses’ complaint to God regarding his calling and ministry to the nation of Israel.
Have I conceived all this people? have I begotten them, that thou shouldest say unto me, Carry them in thy bosom, as a nursing father beareth the sucking child, unto the land which thou swarest unto their fathers? (Numbers 11:12)
This verse says it all-conception, bring to birth, and carry in the bosom. This is exactly what the eternal Father did with His Son. The Father’s bosom was the place of beginning. It is the eternal manger. The Father’s bosom is also the ultimate goal, the end, and the mark for the believer.
He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. (Isaiah 40:11)
The Father’s bosom speaks to us of a place of love, safety, and rest. Even though Jesus came to earth and was born in human flesh, yet in the sense of intimacy and relationship, He never left this place of love. The Father loved Him, and he loved His Father. (John 3:34-35, John 5:20). This is why John 1:18 states that the only begotten “is” in the bosom of the Father. Jesus resided in this place of love in the bosom of the Father. It is to this place that He desires that His children also come to know and reside.
I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. (John 17:23-24)
Our existence also began in the world of the Spirit, in the heavens, with the Father. We also came from the Eternal Rock (Isaiah 51:1). The same love with which the Father cherished and nourished His Son was the same love, or the same bosom, with which He loved us. The Son lives in this place of intimacy with the Father. He never left this place. Man, on the other hand, left this place of love and nourishing in the Garden of Eden. However, we are called back to our origin. This is why Jesus prayed to the Father that those who have been given to Him, may also reside where He resides. Jesus resides in the Father’s eternal bosom and ocean of infinite love.
It is here, in the Father’s eternal bosom, within the infinity of His overflowing love, within the very center of God’s existence, that we are called to come and eternally dwell.
· This is the deep within God.
· This is that which our spirits, or the deep in us, have once tasted and hence call out to and yearn for (Psalm 42:7). The deep calling to the deep.
· This is the eternal manger!
· This is the ultimate place of rest.
· This is the holiest of all.
· This is the bosom of the Father’s eternal, endless, love.
· This is the core essence of God, for God is love.
· To this place we are called to come and reside.
· This is the Temple of the LORD God Almighty and the Lamb (Revelation 21:22).
· This is where it all began and this is where it shall all end.
Unfortunately, many believers never discover this place of love. Finding this place is discovering who God is and who you are. Finding this place of the Father’s bosom is realizing that He is your beginning and He is your end. It is knowing that He is the Master and King. It is knowing that He rules and is supreme. It is knowing that He is the Owner and not we, ourselves.
Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider. (Isaiah 1:2-3)
Take a sincere look at the verses above. Slow down and ponder upon their content. The proclamation begins with begging both the heavens - the spiritual world, and the earth - the natural world, to hear what the LORD has spoken. The LORD says…
1. I have nourished my children (I have loved you, I have cared for you in my bosom)
2. I have brought you up (caused you to grow, increase)
However, the children rebelled and went their own way. For the LORD says:
1. The ox knows his owner (knows who their master is, who rules, and who is in control)
2. The ass knows his master’s crib (knows the owner’s manger, the place of love, the place of feeding, the place of nourishment)
But the LORD goes on to say, that His people do not know this place, neither do they consider it. My people do not know their origin. They do not know the eternal crib, or the manger, or the place of nourishment of the Eternal God. Not only do they not know it, but they do not even consider it.
The word for crib is ‘ebus in Hebrew and it means a manger and stall. It is the exact same word used in Luke chapter 2 in the Aramaic New Testament for the word manger. My people do not know my manger. They do not know the place of my nourishing love. They have rejected through their rebellion.
There is no greater place, no higher experience, or anything more intimate than the bosom of the Father. Resting in the bosom of His love is the ultimate experience and the place of eternal rest. This is the holiest of all!
The disciple John, who was referred to as “the one who Jesus loved”, had the privilege to cradle in the bosom of Jesus.
Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved. (John 13:23)
It is here, cradling in the bosom, that we experience God’s heartbeat. There is no higher honor, no greater calling, than to be welcomed into the Father’s bosom. John experienced this “bosom heartbeat” like none of the other disciples. Is there any wonder then, that He was the only disciple who did not desert Jesus in the moment of His deepest suffering, when He hung on the cross of Calvary. All of the other disciples fled for their lives. Yet, John remained. Interestingly enough, John was also the only disciple who did not die a martyr’s death. He died a natural death of old age.
The “bosom experience” will cause you to never walk away from the suffering of the cross!
With all of our heart, Sis Gwen and myself wish you a Christmas filled with the Divine presence of God as we draw closer to His bosom of love. We love you all sincerely!
Pastors Paul and Gwen Hanssen – MERRY CHRISTMAS!