Prophecies of His Coming, part 1

Posted: December 22, 2016 in Uncategorized
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“Prophecies of His Coming, part 1”

The term “advent” refers to the arrival of someone or something.  In Christian circles, it generally refers to the buildup to Christmas Day.  In church congregations with a more formalized liturgical calendar, the four Sundays prior to Christmas comprise the first “season” of the ecclesiastical year.  Yet it’s worth remembering that there is more than one advent of the Lord Jesus Christ.  When He was born in Bethlehem, it marked the completion of His first advent – but the Bible clearly teaches that He will come again in power & glory.  He will have a second advent – a second coming.  (And we can’t wait for the day!)

Many times in the Bible, the 1st and 2nd Advents of Jesus are tied together.  Due to the “mountain-peak” aspect of prophecy, future events which are chronologically separated by centuries are sometimes referred to as occurring almost simultaneously.  Just like a mountain range looks unified in the distance while the peaks are separated by miles, something similar happens with ancient prophecies of future events.  Keep in mind that at one point, both advents of Jesus were future events.  It was certainly future to Abraham, David, Isaiah, etc., even though it’s not that way to us.  That said, it wasn’t that God purposefully hid this aspect from His people – it just wasn’t immediately obvious to them.  We simply have the advantage of living after the first advent of Jesus has come.

It’s the first advent of Jesus that we’ll be looking at tonight, being that Christmas is only days away.  From the beginning of human history, God spoke of a Savior to come, promising to bring Him at a moment in time.  The Savior would come as a man – would be raised in humility – would be the very person of God – and would be the sacrifice for all.  From the beginning, God knew that we would be lost, in need of the gift of His grace – and He thus sent us the greatest Christmas gift in history: Christ Jesus Himself.

The Savior as a Man:
Born of a woman
Genesis 3:14–15, "(14) So the Lord God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life. (15) And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.”"

  • This is where it all began!  We know the occasion: Adam and Eve had both eaten of the forbidden fruit, and were confronted by God regarding their sin.  Adam had given the flimsiest of excuses (“It was the woman You gave me!”), whereas Eve could truthfully claim that she had been deceived by the serpent.  The devil had come as snake, and doomed all serpents to crawl around in the dust due to his evil disguise.  Although God would proclaim His judgment to both the woman and the man, He first passed judgment on the serpent, and it is while He speaks to the devil that God gives the first Christmas verse in all the Scripture.  Interestingly, the promise of a future Messiah/Savior is not given directly to the humans who were present, but was spoken against the enemy who had caused them to fall.  Three main aspects mentioned:
  • Savior will be a human.  He would be the “Seed” of the woman.  The offspring of the serpent (i.e. his evil, or perhaps even a reference to Antichrist) would be enemies with the offspring of the human woman.  The strife that was begun by the devil against mankind would continue into the future.  Although this would be true of all humans, there was one specific human in mind.  “Seed” is singular in Hebrew, not merely as a figure of speech, but prophetically looking forward to one particular human in the future who was to come.  This is confirmed in what God goes on to say about the actions of that Human.
  • Savior will be victorious over the devil.  Although the heel of the human would be “bruised” by the serpent (notice the direct language to him, rather than speaking of the serpent’s “seed”), the serpent’s head would itself be bruised by the Seed of the woman.  There is reciprocal damage, but not equivalent results.  The Seed of the Woman would be injured, but the implication is that the serpent would be crushed.  After all, one might easily have a heel damaged when stomping on a snake-head!
  • Savior will be uniquely born.  The fact that God does describe the Human as “her Seed” is telling.  Although the word (זֶ֫רַע ) is fairly generic, being used to describe everything from plant seed to reproductive male semen to generational offspring, when Bible uses the term in reference to offspring, it’s usually (though not universally) spoken in regards to men.  There’s a hint here at the very beginning of human history, that this Seed is going to be someone special: He will be born of the seed of a woman – something biologically impossible considering women have eggs & men have seed.  Although this is not a clear-cut argument for the virgin birth, it certainly opens the door to it.
  • But the point is that the Savior will come as a Man.  Mankind had fallen from innocence, and a Man was needed to reverse the damage.  God has all kinds of supernatural beings at His command: cherubim, seraphim, incredibly powerful angels, etc.  Yet not a one of those creatures was sufficient for the problem faced by humankind.  What was needed was another Human, and God had plan to send one.
    • This wasn’t plan B; it was plan A.  God was not surprised by sin, nor was He scrambling to figure out a solution.  Jesus is the Lamb of God slain before the foundation of the world (Rev 13:8).  God knew what Adam and Eve would do before He ever created them – and He still loved them enough to create them in the first place.  That’s grace!  That’s our God!

As a human, the Savior required a family tree.  That’s exactly what much of the rest of Genesis goes on to demonstrate.  First, it is established that He will come from the line of Abraham.
Genesis 12:1–3, "(1) Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you. (2) I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. (3) I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”"

  • This is the initial covenant that God spoke to Abram, long before Abram knew what was going to be involved.  (BTW – that’s precisely why Abraham is the father of faith…because he followed God, simply trusting Him no matter what!)  This is the start of the national relationship between God & Israel, with God telling Abram that there will one day be a nation.  This old man who was childless would eventually have many sons, and they would all have a physical land in which to dwell forever.
  • Yet the national promises to Israel is only part of the covenant.  Beyond the blessing to Abraham & his descendants is the blessing to “all the families of the earth.”  This is the Savior, the promised Seed of the Woman.  This Savior was given in promise for all of mankind, and even though He was destined to come through one specific family & nation, His global mission was not diminished.  Jesus is not just the Savior of the Jews – He is the Savior of the world! (And was always intended to be.)
  • Yet as we know, the promise of God seemingly came very slow to Abram & his wife.  Abram literally waited more than two decades, had one shortcut plan of his own denied, and even had his name changed to “father of many nations,” before he ever saw the child of promise.  Had this prophecy of God changed?  Was it no longer valid?  Heaven forbid!  Let God be true & every man a liar! (Rom 3:4)  This promise was confirmed to Abraham after he passed a crucial & terrifying test: he had to be willing to give his own son to God in an act of sacrifice & worship.  Abraham’s faith was firm, knowing that God’s promise for his son was true & would even raise Isaac back from the dead, if necessary (Heb 11:19).  And because Abraham demonstrated his faith in God, God reaffirmed the covenant promise…

Genesis 22:15–18, "(15) Then the Angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, (16) and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son—(17) blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. (18) In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”"

  • The covenant was confirmed, and notice how every aspect was repeated. God would “bless” him, would “multiply” his descendants, would have his children “possess” a land, and more.  In addition (and to the point for the Messiah), “all the nations of the earth” would be blessed.  The Messianic hope was alive and well.  The Savior was still promised to be sent as a human, through a human family and nation, and when He was, every nation would benefit.
    • And we do!  We are called out of every nation from around the world.  Few of us (if any) have any Hebrew DNA – most of us are 100% Gentile.  Yet we have eternal hope through the Hebrew Messiah.  Why?  Because the Hebrew Messiah was never planned just for the Hebrews.  From the very beginning, He was intended to bless every nation of the earth.  (How wonderful are the plans of God!)
  • Of course, we can’t think of the sacrificial test of Abraham & Isaac without being reminded of the unique parallelism involved in the entire event.  Abraham gave his only son, just like God would give His.  Just the test itself pointed to the Messianic promise.  Right there, we see God’s intent for the Seed of the Woman: He would be the sacrificial Savior of the world.
  • Of course, for the promise to be true, we would expect to see the promise affirmed throughout the generations, which is exactly what happens…

Line of Isaac; not Ishmael.
Genesis 26:23–24, "(23) Then he went up from there to Beersheba. (24) And the Lord appeared to him the same night and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham; do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you and multiply your descendants for My servant Abraham’s sake.”"

  • The covenant was confirmed with Isaac (in the midst of all of Isaac’s moving & problems with Abimelech).  Although the blessing to all the earth is not mentioned, it is included in the covenant promises God made to Abraham.  The proof?  It’s specifically reiterated to Jacob…

Line of Jacob; not Esau
Genesis 28:13–14, "(13) And behold, the Lord stood above it and said: “I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. (14) Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed."

  • After all of the scheming and whining between Isaac & his (barely older) twin brother Esau, Isaac passed on the family blessing to the younger son.  That said, it may not have carried much weight without the confirmation of God, which is exactly what God gave the night Jacob saw the famous ladder leading up to heaven.  Everything God promised to Jacob’s grandfather was reiterated to him, including the assurance that Jacob’s seed would eventually be the promised Seed of the Woman, the one through whom all the families of the earth would be blessed.
  • And of course the generational list could go on, through Judah (as opposed to 11 other brothers), David (as opposed to the many descendants who followed), Solomon (as opposed to the other 20 brothers), and more.  The whole point is that God promised to send a Man.  A human was needed.  Why?  Because that was the only way redemption could come.

The fulfillment!
Galatians 4:4–5, "(4) But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, (5) to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons."

  • This is the fulfillment of the promise with which we began.  God promised to send the Seed of the Woman in order to save the world.  He promised it at the beginning of time, and Jesus came in the fullness of time.  IOW, Jesus came when it was “just right.”  It was not by accident that Jesus was born in Bethlehem when He was.  (When exactly it was is unknown.  It almost certainly was not December 25 of that year, and we don’t really know the precise year anyway.  Perhaps 6BC or so.)  Whenever it was, God had determined the time was right, and the Savior was born.
  • The timing was right, and the method was right.  He was “born of a woman,” not only showing the basic fulfillment of a human Savior, but a reference to the Seed of the Woman from Genesis.  He was “born under the law,” according to Jewish custom, but also according to Jewish prophecy.  And the purpose was right: in order to grant redemption and adoption.  We needed to be redeemed from death (due to our breaking of the law, and the original law-breaking in the Garden of Eden), and that’s exactly what Jesus purchases for us through His death and resurrection.  But it doesn’t stop there!  He goes on in grace to grant us adoption.  It would have been enough to simply be forgiven, but He doesn’t leave us in eternal limbo; He brings us into His very family as sons & daughters of God!

The Savior from a Humble Background:
A humble place (Micah 5:2)
Micah 5:2, "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting."

  • If the Savior is to be a human, then that means He needs to have a birthplace.  He needs a place of origin.  That was the purpose of Bethlehem.  The very name means “House of bread,” (בֵּֽית־לֶ֣חֶם ) which is supremely appropriate for the birthplace of the Bread of Life.  Jesus is the true Manna that came from heaven (Jn 6:51), nourishing us with the love of God and the life granted by Him.  What better place for His birth than Bethlehem?
  • The town is honored as the birthplace of David, but it never grew into a massive city.  That was reserved for Jerusalem, David’s chosen home.  Bethlehem remained humble – which (from the perspective of the world) makes it a strange place for the Ruler of Israel to originate.  The Messiah would not come from expected pedigree – He would not be brought up in the finest of homes & educations.  He would be from the suburbs (flyover country).  And it even gets worse! (So to speak.)  Jesus was born in Bethlehem, but He was raised in Nazareth, seen by Matthew as a fulfillment of prophecy. (Mt 1:23)  If Bethlehem was suburbs, Nazareth was backwoods.  Few kings ever had such humble beginnings!
  • Yet don’t let that throw you.  Micah’s prophecy not only shows the humility of the 1st advent, but the glory that underlay it all.  Bethlehem was the place of His human beginning, yet His divinity is proclaimed showing that His “goings forth” are eternal.  God the Son has no beginning!

A humble beginning
Jeremiah 31:15, "Thus says the Lord: “A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children, Refusing to be comforted for her children, Because they are no more.”"

  • The original prophecy was spoken by Jeremiah in response to the destruction brought onto Israel & Judah due to the Babylonian invasion.  “Rachel,” the beloved wife of Jacob (younger sister to Leah) prophetically wept for her children Joseph (seen in the tribes of Ephraim & Manasseh in the north) and Benjamin (in the south, in which the town of Ramah was located).  The children of Israel had been killed, seemingly destroyed, and the people wept fiercely.  Of course this is picked up by Matthew as being ultimately fulfilled in the gruesome massacre of the infants & toddlers of Bethlehem by the command of Herod the Great (Mt 1:18).
  • The Bethlehem massacre did not take place the day, week, or even month of Jesus’ birth.  It came long after, when the magi finally had the opportunity to visit the toddler Jesus, still with Joseph & Mary in Bethlehem. They had brought gifts from the Gentiles to the Jewish King – itself a partial fulfillment of the original Genesis prophecy.  All of humanity owed its allegiance to this King, for He would be the one to bless the nations of the world.
  • To the point: the life of the Messiah began with persecution – with utmost humility.  Jesus was not raised in a comfortable home full of stability and safety.  Even as a young child, He was forced to flee for His life as a refugee.  He had to be taken to Egypt, and called out of Egypt (in fulfillment of prophecy – Mt 1:15).  His adoptive father Joseph apparently died while Jesus was still relatively young, and this Savior of the world lived His live in relative obscurity.  He was not publicly groomed for royalty, and God never meant Him to be.  He lived life exactly as God intended Him to live it: in humble faith and obedience.
  • Eventually Jesus would come into the limelight, but even then He lived humbly…

A humble rejection
Isaiah 53:2–3, "(2) For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him. (3) He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him."

  • This may not be a standard Christmas verse, but it certainly applies to His first advent.  The first coming was always supposed to be about humility & sacrifice, whereas the second coming is about power & glory.  The Savior did all that He was supposed to do, and He was still rejected by His own.  No one desired Him – He was despised by Jew & Gentile alike.  Obviously some received Him (the original disciples were all Jewish, and there were some Gentiles who believed), but the leadership of the Jewish nation turned Him over to the Romans, who gladly (and viciously) crucified Him.
  • Yet never forget: this too, was the plan of God!  God prophesied this very rejection, for it was the act that makes our salvation possible.  Obviously individuals are still responsible for their own actions.  There wasn’t a Jewish Sadducee nor a Roman soldier there who did not exercise his free-will in seeing Jesus rejected, tortured, and crucified.  Even so, this was God’s will.  Jesus had to remain humble in His 1st advent if He was ever to make the 2nd advent possible.  After all, if Jesus had risen up in glory prior to the cross, who would have dared crucified Him?  And if He hadn’t been crucified, He’d never have paid the price for our sins.  To whom would He return to have as a nation?  We’d all be lost!  Yet Jesus was humbly obedient to God, which is exactly what Paul realized…

A humble choice (fulfillment!)
Philippians 2:5–8, "(5) Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, (6) who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, (7) but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. (8) And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross."

  • The humility of Jesus’ advent was not forced upon Him; it was a choice He willingly & gladly made.  He temporarily set His glory aside in order to dwell among us and go to the cross for us.  Could Jesus have chosen differently?  No doubt.  If we have free-will, how much more does the Son of God!  Jesus chose humility.  He chose obedience.  He chose the cross, and our salvation.  This was the plan He & the Father had from before the foundation of the world, and no matter what temptations came His way, He wasn’t about to shortcut it!  He was gloriously humble!

The Savior as God:
Not only do the Scriptures prophesy Jesus’ humanity, being the ultimate Representative of all mankind.  Not only does the Bible speak of Jesus’ humility, showing how this was the plan of God for Him.  It also prophesies that this humble Man would Himself be God, fully divine in every way.

He is the Son of God
2 Samuel 7:12–14, "(12) “When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. (13) He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. (14) I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men."

  • Davidic covenant.  Two sets of sons spoken of: there is the divine Son, and the generational sons of David.  Obviously the one that God will label as His own Son would never “commit iniquity,” although many (all!) of David’s generational sons would do so.  Even with other descendants in mind, the Messiah is still clearly in view.  Out of all of the sons of David, even while all would belong to the Davidic covenant & serve as king through divine right, there was one Son in particular who would be chosen by God as His very own.  To this Son, God would grant an everlasting kingdom (again looking at 1st & 2nd Advents simultaneously).
  • Objection: “That’s just an expression!  All God really says is the relationship He will have with David’s son.  That doesn’t literally speak of Divine lineage.”  Not so…not when compared with other Biblical context…

He is the powerful Son of God
Psalm 2:7–8, "(7) “I will declare the decree: The Lord has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. (8) Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession."

  • Again, this is spoken of David’s sons, and was apparently used liturgically over the various kings of Judah when they ascended to the throne.  But ultimately this speaks of the Messiah, proclaimed by God to be His very own Son.  The true fulfillment of the Davidic covenant would be found in one particular Man: Someone who was not only a human of the line of David, but God of true God. (Again, told us in prophecy of the 1st and 2nd Advents).
  • Objection: “That still could just be figurative language, in reference to all the sons of David!”  Taken one at a time, perhaps…but the evidence keeps piling up.  The divinity of the Messiah was not something that God merely hinted at in the Hebrew prophecies.  He wanted this clearly known, and Isaiah writes of it even more directly…

He is the personal presence of God
Isaiah 7:14, "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel."

  • The original context of this prophecy is God’s response to an evil king.  Ahaz didn’t really want anything to do with the Lord God of Israel.  Ahaz wanted to rule as he wished, make his own political & military strategies, and generally ignore God altogether.  When given a prophecy from Isaiah about God’s intervention against the Syrian threat, Ahaz pretended piety, saying he wouldn’t ask for a sign from God even though God specifically told him to ask for one. (God was graciously giving Ahaz the opportunity to come to faith.)  Ahaz refused, so God provided His own sign: a virgin birth.
    • Once more, this goes back to the original gospel prophecy!  What was hinted with the “Seed of the Woman” becomes expressly clear with the virgin’s conception.  God’s word and promise will always show itself true…even to the most incredible details!
  • The best part about this virgin birth was the name of the child: Immanuel = God with us.  Literally, “With us, (is) God!” (עִמָּנוּאֵל )  The presence of the person of God would be with His people.  Certainly for Ahaz, there was a partial near-term fulfillment in that God did protect His people, even if the ultimate sign of the virgin birth was far off in the future.  God did not abandon His people – not in the immediate threat, nor in the ages to come.  Not even when God finally allowed the Jews to be taken into captivity by Babylon did He ever truly abandon His people.  He promised to be with them, to dwell among them – and so He did: as the Lord Jesus Christ!  This prophecy took on greater meaning later in Isaiah…

He is the perfect person of God
Isaiah 9:6–7, "(6) For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (7) Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this."

  • This is another example of the prophecies that see both the first and second advent of Christ together.  But notice how the Son is described at the very moment of His being given to Israel: He is none other than God Himself.  That “Child,” that “Son” is Himself the “Mighty God” and “Everlasting Father.”  This is not a confusion of the Holy Trinity, but an affirmation that the promised Messiah is not less than truly God; He is God of true God.  There is nothing that God is, that Jesus is not.  There is no attribute God possesses that Jesus lacks.  God the Father and God the Son (along with God the Spirit) certainly have different roles, minds, and personalities, but there is perfect unity & essence among them. 
  • The point?  The Messiah was prophesied to be God.  He was to be absolutely human, but also absolutely divine.  He was prophesied to be completely unique among men in His 1st Advent, and that’s what He was (and is!).

John 1:14, "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."

  • The Word – the λογος  – this expression of God through whom all things came into being – this God became flesh and dwelt among us! 

The Savior as a Sacrifice:
The Messiah was often (rightly) thought among the Hebrews to be a victorious Davidic king, but the Bible also prophesied the sacrificial work of Jesus in His 1st advent.  How far back does it go?  All the way back to where we began in the Garden of Eden.  We might think of these more as “Easter” verses, rather than “Christmas” ones, yet what is the reason for celebrating Christmas, if not for Easter?  What benefit is the Incarnation without the crucifixion and resurrection?  As glorious as it would be for Incarnate God to walk among us, it does us absolutely no good if we have no sacrifice for our sin.  Without the cross & empty tomb, we have no provision – we have no basis for forgiveness.  As Paul wrote, if Jesus is not raised from the dead, then we are of all people to be most pitied! (1 Cor 15:19)  So yes, all of the verses that speak of His crucifixion are verses that apply to His 1st advent, and gloriously so!

The Savior bruised
Genesis 3:14–15, "(14) So the Lord God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life. (15) And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.”"

  • We’ve looked at this already, but take special notice of the last line.  The word used for “bruise” could refer to “snap at, or striking,” but most likely refers to “crushing.”  The injury the serpent was prophesied to cause the Savior was not minor.  It certainly was not final, but we cannot forget that it was indeed fatal.  When Jesus went to the cross, He did not climb down from it in His own strength.  He was brought down from it, fully dead & He remained dead for three days.  But again, thank God it was not a final crushing!  That act is reserved for Satan, as his eternal defeat is wrapped up in Jesus’ eternal victory.
  • It’s not just the death of Jesus that is prophesied in Scripture; it is the method as well…

The Savior crucified.
Psalm 22:14–18, "(14) I am poured out like water, And all My bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It has melted within Me. (15) My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And My tongue clings to My jaws; You have brought Me to the dust of death. (16) For dogs have surrounded Me; The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet; (17) I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me. (18) They divide My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots."

  • David wrote this hundreds of years before crucifixion was ever devised, yet it describes the process of crucifixion perfectly.  Not only that, there are at least 7 different prophecies within Psalm 22 that were clearly fulfilled in Jesus’ experience upon the cross. (1) He felt forsaken by God, (2) He was ridiculed by the crowds, (3) His bones were out of joint, (4) He was thirsty, (5) His hands and feet were pierced, (6) He was gazed upon by men, (7) His clothing was gambled away.  When David prophesied of the cross of Jesus, nothing was left to chance!  Every prophecy was fulfilled perfectly.
  • What was the reason the Savior had to die of crucifixion?  What needed to happen for the serpent to be defeated?  The Savior needed to be a sacrifice for our sins – He needed to be  a perfect substitute…

The Savior as substitute
Isaiah 53:4–6, "(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. (6) All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all."

  • He substituted Himself for us in every way.  Everything we deserved, He endured.  Every sin we committed fell upon His shoulders.  All according to prophecy – all according to God’s word and command.

2 Corinthians 5:21, "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."

  • The One who had no iniquity became our punishment for iniquity.  He stepped into our place, making it possible for us to receive God’s righteousness.

The Messiah Savior was prophesied! 

  • He was to come as a Man: a human being from a human bloodline, sent as the fulfillment of God’s promise made to mankind at our very beginning.
  • He was to come in humility: From His birthplace to His background, everything about the Messiah was the opposite of what the world might expect of the King of the Universe. 
  • He was to be God Himself: Not only was this Messiah a Man, but He is the Son of God.  He is God with us, Immanuel.
  • He was to come as a Sacrifice: First He was to come as a Lamb of sacrifice; it is later that He will come as the King of Glory.

This is our Jesus, and this is who He revealed Himself to be at His first coming.  This is what we celebrate at Christmas, as we remember His humble incarnation.  But again, it means nothing without the cross.  Thank God that Jesus came in humility, for now we are invited to join with Him in glory.  It is because of the 1st Advent that we will welcome His 2nd Advent.  Now we have been made the children of God – now we have been given the gift of grace.  This is our privilege, all of which was promised to mankind through prophecy.


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