This first week of Advent we look at the hope of the birth of the Messiah and His triumphant return. To understand this hope we look towards the prophets. The first candle on the Advent Wreath represents not only hope but the prophesies that empowered this desire within the people. Three of the prophets gave specific clues to the family, place, and actions of the Messiah who would be the Savior. The Messiah that the Israelites were seeking would save them physically but they did not fully understand that it would be their very souls which could be saved.
A Righteous Branch
The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: “The LORD is our righteousness.” Jeremiah 33:14-16
The people knew from the time of David that his line would eventually produce one who would keep the tribes together. This ruler would be just and God-fearing by ruling with a loving heart. Here, Jeremiah is speaking of both times that our Savior/Messiah would come because He turned many back to God’s Word, disrupted and corrected man’s distortion of the law, and He will come again to restore Jerusalem as the seat of the eternal kingdom.
Now muster your troops, O daughter of troops; siege is laid against us;
with a rod they strike the judge of Israel on the cheek.
But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel,
whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.
Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has given birth;
then the rest of his brothers shall return to the people of Israel.
And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth. And he shall be their peace. Micah 5:1-5
Knowing that the Messiah would be of the line of David it is only fitting that He be born in the same vicinity. The message here is that He comes from more than just David but His lineage goes back as a direct link to Adam following the Holy line through Abraham. This passage also speaks of a full return of all the tribes. The Messiah will be the Great Shepherd to the people.
The Child, the Light, the Savior
Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever. The land of Zebulun and Naphtali will be humbled, but there will be a time in the future when Galilee of the Gentiles, which lies along the road that runs between the Jordan and the sea, will be filled with glory.
The people who walk in darkness will see a great light.
For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.
You will enlarge the nation of Israel, and its people will rejoice.
They will rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest and like warriors dividing the plunder.
For you will break the yoke of their slavery and lift the heavy burden from their shoulders.
You will break the oppressor’s rod, just as you did when you destroyed the army of Midian.
The boots of the warrior and the uniforms bloodstained by war
will all be burned. They will be fuel for the fire.
For a child is born to us, a son is given to us.
The government will rest on his shoulders.
And he will be called:
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
His government and its peace will never end.
He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity.
The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen! Isaiah 9:1-7
The most poetic and well known prophesies is this. Isaiah speaks of the truth of the Messiah being the Holy Son of God who will reign over the world bringing a peace that is beyond human comprehension. His armies will defeat all evil and there will be no more bloodshed. We will finally have full communion with God.
Signs and Wonders of His Return
“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves.
People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory.
Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
Then he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees;
as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near.
So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near.
Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place.
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
“Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day catch you unexpectedly,
like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth.
Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:25-36
Luke was not a prophet but he wrote down the words that were given to him from Paul and the Apostles that Jesus had spoken. Jesus speaks of His triumphant return and brings us hope of a future peace that will be eternal. It is this hope that carries us through the days and encourages us in our bleakest times. The hope in waiting for His return gives us the joy that keeps us from being hopeless in the godless world we live in today.
How beautiful this season of Hope. Let us remain hopeful that He will return while letting the Holy Spirit guide us through each day. Let us also not dwell on doom and gloom but the glorious kingdom in heaven that awaits us. Keep hope in your heart and let it bring love, joy, and peace.
Rob, Servant of God