Advent is the name we traditionally give to the weeks preceding Christmas. In Latin, advent means “coming.” During Advent, we prepare to celebrate the coming of Jesus as a sweet, helpless infant sent to be our Savior.
In this series, I invite you to join with me in contemplating the Christmas story from these perspectives: Prophets, Bethlehem, Shepherds, Angels, Christ.
First, the Prophets.
To fully grasp the significance of prophecy as it describes the coming of Jesus as our Savior, we must understand certain aspects of the nature of God. Consider these truths about God:
- God is eternal. Time as we experience it is a part of Creation (Gen. 1:3-5,14-15), but the Creator exists outside of His Creation (Psa. 139:1-4, Psa. 147:4-5, Isa. 46:910, Heb. 4:13).
- God is omniscient, i.e. all-knowing. He knows and understands all things, past, present and future (Psa. 90:2, John 1:1-3, Rev. 1:8).
- God is transcendent. He is beyond us, beyond our ability to fully know and comprehend because we are finite and limited. See my post: More… (Psa. 145:3, Isa. 40:28, Rom. 11:33).
Left to our own limited resources, there is very little, if indeed anything, we could truly know or understand about the character or ways of God. Fortunately for us, God is a relational God. He values community and fellowship. His love is as limitless as He Himself (Eph. 3:14-19, Rom. 8:37-39). Therefore, He takes the initiative to make Himself and His ways known to us (Gen. 35:7; 1Sam 3:21; Psa. 103:7; Luke 10:21-22). And that’s where the prophets come in.
One way that God has chosen to make Himself known is through the prophets. The prophets–men such as Elijah and Elisha, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Micah and many others–were individuals chosen by God to speak for Him.
In this Advent season, we remember that God spoke through the prophets to reveal His plan for salvation: to provide a way for mankind to be restored to fellowship with Him through His Son, Jesus Christ. Within the pages of the Bible, hundreds of prophecies regarding Jesus the Messiah* are recorded, many of them foretelling the details of His birth. In the New Testament, we find prophecies of His birth and ministry fulfilled.
Through the promise and fulfillment of prophecy, we understand that Almighty God, who is beyond knowing, has chosen to make Himself known and more than that, has chosen to take fragile, fallible, finite mankind into His confidence. In this season, we celebrate the faithfulness of God who fulfills His promises, spoken through the prophets.
As you anticipate the coming celebration of the birth of Jesus, contemplate the oft-heard words of the prophet Isaiah:
Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign:
Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son,
and she will call His name Immanuel [which means, God with us]. (Is. 7:14)
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
*In Hebrew, Messiah means “the anointed one” and in Greek it is translated Christ.