In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. But then sin and rebellion entered the garden, derailing God’s creation and breaking relationships. Humans would no longer share in the free and full relationship of love with God and each other. Evil had entered their hearts, dragging them away from God and driving a wedge between each other.
But God – don’t we love that phrase? – but God would not let his children suffer forever under the weight of their sin and brokenness and death. God would send a rescuer, someone of Eve’s own offspring, who would crush the head of the serpent once and for all. This One would deal a crushing blow to death itself, although he would endure the full force of the serpent’s venom in the process.
God worked through his people to prepare the world for the coming chosen One. Through Abraham, God promised a world-wide blessing. Through Moses, God promised the Prophet who would bring God’s word to his people. Through David, God promised a King on the throne in Zion forever, one who would be regarded as the Son of God and a Priest in the order of Melchizedek. Through Isaiah God foretold that this coming One would be born of a virgin and would be called Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Emmanuel – God with us. The One to come would establish justice and bring freedom for the oppressed. The One to come would be a servant who would suffer and die but would be raised again to the glory of God.
I’m mindful of Peter’s words in 1 Peter 1:10-12:
The prophets who spoke of this outpouring of grace upon you diligently searched and inquired of the Lord about this salvation: to whom and to what time was the indwelling Spirit of the Anointed referring when He told them about the suffering of the Anointed and the honor that would follow it? The Spirit revealed to them they were not serving themselves but you. And you have learned from those who told you the good news by the Spirit that was sent down from heaven. Even the heavenly messengers would like to explore this news.
Might the other prophets have something to tell us of the One who is to come, the Anointed One, the Messiah?
According to the prophet Malachi, the Messiah would be preceded by another prophet in the spirit of Elijah.
Keep watch. I am sending Elijah the prophet to you before the arrival of the great and terrible day of the Eternal One, and he will return parents’ hearts to their children and children’s hearts to their parents, or else I will come and strike the land of promise with a curse of annihilation.
(Malachi 4:5-6 | The Voice)
But you, Bethlehem of Ephrathah,
of the clans of Judah, are no poor relation—
From your people will come a Ruler
who will be the shepherd of My people, Israel,
Whose origins date back to the distant past,
to the ancient days.
(Micah 5:2 | The Voice)
From the prophet Hosea we learn that the Messiah would spend time in Egypt as a young child.
When Israel was a child, I loved him;
and out of Egypt I called My son.
(Hosea 11:1 | The Voice)
Jeremiah longed for a day when the Messiah would establish a new covenant with God’s people, a covenant not based on works but based on faith and grace and love.
Look, the days are coming when I will bring about a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors long ago when I took them by the hand and led them out of slavery in Egypt. They did not remain faithful to that covenant—even though I loved and cared for them as a husband. This is the kind of new covenant I will make with the people of Israel when those days are over. I will put My law within them. I will write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people. No longer will people have to teach each other or encourage their family members and say, “You must know the Eternal.” For all of them will know Me intimately themselves—from the least to the greatest of society. I will be merciful when they fail and forgive their wrongs. I will never call to mind or mention their sins again.
(Jeremiah 31:31-34 | The Voice)
The prophet and Old Testament hero Daniel was given a vision of this Messiah as he would be received in glory at the throne of God.
I saw another spectacle in the night visions:
I looked and saw someone like a son of man
coming with the clouds of heaven.
He approached the Ancient of Days
and was ushered into His presence.
To Him was given authority, honor, and a kingdom
so that all people of every heritage, nationality, and language might serve Him.
His dominion will last forever,
His throne will never pass away,
and His kingdom will never be destroyed.
(Daniel 7:13-14 | The Voice)
I could go on, but I simply don’t have time to mention all the prophecies concerning the Messiah. I wish we could see all the times the Christ appeared throughout the Hebrew Scriptures, often known as The Angel (or Messenger) of the Lord.
The Coming Messiah would be a symbol of hope and God’s promises to his people for over a thousand years. And as we approach Christmas, we recognize that on one ordinary night in an ordinary stable in an ordinary town, two ordinary people became parents to the most extraordinary child.
The Word became flesh. The Promise took on skin and bone. The Light of the World stepped down into darkness. Son of God, Son of Man, Prophet, Priest, King. The Prophets foretold his coming. The angels waited with eager anticipation.
The Messiah is coming.