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Prophesy

Isaiah 9:6

 

"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." (NASB)

 Susan loves the Christmas season and during this time of year I relinquish any pretence of control in our household.  While we all pretend that I’m in charge the rest of the year, there is no doubt that she is in charge during this season.  I’ve learned to defer to her on most things that relate to our celebration of Christmas.  She usually puts up our Christmas tree on the Friday following Thanksgiving and will not all us to take it down before New Year’s Day.  These dates are carved in stone.  She begins her Christmas shopping on December 26th each year, because, after all, the cards and decorations are half-price then and throughout the year she picks up a gift here and a gift there.  Did I mention that she loves Christmas?

 Slowly gifts begin to appear throughout the elongated time our tree is up and before long, it is filled with gifts from friends and relatives.  The Christmas drama doesn’t leave me with a sense of anticipation like it did when I was a child, but it still makes me wonder what lies beneath the surface of those smartly wrapped gifts.  It is with that sense of anticipation of a child on Christmas Eve that we approach this morning’s topic. 

 Just a moment ago, we lit the Prophesy candle.  Just as we have to wait for Christmas morning, those who first heard Isaiah’s prophesy had to wait for its fulfillment. This holiday season we will mark the passage of time with the aid of the advent candle, and examining the significance of each week.  This week with the prophesy candle, the following weeks with the Bethlehem, shepherd, angel and the Christ candles.  The prophesy candle reminds us that generations of people waited for the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophesy.  Their wait, of course, was much longer and more painful than ours.  The purpose of this candle in the Advent calendar is more than drawing attention to the wait, it is to remind us that the Incarnation was not a divine afterthought–God intended to become man and redeem the world with His precious blood from before time.  Rev. 13:8 refers to Jesus as “the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.”  (NIV)

 Isaiah says that the child “will be born to us.”  With that phrase, he affirms the humanity of Jesus.  But he says more than just that–he also writes, “a son will be given to us.”  The addition of the second phrase clarifies the first.  Jesus was born of a woman–He was born to us, but His birth was of divine origin–He was given to us.

 Long before a baby cried in a manger in Bethlehem, the prophet said that this would be a unique child.  A human child, yes, but a divine child also.

 Paul explained it this way in Philip. 2:6-8.  “who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, [7] but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. [8] And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”  Before Jesus “emptied Himself” at the Incarnation, Isaiah said he would do it. 

 Isaiah was more explicit about the virgin birth in Isaiah 7:14 when he wrote, "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.”

 Luke, the physician, affirmed Isaiah’s prophesy in Acts 13:23, when he wrote,  "From the offspring of this man, according to promise, God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus,” Dr. Luke told the story of the immaculate conception this way:  Luke 1:26-31 NASB “Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee, called Nazareth, [27] to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. [28] And coming in, he said to her, ‘Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.’ [29] But she was greatly troubled at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this might be. [30] And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. [31] And behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.’”

 Today as we behold the Prophecy candle, we remember that Isaiah told us that Jesus birth would be unique.  Shall we spend the morning reflecting upon the amazing circumstances surrounding Jesus’ birth.  It was no ordinary birth–He was born of a virgin.  A fact that was foretold by the Prophet Isaiah and later confirmed by Dr. Luke. 

 Isaiah also wrote, “And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace."

 He is the Wonderful Counselor.  Colossians 2:2-3 says, “that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God's mystery, that is, Christ Himself, [3] in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (NASB)

 He is the Mighty God.  Acts 20:28 “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.”  (NASB)  and Titus 2:13 says, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,” (NASB)

 Matthew 11:27 says, "All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” (NASB) 

 He is the Eternal Father.  Hebrews 2:13 says,  “And again, ‘I WILL PUT MY TRUST IN HIM.’ And again, ‘BEHOLD, I AND THE CHILDREN WHOM GOD HAS GIVEN ME.’”  (NASB)  and  Colossians 1:16-17 says,  “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. [17] He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” (NASB)

 His is the Prince of Peace.  Ephesians 2:14 says, “For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall,” (NASB) 

 In other places, Isaiah prophesied the manner of his birth (Isa 7:14) that he would have a forerunner preparing His way, (Isa 40:3) what His mission would be (Isa 61:1), and the nature of His ministry (Isa 53:4) and His death (Isa 52-3). 

 The prophet Micah foretold the place of His birth (Mic 5:2).  The Psalmist predicted that He’d be rejected by men (Psa 118:22) the nature of His death (Psa 22), that he would raise from the dead (Psa 16:10) and that He would ascend into heaven (Psa 68:18).

 Long before He was born, Moses said He’d be a prophet (Deut 18:15-18) David said He’d be a priest (Psalm 110:4) and they both agreed he’d be a king (Psa 2:6, Num 24:17).

 As we look at the lone light emanating from the prophecy candle, we’re reminded that men of old had to wait to celebrate His birth.  But we’re also reminded that it was worth the wait.  Jesus was all they said He’d be, and more.  The prophets were right on—they correctly predicted that He would come and even the details surrounding His coming.

 Today, we’re reminded that they had to wait, but I remind you that you don’t have to.  Oh, you’ll have to wait ‘til Christmas to unwrap the presents under your tree, but you don’t have to wait to accept the greatest gift of all.  Today you can know the fulfillment of all these prophesies personally.

 Romans 10:9 says, “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;” (NASB) Would you confess Him as your Lord and accept Him as your Savior today?
 

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