In my previous Advent article, I sought to briefly expose the nature and necessity of Advent. As previously stated, Advent means “coming”. Advent is a celebration of the first coming of Jesus Christ into the world. This is what Christmas is about – the incarnation of our Savior. That is the nature of Advent. I also briefly touched on why there was a need for Christ to come into the world. Genesis 3:1-14 details humanity’s treason against its Creator and Romans 8:20-21 explains that because of Adam’s rebellion, God subjected all of creation to futility or depravity and its effects. God has judged treasonous man by declaring him guilty and by subjecting all of creation to a curse. This curse has brought physical and moral corruption. However, at the end of Romans 8:21, we learn that God subjected creation to futility in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom. All is not lost or ultimately consumed by the just wrath of God. There is hope! Liberation was promised. Creation will be set free from its bondage to corruption!
Did you notice the passive language? Creation will be set free. It cannot set itself free; it must be delivered by another. I stated that Genesis 3:15 gives us a hint that God has appointed an emancipator. One will come and deliver creation from its curse. That deliverer will be the offspring of woman that will bruise the head of the serpent (the devil), but in the process, the deliverer’s heel would be bruised (the deliverer would be struck). That was the first Messianic promise of Scripture. That promise was concerning Jesus.
From this point on in the Old Testament, we are given more promises that provide greater clarity and explanation about the coming of Jesus, the Messiah, and the results of His ministry. The grand narrative of Scripture is that a Holy God has reconciled a sinful people to Himself through His appointed King, our Redeemer and Savior, Jesus Christ. Some have rightly summarized the Old Testament as promises made and the New Testament as promises fulfilled. Some of the most significant promises made concerning Jesus are:
- He would be a descendant of Abraham. (Gen. 12:1-3)
- He would be a descendant of Israel’s greatest king, David, who was a son of Jesse. (Is. 11:1)
- He would be born in Bethlehem. (Mic. 5:2)
- He would be born of a virgin. (Is. 7:14)
- He would be called Immanuel. (Is. 7:14)
- He would usher in a new covenant. (Jer. 31:31-34)
- He would perform miracles. (Is. 35:4-6)
- He would be called God’s Son. (Ps. 2)
- He would enter Jerusalem riding on a donkey. (Zech. 9:9)
- He would be rejected. (Is. 53:1-4)
- He would be beaten. (Is. 50:6-7)
- He would be pierced (crucified). (Ps. 22:16; Is. 53:5)
- His life would be an intercession for sinners. (Is. 53:5; 10-11)
- He would die. (Is. 53:8-9)
- He would rise from the dead. (Ps. 16:8-11)
- His life would have a global impact bringing salvation to the ends of the earth. (Is. 49:6, Mic. 5:4)
- He would have an everlasting kingdom. (2 Sam 7:12-13, Dan. 7:13-14)
What grace from God that throughout the course of human history He would speak to us in the Scriptures through ordinary men and women concerning the identity of Jesus, the one promised to come liberate us from our bondage to sin and corruption.
During this Advent season, may we praise God that He is a God of hope, mercy, forgiveness and grace and that He has not been silent concerning the salvation He has for His people through Christ!