Introduction to Advent
Today marks the first Sunday of Advent. For those who are unaware Advent is a time dedicated to waiting. Contrary to popular thought, Advent is not a countdown to Christmas. It is, as author and Pastor Timothy Paul Jones writes, “The proclamation of the sufficiency of Christ through the discipline of waiting.” This simply means that Advent is a time where we find satisfaction in Jesus Christ through the practice of waiting. Waiting? Yeah, waiting is a discipline for me. I, like many of you, have fallen into the trap of busyness and instant gratification. I don’t like the words “persevere,” “patience,” and “wait.” But this is what Advent is all about. It’s about waiting, preparing, and anticipating.
Originally, Advent was not a celebration of the first coming of the Christ-child, but rather, it was a time of anticipation and preparation for the Second Coming of Christ. However, by the 8th Century, the church (universal) adopted what western Christianity today observes as Advent. Since the 8th century, Advent has become the celebration and observation of the Messiah’s coming to the earth through his birth in Bethlehem (first advent), the anticipation of his future appearance at the end of time (second advent), and the remembrance of his presence among us through the Holy Spirit.
Since Advent is about waiting and anticipating it is appropriate for us in the next four weeks to look back to the expectations and anticipations of the people of Israel as they waited and longed for the coming Messiah. Today we are starting a new series titled “Christmas Prophecies” where we will look back and focus on the Old Testament prophecies that point and speak to the first advent of Jesus Christ.
Some may ask the question, “Why look back in an age of progress?” Because when we look back we see God’s intended plan of redemption from the beginning of time and how God works through His people (Israel), and prophets to bring the act and message of salvation to the nations.
Significance of Messianic Prophecy in O.T.
Let’s begin our look at the significance of the O.T. prophecies by going to the end of the ministry of the earthly ministry of the Messiah.
The Road to Emmaus
One day, post resurrection, two followers of Jesus were walking on the road to Emmaus (about 7 miles from Jerusalem). They were talking about the events that just happened (the crucifixion of Jesus) and suddenly Jesus appears to them on this road. We are told that God/the Holy Spirit kept Jesus’ identity from them. Jesus begins to engage them in conversation about the events of the crucifixion. They clearly were upset because they thought that everything, they believed in was squelched at Calvary. He gently rebukes the men and proceeds to share with about how the O.T. writings were, in fact, about Him… The Messiah.
Luke 24:27 - Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
Did you catch that? Jesus explains how all scriptures from Moses and the prophets pointed to Him.
I don’t know how many times I have had people say to me, “Why are you preaching out of the O.T.? As Christians we should be focusing on the N.T.! The Old Testament is no longer valid because Jesus did away with it. Sure, when you look at it from that perspective, I understand people’s concern. However, when you consider the words of the Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 3:16 -17, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” you understand why. ALL SCRIPTURE… Including the O.T.
Genesis to Malachi
The Old Testament points us to the coming Messiah. You may not know this, but Jesus is evident throughout the Old Testament. It is chock full of prophecies regarding Him and His future redemption. Now, we do not have nearly enough time to go through every prophecy concerning the Messiah, but we will look at a few in the coming weeks. Plus, in 2022 we are planning on going through an overview of the whole bible and we will see more connections to Christ in the O.T. in that series.
So, let’s go back to the beginning… the Genesis. In the opening chapters of the Bible, we witness the beautiful act of creation. In God’s creation He creates paradise and gives humans dominion over his creation. Unfortunately, only three chapters in we see how God’s paradise is corrupted and his communion with his creation is severed due to the acts of sin and disobedience… Eating the fruit from the forbidden tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In this act of sin and deception God places judgment on the guilty parties… the man, the woman, and the serpent. This judgment is the beginning of a longtime battle between good and evil. However, tucked in this judgment (Genesis 3:15) we see something hopeful, something promising, and something for all humanity to anticipate in the future.
“Protoevangelium” or the first gospel account of the Bible. The Offspring refers to Jesus Christ, the Messiah. This offspring of the woman is foretold as being at war with Satan and his “offspring” (his followers the demons and evil powers). It will be a war for the soul that Satan cannot win. A prophecy is spoken and proclaimed over the serpent.
He will strike your head – Death, resurrection & redemption. Jesus delivers a fatal blow to Satan and his demonic kingdom because will is the perfect sacrifice for humanity. All who believe will be redeemed and made right with the father; thus destroying the work of the devil.
You will strike his heal – Satan will seemingly celebrate a short and temporary victory as the crucifixion unfolds. The death and rejection of Jesus will be painful and harsh and temporary… non-lethal (bruise his heal). From the offset it will appear Satan has won but in the end Jesus will be victorious.
Thus, we see in this one small portion of scripture and continuing throughout Genesis God’s plans revolve around a collective the offspring that comes from the line of Abraham: the nation of Israel. Throughout we see the hardships, disappointments and challenges the patriarchs face, especially in barrenness (no children) we see this barrenness is overcome by God’s help throughout, “it is God himself . . . who is responsible for the birth of the promised ‘seed.’” Including Israel, but more specifically Jesus himself.
Matthew 2:13 – 15
Now, let’s go to today’s text found in Matthew 2:13 – 15. This short passage contains a prophecy fulfillment found in the short Minor Prophet Hosea.
Vs 13: “After the wise men had gone…” The Nativity story contains many parts and includes many people. In this passage it talks about the Magi. We have talked about the Magi in previous years, but it is the Magi who come and visit the young Jesus and lavish him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and Myrrh. Originally, they were going back to Herod to tell him the location of the newborn king, but an angel of the Lord tells them not to go back. In this God takes sovereign action to protect his Messiah. God is beginning to work behind the scenes. He takes proactive measures to protect his chosen Messiah.
Vs 14: “That night…” When the angel appears to Joseph, he is told to get up (right away) and go to Egypt. This shows the urgency of the angel’s directions. That night the angel spoke about Herod, and that night Mary, Joseph and Jesus left for Egypt. Traveling at night was not ideal and very dangerous. This tells us there is a sense of urgency. Then we are told Joseph, Mary, and Jesus’ calling out of Egypt was a fulfillment of a prophecy found in Hosea 11:1.
This is an unusual prophecy to cite because when reading the full prophecy of Hosea 11 we get the impression the prophet is talking about another King David. Biblical scholar James E. Smith writes, “Just as Hosea expected another David, so here he expects another Israel, one who would be called as a child by God. Matthew sees in this verse a reference to Christ” (Matt 2:15).
Throughout the Bible Egypt is place of refuge to those fleeing Israel when things went bad.
Background of Hosea (the Book)
The book of Hosea is interesting to say the least. The prophet, Hosea, is commanded to marry a prostitute as a symbol of how Israel has become unfaithful to God. There is so much to this minor prophet book, and I would encourage you to read it today or this week. In the book GOD’S MESSIAH IN THE OLD TESTAMENT the author writes, “the heart of the prophecy is a story of love gone wrong. The turbulent marriage of Hosea and Gomer (Hosea 1 and 3) reflects the history of the covenant relationship between God and Israel from the exodus to the exile and to the return (chap. 2). Gomer’s sin, punishment, and restoration become a symbol of God’s dealings with Israel. After the merited punishment of the exile, there will be a new exodus, a new wilderness journey, a new entry into the land, and a renewing of the covenant that involves the restoration of monarchic rule in Israel.” It is even in this prophecy as a collection we see that it all points to the restoration of the monarchy, but this monarchy is not of a human ruler, but the divine Messiah who is yet to come.
So, as I conclude the message for today, we can ask the question, “What does any of this have to do with anything?” Glad you asked…
In lieu of the temptation to get caught up in all the hustle and bustle of Christmas this year, let’s re-focus and commit to the discipline of finding sufficiency in Jesus Christ. Let’s take comfort in knowing…
 Smith, J. E. (1994). The Minor Prophets (p. 264). Joplin, MO: College Press.
 Abernethy, Andrew T.; Goswell, Gregory. God's Messiah in the Old Testament (p. 124). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Jeff has been in full-time ministry for thirty years. He currently serves as Executive Director at Anchor House Ministry at SeaPort Manatee in Palmetto, FL and he is a part-time Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Southside in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored A Lent Devotional (A Spiritual Journey to Lent) an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). All three are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
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