The Eden Promise and it’s Fulfilment
by Seattle ALC
The joyous meaning of our Christmas festival is found hidden in the prophetic promises of the Old Testament and in the New Testament records of their fulfillment. True peace and lasting joy are found in the knowledge that God is with us – Immanuel has come!
Prophetic writings provide many clues to the age-old anticipation of God’s visitation of His people. Initially, God himself spoke the promise in Eden when He said that the seed of the woman would bruise the head of the serpent (Gen. 3:15). Later, when He called Abraham to leave his country, He said to him: “I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great … and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed” (Gen. 12). When Apostle Paul wrote his Epistle to the Galatians, he explained that this promise to Abraham referred to Christ, who was to be born in the family of Abraham (Gal. 3:16).
In Jacob’s last blessing to his many sons, he was moved to prophesy that the promise would be fulfilled in the tribe of Judah. Jacob, who was Abraham’s grandson, said: “The scepter shall not depart from Judah nor a lawgiver from between his feet until Shiloh come, and unto Him shall the gathering of His people be” (Gen. 49:10). (Shiloh is a Messianic reference.)
In the Book of Numbers, we read that Balaam was given a vision of things to come when he said: “I shall see him, but not now, I shall behold him, but not nigh. There shall come a star out of Jacob and the scepter shall rise out of Israel” (Numbers 24:17).
Prophet Isaiah gave additional insight into God’s perfect plan. He wrote: “Therefore, the Lord himself shall give you a sign: Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. For unto us a child is born, unto to us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:2&6). And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots” (Isaiah 11:1). “And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open” (Isaiah 22:22).
Prophet Micah revealed the place where the promise would be fulfilled: “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2).
And so the Lord has visited and redeemed His people. “He has raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David. He spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets which have been since the world began. He performed the mercy promised to our fathers, and remembered the oath which He sware to our father Abraham, to give knowledge of salvation unto His people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us; to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet in the way of peace” (Luke 1).
COME THOU LONG EXPECTED JESUS
Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Hope of all the earth Thou art
Israel’s Strength and Consolation
Dear Desire of every nation
Joy of every longing heart.
Born Thy people to deliver;
Born a child, and yet a king;
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring,
By Thine own eternal Spirit,
Rule Thou in our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.
By Charles Wesley, 1744
From the writings of the late Pastor A.C. Holmgren- December 2004 )
Submitted by Pastor Stan