In the beginning, God created everything and put man in the Garden of Eden to serve as a theocratic administrator. The Serpent ruined man and God promised to send the woman’s Seed to crush him.
And so, the anticipation began.
Eve named her first son, “Cain,” saying, “I have gotten a man! The LORD!” (קניתי אישׁ את־יהוה). But this was not the promised One. Job knew that after he died, he would stand on the earth with his Redeemer in the last days. God cut a covenant with Abraham, promising him seed, blessing, and a land where Job and all the other saints could dwell with the Redeemer. Jacob gathered his sons at the end of his life and said that the ruling Shiloh will come from Judah. Balaam said that when this Scepter occupies the land, He will do so with military conquest. God promised David that when this new kingdom comes, then Israel can finally live peacefully. Isaiah prophesied that the curse from Eden will be redacted. Jeremiah prophesied that God will write His Law on Israel’s hearts and that they will all know Him. God showed Ezekiel the massive temple that He would build in the kingdom. Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar of a Stone not cut with hands that would bring down all other kingdoms.
Daniel also foretold when the Messiah would come, so it is no surprise that Simeon, Anna, the wise men, etc., were waiting for Him at the time Jesus was born. Herod knew that this King would set up a new and literal kingdom, so he had the babies of Bethlehem killed (for the chief priests and scribes knew that’s when and where He would be born). Not only Herod, but everyone expected a literal kingdom. John the Baptizer proclaimed the good news that this kingdom was available if Israel would accept it. When he was arrested, Jesus Himself came and proclaimed the good news of this kingdom and even performed miracles to prove His authenticity. Instead of accepting the Messiah and His kingdom, Israel’s corupt leadership ascribed these miracles to Beelzebub and rejected the King.
And so, the King postponed the kingdom for a future day.
The true Christmas spirit is seen in the lives of Eve, Simeon, Anna, and all of those who took God at His word and anticipated the coming Messiah. The original Scrooges are those who rejected the King and His kingdom. Christ fulfilled several prophecies about Himself, the humble suffering Servant, during His tenure on earth 2,000 years ago, but there is still much that remains for Him to fulfill.
Many a Grinch today will tell you that there is no coming kingdom. This makes God a humbug who backs out of His promises to Israel. Such theology became popular with the fall of Jerusalem at the hands of Titus in 70 a.d., but Israel’s miraculous return is evidence that God has not turned His back on the Jews.
He came before and He will come again! Let’s remember God’s promises this Christmas as we await Christ’s certain return.
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