—Micah 5:2, emphasis added
Micah’s reference to
Just as Micah had prophesied around 700 years before Jesus came, the little town of Bethlehem was indeed the birth place of the Messiah—the One who would be “Ruler in Israel”—the One “whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2)! At Christmas, we should therefore not only reflect upon the “eternal God’s incarnation in the person of Jesus Christ” but also “His millennial reign as King of Kings (cf. Is. 9:6).”
This Jesus Christ, the promised one, was foretold by Isaiah in language that has been heralded as one of the most beloved prophetic Christmas passages ever. In fact, Handel’s “Messiah” so captures the beauty and heart of Isaiah 9:6-7 that I would not be surprised to hear this glorious music in the worship center of the universe! As you read through these words once more, worship the One of whom it speaks!
“For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”
From this prophetic passage, we can conclude: “The Son will rule the nations of the world (Rev. 2:27; 19:15). … The Messiah will be a Father to His people eternally. As Davidic King, He will compassionately care for and discipline them (Isaiah 40:11; 63:16; 64:8; Pss. 68:5,6; 103:13; Prov. 3:12). The government of Immanuel will procure and perpetuate peace among the nations of the world (Isaiah 2:4; 11:6-9; Mic. 4:3).” There is a glorious future in Christ that is yet to come, as our study in Revelation is revealing, but only if you personally grab hold of the eternal God’s purpose for His incarnation, which is to “… save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).
God had made a promise to David that one of his descendants would have an eternal reign, and God always remembers His oaths. When the perfect time had come, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph and announced: “[Mary] will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet [Isaiah], saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated “God with us” (Matthew 1:21-23).
What was foretold regarding the Messiah was also affirmed through the angel Gabriel, when he told Mary about the Son she was to miraculously bear: “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:32-33). So when the light of Christ burst forth upon the darkness of this world the night of His birth, a multitude of the heavenly host joyfully sang God’s praises: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward [all] men!” (Luke 2:14). This is the gospel, which is meant for everyone.
Jesus Christ came to earth to bring “liberty to the captives” (Luke 4:18), and that was the message He preached at His hometown synagogue. Christ’s salvation is offered to all who are in bondage to sin and death. We are powerless to set ourselves free; only Jesus, the Lamb of God, could pay the price necessary for our redemption (Ephesians 1:7; 1 Peter 1:18-21). As Warren Wiersbe has said, “When you trust Jesus as Savior, you are delivered from Satan’s power, moved into God’s kingdom, redeemed, and forgiven (Col. 1:12-14).”
Make a choice to live in hope: Jesus’ birth was the dawning of a new day that knows no night, for our night was ended by His light: “Through the tender mercy of our God, with which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:78-79).
Dayspring means “sunrise.” God’s Word sees lost people as those sitting in darkness, death, and distress. However, Christ’s birth brought light, life, and peace. Jesus came into a manger one dark night to bear away the sin of the world. If you will ask Him, He will take your penalty, your debt, your stain, your sin. The story of Christmas is that the
If you are already a child of God, read the words of this ancient Christmas hymn and worship your eternal God Incarnate through the wonderful titles ascribed to Him throughout the Old Testament: Wisdom, Emmanuel, The Lord of Might, The Rod of Jesse, Day Spring, and the Key of David!
O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel, that mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear.
O come, O come, Thou Lord of might who to Thy tribes, on Sinai’s height, in ancient times didst give the law in cloud and majesty and awe.
O come, thou Rod of Jesse, free Thine own from Satan’s tyranny; from depths of hell Thy people save and give them vict’ry o’er the grave.
O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer our spirits by Thine advent here; O drive away the shades of night and pierce the clouds and bring us light.
O come, Thou Key of David, come and open wide our heav’nly home where all Thy saints with Thee shall dwell—O come, O come, Emmanuel!
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O
—Latin origin from c. 12th century
Tr. by John M. Neale, 1818–1866
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