Advent: 2021 -- Symbols of Christ From Days of Old
This season we came together on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings to hear from our Lord in the words of the Old Testament, highlighting for us a few examples of Christ in the Old Testament. In this way we discovered Christ in the Old just as He appears to us in the New. Indeed, Christ permeates all the pages of His holy Word and that should be no surprise. He is the Alpha and Omega after all, from beginning to end.
We heard of the burning bush where our Lord called out to Moses enlisting him in the great redemption and deliverance of His beloved son, Israel. Our Lord heard their cries, saw their affliction, and remember His promises to their fathers. (Exodus 3) We heard of the tabernacle designed by our Lord to stand amid the tribes of Israel as they wondered the wilderness. This would be the very place the LORD would dwell, the tent of meeting. He would be with them, leading them, guiding them, caring for them both body and soul and this would be the place they would receive from Him the gift of forgiveness and mercy. (Exodus 40) Finally, we heard of Gideon, a judge appointed by the LORD to deliver His people during a dark and fearful time. He was nothing special, from the smallest tribe, weakest in his family, even seemed to wonder a great deal where the God of his fathers had gone. Even in this meekness, weakness and humility, the LORD was with him and did mighty things to deliver His people from their sorrow and grief.
Throughout each of these lessons we see and hear God at work among His people to deliver them from their trouble. Sometimes that trouble was brought to them because of the broken world in which they lived. The sin of the world was thrust upon them. Sometimes that trouble was a result of their own brokenness, their own sin and rebellion. Nevertheless, the LORD heard their cries, saw their suffering, and remembered His covenants, His promises to them. We heard how He is faithful. How His love endures forever. How He is patient and steadfast, and while we, His chosen, may struggle to be any of these things, He does not.
It was a long wait for the people of Israel, from that burning bush to that silent night in Bethlehem. The people waited and waited, generation after generation for the “mighty one who will save.” (Zephaniah 3) They were desperate, fearful, ready. They were ready for the one who “will be their peace” (Micah 5) because they knew in the same way Gideon knew, “The LORD is peace.” (Judges 6-7)
In the same way that burning bush caught Moses by surprise on that desert mountain, the proclamation of the angels to Mary, Joseph and the shepherds was no different. All the sudden the prophesied one was here. The day of the Lord was here, he has come to save is people. The LORD has seen their affliction, heard their cries and remembered His promises. He would fulfill all that was written about Him in the Law and the Prophets, He would dwell among His people, in the flesh, to save them, to deliver them from darkness, guilt, shame, despair, sin, and death by His own death.
He would dwell with His people just as in the days of the tabernacle. He would bring God’s power and might out of humble and weak places and people just like Gideon. He would intercede for His people and deliver them just like Moses.
Though this was fulfilled by that child born to a virgin so long ago, He has made you and I another promise. He will come again, one last advent of our king to complete the good work He began in us. So, we wait, like Israel, for the Prince of Peace and He is coming soon He tells us in Revelation. When He comes again it will bring the same joy to you as it did that day in Bethlehem. You will sing for joy, you will rest again for “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe way every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be morning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Rev. 21)
That promise is enough because it is for you in Christ -- for your salvation, life, and forgiveness – for your peace. In His first advent He came to make you new by His body and blood. In His second advent, He will once and for all make everything just as it should be according to His perfect and gracious will.
As the season of advent comes to a close and Christmas begins, rest your eyes on Jesus. There in that manger we see the One who brings hope to the hopeless, peace to those who are troubled, forgiveness to the guilty, freedom to the oppressed, sight to the blind, life to the dead.
Heaven and nature sing joy to the world the LORD has come and will come again!
He won’t be long.