By Pastor Sean Ward
Apostolic Way United
For centuries, ancient prophecies had circulated among the Israelite people that a Messiah, or anointed king, was to come who would bring salvation and peace to the Earth.
In roughly 710 BC, the prophet Micah stated, “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.” (Mic 5:2)
Another prophecy that arose around 740 BC records, “For unto us a child is born, unto 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.” (Isa 9:6)
It is interesting to note historically that very few recognized Jesus as the Messiah when He arrived. His grand entrance to a community barn was attended by a few sheep farmers on night watch.
“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.” (Luke 2:10-14)
At 33 years of age, after a powerful ministry of teaching and miracles, Jesus was executed like a common criminal. The incredible difference, however, between this execution and all others is that Jesus did not stay dead but arose and ascended into Heaven with the promise to come again.
As will the first arrival of the Messiah, there are some prophecies that arose in that time period concerning the second coming of Jesus.
Matthew’s account states of this return: “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places.” (Mt. 24:7)
Paul records in his second letter to Timothy: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy.” (2Tim 3:1-2)
There is a universal awareness today that a global event is pending. Natural disasters, rumours of war, economic uncertainty, and severe persecution of Christians in many countries marks the day as one of certain reckoning.
For many even in North America, our wealth is celebrated with hardly a moment to consider the source of our blessing. If we should sink to the reasoning that our own arm has produced our national and municipal wealth, and forget the foundation of Christian goodness, we are sure to lose our place.
Moral purity, ethics and honesty, genuine compassion, and lasting forgiveness are major factors that contributed to the greatness of life and freedom in North America.
These factors were produced by a strong faith in Bethlehem’s child and today we are in danger of totally replacing the message of Jesus with an empty celebration of materialism. True peace and riches do not come from the abundance of our possessions but through the single acquisition of a personal trust in Jesus.
From the cradle to the cross, from the manger to the Master, He has made a way for every person to be rich through His grace and heave peace in their soul!
“But now in Christ Jesus, you who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us.” (Eph 2:13-14)
Jesus is coming again! Never in history has the Earth been a global village as it is today. Yet underneath is an unsettled, boiling mass of uncertainty.
As men look to their wallets and war machines, let us look onto Jesus and find lasting peace. As He died, we can die by turning away from our sinful self. As He was buried, we can be baptized in the beautiful name of Jesus.
As He arose, we can arise and be filled with the wonderful Holy Spirit and walk anew!
Through this good news, we can influence our community, not only during December but every day! Through this good news, we also will be ready and waiting for His return!
“So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation. (Heb 9:28)
“For the Lord himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first.” (1Th 4:16)