Foster the spirit of giving this year

Submitted by
Sean Ward

For centuries, ancient prophesies 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)
This clearly cites that a ruler would come out of the town of Bethlehem and that He would have eternal origin.
Another interesting prophecy that arose around 740 BC says, “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)
Here, the prophet Isaiah stated that a child would come whose name would be Everlasting Father and that He would initiate an everlasting kingdom.
It is interesting to note historically that very few actually recognized Jesus as the Messiah when He arrived. His grand entrance to a dirty barn was attended by a few sheep farmers who had been on night watch.
An old man and an old woman in the temple recognized the baby Jesus and blessed God when He was brought in as the custom dictated.
Many months later, some eastern scholars, having travelled a great distance following a supernova, finally found Jesus after consulting with Hebrew scribes.
Once a grown man, after a successful ministry of teaching and miracles, Jesus was executed like a common criminal and attended by only one of His disciples as the others had fled.
The incredible difference, however, between this death and all others is that Jesus did not stay in the grave. Jesus arose and ascended into Heaven with the promise to come again.
As with the first arrival of the Messiah, there are some prophecies that arose in that time period concerning the return of Jesus.
Matthew’s account states of Christ’s second coming: “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in diverse 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)
As we celebrate the glorious coming of Jesus to the world this Christmas season, let’s foster a spirit of giving and renounce within ourselves the spirit of getting!
And in giving, may we strive to be alert that as so many missed his coming 2000 years ago, we do not repeat history.
“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 an archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first.” (1Th 4:16)
Editor’s note: Sean Ward is pastor of the Apostolic Way United Pentecostal Church in Fort Frances.

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