Messianic Prophecy

A Key for Christmas

A sermon preached at Calvary Baptist Church in Simpsonville, SC in 2016.

Isaiah 22, Revelation 3:7-13

Imagine with me that on Christmas morning, one of the gifts you receive is a small box. You hold it in your hands, and it isn’t very heavy. You shake it and it rattles a little. You know that good gifts come in small packages, so you tear off the paper with anticipation. Inside you find a key. Would you be excited?

What thought goes through your head? “What does this key fit?” It could be the key to a car. That would be a nice gift, wouldn’t it? It could be the key to a boat, or a Wave Runner, or a four-wheeler, or maybe a snowmobile. (That wouldn’t be so exciting in South Carolina, more so in Iowa where I live now.)

The point is, you know that the key itself is not the gift. The key represents the gift, and it gives you ownership of the real gift and the ability to use the gift, whatever it is.

The Bible talks about a key that is associated with our celebration of Jesus Christ’s birth. Three different people are said to have this key. The key represents authority and control. Each person uses the authority and control that comes with the key differently.

As we look at what the Bible says about this key, see if you can think of how it connects to Christmas. No Googling!

1394 reads

Isaiah 9:6-7, the Hebrew Text & the Ancient Versions

Reprinted with permission from As I See It, which is available free by writing to the editor at dkutilek@juno.com.

Of Old Testament prophecies of the birth of the Messiah, among the most famous and well-known (in part because Handel included its words in his magnum opus, ”The Messiah”) is Isaiah 9:6, 7 (numbered 9:5, 6 in the Masoretic Hebrew text, the Septuagint Greek version and in German and some other translations). The KJV’s translation of vv. 6, 7 reads:

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, Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of peace.

Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David & upon his kingdom, to order it and to establish it with judgment and with justice, from henceforth and forever; the zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

5820 reads

Temple Tantrum?

Expulsion of the merchants from the temple. A.N. Mironov, 2012

Spring cleaning finds its origins in the Jewish community, preparing ones home for Passover by removing even infinitesimal dust that might contain leaven. During the Passover season nearly 2,000 years ago, Jesus decided to clean house, too. The house was his Father’s house, the Temple.

This event is known as the “Second Cleansing of the Temple,” and we are looking at the account of it recorded in Mark 11:15-19. The first cleansing occurred three years earlier and recorded in John 3:13-22.

Yeshua didn’t clean with detergent, kitchen cleanser, or disinfectant. This was to be a different kind of cleaning, an attempted spiritual cleansing from the grunges of corruption and snobbery.

2369 reads

Sermons by the Greatest "Christmas Prophet"

Barbieri (17th century). The prophet Isaiah reading from a scroll.

The prophet Isaiah was surely the greatest “Christmas Prophet” of the Old Testament. Let us briefly consider two of his most famous Christmas sermons.

Isaiah Chapter 7

One of the great marvels surrounding Jesus’ birth was the fact of His virgin conception.

But how could a virgin be with child and bear a son? Luke explains: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you [Mary], and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35, NKJV). Was this impossible? No, “For with God nothing will be impossible” (Luke 1:37).

Not only was it not impossible, it was predicted 700 years before by Isaiah. He received the message that Christ, the Messiah, would be one Person with two natures—divine and human.

1487 reads

From the Archives: Christmas Marvel

Seven hundred years before Christ (i.e., Messiah) was born, the prophet Isaiah was told that He would be one person with two natures—divine and human.

At a time of great crisis for Israel, the house of David was given a great promise. “Then he said, ‘Hear now, O house of David! Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son [i.e., fully human], and shall call His name Immanuel [i.e., God with us, fully divine]’” (Isa. 7:13-14). In the very next chapter, the prophet is told that the God of Israel is “Immanuel” (Isa. 8:8; cf. 8:10).

But how could a virgin have a child? That was the urgent question that Mary asked Gabriel, the messenger-angel sent from God: “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” (Luke 1:34). The answer was astounding, and is recorded by Luke, “the beloved physician” (Col. 4:14): “And the angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit [i.e., the third person of the triune God] will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God…. For with God nothing will be impossible’ ” (Luke 1:35-37).

1013 reads

My Three Sons - Shem and the Savior

This post continues a series examining the prophecy of Genesis 9:25-27 and the three sons of Noah. “My Three Sons” introduced the passage and its setting; “Canaan and the Curse” focused on Noah’s prophetic curse on Canaan, the son of Ham.

“He also said, ‘Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant’ ” (ESV, Gen. 9:26).

Leaving the prophetic curse, Noah began to issue two “blessings”—a spiritual blessing on Shem and a temporal blessing on Japheth. Actually, it was not Shem himself who was blessed, but He who would eventually be the God of Shem (i.e., the LORD). Our English versions indicate by the four capital letters of LORD that the word used for God’s name is the sacred personal name sometimes translated “Jehovah,” but probably more accurately pronounced “Yahweh.” It is God’s covenant name, indicating His eternal existence and His personal relationship to His covenant people. It is the LORD (i.e., Yahweh) who would be the God of Shem and his descendants. The Shemites became the great Middle Eastern peoples, including those later called Arabs and Jews. What this prophecy indicates, therefore, is that God would establish a personal covenant relationship with the line of Shem.

865 reads