Archive for the 'Christmas' Category

Daniel 9:24-27[Christmas Message]

Read Introduction to Daniel
Dr Grant C Richison
Daniel 9:24-27
Seventy weeks are determined
For your people and for your holy city,
To finish the transgression,
To make an end of sins,
To make reconciliation for iniquity,
To bring in everlasting righteousness,
To seal up vision and prophecy,
And to anoint the Most Holy.
Know therefore and understand,
That from the going forth of the command
To restore and build Jerusalem
Until Messiah the Prince,
There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks;
The street shall be built again, and the wall,
Even in troublesome times.
And after the sixty-two weeks
Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself;
And the people of the prince who is to come
Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.
The end of it shall be with a flood,
And till the end of the war desolations are determined.
Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week;
But in the middle of the week
He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.
And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate,
Even until the consummation, which is determined,
Is poured out on the desolate.
Daniel lived in troubled times; his people were in exile in Babylon. After almost 70 years of bondage in a foreign land, Daniel read the prophecy of Jeremiah. He was startled to find that Jeremiah had prophesied Israel’s captivity (Jeremiah 25:11-12; 29:10-14). Moreover, he discovered Israel would return to Palestine at the end of the 70 years! This discovery caused Daniel to confess his sins. Revival came into his life (Daniel 9:3-19).
At the end of chapter 9 Daniel tells about his “seventy sevens” vision–a prediction of the time of the first coming of Christ. God has a comprehensive plan for Israel. “Seventy weeks of years are decreed concerning your people and your holy city” (9:24). These sevens are years. Seventy weeks are 490 years. Daniel received encouragement and certainty from this vision. After the privations of the captivity, God was bringing Israel home, and Daniel received hope.
“from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem”
Only one decree (command) is possible here. The decree to rebuild Jerusalem came in the month of Nisan in King Artaxerxes’ twentieth year (Nehemiah 2:1-8). Jewish custom was that if no day is given concerning a royal decree in the month of Nisan, then the first day of the month applies. As the Talmud puts it, “The first day of the month Nisan is the New Year for the computation of the reign of kings and for festivals.” The Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England calculated this to be March 14, 445 B.C. Note that Daniel was given this prophecy about 100 years before that decree would come.
“Until Messiah the Prince”
This is a very clear definition that the prophecy concerns the coming of Christ.
“There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks”
Daniel prophesies the number of years that would pass before the Messiah would come. Seven plus 62 adds up to 69 weeks of years, or a total of 483 years. In biblical times, years were measured as exactly 360 days in length. Exactly 483 biblical years later, on Palm Sunday, Jesus would triumphantly ride into Jerusalem.
“The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times”
At the time Daniel wrote these words Jerusalem lay in ruins. He describes a rebuilt city and troublesome times. Times would indeed be troublesome under Roman occupation. In A.D. 70 the walls of Jerusalem would again be destroyed and to this day have not yet been restored. This narrows the time of the coming Messiah to a very distinct period in history, between the finished rebuilding under the leadership of Nehemiah and the destruction of the city by the Romans in A.D. 70.
“And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself”
Christ’s crucifixion about A.D. 30 allows for the fulfillment of the prophecy in the prescribed time. Just one week after He rode into Jerusalem, with a great crowd lining the street waving palm branches and declaring Him the Messiah (Luke 19:36-38), Jesus Christ was cut off on a Roman cross. He died not for Himself, but that God’s plan would be fulfilled. Christ gave Himself up to save mankind–so that anyone who would turn to Him could be saved. Of all the outstanding religious teachers Judaism had, Christ is the only One who could possibly fulfill Daniel’s prophecy. (One seven-year period remains–the seven-year tribulation period yet to come.)
“And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.”
Daniel continues by describing the destruction of Jerusalem. The “people of the prince who is to come” refers to the fact that the Antichrist of the future will arise out of a rebuilt Roman empire. In A.D. 70, Roman emperor Titus marched into Jerusalem destroying the city and the temple.
Thus in a time when Daniel and his people were harassed and troubled by their captives in a strange land, the prophet could find strength in God’s promise of the coming Messiah.
Daniel 9 is just one of over 400 fulfilled prophecies of the first coming of Christ. The statistical possibilities in that staggers the imagination! There is no explanation of that except God’s sovereign control of history.
PRINCIPLE: God sovereignly controls the events, not only of Christ’s life, but of ours.
APPLICATION: We can rest in God’s management both of the universe and of our lives (1 Peter 5:7).

Micah 5:2

Dr. Grant C. Richison
Micah 5:2
But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel,
Whose goings forth are from of old,
From everlasting.
This is a prophecy of the place where the Messiah was to be born. Eight centuries before Christ was born, the prophet Micah prophecies the place of his birth.
But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah
Note the specificity of the place of Christ’s birth–Bethlehem. Bethlehem is five miles southwest of Jerusalem. It was the birthplace of David (Ruth 1:1,2; 4:11). Though it was an insignificant hamlet, the Messiah will be born there. The scribes and chief priests informed Herod that Bethlehem was the birthplace of the child when he was searching for the Messiah (Matthew 2:3-8).
The One to be Ruler in Israel
The Magi from the east came looking for the one who was to be “king of the Jews” (Matthew 2:1,2).
Whose goings forth are from of old,
From everlasting.
The Messiah came from eternity. He is eternal. This is a strong statement about his eternal existence before his birth.
This verse is quoted in Matthew 2:6 as a fulfillment of prophecy.
PRINCIPLE: We can place confidence in God because he accurately predicts the future.
APPLICATION: Do you have confidence in the eternal word of God as accurate and true?

Isaiah 9: 6,7

Dr Grant C Richison
Isaiah 9: 6,7
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.
This is a prophecy of the coming rule of Jesus on earth. These verses gather into one announcement the predictions of the birth, the deity, his earthly government, his just kingdom, and eternity of Christ.
For unto us a Child is born
The purpose of Christ’s coming was for “us.”
Unto us a Son is given
Jesus did not happen upon earth. From eternity God planned to “give” him. Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus existed eternally as the Son. The word “Son” is used to show the relationship between the Father and Son.
And the government will be upon His shoulder
Jesus will reign as King Jesus King of the world. The government of the entire world is on his shoulders.
And His name will be called Wonderful
When he came he was a wonder. He transcends human understanding. He is unique among human beings. He stands supreme above everyone else. His name is wonderful because he is wonderful.
And His name will be called… Counselor
Jesus reveals the mind of God. He counsels us from God’s perspective. He gives God’s council.
And His name will be called… Mighty God
He is God almighty. In Him dwells all the fullness of the Deity in bodily form (Colossians 2:9).
And His name will be called… Everlasting Father
This is better translated “The Father of eternity.” All the ages meet in him (Hebrews 1:2). The Son is not to be confused with the Father, although the Father and He are one (John 10:30).
And His name will be called… Prince of Peace.
Peace will characterize his reign upon earth.
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.
God made a covenant with David many years before the writing of Isaiah that His Son would reign forever. This has not yet been fulfilled. Jesus has not yet been seated upon that throne. There is a day coming when He will reign (Revelation 3:21).
PRINCIPLE: God predicted the coming of Christ. He is sovereign over the affairs of man.
APPLICATION: We can rest confident that God manages the world well.

Isaiah 7:10-14


Dr Grant C Richison
Isaiah 7: 10-14
Moreover the Lord spoke again to Ahaz, saying, “Ask a sign for yourself from the Lord your God; ask it either in the depth or in the height above.” But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, nor will I test the Lord!” Then Isaiah 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, and shall call His name Immanuel. Curds and honey He shall eat, that He may know to refuse the evil and choose the good. For before the Child shall know to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land that you dread will be forsaken by both her kings. The Lord will bring the king of Assyria upon you and your people and your father’s house–days that have not come since the day that Ephraim departed from Judah.”
During the reign of the evil King Ahaz, war brok out between Judah and Israel. Pekah, the king of Israel, entered into an alliance with the King of Syria (Rezin). The latter two went to Jerusalem to besiege it.
When Judah’s King Ahaz learned of the coalition against him, his heart sank along with his people. He was an evil king and could not reasonably expect God’s intervention for him. But God had not given up on Judah. God sent the prophet Isaiah to Ahaz to give him a promise of the perpetuity of Judah.
The message from Isaiah was one of comfort. Even though the kings of Israel and Syria formed a confederacy against him, God will intervene. Isaiah told Ahaz to ask for a sign to authenticate the promise from God. He refused. So Isaiah gave a sign from God, “and shall call His name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).
shall call His name “Immanuel”
The word “Immanuel” means God with us. The virgin’s son was God manifest in the flesh. This sign was not fulfilled during the days of Ahaz. This is a promise that God will be true to the line of David. Judah will have a future. That future will be established through “Immanuel.” This was a sign for the perpetuity of the nation.
The New Testament clearly saw this passage fulfilled in Christ. At the end of the genealogy of Jesus Matthew makes this statement, “So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, 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 1:23).
Both the Old and New Testaments promise the coming of Jesus Christ. God keeps his word. God indeed came in flesh and was born of a virgin. He was supernaturally conceived without a human father, “Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her (have sex with her) till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus” (Matthew 1:24-25)
PRINCIPLE: God is true to his word.
APPLICATION: We can count on God’s faithfulness to us.

Genesis 3:15


Dr Grant C Richison
Genesis 3:15
And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.
This is the first prophecy of the coming of Christ. Not only is this a prophecy of his birth, but it is a prophecy of his work.
“And I will put enmity”
The context of this verse is the fall of Adam and Eve. God is speaking to the serpent who is a personification of Satan. God desires no coalition between himself and Satan. The two are mutually exclusive.
“Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed.”
God draws a distinction between “your seed” (Satan’s seed) and “her Seed” (Jesus). “Her Seed” refers to the humanity (incarnation) of Christ. Notice that this passage does not say that the “Seed” was of Adam. This is an inference of the virgin birth. The New Testament calls Jesus the “Seed” (Galatians 3:16).
“He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.”
God is predicting the defeat of Satan by the coming of Christ, the Messiah. God is drawing the battle lines between himself and Satan.
“He shall bruise your head” is a mortal wound. The power of Satan is crushed by the cross of Christ.
Yet even at the moment of the first fall, God promises a solution to their sin. At the fall Satan bruised the heel of Jesus. Sin was the cause of Christ going to the cross. At the cross Christ will crush Satan’s head. One is a non-lethal and the other a lethal act. At the cross Jesus dealt Satan a fatal blow. There he paid for the penalty of sin fully.
Christ not only paid for the sins of the world on the cross but he defeated Satan there (Colossians 2:14,15). Satan was executed at the cross.
“And you shall bruise His heel” refers to the death of Christ. Whether this refers literally to the heels of Jesus pressed against the cross, is not important. Jesus was bruised at the cross (Isaiah 53:10).
PRINCIPLE: The birth of Christ set up the possibility of Christ fully paying for sin by the death of his body on the cross.
APPLICATION: Christ fully paid for our sins on the cross. We are free from suffering for them by ourselves.