It’s a part of the biblical story of the Nativity and the holiday musical tradition that almost makes me think Jesus was born Dec. 25.
Listen to the carols, read the familiar Scriptures pointing to his birth and just look at those Christmas cards.
What do they say?
“Born is the King of Israel.” (“The First Noel”)
“O come, O come, Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel that mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.” (“O Come, O Come Emmanuel”)
“Angels from the realms of glory, wing your flight over all the earth. Ye, who sang creation’s story, now proclaim Messiah’s birth. Come and worship, come and worship. Worship Christ the newborn King.” (“Angels From the Realm of Glory”)
“Hark! the herald angels sing. Glory to the newborn King.” (“Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”)
Have you ever noticed how Israel-centric and Kingdom-centric these carols are? There’s some terrific theology in them. But we don’t talk much about this Israel-centricity in churches. We don’t talk about this Kingdom-centricity much inside or outside the churches – at Christmas or any other time!
It seems our spiritual forebears may have recognized something we have forgotten.
Question: “What was it that all the prophets from Creation forward spoke about and pointed toward?”
Jesus and His Apostles pointed to His coming to be the Messiah, Savior and King of Israel – in fact, a King of kings to the world.
Do we still believe in this kingdom? Is Jesus coming back to be a king? If so, what is that going to be like?
Peter answers in Acts 3:18-25: The restitution of all things, the coming Kingdom of God centered in Jerusalem, a time when Jesus will reign and rule supreme over the entire world.
The prophets didn’t just talk about Jesus coming as a baby in a manger. They prophesied about Him coming in glory at the end of the age as the Lion of Judah, the King of kings, the Lord of lords.
Would you like to know more about that Second Coming of Jesus and what it will be like for the world?
That’s why I wrote “The Restitution of All Things: Israel, Christians and the End of the Age” – as a way of inviting a deeper exploration of what is coming, what it portends for how we think about God today and how we should prepare ourselves for Jesus’ New World Order.
Do you believe in preparedness? How about spiritual preparedness?
When Jesus came the first time, many were not ready for Him. He was rejected by some because He was not what they were expecting. Is it possible our expectations of His Second Coming could be as wrong as those who saw Him, heard Him and touched Him in the first century?
I would go so far as to say that this systematic study of scriptures about the Kingdom will prove both controversial and shocking to most Christian believers.
It’s often been said that some Christians are so heavenly minded they do no earthly good. But the ultimate fulfillment of Jesus’ work is redeeming the earth.
That’s why Jesus is called “the newborn King” in all those Christmas carols. That’s why they are so Israel-centric and Kingdom-centric.
And that’s why one of the most popular Christmas-card scriptures of all is Isaiah 9:6-7: “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. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”
Curious about what Jesus will do with this planet when He comes back?
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