Published December 23, 2014

Paul's Epistle...
"He Came, He's Coming"

Christmas time! A celebration of the Lord's birth in Bethlehem!

Usually when we think of Jesus, His birth, His ministry, His death and resurrection – the reasons He came – we open the pages of the New Testament. That, after all, is where we have the most complete picture of Christ and His work.

But, to be fair, a large part of the Old Testament looks forward to the day when Messiah would come. In fact, someone has counted them up and concluded there are 109 distinct prophecies in the Old Testament that were literally fulfilled when Jesus came more than 2,000 years ago.

Remember when, after His resurrection, the Lord suddenly appeared to two men on the road to Emmaus? The men were sad because the religious rulers had crucified Jesus, whom they called "a Prophet mighty in deed and word..." (Luke 24.19).

So, according to verse 27, the Lord began at Moses and all the prophets and "expounded to them in all Scriptures the things concerning Himself." From what we call the Old Testament! Concerning Himself! A short time later He appeared to His disciples and explained that "everything must be fulfilled that is written about Me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms" – the three major sections of the Old Testament. "Written about Me!" Christ is woven throughout the Old Testament.

Isaiah's prophecies are especially revealing. We hear them frequently during the Christmas season. "For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given..." (Isaiah 8:6). The "us" he refers to is...US!  We — past, present and future — who are members of Adam's fallen race. We who Messiah would come to redeem.

Isaiah also heard from God that "the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14). Despite the objections of some liberal theologians, scholars assure us that the word "virgin" actually means... "virgin." And this was literally affirmed by Mary herself when the angel told her she would be with child. She asked, "How can this be, since I do not know a man?" (Luke 1:34.)

What else? The Prophet Micah wrote, "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 of Israel, Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." (Micah 5:2.) That could apply to none other than Christ – Who, indeed, is "everlasting."

Dr. Peter Stoner, writing in "Science Speaks," says the probability of Christ being born in Bethlehem under normal circumstances was about one in 280,000. That's because Mary and Joseph didn't live anywhere near Bethlehem. But, as you'll surely recall, the government required them to go there for a census. (Isn't it amazing how God works?)

And there are many, many more Old Testament prophecies about the Lord's first coming. But what's the point of studying them? Well, there's a very good reason – because they all came true. Every one of them! And — here's the point — since we can see that – their fulfillment is historical fact – then we can have every confidence that other Biblical prophecies will come to pass exactly as predicted.

Such as ... the Lord's still-future second coming!

The same scholar who counted 109 prophecies in the Old Testament about the Lord's first coming also counted more than 500 distinct prophecies in the Old Testament about His second coming. What's more, scholars say that in the New Testament, one out of every 25 verses has to do with the second coming of Christ! Prophecy writer Grant Jeffrey says the Bible includes some 2,400 verses revealing God's promises about the Lord's return.

So, with all of that, do you think the Lord's trying to get our attention, here?

...is the same God Who promises Christ will return for His own.

Some Christmas – maybe this one? – will be the last Christmas we celebrate in this life. Are you ready for the Lord's return? His return, after all — just like His first coming — is a sure thing.

- Paul

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