Advent is here, and the Immanuel Prophecies will create significant challenges for today, as they did nearly 2800 years ago.
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; Upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom light has shown. For a child is born to us, a son is given; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace. His dominion is vast and forever peaceful, from David’s throne, and over his kingdom, which he confirms and sustains by judgement and justice both now and forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.” (Is. 9: 1, 5 - 6).
Doing good to a man with a withered hand was but one more incident to cause the Pharisees reason to look for a way to kill Jesus. (cf Mt. 12: 13-14). Jesus intimated recalling the first Suffering Prophet Song; “Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased, Upon whom I have put my spirit; he shall bring forth justice to the nations, not crying out, not shouting, not making his voice heard in the street. A bruised reed he shall not break, and a smoldering wick he shall not quench, until he establishes justice on the earth; the coastlands will wait for his teaching.” (cf Is. 42: 1-4). A prophecy absent from revenge and violence. A bruised reed and smoldering wick are treated with gentleness and peace. Something our current society excludes itself from.
Listen to the fourth Suffering Servant Song: “See my servant shall prosper, he shall be raised high and greatly exalted. Yet it was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured, while we thought of him as stricken, as one smitten by God and afflicted. But he was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins, upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole, by his stripes we were healed. We had all gone astray like sheep each following his own way. But the Lord laid upon him the guilt of us all. Because of his affliction he shall see the light in fullness of days; Through his suffering, my servant shall justify many, and their guilt he shall bear. Therefore I will give him his portion among the great, and he shall divide the spoils with the mighty, because he surrendered himself to death and was counted among the wicked; and he shall take away the sins of many , and win pardon for their offenses.” (Is. 52: 13, 53: 4-6, 11 - 12).
Today we live in an indecisive existence with too many nations holding on to nuclear weapons, and soon the ability for most will find the propellants to launch power becoming a threat to the rest. Will we, as many nations collectively, seek to rule by force those who do not agree with their philosophy as many past dictators like Hitler attempted to?
As we celebrate Christmas this year, and look to the future with hope, will the theme of Immanuel and the promise of a savior still hold the promise of God in our hearts, or succumb to the darkness that looms over the entire planet? What do we as humanity look forward to? Where is the trust that all of us had until the threat of world domination by the dark evils of society appear and threaten our faith?
This is what Christmas is about, years past, 2020, and far into the future of what God promises us. We must not be led away from the prophecies of the past, which are as prominent today as they always were.
Keep in mind the words of Paul: “In an acceptable time I heard you, and on the day of salvation I helped you.”
From Isaiah; “Thus says the Lord: In a time of favor I answer you, on the day of salvation I help you.” (2 Cor. 6: 2) (Is. 49: 8).
Do not give in to fear, but instead rely on the salvation from God and seek him in these days of crisis.
Ralph B. Hathaway, Christmas 2020