I want to spend just a few moments talking about the word “Advent.” We’re celebrating the advent season. Very few people seem to know when I talk to them what Advent means. It actually literally means coming. As such, Advent is a season in which the Christian church celebrates the “coming” in flesh of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The Advent church calendar is rife with all kinds of traditions from biblical readings to the lightings of candles on an Advent wreath, but the glory of Advent finds its genesis in the Old Testament prophecies that point forward to the coming incarnation of Jesus Christ.
Moses’ prophecy, that God would raise up a prophet like him from among the Israelites, typologically points forward to the greatest of all prophets—the prophet Jesus Christ. Within the context of the Old Testament, the prophecy that God would raise up another prophet like Moses, was fulfilled in the forefuture in Joshua, who led the children of Israel into the Promised Land. In addition to this near future-fulfillment in Joshua, this prophecy came to be understood as pointing forward to an eschatological prophet who would lead the people of God as a new Moses and new Joshua. As Joshua, and the name means salvation, led the children of Israel into the land of promise, so Jesus Christ will lead his people into the New Jerusalem coming down out of Heaven from God.
The Gospel of John reveals that this hope was alive and well in the first century and Stephen implicitly identifies Jesus as the ultimate fulfillment of this prophecy in his impassioned sermon, the very sermon for which he was martyred. In this way both Moses’ prophecy and its near future fulfillment in Joshua serve as types of the great prophet of God, who not only spoke the words of God, but was himself the Word made flesh.
The beauty, the majesty of the gospel is that Abraham, the father of many nations, was promised a royal seed, and that seed is Jesus Christ. However, as the apostle Paul explains, all who are clothed in Christ constitute one congruent chosen covenant community connected by the cross. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed and you are an heir according to the promise. The mystery is this according to the Apostle Paul: That through the gospel, gentiles are heirs, heirs together through Israel, members together of one body and sharers together in the promise in Jesus Christ and if you cannot celebrate that, pray tell what can you celebrate? There is nothing more exciting than the celebration of Jesus Christ coming in flesh.
Now I’ve written a book called The Heart of Christmas, and the purpose of The Heart of Christmas is for you to prepare your heart just as you prepare your home. So often Christmas comes and goes and we have lost the import, the meaning, the significance, that God tabernacled among men in flesh.
The Heart of Christmas is available through the ministry of the Christian Research Institute. You can get a personalized copy for your donation of $100 or more to the Christian Research Institute. You can get discounted packages for family members and friends. There’s an audio version—a lot of different ways in getting The Heart of Christmas. We’ve been talking about making it more than just a book but making it a movement, so order today for not only your own family but co-workers and friends so that just as you prepare your heart for Christmas, they too will prepare their heart for Christmas. Order via the phone lines at 888-7000-CRI, or log onto the World Wide Web at equip.org. You can also write me at P.O. Box 8500, Charlotte, NC 28271.