Monday, December 19, 2011

The Bible's Unbroken Chain of Christmas

God's promise of salvation from Genesis to Revelation
In today's blog I want the reader to witness some of the major prophecies that stretch from Genesis to Revelation to reveal God's purposes and plans that He had in the sending of God the Son to this earth.

Beginning the Journey - the first mention of the Gospel
In Genesis 3:15, we begin our journey.  Called by many the "protoevangel" or "the first mention of the Gospel", we discover that God had a plan ready to go.  Knowing that Adam and Eve would break the covenant of works, wherein He knew they would disobey His commands to them, God killed two animals in their place, offering them a covenant of grace.  In Genesis 3:15, we see the concept of "seed", that is, God promised that a redeemer would come through the bloodline issuing forth from Adam and Eve.

Noah, the flood and the promise
In our next stop we come to Genesis 5 and 6, where in a period of 1656 years, or ten generations, God speaks to Noah to build an ark.  Following the flood, one of Noah's three sons, Shem, would be chosen by God to carry on the specific promise of salvation in his blood line.  We see a narrowing effect of God's promise, going from humanity in general to a branch of humanity.

The Patriarchs and the promise
From Shem we come ten more generations to Abraham in Genesis 12.  It is at this chapter that God narrows the bloodline of redemption down to a family.  From Abraham would come Isaac and Jacob, the patriarchs of the nation of Israel.

The promise is reinforced by prophecy
As we travel from these three men we come to Genesis 49:10, where we discover that one of Jacob's twelve sons - Judah - is given the prophecy of the Messiah coming from his lineage.  Jacob's twelve sons of course would be the founders of the twelve tribes of Israel.  Out of those twelve tribes, the tribe of Judah would be the one from whence the Christ child would come.

God's symmetry and orchestration of History as the backdrop leading to the promise
As we fast forward ten generations from Judah, we arrive at David.  In 2 Samuel 7:13-16 we see God's promise of a descendant sitting upon his throne.  Once we come to the Gospel of Matthew, we find a summary of the entire Old Testament in the geneaology of Jesus - From Abraham to David - 14 generations; from David to the end of the Old Testament 14 generations and from the end of the Old Testament to Jesus' day - 14 generations.  In all, roughly 2,000 years or more stretches from Abraham to Jesus.  In Luke's Gospel the geneaology there goes back even further to Adam.  From Adam to Jesus stretches some 72 names, or over 4000 years.  

Consider the New Testament's picture of the first coming
But now what about the rest of the New Testament?  What does it have to say about Christ's first coming and God's plan of salvation?  In the Gospels, we discover that the baby born in Bethlehem was to die on the cross and be risen from the dead.  Following His resurrection He would ascend and be seated at the righthand of God.

In Romans 9:1-5 we discover he is descended from David, as well as God over all, forever to be praised.  Galatians 4:4 tells us that Jesus Christ came in the fulness of time.  Ephesians reveals that Christ was pre-existent from all eternity.  Philippians unfolds the truth of God the Son taking upon Himself Human flesh.  Colossians tells us that He is the fulness of the Godhead bodily.  

1 Timothy 3:16 gives us the jurney of Jesus from the moment he left the presence of God's Holy angels in Heaven, to His birth, His life and His ascension.  Hebrews 10:4-5 actually records the words Christ was speaking when he had journeyed from heaven into the Virgin's womb.  1 John records how the apostles handled and saw the God-man.  2 and 3rd John emphasize that God coming in human flesh is a fundamental article of Christian faith.  Revelation, the final book of the Bible, gives us 40 different names of Jesus in the first chapter alone, connected to the fact that He had taken upon Himself human flesh and that He is now and forever the eternal Godman - soon to return.  

By the time you compute all of the prophecies concerning His birth and first coming - you uncover 109 of them!  God orchestrated all of them - with the goal of glorifying Himself in the Son and among all who by His grace, through faith, would believe upon Him. (John 3:16, 6:40, 17:3)