In the beginning, immediately after the Original Sin occurred in the Garden of Eden, God set in motion the only Way for sin to be wiped clean: "
This longing for a Messiah stretched over hundreds of years. The Old Testament, which was written over a thousand-year period, contains 353 prophecies about the coming Messiah. Some prophecies focus on His death, others on His Second Coming. There are about 10 or so prophecies that were fulfilled at His birth.
High priests, scribes, the religious elite, and all men who listened to teachings in the temple knew that God was going to bring a Ruler, a King, to rule over His own. They knew that this King would be born of a virgin in Bethlehem:
"For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." ~ Isaiah 9:6
"Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel." ~ Isaiah7:14
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times.” ~ Micah 5:2
As the Roman Empire conquered the Holy Land and increased its grip on Israel, people prayed and hoped for an earthly king, to rid the land of the Roman governors, the roadside crucifixions, the ever-present Roman legions. However, as time went marched on, and God did not bring forth the Messiah when the people thought He would, prophets became fewer and fewer in number. As Malachi wraps up his book with the promise, “I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Almighty." [Malachi 3:1], the Old Testament ends, starting a period between the Old and New Testaments in which God is incredibly, painfully silent.
Have you ever experienced a time in which you were praying for something -- perhaps an answer for a new job, or for a loved one to be healed. Perhaps you were looking for healing -- healing of your marriage, your body, your church ... and God was incredibly quiet. There is a choice to be made here: either you lack faith, stop praying, and draw farther away from God, or the opposite. You dig into the Scriptures and continue praying, despite the oppressive quiet. You claim the promise that God hears us, as John wrote: "This is the confidence we have in approaching : that if we ask anything according to his will, he us," [1 John 5:14]. We must claim the confidence we have in our Risen Lord that He hears us -- despite all evidence to the contrary.
For 400 long years between the time the Old Testament ended and the New Testament dawned, God was quiet -- but working. God works in His timing -- not our's. Habakkuk wrote, "For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay." Titus wrote, "And which now at his appointed season he has brought to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior," [1:3].
Did you catch that? "Awaits an appointed time" and "At HIS appointed season...." God, in His divine glory, is in charge of time, not the other way around. He knew, while He was even standing before Adam, Eve and the serpent in the Garden, exactly when His Son would come onto the earthly scene. He had a set time planned and put into motion of His own creation and working when a young girl named Mary would be born. It did not catch God by surprise that a young carpenter named Joseph would be interested in Mary as his bride -- for God ordained it.
Look at Galatians 4:4: "But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law." When the set time had fully come....The time had nothing to do with our, human, timing. It had everything to do with God's timing.
We have the benefit of the Scriptures as a rear-view mirror of sorts to see how prophecies were fulfilled. Luke wrote, "
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