Advent Season is characterized by waiting and yearning. A sometimes patient, other times impatient, desire to see God’s chosen one. He will deliver all God’s people from oppression and establish justice forever. Just as God’s people in the Old Testament looked forward to Jesus, the promised offspring who will rule with compassion and vanquish all evil, so also does the church today.
In this series this Advent season I will be reflecting on passages exclusively from the Old Testament that foreshadow and anticipate the arrival of Jesus Christ.
Genesis 22:17-18 (ESV)
“I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”
God appeared to Abraham, telling him to leave his parents and extended family, even his whole community, to turn away from false gods and instead follow after the true God. This was a calling to leave the rebellious line of the serpent, in order to be among those who will be faithful to God and will be delivered from sin and sorrow.
In this passage we see that God appeared to Abraham and promised offspring – a child, even a firstborn son, despite the fact that both Abraham and his wife Sarah were in their old age, and childless. They wanted children, but Sarah was infertile. She couldn’t have kids. But God promised a miracle, and this miracle would not just be for them, but for all people.
This promise has at least three parts.
First, God promised to make people numerous, who belong to Abraham. While Abraham was childless, he will have so many descendants, nobody could count them if they wanted. God’s people will be fruitful and multiply on the earth.
Second, God promised a secure home for them to inhabit. They would have a place to belong. But this is not all. It is clear that Satan also has a sort of dominion in the world, in enmity with God’s people. God did not promise here that they would simply be able to defend against Satan’s attacks. Instead, God promised that the offspring will be on the attack, taking over the gates or entry of Satan’s territory.
Third, God promised that life will be high quality, in that they will be blessed, and this blessing will be so abundant, that it will overflow and be passed on to everyone. To be a nation and to have a place to live are not enough – they will thrive. Under the rule of the promise offspring, justice and peace will bring prosperity and the good life.
The promise for Abraham is a promise God kept. Jesus Christ is that promised offspring who will bless all nations, making a people for himself to inherit, and a dominion that conquers his enemies. In the culmination of his victory, Jesus will bring justice for all peoples.
Just as Abraham waited years longing for the offspring to come, so also the church.
And so we, the church, wait for our savior to return to us.
Revelation 22:20-21: He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints.