Luke 1:78-79

78 Through the tender mercy of our God, With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; 79 To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, To guide our feet into the way of peace."

God picked a time when there was global readiness and at that moment - CHRIST APPEARED!

Thus the whole pre-Christian history of salvation is a guiding of mankind to the Redeemer of the world. The people of Israel were prepared in advance by historical revelation; the peoples of the world by the happenings of politics and civilization.

The Old Testament is promise and expectation, the New is fulfillment and completion. The Old is the marshalling of the hosts to the battle of God, the New is the Triumph of the Crucified One. The Old is the twilight and dawn of morning, the New is the rising sun and the height of eternal day.

This Christmas (4) season, take a close look at a nativity scene once again. Remove your rose-colored glasses--smell the foul air, see the cold, shivering animals. They represent the Old Testament sacrificial system. They are emblems of death. But they are mere shadows of the Babe in their midst. He was born to die . . . that all who believe in him might live.
In the winter of 5 or 4 B.C., God invaded history by taking on the form of a man. He was born in a small town just south of Jerusalem. Bethlehem, which means 'the house of bread,' indeed became worthy of its name one lonely winter night. For there, in that town, was born the Bread of Life . . .
His mother placed the infant king in a manger--or feeding trough--because the guest room where they were to stay was occupied. The birth of this king was celebrated that night only by his mother, her husband, and a handful of shepherds. The shepherds had been in the fields around Bethlehem, guarding the lambs which would die at the next Passover. An angel appeared to them and gave them the birth announcement: "today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:11). In their simple faith, they rushed to see their newborn king.


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1. ©1996 Daniel B. Wallace

2. Sauer, p.

3. See Tacitus Hist. V, 13, and Suetonius, Vesp. 4.

4. ©1996 Daniel B. Wallace

5. A. P. Gibbs, Worship, p. 45

6. ©1996 Daniel B. Wallace

7. Moody sermon book

8. MacArthur, John F., The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, (Chicago: Moody Press) 1983.

9. I am indebted for this comparison to a small tract written years ago by Joseph Hoffrnan Cohn for the American Board of Missions to the Jews, entitled "The Man from Petra," No. 65 in the series "What Every Christian Should Know About the Jews" (revised 1961, no original date of publication).

10. MacArthur, John F., The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, (Chicago: Moody Press) 1983.

11. III, pp. 394ff.