Living Between The Advents

We live in an amazing time—the First Advent of Jesus has already happened in Bethlehem, and yet we are eagerly anticipating Christ’s Second Advent at any moment! 

The fourth stanza of Charles Wesley’s classic Christmas carol Hark! The Herald Angels Sing is a wonderful between-the-Advents look at what happened at the First Advent, and what we have to look forward to in the Second Advent. The key thing to note in this stanza is the verbs: come, fix, rise, bruise, efface, stamp, and reinstate. 

COME, Desire of nations—What is the “desire of nations”? It’s the restoration of God’s glory on earth, so it’s not really a what but a Who. The prophet Haggai informs us that our Desire is realized in the Advent of Jesus (2:1-9).  

FIX in us Thy humble home—At His First Advent, Jesus came and humbly made His home among us, even dying to pay the penalty for our sins (Hebrews 2:14, 17; Philippians 2:7-8). 

RISE, the woman’s conquering seed—Although Jesus was obedient to death—even death on a Cross, He didn’t stay dead but was resurrected (Philippians 2:8-9; Revelation 1:18)! 

BRUISE in us the serpent’s head—With His death and resurrection, Jesus took away the sting of death from satan, fulfilling one of God’s first prophesies (Genesis 3:15; 1 Corinthians 15:19-26, 54-57).  

Adam’s likeness now EFFACE—That means to wipe out, do away with, expunge. That’s exactly what God does with our forgiven sins (Psalm 103:1-4, 10-12)! 

STAMP Thine image in its place—Although our sin has been effaced, God doesn’t leave us as blank slates, but instead He allows the image of His Son Jesus to be stamped onto our lives (2 Corinthians 1:21-22; 2 Corinthians 3:18). 

REINSTATE us in Thy love—The relationship we longed for is now reborn in us (1 Corinthians 15:49)! 

The Desire of Nations HAS come, and yet He WILL come again! We’re living between the Advents now, so a good question for Christians to ask is: “How are we to live?” I think there are three key things—

    1. In celebration that Jesus came at His First Advent to be our Savior 
    1. In anticipation of the Second Advent 
    1. In obedience to God’s Word (Revelation 22:7) 

4 Notes On Haggai

(c) Laura Kranz at The Overview Bible Project (see my note below)

(c) Laura Kranz at The Overview Bible Project (see my note below)

The prophet Haggai wrote one of the shortest books in the Old Testament, and his recorded ministry only spans five months(!) in 520 B.C. But in this short book I find four really cool things—

(1) God uses His people at specific times for specific purposes. All of Haggai’s messages from God have a very precise date stamp on them, so we know exactly when  they were delivered. Also, most of his messages say something like, “The word of God came through Haggai to Zerubbabel [or to Joshua, or to the people, or to the priests].” If God used Haggai like this, isn’t it likely that He is using you or I at specific times and for specific purposes?

(2) God invites us to “give careful thought” to His messages. Five times God says, “Give careful thought to your ways” (1:5, 7; 2:15, 18). This phrase literally means to take a strong hold on each thought and examine it intensely. This thought process is always connected to another phrase: “This is what the Lord Almighty says….” In other words, we are to thoughtfully examine our lifestyle with God’s Word being the standard of measurement (cf. 2 Corinthians 10:5).

(3) Obeying God’s Word brings God’s “stirring.” When God says move and we move, His Spirit will energize our spirit, and empower our lives for action. God never calls us to do something without giving us the empowerment to do it.

(4) I need to act courageously. God calls us to “be strong” (three times in 2:4) “and work, for I am with you.” Courageous action after God has stirred us up drives out fear. On the flip side, inactivity because of fear almost always leads to more fear and more inactivity.

Don’t ever let the category “minor prophet” trick you into thinking God doesn’t have a major message to share with you. Just one word from God is more powerful than we can ever imagine!

(The portrait of Haggai in this post was created by Laura Kranz at The Overview Bible Project. She and her husband Jeffrey do some amazing things that will add insight to your Bible study time. Click here to read my review of their book The Illustrated Guide To The Authors Of The Bible. And while you’re on their website, subscribe to some of the cool guides that regularly get emailed out.)

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