Thanksgiving is over and now it is time for Christmas. It is remarkable that the day after Thanksgiving is called Black Friday. Black Friday can be a very good day as long as you are wise. For far too many people, Black Friday is the day when they spend money they don’t have on things they don’t need. And they do this the day after giving thanks for what they already have. Let us not forget to be thankful, especially as we approach Christmas.
The four Sundays preceding Christmas Day are referred to on the Christian calendar as Advent Sundays. They are set apart so that we may prepare our hearts for the day in which we remember the virgin birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The word Advent comes from the Latin word adventus, which means “arrival/coming”. Even though it starts near the end of our calendar year, it is the start of the Christian calendar year. This is a time to remember and retell the story of how and why Jesus came to Earth. It is a joyful time of remembrance of the Shepherds, the Magi, the Angels, and most importantly, Jesus. Let us with one voice sing:
Joy to the world! The Lord has come, let earth receive her King.
Let every heart prepare Him room, and heaven and nature sing!
In our recent study of Hebrews, we learned that Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the Old Covenant and is the Mediator of the New Covenant. A Mediator is someone who stands between two parties in order to bring reconciliation. Jesus is the One who stands between men and God in order to reconcile man back to God. As the Mediator, Jesus holds a three-fold office in the New Covenant: Prophet, Priest, and King. This Advent, we shall discuss this in more detail.
What is a Prophet?
Who comes to mind when you hear the word prophet? Isaiah? Elijah? Elisha? Jeremiah? There are many prophets mentioned in the Bible and the greatest of them all is Jesus. Hebrews 1:1 tells us: “Long ago God spoke to our ancestors by the prophets at different times and in different ways…” Our English word Prophet comes from the Greek word prophetes. This refers to someone who speaks on behalf of God. A prophet had two main roles: foretelling and forth-telling. Foretelling means they are enabled by God to predict the future (What God will do). For example, Isaiah’s prophecy of the virgin birth of Jesus (Isaiah 7:14). Forthtelling means they reminded the people of God what God has commanded them (What God has said). The prophets would address social and political situations in ancient Israel and Judah and call the people to repent and follow God’s law. For example, Amos rebuked the religious and civil leaders in Israel for taking advantage of the poor.
A Prophet Like Moses
There is a prophecy in Deuteronomy 18 about a Prophet being raised up like Moses. In Deuteronomy 18:9-14, the Lord made it clear that the Israelites were not to consult with fortune-tellers and seek information the same way the pagans did. They were not to do these things because they are wicked and evil. The Lord said the people should listen to the Prophets who speak God’s message. They had to be careful, however, because any prophet who spoke on God’s behalf must be tested to make sure they are speaking truthfully. As we learned earlier, there were many prophets who were raised up for Israel, but the greatest of these prophets, would be like Moses from among the Israelites. This prophet will speak to the people on behalf of the Lord and remind them of His words. The Lord told Moses that the prophet will speak in His name. The Israelites must hear the prophet’s words because they truly are the Lord’s Words. Knowing that men may seek to use this to lead the people astray, the Lord tells them that they will know if it truly is a prophet from God if his words are true. If they are false, then you do not need to obey or fear him.
Listen to the Prophet Jesus
Jesus is the Prophet predicted in Deuteronomy 18. We know this definitively because Peter quoted Deuteronomy 18 and applied it to Jesus (Acts 2:33). Jesus reprimanded the two disciples on the way to Emmaus, saying: “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!” (Luke 24:25). Jesus was considered a prophet by the crowds (Matt 21:46). In Matthew 21:11 we read: “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.” In fact, Jesus called Himself a prophet (Mark 6:4). In Hebrews 1:1-2, we learned that God spoke through the prophets but now “In these last days, He has spoken to us by His Son.” God speaks to us through His Son Jesus.
As our Prophet, He reveals God’s Word to us. Whereas all the previous prophets spoke about the things concerning Jesus (Luke 24:27), Jesus is the One who perfectly reveals to us the Word of God. We must listen to Jesus (Matt 17:5). During this holiday season, reflect on the trustworthy words of our Lord. He is our Great Prophet who keeps us faithful to the New Covenant. Oh come let us adore Him!