By Rev Bill Woods
2ND CANDLE=PROPHESY (HOPE)
We look at the Advent Wreath and think how beautiful it is because it reminds us of how wonderful Christmas is with all the beauty, joy and peace of the Season.
Most people don’t really understand the significance of what is represented in our quiet worship of Baby Jesus, and the complex story of the Nativity.
John 3:16-17 (NASB)
16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
17 “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.
There’s a side to the Christmas Story that we usually fail to recognize.
- We forget the battle that raged through the ages just to get Jesus here to be our Savior.
- Jesus was willing to leave Heaven and step into history to be our Savior and save us from sin and Hell.
- He was opposed by demonic forces every step of the way.
Let’s look at history, or more accurate, HIS STORY.
- Here’s a scripture we don’t usually associate with Christmas.
Revelation 12:3-4 (NASB)
3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems.
4 And his tail *swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.
It’s intensely interesting to read how Satan tried to prevent the birth of Jesus Christ and then after His birth to destroy Him before He could reach the Cross and purchase our Redemption.
Satan had accomplished the Fall of Adam and Eve. (Gen. 3:1-15)
- Now Satan found himself under the Curse of God and was told the “Seed of woman” would bruise his head. (Gen. 3:14-15)
- This aroused the enmity of Satan.
- He was determined to stop the birth of the promised “Seed,” or if he couldn’t stop it he’d destroy the “Seed” after He was born.
Watch Satan’s line of attack trying to stop the “Promised Seed” that would destroy his work.
Abel was born, the “Seed” was to come through him, Satan schemed for his destruction and finally got his brother Cain to kill him. (Gen. 4:8)
Then the “Sons of God” (fallen angels) doubtless at Satan’s instigation, married the “Daughters of men.” (Gen. 6:2)
- Their sin and the evil character of their offspring (Nephilim) caused God to send the flood to destroy life on earth.
- This fit into Satan’s plan—it would be a victory for him and a defeat for God.
- God decided to spare the human race and begin again with His one righteous servant, Noah. (Gen 6:8-9)
- God spared Noah and his family.
After the flood, Noah planted a vineyard and got himself drunk on the wine.
- The result—the curse of Canaan, the son of Ham. (Gen. 9:18-27)
After the flood the people began to multiply and Satan filled their hearts with pride and presumption.
- They built the Tower of Babel causing confusion of tongues breaking up the unity of the race. (Gen. 11:1-9)
God called Abraham and the fight narrowed down to his seed, but Sarah was barren. (Gen. 16:1)
- God waited until they were too old to have children.
- Sarah was 65 and barren, Abraham was 75 and they had no children.
- Satan probably played a role in Sarah’s inability to conceive.
Finally when Abraham was 100 and Sarah was 90 God caused Sarah to conceive and Isaac was born furthering the “Promised Seed.”
When Isaac was 12, Satan challenged God to test Abraham’s faith by sacrificing Isaac.
- Similar to the test Job went through. (Job 1:6-12 and 2:3-6.)
- The plan to destroy Isaac failed — God saw Abraham was willing to obey, and God intervened and provided a ram. (Gen. 22:11-13)
Isaac married Rebekah, who was barren. (Gen. 25:20-21)
- Finally twins were born.
- Satan stirred enmity between the brothers hoping to cause Esau to kill Jacob (like Cain and Abel). (Gen. 27:41)
When the time came for Moses to be born, Satan inspired Pharaoh to kill all the baby boys at birth, hoping to wipe out the male line of descent altogether. (Exodus 2:5-10)
And so it continued until the death of King Jehoshaphat — his son Jehoram killed all his brothers with a sword reducing the “Seed” down to one life. (2 Chron. 21:13)
- Jehoram had children.
- The Arabians killed all of his children but one, Ahaziah, the youngest. (2 Chron 21:17)
Ahaziah had children (2 Chron 22:1).
- These were slain by Athaliah who thought she got them all. (2 Chron. 22:10-12)
- God interceded and saved Joash. (2 Chron. 22:11-12 )
During the Captivity Satan tried to destroy the whole Hebrew nation at the hands of Haman — (Esther 3:5-9)
- The story’s too long.
God sent prophets to warn people to turn to Him.
- The last prophet was Malachi.
- God went silent!
For 400 years there was no Word from the Lord, but He was still faithful and knew what was happening to His people.
- Sometimes we think God’s silence means He’s deserted us, but trust Him, He’s still aware of your circumstances.
During those 400 years, persecution of the Jewish people continued.
- In 168 BC Antiochus Epiphanes invaded Jerusalem and marched into the Temple, set up a statue to Zeus, and sacrificed a pig on the altar of incense.
This sparked the Maccabean revolt as the Jews fought to remove the sacrilege from the Temple.
- Under the leadership of the Maccabees, the Jews drove Antiochus and his army out and gained control of their land for about 100 years.
In 63 BC, the Roman General, Pompey, captured the Holy Land and brought it under Roman rule.
At last the “Promised Seed,” Jesus was born.
- Satan couldn’t prevent His birth, but he’d destroy Him before He could get to the Cross.
Satan prompted Herod to kill all the male children at Bethlehem under 2 years old in an effort to stop the “Promised Seed.”
- God warned Joseph.
- God’s always one step ahead of Satan.
When Jesus entered the ministry Satan met Him in the Wilderness and suggested He throw Himself from the Pinnacle of the Temple. (Matt. 4:1-11)
Satan tried to get the townspeople to throw Jesus over a cliff after He’d proclaimed to them who He was. (Luke 4:29)
- 2 storms on Galilee (don’t rebuke a thing only a person)
Satan tried to use the Priests, Pharisees and Sadducees.
- Physical and Spiritual exhaustion in Gethseme………
- Arrest, flogging, crucifixion……..
After His death, Jesus spent 3 days in Hell.
- Jesus had to experience everything a sinner does in order to fully pay the price of our sin. (He had to bear our sins and our punishment in order to be our Savior).
Psalm 16:10 (KJV)
10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
Acts 2:27 (KJV)
27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
1. I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth:
2. And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord:
3. Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary:
4. Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried: He descended into hell:
5. The third day he rose again from the dead:
6. He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty:
7. From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead:
8. I believe in the Holy Ghost:
9. I believe in the holy catholic church: the communion of saints:
10. The forgiveness of sins:
1l. The resurrection of the body:
12. And the life everlasting. Amen.
Jesus didn’t come to do a half-way job! – He came to completely redeem us from sin!
The history of the Church has been one long struggle.
- Satan is still trying to defeat God’s purpose, but Satan will fail at every point!
- Let’s celebrate the real meaning of Christmas!
- Not just the financial hemorrhage that so many people dread……
The Angels told the shepherds: Luke 2:10-11 (KJV)
10 Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
Talk about a wonderful Christmas Present! . – Not just some trinket that will soon be trash, but forgiveness of sin, fellowship . with God Almighty, Eternal Life in Heaven with Jesus!
Today we light the last candle representing LOVE! — GOD’S LOVE!
God’s LOVE that constrained Jesus to leave Heaven, step into the human race knowing full well what He had to do and doing it anyway!
He left the Splendor of Heaven
Knowing His destiny
Was the lonely hill of Golgotha
there to lay down His life for me.
if that isn’t love
the ocean is dry
there’s no stars in the sky
and the sparrow can’t fly
if that isn’t love
then Heavens a myth
there’s no feeling like this
if that isn’t love
even in death He remembered
the thief hanging by His side
He spoke with love and compassion
then He took him to Paradise
there’s no feeling like this
if that isn’t love.
No wonder we can sing, JOY TO THE WORLD, THE LORD IS COME!
PODCAST THE BATTLE OF THE AGES STILL RAGES
The updated version of Rev Bill Woods’ book “There Is Still Power In The Blood” will be available soon.