Symbols of Salvation: Foretelling Christ’s Birth

Ordinarily, when we think of Old Testament prophecies of the birth of Christ, we have in mind specific verses such as, “The virgin shall conceive and bear a son” (Isaiah 7:14); “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given” (Isaiah 9:6); and “From you [O Bethlehem] shall come forth for Me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days” (Micah 5:2). These direct prophecies point clearly to the coming of Jesus as the Savior Messiah.

But in addition to these wonderful verses, Jesus teaches us that, in fact, the entire Old Testament prophesies about Him—“And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, [Jesus] interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:27, emphasis added). “For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away” (2 Corinthians 3:14, emphasis added). “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about Me” (John 5:39, emphasis added). All of the Bible is about Jesus. From the very beginning of creation, the ways God interacts with His people give us living symbols that foreshadow and foretell Jesus’ advent among us in the flesh. As the hymn puts it,

For deep in prophets’ sacred page,

And grand in poets’ winged word,

Slowly in type, from age to age

The nations saw their coming Lord. (LSB 810:2)

The various “types” in the Old Testament point to a complete fulfillment in Jesus. He is the perfect Israel and the culmination of its divinely given institutions. He is the embodiment of the Scriptures, for “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). The Old Testament is not just a historical record; it was and continues to be the active, Spirit-filled Word of God that proclaims Christ to us.

The Advent sermons in this series focus on three particular Old Testament narratives that serve as symbols of Jesus’ coming to share in our humanity: the burning bush, the cloud in the tabernacle, and the call of Gideon. The Christmas sermon then focuses on how the narrative of Jesus’ birth is no fairy tale but a true story that also foretells the purpose of Jesus’ incarnation. Jesus takes on our flesh so that He might die in the flesh for our sins and be raised bodily for our justification (Romans 4:25). All of Scripture finds its culmination and fulfillment in Him. May God the Father, by the power of the Holy Spirit, bless our meditation this season on Him who is the Word made flesh!

Midweek worship begins on Wednesday November 30th, Dec. 7th, and Dec. 14th there will be dinner served at 6pm, with worship at 7pm. This year’s Children’s Program (12/18/22) matches this sermon series and individual devotions for the season of will be available as well.

In Christ’s Peace, Pastor Ryan Honeycutt