Advent Day 15 – Everlasting Father

“He is able to save forever those who come to God through Him” (Hebrews 7:25).

Genealogy is big business these days.  And entire industry has been created to help people track down their ancestral roots and national origin.  Spit in a vial and you can find out if your heritage is African, Asian, Scottish, German and so on.  We want to know where we come from. Still this is not a new fascination – the Middle Eastern tradition has long held to family lineage.  The Old Testament frequently pauses to review family history.  This was an important aspect of Jewish history.  Genealogy assured rights to land and position.  Two of the Gospels present the earthly genealogical record of Jesus as proof of His royal roots (Matthew 1:1-17) and His humanity (Luke 3:23-37).

As we dive further into the proclamation of Isaiah 9:6 we find the designation of this Child as “Everlasting Father.”  This title corresponds to our discussion of ancestry because the prophet is focusing on the Messiah as the timeless originator of our eternal salvation.

Let’s clarify one point that always seems to hang us up here: Isaiah is not trying to say that the Messiah is the Heavenly Father.  Anytime we study Scripture we need to remember to look at the original terminology as the speaker or author would have used it – context is vital.  In the original Hebrew, the phrase “Everlasting Father” is speaking to eternity from before the world began and of Messiah as the forefather and founder of our eternal security going forward.  John the Revelator expresses this powerfully in calling Jesus “The Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world” (Revelation 13:8).  Jesus’ death on the cross was not a knee-jerk reaction by God to the unexpected sin of mankind.  It was planned and completed before God said “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3).

Jesus is rightly our Everlasting Father because He is “the author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). He is the Originator of eternal salvation and everlasting life.  He is Everlasting as from of old and he is Everlasting for ever and ever and ever.  He is “the Alpha and the Omega, who is, and who was, and who is to come” (Revelation 1:8).

Nothing and no one can take away what Jesus has done for you as your Everlasting Father.  He secured eternal life for you long before you ever entered the world, long before you fell into sin, long before you ever knew you needed a Savior.  He established the future from days of old for all the days yet to come.  Because He is our Everlasting Father.

Read Hebrews 7:21-28

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Advent 2015 – Day 8 – The Prince of Peace

advent2aFor to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.  And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Isaiah 9:6

It is a well-loved verse at Christmas time, and rightly so for it expresses the marvelous roles of the long-awaited Messiah, Jesus Christ.  Isaiah saw the coming of the Promised One, both as a Child and as a King.  He saw Him as a Wonderful Counselor who would rule with perfect wisdom.  He saw Him as the Mighty God, the Conqueror of evil.  He saw Him as the Everlasting Father, the source of eternity.  And He saw Him as the Prince of Peace, the Son who would reign in unending, unshakable peace.

Peace is the focus of our second week of Advent devotionals.  God’s promise of peace is timely for our world today.  We long for peace, we have Peace Talks and Peace Summits and Peace rallies, but we have no peace.  Perhaps we are looking for peace in the wrong places.  Peace in the world, peace in our nation, peace in our communities and families will only come when there is peace in our hearts.  Not the ethereal kind of peace that our culture tries to sell, but peace that reaches down deeply into our very soul.  That is only possible when we have peace with God.

And that is why the Prince of Peace came to this earth as a little Babe in the manger.  He came to bring us peace, the kind that lasts for eternity, the peace that cannot be broken.  Jesus Christ came that you and I might have peace with our Creator.  He came to lay His body down as a bridge between us and God, ensuring peace in the most important place of all, our hearts.

Prince of Peace come and cast Your peace in our hearts this Christmas and for all eternity.

Peace in a Manger

“For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders.  And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”  Isaiah 9:6

Today we observe the second Sunday in Advent and our focus for this week is Peace.  Peace is a very popular topic today.  Politicians and world leaders meet in an attempt to bring peace to conflicting nations.  The radio plays songs about peace, and great orators give inspiring messages calling for peace.  Yet there is so little peace.  The world is full of war, pitting nation against nation.  Neighbors battle one another, and even brothers and sisters, parents and children are at odds.

Can there really be true peace in this world? There can, and the One who can bring peace is the Prince of Peace – Jesus Christ.  Jesus came to bring peace, not the man-made peace the world seeks, but real peace, the only true peace.  The peace we desperately need, the peace that Jesus brings is peace with God.

The world seeks peace between men, between nations, but the true peace-breaker is our sin. In fact, sin causes us to be God’s enemy.  That is a harsh thought, but according to the Bible, it is the truth. But Jesus Christ came to bring peace between God and man.  Listen to Romans 5:8 – “God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  God’s love for us is so great that He could not bear to be in conflict with us, so He paved the path to peace with the life of His Son, Jesus. Only when we receive Jesus Christ as our Savior, will we know true peace.  “Since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).

This is peace that starts in one man’s heart, and as it multiplies in other hearts, true peace begins to take hold.  This world is looking for peace, longing for peace, but we will not find peace at a conference or in songs and speeches.  Peace can only be found in a manger, wrapped in rough cloths and adored by sheep and cattle and all the angels of heaven.

Yahweh Shalom, the Lord of Peace –thank You for the peace that You sent to this world through the Baby in the manger.  Let your peace reign in my heart this Christmas season.  Amen.

The Hope of Advent

“For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders.  And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”  Isaiah 9:6

Advent is a time of preparation, as we prepare our homes, our menus, our gift-lists, and calendars for Christmas.  More importantly, it is a season to prepare our hearts for the coming of the Christ Child.  Advent traditionally follows four weekly themes: Hope, Peace, Joy and Love.  Additionally, the tradition is to light a series of candles in observance of these special themes.  With all the “hustle and bustle,” shopping, cooking, visiting, and cleaning, it is easy to lose sight of the true reason for the Christmas season.  I would like to invite you to join me every day at “Deeper Roots” for a short devotional during the Advent season, which I hope, will help your keep your focus on the greatest Gift of all.

Our key verse is likely familiar as a standard during the Christmas season, for it foretells the hope of the Jewish people – and of all mankind, and it prophecies the coming of the Messiah on whom all hope rests.  In the season of Advent, the first Sunday of Advent is traditionally focused on Hope and the prophetic promises of God.

For hundreds of years the Jews had waited and watched for the birth of this special child, as Isaiah had prophesied: “The Lord Himself will give you a sign.  The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call Him Immanuel” (Is. 7:14).  The Jewish people had God’s promise, and their hope was founded on God’s faithfulness to keep His promises.

When hope was born, the Redemption of the world lay in a manger, surrounded by hay and the lowing of cattle.  This Child, the fulfillment of God’s greatest promise, was the Hope, not just of the Jewish people, but of the whole world.

There is no greater reason for hope than to hope in the promises of the Lord.  Why? “For no matter how many promises God has made they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through Him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God” (2 Corinthians 1:20).

The nation of Israel looked forward in hope to a Messiah who they believed would free them from the rule of their enemies.  Mankind today looks in hope for an end to poverty and disease and hatred.  But the true enemy of all humanity is evil – evil wrought by Satan, the enemy of God and His creation.  The Jewish people expected a military savior, and our world today looks for a political savior, but God sent to us exactly what we needed – a holy and perfect Savior who would save us from our sins, from death and from the wrath of God.

The Lord promised us Hope and Peace and Joy and Love – and He fulfilled every promise in His Son, Jesus Christ.  The hope of all mankind came, not as a military conqueror, nor as a great political leader, but as a tiny and helpless baby – Jesus, the Child of Hope and Promise.

I hope you will join me every day during the Advent season as we  prepare for the coming of the Christ Child.   This first week of Advent will focus on the HOPE we have in the promises of God.

Holy Father, my hope is in You, in Your Word and Your promises, You are forever faithful.  Thank you for this Christmas season, please prepare my heart for this special Gift of Hope.  Amen.