1st Sunday in Advent: "KtTime: The Day of the Lord"
2nd Sunday in Advent: "KtT: The Day of His Coming"
3rd Sunday in Advent: "KtT: The Present Joy"
4th Sunday in Advent: "KtT: The Time of Fulfillment"
John the Baptizer came to prepare for something amazing: the coming of the Prophet. When the Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt it was the Angel of the Lord, who is God in human form, who led them out. The Angel of the Lord led them in the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night (Exodus 13:21-22). The pillar opened a pathway through the Red Sea, blocked the Egyptians as the Israelites passed through the sea, and allowed the waters to close while the Egyptians chased down into the middle of the sea lusting after their Israelite slaves (Exodus 14:19-27).
John the Baptizer rightly said, "No, I'm not the Prophet, for I am not the Lord. I am not the long promised One. I merely prepare His way. I am the one who came in the spirit and power of Elijah (Luke 1:13, 16-17) in order to prepare His coming by turning the hearts of His people back to Him." But that's not what they asked. They asked, "Are you Elijah?" No. John was not Him. John was not Elijah reincarnated, for reincarnation does not happen. John was not him come back from heaven, because God doesn't send people back to us from the grave. They live once and then they receive their reward for things done in flesh, whether good or evil. John was not Elijah, but one like Elijah.
Jesus is the Prophet. His coming fulfilled the entire Old Testament. His coming. His day on the cross. It accomplished a universal righteousness for all humanity. A freedom from the guilt of their sin. That means that God does not hold anyone's sins against them. Which always raises the question: why are some saved, and others not saved? The answer that God gives in the Bible is not satisfying to us, for it is not logical in our human way of thinking. The Bible says that if some are saved He did it (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9). If you are not saved it because in your sin you reject Him (Mark 16:16; Matthew 27:37; Ezekiel 18:22-24). Some Christians want it to be logical so they say, "No, no, no, that doesn't make sense. If God chooses who gets saved, then He must chose who doesn't get saved." Others say, "No, no, no, if we choose that we don't want His salvation, then we must also choose that we want it." God says to all of that, "NO. I save those who are saved. Those who aren't saved aren't saved because they reject Me. The reason you can't choose me is the sin you are born with. You are in bondage to it. You can not free yourself. But My Son has freed you. His prophets are the ones who apply that to you."
SO, Jesus, the Prophet, has come. The Old Testament is fulfilled. Salvation has been freely given through Christ's cross. Part of answer of why some and not others is that Jesus, the Prophet, uses prophets to give His salvation. He hides behind flesh. Why? Look at Mount Sinai. His chosen people who had seen His mighty salvation of them at the Red Sea, could not handle His unveiled coming down on the mountain. You can not handle it either. So when He came again He Hid Himself in our flesh so He could draw close to us. Until He comes again at the end of time in the same way He came down on Sinai, with clouds and smoke and trumpets and the hosts of heaven in festal assembly, then He will speak to us openly. Not through prophets. To us Himself. Then, we won't be cowering in fear like the Israelites for our sin was nailed to the cross in His flesh. It is gone. Taken from us. We no longer fear His judgement. On that Day to come we will finally be free of death and receive our promised inheritance in our flesh. We will no longer be fear-filled sinners. We will, on that Day be mighty, glorious overcomers. Clothed in His flesh and His righteousness. Made in His image. Sharing His glory.
We are His heirs. That makes us His Father's children. That means God listens to us as He does to His righteous Son. So pray for everything you need as you wait for that Day. For though we know we have overcome world in Him we know not the fullness of that yet, til Jesus comes again to put it into effect.
So know the time. He is near. His fulfilment is coming soon. Sooner for some than others, for none of us knows when He's coming, nor when any of us will be called home to glory in Him.
That Day of His coming is not a fearful day for you, but a day of joy. That joy is given to us by Him. For we didn't do anything to be written into this Will. It is His gracious gift of love granted us through His death. Your name was written into this contract in His own blood. It was guaranteed to you by a prophet whom He hid behind, like John, who baptized you into Him. That guarantee from Him allows us to be gracious to others on account of all we've received from Him.
Know the time. The day of His fulfilment of His perfect righteousness and love for you is near.
In +Jesus' name, Amen.
—Pastor David Haberstock
Epiphany Lutheran Church
Thunder Bay, ON