Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Our Old Testament reading for this Sunday, from Isaiah chapter seven, is a prophecy of a deliverer. When king Ahaz refuses to tell God what he would like as a sign of God’s favor, God intervenes and picks a sign of his own. The sign is the birth of a child. Before the child is grown the Lord will deliver Israel from the Assyrians.
On the surface this is a fairly straightforward prophecy. The Israelites have been under pressure by Assyria. They do not have military means to repel their adversary. God will intervene. When? Soon.
In the New Testament this prophecy is interpreted as applying to Jesus, Immanuel, the one whose name means “God with us.” The peaceful deliverer, conceived in a virgin, will rescue his people from the sin which attacks them.
In the season of Advent we look forward to the coming of Christ. Just as in this prophecy, there is sometimes a fulfillment near the time of the prophet and a later fulfillment yet to come. Advent looks to the first coming of Christ as well as his second coming, the time when he will do away with sin and evil forever. It is this hope that we maintain this day.
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