A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare
the way for the Lord;
make straight in the desert
a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be raised up,
every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
the rugged places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
and all people will see it together.
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
- Isaiah 40:3-5
I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:
King Of Kings and Lord of Lords.
And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, “Come, gather together for the great supper of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and the mighty, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, great and small.”
Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and his army. But the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed the signs on its behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. The rest were killed with the sword coming out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.
- Revelation 19:11-21
Let the offspring of the wicked
never be mentioned again.
Prepare a place to slaughter his children
for the sins of their ancestors;
they are not to rise to inherit the land
and cover the earth with their cities.
- Isaiah 14:20b-21
The day that I wrote this, I read a post about “Awareness” on Cookie Crumbs to Live By. Thank you, Julie. It inspired me to ask the question, as we are now in the Advent season, that season of anticipation, what are we anticipating? Ask any Christian, those that identify as being Christian and those who are true believers, and probably 99 out of 100, or even 999 out of 1,000, will tell you “the birth of the Christ-child.” They will look at you as if you are crazy. EVERYBODY knows that!!!! But that happened over 2,000 years ago and Christ is not returning in that form. Would we be aware of a Jesus with an army when looking for a baby?
When Jesus returns, He returns for war. The prophecy of Isaiah 40 rings true today, but we are not looking for a child; we are anticipating a king and an eventual total destruction of evil. We are anticipating a New Heaven and a New Earth. We are anticipating the true “war to end all wars.” The prophecy from Isaiah 14 states that Babylon will no longer be a threat, no longer a nation that could ever rise up against nation, but it states it as the “descendants of the wicked,” far beyond just Babylon. There will be no off-spring who will conquer another nation. This destruction of “Babylon” may have been accomplished already, but only in part. There are other Babylons. I have read books on how Hollywood and New York City rival ancient Babylon in one aspect or another – the institutions that direct the promotion and propagation of sin, not necessarily the people in those places.
It is good that we celebrate Christmas. The Incarnation is considered by many scholars as the greatest of miracles, where almighty God becomes man, even in the form of a baby. But this miracle could lead to nothing if that sinless man did not heap upon Himself the sins of all who believe so that another “greatest” miracle could occur – the miracle that upon us surrendering to God, our sins are washed clean. I have also heard many scholars say that each time a sinner accepts Christ into his heart – that’s the greatest miracle.
But our anticipation, that thing that we are supposed to be doing at Advent, needs to be on the risen Christ, not the baby Jesus.
It is strange. Since Thanksgiving in the USA is based off the fourth Thursday in November and Advent is so many Sundays before Christmas, I get confused. Advent usually starts the first Sunday after Thanksgiving, but not always. I looked it up and an online calendar stated that 28 November 2021 was the first Sunday in Advent, a season celebrated by Christians and Catholics alike.
Aren’t Catholics Christian? Yes, I have heard Catholics say to me, “I am Catholic! Do not confuse me as being a Christian!” But I have heard Presbyterians say, “I believe in God, but I am unsure about whether this Jesus character really existed.” Note the verb tense. If you do not think Jesus existed, you probably will not believe in the resurrection of anyone, including yourself.
My point is that the pews in any church are probably disproportionate in the number who do not truly believe but have convinced themselves that they are wonderful people and God would be crazy not to accept them into Heaven. Jesus said that many will say “Lord, Lord” and not enter the kingdom of Heaven. So, beware, all you Christians (whether Catholic or otherwise). Jesus is coming soon. We must be prepared.
My wife and I went to Cumberland, MD just before Thanksgiving. The photo above is of a replica of the canal boats that travelled on the C&O Canal (Chesapeake and Ohio Canal). The canal was a dream that never made it to the Ohio River, ending in Cumberland, MD. It started in Georgetown, DC. At least the Chesapeake end is true, but the canal got coal and other goods in the mountains down to the Chesapeake Bay and delivered agricultural supplies and life’s necessities in the other direction. I liked the photo in that Autumn is nearly over and a few trees near the replica were a welcome backdrop.
My reason for bringing up the photo and our little trip is that along the route, going east and then west on Interstate 68, we passed a church with a huge sign. “God loves you. Jesus is coming soon.” I was singing Jesus is Coming Soon and hearing the Oak Ridge Boys pounding it out in my mind.
Both the songs on this video are appropriate for Advent, as much as Away in a Manger. Jesus is indeed coming soon. And someday, we will be in Heaven – no more pain, no more sorrow, no more illness, just the love of God and being in His presence forever.
Will I sing Christmas songs this year? Sure, I will. I will even sing a few silly Christmas songs. I am hearing Porky Pig singing Blue Christmas as I type this. But my anticipation, my preparedness, rests upon Jesus coming soon.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.