Advent of the Redeemer – Part 1

December second marked the beginning of this year’s advent season.

Different denominations have different ways to celebrate just as different families have different ways to celebrate.

As a child in the Methodist church, I looked forward to the lighting of the advent candle inside the advent wreath. One candle was lit each week leading up to Christmas while we remembered the hope, love, joy, and peace that Jesus brings us. On Christmas Eve, the last and largest candle was lit to symbolize Jesus as the Light of the World. (The Advent wreath began in the time of the Protestant reformer Martin Luther.)

Though I enjoyed the stories and sense of mystery that accompanied the tradition, I have to admit that I enjoyed a different advent tradition much more—opening the tiny door on my advent calendar and finding my special candy.

Advent

The dictionary definition of advent is the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event. In Christian theology advent is the coming or the second coming of Christ. Saints from before and after Jesus’s birth anticipated his Advent.

Consider what my pastor, Nathan Franckhauser says, “Old Testament believers looked to a Messiah, the Seed of Abraham, who was coming. We look to a Messiah who died on a cross, was risen three days later, and will return.”

Old Testament believers looked to a Messiah who was coming. We look to a Messiah who died on a cross, was risen three days later & will return. #advent @n8franckhauser Click To Tweet

This advent season, I want to reflect on four examples of our Messiah. Four displays from before he walked the dusty roads of Judea. Four glimpses that provided Old Testament believers with the ability to look toward, search for, and anticipate his first Advent.

The Savior in Creation

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. John 1:1-3

John lays out the Divinity of Jesus for us, telling us that Jesus was in the beginning with God and that Jesus was God. That it was through Him that all things were created.

The writer of Hebrews concurs with John by writing, “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.” Hebrews 1:1-2

Paul writes in Colossians, “For by Him [Jesus] all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.” Colossians 1:16

Jesus as Creator

Creation was made through Christ, the Trinity working in unison. But was this evident in the Old Testament or was it merely Christian theology built upon a Jewish foundation? In John 5:39 Jesus is quoted as saying, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me.”

In Hebrew, the first verse of the Torah reads, “beresheet bara elohim” this is what it looks like in Hebrew: (read right to left)

בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים

It is interesting that, from all the names for God that the Holy Spirit could have inspired Moses to use, He chose Elohim, which is a plural form of God. In the third word of the scriptures, God gives humankind the first glimpse into his Trinitarian nature.

From the witness of the New Testament and the witness of the Old Testament, we see Jesus active in creation.

From the witness of the New Testament and the witness of the Old Testament, we see Jesus active in creation. Click To Tweet

In the Divine Conquest, A.W. Tozer wrote, “Redemption is not a strange work which God turned aside for a moment to do. Rather it is His same work performed in a new field—the field of human catastrophe.

“The regeneration of the believing soul is but a recapitulation of all His work done from the moment of creation. It is hard to miss the parallel between generation as described in the Old Testament and regeneration as described in the New. How, for instance, could the condition of a lost soul better be described than by the words, “without form and void, with darkness upon the face of the deep? 

“And how could the strong yearnings of God’s heart over that lost soul be more perfectly expressed than by saying that “the Spirit of God brooded upon the face of the waters?” And from what source could light come to that sin-shrouded soul had God not said, “Let there be light?

“At his word the light breaks and the lost man arises to drink of eternal life and follow the Light of the World. As order and fruitfulness came next to that ancient creation, so moral order and spiritual fruit follow next in human experience.”

Creation’s Redemption

Christ is the redemption of creation and the story of redemption is evidenced through creation. In Romans 1:20, Paul wrote, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”

Christ is the redemption of creation and the story of redemption is evidenced through creation. Click To Tweet

Not only do we see God’s invisible attributes through the daily evidence of creation, but we were gifted in our collective consciousness with the memory of creation. The need for sacrificial atonement is a global knowledge, practiced (and distorted) worldwide. Through the order and knowledge of creation itself, God narrated His plan of redemption. Consider:

  1. God moves over what is dead to begin the work of creation.

The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Genesis 1:2

[Jesus said] No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. John 6:44

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. John 6:63

  1. Jesus calls what is dead, empty, and void into life-giving light.

Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. Genesis 1:3

Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”  John 8:12

  1. God separates us from the darkness that previously enshrouded us.

God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. Genesis 1:4

…to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’ Acts 26:18

  1. God calls us to be fruitful as we grow into our original purpose as ruling and reigning image-bearers of God.

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Genesis 1:26-28

…so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God… Colossians 1:10

It is a trustworthy statement: For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him;

If we endure, we will also reign with Him;

If we deny Him, He also will deny us;

If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself. 2 Timothy 2:11-13

Redemption in Man’s Rebellion

God was not surprised by man’s rebellion. His plan of redemption was written in Creation before the Fall.

Revelation 13:8 tells us that Jesus was the Lamb who was slain from the foundation of the world. God’s promise to Satan that Eve’s seed would crush him must still have been ringing in Eve’s ears as she watched the first sacrifice take place. An innocent animal died to cover her and Adam’s shame.

As God placed the skins over their shoulders, Adam and Eve began to look forward to a coming Redeemer who would put right what their sin had wrecked—right relationship with God. From that moment on, faithful believers lived in a state of hopeful anticipation as they awaited the Advent of the Christ.

God was not surprised by man’s rebellion. His plan of redemption was written in Creation before the Fall. Click To Tweet

Join the Conversation

What Advent traditions do you find spiritually fulfilling? Which are your favorite? Why?

28 thoughts on “Advent of the Redeemer – Part 1”

  1. I light Advent candles every year. Brings back memories of my youth. My non-denominational church includes a wreath every year too!

    I love the idea of Advent preparing us for Christ’s coming!

    1. I haven’t seen a wreath lighting since we left the Methodist church when I was a teen. I really miss the traditions at this time of year. A few years ago I went to the local Methodist church’s midnight service but my kids were so small that it did not go over well 😂.

  2. Wonderful post, Stephanie! I appreciate all the ways you used scripture to highlight the examples of Jesus as our Messiah, Creator, Savior and Redeemer. It’s always inspires me to see ways the Old and New Testament verses echo back and forth with eternal truth. You wove them together powerfully here. This quote struck me: “The regeneration of the believing soul is but a recapitulation of all His work done from the moment of creation. It is hard to miss the parallel between generation as described in the Old Testament and regeneration as described in the New.” As He created the universe, so He creates me into a new heart with this same force. Wow.

    1. Melissa, the way the Old and the New work together to tell the same story is one of the things that most bolsters my faith. I agree, that A.W. Tozer quote is so powerful. If you haven’t read that book, it is well worth the time. The original title was The Divine Conquest. It was later renamed The Pursuit of Man. I listened to the audiobook through my local public library. They use Hoopla to let us check out online titles. So many good Tozer books!

  3. Hi Stephanie. This!: “God was not surprised by man’s rebellion. His plan of redemption was written in Creation before the Fall.” It has been one of my favorite truths over the past several years. I love how you and Tozer lay that truth across the activities of creation. How entirely depraved and helpless we are (void, empty). Our hearts are like cold, lifeless stone with no room for the Savior. God bore through the stone to make a home for Himself, a welcome dwelling fit for a King, just like the tomb Joseph sacrificed for Jesus after He gave His life on the cross. What a blessed Savior we worship during Advent!

  4. Interesting perspective on Advent, Stephanie. You have a way of making fresh, new points. And I love this thought, “Christ is the redemption of creation and the story of redemption is evidenced through creation.” I’ve read it over and over and it’s more meaningful each time.

    Blessings!

  5. You, my dear, are quite the theologian! Excellent post not only on the Advent season but the trinitarian nature of God. I love this sentence your wrote: “It is interesting that, from all the names for God that the Holy Spirit could have inspired Moses to use, He chose Elohim, which is a plural form of God.” This is a great point to show to those who doubt the Trinity concept that our Church Fathers were right —the Trinity is there, we just need to perceive it through verses like these. It’s all about inference. God invites us to use our minds in gaining more knowledge of Him – a progressive revelation, of sorts.

    And your last point about how the Fall didn’t surprise God, but He actually planned for it before Creation was excellent! One of my professors at Biola once said this: “Before God made the world, He knew He’d have to die for it.” Yep.

    Thanks for a theologically deep post – love it!

    1. Lisa, the first time I heard this point on the Trinity in the first verse of the Bible, it was from Chuck Missler. It’s these points where we find God revealing himself that I gain strength in my faith.

  6. I enjoy celebrating the season of Advent. Light you, I enjoy the lighting of the candle each Sunday and the verses that go with them. I also enjoy using an Advent calendar daily to remind us of the season. Thanks Stephanie.

  7. I’ve always loved the study of the Names of God, so I enjoyed reading this and thinking through the Savior in creation and Jesus as Creator. And I love the point that God used the plural form of His Name through Moses. Thank you for this and for inspiring me to continue on learning about the Names of God!

  8. Stephanie, this is so rich and beautiful from the Biblical evidence you provide of the plural form of Elohim to the Lamb who was slain before the foundation of the world. The evidences of the coming plan are sprinkled all through the Word from the opening pages. Our God is incredible in his loving intentionality and his leaving of these peeks into what was to come all lying there in plain sight for those with eyes to see. Thank you for sharing these beautiful truths with us as Advent began this week. God bless you, dear sister. (PS. I also grew up Methodist with an Advent wreath). 😊

    1. I love your point that the evidences of the coming plan were sprinkled all through the Word and that God’s loving intentionality left us hints. It reminds me of Proverbs 25:2

      It is the glory of God to conceal a matter;
      to search out a matter is the glory of kings.

      Thank you for your thoughts, Melinda.

  9. This line in particular spoke to me: God separates us from the darkness that previously enshrouded us. Thank you for this light-filled post, Stephanie!

  10. I have NOT been good about really doing things surrounding the Advent daily this season. My goal is to read verses to the children nightly to remind them of the importance of the birth of Jesus. This post, on a separate note, revealed so much about who God really is!! 🙌🏽

    1. God gives us so much grace. We need to give it to ourselves as well, I think. I often feel guilty for not doing enough or forgetting to do what I had planned. I pray you have a stress-free season that also shares what needs to be shared. And on a separate note, thanks!

  11. I never knew what Advent was until I went to college. Since I attended a Free Methodist college it was second nature to live by the Church calendar. I didn’t even know the church had one let alone what the seasons were called.
    Specifically with your post, this Tozer quote is awesome–It is hard to miss the parallel between generation as described in the Old Testament and regeneration as described in the New. How, for instance, could the condition of a lost soul better be described than by the words, “without form and void, with darkness upon the face of the deep?–it highlights the profound storytelling of God. Where skeptics use hero journeys, story arcs, meta-narratives, etc to explain why the Bible isn’t unique among ancient books, I see the beauty of God’s handiwork and the masterful story telling. God sought my redemption before I was born, and he weaved threads of history to do it. That’s an amazing God! Great post, Stephanie!

    1. I agree with your feelings on seeing the beauty of God’s handiwork and masterful storytelling. The thought that He weaved threads of history to achieve our personal redemption is absolutely beautiful. Good points, Chip.

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