Think back over 2000 years ago, to a time when the nation of Israel dwelt captive in the Babylonian empire.
Life is bleak, cold, hard. Thoughts of freedom have been abandoned.
Hope is all but forgotten.
Centuries before, God had covenanted with the great King David and promised that his royal line would never die out. In fact, He promised David that one of his descendants would bear the Messiah, the highest honor anyone could ever wish for!
Yet the Davidic line has been all but decimated by Babylonian invasions and deportations. People have died. Homelands have been ruined beyond imagination. All that’s left is a tiny remnant.
How could such a tiny root bear a great Deliverer?
Hopes dwindle. Hearts despair.
And then God spoke.
In the midst of a time of judgment and captivity, Israel received the promise of a future King! The tiny remnant would spring to life again, and bear the Anointed Son of God, the Redeemer of Israel. Deliverance would be theirs!
Babylon would be overthrown, and they could go home again.
Hope loomed on the horizon.
But how would they know the Messiah, when he came?
Given the multitude of prophecies throughout the Old Testament, there were myriad signs to mark the birth of God’s Anointed. The book of Isaiah is especially filled with promises about this future King.
He would be:
- the Son of God (fully divine)
- born of a virgin (fully human)
- in the line of David (the line of kings)
- of the tribe of Judah (fully Jewish)
- in the little village of Bethlehem
Only God Almighty could orchestrate the fulfillment of so many details with such precision and perfection!
More than that, only God could take on the nature of humanity without losing his divinity.
Only Messiah could be called IMMANUEL — God with us.
But for now, Israel waits in captivity.
O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here,
Until the Son of God appear.