You might think that preaching about the person of Jesus Christ would be the most joyous of all subjects, and you're right. You might think that preaching about Jesus Christ would be the easiest thing to do, and you're wrong. I would rather describe Zacharias and Elizabeth and John the Baptist and Joseph and Mary, than try to describe Jesus. I feel sort of lost in searching for a few words to speak of an unspeakable person. You think having been a Christian as long as I have, and preached a long time that I would have enough to say about Jesus Christ to make it rather simple. The fact is, I have so much to say it becomes complicated. And I always feel when I have preached on the person of Christ, or when I've tried to elucidate what the Scripture says about the person of Jesus Christ that somehow I failed because it's...it's just an impossibility to say all that should be said. Now if I had four hours it would be easier, but I don't.
We turn to the gospel of Luke, this morning, we're going through the gospel of Luke and sometimes when you're being trained to be a preacher they make a big issue out of your introduction. You've got to capture people's attention. You've got to startle them, or shock them, or captivate them so that you can get them to listen to you. You know, it's just really wonderful to say, "Open your Bible to Luke 1," and know everybody's listening because you know God is going to speak.
Our text for this morning is verses 26 to 33. We're working our way through the narrative of the birth of Christ as we begin this gospel. Luke 1:26, "Now in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph of the descendants of David, and the virgin's name was Mary. And coming in he said to her, 'Hail, favored one, the Lord is with you.' She was greatly troubled at this statement, kept pondering, 'What kind of salutation this might be.' And the angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God, and behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a Son and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His Kingdom will have no end.'"
The record of God sending His Son into the world is the most marvelous, miraculous and impactful account in all literature and history. The most significant event that ever happened was when God came into the world. Its implications are massive and eternal because by the birth of Jesus Christ, God the Son entered the world to provide salvation for all who believe. Apart from Him there would be no salvation and all would be damned to eternal hell. This is the high point of God's redemptive plan, as Paul stated it in Galatians 4:4, "In the fullness of time God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law to redeem those who were under the law."
God sent forth His Son at the very most crucial moment when all of the issues were in perfect confluence for the arrival of Messiah, He came. He came for the purpose of redeeming sinners from the condemnation of the law and the just punishment of eternal hell.
Luke unfolds that great moment. And we began last time by looking at verse 26 and there we stated to you we were going to have a divine perspective on this. We were looking at it from God's viewpoint.
We saw the divine messenger in verse 26 named Gabriel, sent from the very presence of God to an obscure town called Nazareth in Galilee.
From the divine messenger Gabriel to the divine choice, verse 27, a virgin whose name was Mary. Out of all of the girls that God could have chosen, He chose this girl, probably 13-years-old, betrothed to a young man, maybe 14, named Joseph. Their engagement was formal and legally binding. They were betrothed to one another, awaiting the marriage yet to come. Down came Gabriel from the presence of Almighty God, down, down all the way to the land of Israel, down to the little town of Nazareth, down to a little house, verse 28, where he came in and pronounced the divine blessing.
The divine messenger was Gabriel, the divine choice was Mary, the divine blessing was grace, "Hail, graced one...Hail, favored one," says the angel, "the Lord is with you." God the Almighty, eternal creator of the universe has come down with a message through this angel to be with this girl, to bestow upon her a grace the likes of which no other human being in the history of the world will ever experience, a grace that is beyond comprehension. The issue here, of course, is God's choice. You'll notice it says nothing about Mary, nothing at all except she was a virgin, that's all. She was just a young girl, as I said, maybe 13-years-old who had just reached puberty. She had never known a man. Betrothed to her husband she was to prove her purity during that time of betrothal and to be pure was essential. If she committed adultery she would fall under condemnation given in the law of God back in Deuteronomy. She was just a simple, humble girl. It was to her that this immense grace was to be given.
She didn't understand what it meant but she was startled by it all. It says in verse 29, "She was greatly troubled at this statement, to say nothing of the frightening appearance of the angel and she kept pondering...What kind of salutation this might be." Why in the world would an angel from the presence of God, a glorious angel come down to tell her that special grace was given to her and the Lord would be with her? How could this possibly be? Why her? Indicative of the fact that she knew her own sinful heart, she knew her own unworthiness, she couldn't imagine why such grace would be bestowed upon her.
The angel said to her in verse 30, "Don't be afraid, Mary, there's nothing to fear, for you have found grace with God." Up to this point she doesn't know what this grace is. She doesn't know what's going to happen. Remember now, there's no verse to commend her. It doesn't say about her what it said about Zacharias and Elizabeth back in verse 6 where it is recorded that they were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments, requirements of the Lord. It doesn't say that about Mary. That's because we want to be sure, God wants us to be sure that we don't believe that what happened to Mary had anything to do with her merit or her worthiness.
So down comes the divine messenger to the divine choice, bringing divine blessing and announcing in verses 31 to 33 the divine child. The fourth point, the divine child and here for the first time she finds out what this work of God, this gracious work of God in her life is going to be. And believe me, for God...for God to plant a seed in her and for her to carry the Son of God in her womb is a great grace, isn't it? Never forget it, Mary was a sinner. Albeit a believing sinner who believed in God, as indicated by her praise over in verse 46, "Her soul exalted the Lord, but she also rejoiced in God as her Savior," it says. God formed in the womb of a sinner, what grace...what grace.
The announcement comes, "Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a Son and you shall name Him Jesus." Finally the statement comes, if she was shocked at his initial statement, "Hail, favored one, the Lord is with you," if that was hard for her to grasp and if she was greatly troubled at that and kept pondering what THAT meant, what in the world was her reaction when the angel said to her you're going to conceive in your womb?
She only knew one way to conceive and that was to have a relationship with a man. She had never had a relationship with a man, she was a virgin. She affirms her virginity in verse 34, "How can this be since I am a virgin?" Everywhere in the record it indicates that she was a virgin, she had never known a man. I can't...I can't know for sure what her thoughts were but maybe she thought, "Well, maybe this is going to happen after we're married, after Joseph and I are finally married, after the marriage feast is over and the marriage is consummated, maybe it's going to happen then. Surely it couldn't be that there's some other man," she couldn't think like that. But never would the thought initially have entered her mind that she was going to have a child in her womb without a man involved. You will conceive in your womb and bear a Son. That is amazing.
That's why later she says, "How can this be since I'm a virgin?" In verse 35, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you," not of man, the Holy Spirit will come, a miracle will happen, "The power of the Most High will overshadow you and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called, not the Son of Joseph, but...what?...the Son of God." A pregnant virgin, utterly unimaginable, utterly impossible.
Verse 37 though, "Nothing will be impossible with God." This had never happened, never. It had been prophesied. Isaiah 7:14 , "A virgin shall conceive and bear a Son and you shall call His name Immanuel, God with us." A virgin will conceive and have a Son who is God with us. Boy, that's pretty explicit.
Luke does not specifically refer back to the Isaiah prophecy, but Matthew does in his account. In Matthew chapter 1 Joseph found out about this. Joseph found out Mary was pregnant. His initial reaction was devastation...devastation...how could she do this?...how could this young 13-year-old or so, how could she do this? Joseph himself may be the same age, or 14. How could she do this? And we have been betrothed and it's not consistent with what I know about Mary, it's not consistent with her love for God, it's not consistent with her character. How can this be? In verse 19 of Matthew 1, "Joseph, her husband, being a righteous man...hum...he, too, was one who loved God, didn't want to disgrace her...desired to put her away secretly." Desired to divorce her. Remember, I told you that once they were betrothed it was a legally binding agreement, and if it was violated or broken, it was considered a divorce. But when he was thinking about how he was going to do this, and in the grief and anguish and confusion of his mind, asking himself...how in the world she became pregnant?..."An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, 'Joseph, the son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit and she will bear a Son and you shall call His name Jesus for it's He who will save His people from their sins." And the angel had to give Joseph essentially the same message.
This was a fulfillment of Isaiah. It says in verse 23, "Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a Son and call His name Immanuel, which means God with us." And so he says to this young girl, does the angel, you're going to become pregnant and you're going to have a Son and you're going to name Him Jesus.
To be pregnant out of wedlock, to violate a betrothal covenant to commit what would constitute adultery was punishable by death, according to Deuteronomy law, chapter 22 of Deuteronomy, she could have been stoned to death. And had the theocracy still been operating on God's terms, that would have been the sentence, stone the adulteress to death.
Ah, for many years though, the nation of Israel had moved away from upholding the law of God. God originally desired that death take place, severe consequence for this kind of iniquity so that men and women would be moved away from doing it because of those consequences, but long ago that nation had apostatized and no longer did they enforce the law of God. What had grown up was the custom of divorcing an adulterous wife, and Joseph chose to do that probably because of his love for her and his desire not to see her die. But the fact was Mary was guilty of no sin whatsoever...no sin whatsoever. This was to be the work of God.
"You will conceive...you will conceive by the instrumentality of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit will create a seed in you, it doesn't need to be placed there by a man, and you will nine months later bear a Son." Staggering promise. I can't even imagine what this girl must have thought...just never ever would have occurred to anyone that such a possibility could occur.
"When the Son is born you shall name Him Jesus." That's exactly what she did. Chapter 2 verse 21, "And when eight days were completed before His circumcision, His name was then called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb."
Now this starts to unfold something about the Lord Jesus and this is where language really begins to fail me. In this statement which seems on the surface to be a rather simple statement, "You shall name Him Jesus, He will be great, called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever and His Kingdom will have no end." You have a summation of the entire work of Jesus Christ. You have His saving work in the name Jesus. You have His perfect righteous life in the term "great," and I'll show you why. You have His deity in the title "Son of the Most High." And you have His resurrection, His ascension and His glorious return all bound up in the promise that the Lord would give Him the throne of His father David.
In what the angel says you have a summation of the righteous life, saving death and glorious reign of Jesus Christ all summed up. There is so much that can be said about each of those that it's very hard to just leave anything out, that is, however, my assignment, I'll make an effort at it.
First of all, the angel introduces something of His saving death in the name Jesus, Jeshua, a familiar Hebrew name in Old Testament times, a common one. It means "Jehovah saves." The God of the Old Testament was a God of salvation and the people knew it. God is a saving God. He saves sinners. That's exactly why Jesus came. Luke 19:10, "The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." Matthew 1:21, "You shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins." Luke chapter 2 verse 11, "Today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior who is Christ the Lord." Chapter 2 of Luke over in verse 30 where Simeon is praising God, holding the child, he says, "Mine eyes have seen Thy salvation." And verse 38, at that very moment, that widow, 84-year-old widow came up and began giving thanks to God, continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the salvation or redemption of Jerusalem. "Jesus Christ has come into the world...Paul said to Timothy...to save sinners of whom I am chief."
As you read the New Testament, you read through the four gospels, read through the book of Acts, read through the epistles of Paul and Peter and James and John and Jude, read the great epistle to the Hebrews and finish with the book of Revelation, as you go through all of that, the theme is the saving work of Jesus Christ, the dominant theme is that He came to save sinners, to save sinners. Jesus means "the Lord is salvation." Salvation is not a foreign thing to God. It is not a reluctant work. It is an expression of His very essence. Mary's Son would be the Savior and the only way He could save us from our sins was to die in our place. So bound up in the word "Jesus" is His saving death.
Then the angel says in verse 32, "He will be great." I..again I'm amazed at the understatement of that. You know, we say that about all kinds of things. We say to people, "Have a great day...Boy, that was a great sandwich." You know, we tend to trivialize all the...all the language, don't we, then we've got to stack on endless adjectives to make anything sort of rise above the mundane.
The angel says He will be great and that's all it says. Ah, you could translate that extraordinary, might be a little better, splendid, that might be a little better, magnificent, noble, distinguished, powerful, eminent, all of those could be substituted for great. But they still leave us fall short of what should be said about Him, and this is looking at His...His righteous life...His life. Jesus, the name, looks at His death, great looks at his life. It speaks of His extraordinary life.
How are we to understand what it means because it says back in verse 15 that John the Baptist will be great? Is this the same greatness? Well, verse 15 says John will be great in the sight of the Lord. John will be great, however, with a sort of imputed greatness. God will give to Him a greatness that really isn't His own, it's something God gives to Him, grants to Him. But Jesus' greatness is something not granted to Him but possessed by Him. It is an unqualified greatness. It doesn't say He'll be great in the sight of the Lord, it says He'll be great.
His greatness is best understood if we look at John 12:41, I think this will give you a clear indication of what it really means. It's synonymous with this, in John 12:41 John is writing and he writes about Christ as fulfilling a prophecy in Isaiah from Isaiah 6. And then in verse 41 he says, "These things Isaiah said because he saw His glory and he spoke of Him." Boy, what a statement.
John tells us that Isaiah saw the glory of the One he spoke about. Who did he speak about? He spoke about Christ, the One who would be Immanuel, God with us, born of a virgin. Isaiah said that in Isaiah 7:14. In Isaiah 9:6 and 7 Isaiah said, "A Son will be born, a child will come, the government will be upon His shoulders, His name will be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Father of eternity, the Prince of peace," and so forth. Isaiah saw that coming Messiah. He saw that coming Messiah.
But notice, he not only spoke of Him, he saw His glory. When did Isaiah see the glory of Messiah? I'll tell you when, in Isaiah 6 when he saw the glory of God, it's the same glory. You remember that Isaiah chapter 6 indicates that Isaiah went into the temple and when he was there he received a vision, he saw the Lord high and lifted up and His glory filled the temple, remember, and the angels began to shout, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory," and he was caught up in the momentous, magnificence and terror of that revelation of God's glory. Listen, when Isaiah saw the glory of God, he saw the glory of Christ because the glory of Christ is the same as the glory of God. That's why John 1:14 says, "And we beheld..." it says, "The Word became flesh and we beheld His...what?...His glory and it was the glory as of the only begotten of the Father." It was the same glory that Isaiah saw, the same glory the apostles saw, Matthew 17, on a Mount of Transfiguration when they saw Christ's glory shining through His humanity and they fell like dead men to the ground in terror.
What is the glory of God? The glory of God is the manifestation of His attributes. In the book of Exodus where Moses wants to see God, God says, "I'll show you My glory," and He let His mercy and His goodness and His lovingkindness pass before him. God's glory is the manifestation of His attributes. God's glory is the manifestation of His attributes, that's why it says of Christ, "And we beheld His glory and He was full of grace and truth." Glory is the manifestation of divine attributes. When it says in verse 32 He will be great, it means He will manifest glory, He will manifest the very glory of God. That is to say you will see the attributes of God through His perfectly righteous life. You will see God displayed. He will talk like God, He will act like God, He will think like God, He will be great like God is great. He will be glorious.
And as you study the four gospels and we do that as we go through Luke, we're going to see God in every picture of Christ. God's thoughts, God's words, God's actions, God's responses, God's goodness, God's wisdom, God's omnipotence, omniscience. We're going to see it all, revealed in this child.
So you see here His saving death and you see here His righteous life just summed up. His essential nature is further described in verse 32, "He'll be called the Son of the Most High." Now we could...we could do a whole Bible study on "the Most High."
You say, "What does that mean?" Not that tough, is it? The Most High means there's nobody higher. That was a title for God. It was a familiar Jewish title for God, it's used all over the Old Testament. In fact, the Hebrew equivalent of this Greek term hupsistos, the Hebrew equivalent is El Elyon, God Most High. It is a name for God that refers to sovereignty. No one is higher. No one is more exalted. No one is more powerful. No one is as sovereign, God Most High.
The Jews often referred to Him that way. Not wanting to say His name, not wanting to use the tetragrammaton, Yahweh, they would say El Shaddai, El Elyon, El Makadeshkim(??), or some other description of His attributes. They knew Him often as the Most High God. Verse 35, remember what the angel said, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, this is how it's going to happen, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you." He was known to the Jews as the Most High. Over in verse 76 as Zacharias blesses God for the birth of his son, John the Baptist, he's saying, "The child will be called the prophet of the Most High," again a reference to God.
Luke uses that again in chapter 6 and verse 35. "Love your enemies, do good...Jesus said...lend, expect nothing in return, your reward will be great and you'll be sons of the Most High." Even Jesus referred to His Father as the Most High. When Stephen was preaching his great sermon in the seventh chapter of Acts, he referred to God as the Most High, a very familiar term for God, used all through the Old Testament, in the Pentateuch, as well as in the historical writings, as well as in the Psalms, as well as in the prophets. It's everywhere, God Most High.
To identify Jesus, back to our text, as the Son of the Most High is to indicate that He has the same essence as the Most High. When you are the son of someone you bear their same essence. He is the Son of the Most High, He is one in essence with the Most High God. Hebrews 1:3 says that He, being Christ, is the exact reproduction of God...the exact reproduction of God. He is the Son of the Most High. Jesus said, "If you've seen Me, you've seen the Father." Jesus said, "I and the Father are one."
Beloved, that is a statement that is without possibility of misunderstanding to anyone who reads the New Testament with an open mind.
So, what can be said about the child? His saving death is bound up in the name Jesus. His perfectly righteous life is bound up in the reference to His greatness. His essential nature is bound up in the title "Son of the Most High." But that doesn't tell the whole story. Son of God, yes. Born a man, yes. Lived a righteous life, yes. Died the sacrificial atoning death to save us from our sins, yes. But that is not the end of the story.
For many Christians it is. I remember as a little kid growing up I used to wonder why the Roman Catholics couldn't get Jesus off the cross. Did you ever wonder that? I used to think they probably didn't understand the resurrection because He was always on the cross. And I...I didn't go to Catholic Churches but occasionally when I saw one there was always a crucifix or more than one, but whenever I met a devote Catholic they would have a crucifix around their neck, or I had a friend who had a set of those beads, there would be at the end of the beads a crucifix and I used to wonder why they couldn't get Him off the cross because every cross I ever saw in a Protestant church was empty.
And I guess we could say that as evangelicals we've done a pretty good job at getting Him off the cross. But, you know, we haven't done a very good job of getting Him to the throne. Now there's so much confusion in evangelical Christianity about that. The story doesn't end with the death of Christ, the resurrection of Christ and then our personal salvation, that's not the end of the story. The end of the story is the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever and His Kingdom will have no end. That's the end of the story. Don't you leave the story until it ends and it ends with a glorious Kingdom and Christ reigning on the throne of David over the nation Israel and establishing at that point what turns out to be an eternal sovereignty.
The whole story is not told until you get to that point. Now I know there are people called amillennialists who don't believe there will be a Kingdom. They believe this is it. Let me tell you something, if this is the glorious Kingdom of Christ, really I don't have to say anything else, do I? I mean, it communicates fairly well, doesn't it? And when I ask those people, "Well, what about the binding of Satan? He's to be bound during the Kingdom." And they say, "Well, he is...he is bound." Then I have to ask the question, "Why does the Bible say he goes about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour?" And I'll tell you something, if this is the Kingdom of Christ, He is not omnipotent, He's impotent. Let me tell you something, He's not ruling with a rod of iron, He's not...righteousness is not prevailing, not even prevailing in our own country let alone the world.
The story isn't over, folks. It doesn't just go to the cross and then the gospel's preached and I'm saved and it just sort of dissolves at that point. The story will end with great precision. Some of you who have a copy of the MacArthur Study Bible know how much of a point I made of that in laying out the plan of redemption that it culminates in the glorious reign of Jesus Christ on the throne of His father David over the nation Israel in which He establishes a millennial earthly Kingdom for a thousand years, followed by an eternal Kingdom.
Now there are other people who are called post-millennialists who believe that somehow all of us need to work a lot harder and we can bring in the Kingdom. That's...that's...that's not it. We don't bring the Kingdom, the Kingdom is given to Him by the Lord God, do you see that? We don't bring it in. Some people think if we can just take control of Washington and the governments of the world we can inaugurate the Kingdom.
God gives the Kingdom to His Son, we don't. That's why I'm what's called a pre-millennialist, that's a term that simply means there will be an actual earthly Kingdom and in that Kingdom the Lord Jesus Christ who is the seed of David will reign as the rightful heir to the throne over the nation Israel and over the whole world. You say, "Why do I believe that?" Because that's what the Bible says. And I think that's where history is going. That's where it's going.
In our prayer time with the elders this morning we were talking about the chaos in the world, and particularly Steve Lenetti(?) who served so many years in Indonesia was talking about all the anarchy and all the rioting and terrorism and the killing and it's the way of the world. It's the way of the world until the King of peace comes, isn't it? Until the King of righteousness comes and establishes His earthly Kingdom and rules with a rod of iron and rules with righteousness and peace prevails over the whole world and the whole earth is full of the glory of God and full of the knowledge of God. That's where human history is going. It's going back, in a sense, to where it began, it's going back to when paradise existed before paradise was lost, it's going back to paradise regained.
I'll tell you one thing, the Lord didn't have any Kingdom when He was on earth. They killed Him and He left, He went back to heaven. But the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, there will be a real Kingdom. All of that genealogy in Matthew chapter 1, the whole genealogy in the first seventeen verses is to identify the Messiah as the seed of David because it is the line of David that has the royal right. And Joseph, His earthly father, was of the seed of David. And Mary His mother was of the seed of David as her genealogy in Luke 3 will show so that He received His royal blood from His mother and His royal authority from His father, and by both He was therefore in the line to be King. He had a right to the throne.
He came to reign. He came into the world, He offered His Kingdom. What did men do? They spurned His Kingdom, rejected Him and executed Him. But He'll be back...He'll be back to establish His Kingdom.
When you read in the Old Testament, you read in Psalm 2, for example, that His Father will give Him the nations as His inheritance and He will reign with a rod of iron...you read in Isaiah 9 as we quoted earlier that He's going to be King, sovereign, the government will be upon His shoulders. His Kingdom is described all throughout the Old Testament. It's repeatedly described again and again and again. Second Samuel chapter 7 God said to David that he would have a Son and that that Son would be a king who would reign forever, 2 Samuel 7 verses 12 to 16. It wasn't talking about Solomon, Solomon didn't have an eternal reign, in fact Solomon basically destroyed the kingdom, split the kingdom. But that Son who would have an eternal Kingdom was going to come out of the seed of David and Messiah was of the line of David. You follow His genealogy, He came from David, He's going to have a Kingdom.
If you go to the book of Revelation, read in chapter 19 how He's going to return in the future. Revelation 19 says He's going to come as King of kings and Lord of lords, it gives Him that title. And when He comes as King of kings and Lord of lords, He's going to kill all of the ungodly, smash them in the holocaust of Armageddon. Then He's going to establish His earthly reign. Revelation chapter 20, the first thing He does to establish that is take the Antichrist and his cohort, the false prophet, and throw him into the Lake of Fire with all the other ungodly people. Then He's going to take Satan, according to Revelation 20 verses 1 to 3, He's going to bind him in chains for a thousand years, then Satan will be bound. At that point He establishes His Kingdom on the earth and we will reign with Him it says that several times in the first six or seven verses of Revelation 20. There will be a Kingdom in which He will reign and I believe it will be in a renewed earth, not a recreated one yet, but a renewed earth. Zechariah says a fountain of salvation will be open, grace and supplication will be open to Israel. The rebels will be purged out. Israel will be saved. Gentile believers will all be gathered with converted Jews. They will go into that glorious thousand-year Kingdom and reign with Christ for that time and the earth will be restored to righteousness and peace and the knowledge of God for a thousand years.
At the end of that thousand years God will then uncreate the universe, as we know it, and immediately recreate the new heaven and the new earth and Christ's kingdom will go right beyond that new creation and last forever and forever. That's what the angel said to this little girl. Pretty mind-boggling day for her.
He will reign over the house of Jacob. Jacob is a synonym for Israel. You remember Jacob's name was changed to Israel in Genesis 32:28. God is...isn't it wonderful, God has preserved the Jewish people as a nationality for a future time of salvation and a Kingdom? And the Bible promises you and I are going to be in that Kingdom. Even though we'll be raptured, we'll be brought back for the Kingdom. People will be saved during the Tribulation, they'll be in the Kingdom. Christ will come and judge the unbelieving. Then He will establish His Kingdom, righteousness, peace and truth will prevail. The lion will lie down with a lamb, incredible things will happen. The desert will blossom like a rose. Ceremonies once regarded as belonging only to the temple will be restored in a millennial temple where God will be worshiped in glorious memorials to the great realities of the Old Testament as well as the New. And once this Kingdom is established, George Frederick Handel had it right, "He shall reign forever and ever." Don't you love that Hallelujah chorus, it just goes on and on and on and on forever and ever and ever and ever.
We're not talking about His spiritual rule. Of course that's true. He rules as our King personally, that's not what it says here. That's not the issue here. Of course His spiritual rule will go on forever because salvation is forever. But the Kingdom, the rule from the line of David on the earth over Israel and extended across the world will take place. And once it's established it will never end. The form of it will end, the millennial years will end. This universe as we know it will be uncreated and the creation of a new heaven and a new earth will take place. But once He establishes His rule, that rule will transcend those changes and never end...never end. There will only be one King from the time He establishes His Kingdom forever...forever. This is the sum of all redemptive history, monumental.
And Mary said to the angel, I love this, "How can this be since I'm a virgin?" Her question was, "How...how we going to get this thing even started?" Well, we'll see more about that next time.
Father, thank You again for the greatness of Your Word. We look forward to the day when 1 Corinthians 15 says, "You deliver up the Kingdom to the God and Father and all things will be restored as they were originally designed and created to be." In the end it will be as it was in the beginning, sin will be no more and You will reign supremely without enemy, without challenge. We thank You that some day Christ will conquer permanently. Every enemy, every contending rule and authority and power will be abolished never to exist again, never again to oppose You or deceive or mislead or threaten people or corrupt creation. We thank You for that glorious time and it all began with an angelic message to a young girl. We're living in the midst of the unfolding of this great redemptive plan and we say with the apostle John, "Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly," establish Your righteous Kingdom in the earth and be glorified universally. But until that time, O God, be glorified in us. What a momentous event...the arrival of a divine messenger to a divinely chosen virgin with divine blessing involving the divine child who would be Savior and King. How grateful we are, our God, that in Your mercy we have come to know Him as our Savior and our King and we long for the fullness of our salvation to dwell in the glory of His eternal Kingdom. Till then, keep us faithful to proclaim this glorious gospel, in our Savior's name. Amen.