The Nativity account in the Bible is not just the literal history of Christ’s first advent. It also reveals what it will be like just before the Lord Jesus comes again! Bible teacher Jacob Prasch, known for his insights, opened the Nativity scriptures* to us at our church in England. If you want to know what the time will be like, and who will and will not be ready to meet King Jesus, read on.
Jacob said that both the Nativity and the Jewish feast of Hanukkah speak of the last days.At the time of the Lord’s first coming there were several things going on which will happen again before His Second Coming:
An astral phenomenon
- The Roman empire ruling Israel
- Caesar Augustus proclaimed himself to be a god.
- Caesar Augustus assigned everyone a number to keep control of the known world
- There was a corrupt religious system
We already have Israel enmeshed to some extent in the new Roman Empire (the European Union has even described itself as such in an exhibition). The corrupt religious system is the Catholic Church whose leader, the Pope, has the grand Roman title of ‘Pontiff’. And the Roman church is trying to unite all religions under its umbrella, just as the ancient Roman pagan religion tolerated all other religions, as long as they would recognise the emperor as a god.
So Jacob told our church in England that the First Advent reveals what the political and religious scene will be when the Lord returns.
But there is more – the Nativity account also tells us the sorts of people who will and will not be ready to meet Him. The people who were NOT ready for the Messiah were the politicians, the clergy, the academics – the political and religious establishment. When the magi, probably Zoroastrians, arrived in Jerusalem and asked where the Messiah would be born, the clerics knew the very place, but they did not go and welcome Him! Neither will the liberal theologians of our day welcome the Second Advent.
Jacob said that leaders personify the character of the people they lead; we get the leaders we deserve. He particularly mentioned the Evangelical Alliance and Rick Warren as some of those who would not be ready, and he said George Bush was a modern Herod, not least because of his putting the Koran into the White House after 9/11.
‘Clergy, scholars, politicians, leaders are not ready…neither is the Judeo Christian world ready for the return of Jesus,’ he said. He quoted Spurgeon’s remark that instead of shepherds in the pulpits feeding the sheep, we would have clowns in the pulpits entertaining the goats.
As for Mary, the mother of Jesus, Jacob said her real name was Miriam and she was the greatest woman who ever lived. Miriam said her spirit rejoiced in ‘God my Savior’ – in other words that she realized her own need of a Savior. But instead of acknowledging that, the Roman Catholics had made her ‘Queen of Heaven’, which is the title of a pagan goddess, Diana of Ephesus. Jacob said the Catholic Mary was an impostor, nothing to do with the Jewish Miriam, the real mother of Jesus.
So who WAS ready to greet the Messiah at His birth? There was a little old man named Zacharias and a little old woman named Elizabeth (the parents of John the Baptist). They were ready.
- There was a very old man named Simeon, who knew he would see the Messiah before he died. Jacob said Simeon’s whole life had been a preparation for the moment he took that Baby in his arms and recognized Him.
- There was an 84-year-old lady called Anna. She rejoiced when she saw the babe, and told everyone she could about Him. Anna had been waiting and she was ready.
He knew of old ladies who spend hours in prayer, sometimes weeping for their families, their churches, their nations. They are ready.
There are people frustrated in the extreme by the corruption around them, and crying out for the Lord to come back. They are ready.
‘Those are the kinds of people ready for the return of Jesus. Make no mistake,’ he said. ‘ “Christmas” is coming.’
*The gospels of Luke and Matthew tell us about the Nativity.