Where does an idea begin? What starts a practice that becomes entrenched and commonplace in society? There are many things that depend on a single individual coming up with a new idea, something that had never been done before, and setting a trend that continued. For example, why is our counting system 10-base (decimal) and our time system 60-base (sexagesimal)? Why do men shave the hair off their faces? Why do we drive on the right side of the road in America, but the British dive on the left? Who first thought of these things?
A second thought: how do things get aligned? If we are talking about the front wheels of a car, the answer is, sometimes, “Very expensively.” But remember your old geometry lessons. Two points are always aligned:
Three points are a little trickier:
But if we rotate our view of these three points by 90°, we would find they are on the same plane and appear to be aligned:
If we get beyond three points, alignment becomes an increasing challenge. This is why stools were traditionally three-legged rather than four. Three leg ends will always touch the ground equally, four legs will tend to be wobbly. Five legs are nearly impossible to keep in alignment.
Put these two things together: Initial idea and alignment.
One of the most marvelous aspects of studying the Bible is to see prophecy in the Old Testament aligning with fulfillment in the New Testament. This is heightened when we contemplate the Christmas story as revealed in Scripture. We usually understand the idea of a Messiah beginning in God’s promises to Adam, Eve, and the serpent shortly before expulsion from the Garden. The tempting serpent is given is cursed to crawl on his belly (i.e., snake) and, therefore, to eat dust. The Lord also give the serpent this dire promise:
And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel. (Genesis 3:15)
The idea: God promises to send a Savior, the offspring of Eve, who would deliver mankind by defeating the serpent (Satan) and all the evil he causes. In a nutshell: Mankind needs a Savior and God will provide. Christians believe this promise is fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Two point alignment.
But this is not the only prophecy about a Messiah. Consider three others related to Christmas:
- The Messiah would be from the royal tribe, Judah.
The scepter will not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until he to whom it belongs shall come
and the obedience of the nations shall be his. (Genesis 49:10)
- The Messiah’s conception would be miraculous, his mother a virgin.
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)
- The Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, the City of David, as his rightful heir.
But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times.
This is not the place to expand on these three prophecies, but when we count these items, we get this:
Genesis 3 + Genesis 49 + Isaiah 7 + Micah 5 + Jesus Christ = 5
This is not alignment of merely two, or three things. It is alignment of five things over a period of 1,500+ years, and this is just a small sample of the prophecies and fulfillments realized in Jesus Christ. The marvelous alignment of God, his plan for our salvation patiently implemented, never forgotten! Evermore and Evermore!
Nebraska Christian College of Hope International University