As Christians all over the world prepare to celebrate Christmas and the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, a good question might be, "What if anything does Christmas mean to us as we look to the future?" In other words, does Christmas have anything else to say to us other than Jesus' birth as our Savior? As we will see, the Christmas holiday offers us a unique glimpse into the future of our world that is largely missed or rarely discussed anywhere today.
Now every Christian believes Christmas was the beginning of the Lord Jesus Christ's life on earth. It was His birth that came as a result of the Holy Spirit's work in the womb of the Virgin Mary (Luke 1:34-35). It is spoken of in the Apostle's Creed and believed by most Christians around the world. It also celebrates the union of God and man that met in the person of our Lord to bring about eternal fellowship and redemption through the cross, followed by the resurrection. And while most of orthodox Christianity will embrace these basics at Christmas, you won't hear much more about them with regards to the future.
And yet, the Christmas holiday is actually a wonderful picture of what can be called the Millennium. Christmas points beyond itself to the future Millennial reign of the Lord Jesus Christ on earth. It shows us a glorious future time of peace, love, hope and joy that will break out all over the world when the Lord Jesus Christ returns to earth to rule and reign. It will last 1000 years here on earth and marks the fulfillment of all the Lord's plans for humanity on earth that have been marred and ruined by sin. So, in a way, the celebrations of Christmas that are going on now and in the next few days point to a future time of restoration and celebration that will complete the real meaning of Christ's birth in Bethlehem as our Lord and Savior. The best Christmas celebration and parties are yet to come when our Lord returns.
Perhaps the best place to see the future of the Christmas story is recorded in the Old Testament Prophet Isaiah. Isaiah predicted a future time when the whole world would be at peace with God and one another. Even the animal world would be at peace with everyone. This wonderful future is recorded in Isaiah 11:6-9,
The wolf will live with the lamb; the leopard will lie down with the goat,the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.The cow will feed with the bear; their young will lie down together,and the lion will eat straw like the ox.The infant will play near the cobra's den,and the young child will put its hand into the viper's nest.They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
This passage is often referred to as the Messianic Age and is a time when the Messiah will rule over the world and as the text says, "the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea." So, when the Lord Jesus Christ returns to earth His presence and the truth about Him will literally flood the hearts of every single heart and mind on earth like the oceans and waters cover the land. At that time there won't be a single person living on the earth that won't know that Jesus is Lord of all and that His grace and salvation are the foundation of everything in life. This glorious time is not here yet, but it is drawing very, very near. Sadly, this Christmas it can even be hard to say "Merry Christmas" without offending someone at times. But the Bible tells us that a day is coming when all that will change in a moment in ways that no one on earth could ever dream of right now. Are you ready for that day to come?
Notice that the heart of this passage is about the safety, peace and security for all, especially a little child. The passage from Isaiah tells us some amazing things about the children during this time. It says that children will lead a restored creation and that such children will not be afraid of even a viper or poisonous snake. So, in a fallen world where children are often the most vulnerable to any problem in life, they will be safe and gloriously enjoying life as it was intended to be enjoyed without sin or any other problem to fear. This is a world that none of us have ever seen or experienced. It almost seems too good to true, but it is true.
Now the reason you see a little child behind all of this peace and safety is because it is a picture of the Christmas story we all celebrate today, with a look to the future. The celebration that took place on that first Christmas was because the Child had come to lead us into a new world with the Lord. The Child was also born and placed in a manger by His mother Mary, according to Luke 2:7, so He would be connected to the animal world and show us that He was the real Child from Isaiah 11. So, when the Lord Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem, the reign of Christ began on earth in the hearts of people that would receive Him into their lives. The final and ultimate reign of Christ will consummate when our Lord returns to earth to finish what He started at His birth on that first Christmas.
Many have read Isaiah 11 and see nothing in it for us today or in the future and would doubt that this passage has anything to do with Christmas. For some it is just some nice, romantic ideas of what would seem to be an idyllic period, but not real. In fact, we rarely hear much about any glorious future for the earth. All we seem to hear these days is doom and gloom about every possible issue from nuclear war to supposed global warming. We don't hear about the world's incredible future in our public discourse and sadly we rarely hear much about it in our churches. Many churches have nice services at Christmas, but few ever discuss the future reign of Christ on earth because it seems a little too controversial. This is perhaps the great sadness at Christmas because we are missing the message of God's plan to restore the world. Just when we need to hear the message of Isaiah 11 more than ever during these troubled days, we hear almost nothing to give us hope for the future.
As Christmas draws near this year, we all need to ask ourselves what that day really means to us. Do we see the glory of Christmas as holding a deeper meaning for our lives and our future? If we miss the fact that Christmas is a glimpse of the future arrival of God's glory and peace all over the earth as the waters cover the sea, we are missing the richer and fuller message of Christmas. No matter what is going on this Christmas in our lives, the future is glorious, and Isaiah 11 will be fulfilled exactly as it is written. That is the message that should ring out all over the earth this Christmas. A Savior has been born to us, who is Christ the Lord (Luke 2:11). The Child grew up, died on a cross and is returning soon to rule and reign over His kingdom forever during His magnificent Millennium. What a wonderful story for every true believer to celebrate this Christmas and forevermore.
So, let's rejoice this Christmas that the Lord has showed us our glorious future and spread the Good News to everyone that they too might be redeemed from their sin by finding the little Child that will lead them to life eternal. Pray about passing this article on to someone you know and share the real message of Christmas this year and our hope for the future.
Merry Christmas to everyone from all of us at the Carlson Report.
Merry Christmas to everyone from all of us at the Carlson Report.