24 Days of Advent Scripture Devotionals

Day 19 – The Son of Man

Cloud LIghtning - Blaine Franger

Cloud Lightning – Blaine Franger

Daniel 7:13-14

The prophet Daniel recounted an awesome vision:

I was watching in the night visions,
And behold, One like the Son of Man,
Coming with the clouds of heaven!
He came to the Ancient of Days,
And they brought Him near before Him.

Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,
That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
Which shall not pass away,
And His kingdom the one
Which shall not be destroyed. – Daniel 7:

We know about the Ancient of Days, the LORD; Yahweh, Jehovah. Studying the Old Testament we observe:

  • “You shall have no other gods before Me.” – Exodus 20:3
  • “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!” – Deuteronomy 6:4
  • “You shall fear the Lord your God and serve Him only, and shall take oaths in His name.” – Deuteronomy 6:13
  • “I am the Lord, that is My name; and My glory I will not give to another” – Isaiah 42:8
  • “I, even I, am the Lord, and besides Me there is no savior” – Isaiah 43:11

In the Old Testament scriptures we also have this testimony of the Son:

  • ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession. – Psalm 2:7-8
  • Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him. – Psalm 2:11-12
  •  I will be his Father, and he shall be My son” – 2 Samuel 7:14
  • The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” – Psalm 110:1
  • “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” – Isaiah 9:6

Why would Yahweh, the Ancient of Days, give dominion and glory and a kingdom to a human being, the Son of Man, so that all peoples, nations and languages would serve him?

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” – Matthew 1:23, Isaiah 7:14

Hymn: Of the Father’s Love Begotten

Of the Father’s love begotten, ere the worlds began to be,
He is Alpha and Omega, He the source, the ending He,
Of the things that are, that have been,
And that future years shall see, evermore and evermore!

O that birth forever blessed, when the virgin, full of grace,
By the Holy Ghost conceiving, bare the Savior of our race;
And the Babe, the world’s Redeemer,
First revealed His sacred face, evermore and evermore!

This is He Whom seers in old time chanted of with one accord;
Whom the voices of the prophets promised in their faithful word;
Now He shines, the long expected,
Let creation praise its Lord, evermore and evermore!

O ye heights of heaven adore Him; angel hosts, His praises sing;
Powers, dominions, bow before Him, and extol our God and King!
Let no tongue on earth be silent,
Every voice in concert ring, evermore and evermore!

Christ, to Thee with God the Father, and, O Holy Ghost, to Thee,
Hymn and chant with high thanksgiving, and unwearied praises be:
Honor, glory, and dominion,
And eternal victory, evermore and evermore!

This arrangement is absolutely beautiful! The different parts are staggered to sound like an echo effect. No digital processing here. (NOTE: the recording ends long before the end of the video.)

Day 17 – He Lived Up To His Name

Dead Sea Scrolls Isaiah 12


The screenshot above comes from the online version of the Dead Sea Scrolls and shows the passage Isaiah 12:2. You can browse the Isaiah scroll online at http://dss.collections.imj.org.il/isaiah.

Isaiah 12

And in that day you will say:

“O Lord, I will praise You;
Though You were angry with me,
Your anger is turned away, and You comfort me.
Behold, God is my salvation,
I will trust and not be afraid;
‘For Yah, the Lord, is my strength and song;
He also has become my salvation.’”
Therefore with joy you will draw water
From the wells of salvation.
And in that day you will say:

“Praise the Lord, call upon His name;
Declare His deeds among the peoples,
Make mention that His name is exalted.
Sing to the Lord,
For He has done excellent things;
This is known in all the earth.
Cry out and shout, O inhabitant of Zion,
For great is the Holy One of Israel in your midst!”

The prophet Isaiah wrote, “the LORD is my salvation” and used the Hebrew word, yeshua, which means exactly that. The name Joshua has the same meaning and we know the name in the Greek form: Jesus.

Read the words of the angel Gabriel who gave instructions to Joseph on how to name Mary’s baby.

Matthew 1:20-25

“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.

In many cultures, people give their children names which express something about their character or temperament. How wonderful that God would name his Son “The LORD is Salvation”. Jesus, Yeshua, definitely lived up to his name.

Song: King of Heaven

You tore the night apart
And ripped the silent skies in half
Your glory breaking through the dark

And here our worlds collide
Divinity in man confined
This great design drawn out for me

Emmanuel, God with us
Emmanuel, Hallelujah

You hold the ends of time
Yet placed Yourself here into mine
My life is now forever changed

Our eyes be lifted up
Our great eternal hope arise
This great design drawn out for me

In our silence
Heaven whispered out
In our darkness
Glory pierced the night
We were broken
But now we’re lifted up
King of heaven
God is here with us

Hallelujah
Angels crying aloud
Singing holy
All the praise resound
King of Heaven
On the Earth be found
King of Heaven
On the Earth be found

Day 9 – A Clue For the Magi

Numbers 24:17

Prophet Balaam and the Donkey – Rembrandt

You may have heard of Balaam. He’s the guy who had a conversation with his donkey. You can read about it in Numbers 22. Balaam was hired by Balak, an enemy of Israel, to curse the people of God. Balaam should have had the sense to immediately reject the offer but he entertained it and the Lord used him anyway to turn Balak’s plan upside down. Truth is truth, even if the mouthpiece is imperfect just as that donkey spoke to Balaam, Balaam in his rebellion spoke this prophecy about the Messiah:

I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; a Star shall come out of Jacob; a Scepter shall rise out of Israel” – Number 24:17

Here we have another prophecy about a scepter (ruler) coming out of Israel, but what about the Star coming out of Jacob? Prophecy is often poetic and we could take this to be a metaphor like other names for the Messiah such as the “Bright and Morning Star”, “Sun of Righteousness” or the “Dayspring”.

But one group of science geeks from Persia took this literally. We know them as the Magi or the Wise Men and they believed that astronomical events always had some significance. But why would the Persian star gazers have even had this prophecy from the Hebrew scriptures on their radar? Could there be anyone who may have introduced the Hebrew scriptures to the Persian magicians and astronomers?

It was probably Belteshazzar, also known as the prophet Daniel. As a young man, Daniel was taken captive by the Babylonians and instructed in all of their ways and customs. God used him to miraculously interpret the dreams of King Nebuchadnezzar who made him the chief of his magicians and astronomers. I believe that the Torah (writings of Moses), wisdom books and other history books that we have in the Old Testament were brought to Babylon and became part of their library books. It is not documented, but I would guess that Daniel introduced this prophecy to the seers and that he knew that it spoke of the coming Messiah. Daniel himself wrote prophetically about the coming of the Son of Man (see Daniel chapters 7 and 9) and if anyone was paying attention to his prophecy of the seventy weeks they could have been able to estimate the time period when the Messiah would be born.

We don’t know exactly when Jesus was born but many scholars believe it was between 4 and 2 BC. There is evidence of astronomical conjunctions in 2 and 1 BC between the planets Jupiter and Venus and the star Regulus that would have been viewed as signs of a royal birth. The planet Jupiter “rose” in the East during September of 2 BC as seen from Persia and during the following months “traveled” across the sky to the West where there was a second conjunction with Regulus towards the direction of Judea. This very well could have been a sign to the Magi that they were to travel west to Jerusalem. Conjunctions between Venus, Jupiter and Regulus are common but it was a rarity that they would occur multiple times during the span of several months.

The gentile astronomers from the East were watching and were rewarded with being able to see with their own eyes, the star in the sky as well as the “Star” in the manger. Isn’t it interesting that most of the people of Israel were clueless in regards to the timing of Jesus’ birth but the Magi were watching and then obediently sought to worship the newborn King.

Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him. – Matthew 2:2

Hymn: There’s a Song in the Air

There’s a song in the air!
There’s a star in the sky!
There’s a mother’s deep prayer
and a baby’s low cry!
And the star rains its fire
while the beautiful sing,
for the manger of Bethlehem
cradles a King!

There’s a tumult of joy
o’er the wonderful birth,
for the virgin’s sweet boy
is the Lord of the earth.
Ay! the star rains its fire
while the beautiful sing,
for the manger of Bethlehem
cradles a King!

In the light of that star
lie the ages impearled;
and that song from afar
has swept over the world.
Every hearth is aflame,
and the beautiful sing
in the homes of the nations
that Jesus is King!

We rejoice in the light,
and we echo the song
that comes down through the night
from the heavenly throng.
Ay! we shout to the lovely
evangel they bring,
and we greet in his cradle
our Savior and King!

Note: I used to make fun of old Slim Whitman’s greatest hits commercials when I was growing up. Here is my payback. LOL

Day 4 – Until Shiloh Comes

The Procession in the Streets of Jerusalem – James Tissot

Genesis 49:10

The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people. – Genesis 49:10 NKJV

The name Shiloh comes from the same root word for Shalom, meaning peace. This blessing that Jacob spoke to his son Judah in Genesis 49 was a prophetic word regarding the coming Messiah, the Prince of Peace.

The term “scepter” refers to the ability of the Jewish people to maintain their tribal identity and to enforce Mosaic laws and adjudicate capital offenses. Even during the Babylonian captivity the tribes maintained their identity and had judges. (Reference: Josh McDowell’s Evidence that Demands a Verdict)

During the time of Jesus, and definitely with the overthrow of Jerusalem in 70 AD by the Romans, the authority for the Jewish leaders to punish capital offenses was removed. The scepter, the ruling authority over the nation, had departed from Israel. And thus the prophecy is fulfilled. The scepter did not depart from Judah until Shiloh, The Messiah, had come.

It is also interesting to note that the phrase “and to Him shall be the obedience of the people” has also been translated “the gathering of the people” (e.g., KJV). Recall that when Jesus was lamenting over Jerusalem he said:

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ” – Matthew 23:37-39 NKJV

Hymn: O Come, O Come Emmanuel

The words of this hymn “Veni, veni Emanuel” were gathered from various “antiphons” by an unknown author in the 12th century. In 1856 Thomas Helmore set the words to the tune of a 15th Cen­tu­ry pro­cess­ion­al of French Fran­cis­can nuns.

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel

O come, Thou Wisdom from on high
And order all things mightily
To us the path of knowledge show
And teach us in her ways to go

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny
From depths of hell Thy people save
And give them victory over the grave

O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight

O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease
And be Thyself our King of Peace