An ancient Christmas: The despised

The Old Testament, we have seen, is filled with prophecies of the coming Messiah. Christmas truly has ancient origins, stretching back to the very dawn of human history. But of all the ancient prophecies of Messiah, perhaps the best known by Christian readers of…

An ancient Christmas: The shepherd

As you consider the many ancient prophecies of Christmas, certain themes blend together. We have seen, for example, that several messianic prophecies highlight the justice that Messiah would bring. Several focus on the peace that Messiah would bring. Another common theme is Messiah’s shepherding,…

An ancient Christmas: The ruler

The last three articles in the ancient Christmas series have focused on Isaiah’s prophecy. Around the same time that Isaiah ministered to Judah, a lesser known prophet ministered in the small Jewish town of Moresheth, some 35km south of Jerusalem. Though less famous than…

An ancient Christmas: The servant

As we continue tracing the prophecies of an ancient Christmas, I trust you have noticed that the prophecies tend to arise in response to crisis. God first helps his people to see their deep need of his help before he gives the various prophecies…

An ancient Christmas: The branch

In the previous article in this series, we considered Isaiah’s prophecy of the virgin. The background to that prophecy will prove helpful here, too, for Isaiah delivered this prophecy likely during the reign of the same king: Ahaz. As we noted previously, Isaiah ministered…

An ancient Christmas: The child

Throughout the Bible, God’s promises frequently appear against the backdrop of deep darkness. It is usually in the midst of our gloom that the rays of divine hope shine brightest. That is what we have seen so far in our series on an ancient…

An ancient Christmas: The virgin

The prophet Isaiah ministered to Judah around six hundred years before Christ. His ministry spanned the reigns of at least four Judean kings: Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah. Three of those kings were godly, but Ahaz was a particularly despicable character. Second Kings 16…

Vindicating Jesus?

“A Kenyan lawyer has filed a petition to overturn the 2,000-year-old trial and crucifixion of Jesus Christ, arguing that the trial was unlawful and demanding that Israel and Italy be held responsible.”1 When I first read these words, I was almost certain it must…

The historical Jesus: The Gospel accounts

Samuel McComb helps us to understand the significance of the historical reliability of the gospels when he writes, Christianity is a historical religion. By this we mean not merely that it has entered into the history of the world, and that its career can…

The historical Jesus: The testimony of history

I have taken some time in previous posts to introduce the question of whether there is historical evidence for the existence of Jesus of Nazareth, and to deal with the question of first-century evidence (or the lack thereof) for his life. In short, mention…