In the scriptures, there are promises given about the First and the Second Coming of the Messiah. We’ll talk about both comings on today’s edition of End of the Age.
The First Coming
“For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.” Acts 3:22-23 (Deuteronomy 18:18-19)
Moses, Israel’s most revered leader, prophesied that a prophet like himself would someday come to the Jewish people. From that time forward, the Jewish people looked with expectancy for the appearance of “that prophet”.
A forerunner would come first
A devout couple by the names of Zacharias and Elizabeth lived just before the beginning of the first century. Zacharias was a priest whose duty was to burn incense in the Holy Place. One day, while burning incense unto the Lord, an angel named Gabriel suddenly appeared to him. The angel announced that Zacharias and Elizabeth would soon have a child, and they were to name him John. The spirit of Elijah would be upon this child, and he would prepare the people for the coming of the Messiah.
Zacharias and Elizabeth had never been able to have children, and by the time of the angel’s appearance, they were too old. Because of their situation, Zacharias asked the angel how he could know that these things were true. The angel replied that, because Zacharias had doubted, he would be unable to speak until after the child was born. Immediately, Zacharias was smitten with dumbness.
The promise of the Messiah
Six months later, the angel Gabriel appeared to a young virgin named Mary. Gabriel said to Mary,
“And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” Luke 1:31-33
The Lord will give you a sign
Mary asked the angel the obvious question: How can I have a child when I’m a virgin? The angel explained that the power of the Holy Ghost would overshadow her, causing her to conceive supernaturally. This would fulfill the prophecy of the Old Testament Prophet Isaiah:
“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14
Before all this happened to her, Mary was engaged to a young man named Joseph. When Mary told Joseph what the angel had said to her, he thought she had been unfaithful to him and had concocted this story to conceal her illegitimate pregnancy. Believing this, Joseph planned to break his engagement to Mary. However, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying,
“…Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.” Matthew 1:20
The birth of the forerunner
When the child promised to Zacharias and Elizabeth was born, their friends and relatives exclaimed that the child should be named Zacharias after his father. However, Elizabeth said no. His name is going to be John. The relatives argued that no one in the family had ever been named John. They turned to Zacharias to settle the dispute.
Zacharias, still unable to speak, asked for a writing tablet. He then wrote, “His name is John.” Immediately, his mouth was opened, and his tongue loosed, and he spoke for the first time in nine months. All who knew about these events were filled with wonder and amazement!