The Word does not speak of the word “advent” in the way we know it. Yet as we saw last year the coming of Christ as a baby is preparation for a greater coming. This year my conviction through this series is no different.
The Preparation is as important as the event itself
Hebrews 1 tells us the process that God speaks to man. He spoke by His prophets many centuries before. Speaking of a later time and of a Messiah coming as a son of David. The idea up to the time of the Captivity became more and more of an expectation. God was birthing an expectation of a new covenant, brought about by a new ruler who would come and rescue them from their enemies. We believe that revivals and moves of God come about spuriously, when God desires, but it seems that God is the One who initiates that expectation God chooses the vessels that carry the burden for that preparation, whilst this preparation happens in great times of upheavals, great overthrows and wars, the scene is then set for the major change which is spiritual, and which is at first invisible but which culminates in a physical manifestation. One thing that God seems to alert me to is the preparation needed for the things of God, when you consider prophecies about the Messiah had been declared over 1000 years, and yet with this modern mindset, believing that prophetic words must have a fulfilment within our generation. Many prophetic words err because they are clouded by our own world view, and the way God works. God is outside of time, so He is not in a hurry. We are, and as such our application reflects that and we then distort and corrupt the prophetic word. The key is preparation. Isaiah catches this in chapter 40, preparing the Way for the Lord. How long it takes for the Way of the Lord to made straight has to be discerned and has to be projected accurately. John the Baptist knew that the Scriptures spoke of him, when the priests asked him who he was, Isaiah 40 the Voice crying in the wilderness was what prepares the Way of the Lord. We must therefore seek out the Word for our times, and know that the lengthy processes of God have nothing to do with us, our own commitment or non commitment, has to do with His Eternal Plan.
Interaction with the Holy Spirit increases as we flow in His Purposes
Luke 1 is full of references to the Holy Spirit coming to speak through His People when they speak of the things God is doing. The Magnificat of Mary comes on the back of both Elizabeth and John in the womb jump in jubilation because this meeting has all to do with eternal plans. When God brings together people to speak of things which God promises, prophesies in His Word, we see a new activity of the Holy Spirit because we are becoming participants of the Plan of God. And when we read the prophecy of Zacarias, we see God enlighten him to hidden plans, including the Church, the Gentile inclusion. These go way beyond the counterparts in the Old Testament who prophesy the coming of the Messiah, here in Luke 1 we see Zacarias go beyond this. Hidden mysteries of God are spoken, and those who speak it are brought into a different dimension in the Holy Spirit. This flow from the mouth of Zacarias comes as he obeys the angel’s word, that this new babe would be called Jehonan. Or John. Here we see him loosed and has a experience with the Spirit that lifts him way above what was happening, happy occasion it was, to something eternal. We may marvel by Acts 2, and think that the Holy Spirit only moved from that time, we see an intense activity of the Holy Spirit around the births of John the Baptist and Jesus. May we pray that this Christmas time we may also experience that intense activity.
Making a Prepared people ready…
In part of the prophetic word of Zacarias we read this phrase; “Making a prepared people ready…“. How were this people made ready? Two things happen, which we verify from the restoration of the people, which are very vital for the preparation. There was a break in the royal line, it was not restored. We also verify that there was a 400 year period where the prophetic word was not heard in the land. The break in the royal line was to prepare for a new royal line, coming from God Himself. The period of 400 years of silence was to concentrate on the hidden preparation with those who God called to pray and intercede. Then when the prophetic voice is heard from the wilderness it carried the prophetic dimension that drew a people who cried out for God. How many times we see in Scripture God prepare in the silence? When God called Moses in Midian, Israel had cried out for 400 years of slavery and oppression. Is it not interesting that a corresponding 400 years of silence prepares a people who needed to be made ready!
In the power and spirit of Elijah…
Zacarias speaks of his own son, that he would go in the power and spirit of Elijah. Power to make ready the People for God, the Spirit of Elijah to turn a nation back to God in repentance. It was always expected in Jewish eschatology that Elijah would come first, in fact Jesus alludes to the fact that Elijah had already come in the person of John. That he would indeed come again in a far off generation. When we consider this, we forget the implications of what it meant to move in the spirit of Elijah…that is the deprivation, the lifestyle of sacrifice, the Nazarite type lifestyle. Paying a price to bring about the conditions to call a nation back to God. The power of fire and rain would be demonstrated again in the end times, as these signs are those which make evident that “Elijah” is amongst us again. When a people decide to depart from their expected activity, responding to a call of separation, of prayer, of solitariness, then we know that this is a generation is preparing the Way of the Lord. This is a vital part of the Christmas story. The Christmas story can be summed up in the word: preparation.
To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children
The effects of the fulness of the spirit of Elijah is the restoration of true fatherhood. This fatherhood is demonstrated also in Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal son, being the character of the father in the face of personal and public humiliation for the love of his erring son. This restoration of fatherhood is as much part of the Season of God the Father to bring restoration in those end days. How much has the Father been reduced in our theology and our thinking, that we in the end days will know a move of knowing the Father through the preparation of that generation that goes in the spirit of Elijah.
And to the disobedient to the wisdom of the Just
The disobedient is all of us before we come into the Salvation in the Son, so we will acquire the wisdom that only belongs to them who are just. The Lord will count all those righteous to be just those who believe on His Name. There will be a wisdom which shall accompany the just in the way they walk and the way they live.
Whilst we prepare for Christmas we must reflect that it is all about spiritual preparation. We must look at this and look and examine what preparation God is doing in our generation. This will mean we have to discern this out, but it will mean a set apart time of prayer. A time of preparation for the things which He speaks, so that in speaking we may enter an intensity of Holy Spirit activity which lifts us into the knowledge of higher purposes. From there we shall see what is needed to prepare the way of the Lord!