Last Sunday was the first Sunday of advent. I wrote an article about the first Sunday of advent and you can read it here. Since I wrote about the first Sunday of advent last week, I decided to write about the second Sunday of advent here. As we consider the second Sunday of advent, we will focus mainly on four Biblical texts.
- Isaiah 11:1-10
- Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19
- Romans 15:4-13
- Matthew 3:1-12
The English word “advent” comes from the Latin word “adventus“. The Latin word means “a coming, approach, arrival“. When we use the term “advent” it is in reference to the Coming of the Messiah. The Coming of the Messiah is first mentioned in Genesis chapter three. In the Old Testament, the prophets wrote of the Coming of the Messiah, not knowing that there was to be a First Advent and a Second Advent. Jesus clarified the Second Coming during His ministry on the earth almost 2,000 years ago. The rest of the New Testament gives further clarity to the differences between the First and Second Advent. So, as we read the Advent Scriptures of the Old Testament, we have to pay close attention to the details to determine if these passages refer to the First or the Second Advent of the Messiah.
I. Isaiah wrote of the First and Second Advent
The prophet Isaiah lived about seven-hundred years before the First Advent of the Messiah. As he ministered to his people, he wrote prophecies about the First Advent as well as prophecies of the Second Advent. Our passage for the Second Sunday of Advent deals with both the First and the Second Advent of the Messiah. Both were future events for Isaiah and although the First Advent is in the past for us, the Second Advent still remains a future event for us today. If the First Advent took place exactly as Isaiah wrote, we can be sure that the Second Advent is a reality.
1 Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, And a branch from his roots will bear fruit.
2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
3 And He will delight in the fear of the LORD, And He will not judge by what His eyes see, Nor make a decision by what His ears hear;
4 But with righteousness He will judge the poor, And decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked.
5 Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins, And faithfulness the belt about His waist.
6 And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the young goat, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them.
7 Also the cow and the bear will graze, Their young will lie down together, And the lion will eat straw like the ox.
8 The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, And the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den.
9 They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD As the waters cover the sea.
10 Then in that day The nations will resort to the root of Jesse, Who will stand as a signal for the peoples; And His resting place will be glorious. (Isaiah 11)
Jesse is the father of King David and Jesus traces His lineage back to King David. During the First Advent, Jesus was the shoot that sprang forth of the root of Jesse. Jesus bore fruit during His lifetime and, at the Second Advent, He will continue to bear fruit. During His earthly ministry, the Spirit of the Lord rested on Jesus as He ministered to His people. Jesus was full of wisdom during His earthly ministry as He dealt with the common man, religious leaders, and the Roman Empire. He ministered in the strength of the Lord and He offered amazing counsel to His people. Jesus taught the knowledge of God to the people and He taught the people how to respect the Lord by modeling respect for them. Jesus did not come to condemn people during the First Advent. He came to teach the people how to connect with God and live correctly before God according to God’s standards. The second half of verse four moves from the First Advent to the Second Advent. At the Second Advent, Jesus will return to the earth to judge and condemn. In between the First and Second Advent, we have an opportunity to make peace with God through faith in Jesus Christ. After bringing judgment and condemnation at the Second Advent, Jesus will establish peace on the earth. We all long for world peace and we should seek to live in peace with others. But, world peace will not be established until the Second Advent takes place. Knowing that you are living in between the First and Second Advent, have you made peace with God through faith in Jesus Christ? Do you follow the wisdom and counsel that Jesus gives to us through His teachings in the Word of God? Are you seeking to make peace with the people around you, knowing that the Second Advent will happen?
II. The Psalmist wrote of the Second Advent
As the psalmist wrote Psalm seventy-two, he was focused on the interaction between the Messiah and the Jews.
1 Give the king Your judgments, O God, And Your righteousness to the king’s son.
2 May he judge Your people with righteousness And Your afflicted with justice.
3 Let the mountains bring peace to the people, And the hills, in righteousness.
4 May he vindicate the afflicted of the people, Save the children of the needy And crush the oppressor.
5 Let them fear You while the sun endures, And as long as the moon, throughout all generations.
6 May he come down like rain upon the mown grass, Like showers that water the earth.
7 In his days may the righteous flourish, And abundance of peace till the moon is no more.
18 Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, Who alone works wonders.
19 And blessed be His glorious name forever; And may the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen, and Amen. (Psalm 72)
Many Bible scholars believe that Psalm seventy-two was written by King Solomon. That means that this psalm was written about 1,000 years before the First Advent. This psalm refers to the Second Advent because these are specific things that will happen to the Jews. They did not happen during the First Advent so the conclusion must be that these events refer to the Second Advent. The Messiah will come to judge the Jews, as well as to judge those who have persecuted the Jews. His judgment will be a righteous judgment. He will dole out justice, Biblical justice, not the popular fake justice touted by the social justice warriors today. At the Second Advent, the Messiah will bring peace and healing to the Jews. He will rescue them from their oppression and the earth will be filled with the glory of God. These things did not happen during the First Advent. They will happen at the Second Advent. While we wait for the Second Advent, how do we treat God’s chosen people, the Jews? While we wait for the return of Christ, do we seek to fill the earth with the glory of God? How can we do that practically? The word glory means to give a correct opinion of someone or something. In our daily interactions with others, we can give a correct opinion of who God is by our attitude, actions, and words.
III. The Apostle Paul on how to live in view of the Second Advent
The Apostle Paul did not recognize the First Advent. His life was changed on the road to Damascas when he encountered the resurrected Jesus. That is when Paul connected the dots and bowed his knee to Jesus Christ as the Messiah. The Apostle Paul was taught directly by Jesus Christ and Jesus taught him about the Second Advent. Paul writes to the church in Rome, giving some practical tips on how to live knowing that we are in the time between the First and Second Advent.
4 For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
5 Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus,
6 so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7 Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.
8 For I say that Christ has become a servant to the circumcision on behalf of the truth of God to confirm the promises given to the fathers,
9 and for the Gentiles to glorify God for His mercy; as it is written, “THEREFORE * I WILL GIVE PRAISE TO YOU AMONG THE GENTILES, AND I WILL SING TO YOUR NAME.”
10 Again he says, “REJOICE, O GENTILES, WITH HIS PEOPLE.”
11 And again, “PRAISE THE LORD ALL YOU GENTILES, AND LET ALL THE PEOPLES PRAISE HIM.”
12 Again Isaiah says, “THERE SHALL COME THE ROOT OF JESSE, AND HE WHO ARISES TO RULE OVER THE GENTILES, IN HIM SHALL THE GENTILES HOPE.”
13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15)
Paul takes the believers back to the Scriptures. For him and for the Christians in Rome, the Scriptures consisted of what we call today the Old Testament. In order to live correctly in between the First and Second Advent, we need to turn to the Scriptures to receive instruction. The word instruction in the Greek language is “didaskalia“. The root of this word is “didaskalos” and it is translated into English as “teacher“. The Scriptures are our teacher, instructing us on how we are to live as we wait for the Second Advent. The Scriptures, as they instruct us, will teach us perseverance. As we persevere, we will be encouraged. That encouragement will give us hope. As each one of us is instructed, this will lead us to unity. We all want unity and the key to success for unity is having the Scriptures be our teacher. As the Scriptures teach us, we see the desire to glorify God, living in a way to reflect His character through our daily lives. We see ourselves as servants of the living God. We seek to serve the people around us on a daily basis. We serve the people by sharing the mercy of God with them. We share the hope that we have in Jesus Christ. We share the joy that we have in Jesus Christ. Finally, we share the peace that we have in Jesus Christ, especially as the world seems to fall apart.
IV. John the Baptist spoke of the First Advent
John the Baptist came on the scene to prepare the way for the Messiah’s First Advent. He also came to lead the people to Jesus Christ. For us, today, as we await the Second Advent, the teachings of John are still applicable. Let’s take a look at them and see what we can discover for ourselves.
1 Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying,
2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
3 For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet when he said, “THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, ‘MAKE READY THE WAY OF THE LORD, MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT!’ ”
4 Now John himself had a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey.
5 Then Jerusalem was going out to him, and all Judea and all the district around the Jordan;
6 and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins.
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
8 “Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance;
9 and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father ‘; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham.
10 “The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
11 “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
12 “His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Matthew 3)
The first thing that we discover is that, if we are not already following Jesus Christ then we need to bow our knee to His Lordship in repentance. Most ordinary people living in the 21st Century probably do not have a clue what the meaning of the word “repentance” is. Some people may think that it means to feel sorry for what you have done, to feel remorse. Although part of true repentance is feeling sorry for an action and feeling remorse, that is not the entire picture, by any means. When you move in Evangelical Church circles you find that the word repentance has basically been removed from the lingo and replaced with “got saved” which is a much softer and watered down version of the message that Jesus Christ preached. In fact, the first message that Jesus Christ started spreading was not “love your neighbor” or “do not judge” (to the surprise of many), His first message was repentance. He did not stop preaching repentance after Matthew chapter 4. He started in Matthew 4 and continued to preach repentance until the end. His disciples followed the same pattern throughout their ministry as well. Repentance is vital to the Christian faith, yet it seems to be fading out of the lingo and out of the minds of many Christians. Let’s take a look at the source of true repentance, the Word of God, and see what we can learn.
The Greek word that is transliterated into English as “repentance” is “Metanoia“. It is composed of 2 other Greek words, “meta” which means “after” and “noia” which means “to understand profoundly”. When the 2 words come together to form “Metanoia” we get “after understanding profoundly”. The word “Metanoia” in itself means a change of mind that leads to a change of action. So, the word “repentance” literally means “after you understand the Gospel in a profound way, you have a change of mind that leads to a lifestyle change”. This is a very different view of repentance than what most people have. The popular view of repentance is something like “to feel sorry about getting caught doing something (not so much sorry that you did it but that you got caught), to regret” yet there is not a lifestyle change because you usually find yourself doing it again (when no one is looking this time, and covering your tracks well). My question to you is, “have you ever repented or did you just “get saved”“? Unfortunately, in our modern theology, many people “get saved” without ever repenting. As we live in this period between the First and Second Advent, our focus should be on repenting and preaching repentance to the people around us.
Some of the people in the crowd did not want to have their minds changed. They were just fine with their way of life. There was no desire to repent and they did not even feel the need to repent. They just wanted to perform a ritual that would help them avoid eternal punishment. They were looking for some fire insurance to keep them out of hell. Does that sound familiar? These people claimed to be children of Abraham but the Scriptures show us that they were not whom they pretended to be. My dear friend, just claiming to be a believer does not make you a believer. In this passage, John the Baptist reveals that there are two baptisms which Jesus offers. The first one is the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This happens when a person repents and bows his knee to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The other baptism is the baptism by fire. This baptism will happen to those who do not repent and surrender to Jesus as Lord and Savior. That baptism is eternal punishment. The good news is, we get to choose which baptism we receive. Which baptism have you chosen? Until the Second Advent takes place, we need to be on mission, to be intentional about preaching repentance and eternal judgment so that those within our sphere of influence have a chance to make PEACE with God. Let’s get busy.
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