Summary: What is Advent? How do we "prepare our hearts" for Christmas?
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This season of the year is called “Advent,” which means, “coming.”
It is the time where we prepare our hearts to celebrate and receive Jesus even more deeply as our Savior.
I’ll be honest, I’m not always ready for Christmas when it gets here. If you’re scrambling at the last minute, it doesn’t always turn out well, either. You know what I mean? You can’t think of what to get, or the store is out of it, or you don’t have time to wrap it… etc. You’re Just not ready.
Ask my wife, she’ll tell you about last minute gifts, and she better not tell you about the lucky bamboo I got her that was not a big hit.
ARE YOU READY FOR CHRISTMAS?
God gave lots of forethought to Christmas: He had a plan.
God’s timing was amazing. His planning was amazing.
Daniel 9:21 while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice.
22 He instructed me and said to me, "Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding.
23 As soon as you began to pray, an answer was given, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed. Therefore, consider the message and understand the vision:
24 "Seventy 'sevens' are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy.
25 "Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven 'sevens,' and sixty-two 'sevens.' It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble.
26 After the sixty-two 'sevens,' the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing.
The word translated “weeks” means in Hebrew “a group of 7.” It is often used to refer to a group of 7 years.
The idea is that there will be 69 groups of 7 between the decree to rebuild Jerusalem and the coming of Jesus, when he is revealed as the Messiah, and then he will die...
> The decree to rebuild Jerusalem was given in:
Nehemiah 2:1-8 Then the king said to me, "What do you request?" ...And I said to the king, "If it pleases the king, I ask that you send me to Judah, that I may rebuild it." ...So it pleased the king to send me... I said to the king, "If it pleases the king, let letters be given to me for the governors of the region ... and a letter to Asaph the keeper of the king's forest, that he must give me timber to make beams ... And the king granted them to me.... in the month of Nisan, the 20th year of Artaxerxes.”
This was on Nisan 1, 444 BC. (This is March 5, 444 BC.)
Now, we have to carefully calculate to make sure we are accurate. The way we calculate time has changed in the last 2,000 years... so we need to start by converting their years to ours.
> 69 sets of 7 years = 483 years.
> Prophetic years in the OT are always based on a 360 day year, since that was the way they calculated time. But we have to adjust it for our time calculations, since we calculate with a 365 day year.
> So we multiply 69 “weeks” X 7 X 360 days per year = 173,880 days, then divide it by 365.
> This equals 476 years in our system.
Now we have to calculate down to the exact day... and to do that, we have to adjust for leap years, right?
> Multiply 476 years X 365.242198 (adjusting for leap years.)
> This gives us a day count of 173,855 days between the decree to rebuild Jerusalem and Daniel’s prophecy.
> This brings us to an exact date of March 30 (Nisan 10 on the Jewish calendar), AD 33.
> This is the date of Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem.
5 days later, Jesus was crucified.
What does this mean?
Don’t panic, or get impatient – God knows the future, he’s in charge, and he can handle your problems.
The one who were waiting and found the Messiah were ready because they were believing God's promise, in spite of the delays in its coming.
Luke 2:25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.