Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Are you ready for the big day, the coundown to God promise being fulfilled in our lives. you can also listen at www.preaching.co.nr

Getting Ready for the Big Day. Part 2: The Countdown

So 12 days to go till the Big Day. The commercial count down to this Christmas began on Boxing Day last year. Because of the countdown to the Big Day, people may have already asked you, “are you ready for Christmas yet?”

What they mean is: Have you got your tree up? Have got the gifts wrapped? Have you got the food and drink in? I am sure many of you will, like me, get to the Big Day and say, “I forgot the cranberry jelly!” Or even, “I forgot to get Lizzie a present!”

You most likely know that many of the traditions we practice around Christmas have pagan roots: the date, the giving of gifts, the tree- all have pagan roots. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas)

So why do we do them? Well, because one smart Christian, over 300 years after the birth of Jesus, decided to adapt these pagan activities and give them a Christian significance. This made the transition from paganism to christianity easier for new converts.

However, I am sure you will agree that these and other activities surrounding the celebration of Jesus’ birth, have taken pre-eminences over the actual reason for the celebration in the first place.

I believe that, because people are so caught up in the countdown, they miscalculate what it’s all about. People are so tired getting ready for the Big Day that it passes them by and so they miss the real message of the Big Day.

There was a literal countdown to the birth of Jesus and most people still missed it.

God’s Literal Countdown

In Daniel 9:23-27 God revealed that a Saviour was coming who would (1) finish transgression; (2) put an end to sin; (3) atone for wickedness; (4) bring in everlasting righteousness; (5) seal up vision and prophecy; (6) and anoint the most holy.

I don’t want to spend time doing mathematical equations in relation to the 70 sevens and what they mean. What I do want to do is show you that God began a precise prophetic countdown to the arrival of Jesus. It was unusual that God gave a time scale to the fulfilment of prophecy but on this occasion He did. The following illustrates how God revealed to Daniel the timing of Jesus’ arrival:

“Early in the Twentieth Century, respected British attorney, historian, and scientist, Sir Robert Anderson, the head of Scotland Yard, converted these dates. He determined from Nisan (April) of 444 B.C. until April of 33 A.D. was exactly 173,880 days (483 years x 360 days)! He took into account the difference between the Jewish calendar and our calendar; he also factored in the differential between the Julian and the Gregorian calendars, added days for leap years, and he came up with exactly 483 years! “What then was the length of the period intervening between the issuing of the decree to rebuild Jerusalem and the public advent of ‘Messiah the Prince?’ The interval contained exactly and the very day 173,880 days or seven times sixty-nine prophetic years of 360 days, the first 69 weeks of Gabriel’s prophecy.”(Robert Anderson, The Coming Prince p. 124ff.)

(see also http://www.spreadinglight.com/prophecy/707s.html for an explanation, I don’t necessarily agree with all of this explanation)

So why didn’t someone back then just read this prophecy before Jesus was born and calculate generally when He would be born?

In Matthew 2, we read of the Wise Men from the East who came to Jerusalem seeking the King of the Jews. These Magi (same word used in Daniel 14 times) were most likely from Persia, where Daniel was when he got this prophecy and it is likely in later years they read this passage and were able to understand the timing and so they travelled to Jerusalem following the star. (Altered from “The 70 Sevens--God’s Countdown by David Dykes”)

We are all living in a countdown to the promises of God being fulfilled in our lives.

Many are living with God’s promise of healing, blessing, salvation, the fulfilling of our hearts desire

You may not be able to calculate the day when the promise is to be fulfilled as the Magi did. The lack of precise timing for us can be so disheartening; so often we feel today could be the day, it could happen this week. Proverbs says “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” Prov 13:12. However, each day that passes by without your promise being fulfilled means you are a day closer to receiving what God has promised.

Prepare To Receive With a Date

As you live in the countdown to your promise I want to encourage you to Prepare to Receive. A date to promises fulfilled would make us lazy, leaving it all to the last moment. Not having a date keeps us living in the excitement of expectancy.

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