Summary: There are 3 great prophecies out of the book of Daniel that give a detailed and accurate time table for the coming of Jesus. Do you know what these prophecies are and how they apply to us?
Open: I’m told that, in the early 1800’s, there was a priest in Europe who led his congregation in a Christmas Eve service. Unfortunately, the organ had broken down and many of the traditional Christmas songs could not be sung. But, sometime before he had written a song of his own and, playing his guitar, he shared it that night with his church. Sing it with me now:
“Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin Mother and Child, Holy Infant so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace.
Silent night, holy night, wondrous star, lend thy light;
With the angels let us sing, ALLELUIA TO OUR KING.
Christ the Saviour is born, Christ the Saviour is born.
Silent night, holy night, Son of God, love's pure light,
Radiant beams from Thy holy face, with the dawn of redeeming grace,
JESUS, LORD AT THY BIRTH; Jesus, Lord at Thy birth.”
Now, isn’t that a beautiful song? There’s something about the song that seems to touch the very soul. Even after nearly 200 years the song still has the ability to sooth our hearts.
I chose the 3 verses we sang for a special reason.
The 1st verse … because we know it so well.
But 2nd verse declares “Alleluia to our KING”
And the 3rd verse says “Jesus, LORD at Thy birth.”
This is the very heart of the message of Christmas.
Jesus came to be our King.
He was born to be our Lord.
Like I said, “Silent Night” is a powerful song. It still has the power to touch the hearts of men.
How many of you have heard of a Country singer named Travis Tritt?
Before he became famous Travis Tritt spent years playing in bars, and some of them were downright seedy establishments. He said that many of these bars were dangerous places, with drunk fans starting fights over the smallest matters. But Tritt discovered a unique way to stop the fights.
He said, “‘Silent Night’ proved to be my all-time lifesaver. Just when [bar fights] started getting out of hand, when bikers were reaching for their pool cues & rednecks were heading for the gun rack, I'd start playing 'Silent Night.' It could be the middle of July -- I didn't care. Sometimes they'd even start crying, standing there watching me sweat and play...”
["Twang! The Ultimate Book of Country Music Quotations," compiled by Raymond Obstfeld and Sheila Burgener (New York: Henry Holt and Company, Inc., 1997), 47.]
Now, why would “Silent Night” have this kind of power?
Why did the very singing of that song bring peace to even drunks about to have a fight in a bar?
Well, it brought peace to the hearts of these men because it speaks of a God who cared for us. It speaks of hope through a coming King who would be Lord of all.
Now, that brings us to our text this morning.
Through His prophets God spoke of this King of Kings and Lord of Lords who would come to change our lives. And one of the most prominent of those prophets was Daniel. But Daniel was a little different than other Old Testament prophets when it came to the Messiah. Whereas, the other Old Testament prophets told of WHO the Messiah was, or WHERE He was to be born, or HOW He would live and die - Daniel spoke more of WHEN the Messiah would come.
I call Daniel the “Calendar Prophet” because God used Daniel to set up a Calendar or Time-table of when Jesus would come.
When we think of Daniel, we often think of the story of Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, orthe “Handwriting on the wall” story in chapter 5, or the story of “Daniel and the Lion’s Den” but the most powerful messages in Daniel’s book had to do with prophecies about Christ and His coming Kingdom – the Church.
But in Daniel, God gave us 3 separate, powerful announcements of WHEN Jesus was to come. The first two prophecies spoke in broad terms describing the kingdoms that would rise and fall before Jesus was born. And the 3rd prophecy (the prophecy of the 70 weeks) spoke with uncanny precision about when the Messiah – Jesus – would begin and complete His earthly ministry.
(SEE FOOTNOTE AT END OF SERMON)
ILLUS: Just to give you a way to visualize how impressive these prophecies were, I want to give you an example of how it would work if I were a prophet making those same kinds of predictions. (I stepped down from the pulpit and sat beside a young couple who have several kids who I knew would not be too embarrassed). I’m going to pick on Roy and Sherri this morning. If I were a prophet I could come sit with them and tell them I had a vision about their boy Eddie.