Bishop Message

The First Advent and Second Advent of Christ

The day of Christ birth is the most celebrated festival in traditional Christendom. It’s about the first coming (Advent) of Christ. The next most important event in the God’s prophetic Calendar would be the second coming (Advent) of Christ.

  • Carol: It will be meaningful Carol singing if we keep before us that Christ is coming again to keep us in His Kingdom eternally.

  • Angels:Angels played a vital role in the Christmas story. The first angelic appearance was to Mary, and it was angel Gabriel (Lk. 1:26). Then angel appeared to Joseph (Mt. 1:20). And then angels ministered to Christ after He was fiercely tempted of the devil (Mt.4:11, Mk. 1:13). An angel strengthened Him in the Garden of Gethsemane (Lk.22:43).

    During the second coming of Christ the angels will again play a crucial role. At the end of the age the angels will function as the reapers to separate the children of God, the good seeds, from the children of the devil, the tares (Mt. 13:27-40). The holy angels will be with the Son of Man when He sits on His Throne to separate the sheep and the goats on the basis of acts of Charity (Mt.25:31-33).

    Between the First Advent and the Second Advent of Christ, the angels of God function as “ministering spirits” to those who have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ for eternal salvation (Heb. 1:14). They watch whether reverential order is maintained in our Church gatherings. The angels are witnesses against any partiality shown by the Church leadership (1 Tim. 5:21). The angels at times visit us as strangers to test our hospitality (Heb. 13:2).

  • Family: Mary and Joseph provided a healthy family atmosphere for Jesus as He grew from babyhood to boyhood and then to manhood. Mary’s godly values are seen in the entire Christmas story. Even when she could not understand the angelic proclamation that she would conceive by the power of the Holy spirit, she accepted it with all humility and faith in God’s Word: “Behold the Maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word !”(Lk. 1:38).

    Joseph was no less spiritual than many. Legally speaking, he could have broken the engagement because she became pregnant before marriage (Deut.24:1). That would be a public shame for her (Mt.1:19). On his own he decided not to have intimacy with her till she delivered the divine Baby (V.25).

    Both Mary and Joseph were strict adherents to the teaching of the Holy Scriptures (Lk.2:22).

  • Baptism: There is no record in the four Gospels about the life of Jesus between his age of 12 and 30 (Lk.3:23). This 18 years period is covered by one statement: Lk. 2:52, “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and Man.” He came all the way from Nazareth of Galilee to Bethany beyond Jordan, travelling over 100 kilometers to be baptized by John the Baptist (Mt. 1:9; Jn.1:28)

    What was the need for Jesus to be baptized? He was to obey His Father ! It was His Father who had sent John to baptize people (Jn. 1:33 a.). The Father God was so pleased with the obedience of His Son that He immediately opened the heavens and declared, “ This is my Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased” (Mt. 3:16,17). Just as by Adam’s disobedience we were made sinners, by Christs obedience we are made righteous (Rom. 5:19).

  • Satan: Following His baptism, “Jesus was led up by the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil” (Mt.4:1). He was tempted like us in all aspects, but He never once yielded to temptations (Heb.4:15). Referring to His First coming, Apostle John wrote, “The Son of God was manifested that He might destroy the works of the devil”(1 John 3:8).

    During His First coming Jesus rebuked the devil and cast out the evil spirits. But at His second coming, Jesus will bruise its “head” (Gen. 3:15 b).

  • Power: Jesus was conceived in the womb of Mary when the “power of Highest” overshadowed her (Lk. 1:35). When He came out of the waters of baptism, the Holy spirit came upon Him like a dove (Mt.3:16).

    His preaching was with power and authority (Lk. 4:18). As He was teaching “ the power of the Lord was present to heal people” (Lk. 5:17).

    If the power of God manifested so much in the First coming of Christ, how much more will it be during His Second coming ! Hear the very words of Christ: Mt. 24:30, “All the tribes of the earth will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory”(Mt.26:64).

    Living between the two Advents, we can experience the same power in our life and ministry today. “God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power”(2 tim.1:7,19)..

  • Suffering: The Christmas message was heralded to the shepherds as “good tidings of great joy” (Lk. 2:10). But on the 8th day after His birth, a heart breaking statement was made to Mary: Lk. 2: 34, 35, “ This child is destined ------- for a sign which will be spoken against; yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also”. The life of Jesus was one of suffering from beginning to end.
  • The Book of Revelation speaks of Christs Return in power and glory. The theme of this Book is in 1:7, “Behold, He is coming with clouds !” In His First coming, Kings and Rulers plotted against Him (Ps.2:10-12, Acts 4:25-27); in His second coming, His anger will be kindled against the Rulers and Commanders who disobeyed Him (Rev.6:15-17).

  • Jerusalem: The city of Jerusalem had close association with the earthly life of Jesus. Though He was born in Bethlehem, He was dedicated in the Temple in Jerusalem (Lk. 2:22-38). His dialogue at the age of twelve with the teachers of the law was in Jerusalem (Lk. 2:41-49). His third temptation was in Jerusalem (Lk. 4:9-12).

    Jerusalem is supposed to be a city of Peace, but it has become a city of conflicts. We are called to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem”(Ps.122:6). As the New Testament Church, we are to pray for peace everywhere.”But I saw no temple in Jerusalem, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lambs are its temple”.

    But as individual believers, and the Church as a whole, we are the temple of the Living God ( 1 Cor. 6:19). Let us give priority to beautify ourselves with practical holiness and righteousness (Ps.29:2; 96:9).

  • Finished: He finished the work of redemption by satisfying the demands of a holy God (Heb. 9:14). The good work of God has begun in us will reach its completion on the Day of Jesus Christ, that it, His return (Phil. 1:6). That is why we say, “Now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed”(Rom. 13:11). In the First coming, Christ became the author of our faith; in the second coming He will be its Finisher!

(The Rt. Revd. Dr. Prem Prakash Habil)
Bishop of Agra,
Church of North India.

Incarnation The Promise Fulfilled:

How was the last part of God’s promise to Abraham (Gen.22:18) “and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me” – fulfilled? The last part of God’s promise to Abraham was fulfilled by the birth of our blessed Lord Jesus Christ.

  • In the Fullness of Time: “But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of son”(Gal. 4:4,5). After 1,900 years the third part of God’s promise to Abraham comes true. The Romans are in the land, Herod is the king. Abraham had many descendants, but the promise looked to One Seed (Gal. 3:16 – The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The scripture does not say “and to seeds”, meaning many people, but “and to your seed”, meaning one person, who is Christ). The Blessed Virgin Many was descended from Abraham. Her son was to sit on the “Throne of His Father David” (Lk.1:32 – He will be great and will be called the son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David).
    The birth of Christ (Heb. 1:1,2 – In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe). Christ came to make us at one with God, as Adam was, so He began by taking our nature. In Him “ God and Man were one Christ”(Jn. 10:30 – I and the father are one)”. So His birth was the beginning of the Atonement.
  • Who is Jesus Christ? – God: Truly God (Jn.10:30) “Being of one substance with the Father”. How do we know? From the Words of God the Father (Mt. 3:17). And a voice from heaven said, “This is my son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased”. Mt.17:5 – while he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him)”. From the words of Christ Himself (Jn. 10:38 – But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father)’. From the words of Gabriel (Lk.1:35 – The angel answered, “The Holy spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will over shadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the son of God). From the Apostles (Mt.16:16 – Simon Peter answered, “you are the Christ, the Son of the living God”. Jn. 1:1 – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God). From the story of His life, which can only be explained if He is God. E.g., His claims (Mt. 15:25, -19:21), His miracles (Jn. 5:36); His Resurrection (Rom 1:4)); and the past 1970 years of the history of His Church. He is always God (Jn.1:1). The Father Eternal, the Son Eternal “(Jn.1:14).
  • Who is Jesus Christ? – MAN: Truly man, because He has the nature of man (Heb.2:16 – For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendents) – a body, that suffered hunger, thirst, and weariness; a soul, that endured sorrow.
  • The Incarnation (Jn.1:14): “Taking the manhood into God”. He laid aside His outward glory. He has two natures, but one person – “ As the reasonable soul and flesh is one man etc”. We read (2 Cor. 5:19 – “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself)”. Our Lord came and taught us how God loves us, although we have sinned. Thus the greatest blessing of the Incarnation is that through Christ we may be called the children of God.

(The Rt. Revd. Dr. P. P. Habil)
Bishop of Agra, C.N.I.