I just came back from a chapel service this evening and we appropriately sang O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. It got me thinking about the season of Advent, of which we are in, and the coming of Christ again to take His people home.
As a devotional for the next 14 days, I plan on going verse by verse of the hymn and include “The Great ‘O’ Antiphons” and just write thoughts and reflections of each verse. One verse a day.
Let’s get started.
“O come, O come, Emmanuel, And ransom captive Israel, that mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!”
What a packed verse! Where to begin? I guess with the Bible. (The Bible is always a good place to start). Since Genesis chapter 3 we received a promise from God that he would take care of the issue that we as human beings started, which is the issue of sin. Paradise was lost and we, as people, by our own power could not and will not ever reclaim it. We were captive to sin. Mourning in exile from God.
Likewise, God promises that the offspring that he once promised from Genesis 3 would be a descendant of Abraham and his wife Sara. This child was Isaac. And from Isaac, Jacob, who was named Israel by God. Israel had 12 sons, which consisted of the 12 tribes of Israel and they were held in captivity in Egypt. They were waiting for the Messiah to come.
And He did. He was named Emmanuel, God with us. The God that we were in exile from came and walked among us as one of us. Born from the house of Judah, as a descendant of David. As a king! To pay a ransom, which costs him his life, for Israel (the nation) first, which was under occupation by Rome. Then the news of this ransom was widespread and for the Gentiles (all other nations) as well, because all the nations would be blessed through the descendant of Abraham and Sara.
And since God’s Son, Jesus, was born, died and risen from the dead and ascended into heaven, he has made His church the new Israel. They are His chosen people who have faith in him. They are Christians. Christ followers. And they are foreigners in a land that they do not know because their kingdom is where Christ is. They are captive to this world of sin, evil, and death waiting for Christ to return to take them home! We eagerly wait this Advent season for the coming of our King! And once He comes and is with them there will be rejoicing!