Origin of Christmas: Zacharias’ Prophecy Part 1

Searching for a link between the Old Testament and the New Testament?

Read Zacharias song of praise in Luke 1:67-80.

After John the Baptist was born, Zacharias, a Levite priest, regained his senses and started praising God. Filled with the Holy Spirit, his song of praise was a prophetic announcement. While Mary’s Magnificat expresses personal salvation and grace, Zacharias’ song expresses universal redemption and salvation.

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people, and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of David His servant – As He spoke by the mouth of His Holy prophets from of old – Salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us; – Luke 1:68-71

God Visited Us

After 400 years of silence, God enters human history with John’s miraculous birth and once again speaks to Israel through the angel Gabriel. The first part of the verse is a common Old Testament benediction in Psalm 41:13, Psalm 72:18, Psalm 106:48, and 1 Kings 1:48.

With the coming of the forerunner and the Messiah, God has come to save and redeem His people. To do so, God will pay a high price to get His people back. Not only from physical enemies like the Romans but spiritual ones as well.

The story of salvation has been told since the beginning of the Old Testament and it flows into the beginning of the New Testament as well. The Messiah will fulfill the covenants made with David, Abraham, and the prophets. In the mind of Zacharias, redemption has already happened because God is faithful to fulfill His promises. Zacharias is confident in God.

The Davidic Covenant

According to many Biblical descriptions, the Messiah would come from the house and line of David. The “horn of salvation” refers to the Messiah, not to John since Zacharias and Elizabeth are from the house and line of Aaron, the Levite tribe. Therefore, John cannot be the Messiah, but the forerunner to prepare the way for the Messiah. Jesus would be the Messiah since Mary and Joseph are both from the line of David.

The horn of salvation is referenced in Psalm 132:17, Psalm 106, Psalm 18:2, Deuteronomy 33:17, 1 Samuel 2:10. It describes a person who will be very strong and powerful; who will conquer enemies and establish a new kingdom. He will be a great power like a formidable animal bringing national salvation from enemies.

What was God’s promise to David?

In 2 Samuel 7 and 1 Chronicles 17: 1-15, God does not allow David to build a permanent temple. Instead, God will provide a kingdom for David’s descendants.

  • David will be a great name and be remembered among great men
  • The nation Israel will have a physical location to live in peace and be free from enemies
  • There will be a descendant of David who will establish an eternal kingdom
  • There will be a descendant who will build a house for God
  • God will be a father to the descendant and he will be a son to God

The Davidic convenant is referenced to the Messiah in Isaiah 9:6-7 and Psalm 89. Zacharias references the Davidic covenant to show how God will fulfill His promise to Israel by giving them a strong leader, a savior who will rescue them from their enemies and establish an earthly kingdom.

Remember the Prophets

In Isaiah, it describes the future Davidic kingdom that will last forever on earth. In it, the nation of Israel will no longer fear their enemies for they will be destroyed.

It will not be realized with the first coming of Jesus since they did not accept or believe him to be the Messiah. But it will come to pass in the second coming of Jesus. The nation of Israel will repent, believe, and accept Jesus as their Messiah during the Tribulation as described in Revelation 19-20. Then, the eternal kingdom will be established.

Zacharias’s song of praise and salvation describes his faith in the coming of the Messiah and what that event will do for the nation of Israel. He references Old Testament covenants to explain his current situation and what may come in the future. It is through Zacharias that we can link the Old Testament to the New Testament. There is so much more to his song that there will be 2 more posts about it.

Original Source: John MacArthur Grace to You Sermon April 1999 Part 1, 2 / March 2012 Part 1, 2

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