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Christ’s First Advent
The Fullness of Time
“When the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son,
. . . to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive
the adoption as sons.” Galatians 4:4-5.
The Saviour’s coming was foretold in Eden. When Adam and Eve
first heard the promise, they looked for its speedy fulfillment. They joyfully
welcomed their first-born son, hoping that he might be the Deliverer. But the
fulfillment of the promise tarried. Those who first received it died without
the sight. From the days of Enoch the promise was repeated through patriarchs
and prophets, keeping alive the hope of His appearing, and yet He came not. The
prophecy of Daniel revealed the time of His advent, but not all rightly
interpreted the message. [See Daniel, chapter 9.] Century after century passed
away; the voices of the prophets ceased. The hand of the oppressor was heavy
upon Israel, and many were ready to exclaim, “The days are prolonged, and every
vision fails.” Ezekiel 12:22.
But like the stars in the vast circuit of their appointed path,
God’s purposes know no haste and no delay. Through the symbols of the great
darkness and the smoking furnace, God had revealed to Abraham the bondage of
Israel in Egypt, and had declared that the time of their sojourning should be
four hundred years. “Afterward,” He said, “shall they come out with great
possessions.” Genesis 15:14. Against that word, all the
power of Pharaoh’s proud empire battled in vain. On “that very same day”
appointed in the divine promise, “it came to pass that all the armies of the
Lord went out from the land of Egypt.” Exodus 12:41. So
in heaven’s council the hour for the coming of Christ had been determined. When
the great clock of time pointed to that hour, Jesus was born in Bethlehem.
. . .
Prophecies of the Messiah
Among the Jews there were yet steadfast souls, descendants of
that holy line through whom a knowledge of God had been preserved. These still
looked for the hope of the promise made unto the fathers. They strengthened
their faith by dwelling upon the assurance given through Moses, “The Lord your
God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall
hear in all things, whatever He says to you.” Acts 3:22.
Again, they read how the Lord would anoint One “to preach good tidings to the
poor,” “to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives,” and to
declare the “acceptable year of the Lord.” Isaiah 61:1, 2.
They read how He would “set judgment in the earth,” how the isles should “wait
for His law,” how the Gentiles should come to His light, and kings to the
brightness of His rising. Isaiah 42:4; 60:3, KJV.
The dying words of Jacob filled them with hope: “The scepter
shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh
comes.” Genesis 49:10. The waning power of Israel
testified that the Messiah’s coming was at hand. The prophecy of Daniel
pictured the glory of His reign over an empire which should succeed all earthly
kingdoms; and, said the prophet, “It shall stand forever.” Daniel 2:44. While
few understood the nature of Christ’s mission, there was a widespread
expectation of a mighty prince who should establish his kingdom in Israel, and
who should come as a deliverer to the nations.
The Son of God Comes at a Time of Great Darkness
The fullness of the time had come. Humanity, becoming more
degraded through ages of transgression, called for the coming of the Redeemer.
Satan had been working to make the gulf deep and impassable between earth and
heaven. By his falsehoods he had emboldened men in sin. It was his purpose to
wear out the forbearance of God, and to extinguish His love for man, so that He
would abandon the world to satanic jurisdiction. . . .
Sin had become a science, and vice was consecrated as a part of
religion. Rebellion had struck its roots deep into the heart, and the hostility
of man was most violent against heaven. It was demonstrated before the universe
that, apart from God, humanity could not be uplifted. A new element of life and
power must be imparted by Him who made the world.
With intense interest the unfallen worlds had watched to see
Jehovah arise, and sweep away the inhabitants of the earth. And if God should
do this, Satan was ready to carry out his plan for securing to himself the
allegiance of heavenly beings. He had declared that the principles of God’s
government make forgiveness impossible. Had the world been destroyed, he would
have claimed that his accusations were proved true. He was ready to cast blame
upon God, and to spread his rebellion to the worlds above. But instead of
destroying the world, God sent His Son to save it. Though corruption and
defiance might be seen in every part of the alien province, a way for its
recovery was provided. At the very crisis, when Satan seemed about to triumph,
the Son of God came with the embassage of divine grace. Through every age,
through every hour, the love of God had been exercised toward the fallen race.
Notwithstanding the perversity of men, the signals of mercy had been
continually exhibited. And when the fullness of the time had come, the Deity
was glorified by pouring upon the world a flood of healing grace that was never
to be obstructed or withdrawn till the plan of salvation should be fulfilled.
Satan was exulting that he had succeeded in debasing the image
of God in humanity. Then Jesus came to restore in man the image of his Maker.
None but Christ can fashion anew the character that has been ruined by sin. He
came to expel the demons that had controlled the will. He came to lift us up
from the dust, to reshape the marred character after the pattern of His divine
character, and to make it beautiful with His own glory.
The Desire of Ages, pp. 31-38
Next part: Christ’s First Advent, Part 2:
All Scriptures are quoted from the New King James Version,
including those originally quoted by Ellen White from the King James
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