Planned in Eternity, Unwrapped in Time

December 29, 2020
George T. Ferrier

Some people are last minute shoppers while others are on the other end of the spectrum, having already bought their Christmas gifts in early summer. Contemplating the infinite gift of the ages, the eternal God purposed in eternity to give His eternal Son to us (Titus 1:2). Yet the revelation of this Gift was gradually unwrapped in time. Normally the recipient of a gift is the one who unwraps it. However, God gradually unwrapped His Gift through His progressive revelation in Scripture beginning with the prophecy of a Redeemer in Genesis 3:15 and ending with the revelation of His identity at Bethlehem. Later, as the Lord was about to begin His ministry, John the Baptist proclaimed, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”

The Gift Would be a Man – Genesis 3:15

After the fall of humanity in Eden, God began unveiling His Gift by promising a Redeemer. There would be enmity between the devil and humanity with the seed of the woman triumphing by bruising (crushing) the devil’s head. The phrase “seed of the woman” tells us that the Gift would be human and suggests virgin birth. The masculine pronoun “He” elaborated that it would be a man who would ultimately prevail over the devil. But His victory would come through suffering (Calvary) as the devil would “bruise His heel.”

The Gift would be an Israelite – Genesis 12:3; 22:18; Galatians 3:16

God promised Abraham that He would make him a great nation and that through him all the nations of the earth would be blessed. After his obedience in being willing to sacrifice his son Isaac, the Lord promised Abraham that in His seed all the nations of the earth would be blessed. Galatians 3:16 identifies that seed as Christ, the promised Son of Abraham, born under the Law some 2000 years after Abraham (Matt. 1:1; Gal. 4:4). The Lord perfectly fulfilled the Law, by fully obeying it as well as bearing its penalty and curse for sinful humanity (Matt. 5:17; Gal. 3:13).

The Gift Would Be from the Tribe of Judah – Genesis 49:10; Revelation 5:5

In Genesis 49 Jacob gave a word of prophecy to his sons and blessed them. To Judah he included “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah…until Shiloh comes.” (NKJV) Some believe it is better translated that “the scepter will not depart from Judah until He comes whose it (i.e., the scepter) is”1  In either case, Jacob prophesied that the nation would be ruled by various kings of Judah until the Messiah (Shiloh) came. Both Joseph (Matt. 1) and Mary the Lord’s mother (Luke 3) descended from the tribe Judah. Therefore, the Lord arose from Judah (Heb. 7:14) and is the One prophesied to rule forever.

The Gift Would be the Great Prophet – Deuteronomy 18:15-18; Acts 3:22-23

Moses testified “The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear, according to all you desired of the Lord your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, nor let me see this great fire anymore, lest I die.’ And the Lord said to me: What they have spoken is good. I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him.” (NKJV)

The Jewish people were looking for the prophet mentioned by Moses (John 1:21) and the test of a genuine prophet was truth (Deut. 18:20-22). Christ’s words were infinitely filled with spotless truth and immeasurable grace. Many testified that no one spoke like He did. He prophesied about His death and resurrection, and the salvation He would grant to all who believed on Him (John 3:13-18). Those Jews who believed on Christ recognized that He was “mighty in deed and word before God and all the people,” and that His words came from the Father (John 3:34; 17:8). To receive Christ’s words is to receive Him. To reject His words is to reject Him (John 12:47-48).

The Gift Would be the Great King – 2 Samuel 7:16; Hebrews 1:5-8

God had promised David that his throne and kingdom would last forever (Ps. 89:26-29). The angel Gabriel told Mary that she would bring forth a Son who would be heir to David’s throne. The Lord Jesus is the promised Son of David (Matt. 1:1; Rom. 1:3) who has title to be king. When He came into the world the first time the Lord Jesus presented His credentials to the nation of Israel. Incredibly, they concluded that He didn’t meet their qualifications and rejected Him as their king (John 19:15). After His resurrection and ascension, God highly exalted Him (Phil 2:9-11), seating Him at His right hand. He is now the anointed king waiting until it is time to take the throne that is rightfully His (Ps. 2:8; 110:1; Rev. 11:15). In the meantime, He is sitting with the Father on His throne (Rev. 3:21). Like King David in the Old Testament there is an interim between His anointing and taking the reign of His kingdom. Someday He will fill that vacant throne and rule forever (Dan. 7:13-14; Luke 1:32-33).

The Gift Would be the Great High Priest – Psalms 110:4

Christ is a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek signifying that after Calvary the priesthood changed. The Old Testament priesthood functioned according to the order of Aaron while Christ is now Priest according to the greater order of Melchizedek. Melchizedek (King of Righteousness) is an Old Testament type of the eternal Christ in that his genealogy is unknown. He was the Priest King of Salem (peace) who met Abraham upon his return from rescuing his nephew Lot. The fact that he blessed Abraham and received a tithe from him proved that his priesthood was greater than the Levitical priesthood that would begin with Abraham’s great-grandson, Levi (Gen. 14:18-20; Heb. 7:1-17).

In the Mosaic Law one became High Priest by genealogy. He had to be of the tribe of Levi and descend from Aaron. But God appointed Christ born of the tribe of Judah, to be our great High Priest. The Aaronic priesthood had a continual succession of priests because each eventually died. Conversely, Christ has an eternal priesthood, living forever to make intercession for us (Heb. 7:24-25). The Law prohibited combining the offices of priest and king. But Christ our great Priest is now anointed to someday rule the entire earth.

The Gift Would Be Born in Bethlehem – Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:6; Luke 2:1-7

The prophet Micah predicted the Lord’s birthplace seven centuries before His birth. Christ, the Son of David was born in the same city where King David was born (1 Sam. 17:12; Luke 2:4; John 7:42). He who is the bread of life from heaven (John 6:32-41) was born in the city that means “House of Bread.” Salvation is found by feeding upon (receiving) Christ.

The Gift Would Be God – Isaiah 7:14; 9:6; Micah 5:2; Matthew 1:20-23; Luke 1:26-35

The Holy Spirit came upon the virgin Mary and by the power of God she conceived in her womb and brought forth a Son. The name Immanuel means “God with us” and the Lord was called the “Son of the Highest.” This Holy One was the Son of God. He was both the Child born and the Son given. Being born in time, the eternal Son was given to us by taking on human flesh.

God demonstrated His love to the world by giving His Son (John 3:16; 1 John 4:9). Like any gift it must be received. Have you taken the gift of salvation offered to you by God?  Why not trust Christ as your Savior today? God will forgive your sins and you will spend eternity with Him. “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Cor. 9:15).


1. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary (Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 1989), electronic version

by George Ferrier