It was December 15, 1964 when I was tricked into going to a Christmas Concert. I think my wife was complicit in the scheme to get me there. You see, I was very un-religious — in fact I was an avowed atheist.
As I sat there I enjoyed listening to the old-time Christmas hymns with which I was familiar. I heard them annually all 35 years of my life. About half way through the concert, a man began to speak about the reason for Christmas. I was furious with my friend (and my wife) who had tricked me. I did not need to be “preached to.” I very nearly bolted to the exit.
During the talk, the gentleman mentioned several Bible verses containing prophecies of the Old Testament attesting to the truth of the season.
I learned that “Christianity is not a first-century invention. It is, in fact, the fulfillment of that which, with one voice, the Hebrew prophets consistently foretold for centuries.
“There are more than 300 Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament. Why? So Israel could identify Him, when in the fullness of time God would send forth his Son (Galatians 4:4).” [Dave Hunt, The Berean Call]. These things I had never heard. One such verse that really struck me was a verse written 700 years before the birth of Christ the Messiah, directed to the Nation of Israel;
“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”
I could see this was a prophecy of the coming of Jesus the Messiah, God in the flesh. This was not just “a prophecy” but an affirmation that the Messiah is Eternal in nature, no beginning and no end.
An amazing and exciting thing I heard from Scripture that night was that prophecy of Micah. There were two Bethlehems in that area, Bethlehem in Zebulun and Bethlehem Ephratah. Just to be sure no one would be confused, Micah prophesied which of the two Bethlehems would be the birthplace of The Messiah (Ephratah of Judea).
Wise men from the East came to Jerusalem looking for the King whom they knew had been born. When King Herod heard that the King of the Jews had been born he felt threatened. Thus Herod queried the chief priests and scribes of the Jews about where this King could be found. Of course these Jewish leaders knew their Scriptures (Micah) and told Herod, “Bethlehem of Judea,” which was Ephratah.
That night I heard many ancient Old Testament Jewish prophecies of the death, burial and resurrection of the coming Messiah and Savior. The fact that these were fulfilled in the Person of Jesus Christ and recorded in the New Testament convinced me of the truth of Scripture and reality of the Person of Jesus Christ.
This good news,
“…the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek [Gentile or non-Jew].” Romans 1:16
“He came unto His own [the Jews], and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name [Jesus, meaning ‘Jehovah Saves’]”
I am a Gentile — so I qualify.. That very night I believed what the Bible said — that Jesus the Messiah, the Savior was born, lived, and was crucified for me. Then He was buried and rose from the grave alive. I did not understand it all but I took the Lord at His word and from what I did know, I believed Jesus Christ did all that for me personally. So, that night at that Christmas Concert in 1964 I received the greatest Gift ever offered, salvation in Jesus Christ.
There were no weird feelings, no rolling on the floor, no going forward to the “altar,” etc, just a simple decision on my part — and by doing so, I was, by God’s promise, guaranteed to go to Heaven when I die and to be with Him for all eternity.
Friend, whether Jew or Gentile, if you are not absolutely sure of Heaven, please, right now, the best you know how — from what you see in Scripture, make the honest decision in your mind that you trust Jesus to be YOUR Savior. He WILL save you and give you eternal life this very moment. God loves you that much.
1 John 5:13
“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God [Jesus the Savior]; that ye may KNOW that ye have eternal life…..”
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We pray God will bless you this season of celebrating the birth of the Messiah of Israel who is the Savior for the whole world, to anyone who will believe or trust in Him.