Each year in Christmas week I come to our weekly Bible Study at the Greeley Place Retirement Home with a little bag of blessings for each of our 12 students (mostly in their 80s and 90s) and a chance to sing some worship songs and read the story in Luke chapter 2. So this year I was thumbing through the church hymnal I grew up with and the Holy Spirit greatly surprised and awakened me with fresh revelation regarding some of the old carols most of us sang from our youth. Words that had never jumped off the hymnal page before suddenly exploded in powerful Messianic visions!
I don't know if it's possible that the authors and composers of these old hymns had an understanding of the "double layer of prophecy" in the first coming and second coming of Christ; but if they didn't, then some of these carols simply carry a powerful anointing that travels through the ages, from a celebration of Jesus' first coming as a child, to a glorious foreshadow of His coming a second time as a Messianic King, a Ruler of the world!
Matthew 25:6 prophesies of the Return of Jesus: “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
And we sing this carol, written in 1810:
It came upon a midnight clear, that glorious song of old
From angels bending near the earth to touch their harps of gold
Peace on the earth, good will to men, from heaven's all gracious King
The world in solemn stillness lay to hear the angels sing
Yet with the woes of sin and strife the world has suffered long
Beneath the heavenly hymn have rolled two thousand years of wrong
and warring mankind hears not the tidings which they bring
O hush the noise and cease your strife and hear the angels sing!
For lo the days are hastening on, by prophets seen of old
when with the ever-circling years shall come the time foretold
when peace shall over all the earth its ancient splendors fling
and all the world give back the song which now the angels sing
This carol speaks of a midnight when angels are summoned to the earth. It looks BACK over two thousand years of sin and war and calls to a people - even of our present generation! - to hush the noise and cease the strife and listen for the angels' song. It acknowledges that a time well in the future will see the ancient prophecies fulfilled when peace finally covers the earth - and we know this will ONLY happen when the Sar Shalom, the Prince of Peace, returns!
I was so overcome by the Messianic words of this hymn that I began searching excitedly through other carols to see if there were similar prophecies. Here are more stanzas I found that could only be referring to a future KING who will come a second time!
Joy to the world, the Lord is come; let earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare Him room and heaven and nature sing!
No more let sins and sorrows grow, nor thorns infest the ground
He comes to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found
He rules the world with truth and grace and makes the nations prove
the glories of His righteousness and wonders of His love!
WHEN does Yeshua/Jesus come to rule the world as King? When does He deal with the curse of Satan and sin? When does He confront the nations with the Glory of His righteousness, the wonders of His love? Of course, He does this work at the Cross -- but He comes to rule the world at His establishment of His Millennial Kingdom! This carol too is Messianic prophecy! I became breathless at this revelation of these powerful songs that we had all but thrown out, replacing them with Here Comes Santa Claus and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
Set aside the tunes of these powerful old carols and just read the words. I pray you will be as blessed as I am, as we begin to spend more time looking UP at the clouds, expecting to hear the blast of the Trumpet and yearning to see the Cloud Rider who is yet COMING on a midnight clear! O let us hush the noise and cease the strife and hear the angels sing.
Did you happen to see it on last night's news? Two Carnival Cruise ships had a serious accident. Here is one account I found today on the internet:
"One Carnival cruise ship crashed into another while trying to dock at a port in Mexico on Friday, leaving six injured passengers, a damaged hull and a handful of expletive-laden social media videos in its wake. The crash happened as the Glory cruise ship was “maneuvering to dock” in Cozumel, an island off the Caribbean coast of Mexico, and struck the Legend, which was already docked, Chelsea Stromfeld, a spokeswoman for the cruise line, said in an email. Videos of the crash were captured by bystanders and shared widely on social media. They showed the nose of the Glory striking the back of the Legend, causing a great crashing sound and ripping a hole in the side of the ship."
It was the name of these ships that caught my attention and I knew immediately that God was speaking through this strange altercation, but I did not get the full message until 2:00 this morning. After watching the accident play out several times on the news broadcast, I kept repeating the ship names: "GLORY" and "LEGEND." What did it mean? I was so struck by the name Glory, understanding of course that the word "glory" in biblical Hebrew is the word kavod, which refers to the weightiness, the heaviness of the Presence of Almighty God and His Spirit. But what does the word "legend" mean? The Random House Dictionary defines it this way: "an unverified story handed down by tradition from earlier times and popularly accepted as historical."
At 2:00 a.m. the Holy Spirit began to explain it to me. I know some may find this offensive, but please let me assure you this is not coming from me, but from the Lord, who had to explain it to me! "The LEGEND," He said, "represents Santa Clause and the whole story of his toy shop and his reindeer and his mythical ride throughout the earth to deliver toys and material goods. It represents the many traditions of this thing the world calls "Christmas" that has become a stench in my nostrils as the people over-spend and over-indulge and gratify the flesh without any thought or understanding of what the real truth of this special day is. Many who keep this holiday do not even believe that I sent My Son to be born of a virgin Jewish woman, raised up to be a "Son of Man," who fulfilled My Torah perfectly and taught all the world how to live a righteous life, and then gave His life as a ransom for many, shedding His own blood on a cruel cross, to pay the price for the sin of mankind."
The Spirit continued to speak to me: "Pray that MY GLORY will strike the LEGEND that has perverted the TRUE STORY and turned it into a commercial, self-seeking nightmare! The prophet Jeremiah warned the people of his day about the idols and customs that God hates. He writes, "For the customs of the peoples are worthless; they cut a tree out of the forest and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel. They adorn it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter." (Jeremiah 10:1-4) Those pagan customs and legends have survived even into our own times, replacing the worship and the holiness of Yeshua/Jesus, our soon-coming King!
Even as the "nose of the ship Glory struck the back of the ship Legend, causing a great crashing sound, so the Sound of the Coming of the Son of Man will strike terror into many hearts! Matthew 24:29-31:"Immediately after the distress of those days [the Great Tribulation], the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great GLORY. And He will send His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds from one end of the earth to the other."
GLORY WILL OVERTAKE LEGEND ON THAT DAY! It will not be Santa Claus riding across the sky, as the legend goes, but the MESSIAH, THE KING OF GLORY, WITH ALL HIS ANGELS! May we be found a people who repent of the legends, and seek His Glorious Face. May we be willing to shed the customs and traditions that have nothing to do with Him, and seek HIS TRUTH. May we put less focus on the Baby in the manger, and fix our hearts on the Powerful Message of the Cross - the REAL REASON FOR HIS COMING.
Kelly Ferrari Mills