Israel suffered bitterly, first during its 400-year exile in Egypt and later the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities. They yearned for their promised Messiah to deliver them. And, while those who are Israel in name only reject the fact that Christ made His first appearance 2000 years ago, the Jews who have accepted Him look forward to His restoration of their Promised Land when He returns.
I’m not well-versed in eschatology like Fred Butler or Elizabeth Prata, so please don’t press me for details on this restoration. But I praise the Lord that His first coming provides assurance of His second (and final) coming. Yet I rejoice in knowing the remnant of Israel that belongs to Him will one day have their long-awaited Emmanuel.
True Christians also long for Christ’s return. As our culture increasingly celebrates sin, and as Islam nears its goal of world-domination, those who honestly follow Christ and believe Scripture can count on experiencing persecution. Like the true Israel, we long for Christ to deliver us. Today’s Christmas hymn reminds me that our Emmanuel will return to restore His Church. Yes–I rejoice!