My beloved brothers and sisters in Our Incarnate God,
CHRIST IS BORN! GLORIFY HIM!
The Preparation of the Human Race
To Receive the Savior.
The word of God calls the Savior the Lamb of God "FOREORDAINED BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD" (1 Peter 1:20).
"But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Sono, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons" (Galatians 4:4-5).
In what consists this "FULLNESS OF TIME" which was ordained for the work of redemption? In the verses which precede the quoted words of the Apostle Paul in the Epistle to the Galatians, the Apostle speaks of the time before the coming of the Savior as being "WHEN WE WERE CHILDREN" (Galatians 4:3). Thus, he calls the period of the Old Testament "childhood," the time of upbringing, the guidance of children under the law of Moses; while the coming of the Savior IS THE END OF "CHILDHOOD."
We can understand the significance of the PREPARATORY PERIOD if we are guided by the Parable of the Prodigal Son. The father sorrowed over the departure from his house of his beloved son. However, NOT VIOLATING THE DIGNITY AND FREEDOM OF HIS SON, HE WAITED UNTIL THE SON, HAVING EXPERIENCED THE BITTERNESS OF EVIL AND RECALLED THE GOODNESS OF LIFE IN HIS FATHER’S HOUSE, HIMSELF BECAME HOMESICK FOR THE FATHER’S HOUSE AND OPENED HIS SOUL FOR THE FATHER’S LOVE. Thus it was with the human race also, "My soul thirsteth after Thee like a waterless land" (Psalm 142:6) could have, been said by the best part of mankind; it had become a "THIRSTY LAND," having tasted to the dregs the bitterness OF ESTRANGEMENT FROM GOD.
The Lord DID NOT ABANDON MEN, did Not turn utterly away, but from the moment of the fall into sin led them toward the future salvation.
1. Having cut off the criminality of the original mankind by means of the Flood, the Lord chose first the descendants of Noah, who had been saved from the Flood, a single race for the preservation of piety and faith in the One True God, and likewise of faith IN THE COMING SAVIOR. This was the race of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and then the whole Hebrew people. In His care for His chosen people, God led them out of slavery, preserved them in the desert, settled them in a land with milk and honey; He made COVENANTS–the covenant of circumcision and the covenant of the law of Sinai; He sent them judges and Prophets, warned them, chastised them, and again had mercy, leading them out of the Babylonian captivity; and finally, from their midst, He prepared a chose one, who became the Mother of the Son of God.
The chosenness of the Hebrew people was confirmed by the Lord Jesus Christ when He said to the Samaritan woman that "SALVATION IS FO THE JEWS" (John 4:22). The writings of the Apostles testify abundantly to the same thing: the speeches of the First Martyr Stefanos (Stephen) and the Apostle Peter in the Book of Acts, the Epistles of the Apostle Paul to the Romans, and Galatians, and other places in Sacred Scripture.
2, Further, preparation for the reception of the Savior consisted of (a) THE COMFORTING PROMISES OF GOD, AND (b) THE PROPHESIES OF THE PROPHETS CONCERNING HIS COMING.
a) THE PROMISE OF GOD began in Paradise. The words of the Lord to the serpent concerning "the Seed of the woman" possess a mystical significance: "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her Seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel" (Genesis 3:15). The PROMISE given here concerning the Seed of the woman became even clearer for the chose ones of faith with the increase of prophecies ABOUT THE SAVIOR Who Himself would endure suffering from the violence of the devil (Psalm 21), and strike him down: "And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the devil, and Satan, which DECEIVETH THE WHOLE WORLD; HE WAS CAST OUT INTO THE EARTH, AND HIS ANGELS WERE CAST OUT WITH HIM" (Apocalypse (Revelation): 12:9)…
"PROPHECIES: the blessing of Judah. The Patriarch Jacob, in blessing one of his sons just before his death, uttered an even more definite prophecy concerning the Savior: "A ruler shall not fail from Judah, nor a prince from his loins, until there come the thing stored up for him" (in the Hebrew: "UNTIL THERE COME A RECONCILER") and he is the expectation of nations" (Genesis 49:10, SEPTUAGINT). In other words, the authority of the Tribe of Judah shall not cease until the RECONCILER, the hope of the nations, comes; and consequently, the termination of the authority of the Tribe of Judah will be a clear sign of the coming of the Savior. The ancient Jewish teachers saw in the "Reconciler" THE AWAITED MESSIAH, TO WHOM THEY APPLIED THIS NAME (in Hebrew SHILOH, the Reconciler)…
"These PROMISES and PROPHECIES, first of all, gave support to the chosen people, especially during the difficult periods of its life; they gave support to its firmness, faith, and hope. Secondly, they prepared the people so that they would be able to recognize by these prophecies that the TIME OF THE PROMISE WAS NEAR, and that the might recognize THE SAVIOR HIMSELF IN THE FORM GIVEN HIM BY THE PROPHETS.
Thanks to these Prophecies, as the time of the Savior’s coming neared, the expectation of Him was intense and vigilant among pious Jews. We see this in the Gospels. This is revealed in the expectation of Symeon the God-receiver, to whom it was declared that he would not see death until he had beheld Christ the Lord (Luke 2:26). It is revealed in the reply of the Samaritan woman to the Savior: "I know that the Messiah cometh, which is called Christ: when He is come, He will tell us all things" (John 4:25). It is revealed n the questions of the Jews who came to John the Baptist. "Art thou the Christ?" (John 1:20-25); in the words addressed by Andrew, the First-called Apostle, after his first meeting with Christ, to his brother Simon: "We have found the Messiah" (John 1:41), and likewise in the similar words of Philip to Nathaniel in the Evangelist’s account of their calling to the Apostleship (John 1:44-45). Another testimony to it is the people’s attitude at the time of the Lord’s entrance into Jerusalem.
3. To what has been said above must be added THE FACT THAT IT WAS NOT ONLY THE JEWS WHO WERE BEING PREPARED FOR THE RECEPTION OF THE SAVIOR, BUT ALSO THE WHOLE WORLD, ALTHOUGH TO A LESSER DEGREE.
Even in the pagan world there were preserved–even though in a distorted form–traditions concerning the origin and originally blessed condition of mankind (the Golden Age), concerning the fall of our first ancestors in Paradise, concerning the Flood as a consequence of man’s corruption, and–most important of all–THE TRADITION OF A COMING REDEEMER OF THE HUMAN RACE AND THE EXPECTATION OF HIS COMING, AS MAY BE SEEN IN THE WORKS OF Plato, Plutarch, Virgil, Ovid, Strabo, and likewise in the history of the religions of the ancient world (for example, the prediction of the sibyls, of which we read in Cicero and Virgil)…
Over two centuries prior to Christ’s Nativity, a translation of the Sacred Books of the Hebrews had been made into Greek, and many pagan scholars, writers, and educated people, in general, made use of it; there are various testimonies of this, particularly among the ancient Christian writers. [Source: The Orthodox Dogmatic Theology)
"Glory Be To GOD
– Saint John Chrysostomos
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With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God