God Keeps His Promise

MEMORY VERSE: “Mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.” —Luke 2:30-32

LUKE 1:68-79

THIS passage of Scripture is a prophecy of Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, who was the forerunner of Jesus. Although Jesus had not yet been born, the prophecy of Zacharias reads as though this was already an accomplished fact. The caption of the lesson is appropriate, for it is indeed a record of the beginning of the fulfillment of that which God had promised through his prophets.

The Old Testament, of course, contains prophecies pertaining to many things, among them many incidental experiences of the natural descendants of Abraham; but the main theme of the prophecies pertains to the coming and work of a great One whom the Israelites came to think of as their Messiah. One of the first of these prophecies was the one made in connection with God’s dealings with Abraham, when this faithful patriarch was informed that through his “Seed” all the families of the earth would be blessed.—Gen. 12:3

So far as Zacharias was concerned it is doubtful if he understood the full meaning of his prophecy. He speaks of the salvation, or deliverance of Israel, for example. At the time, Israel was in bondage to the Roman government, and had been a vassal nation for six centuries, first to Babylon, then to Medo-Persia, then to Greece, and finally to Rome. Their great desire was to be set free from this bondage and once more to become a free people. They believed that their Messiah, when he came, would bring about this deliverance.

But the purpose of Jesus’ coming was far more comprehensive than this, for God’s glorious design through him was to deliver Israel and the whole world of mankind from the bondage of sin and death. This was the import of God’s oath-bound promise to Abraham that through his “Seed” all the families of the earth would be blessed.—Gen. 22:16-20

Speaking of his Son, John, Zacharias said, “And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; to give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins. Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

The Revised Standard Version reads, “when the day shall dawn upon us from on high.” (vs. 78) The prophecies use the symbolisms of darkness and night to depict the reign of sin and death, and the period of Messiah’s rulership is likened to a day; so Zacharias is assuring us that the One whose coming he is announcing will cause this day to dawn.

LUKE 2:29-32

It had been revealed to one Simeon of Jerusalem that he would not see death until he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Led by the Holy Spirit into the temple where Joseph and Mary had brought the child, Simeon took Jesus into his arms, and blessed God, saying, “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou has prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.”—Luke 2:29-32

Here we are reminded again that the blessings to be poured out by the promised Messiah were to reach all people, and not merely the Israelites; that he was to be a light to lighten the Gentiles, and a glory to the people of Israel. The expression, “a light to lighten the Gentiles,” is a quotation from Isaiah 49:6, which assures us that Jesus will provide salvation “unto the end of the earth.”

The Apostle Paul quotes from this same prophecy and applies it to the followers of Jesus—those who are accepted for sacrifice during the present age. These will be associated with Jesus in the future work of enlightening the Gentiles, and through Jesus and his faithful followers the glory of the Lord will shine upon those of Israel who then seek him and obey the laws of Messiah’s kingdom.


Who was Zacharias, and what important prophecy did he utter?

When will the true light of the world reach the people of all nations?

Dawn Bible Students Association
|  Home Page  |  Table of Contents  |