Monday, December 23, 2013

O Emmanuel: December 23rd, The “O Antiphons”



Mathis_Gothart_Grünewald_030-333 

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel


Hymn Verse:

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Latin Text:

O Emmanuel, Rex et legifer noster,
expectratio gentium, et Salvator earum:
veni ad salvandum nos,
Domines, Deus noster.

English Translation:

O Emmanuel, Our King and Lawgiver,
The Desire of the nations, and their Savior:
Come and save us, O Lord our God.

LSB ”O Antiphons” under Hymn 357 and in Treasury of Daily Prayer p. 1046:

O Emmanuel, our king and our Lord,
the anointed for the nations and
their | Savior: *
Come and save us, O | Lord our God.

Emmanuel is the Hebrew עִמָּנוּאֵל “God With Us.” This title for Christ refers Him as the Restoration of fallen sinful humanity to the presence of God. Drawing on Isaiah 7:14 this title is explicitly incarnational, that is, it refers to the fact of God taking upon Himself human flesh. This final antiphon summarizes the relationship God would have with us through His Son in all the antiphons leading up to this confession on the day before the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus Christ. He is the θεανθρωπος “God Man.”

Study on O Emmanuel


God walked with us in the garden in Eden. He would walk with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day. There was nothing that came between God and His people. And there was nothing that came between one person and another. This fact is drawn out in two passages:

Genesis 1:31
31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.

Genesis 2:25:
25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

The point of this verse in context is the contrast between relationships before the fall into sin with the same relationships after the fall into sin.

The summary of the Law of God: Love God above all, and love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:29-31). Adam and Eve were living in perfect love with God and each other. No cause for shame existed.

The relationship of love between Adam and Eve was broken when they broke God’s Word. They stole the one thing that God had reserved for Himself in the whole of this new world:

Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. (Genesis 3)
The relationship they had with God was broken:

And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. (Genesis 3)

So many false teaching surround the fall into sin. The basic issue is that they did not trust God’s Word above all other speech. They chose another love than the love of God above all. Intimately related to that failure to love God was their failure to love each other. They did not protect each other by relying on God’s Word above all else.

They could no longer exist in the presence of the Pure and Holy God. God had every right to destroy the world He had made right there. But He loved Adam and Eve. And He loved all the children that would be conceived into this world through them.

As we saw in the study for yesterday’s antiphon (O Rex Gentium) He promised to destroy the works of Satan (Genesis 3:15) to restore not just Adam and Eve, but all their children. So that by this Promise, all could again live in the presence of God without shame.

O Emmanuel is the confession that God fulfilled His Promise of restoration in the Son conceived in the virgin Mary.

Adam and Eve were separated from God’s direct glorious presence. They were placed out of the garden of Eden away from the Tree of Life so that they could never grab from that tree, eat, and live eternally separated from God.

Throughout the O Antiphons we have confessed several of the ways in which God manifested His gracious presence among fallen humanity. O Emmanuel focuses on the actual manifestation of God’s presence in human flesh as promised in Genesis 3:15. Isaiah repeated that promise:

10 Moreover the Lord spoke again to Ahaz, saying, 11 “Ask a sign for yourself from the Lord your God; ask it either in the depth or in the height above.”
12 But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, nor will I test the Lord!”
13 Then he said, “Hear now, O house of David! Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will you weary my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7)

According to God’s Word through Isaiah, it would happen some time after the Northern Kingdom was destroyed, some time after Judah was desolate for a season and then restored. But the the Promise would be fulfilled.

The Messiah would be God and Man, Emmanuel, “God With Us.”

This is the ancient confession that became known to the Greek speaking Church as Χριστος ο Θεανθρωπος “Christos ho Theanthropos” “Christ the God-Man.”

Luke 1

26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”
29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”
34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”
35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing will be impossible.”
38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

Matthew 1

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.

John writes about the fulfillment of this specific prophecy in in the first chapter of his Gospel with these words:

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. …
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

The word translated “dwelt” in verse 14 means literally “he made his tent among ours.” It is a reference to the Incarnation of the Son of God Who is also the Angel of the Lord that dwelt in the tent of meeting among the Israelites who were the guardians of this Promise.

This first advent marks the self-humiliation of the Son of God to take upon Himself the burden we owed in fulfilling the Law of God to love God above all and to love our neighbor as ourself (His Active Obedience). His humiliation included also His suffering at the hands of sinful mankind, from His own people, from all Gentiles; but especially His suffering under the wrath of the Heavenly Father against all sin-inherited or committed by every human conceived as a child of Adam in this world (His Passive Obedience).

Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” (Galatians 4)

The humiliation of the Son of God began with His conception and ended with His death on the cross.

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2)

When His work of humble substitution was done, He was raised from the dead and seated at His own throne on High. Now the God-Man, Jesus Christ, waits for the full number of the church to be conceived in this world–just as he waited patiently in the time of Abraham before giving Canaan to his children (Genesis 15:12-16)

Paul warns:
Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.
11 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.
16 So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, 17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. 18 Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.

The antiphon O Emmanuel is the confession that we belong dwelling with God, not by any right of our own working, but by the working of the Son of God for us.

Hebrews 8:

11 But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. 12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, 14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

The heavenly tabernacle, the dwelling place of the Most High is now with men.

Revelation 21:3
Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”


Prayer:
O Lord Jesus Christ, You were foretold as the King in whom God would manifest His presence, Who should reign in righteousness, bringing peace and happiness to all peoples; You are indeed Emmanuel, the very Son and Word of God made man:
Come, we pray You, by Your grace, and reign over us, so saving us from our spiritual enemies of Satan, sin and death, and from the hand of all that hate us, that we may serve You without fear in holiness and righteousness all the days of our life, and at last, by Your grace, through Your Word and Sacrament, we may be kept in faith in You until You return to this world to take us to make Your dwelling place with us and all believers forever. Amen.

O Come, All Ye Faithful
1 O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem;
Come and behold Him, born the King of angels;

Refrain:
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.

2 God of God, Light of Light,
Lo! He comes forth from the Virgin’s womb:
Our very God, begotten, not created, [Refrain]

3 Sing, choirs of angels; sing in exultation,
Sing, all ye citizens of heav’n above;
Glory to God, all glory in the highest; [Refrain]

4 Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, born this happy morning;
Jesus, to Thee be glory giv’n;
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing; [Refrain]

Sunday, December 22, 2013

O Rex Gentium: December 22nd, The “O Antiphons”


christosopantokratorCome, Desire Of Nations

Hymn Verse:

O Come, Desire of nations, bind
All peoples in one heart and mind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel.

 Latin Text:

O Rex Gentium, et desideratus earum,
lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum:
veni, et salva hominem,
quem de limo formasti.

English Translation:

O King of the Gentiles, and their Desire,
The Corner-stone, Who madest both one:
Come and save man,
Whom You have formed out of the dust of the earth.

LSB ”O Antiphons” under Hymn 357 and in Treasury of Daily Prayer p. 1042:

O King of the nations, the ruler
they long for, the cornerstone
uniting all | people: *
Come and save us all,
whom You formed | out of clay.

Rex Gentium means King of Nations, based primarily on Isaiah 10:11, though the title for Christ is used in many other passages. This antiphon is a confession that the Christ is the Savior of all nations. The petition is based on the fact that all humanity is descended from Adam, whom God formed out of the dust of the ground (Genesis 2:7). Their fall into sin was the fall of all nations from God. The Promise of in the curse on Satan is the Promise to all nations. All nations were driven from the garden. All nations were protected from eating of the Tree of Life and living forever apart from God.

All mankind fell in Adam’s fall,
One common sin infects them all;
From sire to son the bane descends,
And over all the curse impends.
(ELH 491:1)

 

Study on O Rex Gentium


O Rex Gentium is based primarily on the wording of Isaiah 11:10.

“And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse,
Who shall stand as a banner to the people;
For the Gentiles shall seek Him,
And His resting place shall be glorious.”

Here the royal authority of the Christ is emphasized both with the reference to Christ bing the source of the royal line of Jesse and to Christ as a banner: that is, a royal banner. The gentiles will flow to Him.

He owns the title as King of the Nations simply by virtue of creation. He is the only true God of all Nations. For He is the Creator of humanity. He is the One who gave the commission to our first parents to have children, populate the world, and rule it with Him.

26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26-28)

But All Nations fell into sin when Adam and Eve fell into sin. Before the fall into sin God dwelt with humanity. But Adam and Eve had broken away from loving God above all things. They hid from Him. They were ashamed. All nations would descend from them. And because of their sin, all nations would be born into this world estranged from God. (Genesis 3)

“This hereditary sin is such a deep corruption of nature that no reason can understand it. Rather, it must be believed from the revelation of Scripture. (See Psalm 51:5; Romans 6:12-13; Exodus 33:3; Genesis 3:7-19)”
Smalcald Articles III:I:3

But even before God sent them out of His presence He made a declaration to Satan that stands as the Promise to All Nations.

15 And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.”

The Promise is that Satan and his work would be conquered.

Satan tempted Adam and Eve away from the Word of God and brought separation between God and Man. This is described in Scripture as Sin: actual sins in the former case, and inherited (or Original) sin in the later case. The result is separation from God and death: Spiritual death and physical death.

Satan would be conquered by the Seed of the woman. The conqueror would be fully human. But the promise is not made to Adam that he would be the father. This coming child would not be of natural conception.

The Promise that God would conquer Satan and his works of sin and death itself is the Promise to All Nations. This includes all sinners who were begotten before the Flood, and all conceived in sin after the Flood even to the end of the world.

If this were the only time God had recorded His Promise, it would have been enough. But we are stiff-necked and hard of head and dead in our hearts. This Promise reverberates throughout Scripture.

By Abraham’s time this Promise had become a refrain. The Promise was made to the Gentiles that through Abraham’s Seed all the nations of the world would be blessed. At the destruction of the unbelieving Gentiles of Sodom and Gomorrah God repeated the refrain that even with the destruction of these nations ALL nations would still be blessed through Abraham’s Seed:

17 And the Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing, 18 since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? (Genesis 18:18)

God sang the refrain of the Promise again when He demonstrated the nature and cost of the sacrifice by which He would atone for the sin of the world. Isaac, the only and beloved son of Isaac, was spared. The only and beloved Son of God would not be spared:

15 Then the Angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, 16 and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son— 17 blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. 18 In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” (Genesis 22:18)

The refrain of this Promise of salvation for All Nations through the Seed of Abraham was repeated to Isaac (Genesis 26:21). And when God brought the people out of Egypt to settle in the Land where He would accomplish this the refrain was sung again as the final verse of Moses’ last song.

43 “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people;
For He will avenge the blood of His servants,
And render vengeance to His adversaries;
He will provide atonement for His land and His people.” (Deut 32:43)
The Lord used events of the Kingship of David, the words of David, and his royal line in singing this Promise for All Nations again and again. At David’s deliverance from Saul:

44 “You have also delivered me from the strivings of my people;
You have kept me as the head of the nations.
A people I have not known shall serve me.
45 The foreigners submit to me;
As soon as they hear, they obey me.
46 The foreigners fade away,
And come frightened from their hideouts.
47 “The Lord lives!
Blessed be my Rock!
Let God be exalted,
The Rock of my salvation!
48 It is God who avenges me,
And subdues the peoples under me;
49 He delivers me from my enemies.
You also lift me up above those who rise against me;
You have delivered me from the violent man.
50 Therefore I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the Gentiles,
And sing praises to Your name.
51 He is the tower of salvation to His king,
And shows mercy to His anointed,
To David and his Seed forevermore.” (2 Sam 22, esp. 50-51 Compare Psalm 18)

The Apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, refers to verses 50-51 writing in Romans 15:9. For this reason the word Seed is translated literally in this study rather than as with reference to generic descendants.

The Promise to All Nations is a refrain the echoes throughout the Psalms as God is declared the King and Savior of the Nations (see for example: Psalm 18, Psalm 47, Psam 113, Psalm 117)

As King of Nations God used the Gentile Nations to discipline the Church for the purpose of Keeping the Promise. All the while the Promise of forgiveness was held out by God through the very captives the Gentile Kings conquered and took into their own courts.  The predictions, events, songs, and histories of the destruction of the Northern Kingdom and the exile of the Southern Kingdom bear witness to this (See for example, Isaiah 45 about Cyrus, who was predicted 200 year before his birth and the fulfillment in Ezra and Nehemiah).

And the Promise of the King of Nations is sung again through the generations until it was fulfilled:

42 “Behold! My Servant whom I uphold,
My Elect One in whom My soul delights!
I have put My Spirit upon Him;
He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.
He will not cry out, nor raise His voice,
Nor cause His voice to be heard in the street.
A bruised reed He will not break,
And smoking flax He will not quench;
He will bring forth justice for truth.
He will not fail nor be discouraged,
Till He has established justice in the earth;
And the coastlands shall wait for His law.” (Isaiah 42)

Even to the last book of the Old Testament:

11 For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down,
My name shall be great among the Gentiles;
In every place incense shall be offered to My name,
And a pure offering;
For My name shall be great among the nations,”
Says the Lord of hosts. (Malachi 1:11)

The Gospels bear witness to the fulfillment that Christ’s birth was not only for the people of the Mosaic Covenant but for all the Nations.

Mary’s Magnificat recalls the words of Promise to Abraham and to his Seed (Luke 1:55)

Matthew 2 records the visit and worship of foreign wise men.

Simeon holds the Son of God in his arms and sings the refrain:

29 “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace,
According to Your word;
30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation
31 Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
32 A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.” (Luke 2)

It was not just for the biological descendants of Abraham that Jesus preached. Gentiles from Tyre, Sidon (Mark 3:8), Sychar (John 4). Roman officials (Matthew 8), etc.

The Promise that He would redeem the World from sin (Genesis 3:15) was restated by John

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. (John 3)

For this reason Christ stated that He would be crucified before Jews, Gentiles, and the Father

18 “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, 19 and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again.” (Matthew 20:19, Mark 10:33, Luke 18:32)

And as Isaiah foretold:

13 Behold, My Servant shall deal prudently;
He shall be exalted and extolled and be very high.
14 Just as many were astonished at you,
So His visage was marred more than any man,
And His form more than the sons of men;
15 So shall He sprinkle many nations.
Kings shall shut their mouths at Him;
For what had not been told them they shall see,
And what they had not heard they shall consider.

Not only kings, but the gentiles at the cross confessed Jesus as God (Mark 15:38).

Christ commanded that His Word be preached to the Gentiles. The desciples went out by Christ’s commission in Matthew 28:18-20 to build the Church through Word and Sacrament. The testimony went to the Gentiles (Acts 4:27, Acts 9:15, Acts 10, etc.).

All are now equal under the Law and the Gospel. The civil and ceremonial law have been completed. The moral is fulfilled. Sin atoned for. Is there now any real difference between the descendants of Abraham and the rest of the nations?

Romans 3

What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin.
10 As it is written:
“There is none righteous, no, not one;
11 There is none who understands;
There is none who seeks after God.
12 They have all turned aside;
They have together become unprofitable;
There is none who does good, no, not one.”[b]
13 “Their throat is an open tomb;
With their tongues they have practiced deceit”; [c]
“The poison of asps is under their lips”; [d]
14 “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”[e]
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 Destruction and misery are in their ways;
17 And the way of peace they have not known.”[f]
18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”[g]
19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Romans 15:12
Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers, and that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy, as it is written:
“For this reason I will confess to You among the Gentiles,
And sing to Your name.”
10 And again he says:
“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people!”
11 And again:
“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles!
Laud Him, all you peoples!”
12 And again, Isaiah says:
“There shall be a root of Jesse;
And He who shall rise to reign over the Gentiles,
In Him the Gentiles shall hope.”
13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 2:14, 20
11 Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— 12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.
19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Christ’s title as “Cornerstone” comes from Psalm 118:22, Isaiah 28:16, and Matthew 21:42 (among many other passages). The picutre God draws with this is that the Church is built of the individuals who are united with Christ through faith. Christ Himself is the foundation block, or Cornerstone. That is to say, the Person and Nature of Christ and of His saving work as revealed in His Scripture is the foundation for true faith. When sinful humans build try to build without the Biblical faith they reject the Cornerstone, making a false church. In false churches there is no true unity between God and mankind so there can be no true unity between on human and another. But where Christ is the foundation there is real unity between God and humans and, as a consequence of this, there is also true unity between humans. The earthly tabernacle/Temple would be destroyed (Mark 13). But the new Tabernacle not made with hands would take its place. Made of saints from all nations.

Revelation 7

After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying:
“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom,
Thanksgiving and honor and power and might,
Be to our God forever and ever.
Amen.”
13 Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?”
14 And I said to him, “Sir,you know.”
So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. 16 They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; 17 for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Revelation 14

Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people— saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.”

Revelation 21

22 But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. 24 And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it. 25 Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there). 26 And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it. 27 But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

A Prayer:
O Lord Jesu Christ, for Whom all peoples yearn, even though they do not know whom they seek; You made of one blood all nations to dwell on the face of the whole earth; and You bind together Jew and Gentile in the one body of Your Holy Christian Church:
Come, we pray You, and by Your truth and grace raise man whom You made out of the dust of the earth, from his low condition of alienation from You by reason of sin, and set him in Your Holy Church with the princes, even with the princes of Your people.
Amen.

 Savior of the Nations, Come

1 Savior of the nations, come,
Virgin’s son, make here Thy home!
Marvel now, O heav’n and earth,
That the Lord chose such a birth.

2 Not by human flesh and blood
By the Spirit of our God
Was the Word of God made flesh–
Woman’s Offspring, pure and fresh.

3 Wondrous birth! O wondrous Child
Of the Virgin undefiled!
Though by all the world disowned,
Still to be in heav’n enthroned.

4 From the Father forth He came
And returneth to the same,
Captive leading death and hell–
High the song of triumph swell!

5 Christ laid down his majesty,
passed through dark Gethsemane.
Though he left his Father’s home,
Christ now sits on God’s own throne.

6 Thou the Father’s only Son,
Hast o’er sin the vict’ry won.
Boundless shall Thy kingdom be;
When shall we its glories see?

7 Brightly doth Thy manger shine,
Glorious is its light divine.
Let not sin o’ercloud this light;
Ever be our faith thus bright.

8 Praise to God the Father sing,
Praise to God the Son, our King,
Praise to God the Spirit be
Ever and eternally.

Savior of the Nations, Come
Veni, Redemptor gentium
Ambrose of Milan, 340-386
M. Luther, 1483-1546
W. M. Reynolds, 1812-76
NUN KOMM, DER HEIDEN HEILAND
J. Walther, 1496-1570
Geistliche Gesangbüchlein, 1524

Saturday, December 21, 2013

O Oriens: December 21st, The “O Antiphons”

O Come, Thou Dayspring From On High

Hymn Verse:
anastasi
O Come, Thou Dayspring from on high,
and cheer us by thy drawing nigh;
disperse the gloomy clouds of night
and death’s dark shadow put to flight.

Latin Text:

O Oriens, splendor lucis aeternae,
et sol justitiae:
veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris,
et umbra mortis.

English Translation:

O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice:
Come, shine on those who dwell in darkness
and the shadow of death.

LSB ”O Antiphons” under Hymn 357 and in Treasury of Daily Prayer p. 1039:

O Dayspring, splendor of light
ever- | lasting: *
Come and enlighten those who
sit in darkness and in the shad- | ow
of death.

Oriens means “Dayspring” or “Morning Star” or “Sunrise.” This title for Christ is found throughout Scripture. The purpose of this title is point out that Christ is the light of the world, that His gift of salvation is like the dawn of a new day after a dark night of terror. The theme of the O Antiphons builds again. Here in Oriens the Creator of light on the first day. He is the Creator of the Sun, Moon, and Stars on the fourth day (Wednesday); which He appointed not only to give light to the world, but to be for signs and to mark seasons. He is the Greater Light that has come into this world.

The theme builds from creation, to the Promise to Abraham, to the Incarnation, to Transfiguration, to the Resurrection of Christ, and to the Throne of Christ in His Kingdom of Glory.

Study on O Oriens


In the beginning the world was shapeless and empty. It could do nothing for itself. “Darkness was on the face of the deep.” The Word of God declared “Let there be light.” Light came into existence by the authority of that Divine Word. Creation cannot make itself, or form itself. O Oriens is a confession that there is no process of “self emergence” or “self-organization.” (Genesis 1) And just as the world did not make or form itself, so the sinner sitting in the darkness and alienation from God cannot self-emerge or come to faith and salvation by his or her own power.

The faithful Witness, John, demonstrated how these themes are tied together in the opening words of his Gospel:
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-14)

God used light and the lights of creation as symbols of kings, nations, and especially of His Son as the Redeemer of the world. Zacharias sang of this at the birth of his son, John:

Luke 1:78-79
76 “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest;
For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways,
77 To give knowledge of salvation to His people
By the remission of their sins,
78 Through the tender mercy of our God,
With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us;
79 To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death,
To guide our feet into the way of peace.”

God tied together the Promise faith in the Onlybegotten Son with the symbol of the Stars in His covenant with Abraham:

Genesis 15
After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”
2 But Abram said, “Lord God, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” Then Abram said, “Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!”
And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.” Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”
And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.

God vividly demonstrated the way in which His Onlybegotten Son would be the Substitute for sinners when He called upon Abraham to offer as a sacrifice his only son begotten of God’s Promise. Again, the stars are used as a symbol. And in this particular event God focused upon One of those Stars.

Genesis 22
15 Then the Angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, 16 and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son— 17 blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. 18 In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”

Genesis 26
There was a famine in the land, besides the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines, in Gerar.
Then the Lord appeared to him and said: “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land of which I shall tell you. Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I give all these lands, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father. And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.”

Paul wrote:
Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ. (Galatians 3:16)

The Promise was repeated by Moses to God at the time Aaron led the people into idolatry. And it was on the basis of this Promise that the Lord relented from destroying the idolatrous church at that time.

13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by Your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of I give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’” 14 So the Lord relented from the harm which He said He would do to His people. (Exodus 32:13-14)

Balaam son of Beor (a non-Israelite) was hired as a prophet by Balak to curse God’s people. God used Balaam to proclaim this same Promise, focusing on the symbolism of the Star:

Numbers 24
12 So Balaam said to Balak, “Did I not also speak to your messengers whom you sent to me, saying, 13 ‘If Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the word of the Lord, to do good or bad of my own will. What the Lord says, that I must speak’? 14 And now, indeed, I am going to my people. Come, I will advise you what this people will do to your people in the latter days.”
15 So he took up his oracle and said:
“The utterance of Balaam the son of Beor,
And the utterance of the man whose eyes are opened;
16 The utterance of him who hears the words of God,
And has the knowledge of the Most High,
Who sees the vision of the Almighty,
Who falls down, with eyes wide open:
17 “I see Him, but not now;
I behold Him, but not near;
A Star shall come out of Jacob;
A Scepter shall rise out of Israel,
And batter the brow of Moab,
And destroy all the sons of tumult.
18 “And Edom shall be a possession;
Seir also, his enemies, shall be a possession,
While Israel does valiantly.
19 Out of Jacob One shall have dominion,
And destroy the remains of the city.”

The star would literally appear, Christ would come. A miraculous star would appear and guide the gentile wise men to Bethlehem to worship the Son who was born the King of the Jews.

As Moses prepared to die outside the promised land, he referred to the coming of the Lord at Sinai (the second antiphon: O Adonai) as the coming of dawn.

Deuteronomy 33
Now this is the blessing with which Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death. And he said:
“The Lord came from Sinai,
And dawned on them from Seir;
He shone forth from Mount Paran,
And He came with ten thousands of saints;
From His right hand
Came a fiery law for them.
Yes, He loves the people;
All His saints are in Your hand;
They sit down at Your feet;
Everyone receives Your words.

The theme of God’s help being just at the sunrise/Daybreak is at the heart of the song of salvation  in Psalm 46

God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah
There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,
The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;
God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.
The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved;
He uttered His voice, the earth melted.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

God uses the image of the Dawning Sun to portray the coming of His Son, the Son of David, the Messiah, specifying where He would dwell:

Isaiah 9:1
Nevertheless the gloom will not be upon her who is distressed,
As when at first He lightly esteemed
The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
And afterward more heavily oppressed her,
By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan,
In Galilee of the Gentiles.
The people who walked in darkness
Have seen a great light;
Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,
Upon them a light has shined.
You have multiplied the nation
And increased its joy;
They rejoice before You
According to the joy of harvest,
As men rejoice when they divide the spoil.
For You have broken the yoke of his burden
And the staff of his shoulder,
The rod of his oppressor,
As in the day of Midian.
For every warrior’s sandal from the noisy battle,
And garments rolled in blood,
Will be used for burning and fuel of fire.
For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

God spoke of the second covenant to replace the covenant at Sinai. A covenant based in repentance and the forgiveness of sins. He places Light, Healing, Righteousness all in parallel with “the Glory of the Lord” so that the Savior is Light, Healing, and Righteousness. The Savior is the Lord. And even here the Savior dwells with us to hear our prayer:

Isaiah 58:8:
“Is this not the fast that I have chosen:
To loose the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the heavy burdens,
To let the oppressed go free,
And that you break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out;
When you see the naked, that you cover him,
And not hide yourself from your own flesh?
Then your Light shall break forth like the morning,
Your Healing shall spring forth speedily,
And your Righteousness shall go before you;
The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’

And then come the familiar words of this Messianic prophecy:

Isaiah 60:18-20
1 Arise, shine;
For your light has come!
And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.
For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth,
And deep darkness the people;
But the Lord will arise over you,
And His glory will be seen upon you.
The Gentiles shall come to your light,
And kings to the brightness of your rising.
18 Violence shall no longer be heard in your land,
Neither wasting nor destruction within your borders;
But you shall call your walls Salvation,
And your gates Praise.
19 “The sun shall no longer be your light by day,
Nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you;
But the Lord will be to you an everlasting light,
And your God your glory.
20 Your sun shall no longer go down,
Nor shall your moon withdraw itself;
For the Lord will be your everlasting light,
And the days of your mourning shall be ended.
21 Also your people shall all be righteous;
They shall inherit the land forever,
The branch of My planting,
The work of My hands,
That I may be glorified.

From the first pages of the Old Testament to the last chapter of the Old Testament O Oriens is a main them describing the person of, the coming of, and work of the Messiah for our Salvation:

Malachi 4:2
But to you who fear My name
The Sun of Righteousness shall arise
With healing in His wings;
And you shall go out
And grow fat like stall-fed calves.
You shall trample the wicked,
For they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet
On the day that I do this,”
Says the Lord of hosts.

The Light came into the world. God used this Promise of Light, the stars, and the dawn written in His Word as a constant reminder of what He would do when He brought His Son into this world to be with us. God manifested light at the birth of His Son, a bright and vivid reminder of the Promise throughout the Old Testament:

He manifested the Light of His Glory at Christ’s birth as recorded in Luke 2:

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

He manifested the Light of a supernaturally appointed star at Christ’s birth as recorded in Matthew 2:

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”
When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet:
‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
Are not the least among the rulers of Judah;
For out of you shall come a Ruler
Who will shepherd My people Israel.’”
Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.”
When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. 11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
12 Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.

Today unbelievers claim that Jesus was a “light” meaning that He should be thought of only as a brilliant teacher of good things. But the Word of Jesus testimony bears out that He confessed He is the Creator the Light of the Creation when the Pharisees confronted Him (John 8):

12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

This particular debate reached its climax with the following statements of Christ and the response of the Pharisees:

48 Then the Jews answered and said to Him, “Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?”
49 Jesus answered, “I do not have a demon; but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me. 50 And I do not seek My own glory; there is One who seeks and judges. 51 Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.”
52 Then the Jews said to Him, “Now we know that You have a demon! Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and You say, ‘If anyone keeps My word he shall never taste death.’ 53 Are You greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? And the prophets are dead. Who do You make Yourself out to be?”
54 Jesus answered, “If I honor Myself, My honor is nothing. It is My Father who honors Me, of whom you say that He is your God. 55 Yet you have not known Him, but I know Him. And if I say, ‘I do not know Him,’ I shall be a liar like you; but I do know Him and keep His word. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.”
57 Then the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?”
58 Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”
59 Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

He manifested His authority over death at the dawn of the first day of the week. The day that light was created the Light of the World walked forth from the tomb conquering death itself.

Matthew 28
Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door,and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.
But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.”
So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word.

Indeed, the language and confession contained in O Oriens is so common throughout both Old and New Testaments that we often overlook it because of its familiarity.

Paul wrote of the Light of Christ as the Dawn of the New Covenant of forgiveness, for example:

Ephesians 5:8-14
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. 14 Therefore He says:
“Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light.”

Sometimes translation into English may obscure the reference to Christ Shining Forth as the Light of Dawn:

Titus 3:4
For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared (επεφανη literally “shined forth”), not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Notice the consistent use of this symbolism of light with reference to the Son of God Incarnate throughout the whole of Scripture:

Hebrews 1:3
 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

And so we return to the fact that these references to Christ as Light, Star, and Dawn are all there to show us who He Is, and to confirm the written Promise made to our first parents that the lies and death Satan worked are defeated in Christ who is “God With Us” Emmanuel.

2 Peter 2
16 For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 17 For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” 18 And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.
19 And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; 20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

The Letter to Thyatira contains a quotation from Psalm 2:9 and Jesus referring to Himself as fulfillment of that Promise and as the Morning Star:

Revelation 2:27-9
27 ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron;
They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’—
as I also have received from My Father; 28 and I will give him the Morning Star.
29 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’

Jesus words in the closing chapters of the Bible give us the words of Promise that form our prayer “O Oriens Veni O Dayspring, Come!” Here is where the Light never fades, Jerusalem the Golden, the eternal Reward of those who have their robes washed in the blood of the Lamb. In that eternal City there is no darkness:

Revelation 21:23-27
23 The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. 24 And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it. 25 Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there). 26 And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it. 27 But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

Revelation 22:15-17
16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”
17 And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.

A Prayer:
O Lord Jesus Christ, You are the shining forth of Your Father’s glory, God of God, Light of Light:
You came in the incarnation to our poor darkened world as the Sun of Righteousness bringing healing in Your beams, dispelling the gloom of Satan, Sin and Death, and gladdening men’s hearts with the good news of their Father’s kindness and love for man:
Come, we pray You, now by Your grace, and through Your Church let Your truth and love shine forth to all who are in the darkness of sin or ignorance or error; penetrate the hidden recesses of our hearts, and enlighten the cruel habitations of the earth.
Amen.

The King Shall Come When Morning Dawns

The King shall come when morning dawns
And light triumphant breaks,
When beauty gilds the eastern hills
And life to joy awakes.

Not as of old a little child,
To bear and fight and die,
But crowned with glory like the sun
That lights the morning sky.

Oh, brighter than the rising morn
When Christ, victorious, rose
And left the lonesome place of death
Despite the rage of foes.

Oh, brighter than that glorious morn
Shall dawn upon our race
The day when Christ in splendor comes
And we shall see his face.

The King shall come when morning dawns
And light and beauty brings.
Hail, Christ the Lord! Your people pray:
Come quickly, King of kings.

Hymn # 26 from Lutheran Worship
Author: John Brownlie – 1859- 1925
Tune: Consolation
Composer: John Wyeth
1st Published in: 1813
Town: Harrisburg

Brightest and Best of the Sons of the Morning

1. Brightest and best of the sons of the morning,
Dawn on our darkness and lend us thine aid;
Star of the East, the horizon adorning,
Guide where our infant Redeemer is laid.

2. Cold on His cradle the dewdrops are shining;
Low lies His head with the beasts of the stall.
Angels adore Him in slumber reclining,
Maker and Monarch and Savior of all.

3. Shall we not yield Him, In costly devotion
Odors of Edom and offerings divine,
Gems of the mountain and pearls of the ocean,
Myrrh from the forest and gold from the mine?

4. Vainly we offer each ample oblation,
Vainly with gifts would His favor secure.
Richer by far is the heart’s adoration;
Dearer to God are the prayers of the poor.

5. Brightest and best of the sons of the morning,
Dawn on our darkness and lend us thine aid;
Star of the East, the horizon adorning,
Guide where our infant Redeemer is laid.

The Lutheran Hymnal
Hymn #128
Text: Matt. 2:11
Author: Reginald Heber, 1811
Composer: John P. Harding, 1892

Tune: “Morning Star”

Friday, December 20, 2013

O Clavis David: December 20th, The “O Antiphons”

O Come, Thou Key of David, Come

Hymn Verse:
O-Key-of-David
O Come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heav’nly home,
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.

Latin Text:

O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel,
qui aperis, et nemo claudit; claudis, et nemo aperuit:
veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris,
sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

English Translation

O Key of David, O royal Power of Israel,
controlling at your will the gate of heaven:
Come, break down the prison walls of death
for those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death;
and lead your captive people into freedom.

LSB “O Antiphons” under Hymn 357 and in Treasury of Daily Prayer p. 1035:

O Key of David and scepter of theHouse of Israel, You open and no one
can close, You close and no one
can | open: *
Come and rescue the prisoners who
are in darkness and the shad- | ow
of death.

Clavis means Key. This title for Christ is from Revelation 3:7 and is drawn from God’s commission of Eliakim son of Hilkiah in Isaiah 22:22. The title Key of David refers to the authority of God given to David over the whole of the people of God. That authority was given as part of the Promise that David would have an Heir who would sit on his throne forever exercizing God’s authority over all of God’s people.

18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Matthew 28)

Study on O Clavis David


The theme of the O Antiphons has been building, and at this point they begin to overlap. We started by calling that Christ Come with the title O Sapientia: the Wisdom, Creator and Master of all-confessing that it is the Lord Who made us that is our Redeemer. We continued with O Adonai: Yahweh, Lord-confessing that Christ is the same Lord, the Angel of the Lord who by means of the Exodus from Egypt prefigured the fulfillment of His words in Genesis 3:15 to conquer Satan, Sin, and Death. With O Radix Jesse, Root of Jesse, we moved into confessing that the Son of God had chosen to become human of the family of Jesse to accomplish the Promise of Salvation. He is the Divine Son of David.

Today, with O Clavis, we confess the Divine/Human authority of the Son of David. He has the right of authority to rule both because He is the Almighty Eternal God and He is the legitimate human authority for His people. Both O Radix and O Clavis anticipate the confession of O Oriens.

Christ describes His title as Key of David in Revelation 3:7. He is the first and final authority. There is no one else with greater authority.

7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write,
‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”: 8 “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. 9 Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie—indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 11 Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. 12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.
13 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’

This title of Key of David is found in the kind of authority God gave to Eliakim over the house of Israel in Isaiah 22:22.

20 ‘Then it shall be in that day,
That I will call My servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah;
21 I will clothe him with your robe
And strengthen him with your belt;
I will commit your responsibility into his hand.
He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem
And to the house of Judah.
22 The key of the house of David
I will lay on his shoulder;
So he shall open, and no one shall shut;
And he shall shut, and no one shall open.
23 I will fasten him as a peg in a secure place,
And he will become a glorious throne to his father’s house.
24 ‘They will hang on him all the glory of his father’s house, the offspring and the posterity, all vessels of small quantity, from the cups to all the pitchers. 25 In that day,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘the peg that is fastened in the secure place will be removed and be cut down and fall, and the burden that was on it will be cut off; for the Lord has spoken.’”

The Divine and Human natures of the Messiah are clearly taught in Isaiah 9:6-7. His authority as Savior springs from this Union: He is both true God begotten of His Father from eternity and also true Man born of His virgin mother.

6 For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

His office as the One True Ruler of God’s people was foretold to the surrounding nations. The purpose of His office as Divine/Human Savior made plain, as in, for example:

Isaiah 16

4 Let My outcasts dwell with you, O Moab;
Be a shelter to them from the face of the spoiler.
For the extortioner is at an end,
Devastation ceases,
The oppressors are consumed out of the land.
5 In mercy the throne will be established;
And One will sit on it in truth, in the tabernacle of David,
Judging and seeking justice and hastening righteousness.”

David was chosen by God as a Shepherd to be King in order to Shepherd His people. So Ezekiel 34:23-24 shows us this historical picture of David’s life would be made manifest when the Messiah would come into the world.

20 ‘Therefore thus says the Lord God to them: “Behold, I Myself will judge between the fat and the lean sheep.21 Because you have pushed with side and shoulder, butted all the weak ones with your horns, and scattered them abroad, 22 therefore I will save My flock, and they shall no longer be a prey; and I will judge between sheep and sheep.23 I will establish one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them—My servant David. He shall feed them and be their shepherd. 24 And I, the Lord, will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them; I, the Lord, have spoken.

God used the return from the Babylonian captivity as a picture of the resurrection. In Ezekiel 37 where God describes the Valley of Dry Bones being brought to life He repeats the promise that God would dwell with us in the flesh. Note how the language of verse 27 is used in John 1:14.

23 They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and I will cleanse them. Then they shall be My people, and I will be their God.
24 “David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them. 25 Then they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant, where your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell there, they, their children, and their children’s children, forever; and My servant David shall be their prince forever. 26 Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore. 27 My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 28 The nations also will know that I, the Lord, sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forevermore.”’”

John 1:14

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt (literally “tabernacled”) among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

David, his home, his youth, his reign all became a historical example so that the people of God would recognize the Messiah when He came into the world. The Messiah, the Key of David, would be born in David’s region (Psalm 132) even in David’s City.

2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.”
3 Therefore He shall give them up, Until the time that she who is in labor has given birth; Then the remnant of His brethren Shall return to the children of Israel. 4 And He shall stand and feed His flock In the strength of the Lord, In the majesty of the name of the Lord His God; And they shall abide, For now He shall be great To the ends of the earth; 5 And this One shall be peace. (Micah 5)

God had moved the events of the world to shape David and his life into this model. He moved the events of the world to shape the reality, the fulfillment of the model. Kings did things they thought were their own ideas, but were doing God’s bidding in setting the stage for the rescue of the world through the Key of David.

The Roman Emperor and his empire were moved:

Luke 2:
And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.
10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

Gentiles from other nations were moved:

Matthew 2 (also anticipating O Oriens)

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”
3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
5 So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet:
6 ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
Are not the least among the rulers of Judah;
For out of you shall come a Ruler
Who will shepherd My people Israel.’”

The angel Gabriel communicated to Mary that her Son would carry the authority of David’s House, fulfilling the Promise. In this text is the testimony of the words of Genesis 3:15-16 and Isaiah 7:14 –that the Messiah would be born of a woman, but have no human father; that He is the Divine Son and the human Son.

26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favoredone, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”
29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1)

The words of Zacharias in the Benedictus repeat and magnify the pattern of prophecy which we have seen in the O Antiphons, highlighting the legitimate Davidic Authority of the Christ. The words of the petition in O Clavis David are found in verse 79 where Zecharias echoes Isaiah 9 and Psalm 107.

67 Now his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying:
68 “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel,
For He has visited and redeemed His people,
69 And has raised up a horn of salvation for us
In the house of His servant David,
70 As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets,
Who have been since the world began,
71 That we should be saved from our enemies
And from the hand of all who hate us,
72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers
And to remember His holy covenant,
73 The oath which He swore to our father Abraham:
74 To grant us that we,
Being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
Might serve Him without fear,
75 In holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.
76 “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest;
For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways,
77 To give knowledge of salvation to His people
By the remission of their sins,
78 Through the tender mercy of our God,
With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us;
79 To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death,
To guide our feet into the way of peace.”
80 So the child grew and became strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his manifestation to Israel. (Luke 1)

Psalm 107

14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,
And broke their chains in pieces.
15 Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
16 For He has broken the gates of bronze,
And cut the bars of iron in two.

It was with deliberate purpose to demonstrate His Davidic office in fulfillment of this prophecy that Christ moved to Capernaum.

Matthew 4:16:

12 Now when Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, He departed to Galilee. 13 And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:
15 “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles:
16 The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light,
And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death
Light has dawned.”
17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

This became the central confession of faith, Who Is Jesus? He is the Christ, the Son of David. He has all authority. And He has authorized His Church to use the Key of David to bind and loose sin.

Matthew 16:19

13 When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”
14 So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
20 Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ.

Paul preached on this at Antioch in Pisidia.

Acts 13

20 “After that He gave them judges for about four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet. 21 And afterward they asked for a king; so God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. 22 And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.’ 23 From this man’s seed, according to the promise, God raised up for Israel a Savior—Jesus— …
29 “Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb. 30 But God raised Him from the dead. 31 He was seen for many days by those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are His witnesses to the people. 32 And we declare to you glad tidings—that promise which was made to the fathers. 33 God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm:
‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.’
34 And that He raised Him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, He has spoken thus:
‘I will give you the sure mercies of David.’
35 Therefore He also says in another Psalm:
‘You will not allow Your Holy One to see corruption.’
36 “For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw corruption; 37 but He whom God raised up saw no corruption. 38 Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; 39 and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.

Paul declared the fulfillment of the promise in his letter to the Romans:

1 Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God 2 which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, 3 concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, 4 and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. 5 Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name, 6 among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ (Chapter 1)

The fact that Christ, the legal heir to the Throne of David, who holds the Key of David, was the one who humbled himself for our redemption is a cornerstone in Paul’s encouragement to the young preacher Timothy:

8 Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel, 9 for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. (2 Timothy 2)

A Prayer:
O Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom is given the throne and scepter of David Your father over the house of Israel, that You might extend his kingdom over all peoples:
You came in our nature, as the Son of man forgiving sins, dispelling sickness and loosing bonds:
To You now is committed all authority in heaven and on earth, and the powers of hell cannot withstand Your Word:
Come, we pray You, by Your grace, and through Your means of grace, to loosen the prisoner from the chains of sin, to enlighten with the glad tidings of Your Word all who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, that they may rejoice in the deliverance which You have wrought.
Amen.

Hail to the Lord’s Anointed

1 Hail to the Lord’s Anointed,
Great David’s greater Son!
Hail, in the time appointed,
His reign on earth begun!
He comes to break oppression,
To set the captive free,
To take away transgression,
And rule in equity.

2 He comes with succour speedy
To those who suffer wrong,
To help the poor and needy
And bid the weak be strong.
To give them songs for sighing,
Their darkness turn to light
Whose souls, condemned and dying,
Are precious in His sight.

3 He shall come down like showers,
Upon the fruitful earth,
And joy and hope, like flowers,
Spring in His path to birth.
Before Him on the mountains
Shall peace, the herald, go
And righteousness, in fountains,
From hill to valley flow.

4 Arabia’s desert ranger
To Him shall bow the knee,
The Ethiopian stranger
His glory come to see;
With off’rings of devotion
Ships from the isles shall meet
To pour the wealth of ocean
In tribute at His feet.

5 Kings shall bow down before Him
And gold and incense bring;
All nations shall adore Him,
His praise all people sing.
To Him shall prayer unceasing
And daily vows ascend,
His kingdom still increasing,
A kingdom without end.

6 O’er every foe victorious,
He on His throne shall rest.
From age to age more glorious,
All-blessing and all-blest.
The tide of time shall never
His covenant remove;
His Name shall stand for ever–
That Name to us is Love.

ELH 103 Hail to the Lord’s Anointed
J. Montgomery, 1771-1854
Psalm 72
ES FLOG EIN KLEINS WALDVÖGELEIN
German folksong, adapt. and arr.; A Student’s Hymnal, 1923 (harm
.)

 O Key of David, Hailed by Those

O Key of David, hailed by those
In fetters long confined;
For where Thou openest none may close,
Nor where Thou loosest, bind;

Without one ray of light around
To comfort and to cheer,
Poor prisoners we, in fetters bound,
Await Thy drawing near.

Thou, only Thou, canst loose the chain,
Thou only end our woe:
Thou only give us light again,
And let the captives go.

William Cooke and Benjamin Webb, eds.,
The Hymnary – A Book of Church Song
(London: Novello, Ewer and Co., 1872),
#122, p. 102. 1-3

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