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Bible Study - Advent 1 - Prophecy
Prayer and Introduction: The passage from Isaiah takes place during the reign of King Ahaz, who has turned away from God. The Lord’s displeasure, the prophet says at the end of chapter 8 will be seen in both Israel and Judah. Distress, hunger, and darkness will cover the land. The people experience the terror of defeat. But then a word of hope for those who remain faithful to God is offered in chapter 9.
Read: Isaiah 9:1-5
Note: Verse 1 references Judah, who was formerly cut off by conquest-being opened up in the future by God. Verse 4 speaks about Midian, which is a reminder of Gideon defeating the armies of Midian.
Q-What imagery is used in verse 2 to give hope to God’s people?
Q) How does verse 3 inspire hope in the fulfillment of God promises?
Q) How has God brought light into the darkness of your life or the life of someone you know?
Q) What characteristic of Jesus can Christians find in verse 2?
Q) What promise is made in verses 4-5 that explains the reason for joy?
Q- In what way can the deliverance described here be applied to the Christian experience?
Read: Isaiah 9:6-7
Note: King Ahaz had disgraced and endangered David’s line by his failure to remain faithful to God. The promise made here is for a new king from David’s line. Originally this was a reference to the birth of a future king, a purely human one, who would restore the royal line. But it also is a prophetic word about the Messiah-Jesus. In this passage zeal is a reference to the love and deep commitment of God.
Q) Which among the titles of the infant king can be most directly connected to Jesus?
Q) Which two title best describes the other Persons of God in verse 6?
Q) Reflect on all of the names in verse 6: Which best describes your experience of Christ’s presence during dark or difficult times?
Q) What will the new king do according to verse 7?
Q) How will this be accomplished according to the final word of vs. 7?
Q) What is the hope for people today offered in this passage?
Note: The Gospel of Luke opens with an angel sent from God to a priest named Zechariah, with the promise his wife Elizabeth, who was barren and past the age of being able to conceive-would in fact conceive and give birth to a son. Because he did not believe the news he was told he would not be able to speak again until after his son, who was to be named John, was born.
Read: Luke 1:57-66
Q) Why did those present question Elizabeth’s choice to name her son John?
Q) How did God use the loss and then the return of Zechariah’s voice to gain peoples’ attention? (vs. 64-66)
Read: Luke 1:67-79
Note: Horn = power/strength/victory; Mercy = not receiving punishment that is deserved; Redeem = to buy back/rescue at a high cost; Dawn/Dayspring = a new beginning.
Q) How do we know Zechariah’s words are a message from God?
Q) For whom is he praising God for in verses 69-71?
Q) How did God show mercy as described in verses 72-75?
Q) What prediction is made about John in this passage? (vs. 76-77)
Q) How do verses 78-79 draw our attention to the passage from Isaiah?
Q) What is the new thing (the dawn) that is promised to come soon?
Q) What can we learn from these passages about trusting in God’s promises?
Next Time: Mary and Joseph – Luke 1:39-56 and Matthew 1:18-25