We read in the prophecy of Isaiah that a watcher stands on the wall of Zion.

He is asked, “Watcher, what of the night” And the watcher answers: “The morning cometh, and it is still night!” The Sun of Righteousness is risen, and it is still night. That was the strange phenomenon in Israel, the Sun of right­eousness was risen, and the light shone in the darkness, and the darkness had comprehended it not! Yet even while Israel remained in darkness, the light of the Sun of righteousness had penetrated into the land of the Gentiles, and the Gentiles were led by that light to seek the newborn King. They came to Jeru­salem inquiring, “where is he that is born king of the Jews?” And Jerusalem ans­wered: We know not! All Jerusalem was in confusion, until the scribes instructed them to go to Bethlehem in Judea, since there the Christ was to be born. But even though they could point out the way to the Gentiles, they themselves remained in their darkness. Why? Because they preferred the darkness rather than the light, since their works were evil.

These Gentiles went on their way and behold, the start that they had seen in the East went before them and stood above the place where the Child was. They rejoiced, therefore, with great joy, and went in to worship before Him. Thereupon they returned to their homes. And they never saw the star again. Yet why not? Because they had beheld the Sun of righteousness. And when they beheld Him, the light of that Sun flooded their souls in true and living faith. For that Sun of righteousness is far greater than that wondrous star that announces His arrival. He is the Son of God Who should come into this world. “For God so loved the world, that He sent His only begotten Son in the world, that whoso­ever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

But the world we see round about us is the world of sin. That world we may not love, nor that which is in the world, for the world and its lusts will perish in, fire. But God loves the world which He has known and chosen from eternity. All men do not belong to that world of God’s love and eternal good pleasure. Soon there will be a separation. A separation between faith and unbelief, for he that believeth not is condemned already be­cause he has not believed in the Son of God. But to those who believe He shall appear as the Lord of Glory, to proclaim to His sons and daughters,

Komt, Jehova’s lievelingen,

Jezus’ volk en arbeidsloon;

Komt, Jehova’s gunstelingen,

Werp voor ’t Lam uw eerekroon.

Eeuwig zult Gij Hem aanschouwen

In Zijn glans en op Zijn troon;

En, bevrijd van alle rouwe,

Dragen ’s hemel’s gloriekroon.

God did not first conceive of the plan of Redemption after the fall of man. Indeed, the mediator of the covenant of grace was ordained and anointed already from eternity. He was appointed as an offering before the foundations of the world, and the church was already from that time chosen. For that church He came to suffer and die. As the King of Israel He was also an heir of David’s house, and David’s throne, and must needs be born at Bethlehem. That was already prophesied by Micah, and Caesar Augustus must without willing or know­ing it be the instrument thereto. In order to fulfill that prophecy, Augustus designed all people to be registered by a compulsory registration, and therefore all the Jewish people must become regis­tered. We read then that Joseph went up out of Galilee out of the city of Nazar­eth to Bethlehem to be registered with Mary his espoused wife, who was with child. Mary was espoused at that time and must remain unmarried by God’s appointment. That was also prophesied by Micah, and Caesar Augustus must without his will or knowledge be an instrument toward the fulfillment of that prophecy. That was already prophesied by Isaiah 742 years before. The Lord Said to Achaz, “Ask of me a sign.” Arid Achaz said, “I do not want to ask a sign.” And the Lord said, “If you desire not a sign, a sign will nevertheless be given you,” namely, ‘‘A virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son.” That was a wonder-sign. That a woman be­came with child and bore a son, is no wonder, that happens every day, but that a virgin becomes with child and bares a son is an eternal wonder that we cannot understand. And Mary did not under­stand that either. Therefore she said to the angel, “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” And the angel said, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall over­shadow thee, therefore also the hoy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” And that Son of God came to suffer and die. His suf­fering began then by the manger. The Lord said to Joseph, “Take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt.” That must happen according to Scripture, for it is written, “Out of Egypt have I called my Son.” And He must return to Nazar­eth, for He shall be called a Nazarite. There at Nazareth He grew up and when He was thirty years old He walked among Israel as “The Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the World.” And we also read that He went through the land doing good. He healed the sick opened the eyes of the blind, and raised the dead. And they said, “Away with Him. He is not worthy that He lives. Crucify Him!” “He came to His own and His own received Him not.” They condemned Him to death. Yes, they persecuted Him from the manger to the Cross. And even though they persecuted Him from the manger to the cross, He said to them and to us, through the preaching of the Gospel. “Come unto me, all ye who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Come unto me, all the ends of the earth and be saved, for I will wipe out your sins as a mist, and I will cast them behind me in the sea of eter­nal forgetfulness, so that you need not fear even though the earth would be moved out of her place, and even though the mountains would be removed in the middle of the sea, but I will take you up in my glory. See, those are God’s promises which He has revealed to us in His Word. Therefore we say with the Psalmist, “Thy Word is a lamp be­fore my feet and a light upon my path.’’ Now He is set at the Father’s right hand, but soon He comes again, and the glory shall then be revealed in the fullness of the day of the Lord. Then men will not need a lamp, nor a candle, but then men shall walk in the light of the Son of Righteousness, satisfied with Thy Godly Image. And when that day has come, then men will not say anymore, “I am of Cephas, and I am of Apollos,” or are you from the Reformed? or of the Chris­tian Reformed Church, or a Hoeksemanite? No, no, says Paul, “Here the natural body is sown, but then a spiritual body is raised and then we shall eternally be spiritual children of God’’. And to that return of our Lord and Saviour the Church looks forward, from all the ages it sings with an eye to that return: Hallelujah! There is no night, no sorrow, no grief. There sin and death find no power.

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The group of churches that John writes to in this trio of epistles had recently experienced a split because of doctrinal controversy. We do not know the exact content of the error that these false teachers were spreading, but it is apparent from John’s writing that their teaching somehow denied the truth of the incarnation—that […]

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Indiana Mini Convention Review 2021

One of this year’s “mini conventions” was hosted by Grace and Grandville Protestant Reformed Churches at Quaker Haven Camp. Located just over two hours away in northern Indiana, the camp was a perfect fit for the 120 kids and 15 chaperones who attended. A total of twelve different churches were represented: Byron Center, Faith, First […]

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Editorial, November 2021: Catechism Season

At the point that this edition of Beacon Lights arrives in the homes of our subscribers, most young people in the Protestant Reformed Churches will have been sitting under the catechism instruction of their pastor or elders for more than a month. If our readers are honest, that observation probably comes with a (quiet) sigh […]

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