Since Advent represents the period of waiting for the promised Redeemer, how fitting that we feature in this time of Advent why and what God promised through His prophets in the Old Covenant. Yes, the Old Testament gives testament to its reason for existing: to prepare man for the coming of the Second Adam, Jesus Christ the God-Man through the Second Eve, the immaculate Blessed Virgin Mary. In a reverse of creation, it would be through the Second Eve that the Second Adam would come into this world. "How could this be?" was the cry of those from Genesis through the Machabbees. All that was to come was clearly foretold by His chosen prophets who were, for the most part, scorned and ridiculed and yet, it was merely a manifestation that God always writes straight with crooked lines in utilizing man to convey the majesty of our Supreme Creator the Triune Divinity.
Editor's Note: This series is an effort to return to basics since too often we all make the holy Faith complicated, whereas in reality the truths and traditions of the Catholic Faith are quite simple. God doesn't complicate things, man does. Realizing the fact that, for many generations indoctrinated by conciliar ambiguities, it all seems so confusing, we are introducing this series which is an adaptation of an earlier series titled "Appreciating the Precious Gift of the Faith" in utilizing a combination of the excellent compendium of the late Bishop Morrow's pre-Vatican II Manual of Religion My Catholic Faith and Dom Prosper Gueranger's incomparable The Liturgical Year as well as the out-of-print masterpieces The Catholic Church Alone The One True Church(1902) and the Cabinet of Catholic Information (1903). This Step Twenty is taken from My Catholic Faith, including the graphic below, and "The Glories and Triumphs of the Catholic Church", published by Benziger Brothers in 1907. Through prayer and discussions, we've decided to employ this revised series to simplify the tenets of the Faith for those who continue to wallow in what they think is the 'Catholic Church' out of obedience to a man and his hierarchy who long ago betrayed Christ and His flocks. This then, is an affirmation of the basic truths the Spotless Bride of Christ has always taught and cannot change or evolve as "living documents" for truth is truth. As we say every day in the Act of Faith, "We believe these and all the truths which the holy Catholic Church teaches, because Thou hast revealed them, Who canst neither deceive nor be deceived." If you have been deceived, and the vast majority have been, then realize what you've been indoctrinated with over the past 50 years cannot be from God but from His adversary. Our advice: flee the conciliar confines as well as other man-made religions which do not teach these truths without compromise. Seek out a traditional chapel nearest to you. There is a list of churches you can absolutely trust at Traditional Latin Masses
The Promise of the Redeemer is the Second Article of the Apostle's Creed. Immediately after the Fall, God promised a Redeemer to Adam. He forgave man, although He had not forgiven the rebel angels. He was more merciful to man than to the angels. In making the promise God spoke of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who was to be the Savior's Mother.
God did not abandon man after Adam fell into sin, but promised to send into the world a Savior to free man from his sins and to reopen to him the gates of Heaven. God could have abandoned man as a consequence of Adam's sin; then the human race would have suffered eternal separation from Him.
The promise was first made to Adam before God sent him out of Paradise. God said to the serpent who had tempted Eve: "I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed; she shall crush thy head" (Genesis 3:15). In this passage, the woman spoken of is the Blessed Virgin Mary. Her seed is Our Lord Jesus Christ. He was the Redeemer promised by God. God said that there would be complete enmity between Our Lord with His Mother on one side, and the devil with his followers on the other.
This promise was renewed several times to the Patriarchs of the Old Testament: to Abraham, Issac, Jacob, and David. Because Abraham remained true to the worship of God in the midst of idolatry, God led him to Canaan. As a reward for his obedience, God promised, "I will make of thee a great nation - and in thee shall all the kindred of the earth be blessed" (Genesis 12: 2, 3). This promise was repeated twice. The same promise "in thy seed shall all the nations be blessed" was repeated to Abraham's son Isaac, and to Isaac's son Jacob. Finally, hundreds of years later, God commanded the prophet Nathan to repeat to King David the very same promise, "He shall build a house to My name, and I will establish His kingdom forever" (2 Kings 7:13).
Later, God sent the Prophets. Through them He foretold many things about the Redeemer: about His birth, His Person, His sufferings, His death, and His final glory. God enlightened the Prophets so that they could speak in His name to the Jews or Israelites, the descendants of Abraham. There were about seventy prophets, the last being Malachias, who lived some 450 years before Christ.
God chose the Jews as the people among whom the promised Savior would live; for this reason we call the Jews the "chosen people". God prepared them for the coming of the Savior: by heavy trials, by severe laws, by miracles, by prophecies. The selection of the Jews did not mean rejection by God of the other nations. Every renewal of God's promise recalled blessings in which all were to share. Even among other nations there were just men. In Greece, Socrates spoke against the worship of idols. Holy Job lived in Arabia. The Magi were of the East. Virgil the poet prayed the virgin-born Son to come and reign over His people.
God wished men to realize the enormity of sin and to see how low they could sink without His help. He wanted the world to prepare for the Redeemer. Men became so wicked that God destroyed all in the Deluge, except Noah and his family. God permitted men to sink into the deepest misery, so that they might be roused to a longing for the promised Savior. When the Savior at last came, all nations were sunk in idolatry and wickedness except the Jews. Even among the Jews there was continuous dissension and sin.
From the time of Adam the true religion was preserved till the advent of the promised Savior by the patriarchs, prophets and other holy men inspired by God to teach and lead his Chosen People. In spite of the imperfection of the old religion, there was always only one true religion. It was but a shadow of the perfection that was to come, but was the true religion before Christ: the Jewish Faith.
But the Savior of all men is Jesus Christ. Men would know the Savior by certain signs which God revealed through the Prophets. Of His advent the Prophets spoke:
Of the person of the Messiah the Prophets spoke: He was to be the Son of God. He would work great miracles, and teach the people. He would be King of a new kingdom, which was not to be destroyed, and was to include all nations. "The Lord hath said to me: Thou art my Son: this day have I begotten Thee" (Psalms 2:7). "Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall be free" (Isaiah 35: 5-6). "The God of Heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed...and it shall consume all these kingdoms, and itself shall stand forever."
Of His sufferings the Prophets spoke: He was to enter Jerusalem riding on an ass. He would be betrayed by one who ate at the same table with Him. He would be abandoned, mocked, beaten, spat upon, scourged, crowned with thorns, and given gall and vinegar to drink. Lots would be cast for His garments. His hands and feet would be pierced with nails. He would die between two evildoers.
All the prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus Christ. He is the Redeemer, the Savior that God in His mercy had promised. The angels announced Him as the Redeemer to the shepherds when He was born, and to Saint Joseph in a vision. "For God so loved the world that He gave his only-begotten Son" (St. John 3:16).
Throughout the centuries God sent His prophets to predict different events and facts concerning the promised Savior. Among the most important prophets were Jeremiah, Isaias, Daniel, and Ezechiel to name a few. Daniel predicted the exact time of the birth of the Redeemer - Jesus Christ. He said His kingdom would have no end, and would embrace all kingdoms. Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would be born of a virgin, would be both God and Man, and would die patiently and willingly like a lamb for our sins.
The chief teaching of the Catholic Church about Jesus Christ is that He is God made man. Christ Himself said that He is God. The Jews understood His claim literally, and He was condemned to death for blashpemy, for making Himself the Son of God. Christ said: "All power in Heaven and on earth has been given to Me" (Matthew 28:18). "And the high priest said to him, 'I adjure thee by the living God that Thou tell us whether Thou art the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus said to him, 'Thou hast said it'" (Matthew 26:63). "I and the Father are one" (St. John 10:30).
Christ proved His claims by wonderful miracles, by prophecies, by His knowledge of all things, and by the holiness of His life. These miracles Christ worked in His own name, not as His followers did, who worked in the name of God. He simply said: "I will, be thou made clean" (Matthew 8:3). Christ himself appealed to His miracles as a testimony of the truth of His doctrines and divinity, saying: "If you are not willing to believe me, believe the works" (John 10:38). Christ foretold future events. Among other things, He predicted His passion, death, and resurrection, the treason of Judas and the perpetuity of His Church.
The Apostles, the followers of Christ Himself, plainly taught that Christ is God, and died in testimony of their faith. St. John says: "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God." and "And the Word was made Flesh." St. Paul writes: "In Him (Christ) dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily" (Colossians 2:9). St. Thomas openly professed the divinity of Christ when he said: "My Lord and my God" (John 20:28). St. Peter said: "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God."
The Church teaches that Jesus Christ is God. Its teachings have spread throughout all nations, in spite of untold obstacles. The Church has grown by the simplest of means, its spread ever accompanied by wonderful miracles, by which God designs to show forth the truth of the Church. The doctrine of the divinity of Christ is the foundation of the Christian religion.
Even the enemies of the Catholic Church have admitted their belief in the divinity of Jesus Christ. Napoleon, about to die, said: "I know men, but Jesus Christ was more than man. My men deserted me in the field when I was there leading them. Christ's army has been faithful for centuries. A Leader who has an army which functions though He is dead is not man."
Jesus Christ is God because He is the only Son of God, having the same divine nature as His Father. "And they all said, 'Art thou, then, the Son of God?' He answered, 'You yourselves say that I am.' And they said, 'What further need have we of witnesses? For we have heard it ourselves from his own mouth' " (St. Luke 22: 70-71).
Man after the Fall was unable to regain for himself his former holiness. He became like a sick man who could not arise from bed. He needed Someone to raise him up. Since the sin he had committed had been an offense against an Infinite God, the atonement needed had to be by an Infinite One, the Son of God Himself. "God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son" (John 3:16). "This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased" (St. Matthew 3:17).
Previously: Step Twenty: Season of the Nativity
Catholicism Made Simple