The Long-Awaited Christ
In a biblically illiterate culture many mistakenly suppose that “Christ” represents the last name of Jesus. In truth, Christ is a title that comes from the Greek (Christos) rendering of the Hebrew word Messiah, meaning “anointed one.” As such, the Christ of Christmas is the long-awaited Messiah who fulfills all the types and shadows of the Old Testament scriptures.
To fully grasp the significance of Christ’s messianic role, you must drink deeply from the wellspring of Old Testament prophecy. In Hebrews, as in the rest of the New Testament, the Old Testament history of Israel is interpreted as a succession of types that find ultimate fulfillment in the birth, death, resurrection, and ascension of the Christ we celebrate at Christmas.
In his letter to the Romans, Paul refers to Adam as a “pattern” (literally, type) of Jesus Christ (Romans 5:14). Paul, likewise, taught the believers at Colossae that the dietary laws, religious festivals, and Sabbath of the Old Covenant were “a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ” (Colossians 2:17).
The interpretive principle of typology is equally persuasive in the Gospels. Christ’s successful resistance of temptation in the desert after 40 days of fasting is a direct typological contrast to the disobedience of the Israelites that resulted in forty years of wilderness wanderings (Matthew 4:1–11; Mark 1:12–13; Luke 4:1–13). In remaining faithful to His Father, Christ did what Israel was unable to do. Christ is thus true Israel, and all who are found in Christ are heirs according to the promises God made to Abraham.
See more about Hank Hanegraaff's 25-day Christmas devotional here: The Heart of Christmas (Thomas Nelson, 2009)