Some people say things just happen for no reason. I say things happen because God has planned what will happen in the course of human history, and so it comes to pass. Where does the idea, the inspiration to invent, to compose, to build, to make things come from anyway? And to what end? To glorify God or man? Just think of what happened when the printing press was invented. The common man could have his own Bible, and the printed Word could be carried all over the world. How marvelous the workings of God.
I want to tell you of two such men who were inspired by God to do a great work that would honor and glorify His name. Some 270 years have now passed since this work has gained world attention. We hear this wonderful composition mostly around the Christmas season in churches and auditoriums. It is one of the most recognized sounds today; it is Handel’s Messiah.
In 1741-42, in London, England, events brought two men together to write the music and words to “Messiah,” A Sacred Oratorio. Once Charles Jennens selected the words from the Old and New Testaments, Handel took the material and with his usual quick speed, composed this heartwarming masterpiece.
I suppose most are familiar with the ‘Hallelujah’ chorus, “King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah.” But do you know the source and meaning of the words? Hallelujah comes from the Hebrew and means, “praise God.” King of Kings and Lord of Lords is taken from Revelation 19:16…”And He shall reign for ever and ever,” Revelation 11:15. These are prophecies from the Bible that await a future fulfillment when the Lord shall appear at His Second Coming. You see, what Charles Jennens did was take the Messianic prophecies about Jesus, the Messiah, and weaved the story of His first coming in prophecies already fulfilled. Then he blended the prophecies of a future time when Christ will return again. Even our future resurrection was selected from key Bible passages of both testaments and put to composition.
The ‘Libretto’ of the Messiah means the words from selected passages of Scripture that tell the story of the coming Messiah, arranged in three parts. As we journey through this most amazing composition, see if you can determine which prophecies have already been fulfilled, and those that still await a future fulfillment.
“And without controversy, great is the Mystery of Godliness: God was manifested in the Flesh, justified by the Spirit, seen of Angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on the world, received up in Glory.” (1 Timothy 3:16)
“In whom are hid all the Treasures of Wisdom and Knowledge.” (Colossians 2:3)
PART ONE: The prophecy and realization of God’s plan to redeem mankind by the coming of the Messiah.
“Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness; prepare ye the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” (Isaiah 40:1-3)
“Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill made low; the crooked straight, and the rough places plain.” (Isaiah 40:4)
“And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see together; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” (Isaiah 40:5)
“Thus saith the Lord, the Lord of Hosts; yet once a little while and I will shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and dry land: and I will shake all nations; and the desire of all nations shall come.” (Haggai 2:6-7)
“The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the Covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, He shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts.” (Malachi 3;1)
“But who may abide the day of His coming, and who shall stand when He appears? For He is like a refiners fire.” (Malachi 3:2)
“And He shall purify the sons of Levi, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.” (Malachi 3:3)
“Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call his name Emmanuel, GOD WITH US.” (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23)
“O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, get thee up into the high mountain. O thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, behold your God! O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, arise, shine, for thy Light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” (Isaiah 40:9; 60:1)
“For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people; but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.” (Isaiah 60:2-3)
“The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; and they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” (Isaiah 9:2)
“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
“There were shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night.” (Luke 2:8)
“And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid.” (Luke 2:9)
“And the angel said unto them: Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11)
‘And suddenly there was with the angel, a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying: Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth, good will towards men.” (Luke 2:13-14)
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, thy King cometh unto thee; He is the righteous Savior, and He shall speak peace unto the heathen.” (Zechariah 9:9-10)
“Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing.” (Isaiah 35:5-6)
“He shall feed His flock like a shepherd; and He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.” (Isaiah 40:11)
“Come unto Him, all ye that labor, come unto Him that are heavy laden, and He will give you rest. Take His yoke upon you, and learn of Him, for He is meek and lowly of heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29)
“His yoke is easy, and His burden light.” (Matthew 11:30)