Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington
Christmas Carol Messages: Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus

Christmas Carol Messages: “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus”


Many leaders have founded religions based on claims they received a message from God. So how do we know the message of Jesus Christ is the only valid and anointed way to God? What about the messages of others such as Buddha, Mohammad, or Krishna?

One Advent hymn points us to the answer.

We celebrate Advent during the four weeks prior to Christmas. It’s a time of preparation. For most of us, the preparation focuses on activities such as decorating, shopping, or baking. But the intent of Advent is to provide an opportunity for intentional spiritual preparation. Some churches recognize this time with the use of an Advent wreath, identifying alternating weekly themes such as hope, faith, joy, and peace.

The Advent hymn, “Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus,” written by Charles Wesley, turns our hearts to spiritual preparation and anticipation of the birth of the Savior.

Unlike the founder of every other world faith, Jesus Christ was “long-expected.” He didn’t suddenly appear on the scene without notice. The Old Testament recorded at least 300 messianic prophecies—some say that number is as high as 500. Prophecies as to where He would be born, what He would accomplish, how He would die, and even prophecies of His resurrection.

The nation of Israel longed for the coming of the Messiah. They longed for a military ruler who would free the nation and throw off the shackles of Rome. Most didn’t realize that the prophecies spoke of two arrivals—two advents. The Messiah’s first advent would pay for sin and restore people to an intimate relationship with their heavenly Father. The second advent, one we await even today, will fulfill His victorious reign over God’s eternal kingdom on earth.

As we sing “Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus,” we’re reminded of many of those recorded Old Testament prophecies confirming the identity of the Messiah, Jesus Christ:

Come, thou long expected Jesus, born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation, hope of all the earth thou art;
dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart.

Born thy people to deliver, born a child and yet a King,
born to reign in us forever, now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal spirit rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all sufficient merit, raise us to thy glorious throne.


Related Old Testament Prophecies


  • Come thou long-expected Jesus:
    • “It will be said on that day, ‘Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation” (Isaiah 25:9 NIV).
  • Born to set thy people free:
    • “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners” (Isaiah 61:1 NIV).
  • From our fears and sins release us:
    • “By his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities” (Isaiah 53:11 NIV).
  • Let us find our rest in thee:
    • “He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters” (Psalm 23:2 ESV).
  • Israel’s strength and consolation:
    • “Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ” (Luke 2:25-26 ESV).
  • Hope of all the earth thou art:
    • “In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3 ESV).
  • Dear desire of every nation:
    • “I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty” (Haggai 2:7 NIV).
  • Joy of every longing heart:
    • “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation” (Luke 2:29-30 ESV).
  • Born thy people to deliver:
    • “And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities” (Psalm 130:8 ESV).
  • Born a child and yet a king:
    • “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times” (Micah 5:2 NIV).
  • Born to reign in us forever:
    • “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill” (Psalm 2:6 ESV).
  • Now thy gracious kingdom bring:
    • “Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey” (Zechariah 9:9 ESV).
  • By thine own eternal spirit:
    • “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight;
      I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations” (Isaiah 42:1 NIV).
  • Rule in all our hearts alone:
    • “Declares the Lord: ‘I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people’” (Jeremiah 31:33 ESV).
  • By thine all sufficient merit:
    • “The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears; I have not been rebellious, I have not turned away. I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting” (Isaiah 50:5 NIV).
  • Raise us to thy glorious throne:
    • “You ascended on high, leading a host of captives in your train and receiving gifts among men, even among the rebellious, that the Lord God may dwell there” (Psalm 68:18 ESV).

This year, as we sing to express our joy at the first advent of Jesus, we have the assurance that He will someday also fulfill all the prophecies of His second coming!

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