Deeper Christmas – Prophecies of Jesus’ Birth

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In cleaning out my desk drawers recently, I came upon the Christmas letter that we wrote to family and friends years ago shortly after I became a Christian.  In it I outlined my readings from Josh Mc Dowell’s classic book, Evidence That Demands a Verdict.  I was so blessed by rereading this letter.  I haven’t looked at these prophecies all at once in many years but they are a powerful reminder that though God asks us to live by faith (understanding that we don’t know everything and that His ways are higher than our ways)  he gives us evidence and proof that He exists.  God has given our human brains powers of reason far beyond any other created being and He expects us to use these powers to understand Him.  Come let us reason together says the Lord.  Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be white as snow.

As we continue to work through our Jesse Tree Devotional, I am able to point out the prophecies of the Messiah as we read through the passages of scripture.  It has added such depth to our study – awesome!

Here is a breakdown of some of the prophecies of the Old Testament Messiah.  This is in no way a complete list.  Experts on Bible prophecy say that there are over 400 prophecies of the Messiah in the Old Testament.  The odds of one man fulfilling even 8 of these prophecies is  1 in 1017. 

To illustrate the magnitude of this number, it has been suggested that we take 1017 silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas.  They will cover all of the state two feet deep.  Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state.  Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up one silver dollar and say that this is the right one.  What chance would he have of getting the right one?  Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing these eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man.

So what is prophecy?

Prophecy is a “prediction of the future, made under divine inspiration” or a “revelation of God.”

The Old Testament books in the Bible (all of them written between 1450 BC and 430 BC) contained hundreds of prophecies about an “anointed one” (“Messiah” in Hebrew) who would arrive in their future. The Messiah would “deliver” or “save” all the Jewish people, bringing them to paradise or heaven. These prophecies also stated that the Messiah would save all the other people in the world “through the Jews.”

Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53

Even a casual reader of the Bible will notice something different about Psalm 22 and Isaiah 52:13 to 53:12. They tell stories that perfectly parallel events in the life of Christ that took place much later. Psalm 22 is especially amazing since it predicted 11 separate things about Jesus’ crucifixion about a thousand years before they happened.  On top of that, crucifixion hadn’t even been invented yet. We know that David (the author of Psalm 22) lived about 1043-973 BC and Isaiah lived about 740-680 BC. Both passages, written far ahead of the time of Christ, are strong proof that the Bible was literally inspired by God.

Couldn’t Someone Just Write These Down and Pretend They Were Written Earlier?

Many people who do not believe in the Bible say this. However, manuscripts have been found {such as the Dead Sea Scrolls} that confirm that these various prophecies were written down 400-1,000 years before they actually occurred.

A Comment on Understanding Prophecy

Some of these prophecies are very clear and easy to understand. However, if you are new to reading the Bible, other prophecies will not be easy to understand.  Even if you do not understand every idea or term when you start reading, do not be discouraged. You just need to learn the language—perhaps in the same way you learned a different vocabulary in your job or at school.

Fulfilled prophecy is strong evidence that God is the author of the Bible, because when you look at the mathematical odds of prophecy being fulfilled, you quickly see a design, a purpose, and a guiding hand behind the Bible.  If just one prophecy failed, then we would know that God is not the true God, because the creator of all things, which includes time, would not be wrong about predicting the future.


Born of the Seed of the Woman
Gen. 3:15, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” Matt. 1:20, “But after he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph, Son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.'”

Born of a Virgin
Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” Matt. 1:18,25, “This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary…was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit… But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.”

Son of God
Psalm 2:7, “I will proclaim the decree of the LORD: He said to me, ‘You are my Son, today I have become your Father.'” Matt. 3:15“And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.'”

Seed of Abraham
Gen. 22:18, “and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.” Matt. 1:1, “record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham.”

Son of Isaac
Gen. 21:12, “But God said to him, ‘Do not be so distressed about the boy and your maidservant.  Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.'” Luke 3:23-34, “Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli… the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor.”

House of David
Jer. 23:5, “The days are coming, declares the LORD, ‘when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.'” Luke 3:23-31, “Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli… the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David.”

Born at Bethlehem
Micah 5:2 “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.” Matt. 2:1, “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem.”

He shall be a Prophet
Deut. 18:18, “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him.” Matt. 21:11,”The crowds answered, ‘This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.'”

He shall be a Priest
Psalm 110:4, “The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: ‘You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.'” Heb. 3:1, “Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.”Heb. 5:5-6, “So Christ also did not take upon himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him, ‘You are my Son; today I have become your Father.’ And he says in another place, ‘You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.'”

He shall be a King
Psalm 2:6, “I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill.” Matt. 27:37, “Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

He shall judge
Isaiah 33:22, “For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; it is he who will save us.” John 5:30“By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.”

He would be preceded by a Messenger
Isaiah 40:3, “A voice of one calling: ‘In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God.'” Matt. 3:1-2, “In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.'”

Rejected by His own people
Isaiah 53:3, “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” John 7:5, “For even his own brothers did not believe in him.”John 7:48, “Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in Him?”

His side pierced
Zech. 12:10, “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child,and grieve bitterly for him as one mourns for an only son.” John 19:34“Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.”

Crucifixion
Psalm 22:1Psalm 22:11-18, “For the director of music. To the tune of “The Doe of the Morning.” A psalm of David. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?… Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help. Many bulls surround me; strong bulls of Bashan. Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.” Luke 23:33, “When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals — one on his right, the other on his left.”John 19:33, “But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs.”John 19:23-24“When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. ‘Let’s not tear it,’ they said to one another. ‘Let’s decide by lot who will get it.’ This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled which said, ‘They divided my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.’ So this is what the soldiers did.”

  “ Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “ Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.  Isaiah 1:18

Marianne Sunderland

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Comments

  1. I love this post. You wrapped up the prophecies so nicely. My oldest teens and I are taking some Bible Institute classes and we were covering some of the prophecies about the Messiah, and also how many more prophecies in the Old Testament are about His return (coming soon! Yippee!). I was encouraged all over again by those precious promises. Thank you so much for sharing. And thanks for stopping by my blog too!

    • Thanks Kimberly! I have been so encouraged by your story. Yes, studying prophecy is great with older kids who are more able to ‘reason’. I am hoping it helps strengthen their faith like it has mine. God Bless!

  2. I love the scripture verses, the plan is to print them, put them in small boxes, wrap them and open them for Christmas. Your site is beautiful from your writing to the lovely art work. Have a blessed Christmas!

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