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It is almost time for Christmas- or Christ mass - which literally means the celebration of Jesus and in particular His birth. While we can and should rejoice at both his birth and his resurrection year around, Christmas is the time where families designate their time to come together in celebration of the birth of Jesus. Since we are the Bible Wiki, Christmas is an excellent opportunity for us to create some special events and write about Jesus outside of the mainstream content all while celebrating his birth. This year Henry (SouthWriter) and I are co-writing this blogpost below. We not only want this to be a good read, but also we want this to be a very interactive blog. So please make sure to comment and interact with the blogpost. Without further ado, “Christmas A Prophetic Perspective “

Ancient Prophecies

Many hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus there were several prophecies about His birth that gave very specific detail concerning where Jesus would be born and what he would do. Every word of the Bible had to or will need to have been fulfilled and will not be wrong [1].

One of the earliest prophecies of Jesus’s birth specifically was that he would be born of the lineage of David and that David’s son would reign forever and establish God’s kingdom [2]. If we follow Jesus’s genealogy, there may appear to be a problem with this, for while both Mary and Joseph are of the house of David, Joseph is a descendant of Jeconiah [3], and if Jesus were his descendant he could not sit on the throne of Israel [4]. However, God still preserves His promises. Though Joseph the adoptive rather than the biological father of Jesus, with Jesus being conceived by the Holy Spirit [5], he became the "seed of the woman" in fulfilment of the oldest prophecy of them all[6]. Besides, Jesus is shown to be David’s descendant through Nathan, Solomon’s brother. Both lines converge and diverge through Zorobabel, the royal governor after the return from exile [7].

All the way back in the prophetic Book of Isaiah [8], Isaiah declares the sign that God promises to give: that Jesus would be born of a virgin [9]. That this had to be a miracle from God, the prophecy seemed incredible. However, because only the Son of God could have been without sin, Jesus fulfilled this remarkable prophecy to the letter.


Again we see another prophecy, made by Micah, that foretells that out of the city of Bethlehem would arise the King of Israel, one that is as ancient as time [10]. Jesus fits the description of being ancient, as He was present at the beginning [11], that is, The Creation of the world. This prophecy required that Jesus to be born in Bethlehem [12], which at first may seem to be a problem. Mary and Joseph lived in Nazareth and it is only because of the census that Joseph had reason to return to his hometown of Bethlehem [13], where his wife, whom he brought with him [14], gave birth to the Savior of humanity [15]. Without this census, Jesus would have never been born in Bethlehem. This shows the delicate precision of the fulfillment, for without Caesar Augustus’ calling for the census [16], Jesus would not have been the prophesied Messiah. The birth narrative provided by Matthew includes many citations from the Old Testament besides that concerning the miraculous virgin birth of Jesus. A cryptic mention of the star over Bethlehem, found in the account of the reluctant prophet Balaam [17], prompted magi from the far east of the Roman Empire to follow signs in the night sky. Their coming to Jerusalem caused Herod to inquire concerning the prophecies. His spiritual advisors knew the answer to where the Messiah would be born (see above). It is in the narrative that follows that Matthew sees fulfillment of prophecies others might have missed.

Concerning Herod the Great’s sending troops to the village of Bethlehem to kill the infants and toddlers[18], Matthew recalls the remark concerning the coming destruction of the towns in Judah and Israel as they were destroyed. He states that the voice of lamenting among the women in Israel (daughters of Rachel) would be heard once again[19], as prophesied [20]. Since escaping this slaughter entailed escaping to Egypt, Matthew recalls another obscure reference, applying it to Jesus: “Out of Egypt I have called my son” [21].

Though Luke began his narrative in Nazareth, Matthew ends it there. In getting the young Jesus to his hometown, Matthew sees fit to cite the prophets once again. However, in doing so, he presents a problem to many: there is not a written prophecy that states “He shall be called a Nazarene” [22]. What can we say to this? The easiest thing is to point to the word “spoken” rather than “written” by the prophets. Much was passed down through oral tradition. However, this could be a reference to his growing up despised by men [23], for the city did not have a good reputation [24]. One possible verse of direct prophecy that was written down, but is lost in translation is from Isaiah: “a Branch shall grow out of [Jesse’s] roots” [25].

In this verse, the word "branch" is "netsar", which is a possible origin of the name of the post-exilic town settled by a mixed population, and not liked by religious Jews. It was not expected that the Messiah would come from such a despised place. It was expected, though that Jesus would become known as “the Nazarene,” as Matthew so clearly points out in this citation.

Contemporary Promises and Prophecies

Not only can we consider prophecies that were fulfilled from hundreds to thousands of years earlier, there are also many events that happened on the short term that God had promised to occur. The most obvious example was at some time in her pregnancy, about the time she visited Elizabeth [26], she felt life within her womb, confirming that the angel’s message was indeed true [27].

Another thing was that fulfilled in a short term was that Jesus was given the name "Jesus" (meaning “Salvation” or “The LORD saves”). The name was an ancient one, held by the famous warrior leader, and successor to Moses, Joshua. The concept of God as Savior is throughout the Old Testament, so when it came to naming the child Mary carried, the name was given as a prophecy of his mission on the earth [28]. The concept of salvation coming through the “seed of the woman” has existed since the beginning [29]. When Jesus is circumcised on the eighth day (a religious rite God required as symbolism for His covenant with Abraham [30]) he is given the name Jesus [31].

One promise that was almost immediately fulfilled was that to the shepherds, who followed the instructions of the angel, who told them they would find the Messiah in a manger [32]. When they went to go find this Messiah [33], sure enough, they found him exactly as described [34].

We also see that Simeon, who presided over the dedication of Jesus, had received a promise from God that before his death he would see the Savior of Israel. He rejoiced when he realized the child in his arms was indeed the Christ [35]. We can see this is one of the many examples of Jesus and his family being compliant with God’s law. Other examples include Joseph planning to divorce Mary originally [36][37] and his family celebrating Passover [38][39]. This shows how Jesus (by the example of his family) indeed fulfilled the law [40].

Conclusion

So many times in the birth account of Jesus the word “fulfilled” is used [41], because indeed Jesus did fulfill prophecy many times. This blogpost has solely discussed things that were fulfilled concerning the birth of Jesus, we have not even touched the rest of his life. As we know, God always keeps His promises [42] and that the Bible never fails [43]. Remember, that Christmas is not only about family and togetherness, but it is about togetherness in remembrance of Jesus Christ’s birth and being thankful that He was indeed the Messiah talked about and that He indeed fulfilled the law. Enjoy this Christmas in commemoration of Jesus’s birth.

In Christ,
Superdadsuper, Administrator & Bureaucrat
SouthWriter, Administrator

Verses

  1. Luke 1:37, Matt 5:18, 24:34-35; Matt 1:22 (Link)
  2. 2 Sam 7:11-16; Psa 9:7,93:2, 103:19 (Link)
  3. Matt 1:12-16 (Link)
  4. Jer 22:28-30 (Link)
  5. Luke 1:35 (Link)
  6. Gen 3:15 (Link)
  7. Matt 1:13; Luke 3:27 (Link)
  8. Isa 7:14 (Link)
  9. Matt 1:23 (Link)
  10. Micah 5:2, Matt 2:6 (Link)
  11. John 1:1-2 (Link)
  12. Matt 2:6, John 7:42 (Link)
  13. Luke 2:3-4 (Link)
  14. Luke 2:5 (Link)
  15. Luke 2:4-5 (Link)
  16. Luke 2:1 (Link)
  17. Num 24:17 (Link)
  18. Matt 2:16 (Link)
  19. Matt 2:17 (Link)
  20. Jer 31:15; Mat 2:18 (Link)
  21. Hosea 11:1; Matt 2:15 (Link)
  22. Matt 2:23 (Link)
  23. Isa 53:3 (Link)
  24. John 1:46 (Link)
  25. Isa 11:1 (Link)
  26. Luke 1:39-40, 42 (Link)
  27. Luke 1:31, Matt 1:18 (Link)
  28. Matt 1:21 (Link)
  29. Gen 3:15 (Link)
  30. Gen 17:10, Lev 12:3, Josh 5:2-8 (Link)
  31. Luke 2:21 (Link)
  32. Luke 2:8-12 (Link)
  33. Luke 2:15 (Link)
  34. Luke 2:16 (Link)
  35. Luke 2:26, 29-32 (Link)
  36. Matt 1:19 (Link)
  37. Deut 24:1 (Link)
  38. Luke 2:41 (Link)
  39. Exo. 23:15; Deut 16:1 (Link)
  40. Matt 5:17 (Link)
  41. Luke 1:1, 38, 45 (Link)
  42. Num 23:19; Psa 89:28,34 (Link)
  43. Luke 1:37, Matt 5:18, 24:34-35; Matt 1:22 (Link)

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