Message – The Long awaited Messiah
The Long awaited Messiah
What did the scriptures tell and foretell regarding the birth of Messiah?
It occurred to me to cover some of the predictions of Messiah’s birth from the Old Testament and then compare them to their recorded fulfillment in the New Testament, but I thought –”I’ve already done that before”, but upon looking through our website, what I’ve done in the past was far less than what I had in view for tonight. So that is what we are doing and it will further go to demonstrate how Old Testament prophecy always reveals Jesus, even when it is speaking of things which were at the time, current events.
These are called prophecies with dual purpose and fulfillment.
As would make sense we will start in Genesis when the need of our redemption came to light at the fall in the garden.
You will remember that God called Adam to his mark, made Adam face Him like a man and addressed his sin, Eve’s sin as well as that of the serpent. It is during God’s address to the serpent that mankind’s first verbal promise of redemption was foretold.
Gen. 3:14-15, “(14) Then the LORD God said to the serpent: Because you have done this, you are cursed more than any livestock and more than any wild animal. You will move on your belly and eat dust all the days of your life. (15) I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.”
This prediction was made 5,000 years before Messiah and was recorded by Moses as God dictated the events from the beginning to him in approx. 1,500 BC.
Many years later Malachi prophesied regarding Messiah in
Mal. 4:1-2, “(1) For indeed, the day is coming, burning like a furnace, when all the arrogant and everyone who commits wickedness will become stubble. The coming day will consume them,” says the LORD of Hosts, “not leaving them root or branches. (2) But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings, and you will go out and playfully jump like calves from the stall.” – This was prophecying Good news for the people God favors. [Date: 500+ years BC]
He was foretold to be of the lineage of David
Isa. 11:1-5, “(1) Then a shoot will grow from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit. (2) The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him–a Spirit of wisdom and understanding, a Spirit of counsel and strength, a Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD. (3) His delight will be in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what He sees with His eyes, He will not execute justice by what He hears with His ears, (4) but He will judge the poor righteously and execute justice for the oppressed of the land. He will strike the land with discipline from His mouth, and He will kill the wicked with a command from His lips. (5) Righteousness and faithfulness will be a belt around His waist.” [Date: 800 years BC]
There is another more famous prophecy than this one in Isaiah, but we will look at that a little later.
This prophetic word was recorded as fulfilled in Luke 1:67-80,
“67 Now his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying: 68 “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited and redeemed His people, 69 And has raised up a horn of salvation for us In the house of His servant David, 70 As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets, Who have been since the world began, 71 That we should be saved from our enemies And from the hand of all who hate us, 72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers And to remember His holy covenant, 73 The oath which He swore to our father Abraham: 74 To grant us that we, Being delivered from the hand of our enemies, Might serve Him without fear, 75 In holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life. 76 “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, 77 To give knowledge of salvation to His people By the remission of their sins, 78 Through the tender mercy of our God, With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; 79 To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, To guide our feet into the way of peace.” 80 So the child grew and became strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his manifestation to Israel.”
It was predicted that Messiah would rule
“(15) Then he proclaimed his poem: The oracle of Balaam son of Beor, the oracle of the man whose eyes are opened; (16) the oracle of one who hears the sayings of God and has knowledge from the Most High, who sees a vision from the Almighty, who falls into a trance with his eyes uncovered: (17) I see him, but not now; I perceive him, but not near. A star will come from Jacob, and a scepter will arise from Israel. He will smash the forehead of Moab and strike down all the Shethites. (18) Edom will become a possession; Seir will become a possession of its enemies, but Israel will be triumphant. (19) One who comes from Jacob will rule; he will destroy the city’s survivors.” – The Star representing a king born to rule the Jews
“(1) After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of King Herod, wise men from the east arrived unexpectedly in Jerusalem, (2) saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” (3) When King Herod heard this, he was deeply disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. (4) So he assembled all the chief priests and scribes of the people and asked them where the Messiah would be born. (5) “In Bethlehem of Judea,” they told him, “because this is what was written by the prophet: (6) And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah: because out of you will come a leader who will shepherd My people Israel.”
“(8) Now I say that Christ has become a servant of the circumcised on behalf of the truth of God, to confirm the promises to the fathers, (9) and so that Gentiles may glorify God for His mercy. As it is written: Therefore I will praise You among the Gentiles, and I will sing psalms to Your name. – Ps. 18 (10) Again it says: Rejoice, you Gentiles, with His people! – Deut. 32:43 (11) And again: Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles; all the peoples should praise Him! – Ps. 117:1 (12) And again, Isaiah says: The root of Jesse will appear, the One who rises to rule the Gentiles; in Him the Gentiles will hope. – Isa. 11:10 (13) Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Arguably the most famous prediction was in Isaiah 9 which says, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a child is given…”. Let’s read that prophecy…
Isa 9:1-7, “(1) Nevertheless, the gloom of the distressed land will not be like that of the former times when He humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali. But in the future He will bring honor to the Way of the Sea, to the land east of the Jordan, and to Galilee of the nations. (2) The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of darkness, a light has dawned. (3) You have enlarged the nation and increased its joy. The people have rejoiced before You as they rejoice at harvest time and as they rejoice when dividing spoils. (4) For You have shattered their burdensome yoke and the rod on their shoulders, the staff of their oppressor, just as You did on the day of Midian. (5) For the trampling boot of battle and the bloodied garments of war will be burned as fuel for the fire. (6) For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on His shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. (7) The dominion will be vast, and its prosperity will never end. He will reign on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish and sustain it with justice and righteousness from now on and forever. The zeal of the LORD of Hosts will accomplish this.”
A backdrop for this next verse is that Ahaz king of Judea, had heard that Rezin king of Aram, along with Pekah king of Israel was going to come and attack Judah. King Ahaz had a heart which was more inclined to the king of Assyria and Assyria’s god than to Jehovah and as such was struggling against his own conscience which told him to forsake his a idolatry and trust the God of Israel.
Henry Morris says, “A secret disaffection to God is often disguised with the specious colours of respect to Him.” (M. Henry.)
Now, let’s take a moment to consider what is being said here.
Jesus was given TO US!
Most of us are aware that Jesus was given FOR us, but to realize yet another and perhaps even deeper truth in that it speaks to the very reason FOR salvation since it is relational to its core – Jesus was given TO us… For unto US!
Of course Jesus was only God’s son physically. As part of the Godhead, Jesus had no position above or beneath The Father – that relationship of Father to Son BEGAN at the incarnation – and will (so far as scripture has revealed) never end. (1Cor. 15:28)
God the Father literally had a physically born human baby boy…a body if you will, into which the Spirit of the Eternally Living Word would be placed…and in that way, and that way alone, Jesus was and is the son of God.
God in the form of a baby, was God’s final word spoken TO man regarding their salvation.
We know Him as Jesus which means SAVIOR – which is the reason and reality behind the promise that a child would be given TO US.
Jesus Himself is said to have spoken of His Own incarnation in that way. In Heb. 10:5 it says, “You did not want sacrifice and offering, but a body You have prepared for Me.”
Even the way He sometimes spoke of Himself was as two people – there was WHO He eternally was as God, and there was WHO He was made to be for mankind.
Consider how in this one place Jesus refers to Himself in the third person in John 17:3, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ Whom You have sent.”
As you no doubt predicted yourself, one of my favorite poetic accounts of the incarnation is from Michael Card’s song “The Final Word”.
The lyrics actually capture the wonder and truths of the “For unto us” of the incarnation.
You and me we use so very many clumsy words.
The noise of what we often say is not worth being heard.
When the Father’s wisdom wanted to communicate His love,
He spoke it in one final perfect Word.
He spoke the incarnation, and then so was born a Son.
His final word was Jesus, He needed no other one.
He Spoke flesh and blood so He could bleed and make a way Divine.
And so was born a baby Who would die to make it mine.
And so the Father’s fondest thought became flesh and bone.
He spoke the living luminous Word, at once His will was done.
And so the transformation that in man had been unheard,
Took place in God the Father as He spoke that final Word.
And so the Light became alive and manna became Man.
Eternity stepped into time so we could understand.
He spoke the incarnation, and then so was born a Son.
His final word was Jesus, He needed no other one.
Spoke flesh and blood so He could bleed and make a way Divine.
And so was born a baby Who would die to make it mine.
So almighty God, the One Who alone was responsible for creating EVERYTHING that exists. That particular member of the Godhead – became one of His Own creations… He became a baby boy.
What were God’s intentions in the incarnation?
Well salvation for sure, but more than salvation.
We have found that He stated intentions in John 1 – “In Him was LIFE and that Life was the LIGHT of men.” We learned also that the LIFE was in fact the Father Himself.
The perfect intimate union that existed between God the Father and Jesus the HUMAN BEING was the light or the revelation to the world – that God Loves mankind and desires to know and be known by us.
Salvation is to KNOW the Father and Jesus Whom He sent.
Those words “For unto us” spoken prophetically by Isaiah 700 years before Messiah’s birth, were the very words the Angel spoke to the shepherds the night He was born.
We see this fulfilled in the Historical record of Luke 2:1-35,
“(1) In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole empire should be registered. (2) This first registration took place while Quirinius was governing Syria.”
Now I know some of you well enough to know that you sometimes wonder at the necessity of all the detail…I mean who cares who was governing Syria when Jesus was born? Well this fact, together with a some written accounts of Josephus, Herod and a full lunar eclipse is what makes it possible to virtually tack down with alarming certainty the time of Christ’s birth which is important to reliably establish Him as a real person, born at a very specific time. God knew this, so He inspired Luke to record the details of His arrival.
“(3) So everyone went to be registered, each to his own town. (4) And Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David, (5) to be registered along with Mary, who was engaged to him and was pregnant.”
Of course being pregnant before marriage does not sound odd today, but God designed physical union to be expressed inside the commitment of marriage, so it was that among the Jews in their day this was a MAJOR offense which could have landed them both or at least Mary in some VERY hot water!
“(6) While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. (7) Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped Him snugly in cloth and laid Him in a feeding trough–because there was no room for them at the inn.
(8) In the same REGION, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock.”
Though many think of it only as quaint, this mention of shepherds is one of the most endearing and telling historical aspects surrounding Jesus’ birth.
On a practical level, it offers us a time of year in which Jesus was born.
It’s one of the reasons why we know Jesus was not actually born on December 25th. You see, no shepherds were staying out in the fields with their flock that late in the year.
Not to get side-stepped from our focus, but it is quite possible that Sept. 29th 2B.C. was the day in which God became a baby boy.
It is one of the few dates which can be reconciled with all of the other biblical and historical facts surrounding His birth. Beyond that is the significance that it would have to the Jewish people in that it would have been during the Feast of Trumpets 15 days before the Feast of Tabernacles.
You see on the Feast of Trumpets, there was a blast of the horn that signified “Good News” and the Feast of Booths (or Feast of tabernacles) would have in a very literal way signified God as having “Tabernacled” among His people – in the person of His son Jesus, our Emmanuel (which means God with us).
“(9) Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. (10) But the angel said to them,
“Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you GOOD NEWS of great joy that will be for all the people: (11) today a Savior, Who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David. (12) This will be the sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped snugly in cloth and lying in a feeding trough.”
Born FOR YOU! Sounds familiar doesn’t it?
“(13) Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: (14) Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people He favors!
(15) When the angels had left them and returned to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go straight to Bethlehem and see what has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”
(16) They hurried off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the feeding trough.
(17) After seeing them, they reported the message they were told about this child, (18) and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.”
God has chosen the base things of the world to confound the wise.
I’ve told you several times in the past that in those days, Shepherds were of very low reputation.
Morris says, “As a class shepherds had a bad reputation . . . More regrettable was their habit of confusing ‘mine’ with ‘thine’ as they moved about the country. They were considered unreliable and were not allowed to give testimony in the law courts.”
So naturally who does God first assign the job of giving testimony to the birth of His Son…but Shepherds.
He came veiled so that only those who have eyes to see will see and only those who have ears to hear will hear!
“(19) But Mary was treasuring up all these things in her heart and meditating on them. (20) The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had seen and heard, just as they had been told.”
This is the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah regarding Messiah’s birth,
Isa. 7:10-16, “(10) Then the LORD spoke again to Ahaz: (11) “Ask for a sign from the LORD your God–from the depths of Sheol to the heights of heaven.” (12) But Ahaz replied, “I will not ask. I will not test the LORD.” (13) Isaiah said, “Listen, house of David! Is it not enough for you to try the patience of men? Will you also try the patience of my God? (14) Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel. (15) By the time he learns to reject what is bad and choose what is good, he will be eating butter and honey. (16) For before the boy knows to reject what is bad and choose what is good, the land of the two kings you dread will be abandoned.”
Going back to Luke 2:21-35
Jesus is circumcised into the Covenant
“(21) When the eight days were completed for His circumcision, He was named JESUS–the name given by the angel before He was conceived. (22) And when the days of their purification according to the law of Moses were finished, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (23) (just as it is written in the law of the Lord: Every firstborn male will be dedicated to the Lord) (24) and to offer a sacrifice (according to what is stated in the law of the Lord: a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons).”
This was necessary on many grounds, but largely it was in order for Him to literally “fulfill all righteousness” and “fulfill the law” without blame or sin – that He might be qualified to serve as the Lamb slain for our sins.
“(25) There was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, looking forward to Israel’s consolation, and the Holy Spirit was on him. (26) It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he saw the Lord’s Messiah. (27) Guided by the Spirit, he entered the temple complex. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform for Him what was customary under the law, (28) Simeon took Him up in his arms, praised God, and said: (29) Simeon was waiting for the “consolation of Israel” – this is an amazing word with which you are all familiar. It is the word Paraklesis making Jesus our Paracletos. Paraklesis is the act of exhortation, encouragement, comfort.”
It is a very good word to use of Jesus because as John 1 says, Jesus is the Living Word and all of Scripture is actually a Paraklesis, an exhortation, admonition or encouragement for the purpose of strengthening and establishing the believer in the faith.
In fact Paul speaks of his preaching of the gospel as Paraklesis in 1Thess. 2:3 even the contents of the letter addressed to the church at Antioch in Acts 15:31 is called Paraklesis.
So Simeon being a godly and devoted man, had been placed in a state of favorable expectation (and therefore faith) regarding Messiah, Who he knew as the encouragement, exhortation and comfort of Israel – because the Holy Spirit had told him that he would not see death until he had had seen Messiah with his own eyes.
So you can imagine what was in his heart as the Holy Spirit led him into the temple that day to look upon his Messiah and hold him in his arms and said the following words…
“Now, Master, You can dismiss Your slave in peace, according to Your word. (30) For my eyes have seen Your salvation. (31) You have prepared it in the presence of all peoples–
(32) a light for revelation to the Gentiles and glory to Your people Israel.
This is in agreement with John 1 which said, “In Him was Life and that Life was the LIGHT of men.”
“(33) His father and mother were amazed at what was being said about Him. (34) Then Simeon blessed them and told His mother Mary: “Indeed, this child is destined to cause the fall and rise of many in Israel and to be a sign that will be opposed– (35) and a sword will pierce your own soul–that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
In closing I’d like to draw from the work of the former Chicago Tribune journalist, Lee Strobel who after many years of atheism while married to a Christian wife, decided to disprove the notion of Jesus as God’s Son and Savior of the world once and for all.
The account of his journey of discovery is offered in his book, The Case for Christ.
One of the primary obstacles to faith for Lee was the larger than life claims made of Messiah. However as he pursued evidence to refute the claims of the life & Deity and Jesus Christ, he found something which turned his argent disbelief into genuine awe and ultimately faith in Christ himself. One of the most compelling of proofs was found in Jesus’ fulfillment of Messianic prophecies – many of which no one else in history has or even can fulfill. A good number of the prophecies are something no human being could control – like the timing and location and family of one’s birth. Others include specific events which HAD to come about before others and those times are long since past so that if Messiah had not come before 70AD, He never can!
In regard to this Lee wrote…
“In many criminal cases, fingerprint identification is the pivotal evidence. I remember covering a trial in which a single thumbprint found on the cellophane wrapper of a cigarette package was the determining factor in convicting a twenty-year-old burglar of murdering a college coed. That’s how conclusive fingerprint evidence can be.
In the Old Testament, there are several dozen major prophecies about the coming of the Messiah, who would be sent by God to redeem His people. In effect, these predictions form a figurative fingerprint that only the Anointed One would be able to match. This way, the Israelites could rule out any impostors and validate the credentials of the authentic Messiah.
Against astronomical odds—one chance in a trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion—Jesus, and only Jesus throughout history matched this prophetic fingerprint. This confirms Jesus’ identity to an incredible degree of certainty.”
The Gospel writers make their belief that Jesus fit this Messianic fingerprint by highlight many of the Old Testament prophecies foretelling things Jesus Himself fulfilled centuries before they happened.
Scholars have gone on record as saying that there are more than 300 prophecies regarding the initial advent of Messiah, all of which were fulfilled precisely.
The virgin birth is mentioned not only in the famous passage in Isaiah but actually makes its first appearance in Genesis 3:15 when God told the serpent that the child born who would be his undoing would be the “the seed of the woman,”. This was and is a curious phrase since the “seed” the “seed” of life comes from the man.
Somehow, this Redeemer would be conceived without the sperm of a human male. This was necessary if Messiah’s blood was to be untainted by sin, and so it happened and is recorded as fulfilled in Luke 2:7 and Galatians 4:4.
He was predicted to be the descendant of Abraham in Genesis 12; Genesis 21 & Numbers 24.
This family was narrowed down to the descendant of the tribe of Judah in Genesis 49 (recorded as fulfilled in Matt.1) and even further still by being of the house of David, Jesse’s son (Isaiah 11:1; Jeremiah 23:5-6) – recorded as fulfilled in Luke’s genealogy of Jesus (3:31-32) and in the angel’s announcement to Mary in (Luke 1:32-33).
A chronological roadmap for Messiah’s birth was given by the prophet Daniel during Judah’s exile in Babylon in the 6th century BC.
It says that Messiah would come 173,880 days from the time the decree was given for Judah to return from their captivity to rebuilt their temple which was on March 5, 444BC.
Luke records Jesus as being born during the rule of Caesar Augustus, when Quirinius was governing Syria (remember all those details that you often wonder why God included in those passages). That is a very specific time which perfectly aligns with the prophetic promise.
Micah foretold that Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Which means house of Bread – Jesus was the bread of Life, the physical fulfillment of the unleavened bread of the Seder meal.
Unbeknownst to Caesar, his decree for a census in your hometown arranged for Mary and Joseph to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem which fulfilled the rest of Micah’s prophecy as is recorded in Luke 2:4-5, 7.
Jeremiah foretold that Messiah’s birth would precipitate a horrible event of the slaughter of many children. This grim prophecy was fulfilled when King Herod ordered the murder of all Jewish boys 2 years old and younger as is recorded in Matt. 2:16-18.
Jesus escaped, Joseph being warned in a dream to go to Egypt which was predicted by Hosea as is recorded in chapter 11 of the book of his prophecies.
On and on and on the prophetic words go so that in all it took a mathematician, named Peter Stone to calculate the chance factor of any human being fulfilling these prophetic words regarding Messiah.
According to Mr. Stone, the chance of just fulfilling 8 of those prophecies was one in 1017 (10 to the 17th power). That is a chance factor of one in 100 quadrillion.
To illustrate this staggering number Peter Stone suggested that you imagine filling the state of Texas knee deep in silver dollars having marked a single one of the coins and having a someone walk across the state and arbitrarily stop and find that one coin while blindfolded.
As I have told you many times and I will continue to as long as I am able – the word of God is bullet proof. It is time tested and contrary to the claims of the popular media, it has past every reasonable and many unreasonable tests of authenticity applied to written works of antiquity.