Jim Duggan, Pastor
Bellevue Baptist Church, Macon
In a sense, God introduced the idea of Christmas in the Garden of Eden. In pronouncing the punishments on Adam, Eve, and the serpent (Genesis 3:14-19), God told the serpent, “I would put hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike His heel.”
In this curse, God foretold of the day that Jesus would crush Satan’s power once and for all on Calvary. With the very first sun, God already had a plan for redemption – the death of His Son. So the events of Christmas did not merely emerge out of the ebb and flow of history. The coming of Christ into the world was always part of the plan.
Today’s study looks at three Old Testament prophecies that point to the fulfillment of the plan introduced in the Garden of Eden.
God promised Ahaz that a virgin would conceive and bear a child whose name would be Immanuel (7:14). Some scholars point out that the Hebrew word translated “virgin” in verse 14 could also mean “young woman.” While this may be the case, under Holy Spirit inspiration, Matthew clarifies for us that the prophecy involved a virgin. As the angel announced the coming of Jesus to Mary’s betrothed husband Joseph (Matthew 1:22-23), he clearly referred to her as a virgin.
In the same manner, God’s plan continued through the virgin birth of Jesus. His coming into the world was not a coincidence, it was God’s plan from the beginning. The virgin birth of Jesus is an essential doctrine. The sacrifice for sin had to be made through one without a blemish of sin. The Bible teaches that sin is passed down through Adam (Romans 5:12), so any person born through traditional conception is tainted by sin. Yet, through the miraculous conception of a virgin through the Holy Spirit, God provided the perfect sacrifice for our sin in His Son, Jesus.
The prophecy of Isaiah 9:6 finds it complete and perfect fulfillment in Jesus. The virgin birth prophesied in 7:14 produced a completely human yet completely divine child. A child is “born,” but that child is a son who is “given.” Through Jesus, God intervened in a miraculous way to perpetuate His plan for the redemption of mankind. Jesus is God’s gift of salvation to us.
The names by which the given child will be known indicate His divine attributes. As Wonderful Counselor, the all-knowing (omniscient) God provides perfect wisdom for all who will follow Him. The all-powerful (omnipotent) mighty God possesses, and makes available, the power to overcome any challenge. Earthly kings come and go; they are born to eventually die. But the Eternal Father, Jesus, is father over a new Kingdom that will never end (see Hebrews 1:8 and 12:28). As the Prince of Peace, Jesus will be the ever-present (omnipresent) source of peace with God, others, and within ourselves.
One can have no doubt that God will bring it to pass, because “the zeal of the Lord of Armies” will accomplish it. This phrase indicates that God has both the desire and the resources to accomplish what He intends.
God promised a shoot from “stump of Jesse.” Through the period of exile, the Davidic line of kings no longer sat on the throne. But God’s plan for Davidic accession did not end. While no visible branches remained, the stump was still alive. In Jesus, the Davidic line of kings would be restored. That is why the genealogies in both Matthew and Luke trace Jesus’ ancestry to and through David.
His message was a comfort to his hearers who had known oppression, inequity, and discrimination. The Messiah would judge in righteousness, mercy, and fairness. As Christ followers we, too, have the calling to encourage mercy, fairness, and equity for all people.
The Messianic prophecies of Isaiah found fulfillment in Jesus. He was indeed born of a virgin, as Isaiah prophesied. His Kingdom is both a now and then Kingdom. It is now – alive and present in the hearts of those who follow Him. And it is then – when He returns He will rule over all the earth forever.
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