Category Archives: Fulfilled Prophecy

Fulfilled Prophecy: The Virgin Birth of Messiah

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“The LORD hath created a new thing in the earth, A woman shall compass a man.” (Jeremiah 31:22)

The entire gospel authority rests on the fact of the sinless life of the Lord Jesus—beginning with His conception.

“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). An ‘owth (the Hebrew word for “the token” or “the miracle”) would prove that the child born, the son given, would be none other than the “Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

When Matthew and Luke speak of the virgin birth (Matthew 1:23; Luke 1:27), they use the Greek word parthenos, which is only used of an actual virgin. Yet, even as clear as the words may be, the reason for the virgin birth is more important still.

The Lamb of God (John 1:29) must be “a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:19). Resting on the centuries of the example of the perfect sacrifice with the Passover lamb (Exodus 12:5), “even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us” (1 Corinthains 5:7).

This “last Adam,” created to be the “quickening spirit” (1 Corinthians 15:45), was “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens” (Hebrews 7:26). This virgin-born Immanuel was “made flesh” (John 1:14) “to take away our sins” (1 John 3:5) “that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

This all began (in real time) with the sinless, virgin-born conception of the Messiah “which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began” (Titus 1:2). HMM III

The Branch of the Lord

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“In that day shall the branch of the LORD be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel.” (Isaiah 4:2)

One of the fascinating titles of the promised Messiah is that of “the Branch.” Here He is called “the branch of the LORD,” along with “the fruit of the earth.” As the first, He is “beautiful and glorious.” As the second, He is “excellent and comely.” “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem [or ‘stump’] of Jesse [that is, the father of King David], and a Branch shall grow out of his roots” (Isaiah 11:1).

In addition to the two references in Isaiah, there are two in Jeremiah and two in Zechariah. In both Jeremiah passages, He is a Branch of David. “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch” (Jeremiah 23:5). See also Jeremiah 33:15.

In Zechariah’s prophecy, He is called God’s servant and God’s man. “For, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH” (Zechariah 3:8). “Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD” (Zechariah 6:12).

This fourfold presentation of the Branch of David, the Branch as a servant, the man who is the Branch, and the Branch of the Lord beautifully corresponds to the fourfold gospel depiction of Christ as King (Matthew), Servant (Mark), Perfect Man (Luke), and Son of God (John).

Just as a branch when it first begins to shoot forth appears small and fragile and easily broken, so would the Messiah first appear to be inconspicuous and unattractive. “For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground” (Isaiah 53:2). Yet this same fragile branch will one day become a great vine with innumerable branches (John 15:5) that will spread its excellent fruit throughout all the earth. HMM

The Prophetic Reason for Christmas

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“And [Joseph] knew her [Mary] not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.” (Matthew 1:25)

The actual birthday of Jesus was sometime in the fall (September or October) rather than in December. The date is of lesser consequence, however, than the reason for the celebration (Isaiah 1:18). Heaven itself celebrated the birth (Luke 2:8-14). And after the shepherds got over their fear, they couldn’t stop telling the news.

Then there were the wise men from the east who came to worship the one “born king of the Jews” (Matthew 2:1-2). They got there well after the birth, having put their lives on hold, and willingly gave of their time and treasures to honor this great King while they rejoiced with “exceeding great joy” (Matthew 2:10). Surely all Christians should worship and rejoice as well as open our treasuries when we celebrate Christ’s birth.

But if we just focus on the birth, we may miss the greatest reason for the commemoration. After all, there was nothing uncommon about the physical process. The conception, now that was miraculous (Luke 1:35):

The eternal “Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). The great Creator and Son of God, “foreordained before the foundation of the world” (1 Peter 1:20), submitted to the will of the Father and “made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:7). That was why heaven celebrated.

Counting back nine months from around September puts us pretty close to the end of the previous December. Perhaps our sovereign God has orchestrated events so that we would celebrate the real miracle of the conception: “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). HMM III

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