Devotional # 113. 12/1/14. Prophesies about Jesus. Christmas 2014, part 1.
Intro. We’re going to hit “pause” on our studies in Ephesians for a while in honor of Christmas. This week our focus will be on some prophesies about Jesus. A prophecy is when God (who knows everything) tells a person what will happen in the future with a significant amount of detail. Messianic (Messiah based) prophesies are specifically about the Messiah (Savior) from the Hebrews, which we believe to be Jesus. Most of us have heard the famous prophesies because they’re mentioned in the Gospels. That He would be born of a virgin (told in Jeremiah 31:22, fulfilled in Matthew 1:18-20) in Bethlehem (told in Micah 5:2, fulfilled in Matthew 2:1-6) but come out of Egypt (told in Hos. 11:1, fulfilled in Matthew 2:15) and so on. But I’m interested in talking today about some of the ones that don’t get a lot of press. Keep in mind there are 365 prophesies (one for every day?) that Jesus satisfied so this is by no means an exhaustive list. Even if I tackled three of these prophesies every week in our devotionals after a year I still wouldn’t even be half way through! I’ll give a website at the end that has all of the prophecies listed, but this week we’ll go over three.
We’ll start at the beginning with the book of Genesis (granted there are 13 prophesies before this point in Genesis). Let’s read:
2 Then the Lord appeared to him and said: “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land of which I shall tell you. 3 Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I give all these lands, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father. 4 And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; 5 because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.”
The simple, plain meaning of this verse is that there was a famine and instead of having his family starve, Isaac goes to talk to the king of the Philistines to buy food. But God stops Isaac and tells him not to go rely on this king but if he (Isaac) stays in his land and trusts God that not only will he not starve but future generations will be blessed. So how does this apply to Jesus?
Let’s read Hebrews 11:17-18:
17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 18 of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,”
The prophetic, deep, spiritual meaning is that the Messiah must come from the seed of Isaac because God promised “all the nations of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen. 26:4). This is cool because we tend to focus on the promise that God gave Abraham about giving him more descendants than stars in the sky or sand on the sea (Genesis 22:17) and even that the Messiah would come from Abraham (Genesis 12:3) but here we see that God continued speaking and continued confirming His promise to the specific lines of Abraham.
I was going to give some variation to the Bible books I pulled these prophesies from but I think it’s really important to go over this verse, also from Genesis.
Judah is a lion’s whelp;
From the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He bows down, he lies down as a lion;
And as a lion, who shall rouse him?
“The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
Nor a lawgiver from between his feet,
Until Shiloh comes;
And to Himshall bethe obedience of the people.”
A lion is a symbol of being a king, often known as the king of the beasts. A “lion’s welp” is a young lion, so this gives us a timeline of the tribe of Judah ruling but that it won’t happen right away. Interestingly “when David [who came from Judah] began to reign over Israel, Judah became the dominant tribe and remained so” (Source 1, p. 427). Then notice in verse 10 that the “scepter” is talked about. “The scepter was an ornamental staff held by kings when seated on the throne that symbolized their power and authority. The king usually held its base between his feet and it’s top in his right hand” (Source 1, p. 427). The scripture here in Genesis 49 is “highly significant in that it predicts not only that the kings of Israel would come from the tribe of Judah but that the scepter of kingship would remain with Judah until Shiloh came* ” (Source 1, p. 427). But what does “Shiloh” mean? “In light of the fact that Jacob [who is prophesying about Judah here] was looking forward to ‘days to come’ or latter days, Shiloh as another name for Messiah is very appropriate” (Source 1, p. 427).
So when we put all of this information together the prophetic, deep, spiritual meaning is that Jesus was born at exactly the right time according to prophecy. Beyond that “at that future time, people from every tribe and nation will gather to Him and acknowledge Him to be the King of kings and Lord of lords (cf. Isa. 52:13; 1 Cor. 15:24)” (Source 1, p. 428). Read Luke 2:1-7; Galatians 4:4 to see this prophecy fulfilled.
*Tribe of Judah leading/ruling until the Messiah came: “The scepter of David’s dynasty never departed from Judah until Christ came. Even during the captivity, Daniel of the tribe of Judah stood out as a leader. After the captivity, it was largely the people of Judah and Benjamin who returned and re-established the worship of [Yahweh] in Palestine until the coming and rejection of Jesus. Up until that time, they were still faithfully recording their family genealogies. Because of these records, Christ will need no further identification when He comes in power and glory. In AD 70, Jerusalem was destroyed, and the Jews (a name derived from ‘Judah’) where dispersed among the nations. At that point, they lost most of their tribal distinctives and family records. However, the rule of the tribe of Judah will one day be revived and enlarged; a coming scene in heaven shows Messiah on the throne distinguished as the ‘Lion of the tribe of Judah’ (Rev. 5:5)” (Source 1, p. 428).
5 “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord,
“That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness;
A King shall reign and prosper,
And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.
6c Now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”
The simple meaning here is that Jeremiah was told to give prophecy that God would be raising up a King from David’s lineage but He who would be able to do more than a normal man ever could. Such as being a “Branch of righteousness” who would “reign and prosper and execute judgment and righteousness” but His name would be “the LORD.” Not that his title would be “lord”, which is “Adonai” in Hebrew, but Yahweh, the personal, proper name of God.
The prophetic, deep, spiritual meaning is that the Messiah would be both God and Man. Let’s read the fulfillment:
1 Timothy 3:16.
16 “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:
God was manifested in the flesh,
Justified in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Preached among the Gentiles,
Believed on in the world,
Received up in glory.”
Conclusion. For a list on the 365 prophecies that Jesus fulfilled click here: http://www.abrahamsdescendants.com/messianic-prophecies-fulfilled.html . These prophecies, although not majored upon in most Bible studies, devotionals and sermon settings, tell us a great deal about God, both the Father and the Son. We see that God plans and prepares. That even from the beginning Jesus was narrowing the Messianic prophecy through Isaac. Not just that Isaac or his family would be blessed but that every nation on earth would be blessed because of the Messiah. Then at the end of Genesis as Israel is blessing/prophesying about his boys he described how Jesus would come from the tribe of Judah. Not just that, but there was a specific period in God’s timeline that would be followed. Finally, we saw in Jeremiah that it was actually God who came down to earth to save people from their sins. It wasn’t a last ditch effort where God was taken by surprise and had to throw a band aid over the problem of sin. Thousands of years (and honestly, from the foundations of the earth according to Revelation 13:8) God planned to dwell with men, know their pain and save them from their sins.
Dear Yahweh, Father, Abba, we come to You in awe of Your wondrous plan. We pray that we would prepare ourselves this Christmas season, as you prepared your Son so many years ago.
Dear Jesus, we pray that we wouldn’t say “I can’t believe it’s Christmas already”, but that we would be so mindful of it, that we would have meditated on You and taken the time to recognize Your sacrifice for us.
Dear Holy Spirit, we pray to you with thanksgiving. Thankful that you went out and did as the Father commanded. That you miraculously placed the Son into that impoverished teenagers womb. Your Divine nature wrapped in skin and bone.
Dear LORD, Godhead, Three-in-One, we are humbled at Your humility. We desire to bring the sacrifice of praise to You today. We glorify You, because we have studied Your prophecies and seen that You fulfill Your promises; not just in the lives of our patriarchs but in our own lives. You are faithful when we are faithless. Amen.
Source 1: Ken Fleming, Genesis: From Creation to a Nation, 2005.