The Old Testament Promise Of Christ (1)
As we begin our study of the prophecies we find in the Old Testament that were fulfilled by the birth of Christ, let’s ask the Lord for knowledge, understanding and wisdom. But, especially, let’s ask the Lord for God-given faith…faith in the validity and truthfulness of His Word.
You might wonder why faith is so important as we study these prophecies and their fulfillments. Well, as we progress, we are going to see that this study is based upon an assumption that God’s Word is absolutely truthful… How do we know that these prophecies were actually received years before their fulfillment? It is based upon our belief that the authors of the Old Testament are the genuine authors and the time of their writings is as described in the Word. How do we know that the fulfillments of these prophecies actually took place? It is based upon the trustworthiness of the Word’s historical accounts of the birth of Christ and physical lineage of Christ.
I am entering this series with an acknowledgment that I am certain that God’s Word is absolutely truthful and without error. I will be treating it as such throughout our study. If a person believes in the absolute truthfulness of the Word THERE CAN BE NO DENIAL that the Jesus is the miraculous fulfillment of the prophecies that we will be covering. If this is so, we can declare with unqualified certainty that Jesus is the promised Messiah of the Old Testament.
The eternal truths we will be looking at in this study can only be denied through an assumption that God’s Word is not perfect, contains errors, or at the worse is fraudulent hoax.
May the Lord bless us and show us the true identity of Jesus as we begin our study….
Gen 3:14-15 (KJV)
14) And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou [art] cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:
15) And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
Isa 7:13-16 (KJV)
13) And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; [Is it] a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also?
14) Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
15) Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.
16) For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings.
Jer 31:22 (KJV)
22) How long wilt thou go about, O thou backsliding daughter? for the LORD hath created a new thing in the earth, A woman shall compass a man.
Matt 1:22-24 (KJV)
22) Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
23) Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
24) Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:
Luke 1:26-38 (KJV)
26) And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
27) To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name [was] Mary.
28) And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, [thou that art] highly favoured, the Lord [is] with thee: blessed [art] thou among women.
29) And when she saw [him], she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
30) And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
31) And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
32) He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
33) And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
34) Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
35) And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
36) And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
37) For with God nothing shall be impossible.
38) And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
Gal 4:4 (KJV)
4) But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
The virgin birth of Christ has become one of the most controversial truths of the day. We may wonder why it is such a provocative teaching. The teaching of the virgin birth is directly linked to Christ’s identity as God Himself…
Matt 1:23 “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”
To deny His virgin birth is to place Him on the level of any other man born into this earth. It is the virgin birth that sets Him ENTIRELY apart from any other prophet, priest, or king that has ever been born into this world.
As a matter of fact, the virgin birth that separates Christ from all the other human beings who have ever been born. Although Christ arose from the dead, Lazarus, and others, did so as well… although Christ ascended to be with the Father, Elijah and others did so also. There are very few other events in the life of Christ that were not experienced by at least one other man sometime throughout history, but it is the virgin birth that clearly set Him apart from all others.
There are at least three Old Testament teachings about the coming Messiah that deal with His virgin birth…
In Gen 3:15 the Lord is addressing Satan following the fall of man. In the context He is placing a curse upon him. As the Lord places the curse upon Satan, He describes the relationship that would exist between the Messiah and Satan … “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed”
Here, we can see that the coming Messiah was described as “Her Seed”. Throughout the Bible, when speaking of the process of conception the man is described as the donor of the “seed” (Gen 38:9). While the woman’s womb is, normally, looked upon as the fertile ground in which the seed is planted that gives off the fruit (Deut 28:4)
By saying that the Messiah would be “her seed”, it is describing a unique event in which the woman would become fruitful without the seed of a man. The Messiah would not only be the fruit she bore, but also the result of her seed, not that of a man.
The prophecy we find in Jer 31:22, emphasizes the uniqueness of the conception of the Messiah which was had without the donation of seed from the man. Jeremiah is speaking to the unfaithful, backsliding, nation of Judah encouraging them to turn back to the Lord before the Babylonian takeover of Judah would take place. What is the argument that He uses to motivate them? It is the virgin birth of the Messiah … “How long wilt thou go about, O thou backsliding daughter? for the LORD hath created a new thing in the earth, A woman shall compass a man.”
Here, we see that the virgin birth is described as “a woman shall compass a man”. In other words, a woman would “go ahead of a man”, “reach her goal ahead of a man”, or “surround a man”, “overcome a man”. In all of these, the basic idea is that the woman will achieve her goal without the aid of a man. It is a as if she would be victorious over man by accomplishing what normally what she could not do without a man. This is exactly what took place through the virgin birth. What she could only do through partnership with a man (physical conception and birth), she now would accomplish alone.
How would the virgin birth motivate Judah to turn back to the Lord? If Judah understood the greatness of their God, surely they would turn back to Him. It is through the virgin birth that Jeremiah revealed God’s greatness to them. After all, the virgin birth of the Messiah is a clear declaration of the power, mercy, wisdom and love that God holds towards His people. What better reasons to return to Him in repentance and faith?
The third OT prophecy concerning the virgin birth is found in Isa 7:14… “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
It is in this prophecy that we find the virgin birth clearly proclaimed. This prophecy centers on the prophet Isaiah speaking to the nation of Judah comforting them and encouraging them to not fear the foreign powers aligned against them. Isaiah was confirming that the Lord would protect them.
The virgin birth and the Messiah’s earthly ministry was a sign to God’s people of their need to trust in the Lord. How can this be a sign to the people existing then, if the birth of Christ would take place hundreds of years later?
It was an issue of faith in two ways (faith in God and faith in the ministry of Isaiah)…
As we said in the previous text, the virgin birth was a display to all of the Lord’s power, mercy, wisdom and love for His people. Isaiah was assuring the people of Judah that this was the wonderful God that they served and it was this same wonderful God that promised their deliverance from their enemies. If they believed this prophecy of the virgin birth would take place, it would prove to them they needed to trust their God NOW. After all, the same God that would send their Messiah (via a virgin birth) is the same powerful, just, loving God that would deliver them now.
Also, it involved faith in Isaiah as a true prophet from God. If they believed that Isaiah was delivering God’s message about a virgin birth, surely they could trust his message of their coming deliverance, as well.
If they believed this prophecy about the coming Messiah, then wouldn’t that same faith lead them to trust the prophet’s message of their coming rescue by God?
To say that “virgin” is only describing a “handmaid” is doing away with the whole intent of this prophecy… a handmaid giving birth proves nothing about God’s ability to work miracles and wouldn’t be a motivation for them to believe in the promises of God no matter how impossible it might seem. It undoes everything Isaiah was trying to accomplish in his message to Judah.
The whole idea is this … if our God can send His Messiah via a virgin birth surely He can deliver us from an invasion from human armies!
Although, the Heb word for “virgin” can describe a young servant… the context of this passage dictates that this conception must be describing a miraculous act of God, and therefore, it must be the conception of one who had never had relations with a man.
In our next lesson we will examine the historical accounts of the fulfillment of these prophecies.
Our study of the OT prophecies concerning the virgin birth of the Messiah, we can come to a fresh understanding of the power, mercy, wisdom and love of our Lord. Based on this, we also come face to face with our need to trust Him in every area of our lives.
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