Bible Study 2022
The Prophetic Promises
We’re going to talk about the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have been looking at Christ in the Old Testament and seeing prophecies of Him. And the truth about Him is so inexhaustible. Christmas is actually full of prophecies that appear in Scripture. The Old Testament predicts what will happen, and the New Testament describes the fulfillment of those prophecies.
But there are some other paradoxical realities that are related only to Jesus Christ Himself. There are some enigmas that appear in Scripture as we think about the Lord Jesus Christ. Christianity alone is the religion that has two books separated by hundreds of years. The Old Testament, predicts what will happen, and The New Testament, the fulfillment of those prophecies.
Christianity is validated as to its divine origin because only God can predict history and bring it to pass. The Old Testament presents a Messianic prophecy mosaic and until the central figure of Jesus Christ is placed into the mosaic, only then everything makes sense. If you looked at all the prophecies regarding Messiah in the Old Testament, you would find many things that are hard to resolve.
In 1 Peter 1:10 - 11 even the prophets who wrote about the Messiah looked at what they wrote to try to figure out what it meant. That is proof that the Bible is not written by men but by God. From the very beginning God has used mankind to write what He wants men to know. And we can see that clearly in the New Testament when after Jesus rose, He send us the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit gave the apostles the information on what actually happened because the New Testament was actually written many months after it actually happened. There are prophecies in the Old Testament that say that the Messiah coming as a conqueror. Other prophecies defining Him as a man of sorrows. Some prophecies say that He will be rejected by the world, and others say the world will bow down to Him.
There are prophecies that tell us that He is the King of glory, that He’s the eternal Savior. Then you have prophecies that say there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is a bloody, suffering, crucified and dead figure. And then there are other prophecies that talk about Him being raised from the dead and elevated to an everlasting kingdom. Looking only at the Old Testament presents all kinds of enigmas.
Even John the Baptist was struggling to put it together. By this time he is in prison. He has been preaching against Herod’s illegitimate marriage and he has denounced Herod for taking his brother’s wife. And John in prison is getting messages from people and he’s curious about Jesus. And so he sends his disciples and said to Him, “Are you the expected one? Or shall we look for someone else?”
That’s an amazing question from John the Baptist, because he is the forerunner of Christ, chosen while he was still in his mother’s womb filled with the Holy Spirit. One day Jesus showed up where John was baptizing and he pointed to Him and said, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” And he announced Jesus as the Messiah and he told his disciples, “Leave me; follow Him.”
What does John expect the Messiah to do when He arrives? To judge, to come in anger and wrath to consume the ungodly. But what happens? The Messiah comes, and instead He’s doing works of mercy. He’s healing sick people. He’s giving sight to blind people and hearing to deaf people. And Jesus is raising dead people and this is all mercy, grace and compassion.
And then Jesus quotes Isaiah 35:5-6, and Isaiah 61:1, go tell John, “the blind receive sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” To remind John that the ministry of mercy, compassion and grace was part of the messianic prophecy in Isaiah 61:1, as well as a ministry of wrath, fire and judgment.
So John is trying to harmonize what God told him what the Messiah would do with what the Messiah is actually doing. And the answer that Jesus gives him is trust Me, don’t be offended, don’t stumble over this. This is an illustration that diverse and seemingly contradictory prophecies exist and rather than cause an offense, they are a great evidence of the truthfulness of Scripture.
There’s the mystery of the line of Judah. When the Messiah is chosen by God before the foundation of the world, to be Jesus, the incarnate Man, the God/Man, where the Word becomes flesh, it is laid out in Scripture that He will come through a certain family—Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Judah. He’ll come through the tribe of Judah. In Genesis 49:10, it says He shall not depart from Judah.
But there is a problem. Genesis 38:24-25 says, “Your daughter-in-law Tamar is guilty of prostitution, and as a result she is now pregnant.” Judah said, “Bring her out and have her burned to death!” 25 As she was being brought out, she sent a message to her father-in-law. “I am pregnant by the man who owns these,” she said. And she added, “See if you recognize whose seal and cord and staff these are.”
What is happening here is that Tamar, the daughter-in-law of Judah, seduced him. And apparently it wasn’t just once. It says he didn’t have relationships with her again states that it was something he did more than once, but he stopped doing it. This carried a curse in Deuteronomy 23, “No one of illegitimate birth shall enter the assembly of the Lord, none of his descendants even to the tenth generation.”
If you’re born of incest, you are excluded from the privileges of worship for ten generations. The Messiah comes through the line of Judah, but now the line of Judah is cursed and can’t join the worshiping people. Turn to Matthew 1, the record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah. And if you count those between Judah and David, there are ten generations. So the curse is over when David is born.
David can inherit the kingdom, and Christ comes through David. And more; there are four women before you get to Mary, she’s the fifth. Tamar in verse 3, Rahab in verse 5, Bathsheba in verse 6, all prostituted themselves, and the other woman is Ruth who was an idolater. Three harlots and an idolater and two illegitimate children in His line. But the curse is removed and God’s grace is on exhibit, right?
Let me show you more of those mysteries that come together in Christ in unique ways. There are about 330 prophecies in the Old Testament about the Lord Jesus, and most of them were fulfilled in His first coming, many of them will be fulfilled in His Second Coming. He comes first in mercy; He comes second in wrath and judgment. There is the mystery of the Messiah as Man and God.
Think about the number 330 prophecies, for even six prophecies to be done many years later is mathematically incredible hard to accomplish. Let alone 330. That again proves that God is almighty in predicting what will happen and then makes it come through. For God to do that He must be in control over every existing molecule in the universe, because otherwise predictions might fail.
How do we know that Jesus is God? Colossians 1:15 says, “He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation.” Psalm 102:25-27 says, “Long ago you laid the foundation of the earth and made the heavens with your hands. 26 They will perish, but you remain forever. 27 But You are always the same; You will live forever.” Because God existed before creation, He is eternal.
Isaiah 7 and Isaiah 9 present the Messiah as both Man and God. The Lord will give you a sign when the Messiah comes. How do you know when the Messiah arrives? What’s the sign? “The Lord Himself will give you a sign,” that’s what Isaiah says 700 years before Jesus is born, and here’s the sign in Isaiah 7:14, “A virgin will be with child. And the child will be God with us.”
That’s only happened once in human history. It happened with Jesus Christ who was the son of Mary and the Holy Spirit, not Mary and Joseph. He will be a Son, that is He will be human, born of a woman, but He will be Emmanuel, God with us. And then in Isaiah 9 where we read a child will be born, a Son will be given. A child born, that’s human; a Son given, that’s a preexisting Son given to us.
So you have One who is both an eternal Son given and a human Son born. But until Jesus came those statements were enigmatic. For example, Genesis 3:15 said that the one who comes to destroy Satan, will be the seed of the woman. How can someone be the seed of a woman when a woman has no seed? How can God be Man and Man be God and at the same time be a Son of Man and the Son of God?
Daniel 7:13 says He will be the Son of Man. Psalm 2:7 says, “He will be the Son of God.” Genesis 22:18 says He will be the seed of Abraham. Isaiah 11:1 tells us that He will be the root of Jesse. And 2 Samuel 7 tells us He will be the son of David. So Jesus asks the Jews a question in Matthew 22:41, “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose Son is He?” They said to Him, “The Son of David.”
Jesus said to the Jews, “Then how does David in the spirit call Him Lord saying the Lord said to My Lord in Psalm 110, ‘Sit at My right hand until I put your enemies beneath your feet?’ How can the Messiah be David’s son and David’s Lord? How can He be David’s Son and precede David’s father? Be the root of Jesse who is David’s father? How can He be David’s Son and David’s Lord?
All of these things pose impossible dilemmas that cannot be resolved except in Jesus Christ. And that is why the Jewish world, having rejected Jesus Christ, has essentially forfeited any hope of a Messiah because these things could never come together in anyone other than Christ. And Jesus said, “If you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen the Father.” He is fully Man and fully God.
Then there is the mystery of the stone. In Isaiah 8:14 the Messiah is said to be a stumbling stone, or a rock of offense. In Isaiah 28:16, a precious cornerstone. In Psalm 118:22, a stone the builders rejected that becomes the chief cornerstone. In Daniel 2:14 Jesus is a stone that struck the nations of the world. 1 Peter 2:4 says, “When you come to Christ, you come to a living stone, rejected by men but chosen by God and precious.”
There’s the point. To those who believe in Him, He is chosen, He is precious, He is the chief cornerstone. And you also as living stones are built up to be a spiritual house based on Him. Like Paul’s language, we have no other foundation than Christ. As it is contained in Scripture from Isaiah 28:16, “I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious cornerstone, he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.”
To those who believe, He is a precious cornerstone. To those who reject, He is a crushing, offending stumbling stone. Jesus said of Himself in Matthew 21:42, “The stone which the builders rejected, this became the chief cornerstone. Therefore I say to you, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing the fruit of it and he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces.’”
Let us remember this Christmas that God gave us the Old Testament and the New Testament and Jesus Himself came to earth to die for all people who believe in Him and to forgive their sins. This is Godly love that thinks more about us than Himself. Only a Triune God has this kind of love in themselves, as God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
Let us all at these times do what Jesus taught us and that is to love God with all our might and strength and let us love others like ourselves. Let us be kind to strangers and tell others about the good news that only Christ can give us, which is forgives of our sins. We all are born with a sin nature and without God we will surely end up in hell. This is the time not for physical presents but a spiritual present, Amen? Let us pray.