Christmas Sunday, 2013

Sunday, December 22nd, 2013

Christmas Message

2013

THE FULFILLMENT OF PROPHECY

INTRODUCTION:

A promise was made in the beginning of Genesis regarding the coming of the Messiah.

Genesis 3:14-15 - 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.

Verse 15 predicts the ongoing hostility between Satan and the woman (who represents all humanity), and between Satan's seed (demons and anyone serving him, i.e. all those whose father is the devil) and her Seed (the Messiah). The woman's Seed would crush the Devil's head. This would be a mortal wound which would result in utter defeat for Satan. This crushing of his head occurred at Calvary when the Jesus triumphed over the Devil. Satan, in turn, would bruise the Messiah's heel, a wound which speaks of suffering and even of physical death, but not of ultimate defeat. So Christ suffered on the cross, and even died, but He arose from the dead, victorious over sin, hell, and Satan.

Many additional promises were made throughout the Old Testament regarding the future Messiah so that the Jews were very familiar with the concept of a Messiah.

In this message I would like to examine three prophecies regarding the coming of the Messiah. These three prophecies should have prepared the Jews for the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. They should have realized that His coming was soon and should have been expecting Him imminently.

The first prophecy is that -

I. THE MESSIAH WAS TO BE BORN OF A VIRGIN

The prophecy - Isaiah 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.

Isaiah 7:1-14 - 1 And it came to pass in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Rezin the king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up toward Jerusalem to war against it, but could not prevail against it. 2 And it was told the house of David, saying, Syria is confederate with Ephraim. And his heart was moved, and the heart of his people, as the trees of the wood are moved with the wind. 3 Then said the LORD unto Isaiah, Go forth now to meet Ahaz, thou, and Shearjashub thy son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller's field; 4 And say unto him, Take heed, and be quiet; fear not, neither be fainthearted for the two tails of these smoking firebrands, for the fierce anger of Rezin with Syria, and of the son of Remaliah. 5 Because Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah, have taken evil counsel against thee, saying, 6 Let us go up against Judah, and vex it, and let us make a breach therein for us, and set a king in the midst of it, even the son of Tabeal: 7 Thus saith the Lord GOD, It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass. 8 For the head of Syria is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rezin; and within threescore and five years shall Ephraim be broken, that it be not a people. 9 And the head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is Remaliah's son. If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established. 10 Moreover the LORD spake again unto Ahaz, saying, 11 Ask thee a sign of the LORD thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above. 12 But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the LORD. 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. (Immanuel means God with us.) (Comment added).

Some people have a problem with a virgin birth. It was necessary because an earthly father would have passed on his sin nature to the Messiah, but He could have no sin nature.

Some think a virgin birth is impossible. Actually, all births are impossible except that God has miraculously produced a baby.

Adam came into being without any involvement from a man or a woman.

Eve came into being with no woman involved.

Christ became a human being with no man involved.

Everyone else comes into being with both a man and a woman involved.

The fulfillment of this prophecy - Matthew 1:18-25 - (18) Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. (19) Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. (20) But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. (21) And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. (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: (25) And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

Not only was the Messiah to be born of a virgin, but also -

II. THE MESSIAH WAS TO BE BORN IN BETHLEHEM

The prophecy - Micah 5:2 - (2) But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah (Ephratah, Ephrathah, also called Ephrath was an older name for Bethlehem or the name of the area around Bethlehem.), though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting (Comment added).

So how was this virgin, who was expecting the Messiah, this virgin who lived in Galilee and was nowhere near Bethlehem, going to find herself in Bethlehem when it came time to give birth to her baby? God would move the entire Roman government to accomplish His purpose.

The fulfillment of the prophecy - Luke 2:1-7 - (1) And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed (i.e. registered. It is a technical term for official registration on a tax list.). (2) (And this taxing (i.e. registration or census) was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) (3) And all went to be taxed (i.e. registered), every one into his own city. (4) And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) (5) To be taxed (i.e. registered) with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. (6) And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. (7) And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes (i.e. wrapped him in cloths), and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn (comments added).

Not only was the Messiah to be born in Bethlehem of a virgin, but also -

III. THE MESSIAH WAS TO BE BORN IN THE FULLNESS OF TIME

Galatians 4:4-5 - (4) But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, (5) To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

The prophecy - Daniel 9:24-26 - (24) Seventy weeks (i.e. periods of seven years each) are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. (25) Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks (i.e. 49 years), and threescore and two weeks (i.e. 434 years): the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. (26) And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined (emphasis and comments added).

The beginning of the 70 weeks is found in verse 25. It is the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem.

Nehemiah 2:1-6 - (1) And it came to pass in the month Nisan (which would correlate with our March-April), in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him: and I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king. Now I had not been beforetime sad in his presence. (2) Wherefore the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid, (3) And said unto the king, Let the king live for ever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city (i.e. Jerusalem), the place of my fathers' sepulchres, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire? (4) Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven. (5) And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers' sepulchres, that I may build it. (6) And the king said unto me, (the queen also sitting by him,) For how long shall thy journey be? and when wilt thou return? So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time (comment added).

The year was 445 B.C.

The years are not what we are used to today. If I were to ask you how many days are in a year, you would answer 364 1/4 days; and you would be right. However, the years in Bible times are 360-day periods.

This may be established by dividing the 70th week into 2 halves of 3 1/2 years each and realizing that in Revelation this 3 1/2 year period is referred to as 42 months and as 1260 days. Thus, these years contain 12 months of 30 days each.

What happens at the end of 69 (7 weeks plus 62 weeks) of these years is that Messiah is going to be cut off.

Sixty-nine weeks is equal to 483 years of 360 days each or to 173,880 days. Dividing the 173,880 days by 365 1/4, the number of days in a solar year, means that this will be approximately 476 years.

Now, if Messiah is going to be cut off after 476 years, he would have to be born prior to that time. By the time 440 years had passed it would already be around 5 B.C., and the 476 years would expire in approximately A.D. 31. The Bible makes it clear that the Messiah would be cut off in the prime of life. Thus, you could tell by about 10 or 5 B.C. that the coming of the Messiah must be coming fairly soon.

Did men such as Simeon comprehend this? One can only wonder. Cf. Luke 2:25-26 - (25) And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. (26) And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ.

The fulfillment of the prophecy - Thus, Jesus was born in the fulness of time, at the exact time that God the Father had appointed.

CONCLUSION:

Remember that the reason Jesus came into the world was to save sinners. Now, all of us qualify as sinners, don't we.

John 3:16 says, For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Have you trusted Him as your personal Savior?