Scripture in the book of Isaiah contains such a beautiful prophecy about the promised Messiah purposely born to establish His Kingdom on the throne of David forever; His name – God; His rule – justice; He is Wonderful, Counselor, and the Prince of Peace. Rabbis and Jewish writers like Elie Wiesel have long maintained there is no such thing as coincidence in Jewish history. Rather, they attribute the concurrence of events that have unapparent connections to God’s intentional involvement ordering the affairs of mankind. Well – “as it so happened”, even the name given to Isaiah means the LORD saves.
Isaiah lived between 760 and 673 B.C during the expansion of the Assyrian empire and the decline of Israel’s power. In Isaiah’s lifetime, the Assyrians were organized under leaders such as Ashurdan III, Ashur-Nirari V, Tiglath-Pileser III, Shalmaneser V, Sargon II (who exiled Samarian people to Babylon in 722) and Sennacherib. World history is important for context, and is a powerful demonstration of how temporary earthly powers and authorities are; it is only the Word of the Lord that stands forever. This should be of comfort for those who are currently living in very unfavorable political situations. Each of these rulers and their dynasties are gone, barely remembered – Only God’s Kingdom remains forever.
Various belief systems acknowledge God’s existence but there is only one faith that confesses Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Mathematically, unless the birth of Christ was supernaturally planned and executed, it would be impossible for a single person to have fulfilled over 300 Messianic prophecies spanning approximately 3700 years. A major example of historical events that would have appeared to dampen the likelihood of the birth of the Messiah/Christ was the end of the earthly reign of the Jewish Kings in 586 B.C. brought about by the death of Zedekiah (Mattaniah) and the destruction of Jerusalem. God promised David that his throne would be established forever through his lineage yet 2Chronicles 36:11-21 explains that God arranged for Zedekiah’s execution through the Babylonians due to Zedekiah’s evilness. His wickedness promoted heightened idolatry, unlawfulness and compromise among both the priests and people of Israel (each group being held independently responsible for their own decisions – Ezekiel 14:14, 16, 1 John 2:15). God does not lie nor does He alter what He has declared (Psalm 89:34, Numbers 23:19, Malachi 3:6, Matthew 24:35, Romans 11:29, James 1:17). He had to be faithful to punish sin and faithful to fulfill His promise to David.
How would Isaiah’s prophecy of the Saviour on the throne of David actually happen? In the book of Ezekiel, we read how God is sovereign over the affairs of His creation and uses worldly systems to accomplish His purposes; when He does so, He forewarns people so they would know and acknowledge His LORDSHIP (Amos 3:7). Depending on the version of the Bible being read, Ezekiel contains at least 65 instances or variations of the clause “Then they will know that I am the LORD”. So God communicated to Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Daniel the series of events that He was going to bring about using the wicked intentions of people’s hearts. Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’ Isaiah 46:10. He ensured He spared a remnant to continue the line of David (although the children of Israel would not have another king except the Messiah prophesied by Isaiah).
Just thinking about fulfilled prophecy (about the LORD’s intentionality; about His perfect plans; and, about His ever-present and all-knowing attributes) ought stir our hearts to worship Him in this very moment. As a redeemed child of God, we should reflect on all the experiences in life that brought us to the point of accepting Jesus Christ as Saviour. When we forget His goodness, and what He saved us from (seen and unseen), we can become entitled and discontent in our current circumstances. Faith is not something we can force within ourselves. Jesus said “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. – John 6:44. If you haven’t believed on Jesus Christ, what is compelling you to read this now?
The most exciting and awesome intervention so far was God’s incarnation of Himself. The most beautiful and victorious accomplishment so far was Christ’s (the embodiment of God) death & resurrection which payed the price for all sin and cancelled the power of Satan over us! Just think about the sequence of events in history where our LORD made a promise and continually fulfilled it amidst competing circumstances.
Strategic promises unfolded through eras/dispensations:
- Adam and Eve sinned and were promised a Saviour to redeem mankind (Genesis 3:15)
- Noah and family were preserved through the flood (around 2300 B.C) to repopulate the world and promised that never again would all life on earth be destroyed by a global flood (Genesis 9:11-13)
- Abraham was promised (around 2091 B.C) to be a great nation from whom all nations would be blessed (Genesis 15-17)
- Moses was promised the law (around 1446 B.C. ) as way for Holy God to be able to righteously bless sinful man and re-instated the Sabbath rest created for Adam & Eve (Exodus 20, Exodus 31:12-17, Genesis 2:3)
- David was promised (between 1011 – 971 B.C.) that his seed and kingdom would rule forever (2Samuel 7:12-16)
Praise God, Jesus made a new covenant in His blood (Matthew 26:19-30). After David’s reign, history continued to unfold: (a reference containing Old Testament Messianic Prophecies and New Testament Fulfillment relating to the below points can be found at the end of this blog)
- The Monarchy was divided (around 931 B.C.) after Solomon’s Temple was completed (around 960 B.C.)
- Isaiah foretold Christ’s Birth (between 760 – 740 B.C.)
- The Northern Kingdom of Israel was destroyed (722 B.C.)
- Jeremiah, Daniel and Ezekiel (were alive at the same time between 620 – 540 B.C. and strategically placed) actively prophesied about the need for repentance, God’s punishment and redemptive plan (including events still to unfold)
- The Southern Kingdom of Israel and the Temple were destroyed under the Babylonian leadership of Nebuchadnezzar (586 B.C.) as foretold
- Cyrus the Great from the Persian Empire gave an edict allowing the Jews to return to their land and rebuild the temple (began 536 B.C. and completed in 516 B.C. by Zerubbabel and Jeshua)
- The Roman Republic was established (509 B.C) among the time of various philosophers (Buddha in India, Confucius in China)
- Septuagint (Hebrew scriptures) were translated into Greek (255 B.C.)
- Roman Empire ruled under Julius Caesar (around 62 B.C.) although Augustus Caesar proclaimed himself the first emperor of Rome (in 31 B.C,)
- Cleopatra VII ruled Egypt (51-31 B.C.)
- Herod the Great appointed King of Judea (reigns from 37 – 4 B.C.)
- John the Baptist born (between 7 – 5 B.C.)
- Jesus Christ incarnated: God’s Message in a BODY (between 6 -4 B.C.)
- Jesus christ GLORIFIED: CUT-OFF, resurrected, assension to heaven (30 A.D.)
- Earliest New Testament books were written (49 A.D.)
- Josephus the Jewish Historian lived (between 37 – 100 A.D.)
- Disciples willingly died for and holding true to their testimony ( 32 A.D – 68 A.D.)
- Romans destroyed the 2nd Temple (70 A.D.); the 3rd Temple is now awaiting its time
- Book of Revelation was written – Praise God! (two schools of thought – either between 90-96 A.D or 68-69 A.D.)
- You were born in the dispensation of grace: “And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, “so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; – Act 17:26-27
These beautiful Isaiah 9:6-7Scriptures prophesied that God would not only send a child to be born but that He would give His Son (the second Adam for there were only two humans ever referred to as the son of God – Genesis 5:1, Luke 3:38, John 3:16). Jesus was God’s only begotton (not created) Son, born as a human to be the Saviour of the world. This is the greatest of love story: that God would place the fulness of His essence (His Word, His Character, His Spirit, His Power, His Sacrificial Love, etc) within a baby’s body so that we would have a kinsman (a worthy person kin to our kind who was familiar with humanity but perfect) to pay the penalty of our failures which was death. (John 1:14, John 3:16, Romans 8:32, Colossians 1:20, Colossians 2:9, 1John 4:10-14). The eternal Godhead humbled Himself, took our scorn and brutality so that He would reconcile all things to Himself by making peace through His blood shed on the cross. When He accomplished victory over sin and the grave, He forgave us all our sins having canceled the penalty of the law and took away the power of the accuser over us (Colossians 2:13-15). Imagine – if/because we accepted His gift of love, we are now blameless and holy in His sight (Colossians 1:22-23). But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. – Jhn 1:12-13
This child who was born IS the Son that was given named Immanuel (God with Us – Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:23) which is truly wonderful, incomprehensible, and extraordinary. It was supernatural because God (who is Spirit John 4:24, Luke 1:35) manifested in the flesh through virgin birth from the tribe of Judah was seen by angles and believed upon by Jews and Gentiles (1Timothy 3:16, Matthew 2:1-6). The angel of the Lord had advised Joseph, son of David, that he should take Mary as his wife because the conception was of the Holy Spirit and was a sign fulfilling prophecy (Matthew 1:20-23, Isaiah 7:14). When the child was born, Mary and Joseph (Jewish) named Him Jesus which is Greek for Joshua and means the LORD saves (Matthew 1:21). Having been conceived by the Holy Spirit this promised Son by age 12 was already wonderful in counsel as the future Priest and King on His throne (Luke 2:41-52, Isaiah 28:29, Zechariah 6:12-13, Jeremiah 23:5). He was the promised stem of Jesse (David’s father); the One the Holy Spirit of wisdom, understanding, might, counsel, knowledge and reverence rested on so that He did not rely on His human senses (Isaiah 11:1-3). As the Son of God, all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge were hidden within Him (Colossians 2:3). None of His adversaries were able to contradict Him with validity. Jesus was and is The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One who saves. For those who look to Him for salvation will have eternal life and He will rejoice over them with gladness and quiet them with His love – He will rejoice over them with singing, His song is a love song. God is mighty but despises no one; He is mighty in strength and understanding; He is wise in heart. No-one who has hardened himself again Him has prospered. There is no doubt that the LORD is our Father; our Redeemer from Everlasting is His name. (Zephaniah 3:17, Job 36:5, Job 9:4, Isaiah 63:16).
A central theme throughout history is eternal God’s consistent execution of His plan to have relationship with His creation and His use of events in our lives to bring this relationships to fruition. That said, we should not confuse what a relationship with Holy God means. The more I know my LORD, the more I respect Him as Holy; and the more I desire to love Him with purity of heart as my Redeemer. Our Saviour is so incredibly loving, abundantly full of grace toward us, so desiring to forgive us, and incomprehensively patient AND He is not some casual friend, nor is He someone that exists to gratify our wants. While He gives us so many benefits (Psalms 103:1-10), it is not about us. We were created for His pleasure: Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. –Revelation 4:11 KJV. If we respect Him, we will realize He is the source of life and with one word He can end all, yet He patiently waits for and draws those who will love and obey Him. When Jesus peacefully responded to the chief priest and a detachment of troops with their weapons. … he said, “I am He,” and they drew back and fell to the ground. – John 18:3,6.
Eternal God means forever self-existent; no beginning, no end, not created. He is not limited by the universe’s dimensions of time and space because: (1) He created the universe and He is currently sustaining it; and (2) He is in the realm/dimension of eternity.
- For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. Colossians 1:16-17
- …our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing, which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, … – 1 Timothy 6:14-16
- There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever. – Revelation 22:5
God is bigger than all we can fathom specifically since Scripture indicates the universe is in Him which means He is everywhere at the same time – yet – we seldom perceive Him until we connect to Him in spirit and in truth. God so loved the world that He gave us a physical representation of Himself so we could see Him in our limited ways. In this form He demonstrated and fulfilled the way of salvation and He explained the plan of the ages to us.
Another part of His plan will also righteously bring an end to all opposition at an appointed time. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. For “He has put all things under His feet.” … that God may be all in all. – 1 Corinthians 15:24-28
While it is widely known that Christ’s birth was not on December 25th, in the 3rd century the church in Rome established December 25th as a date of observance commemorating the LORD’s incarnation. Let us be intentionally appreciative of the graciousness of our loving Father and of His intervening reconciliation. This can be a beautiful expression of thanksgiving to Him. Whatever way you celebrate His birth, let us remember the purpose for it and respond with (1) worship for and to Him – and – (2) by loving others. Remember those who are suffering and cheer on with those who are rejoicing.
The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ is the Word of God made flesh (John 1:14; Revelation 19:13) so making His Word part of our lives is not just for this holiday season – it is our “eternal normal”. He intentionally created you, placed you in this time, and gave you His Word. The best gift that was ever given was His Message through His body to indwell you.
Note: Dates provided above are based on Biblical references and the Bible Time Line by RW Research Inc (2001). Additionally, all Scripture used in this blog is from the New King James Version, unless otherwise specified. Everyone ought to examine the Word for themselves.
Did You Know?
Jesus matched the prophecies of the Hebrew Scriptures in lineage, birthplace, time, death and the way He lived His life with documented healings, care for the poor, zeal for the House of the LORD and observance of all Feasts and Laws of the Torah.
The post-resurrection appearances of Jesus were witnessed by: (1) disciples who were willing to die for their belief (including His half-brother who at first did not believe); (2) 500 hundred people at once with the majority of them still alive when 1Corinthians 15:6 was written; and (3) Paul who earlier sought to suppress Christ followers before he was transformed by His encounter with Christ and later died for his faith. These are just a few accounts.
|Tribe of Judah||Genesis 49:10||Matthew 2:6, Matthew 2:11, Romans, 1:5, Romans 15:18, Romans 16:26, Hebrews 7:14, Revelation 5:5|
|Born at Bethlehem||Micah 5:1-2||Matthew 2:1–6, John 7:40–43|
|The Star of Jacob/Bethlehem||Numbers 24:17||Matthew 2:2, Revelation 22:16|
|Descendant of King David||2 Samuel 7:12-16||Matthew 1:1, Luke 1:32-33, Acts 15:15-16, Hebrews 1:5|
|LORD of David, Greater than David||Psalm 110:1–4||Matthew 22:41–45, Mark 12:35–37, Luke 20:41–44, Acts 2:34–36, 1 Corinthians 15:25–28, Hebrews 1:3, Hebrews 1:13, Hebrews 4:14–5:10|
|Virgin Birth||Isaiah 7:14||Matthew 1:22–23, Luke 1:31–35|
|Seed of a Woman||Genesis 3:15||Romans 16:20, Galatians 4:4, Hebrews 2:14; Revelation 12:9, 17|
|A Kinsman Redeemer||Ruth 4:4–9||Luke 1:50, 58, 68, 72, 78; John 10:17–18; Romans 5:7–8; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:4; Hebrews 2:11–12, 17|
|A Prophet Like Moses||Deuteronomy 18:15–19||Matthew 13:57, Matthew 21:46, Luke 24:19, John 1:21, John 1:25, John 6:14, John 7:40, Acts 3:22, Acts 7:37|
|Preceded by a Forerunner & Prophet Elijah||Isaiah 40:3–5; Malachi 4:5–6||Matthew 3:1–3; Matthew 11:14–15, Matthew 16:14, Matthew 17:9–13, Mark 6:14–16; Mark 1:1–3; Mark 9:11–13, Luke 1:16–17; Luke 1:76; 3:1–6; John 1:21–23|
|Son of Man (Glorified State)||Daniel 7:13–14||Matthew 9:6, Matthew 12:8, Matthew 13:41, Matthew 16:13, Matthew 16:27, Mark 8:31, Luke 6:22, Luke 9:22, John 1:51, John 3:13–14, Acts 7:56|
|Preach, Heal, Proclaim Liberty||Isaiah 61:1–2; Isaiah 35:5–6||Luke 4:16–21; Matthew 11:4–6, Luke 7:20–23|
|Enter Jerusalem Riding on a Donkey||Zechariah 9:9||John 12:13, Matthew 21:1–7|
|Before the Destruction of the 2nd Temple||Daniel 9:24-26||Matthew 24:15-16, Mark 13:14-15, Galatians 4:4|
|Would be Illumination to all Nations||Isaiah 42:1–7||Matthew 12:15–21; Luke 2:27–32; John 1:4-9; John 3:19-21; John 8:12; John 12:35-36; Luke 2:32; Acts 13:47; Acts 26:23; Revelation 21:23–24|
|Called the Son of God||Psalm 2:1–12||Mark 1:11, Luke 3:22, Acts 4:25–28, Acts 13:33, Hebrews 1:5, Hebrews 5:5|
|Betrayed for 30 Pieces of Silver||Zechariah 11:12–13||Matthew 26:14–15, Matthew 27:3, Matthew 27:9–10|
|Lifted up on a Tree||Numbers 21:6–9||John 3:14–18; John 12:32|
|Tortured to Death but then Declared Righteous God||Psalm 22:1-31||Matthew 27:35, 39, 43-44,46; Mark 15:34; John 19:23-24, Hebrews 2:11-12|
|Passover Lamb||Exodus 12:1–51||John 1:29, John 1:36, John 19:33, John 19:36, 1Corinthians 5:7–8, 1Peter 1:19|
|The Rejected Cornerstone||Psalm 118:22–24||Mark 12:10–11, Acts 4:9–12, Ephesians 2:20, 1 Peter 2:6-8|
|The Willing Sacrifice||Genesis 22:1–18||John 3:16, Hebrews 11:17-19|
|Messiah will be Pierced||Zechariah 12:10||Matthew 24:30, John 19:31–37, Revelation 1:7|
|Suffering Saviour Trial, Bear our Sin, Death, Burial, Resurrection Details||Isaiah 52:13-53:12||Matthew 8:16–17, Matthew 20:28, Matthew 26:28, Matthew 27:59–60, Mark 10:45, Mark 14:24, Luke 22:20, John 12:37–38, Acts 8:32–35, Romans 10:16, Hebrews 9:28, 1 Peter 2:21–25|
|Resurrection||Psalm 16:8–11||Acts 13:35–37|
|Messiah to Establish a New Covenant||Jeremiah 31:31||Matthew 26:28, Luke 22:20, 2Corinthians 3:6, Hebrews 8:6–13, Hebrews 9:15, Hebrews 12:24|