What Bible prophecies relate to Christmas? Find out with hosts Tim Moore and Nathan Jones on the television program, Christ in Prophecy!
Air Date: December 10, 2022
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Tim Moore: Welcome to this episode of Christ in Prophecy. Nathan and I are coming to you from our ministry headquarters here at Maranatha Acres. We thought it would be fun to speak to you from a little more cozy setting for a change.
You know, this has been an exciting year and we are looking forward to celebrating the Lord’s first advent in just a few days.
Nathan Jones: Well, throughout 2022, we explored God’s prophetic Word throughout the Old Testament. And we brought you highlights of the conferences Lamb and Lion Ministries has hosted this year. Without forgetting what lies behind, we look forward to what lies ahead, and we press on towards the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Tim Moore: Nathan, seldom would I dare to rearrange or flip the words of Paul in Scripture, but I think you did so quite appropriately today because Paul was determined not to be distracted or embittered by the challenges he had faced in the past. And likewise, we must not forget the foundation of understanding we’ve laid this year, even as we press forward, and quite frankly, the upward call of God in Christ Jesus could be understood as yet another prophetic reference to the promise of the Rapture.
Nathan Jones: Well said. And with that in mind, what else are you looking forward to this year, Tim?
Tim Moore: Oh, good heavens. In just the weeks left, obviously, I think all of us are looking forward to Christmas, to gathering with family and friends. Amy and I always look forward to our children coming back home. And now with four grandchildren and another one on the way in mid-February, there’s always a lot to look forward to just with that gathering, let alone extended family. How about yourself?
Nathan Jones: Well, it’s been a banner year. We sent one kid out of the nest. I finished a dissertation and got a doctorate degree, so I think I’m going to spend this seasonal time to rest a bit.
Tim Moore: Yes. And I think rest is part of what we also look forward to on Christmas. I always think about the excitement of Christmas morning, but by Christmas afternoon, at least all the adults are looking forward to a nap. So, some well-deserved rest for all of us. And yet there’s also great anticipation not just for Christmas itself and for the warmth and the gathering of family, but that time of reflection every year of thinking back to the very first advent when Jesus Christ came to this earth.
Nathan Jones: Oh, yes. You know, it’s amazing that there are 300 general prophecies and 109 specific prophecies about the First Coming of Jesus Christ. And Jesus Christ fulfilled them all, exactly, and in detail. Matter of fact, there’s 19 specific ones that we can go through. And I’d say, let’s go through them.
Tim Moore: Let’s do that. As matter in fact, we just finished a whole series talking about Jesus in the Old Testament. But let’s pull up those specific prophecies that point to His nativity in Bethlehem.
Nathan Jones: All right. Well, we know that Jesus Christ is the Messiah because He fulfilled prophecies that we’re given hundreds of years before He was even born. You go all the way back to Genesis 9:26, that He would come from the line of Shem, who was one of the three sons of Noah. And he said, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem and may Canaan be his servant.”
Tim Moore: You know, to this day we talk about people who exhibit anti-Semitism, and really that is a derivative of Shem. So people who are opposed to the Jewish people in general, or in specific, or because they are from that line of Shem, they are Semitic people. We can also trek down through Abraham, of course, called originally when he was still named Abram to go from the land where he had been raised from an idol worshiping family and to follow as God had led to the promised land. And because Abram believed God, because He obeyed God, God said in Genesis Chapter 12, “I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, and of course, the one who curses you, I will curse, And in you, all the families of the earth will be blessed.” And that has trekked all the way forward again to the very Messiah’s birth.
Nathan Jones: Oh, absolutely. And then we know that it’s not just Abraham, it wasn’t Ishmael, but it would be Isaac, and you can read about that in Genesis 17:21, “But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year.” So, it was a prophecy even that Isaac would be born. But we knew then that it wouldn’t be Esau, it wouldn’t be Ishmael, but it would go from Abraham, to Isaac, and then to Jacob.
Tim Moore: Yes. Esau, of course, being the brother of Jacob, and so Jacob again, got the promise when he had left his home and had wandered away, and he had a dream. And in his dream, the Lord said, surely the Lord is in, or he realized after the fact, surely the Lord is in this place. But the Lord said to Him that He would bless him, in Genesis 28:14, “Your descendants will also be like the dust of the earth, and you will be spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the Earth be blessed.” Again, pointing to the coming One who would bless both Jew and Gentile alike. And I love what you said, Nathan, it’s not just the firstborn Ishmael or the firstborn Esau that is blessed, God chooses according to His own will, and in this case, the younger sons, if you will, were the sons of promise.
Nathan Jones: Yeah. Like he should have chosen Reuben, technically based on Old Testament ancient Middle East custom, but no, he picked Judah as we read in Genesis 49:8, “Judah, you are he whom your brothers shall praise; Your hands shall be on their neck of your enemies; Your father’s children shall bow down before you.” So, the royal line of the Messiah would come through the Tribe of Judah out of the 12 tribes.
Tim Moore: It sure would. And even down to David. So, the son of Jesse, who was not the firstborn, as a matter of fact, Jesse brought forward seven other sons before Samuel said, “No, the Lord hasn’t chosen any of them. Is there any other one left?” “Well, there’s the youngster. He’s out in the field with the sheep.” And sure enough, that’s who the Lord chose to bless in that day and age, and promise that David and His lineage would continue forever. And even today we speak of Jesus returning to reign from the throne of His father, David.
Nathan Jones: And that’s where we get that sixth prophecy. Isaiah 11:1 says, “There shall come forth a rod from…” Who? “…the stem of Jesse and a branch shall grow from his roots.” So here we’ve got the Messiah, it’s a prophecy it is not just a descendant of Jesse, but he’s also a forerunner of Jesse, which means he has to be divine.
Tim Moore: He has to be divine. You know, there’s one other aspect that we’re touching on the genealogy of Jesus Christ and we’re focusing on the men. But there’s some specific ladies mentioned in the Book of Matthew in the first chapter, we have Tamar, Rahab and Ruth. And what I find fascinating is all of them have, shall we say, either sullied pasts or they come from a Gentile nation that is as yet blended into the very genealogy of Jesus Christ. So you think about Tamar, who had two sons by Judah. And so Judah himself, being the tribe that would be representative in the messianic line, has an affair, so to speak, commits adultery with Tamar, and yet that’s the line that God chooses to bless. So, Tamar was the sixth removed, great, great grandmother of Salmon who married Rahab, again, considered to be a harlot from Jericho, and yet she was a lady who put her trust in the God of Israel, and of course, was helpful as Joshua came into the land and she was the only person she and her family saved. She married Salmon who became the father, so Rahab the mother of Boaz. And of course, we know that Boaz was the grandfather of Jesse through Obed, who was the father of David. So, these three women that God blends into, again, the messianic line in a way that demonstrates He chooses whom He chooses, and there is no one beyond redemption in God’s plan.
Nathan Jones: And that’s wonderful, because the Lord doesn’t pick the mighty men, the kings. The Bible says that He delights in the poor and the afflicted in the weak, to show His power and grace more. It’s confirmed, the Davidic Covenant in Jeremiah 23:5, “‘Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, ‘that will raise to David a righteous, a branch of righteousness; a king shall reign and prosper and execute judgments and righteousness to the Earth.'” And so the Messiah would have to fulfill this exact family line, otherwise He wouldn’t qualify. And what’s interesting, when the Jewish people were ejected from the land in 70 A.D., the messianic lineage was erased because, you know, they didn’t really follow the lineage after the dispersion of the Jews into the world. So, Jesus had to come at the time He did, to prove that His genealogy is there. And you read that in Matthew 1 and Luke 3, you get the full genealogy of Jesus, both through his father, Joseph, and then through Mary.
Tim Moore: Well, I think that we’ve touched on the genealogy of Jesus Christ. Let’s touch on some of the other prophecies that point to the specifics of how, and when, and where He was born.
Nathan Jones: Oh, absolutely. The eighth one is the timing of His birth. We read that in Genesis 49:10, “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to him be the obedience of the people.” Meaning that the Jewish people had the right to have authority over their court systems and all, but once the Romans took that away from them, they no longer had the right, they lost the ability to have capital punishment. So, Shiloh had to come before the Jewish people lost that.
Tim Moore: And people will wonder what that word Shiloh means. Really, it just is a form of the word peace, meaning that the one who would be the prince of Peace had to come prior to the Jews losing their ability to rule over themselves. Which is exactly why the Pharisees, the High Priest, had to bring Jesus before Pontius Pilot to actually convict Him to the point of execution, because they had lost that right by the time Jesus was ministering on the earth. We also have, for example, given in Micah 5:2 the place of Jesus birth. And I find this fascinating because, Micah says 5:2, “But as for you Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah. From you, One will go forth for Me to be a ruler in Israel, His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.” And even in my New American Standard, they’ve capitalized the word one, pointing to the Messiah, they’ve capitalized the word me because it’s the Lord God speaking, and his again capitalized because it’s referring to the Messiah. And it points to the fact that this coming One to be born in Bethlehem was from eternity. And so He has always preexisted. He is God, and it’s demonstrated right here. But Bethlehem Ephrathah, why that little tagline of Ephrathah, Nathan?
Nathan Jones: Well there were two Bethlehems at the time here there’s one way up north in Zebulun and there’s one down south in Judah. And so Ephrathah would have to point to which of the two Bethlehem. It’s kind of like we have multiple Springfields or multiple Maple Streets. It said, okay, it’s not the one in Zebulun, it’s the one. So, it’s really precise, it is a very precise prophecy. And that’s what you get in the Bible, you get precise prophecies. There’s no other religion out there that has specific and also fulfilled Bible prophecies like you do the Bible, which is proof that the Bible is the Word of God.
Tim Moore: Sure is. You know, we talked about those Pharisees, the Sadducees, the high priest. When the wise men, the Magi came to Jerusalem because they had been following the Star of Bethlehem, as we call it, they said, “Where is it that this Jewish king, this messiah will be born?” And those scribes knew exactly. They knew this verse and they said, “Well, it’s going to be down in Bethlehem.” And so that’s where the Lord then led the wise men. But what’s sad and I’m getting ahead of ourselves in terms of the prophetic foreshadowing, but those scribes and Pharisees, it doesn’t record even bothered to track the handful of miles, just three or four miles, it was an hour or two walk from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, and they couldn’t be bothered to go see what these wise men had come from far to the east, seeking that being the king of the Jews.
Nathan Jones: Yeah, I mean, most likely being Magi, they were Persians. So, we’re talking about a four month journey. Whereas you’re right, Herod couldn’t be bothered to walk the seven miles down to Bethlehem. You read a Numbers 24:17, “I see him, but not now; I’d behold him, but not near; A star shall come out of Jacob, a scepter shall rise out of Israel.” These they weren’t even believers in Yahweh God, but they knew that the signs and they could read the signs. They knew what likely Daniel had left during the Babylonian captivity. They said, okay, the Jewish Messiah is coming and He’d be born in the flesh. Read Isaiah 9:6, for instance, “For unto us a Child is born, and unto us a Son is given, and the government will be upon His shoulders.” And I love the description of Him here. He says, “He’ll be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” I mean, what human could possibly fulfill all those different requirements? But He still had to come in the flesh. It was a mixture of divinity and humanity.
Tim Moore: It sure was. And the fact that the wise men followed a star, I think they were looking for the Messiah, because I think that they again had learned probably from Daniel and some of the other Jewish exiles who had lived in Babylon about the prophecies pointing to a coming Jewish messiah. And they could do the timing to know that the general season of this coming king’s birth. And then when the star appeared, they realized that it was something pointing to the fulfillment of that prophetic word. Which is why we emphasize the reading of, the study of, and the understanding of Bible prophecy, so that we can discern the very season of the times that we’re living in right now, showing us that Jesus is again coming soon and very soon.
But there’s something else in that Old Testament passage from Isaiah that the Lord Himself said there would be another sign, “Behold,” this is in 7:14, “a virgin will be with child and will bear a son, and she will call his name Immanuel.” And so, when the angel appeared to Mary there in Luke 2, she specifically understood that this would be a miraculous event if she could become pregnant, because she said, “I’ve never been with a man.” She testified that she was a virgin, and yet that is an exact fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy.
Nathan Jones: And it really narrows it down too, okay, you got Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, King David, but then you have to say, well, okay, well, you have to be born of a virgin. I mean, it could only be divine. And it was only one woman. And it was it was always ever Mary. And so, then we also got His divine name, Immanuel, meaning God with us. So, we know that the child she was born with or was given by the Holy Spirit when it came over her, so that Joseph wasn’t involved. Later, of course, they had children and all. Tim, even the gifts that Jesus was given were prophesied. Psalm 72:10-11, “The kings of Tarshish and of the isles will bring presents; The kings of Sheba and Seba will offer gifts. Yes, all kings shall fall down before Him; All nations shall serve Him.” Now, this is a prophecy for His Millennial reign, but that the fact that these wisemen gave Jesus gifts was a type and pointed to the fact that He would be King of kings and Lord of lords, and the nations would bring the gifts to Him one day.
Tim Moore: So even the wise men themselves are a foreshadowing of the future fulfillment, when all the kings of the earth will fall before Him and worship Him.
Nathan Jones: Absolutely.
Tim Moore: You know, there is so much that is positive about the nativity and the birth of Jesus Christ. And yet there are some sad elements that we have to talk about, and those were prophesied. It says in Jeremiah 31:15, that there would be a massacre of children; that that women would be wailing. And so, we know that when Herod found out that this this new supposed, in his eyes, King had been born, he perceived it as a threat to his own reign. We know Herod had two of his own sons murdered because he thought that they would threaten his reign. And so, he ordered that all the children two years and younger be killed in the vicinity of Bethlehem. But Joseph was warned in a dream, and so he took Mary and Jesus and fled to Egypt. Yet again in fulfillment of another prophecy.
Nathan Jones: Yeah, Hosea 11:1, said that “When Israel was a child I loved them, out of Egypt I called Him.” So, the Messiah, even though He’s supposed to be Jewish, would come out of Egypt. How so? Because Jesus in His younger years had to flee to Egypt. But his residence would be Nazareth, the 17th prophecy is Matthew 2:23, “And He came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth that it might fulfilled, which was spoken of the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.” So, Jesus’s life, you can’t make this up. You can’t, you know, bring a king down to kill all the babies, and then flee to Egypt, then go all the way out in the sticks Nazareth and have the Messiah come from there. You can’t make that up. And yet Jesus fulfilled that exactly because that’s how the circumstances directed Him.
Tim Moore: It sure is. And speaking of Nazareth, you know, later on, the people in Jerusalem, the muckety-mucks, couldn’t believe that anybody important would come from the region of Galilee. I liken it to somebody who would be called a hillbilly today. Oh, there’s nothing good that comes out of the hills. Well, there’s folks a lot of good things that come out of the hills, I can tell you personally. But in Jesus day and age, the idea that someone would come from this little village of Nazareth, and yet Isaiah also said that He, the Messiah, would grow up before Him, God Almighty, like a tender shoot, like a root out of parched ground, He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, no appearance, that we should be attracted to Him. He said he would be poor and would come from a place of little or no account, and yet that is the wonderful beauty of God He chooses the things that are to the world’s perception, foolish to confound the wise, and He chooses the things that are poor to confound the rich.
Nathan Jones: And this is interesting, too, because if the Jewish people, especially the scribes and Pharisees, had studied, they knew the prophecies. They knew that Jesus would come from a poor background, but they couldn’t accept the fact that He came out of poverty. They expected a king and all His regalements to rescue Him from the Romans. But Jesus wasn’t interested in material riches, He was interested in spiritual riches. And the 19th prophecy, Isaiah 11:1-2 is the fact that Jesus at His birth would be Spirit filled. To pick up on that verse, “The Spirit of Lord shall rest upon Him, of wisdom and understanding, counsel, and might, knowledge and a fear of the Lord.” Jesus was rich because He was rich in spiritual things. And as Christians we can be rich in spiritual things as well when we know Jesus.
Tim Moore: We certainly can. And just as a small aside, I would submit that the story of Jesus and even of John the Baptist in their pre-birth state, they were already Spirit filled. It said John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit while he was still in his mother’s womb, which is why he leapt in the presence of Jesus Christ. So, folks, that today want to claim that a baby does not have any personhood until they’re actually born are so misguided according to what Scripture teaches us not only about the birth of Jesus Christ, but John the Baptist and so many others.
And so, let’s just talk about this, though, there was another tremendous prophecy offered to Mary herself upon the announcement that she would give birth to this baby. And so, as we read from Luke chapter one, when Gabriel came to Mary, who was living in the city of Galilee, called Nazareth, she was a virgin, engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, we talked about that of the descendants of David. And what did Gabriel say to her, and how does that play out in terms of the prophetic importance of Jesus birth and what we still await fulfillment?
Nathan Jones: Well, it’s amazing because if you go to Luke 1:31-33, we’ll see four fulfilled prophecies and three future prophecies yet to be fulfilled. Gabriel said, “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”
So, we know the fulfilled prophecies, Mary would conceive, and she did. Mary would give birth to a son, and she did. The Son would be great, and Jesus, I mean, He’s changed the world, obviously. And the Son would be called the Son of God, and that’s what the people called Him. But Tim there was also three prophecies that haven’t been fulfilled yet.
Tim Moore: Yeah, exactly. So, the angel Gabriel said that He would be given the throne of his father David. Well, that has not yet happened in terms of Jesus reigning from Mount Zion on the throne of his father, David, we know that that prophecy awaits fulfillment. It says that He would reign over the house of Jacob forever, we know that there were many Jews in His day and age who rejected Him. Tragically, there are many Jews, even since then, who have rejected Him. And sadly, too often many Jews are resistant to even the Gospel because of the persecution that Christians have imposed upon them down through the ages. That is something that we rail against because Christians should love the Jewish people. We should be a blessing to the descendants of Abraham.
Nathan Jones: Yes.
Tim Moore: And then, of course, it also says His kingdom will have no end. So as the prophet also saw, there would be a stone cut, not from human hands that would rise to fill the earth. And we know that the kingdom of God that is coming in its ultimate fulfillment will fill the Earth, and as Jesus reigns, His kingdom will have no end.
Nathan Jones: Right. And He’s certainly reigning through the Church over the world, but not physically. And all throughout the Bible, the Bible prophesies that Jesus Christ to fulfill these Christmas prophecies has to physically be ruling and reigning over this Earth. He has to end failed, flawed human government and set up His kingdom in Jerusalem and it will last a thousand years and then on into eternity. So, yeah, that part hasn’t come yet. But that’s kind of the Christmas hope we have, isn’t it?
Tim Moore: It sure is. And so even as we reflect on Christmas passed on the very first Christmas, the very first advent, it always points us to the future. And I would even say that we should consider for a moment the example of Mary. So, Mary being this young girl called of God, told by an angel that she would actually conceive and bear the Messiah. What a tremendous privilege and honor, but also what a tremendous burden for her, because she knew that she would immediately be ostracized in all likelihood by her family, by her community. And yet she said, let it be done according to your will, speaking of God’s will. And so, we know also from her Magnificat, her song that she expresses with great joy. She says that my soul exalts in the Lord and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. Can you imagine this young girl? And we think she was in her middle teens expecting a baby, knowing that it would be a very challenging period of her life, again, to be potentially ostracized by family and friends. And yet she recognized, even as she was called, blessed by the angel, she yet was in need of a savior, and looked forward not just to the birth of a baby, but to the arrival of a Savior.
Nathan Jones: And this is where the tragedy, I think, of Christmas comes, because we have two groups of people that approach Mary differently. You’ve got the Catholic Church which overemphasized Mary, false doctrines have crept into the Catholic Church over the years, the immaculate conception of Mary, in other words, not just Jesus was born sinless, but Mary as well. The assumption of Mary that she, like Jesus, was taken up to heaven and dwells in heaven. That she was a perpetual virgin, even though it ignores all the kids, verses Mark 6:3 and Matthew 13:55-56, which explained that Jesus had four brothers and at least two sisters, so she didn’t stay a virgin. Or even worse Mary is a co-redemptrix we’re hearing that more and more from the Catholic Church. Luke 1:46-47 in the same passage, she says, My soul exalts the Lord and my spirit has rejoiced in God who my Savior, if she was a co-redemptrix, if she was sinless, if she was assumed to heaven, then why would she need a savior?
Tim Moore: And yet you talked about two groups of people, so the other group of people just ignore Mary and cast her aside.
Nathan Jones: The Protestants, yeah.
Tim Moore: Almost in a rejection of that adoration that goes to an extreme, they swing the pendulum to the other side. We approach Mary from a balanced perspective. In other words, we recognize that just like us, she was in need of a savior, but she was a young woman who is a worthy exemplar of faithful obedience to God, and what a blessing she became. And as even the song says, all the generations to come will call her blessed. And so sure enough, we do. We consider her blessed by God and privileged to be the mother of our Lord and Savior.
Nathan Jones: Well, the way she approached it in Luke 1:38, “Then Mary said, ‘Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.'” It wasn’t women’s rights, and my rights, and I need to have an abortion, all the craziness we see today. What we see is a perfect submission to the will of God. And that’s what God wants out of His followers; He wants a perfect submission. So even Mary was a servant even though she mothered Jesus, and took care of Him in those years, and I can’t imagine raising a savior. Now, how does that work exactly? But we saw that she had perfect obedience to God, and that’s what God’s looking for to have that perfect, restored relationship with humanity again.
Tim Moore: So, you know, even as you and I, and our families and those watching today look forward to Christmas and look forward to all the joy and the warmth that we’ll experience gathering with our family, gathering with our friends, reflecting on Jesus’ birth and His great gift of coming to this earth, giving Himself for us. I think back to my own childhood how eager my brother and I were to get out of bed on Christmas morning. You know, we didn’t look forward to getting up early any day except Christmas Day.
Nathan Jones: Five in the morning.
Tim Moore: Yeah, exactly right. And we were told, “Wait until mom and dad wake up.” Oh, we couldn’t wait. The excitement. I have that kind of sense of excitement about Jesus’ return. I don’t know which day, but I am so eager for Him to come. And I think that’s a little bit of a picture of how we should be eagerly anticipating the arrival of our Messiah.
Nathan Jones: Absolutely. And that’s what Christmas points to. It’s not the end of the story. Jesus didn’t stop as a baby. He didn’t stop on the cross, where some people put Him, no, He’s the King of kings and Lord of lords, and He’s going to rule and reign over this Earth. That’s the Jesus of Christmas.
Tim Moore: It sure is. Well, folks, I hope that you are looking forward not only to Christmas in general, but to the coming Messiah, who has come, and who is coming again. He is God’s perfect gift. And so, no matter what you buy as presents or gifts for your loved ones, I hope that you’re sharing Jesus Christ with family, with friends, with every person you come in contact with. And I hope that, like Nathan and I, you’re looking forward to our soon returning great God and savior Jesus Christ. On behalf of all of us here at Lamb and Lion Ministries, we wish you and your family a very merry Christmas. Godspeed.
Lamb & Lion Family: From all of us here at Lamb & Lion Ministries to your family at home, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!