In this week’s episode of our ministry’s television program, Christ in Prophecy, we reflect on the First Advent when Jesus Christ came to the earth.
How amazing that there are 300 general prophecies and 109 specific prophecies in the Bible, which foretold of Christ’s First Coming! Jesus fulfilled them all, exactly and in detail. The fulfillment of all of these overwhelming number of prophecies proves that Jesus Christ is indeed the long-awaited Messiah, and so we can place our faith and trust in Him as our Savior and Lord.
When it comes to the First Advent prophecies of Jesus Christ, there are 19 specific “Christmas prophecies” that we are now going to explore. Through these, along with many other evidences, we can know that Jesus Christ is truly the Messiah because He fulfilled prophecies that were given hundreds of years before He was even born.
- From the Shemite Branch of Humanity (Genesis 9:26)
Nathan Jones: Let’s go all the way back to Genesis 9:26, which prophesied that the Messiah 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.'” The line of Shem, meaning the Semitic peoples.
- Through Abraham (Genesis 12:3)
Tim Moore: We can also travel down the Messiah’s line, starting with Abraham. When he was originally called, he was still known as Abram. God called him to leave the land where he had been raised and follow God to live in what would become the Promised Land. And, because Abram believed and obeyed God, God made a promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:3. “I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” That promise has tracked all the way forward through the generations to the Messiah’s birth and beyond to today.
- Through Abraham’s Son, Isaac (Genesis 17:21)
Nathan Jones: The messianic line would not go through all of Abraham’s descendants, for it wouldn’t be Abraham’s son Ishmael from whom the Messiah would derive, but it would be through Abraham’s other son, Isaac. We can read about that ongoing promise in Genesis 17:21. “But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year.” It was a prophecy that Isaac would be born, and through him, the covenant would be carried.
- Through Isaac’s Son, Jacob (Genesis 28:14)
Nathan Jones: We also learn that it wouldn’t be to Isaac’s son Esau that the messianic line would derive, just as it hadn’t been through his uncle Ishmael, but the covenant promise would go from Abraham to Isaac and then to his other son Jacob.
Tim Moore: The Lord had said in Genesis 28:14 to Jacob that He would bless him. “Your descendants will also be like the dust of the earth, and you will 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.” God’s promise points to the coming One who would bless both Jew and Gentile alike. It’s not the firstborn Ishmael or the firstborn Esau who was blessed, but rather God chooses according to His own will, and in this case, the younger sons became the sons of promise.
- Through the Tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:8)
Nathan Jones: Yes, God should have technically chosen the oldest son of Jacob, Reuben. Based on the Old Testament’s account of ancient Middle Eastern customs, but no, God instead picked Judah as we read in Genesis 49:8. “Judah, you are he whom your brothers shall praise; your hand shall be on the 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 of Israel.
- Through the Family of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1)
Tim Moore: The messianic line would travel down through Judah to David, who was the son of Jesse. God’s added promise that David and His lineage would continue and rule on a throne forever is called the Davidic Covenant. Even today, we speak of Jesus returning to reign from the throne of His forefather, David.
Nathan Jones: And that’s where we get the sixth prophecy in Isaiah 11:1. “There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.” This prophecy identifying the Messiah says the Messiah is not just a descendant of Jesse, but he’s also a forerunner of Jesse, which means the Messiah has to be divine.
- Through the House of David (Jeremiah 23:5)
Nathan Jones: The Davidic Covenant is confirmed in Jeremiah 23:5. “‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the Lord, ‘that I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.'”
The Messiah would have to fulfill this exact family line; otherwise, He wouldn’t qualify. What’s interesting is that when the Jewish people were ejected from their land in 70 A.D., the messianic lineage was erased going forward because the Jewish people didn’t really follow their lineages after the dispersion of the Jews into the world. So, Jesus had to come at the time and place that He did to prove His genealogy was proper. We can read Matthew 1 and Luke 3 to get the full genealogy of Jesus, both through His earthly father, Joseph and then through Mary.