Prophecy is there for us all to study. There are many interpretations that various people put on prophecy, but only one is true. That’s the one that God has. Today, we can look back and see that many Biblical prophecies have been fulfilled, and we learn from that fact that the rest will be fulfilled just as God said.
The problem comes when we see a prophecy being fulfilled but turn a blind eye because it isn’t happening like we expected it to happen. This isn’t a new problem. During the time when Jesus was born, people had been looking for their Messiah. Many, many prophecies had been given to describe where and how He would be born, but the way the religious leaders interpreted prophecy was far from reality. They were looking for a man of war to come and rescue the Jewish people from the oppression of Rome.
These Scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees were blind to the truth because they couldn’t believe God’s truth. God’s plan was to make eternal salvation available to the entire world, including Gentiles. It wasn’t only the religious leaders looking for the Messiah; regular people were also sure the time was right. For some, it might have been a passing thought, while others spent their life seeking Him. Let’s take a look at some of these people.
The first that we need to consider is Joseph and Mary. At that time, they were the closest to the fact that the Messiah was to be born. The prophet Isaiah had given a prophecy that God would give a sign.
“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 7:14).
The word “virgin” is from the Hebrew word “alma” and can mean a young woman, a virgin. In context, it means a virgin, a young woman who has never had sexual relations with a man. Mary was a young woman living in Nazareth and was espoused to a man named Joseph. She was visited by Gabriel, who was sent by God to tell Mary that she had been chosen to give birth to the Son of God. Mary was a virgin and asked how it would be accomplished. The same Holy Spirit that inspired Isaiah to write this prophecy also inspired Luke to tell us how it happened. The Holy Spirit would come upon her, so she became pregnant without losing her virginity.
Of course, Joseph was very troubled when he found out his bride-to-be was going to have a baby. So, Gabriel paid Joseph a visit and told him the truth of what happened and that it would be just fine for him to continue plans for marriage.
“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. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS; for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:20-21).
So, Joseph understood that Mary hadn’t been with another man and that she was a virgin. For all who doubt Isaiah’s prophecy, Matthew wrote, “Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 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” (Matthew 1:22-23). Joseph and Mary were the first to fully understand the prophecy of the virgin birth. God meant what He said, even though it is hard for human understanding.
They traveled together to Bethlehem in order to obey the Roman mandate that all would be taxed. “And all went to be taxed, every one unto his own city” (Luke 2:3).
Since Joseph was the decedent of King David, he and Mary traveled to Bethlehem. This was the way God made sure the prophecy in Micah was fulfilled, which foretold where the Messiah would be born.
“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, 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. Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel” (Micah 5:2-3).
While Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem, Mary’s time to give birth was accomplished. There had been no room for them in the Inn, so she didn’t have any comforts. But when the King of kings entered His creation, Mary laid Him, the Lamb of God, in a manger wrapped in swaddling clothes. The most important event of history happened in a humble manger.
It must have been a peaceful scene. Joseph, Mary, and Baby Jesus in the stable while shepherds were in the fields watching their flocks by night. The peace was shattered! “And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid” (Luke 2:9).
I certainly would have been afraid. This was a sight they had never seen before. The angel’s message was amazing. “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people, for unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger” (Luke 2:10-12).
If that wasn’t enough, a multitude of angels appeared saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14).
What a blessed message! Those shepherds must have been very confused. When the angels were gone, they decided to head to Bethlehem and see what the angels were talking about.
“And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in the manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds” (Luke 2:16-18).
The shepherds found Jesus. They heard what the angels said, then went to find Him, and then they told others about it. Isn’t that what we should all do? When we find Jesus, we need to tell others.
Because they were Jewish, they had to keep the Law. Mary had given birth to a male child, and the Law was very specific about what was to take place at the birth of a son and for the purification of the mother.
“Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days; according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean. And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised” (Leviticus 12:2-3).
This was done for Jesus according to the Law. “And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb” (Luke 2:21).
Mary would have been unclean for seven days and was to offer a sacrifice at the end of that time. “…she shall bring a lamb of the first year for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon, or a turtledove, for a sin offering, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation unto the priest” (Leviticus 12:6b).
It was time to make the offering to fulfill the Law. We can be sure the magi hadn’t been there yet because Joseph and Mary couldn’t afford to purchase a lamb for sacrifice.
“And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) and to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons” (Luke 2:22-24).
Of course, they had the Lamb of God with them! There was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon who was a very just and devout man. He had been waiting for the Messiah. “And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ” (Luke 2:26).
The Holy Spirit had sent him to the temple at the same time that Joseph and Mary brought Jesus. “Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel” (Luke 2:28-32).
Simeon was a smart man, and he found Jesus and praised God.
As Simeon was talking with Joseph and Mary, an elderly lady named Anna came along and recognized that Jesus was the one she had been waiting for. “And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for the redemption of Jerusalem” (Luke 2:38).
There were people at that time who knew prophecy and were looking for Jesus. Simeon and Anna were just two of them. It’s interesting to me that the religious leaders didn’t recognize Him and weren’t looking for His appearing. It’s really no different today. How many pastors eagerly teach about prophecy? How many are eagerly looking at all the prophecy that is being fulfilled today but are so busy being religious and politically correct that they miss the signs of the times?
Wickedness is everywhere, but Christ is ignored. There is a war raging in Israel, and the world in general is against Israel. Shame on pastors and any Christians who are not in support of Israel. It was silent pulpits that allowed Hitler to inflict his evil plan into the world.
The Temple is ready to be rebuilt, and the red heifers are ready to be sacrificed. This is exciting. This temple is important because it needs to be in place in order for the Anti-Christ to set up his evil reign of terror there. The Great Tribulation is coming, and before that, the Rapture will take Christians Home to be with Jesus. Are you looking for Him? Have you found Him?
There was another group that went out of their way to find Jesus. “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him” (Matthew 2:1-2).
Their arrival upset Herod, who called on the chief priests and scribes to tell him where Christ was to be born. These priests and scribes should have been looking for Christ rather than rubbing elbows with the government. Herod was looking for Jesus to kill Him. That’s very similar to today. Rather than being Biblically correct, most Christians are politically correct and missing Christ.
The Scribes and priests found the prophecy in Micah stating He would be born in Bethlehem; Herod told the wise men to go find the child, then return and tell him where he could find the child. Herod didn’t want to worship; he wanted to murder. Governments today are doing all they can to glorify sin while trying to get rid of Christ.
The wise men followed the star, which led them to find Jesus. “And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh” (Matthew 2:11).
Herod had ordered them to let him know where to find Jesus, but when secular mandates are in opposition to God’s mandate, always obey God.
“And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way” (Matthew 2:12).
The wise men obeyed God. Anyone who is wise will always obey God. Herod didn’t want to worship Jesus; he wanted to kill Him. Herod didn’t find Jesus. His heart was hard, and he died in his sins.
Today, we can still find Jesus. We might have a miraculous encounter like the shepherds, or we might find Him because we worship God in spirit and in truth, like Simeon and Anna. Jesus can be found by anybody who seeks Him; whether they are Jewish or Gentile, He can be found. If you have found Jesus, tell all who will listen and spread the Good News that Christ is born and will soon be calling His church Home. He can be found today by those who aren’t too blind to see.
God bless you all,
Recommended prophecy sites:
All original scripture is “theopneustos,” God-breathed.
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“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee” (Psalm 122:6).