Jesus in the Old Testament - Prophecies of Jesus' Birth

I suspect that Linus gave us the most popular popular reading of the Christmas story.  If you haven't seen it in a while, I hope you enjoy it here.

While all the prophecies of Jesus are significant, one might argue that, when it comes to  validating Jesus' identity, the prophecies of Jesus' birth are most important since these details are much more difficult to manufacture.

One of the things that was prophesied was Jesus' lineage. 

"Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit.  The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord." Isaiah 11:1 (NASB).

Jesse was the father of King David, of the tribe of Judah.  Because Jesus was to be King (though not the kind the Jews were expecting), it was necessary for Jesus to be from this royal line.

Another scripture prophesies the location of His birth.

"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 ruler in Israel.  His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity."  Micah 5:2 (NASB).

Bethlehem is a small town near Jerusalem, in the land belonging  to the tribe of Judah.  Israel consisted of twelve tribes, named for and descended from the twelve sons of Jacob.  Once the Israelites arrived at the promised land, the land was divided by tribe.   King David was from Bethlehem.

"Now David was the son of the Ephrathite of Bethlehem in Judah, whose name was Jesse, and he had eight sons." 1 Samuel 17:12 (NASB).

Jesus' family was living in Nazareth before Jesus was born, but not long before Jesus was born, the family traveled to Bethlehem.

"Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth.  This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.  And everyone was on hi way to register for the census, each to his own city.  Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child.  While they were there, the days were complete for her to give birth.  And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn."  Luke 2:1-7 (NASB).

I've left the most controversial one for last. 

"Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign:  Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel."  Isaiah 7:14 (NASB).

There is quite a bit of debate on the word "virgin" in this scripture.  Some would say that the Hebrew word "almah" simply meant an unmarried young woman.  It was, of course, expected that an unmarried young woman would be a virgin.  And Mary was described as such.

"Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows:  when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.  And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly.  But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, 'Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit." Matthew 1:18-20 (NASB).

This is a lengthy debate that I choose not to discuss in detail here, but if you do find that you have any questions, please feel free to ask me, or you can look at a couple sites on the issue I found during my research. 

This page describes the issue without delving very much into Hebrew and Greek.

If you are more interested in the original languages and various word choices, you can check out this page.

Details of Jesus' birth was prophesied in scripture, in several different books of the Bible.  After reading these few examples, if you have any questions, please leave a comment below, and I will answer them to the best of my ability.

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72 Responses to Jesus in the Old Testament - Prophecies of Jesus' Birth

  1. Kirra, thanks for your willingness to bring this subject to your blog. Great thoughts and I pray (as I'm sure you do as well) that others will see Jesus as we know Him and accept Him as their Savior. Thanks again. I enjoy reading your blog! Grace and peace be yours in abundance, Donna

    1. Donna, I'm so glad you're enjoying the topic. I am as well. In a few weeks, I am going to touch on types and christophanies, instead of focusing on prophecy in specific. I'm also considering how to do a post on the Jews and why many of them reject Jesus in spite of the prophecies. Any input on that topic would be appreciated!

  2. The problem is that all the parties involved would have been well aware of the prophercies. Jesus is a candidate precisely because he fits te profile. It is self fulfilling.

    1. I realize that He could have been lucky several times, such as the circumstances of His birth, and He could have arranged some things, but there are plenty that He could not have achieved Himself. For example, He was buried in a rich man's tomb. His bones were not broken (very unusual for a crucifixion).

      Jesus fulfilled over 300 prophecies concerning His birth, death, and life. He could not have orchestrated every single one of those. Jesus fulfilled prophecy because God knew and told us about the things He would be and do long before He was on earth.

  3. I think this is a good material for my Christmas theme this year. :)

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