The Long-Awaited Birth
When the writers of the New Testament contemplated the events surrounding the birth of Jesus, they saw these events fulfilling centuries of sacred promises expressed in the Hebrew Scriptures. Here are some of the Old Testament prophecies that find their completion in the birth of Jesus Christ.
The descendent of the woman:
When the Lord cursed the serpent for enticing the first humans to sin, God predicted that a descendent of the woman would one day destroy the work of the evil one, even as the evil one attempted to destroy him. God told the serpent, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15). The Apostle Paul alluded to this promise in Galatians 4:4 when the described the saving work of Christ.
The offspring of Abraham:
God promised that all the nations of the earth would be blessed through Abraham’s offspring (Genesis 22:18). In Galatians 3:16, the Apostle observed that this prophecy was referring to one specific descendent of Abraham, whom he identifies as Jesus Christ.
The star of Jacob:
In Numbers 24:17, the prophet Balaam predicted that a ruler would arise from Jacob’s line who would conquer the enemies of God’s people. Balaam said, “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near: a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel.” In Revelation 22:16, the exalted Christ refers to himself as “the bright morning star.” He is the promised Ruler arising from Israel.
The son of David:
The Lord told King David that one day one of his descendants would rule over an eternal kingdom. (See 2 Sam. 7:12-13; Ps. 89:35-37; Isa. 11:1; Jer. 23:5-6.) The writers of the New Testament frequently attest to Jesus’ descent from the line of David. (See Matt. 1:1-17; Luke 1:31-33; Rom. 1:3; Rev. 22:16.) Jesus is the promised Messiah, the Son of David.
Born of a virgin:
The prophet Isaiah said, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isa. 7:14). Jesus was conceived miraculously in the womb of the virgin Mary (Matt. 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-38). The name Immanuel means, “God is with us,” a beautiful truth that became a reality with the birth of Christ.
The holy child:
Isaiah predicted the birth of a child like none other, one who would be wonderful, holy, and divine. He said, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore” (Isa. 9:6-7). This prophecy was looking forward to Jesus. When the angel told Mary of the son she would bear, he identified Jesus as this promised child, saying, “The child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).
Born in Bethlehem:
Micah 5:2 says, “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.” The Gospel writers describe how Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem (Matt. 2:1-12; Luke 2:1-20).
All these promises find their fulfillment, their fullest and deepest meaning, in the birth of Jesus. Jesus is the promised Messiah, the long-awaited king of Israel, the hope of the nations, the Savior of humankind, the light of the world. He is the only one who can satisfy the longings of the human heart.