The Wonder of Christmas in Old Testament Prophecy

December 1, 2021
4 min read

It’s no secret around RMCC that I love Christmas. Always have, always will. Although I must admit that the richness and strength in my celebration of the Incarnation has deepened over time. Part of that is the realization that the coming of Messiah was a promise given by God, presented not as Plan B, but Plan A, and offered as God’s solution to our sin; that Jesus was the Lamb slain for the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8).

We sing Christmas carols like Come Thou Long Expected Jesus and lines like, “Long lay the world, in sin and error pining, till He appeared and the soul felt its worth (O Holy Night).”

Scholars believe there are more than 300 prophecies about Jesus in the Old Testament. They are specific enough that the mathematical probability of even fulfilling a handful of them is staggeringly improbable.

Back in the 1950s, Peter Stoner, Chairman of the Departments of Mathematics and Astronomy at Pasadena College challenged 600 students from InterVarsity Christian Fellowship to look at only eight specific Old Testament prophecies about the coming of Messiah. His point was that the probability of one person fulfilling even one of the prophecies is incredibly remote.

To illustrate how unlikely a chance that would be, Stoner gave an illustration that went like this:

Cover the entire state of Texas with silver dollars to a level of two feet deep. The total number of silver dollars needed would be 10 to the 17th power. Now, choose just one silver dollar, mark it, and put it back. Then thoroughly stir all the silver dollars all over the state. Now, blindfold someone and tell them they can travel wherever they want in Texas, but at some point they must pick up one of the silver dollars. The chance of finding that one silver dollar with the mark on it in a pile of coins two feet deep covering the state of Texas would be the chance the prophets had for these eight prophecies coming true in any one man in the future. (Peter Stoner, Science Speaks: Scientific Proof of the Accuracy of Prophecy and the Bible 107, Chicago, Moody Press, 1969).

Part of the wonder of Christmas is that the prophets foretold Messiah coming!

Here are some prophecies I’ve been thinking about:

Genesis 3:14, 15
“So the LORD God said to the serpent … ‘I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”

It’s the promise of Messiah and the Gospel in seed form, and it’s given by the LORD right after Adam fell into sin. God didn’t just curse, He gave a Promise of a coming Deliverer that would be wounded but would triumph, ultimately defeating the Old Serpent, Satan.

Genesis 22:18
“In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”

The prophets foretold the blessing of Messiah to come to all the nations as Abraham believed God and acted in obedience.

Numbers 24:17
“… A Star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter will rise out of Israel …”

God’s continuing promise to Abraham’s grandson, Jacob.

2 Samuel 7:13
“He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of His kingdom forever.”

This is the Kingdom of Messiah that will never end.

Isaiah 7:14
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.”

The double prediction of a virgin conception and the Incarnation. Immanuel, God with us!

Isaiah 11:1
“There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.”

Messiah would come from the line of Jesse, the father of David.

Jeremiah 23:5-6
“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. In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell safely; now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”

Messiah would come from the line of David. Jesus is the son of David.

Micah 5:2
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.”

So specific, it’s either a hit or a miss: Bethlehem. Jesus, the everlasting One; the Eternal Son of God visits earth!

That’s just a taste and just a start. Discovering the prophecies in the Old Testament will enrich this advent season and get you excited as you consider the promise that He’s coming again!

Jesus said, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me (John 5:39, NKJV).”

I still love the presents and the food, and the music and the special fellowship. But I love it more because of the Present, Jesus the Promised One, of Whom the prophets foretold.

May the Lord bless this Christmas season for you and your family.

Written by Pastor Glen Nudd

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