The Child Of Bethlehem - When Did He First Appear?December 15, 2015 Save Article
“All of the Bible is about Jesus and His blood redemption. There are two threads that run all the way through the Bible. One is the scarlet thread of blood redemption; the other is the golden thread of the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Oh, how wonderful it is to trace both of these all the way through the Bible.” ─ Adrian Rogers
If you are weary of today’s emphasis on “The Elf on the Shelf” instead of “The Savior in the Manger,” then this month’s brief study is for you. We encourage you to send for a copy of the booklet “The Scarlet Thread of Redemption” which contains Dr. Rogers’ larger study of the prophecies of the coming Messiah and how they were fulfilled in Jesus Christ. These fulfilled prophecies are a meaningful way to reach a friend or family member who may not understand who Jesus Christ truly is, obscured as He is today by the tinsel and glitter of the season for which He is the reason.
You see, the red river of redemption runs through the Scriptures from Old Testament into New. In today’s study you will see just a few of the many prophecies of the promised Messiah—a Redeemer Who would pay for the sins of fallen man—and their fulfillment centuries later in Jesus Christ. Beginning in the Garden of Eden with the first prophecy and continuing through Revelation, the Blood of Jesus is revealed over and over to be our Scarlet Thread of Redemption.
There are so many prophecies and their fulfillment, they could fill chapter after chapter. But the one thing they all have in common is that they are all about Jesus. Indeed, the entire Bible is about Jesus.
The Old Testament says, “Behold, He comes.” The Gospels say, “Behold, He dies.” Acts says, “Behold, He lives!” The Epistles say, “Behold, He saves.” Revelation says, “Behold, He reigns.” That's Jesus! The entire Bible, Old and New, is about the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus is the Last Adam, whom the first Adam prefigured. Jesus is a Prophet like Moses, a Priest like Aaron, a Champion like Joshua, an Offering like Isaac, a King like David, and a Counselor like Solomon. Jesus is Heaven's Bread Supplier like Joseph and a beloved, rejected, exalted Son.
Jesus is the Ark of the Covenant, the Mercy Seat, and the Sanctuary. He is the Water from the rock, the Manna from the sky, the Brazen Serpent lifted up for our sins. He is the Passover Lamb, the Scapegoat that carries away our sins. He is the Lion of Judah, the Good Shepherd, and the Lily of the Valley. He is the Root out of dry ground and the Faithful Branch. He is the One without form or comeliness and yet altogether lovely. His name is Jesus.
As you read these prophecies and their fulfillment along with Dr. Rogers’ explanations, we want to encourage you both to grasp that Jesus is revealed in Scripture from Genesis to Revelation, and to come to know Him personally.
If you read the Bible and don't see Jesus, read it again, because you missed the message. Without Him, all these things become a dead-end road, leading to nowhere.
An Early Prophecy Proclaimed: Seed of a Woman
Do you know where to find the first prophecy in the Bible? In the book of Genesis, there on the threshold of the Bible.
1. Turn to Genesis 3:15. As early as the Garden of Eden, the Messiah and His mission are proclaimed.
Fill in the key missing words.
And I will put enmity between _______ and the woman, and between thy seed and her _______; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel.
As you read in Genesis 3, who is speaking here?
To whom is He speaking (who is the “thee”)?
Genesis 3:15 is called by theologians the proto evangelium, which means the first evangelistic message. A battle is prophesied here: the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent will battle throughout all history.
Not only is a battle prophesied, but also a birth is prophesied. In the Bible the word “seed” is used more than one hundred times, and it always refers to the offspring of a male. But in this passage, God speaks concerning the woman, “the seed of the woman.”
This strange passage used to puzzle the old rabbis. They would scratch their heads and wonder why the Scripture said it was the “seed of the woman.” The seed comes from the man, not the woman. But in Genesis 3:15, it’s called the seed of the woman, and it is a prophesy of the virgin birth.
In this one verse, a bruising is also prophesied. The seed of the serpent is going to bruise Messiah’s heel; but Messiah is going to put His heel on the serpent’s head and crush it. A virgin-born Child, a little baby, the seed of the woman, is going to crush the serpent’s head.
2. Now turn to Galatians 4:4
But when the fullness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law…”
3. Turn now to John 19:28 and 30
28 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now _________________,
30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said, “__ __ ______________,” and He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost.
In the Greek, the word used is “tetelestai.” The word “tetelestai” appears only twice in the New Testament, in these two verses. It means finished, accomplished, completed.
Scholars tell us that in 19:28 it is translated, “After this, when Jesus knew that all things were now completed [tetelestai], in order that the scripture might be fulfilled, He said, ‘I thirst.’”
Two verses later, Jesus uses the word Himself: “Then when Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said, ‘It is finished’ [tetelestai], and He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost.”
In His atoning death on the cross, Jesus fulfilled Genesis 3:15.
Prophecy Proclaimed: Son of God
1. Turn to Psalm 2:7—
I will declare the decree:
The LORD hath said unto Me,
“Thou art My ____,
______ _____ I have begotten Thee.”
Jehovah, Yaweh, Adonai, is quoted here. Who is He speaking to?
2. Jesus did not get His beginning in Bethlehem. Where did He have His beginning?
Turn to John 1:1-4:
In the ______________ was the Word, and the Word was ______ God, and the Word _____God.
2 The same _____ in the ______________ _______ God.
3 All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made.
4 In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.
The beginning is the beginning. It’s not midway into the First Act. It’s not the Second Act. In all of “history” before time began, the Word was already present. He merely came in the flesh at Bethlehem.
The baby of Luke chapter one is the great God of Genesis chapter one. Had Jesus been born of earthly parents, He would have been a sinner as we are sinners. But He was not. Jesus was the sinless Son of God.
Since the father gives the bloodline, we inherit our sin nature by Adam and from Adam. Some mistakenly believe that the bloodline is received from the mother, but that is not so. Often, people believe that the mother’s blood circulates through the baby’s body in the mother’s womb, but that is not so either. Did you know that not one drop of blood circulates between the mother and child en utero? It is the father who determines the bloodline.
3. So, who is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ?
The blood that courses through the veins of the Lord Jesus Christ is royal, sinless, and pure. God the Father does not have a corporeal body with literal blood, because He is spirit. But when Jesus came to earth as a baby with a body of flesh, the blood coursing through His veins was the pure, sinless blood of the Second Person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ.
That this little baby is God does not diminish His humanity one bit. He is as much man as if He were not God at all, and as much God as if He were not man at all. He is not half-God and half-man. He is not all God and no man nor all man and no God. He is the God-man, fully God and fully man.
4. Therefore, the prophecy of Psalm 2 finds its fulfillment in John 1:14 and 3:16—
14 And the _______ was made __________, and __________ among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth.
For God so loved the world that He gave His _______ ______________ _______, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
That which Psalm 2 prophesies was fulfilled in the coming of Jesus Christ.
Prophecy Proclaimed: He Will Be Born in Bethlehem
1. Turn to Micah 5:2:
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 ___________________.
It was not incidental and not accidental that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. It had been prophesied for centuries.
2. And the “ruler out of Bethlehem” could not have been King David for more than one reason.
One is found in the key word you filled in, in this verse. Why does that word alone make it impossible for this to mean David?
3. Can you think of another reason the prophecy written by Micah could not have referred to David?
We see the prophecy fulfilled in Luke 2:4-7:
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
How fitting that Mary’s Lamb would be born in Bethlehem. Did you know that for centuries the Jewish priests had been raising Passover lambs there? Those shepherds’ fields outside of Bethlehem were fields where a very special breed of sacrificial lamb was raised and nurtured. They were raised so that one day those lambs might be brought to Jerusalem, and at Passover, they might be slaughtered.
It was there where God’s perfect Lamb, the Lord Jesus, was born. As we know, He was born in a stable, and how fitting that a sacrificial Lamb would be born in a stable.
Prophecy Proclaimed: He Will Be the Savior
1. Turn to Isaiah 42. Read verses 1-7.
Behold My _____________, whom I uphold; Mine elect, in whom My soul delighteth; I have put My Spirit upon Him: He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.
2 He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause His voice to be heard in the street.
3 A bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not quench: He shall bring forth judgment unto truth.
4 He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till He have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for His law.
5 Thus saith God the Lord, He that created the heavens, and stretched them out; He that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; He that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein,
6 “I the Lord have called Thee in righteousness, and will hold Thine hand, and will keep Thee, and give Thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;
7 To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.”
2. The entire 42nd chapter of Isaiah is a prophecy of the coming Messiah. Who is the servant God the Father is describing here?
3. What are some of the things this Servant is going to do when He comes to earth?
4. Turn to Matthew 12:17-21. Here the writer of the first Gospel wastes no time in telling us that Jesus Christ is the fulfillment on Isaiah 42:
17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias [Isaiah] the prophet, saying,
18 Behold My servant, whom I have chosen; My beloved, in whom My soul is well pleased: I will put My spirit upon Him, and He shall show judgment to the Gentiles.
19 He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear His voice in the streets.
20 A bruised reed shall He not break, and smoking flax shall He not quench, till He send forth judgment unto victory.
21 And in His name shall the Gentiles trust.
5. Look back at the earlier verses in this chapter. Who is Jesus “in trouble” with?
What had He done to make them so angry?
6. Now read the very next verse (22) in Matthew 12. Look back again at Isaiah 42:7. What does Isaiah say the Messiah will do?
What does Matthew say happened (who was presented to Jesus) just as Matthew is connecting the prophecy of Isaiah with Jesus?
Jesus begins fulfilling Isaiah 42:7 right on the heels of fulfilling Isaiah 42: 1-6. It was all fitting together like carefully crafted pieces of a puzzle.
What is the greatest need in the world today? Is it information? We’re drowning in a sea of information. If information had been the need, God would have sent us an educator. Is it technology? We’re often afraid of our technology today. If technology had been the need, God would have sent a scientist. Is it money? Do you think that your problems would be solved if you had more money? If money had been the need, God would have sent an economist. Do you think the need is more leisure? Maybe God should have sent an entertainer. Is it peace? If that were true, God would have sent a diplomat.
No, our greatest need is salvation. Jesus came not as an educator, not as a scientist, not as an economist, an entertainer, a philosopher, nor a social worker. God sent a Savior. The words of Luke 2:11 express this great need for “a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” In Luke 19:10, Jesus Himself said, "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost."
When the Titanic pulled out to sea, there were some who sailed with very fine accommodations, and there were others below in the steerage. But when the final tally came back to the New York office, they put them in only two categories: saved and lost. When you stand before God, the only thing that will matter is whether you are saved or lost. Praise God, we have a Savior, Christ the Lord.
In today’s somewhat shortened study, we have presented just four of the Old Testament prophecies of the coming Messiah as fulfilled in our Lord Jesus Christ. There are hundreds more.
Wouldn’t it be a tragedy to celebrate the birth of Christ this month of December without knowing Him as your Savior? If you’ve not already done so, pray and accept Jesus as your Savior. Allow Him to be the Lord of your life. For He says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock, and if any man hear My voice and open the door, I will come in to him and sup [dine] with him, and he with Me.”
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