Lesson 8 – The Prophecies of Christ
Being the Mighty God and the Eternal Father
Isaiah 9:6 prophesies, “A child is born to us, / A Son is given to us;… / And His name will be called… / Mighty God, / Eternal Father.” This prophecy adequately and clearly reveals Christ’s divinity. Isaiah was written about seven hundred years before Christ’s incarnation, but it clearly prophesied that a child would be born to us and a Son would be given to us and that His name would be called Mighty God and Eternal Father.
Luke 2:11-12 and John 3:16 speak of the fulfillment of this prophecy. Luke 2:11-12 says, “Today a Savior has been born to you in David’s city, who is Christ the Lord. Christ was incarnated and born as a baby, but the baby born in a manger in Bethlehem was the Mighty God. John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that everyone who believes into Him would not perish, but would have eternal life.” This verse is based on Isaiah 9:6. The Christ who was born as a baby is the Son given to us by God. Moreover, Christ the Son is the Eternal Father. As the child and the Mighty God are one person, so the Son and the Eternal Father are also one person. The baby born in the manger in Bethlehem was the gift given by God to us, and this gift is His Son, who is the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Eternal Father, and the Prince of Peace. When we receive this Christ, we receive God and enjoy all His riches.
Being the seed of the woman
The first prophecy in the Old Testament, which is also the first prophecy in the entire Bible, speaks of Christ as the seed of the woman in His humanity. Jehovah God spoke to the serpent in Genesis 3:15: “I will put enmity / Between you and the woman / And between your seed and her seed; / He will bruise you on the head, / But you will bruise him on the heel.” This promise regarding the seed of the woman is the first prophecy in the Bible. In Isaiah 7:14 the prophet Isaiah prophesied, “The Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin will conceive and will bear a son, and she will call his name Immanuel.” The birth of Jesus Christ of the virgin Mary fulfilled the prophecy of Christ being the seed of the woman in His humanity.
A Prophet raised up by God
The Old Testament prophet Moses prophesied that Christ would come as a Prophet raised up by God (Deut. 18:15-19). In verse 15 Moses said to the children of Israel, “A Prophet will Jehovah your God raise up for you from your midst.” Moses indicated that God would give Him, the Prophet, the words that He ought to speak and that He would speak to God’s people all that God commanded Him. In Acts 3:22-23 Peter quotes Moses’ words to indicate that Christ is the Prophet promised by God through Moses to His people. Thus, the fulfillment of this prophecy was confirmed in Acts 3:22-23.
The child born of a virgin, the Son (Emmanuel) given by the Eternal Father
Isaiah 7:14 and 9:6 are two of the greatest prophecies in the Bible concerning Christ. These prophecies speak of a child being born and a Son being given. The word child in these verses implies God, man, God becoming a man, and God and man mingled as one. Such a child was a God-man. This child born of the human nature by a human virgin was also the Son given in the divine nature by the Eternal Father.
This divine-human child was begotten in the virgin Mary of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:20). The divine essence of the Holy Spirit was generated in Mary’s womb before the child Jesus was delivered out of her womb. God was born into Mary and remained in Mary’s womb for nine months. Then the One who was of the Holy Spirit in Mary was delivered out of her womb as a God-man with both divinity and humanity (v. 23). This God-man was named Jesus—Jehovah the Savior—by God (v. 21). Jesus is not only a man but also Jehovah. Furthermore, He is not only Jehovah; He is Jehovah becoming our salvation. Hence, He is our Savior. He was called Emmanuel—God with us—by the ones who experienced Him (v. 23b). The child born of Mary was a God-man child. Before His birth, there had never been such a human being, a man mingled with God. This God-man is Emmanuel. We enjoy this One as grace, which is God Himself as our portion for our enjoyment. The issue of our enjoyment of Him as our portion is that He becomes our reality. What a blessing this is!
Being born in Bethlehem to be a Ruler
The prophet Micah, in his prophecy concerning Christ’s birth, said, “You, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, / So little to be among the thousands of Judah, / From you there will come forth to Me / He who is to be Ruler in Israel” (Micah 5:2). Furthermore, Jeremiah 23:5 is a prophecy concerning Christ as a righteous Shoot raised up by God out of David who would reign as King. These prophecies tell us that, on the one hand, Christ would be born in Bethlehem and, on the other hand, Christ would be the seed of David to reign in the kingdom.
In order to fulfill the prophecies in Micah 5 and Jeremiah 23, Christ had to be born of the royal house and in Bethlehem. According to the genealogy of Christ in Matthew, Mary’s husband, Joseph, was a descendant of Zerubbabel who returned from captivity (1:13-16). Zerubbabel was a leader of the tribe of Judah and a descendant of Solomon, the son of David. He led the captured Israelites in their return to Jerusalem from Babylon to rebuild the temple (Ezra 2:1-2; 3:8; 5:2). Mary, the wife of Joseph, was also a descendant of the returned captives, but she was the descendant of Nathan, another son of David (Luke 3:23-31). Luke 3:23 says, “So it was thought, the son of Joseph, the son of Heli.” So it was thought literally means “according to law,” indicating that Joseph was not the son of Heli in the flesh but was reckoned as the son of Heli according to law. This means that Joseph was the son-in-law of Heli, because Mary was Heli’s daughter. Heli was a descendant of Nathan, who was also a descendant of David. Thus, both Joseph and Mary were descendants of David: Joseph was of the line of Solomon, and Mary was of the line of Nathan. According to the record of Jeremiah, no descendant of Solomon’s son Jeconiah (Jehoiachin) was qualified to inherit the throne of David (22:28, 30). Although Jeremiah prophesied that all the descendants of Jeconiah were excluded from the throne of David, he also prophesied that God would raise up a Shoot (branch) to David, and this Shoot would be King. This prophecy of Jeremiah indicates that Christ must be the descendant of David, but He could not be a descendant of Jeconiah. The birth of Christ truly fulfilled these prophecies. He came out of Mary, a descendant of David, and not out of Joseph. Even though He was a descendant of David, He was not of the line of Jeconiah, who was cursed according to Jeremiah. Under God’s sovereign arrangement, the birth of Jesus precisely fulfilled the prophecies of the prophets Micah and Jeremiah concerning His birth in Bethlehem and His being a descendant of David.
Growing up like a tender plant and a root out of dry ground
Isaiah 53:2 prophesies of Christ, saying, “He grew up like a tender plant before Him, / And like a root out of dry ground. / He has no attracting form nor majesty that we should look upon Him, / Nor beautiful appearance that we should desire Him.” In the Bible plants often typify humanity. For Christ to grow up like a tender plant before Jehovah means that Christ grew up before Him in His humanity. In His divinity Christ has always been perfect and complete, and thus there was no need for Him to grow in His divinity. However, He needed to grow in His humanity. First, He was born as a child, and then He grew up into boyhood and eventually into manhood.
He grew up in humanity not only like a tender plant but also like a root out of dry ground. Dry ground signifies a difficult environment. Our Lord was born to a poor carpenter’s family, became the son of a carpenter, and grew up in the city of Nazareth of the despised region of Galilee (John 1:46; Matt 13:53-57). Like a root out of dry ground, He grew up in the midst of hard circumstances. He did not have a physically attractive form nor an appearance that people would desire. Isaiah 52:14 says, “Even as many were astonished at Him— / His visage was marred more than that of any man, / And His form more than that of the sons of men.” The Jews thought the Messiah would be admired by people, like Moses and David, who were attractive in appearance (Acts 7:20; 1 Sam. 16:12). The Jews also thought that when the Messiah came, there would be the royal scepter, an open ceremony, and the support of the people. But they never thought the Messiah, the anointed One of God, Christ the Servant of God, would grow up in Nazareth of Galilee like a root out of dry ground. His visage and form were marred, having no attractiveness or majesty, such that He was reckoned as nearly fifty years old when He was thirty (John 8:57). This certainly astonished the Jews. Our Lord is altogether lovely, altogether beautiful, and altogether rich, but these features are not visible to the naked eyes; only spiritual eyes can see them.
The Smitten Shepherd
Zechariah 13:7 prophesies concerning Christ as the smitten shepherd. When Christ came as a man to be the Shepherd, He was rejected, betrayed, and sold for thirty pieces of silver. However, not only was He rejected and betrayed by men, but He was even smitten by God. Christ was sold for thirty pieces of silver by men, but following that He was smitten on the cross by God Himself. The fulfillment of Zechariah 13:7 is found in Matthew 26:31: “Then Jesus says to them, You will all be stumbled in Me this night, for it is written, I will smite the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered.
The One Wounded for Our Transgressions, with Whose Stripes We Are Healed
First Peter 2:24b says, “By whose bruise you were healed.” Here the word “bruise” is a suffering that resulted in death. According to Genesis 3:15, the seed of the woman would bruise the head of the serpent, and the serpent would bruise the heel of the woman’s seed. According to 1 Peter 2:24, we have been healed by Christ’s bruise. This is the healing of death. We were dead (Eph. 2:1), but Christ’s suffering of death healed our death so that we may live in His resurrection. The bruise in Genesis 3:15 is related to the bruise in 1 Peter 2:24.
The One Who Was Raised from the Dead on the Third Day
In Hosea 6:2 there is the prophecy that Christ would be raised from the dead on the third day. This prophecy is fulfilled in 1 Corinthians 15:4 where we are told that Christ “has been raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”
Although much of Christ is revealed in the Old Testament prophecies, our eyes need to be opened to see both these prophecies and their fulfillment. The Jews treasure the Old Testament as the Word of God, but because they are blinded by tradition they do not see anything concerning Christ Thank the Lord to have been enlightened and that our eyes have been opened to see these prophecies in the light of the New Testament revelation.