Mentions of Jesus' Birth in the Old Testament
Updated: Aug 9, 2021
As we move into the Christmas season, I look back at the Old Testament and see how it proclaimed the future advent of Jesus into the world. Even thousands of years ago, God was preparing the way for the entrance of his Son. Here are some scriptures and reflections on them that I hope will inspire you as we move closer to Christmas day:
Over three millennia ago, Moses wrote the Book of Genesis:
Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father’s house, To the land which I will show you; And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great;…And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
This prediction of the blessing of the “House of Abram,” written over a millennium before the birth of Jesus, has its fulfillment in this birth, as Jesus was a descendant of Abram who would be a savior for “all the families of the earth.”
But God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.”
Being a descendant of Abraham and by virtue of his birth, Jesus Christ inaugurated the “everlasting covenant” that would be guaranteed by his death and resurrection.
“Your descendants shall also be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed.”
God confirms a third time to the patriarchs (Jacob here) that through his descendent, Jesus Christ, “all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
“The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh or “He to whom it belongs” comes, and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.”
Near death, Jacob pronounces his blessing to his sons and prophesied about the coming of Jesus, his power, and his authority over all of the earth. As observed in both Matthew’s and Luke’s genealogies, Jesus was descended from Judah.
2 Samuel 7:16, 17
“Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.’”
Anticipating the Birth of Jesus Christ, Nathan the prophet reported the eternal nature of David’s lineage. I believe that this prediction was fulfilled through the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ that brings eternity to mankind.
I will proclaim the Lord’s decree: He said to me, “You are my son; today I have become your father. Ask me and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.”
The psalmist writes about a king whose father is “the Lord” and who will rule over the entire earth.
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
Who else could Isaiah be referencing other than Jesus of Nazareth who is the only man known to be born of a virgin? The name “Emmanuel” (“God with us”) is also consistent with the advent of Jesus into the world. The documentation for the fulfillment of this prophecy is contained within the genealogies of Jesus Christ located in Matthew 1:18-25 and Luke 1:26-35.
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom…From then on and forevermore.
Approximately 700 years before the birth of Jesus, Isaiah predicts this noble birth and that Jesus would be a descendant of King David. Who else could qualify as the one whom Isaiah prophesies about? By his lineage and also by his status as God Incarnate, the birth of Jesus Christ fulfills Isaiah’s prophecy (Luke 1:32-33; 3:23-38; Matthew 1:1, 6-7).
Isaiah 40:3 and Malachi 3:1
A voice is calling, “Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.”
“Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the LORD of hosts.
These two verses written centuries before the birth of Jesus Christ speak of John, the Baptist who would go before Jesus and proclaim his status as the “Lamb of God” who takes away the sins of the world. The fulfillment of these scriptural predictions about the forerunner of Jesus are observed in Luke 1: 16-17 as the Angel Gabriel spoke to Zechariah (the father of John the Baptist) and in Luke 1:76 by Zechariah’s own proclamation.
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
Again, Jesus fulfills another prophecy of the coming of God Incarnate, one who is from “ancient times,” who was in fact born of a virgin in the city of Bethlehem. This prophecy is fulfilled in both Luke 2: 1-7 and Matthew 2:1-6.