Class Notes: 12/17/2008

2008 Christmas Special continued...Prophecies of the incarnation

Since we are in the Christmas season we have started a discussion of the fulfilled prophecies that are recorded in scripture that discuss the first advent and the incarnation of TLJC that is celebrated at Christmas. Isa 9:6;

We saw the first mention of the Gospel in Gen 3:15; where the "seed of the woman" was prophesied to be at war with the "seed of the serpent" throughout human history on the earth.

The early church and the writers of the New Testament referred to the OT prophecies to establish faith in Christ as the Messiah, our Savior the Son of God who is the only hope for mankind.

The Old Testament was written over a period of 1000 years and contains some three hundred prophecies related to the first coming of the Messiah.

Last time we left off on the prophecy in Isa 7:14; where it is prophesied that a Virgin will give birth and that the child will be called Immanuel.

The word transliterated "Immanuel" is not a name it is a designation, a title or description of who this Child would be " the "God man" or God with us in the flesh, both God and man in one person.

The word translated "Virgin" is translated from the Hebrew, "alma", that means "a mature, young, unmarried, and chaste woman." `Alma . . . represents a young woman, one of whose characteristics is virginity.

The Septuagint, written long before any of the controversies that arose from satan's attempt through evil people to deceive regarding the unique birth of TLJC, used the Greek word "parthenos" that is the Greek word for virgin in the translation of two of the seven occurrences of the Hebrew word `alma', including it's use in Isaiah 7:14; that was quoted to Joseph by the angel as a prediction of the virgin birth.

There is no instance where it can be demonstrated that the Hebrew word "alma" designates a young woman who is not also a virgin. Further, it is the only Hebrew word that unequivocally signifies an unmarried woman.

"Alma" was used because it combines both the ideas of virginity and the condition of being unmarried.

In this way, one would be born, not by normal conception, but by a miracle from God so that the one born would not only be true humanity, but God with us in the sense of being the God-man Isa 9:6;

This means we are to expect precisely what we find in the gospel accounts that describe the virgin birth of Jesus Christ.

Prophecy Number 13: The Royal Line is Cut Off and Cursed, Yet the Promise is preserved.

Jer 22:28-30; clearly shows the royal line was to be cursed and cut off. Included in the royal line of David through Solomon was Jeconiah aka Coniah. The curse clearly states that no physical seed of Coniah could ever occupy the throne of David. This means the royal line of David through Solomon was cut off. God saw to it that this prophecy was carried out by the following conditions:

The captivity of Babylon and the nations that followed Babylon that would rule over Israel with the result that no one would be able to sit on the throne of Judah or of David. The nations following Babylon were Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome.

This condition has been maintained during the Church Age that is also known as "the times of the Gentiles," that we understand is a period where there the client or priest nations to God are Gentile nations rather than Israelite.

This will continue until the second advent of Messiah according to Luke 21:24.

In spite of this, God's promises to David are not rescinded, and the reason they are not is because of the unconditional covenant with David that included the promise of Immanuel, and its fulfillment in the birth of Jesus Christ.

Through the virgin birth Jesus became the legal son of Joseph by adoption, but since Joseph was not his natural father, he became the genetic son of David through Mary.

Joseph, who was in the royal line of David through Solomon, gave Jesus legal title to the throne by adoption Matt 1:6,16; Simultaneously, Mary, by the miracle of the virgin birth, made Jesus a descendant of David through his son Nathan. Luke 3:31;

We see that the prophecies of the birth of the Messiah, or "the seed of the woman", are so precise that they not only show that the Savior would come through the miracle of the virgin birth through a descendent of David, and they also tell us when and where.

Prophecy Number 14: The Time of Messiah's Birth Dan 9:24-27;

"Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy place. "So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress. "Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined. "And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate."

This is recorded as fulfilled in Mark 11:1-11; and Luke 19:29-38;

Daniel 9:24-27; provide several additional important facts about the Messiah: This passage tells us when Messiah will appear on the scene. It tells us that after His appearance, Messiah will be rejected by His people, and that Messiah will be cut off temporarily, an obvious reference to his death on the cross.

Verse 25 refers to a specific time for the coming of Messiah. The seven weeks with the sixty-two weeks combine to make 69 weeks of years (483 years) until the coming of Messiah. The starting point for the 483 years was the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. This is a reference to the decree given in the time of Nehemiah in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes in 445 B.C. Neh.2:1-8;. After this, Messiah would appear on the scene.

The words "until Messiah the Prince" refer to a time when Messiah would be manifested as the prince of Israel. The point of manifestation most likely refers to the triumphal entry of Christ into Jerusalem on what is known as Palm Sunday when He presented Himself and was recognized by the people as Messiah prince. This would be around A.D. 30-33, so the time of His birth as the Immanuel of God would have to be around 4BC-0AD.

At the time of Christ's birth there was an air of expectancy among the Jews in Judea including Simeon and Anna who knew the doctrine and who still retained the hope of Messiah. Luke 2:25-38;

Prophecy Number 15: tells us the location of Messiah's Birth Micah 5:2-3;

"But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity." Therefore, He will give them up until the time When she who is in labor has borne a child. Then the remainder of His brethren Will return to the sons of Israel.

Fulfillment: Luke 2:1-7; Matt 2:1-6;

The Micah prophecy was well known in Judea and when the men from the east came seeking the one born King of the Jews and inquired of His birth, the religious leaders told Herod precisely where He was to be born, in the village of Bethlehem.

Prophecy Number 16 The Celestial Announcement of Messiah's Birth Num 24:17;

"I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near; A star shall come forth from Jacob, And a scepter shall rise from Israel, And shall crush through the forehead of Moab, And tear down all the sons of Sheth.

Fulfillment: Matt 2:1-2; Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east, and have come to worship Him."

The question the Magi asked Herod in Matthew 2:2a, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews" was asked because they saw His star. 2b, "For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him,"

This is presented by Matthew as another identifying evidence that this Jesus of whom he was writing is truly the long awaited Deliverer of Old Testament expectation.

In fact, the overall purpose of Matthew is to present Jesus to the Jews as the fulfillment of many Old Testament prophecies to prove that Jesus is the Deliverer and long awaited Messiah. This is evident by the ten fulfillment quotations he employs in presenting Jesus as the expected Messiah.

There is not much known about these men. The word translated "wise men" or transliterated "magi" refers to a group of scholars who studied the stars. Their title connects them with magic, but they were probably more like astrologers.

God gave them a special sign, a miraculous star that announced the birth of the King.

Some have looked for some historical astronomical occurrence to explain the star such as a super nova, a special comet, or a conjunction of stars, but it is more likely that it was not a natural phenomenon but a supernatural one.

If these men were astronomers, they would have been familiar with a natural phenomenon and would have been able to explain it.

It would have required more than a just a natural phenomenon to send them on such a long, difficult and dangerous journey.

This star is better explained as a manifestation of the shining glory of God perhaps in the form of a star that He used to reveal and identify the Savior. No star in the distant sky could provide such directional specificity on the earth.

It is probable that these men from the east had become acquainted with the Jewish Scriptures when the Judah was conquered and relocated to Babylon.

If so, the prophecy containing a star and which linked that star to the scepter of Israel found in Num 24:17; would cause them to associate this supernatural occurrence with birth of the Deliverer in Israel.

In addition, the prophecy of Daniel's seventy weeks in Daniel 9 would cause great anticipation for the coming of the King. Daniel was well known as a "wise man" in the royal courts of Babylon.

Since the Magi were astrologers, the sign of the star was highly significant. This with their evident knowledge of some of the Old Testament prophecies brought them to Judea.

Matthew affirms the supernatural birth of the King by noting the reference the Magi make to the star.

This event was an extraordinary and special movement in the stars, designed to lead these men to Christ. Such a significant display in the heavens would cause no small stir among those who were looking for the coming of a king.

The Magi were evidently acquainted with the Old Testament prophecies, and because of the stellar manifestations which they say, had come to Judea to seek out the Messiah of Israel.

There is another mark of identification that provides us with some interesting points of application to think about.

Matthew tells us the Magi came "to worship Him." Most likely they came to worship Him as God. While the verb used for worship could refer to that directed toward men or to God, it was generally used of God.

This is supported by the fact that in the New Testament the Greek verb, "proskuneo", denotes exclusively worship addressed to God or to Jesus Christ as God.

If this were not the case, why would these Magi bother to come to a tiny nation to worship its new ruler?

The supernatural occurrence along with the prophecies of the Old Testament pointed Him out as the Deliverer of the Old Testament and they came to worship Him.

Matthew also shares this story with us because it highlights another important issue and one of contrast. It draws the reader's attention to the apathy and disinterest of the religious leaders of Israel and the hatred and actions of Herod.

Though they knew where Messiah was to be born, the Jewish religious leaders couldn't be bothered, and Herod tried to kill the child.

This draws our attention back to the struggle and enmity that is described in Gen 3:15; and demonstrates the continuing the battle between the God and Satan, the doctrinal and the kosmic, and faith versus unbelief.

The magi were seeking the King; Herod was opposing the King; and the Jewish priests were indifferent to the King. The Jewish priests knew the Scriptures, but ignored them.

In conclusion we have seen the following prophecies that identify the Deliverer who was prophesied to come and now has come.

A male child, a son Gen 3:15; Isa. 9:6;

A child born in the line of Shem, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, Jesse, David, and Solomon.

A physical descendant of David and legal heir to the throne through Solomon, yet not a physical descendant through Jeconiah.

A child born of a virgin in circumstances which validate the fact of a virgin birth as seen in Matthew 1 and Luke 1.

A descendent of David, son of Jesse, but not until the tenth generation after Perez.

Born around 3BC-0A.D. in accordance with the prophecy of Daniel 9:24f.

One who would be preceded by a forerunner who would prepare the way as did John the Baptist Mal. 3:1; Mark 1:1-4;.

Born in Bethlehem of Judea Mic. 5:2;

Born of circumstances that would identify Him as the Savior and the Star of David, the long-awaited Deliverer Luke 2:9-14; Num 24:17; Matt 2:1-9;

These fulfilled prophecies provide us with a view of the Veracity, Faithfulness and Immutability of God from which we can derive happiness and absolute confident expectation in Divine Good from God who never fails.

Since we have seen some of the prophecies regarding the Incarnation of TLJC let's now take a look at the Doctrine of the Incarnation. Matt 1:23; Heb 10:5;

If we are to properly appreciate the mystery of the incarnation, we must first come to recognize the importance of the coming of our Lord as God incarnate so let's consider the reasons why the doctrine of the incarnation is so vital.

We must recognize that happiness comes from the application of Bible Doctrine to our experience and the confident expectation of divine good that accrues from that application of doctrine.

In the context of Christmas, happiness is completely related to the doctrinal fact of the Incarnation and it's implications for us.

True Happiness is not related to where we celebrate Christmas or who we are with at Christmas because we have already received the greatest gift possible, the person of our Lord Jesus Christ at his incarnation and his subsequent work on our behalf.

It is unlikely that December 25th was the date of our Lord's was actual birth. No one really knows the exact date of our Lord's birth. We do know that by the end of the fourth century Christ's birth was being celebrated on January 7th, and then later on, the celebration was divided between January 7th, the date that is still celebrated by the Eastern Orthodox church and December 25th that is the date celebrated by the Roman church.

In early Rome the festival of Saturnalia was celebrated for seven days from the 17th of December to the 24th. This festive week was a time for parties, gift giving to children and other forms of entertainment not unlike the secular celebration of Christmas that we have today.

Throughout the centuries various elements of pagan celebrations have been included in the celebration of Christmas. It is due to these "other-than-Christian" elements that the central focus of Christmas on the incarnation has become obscured.

If we are going to celebrate Christmas as a Christian celebration then we must focus our attention on the event of the incarnation, which is the central Christmas message for Christians.

A study of the incarnation of our Lord is therefore not only appropriate in order to properly observe Christmas, but also useful to preserve the purity of sound doctrine because it provides the Christian with a doctrinal frame of reference from orthodox theology. 1John 4:1-3;

We see from this passage that the Doctrine of the Incarnation is frequently the Point of Departure for Those Who Reject the Christian Faith. The doctrine of the incarnation is vital to the Christian faith because of the many other Biblical Doctrines that rest upon it.

Where men stand on the doctrine of the incarnation often defines the dividing line between orthodoxy and heresy, between true Christianity and the cults. The uniqueness of the Christian faith is directly related to the biblical teaching of the incarnation of Christ.

The doctrine of the incarnation expresses the Christian belief that God has made himself known, specifically and personally by coming among us as true humanity, while at the same time not in any way ceasing to be the eternal and infinite God.

That God in the person of TLJC became undiminished deity and true humanity.

We will consider some of the purposes that the Bible reveals require the incarnation of our Lord in order to emphasize the importance of the doctrine of the incarnation that we celebrate at Christmas.

God's first purpose for Incarnation was to reveal himself to mankind.

In the past, God had revealed Himself through His works as recorded in the Scriptures, He reveals himself to us through his creation as Psa 19:1-6; and His word Psa 19:7-14;

In the coming of Christ, God was revealed in the person of Jesus Christ. Heb 1:1-3a; John 1:17-18;

Because of this TLJC was able to say without any hesitation, "He who has seen Me has seen the Father" John 14:9;

Not only does TLJC reveal the Father to men, He also reveals men for what they are in God's sight.

John 1:4-5;9-10; In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness; and the darkness did not comprehend it . . . . There was a true light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.

Previously, God had revealed His standard of righteousness in precept and in principle, as "the word" John 1:1-4;, but in Christ that standard was revealed in a person. John 1:14;

The standard of reference for righteousness is now the person of TLJC. Eph 4:13;

The Lord clearly claimed to be the very One whom the apostles represented as the incarnate Son of God John 1:1; John 6:38; 2Cor 8:9; Phil 2:6,7; Gal 4:4-5;

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