Was Jesus’ birth town prophesied hundreds of years before He was born?
Jesus fulfilled all 108 distinct Bible prophecies concerning the Messiah’s First Coming. Anyone who thinks that is an accident knows nothing — absolutely nothing — about the laws of probability. Prophecy is proof positive that Jesus is God in the flesh. On a recent television episode of Christ in Prophecy, Dr. David Reagan and Nathan Jones, along with guest Dennis Pollock, set out to demonstrate this amazing fact and in doing so revealed the life-changing impact such knowledge can make on a person’s life.
But You, Bethlehem Ephrathah
Dr. Reagan: One of the most remarkable Old Testament prophecies related to the birth of Jesus is the one found in Micah 5:2.
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yes, out of you shall come forth to me the One to be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.”
Nathan Jones: Bethlehem Ephrathah is the prophesied city where the Messiah would be born. This city is not just any Bethlehem, for there were two of them in Israel at the time. Bethlehem Ephrathah stands out from among the two cities as the birth place of the Messiah. Bear in mind Micah uttered this prophecy some 700 years before Jesus was born.
Dr. Reagan: So the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem Ephrathah. Most people don’t even know what Ephrathah means or why it’s been mentioned by Micah. Ephrathah refers to the Bethlehem just south of Jerusalem.
It would be like if I asked you where you were born, and you answer Springfield. I’d have to ask you another question because there is a Springfield in almost every state in the United States. In fact, there is probably one in every state. And so, you would have to be specific and say Springfield, Missouri or Springfield, Illinois or wherever. Indeed, there were two Bethlehems in Israel. And so, Micah doesn’t just say Bethlehem, rather he says Bethlehem Ephrathah, and some 700 years before Jesus had been born.
How different Bible prophecy is from more recent extra-biblical prophecies made by people such as Nostradamus, which are so vague and general. Extra-biblical prophecies are so messy that you have no idea what they actually mean. People can take and apply them to all sorts of topics, unlike Bible prophecies which are precise prophecies.#Bible prophecies are precise #prophecies. Click To Tweet
Dennis Pollock: The Jews accepted that the Messiah would originate from Bethlehem, believed it, and in fact used it as an argument against Jesus being the Messiah. They accused Jesus of not originating from Bethlehem, but that’s because they didn’t have all their facts straight. Jesus was born in Bethlehem and raised in Egypt and Nazareth, but the Pharisees didn’t know where Jesus was born, and so thought He only came out of Nazareth.
A Star Shall Come Out of Jacob
Dr. Reagan: Let’s take a look at some other Old Testament prophecies which relate to the birth of Jesus. Numbers 24:17, for example, holds a very ancient prophecy.
Dennis Pollock: Numbers describes a fellow by the name of Balaam, who is a very strange character indeed. He was not a Jew, but he seemed to get his prophecies about Israel right because God turned his curses on Israel into blessings. Balaam said the following in 24:17.
“I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star shall come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel, and batter the brow of Moab, and destroy all the sons of tumult.”
Jesus was that star. Jesus was that scepter. In a sense, there’s a double meaning here. Jesus was the star, and yet there was a literal star that showed up that announced the birth of Jesus Christ.
Dr. Reagan: Evidently, the Jews shared the Numbers 24:17 prophecy when exiled into Babylonian captivity. They must have shared some of these prophecies from Scripture, and so the star become known to the Persian magi who centuries later came to Bethlehem looking for that prophesied star.
Dennis Pollock: Yes, exactly. The Wise Men were Persian magi who came looking for the prophesied star. When they first saw what they believed was the fulfillment of Numbers 24:17, they knew they were right enough to make the months-long journey. They interpreted the prophecy correctly.
Kings Will Offer Gifts
Nathan Jones: Psalm 72:10-11 is a prophecy about Christmas gifts. Why do we give Christmas gifts at Christmas time? Because the Wise Men brought gold, frankincense, and myrrh to offer the baby Jesus. Bringing gifts merits far more importantly than just the act of honoring the Christ child, because what they offered actually became a fulfillment of Bible prophecy.
“The kings of Tarshish and of the isles will bring presents; the kings of Sheba and Seba will offer gifts. Yes, all kings shall fall down before Him; all nations shall serve Him.”
Kings were prophesied to one day bring gifts to the Messiah, and the Wise Men fulfilled that prophecy at the Messiah’s first advent. The Magi were actually prophesied!
Out of Egypt I Called My Son
Dennis Pollock: Hosea 11:1 contains another messianic prophecy fulfilled by Jesus Christ.
“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son.”
This prophecy certainly hearkens back pointing to the fact that Israel was brought up out of Egyptian bondage. But, the prophecy also looks forward to declare that God’s Son would be called out of Egypt. Egypt is where Joseph and Mary fled with the toddler Jesus in order to avoid King Herod’s murderous wrath. Jesus stayed in Egypt a number of years until Herod died, and now safe, moved back up to Nazareth.
When it comes to understanding Bible prophecy, we need to point out a vital aspect. Sure, we would like it better if prophecies were all concentrated by topic into their own prophetic sections. Wouldn’t it be great to have about five good chapters which say, “Now this refers to this, and that refers to that?” Instead, the verses are randomly scattered throughout Scripture. So, if one is determined to believe that there isn’t a Messiah, or they just don’t want to acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah, they can merely conclude, “That doesn’t probably mean too much.” It’s not hard to deny the validity of Bible prophecies when you have to hunt and peck for them all throughout the Bible. But, for those who have the Holy Spirit and so possess the eye to see, they will recognize that when you put all the various verses about a topic together, the verses speak of no one else but Jesus of Nazareth.
In the third segment of our study about how Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled all 108 distinct Bible prophecies concerning the Messiah’s First Coming, we will bear witness to a prophesied massacre.