Every year at Christmas time I am reminded of the remarkable prophecies concerning the birth of Jesus and how they substantiate His deity and the faithfulness of God. Let’s take a look at the celebration of the birth of Jesus in prophecy.
The conception and birth of the Messiah were celebrated in some remarkable prophetic hymns. Mary prophesied in a song of rejoicing that the child she had conceived was evidence that God’s “mercy is upon generation after generation” (Luke 1:50). She went on to prophesy that He would “scatter the proud,” “bring down rulers,” “exalt the humble,” and “fill the hungry” (Luke 1:52-53).
Her relative, the priest Zacharias, also sang a prophetic song of celebration when his son, John the Baptist, was born. Referring to the baby in Mary’s womb, he proclaimed that God “has raised up a horn of salvation for us” (Luke 1:69). He then declared that his own son would be called “the prophet of the Most High,” and he prophesied that his son would “go before the Lord to prepare His ways” (Luke 1:76). He concluded his song with one of the most beautiful poetic prophecies concerning the Messiah that can be found anywhere in Scripture: “Because of the tender mercy of our God… the Sunrise from on high shall visit us, to shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:78-79).
The next prophetic song of celebration was sung on the night of the Messiah’s birth when an angel appeared to the shepherds of Bethlehem and proclaimed: “Behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11). That angel was suddenly joined by a multitude of angels who sang a triumphant chorus: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased” (Luke 2:13-14).
The final prophetic song related to the Messiah’s birth was sung by a “righteous and devout” man of Jerusalem by the name of Simeon. The Holy Spirit had come upon him and had revealed to him that he would not die before he saw the Messiah (Luke 2:25-26). He was given that glorious privilege forty days after the Messiah’s birth when the parents of Jesus came to the temple in Jerusalem to dedicate their baby to God.
Simeon took the Christ child in his arms, thanked the Lord, and then sang: “My eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples — a light of revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel” (Luke 2:30-32).
The Significance of the Birth Prophecies
The fulfillment of all these prophecies in the life of one person, Jesus of Nazareth, is proof positive that He was who He said He was, namely, the Messiah of God (Mark 14:62 and Luke 22:70).
God’s faithfulness in fulfilling each of these prophecies in detail is also significant because it gives us assurance that He will likewise faithfully fulfill all the prophecies He has given to Christians regarding the soon return of Jesus.
A God of Prophecy
Our God knows the future and has the audacity to proclaim it (Isaiah 46:10). He also has the power to see to it that what He proclaims will come to pass (Isaiah 46:11). Most important, He is faithful (1 Corinthians 1:9), so we can rest in His promises.
Let’s rejoice that the Bethlehem birth so long ago is proof positive that the one born there will soon return in glory as the King of kings and the Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16).