One of the uniqueness of Jesus Christ has to do with the manner of His birth as foretold in the Old Testament. This write-up therefore briefly looks at the Old Testament prophecies concerning Christ’s birth. It shows that Jesus indeed fulfills the prophecies about the coming messiah. Thus, the prophecies concerning Christ’s lineage and birth is therefore presented in this material.
Prophecies Concerning Christ’s Lineage
Genesis 3:15 is biblically known as the protevangelium because it is the first prophecy (good news) about Christ. There will be enmity between Satan and Messiah, here identified by the phrase, “her seed.” The phrase “her seed” concerns Mary alone and points to the virgin birth since the Messiah is born of Mary alone. Matthew 1:16 also emphasizes this in the phrase “By whom” (GK. hes), a feminine relative pronoun, emphasizing Jesus was born without Joseph’s participation or sexual influence.
Line of Abraham
In Genesis 12:2, God promised Abraham, “I will make your name great,” suggesting that the Messiah would come from the posterity of Abraham and that “in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Matthew 1:1 and Galatians 3:16 interpret this promise (Genesis 13:15) as being fulfilled in Christ.
Line of Isaac and Jacob
It was through the descendants of Isaac that God would establish his covenant and institute his blessings (Gen 17:19). The line of Messianic blessings narrows further in that the blessing will not flow through Ishmael, but rather through Jacob (Gen 25:23; 28:13). Numbers 24:17 stresses a ruler (“scepter”) will come through the descendant of Jacob who will crush the enemy and have “dominion” (v. 19; cf Romans 9:10-13).
Line of Judah
Genesis 49:10 affirms that the Messiah (as King) will come from the tribe of Judah. Messiah, of the tribe of Judah will possess the “scepter.” The king held the scepter in his hand when speaking in Public assemblies; and when he sat upon his throne he rested it between his feet, inclining towards himself. This verse also explains that Judah will sustain a lineage “until Shiloh comes.” Shiloh is variously interpreted: as a title of Messiah meaning “Man of rest;” of Messiah as a pacifier, peacemaker.” Messiah will be a man of peace. The phrase “until Shiloh comes” may be translated “Until He comes to whom it belongs.” And to Him shall be the world in the millennial kingdom.
Line of David
Messiah will be a descendant of David (2 Samuel 7:12-16). In this promise to David (v. 16), the Lord indicated his descendant (the Messiah) would have an everlasting dynasty. (“house”); He would rule (“throne”) over people (“kingdom”), and His rule would be eternal.” Psalm 89 expands this promise.
Prophecies Concerning Christ’s Birth
The Manner of Christ’s Birth
Isaiah 7:14 promised a sign to the unbelieving King Ahaz. The prophecy was that a virgin would bear a son who would be called Immanuel – God with us.In all seven occurrences in the Old Testament, the term “virgin” Hebrew almah never refers to a maiden who has lost her virginity. The passage has both a near and far fulfilment: in the immediate future, it was fulfilled in the birth of Maher-shalal-hash-baz (Isaiah 8:3), and in the distant future it was fulfilled in the virgin birth of Jesus Christ. See Matthew 1:23 for a commentary on this verse.
The Place of Christ’s Birth
Micah 5:2 identifies the birthplace of Christ as Bethlehem, a small town, too insignificant to be listed among the towns of Judah (Josh 15:60), distinguished from Zebulun (Joshua 19:15). See Matthew 2:6 for the commentary on this verse.
This study about the prophecies concerning Christ’s birth in the Old Testament has demonstrated that Christ is indeed the subject of the Old Testament although not in the same exclusiveness as we find in the New Testament. As part of our preparation for Christmas, it is important to remind ourselves that Christ is the long-awaited Messiah and thus qualifies to be our Lord and saviour. Worshipping Christ in this Christmas season should therefore occupy our topmost priority.