Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Prophecies Fulfilled

Let's start at the end.  Luke 24, on the road to Emmaus:

 Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.

Now we can go back to the beginning.  I mentioned on one of my recent posts that the birth of Yeshua was recorded in Matthew and Luke in order to demonstrate how He fulfilled prophecy.  (What?? It wasn't a big fat invitation to celebrate His birthday every year??)

The lineage quoted in Mattew 1 shows the lineage of Joseph and supports the need for a virgin birth, because one in that lineage of David, Jeconiah, was cursed and promised that his desendents would not prosper nor sit on the throne.  So Yeshua the messiah could not have been a blood descendent of Joseph.  The lineage recorded in Luke, however, also comes through King David and all the way to Joseph son (in law) of Heli (who is confirmed in the Talmud as Mary's father).  This is Yeshua's blood lineage through His mother.  Matthew chapter one continues, showing how Yeshua was born of a virgin, as prophesied in Isaiah 7 - Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel (God with us).

Matthew continues with prophecy fulfillment in chapter 2.   Micah 5 is quoted to show where He would be born:
But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
Are not the least among the rulers of Judah;
For out of you shall come a Ruler
Who will shepherd My people Israel.

The account of the wise men is there to reiterate the fulfilled prophecy of Bethlehem, Bethlehem, Bethlehem!  (Which means, "House of Bread," in Hebrew, BTW - coincidence?  I think not).

The escape to Egypt in verses 14-15 was included to demonstrate the fulfillment of Hosea 11:1.  When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt,  and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”

The next prophecy fulfilled in Matthew 2 was Herod's terrible slaughter of the children in Bethlehem, from Jeremiah 31:15.
Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying: 
 “ A
voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, Refusing to be comforted, Because they are no more.”

The final prophecy fulfilled in Matthew 2 is the last verse, which says And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, “He shall be called a Nazarene.  This one is a less obvious fulfillment of prophecy, since you won't find any one prophet who clearly says, "He shall be called a Nazarene."   Isaiah 11:1 says, There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.   The word translated “branch” in Hebrew is “Neser” and the name Nazareth has exactly the same root word “Neser”. Nazareth actually means “town of the branch." 

I find it interesting that the Branch will grow out of the stem (meaning stump, declaring that the tree had been cut down).  Yeshua is from the line of David, but the line of David was no longer ruling Israel.  Yeshua had to be born before the destruction of the temple (which happened in 70 AD), otherwise His lineage from King David could no longer be proved when the geneologies were destroyed.

The current king at the time, Herod the Great, was a political appointee of Rome and was half Arab and half Idumean.  It is also interesting to note that the one good thing Herod did to prepare for the coming of the Messiah was to make the temple ready for Him with major renovations and beautification.

The gospel of Luke, after showing the lineage of Yeshua through His mother, focuses next on the birth of John the Baptist (who fulfilled Malachi 4:5 as the Elijah who had to come before Yeshua).  Luke then reiterates the virgin birth, as well as Bethlehem and Nazareth. 

Luke also emphasizes the humble beginnings of Yeshua, highlighting the fact that at His first coming he is Messiah ben Yosef -  the Suffering Servant.  So many things recorded in Luke regarding Yeshua's birth scream out "Lamb of God!"  He was born in the same place a lamb would be born, and placed in a lamb's feeding trough.  He was descended from the Shepherd-Boy-Turned-King David.  His birth was announced not to the kings and rulers and important people of Israel, but to shepherds.  Yeshua, the Lamb of God and our Good Shepherd!

Yeshua's parents brought Him to the temple 40 days after His birth (Lev 12) for the purification ritual.  Both Simeon and Anna (aka Hannah) confirmed numerous prophecies regarding Yeshua.  If you'd like to look them up, check out Isaiah 9:2, 8:14, 42:6, 49:6, 6-:1-3; Lamentations 3:25-26.

These few chapters in Matthew and Luke are all about prophecy fulfilled, not the birthday of Jesus.  And this is only the beginning!  The gospels record many, many more prophecies that He fulfilled with His life, death, and resurrection.

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