The Old Testament books of the Bible contain many prophecies that speak of the coming Messiah or savior of the world. Originally the Old Testament books were written for the Hebrew or Jewish people. They claimed that a Messiah would be born who would ultimately come into the world and save the Jewish people from their enemies while establishing a new era of greatness for the Jewish people.
At the time of Jesus’ birth, Judea was under the control of Rome and many people expected the Messiah to return to liberate them from their tyranny. There are some key Old Testament prophecies such Genesis and Isaiah. In Genesis, God says that the serpent will bruise the heel of a child and that the child would crush his head. The prophet Isaiah states “for unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.” These are primary examples of the many Old Testament prophecies that foreshadowed the coming of Christ.
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Importance of Genealogies
At the beginning of the New Testament Books Matthew and Luke, there is a series of genealogies that outline the family line of Jesus. The genealogy lists show that Jesus‘ parents Joseph and Mary were descendants of Abraham and Adam and that he had a legitimate claim to the throne of Israel. The list also shows that he has a spiritual and legal claim as well. Jesus was able to lay claim to the throne of David by the adoption of Joseph as a son.
God had cursed a former Jewish king named Jeconiah and told him that none of his descendants would ever sit on the throne of Israel again but he also told King David that his royal line would forever rule on the throne of Israel. God remedied this problem through Christ. Jesus was not the biological son of Joseph which would mean that he would gain his legal right to the throne by being adopted and when he was adopted he could then legally claim to be king.
Romans states that for by one man sin has entered into the world but all are made righteous through Christ. The genealogies also point out how Christ birth has ushered in a new era of salvation that would break the power of sin. The hereditary lists also point out that Jesus was the expected Messiah.
The Virgin Birth An angel appears to a virgin woman named Mary who was engaged to married to a man named Joseph. The angel tells Mary that she was going to have a son that was to be born from the Holy Spirit. Her son would be the chosen Messiah of the world. Mary has a hard time accepting this message and she eventually finds out that cousin Elizabeth has a son named John who was also born under supernatural circumstances. After her visit with Elizabeth, she is convinced about what the angel is saying and returns home. Joseph was going to cancel his engagement to her, but an angel appeared to him and told him to follow through the wedding. Joseph listened to the angel and Christ became his legal son.
Herod and the Magi
King Herod was in charge of Jerusalem at the time of Jesus’ birth. He had close ties to Rome and as long as he paid tribute to the empire they allowed him to govern as he pleased. Rome had also sent a governor to Judea at the time to ensure that the people would constantly be reminded of their presence.
During the reign of King Herod, there were Magi who came from the east after seeing the Star of David appear in the sky over Jerusalem. These men were ancient astronomers who knew of the ancient Jewish prophecies of the coming Messiah. After seeing the star, they gathered gifts and traveled to Jerusalem.
When they arrived they visited King Herod before finding Jesus. They told Herod that the Messiah would be born and that he was going to be a king. Herod pretended to like their good news, but he really wanted to know where the child was located so he could kill it. The Wise Men said that they would return, but they were warned by an angel not to go back to the palace of Herod. After they found Christ in Bethlehem they presented Joseph, Mary and the baby Jesus with the gifts.
The Slaughtering of the Innocents
Herod was outraged that the Wise Men had left the country without telling him where the child was located. So he decided to kill all of the male children that were 2 years old and younger. Many historians claim that there was not any historical record to validate this act, but no one can prove with clarity that this act did not happen. Joseph was warned by an angel to take Jesus and Mary to Egypt and hide out there until King Herod had passed away.
After the king had died, Joseph and his family returned how to Jerusalem. These facts about Jesus’ birth are very fascinating and the early days of Christ’s life is an epic tale full of drama and adventure. Jesus’ impact on the world is so significant because each generation that is born into the world has to decide if he is the savior of all people or just a madman who made some pretty far-fetched claims during his lifetime.
- Genesis 3:15 God foretells the prophecy about Christ and how he is going to defeat the serpent (the Devil).
- Isaiah 9:6 Isaiah prophesies about the birth of Jesus and his ministry in the world.
- Matthew 1: 1 – 16 The genealogy of Christ from Mary’s side of the family.
- Luke 3: 23 – 38 The genealogy of Christ from Joseph’s side of the family.
- Luke 1: 39 – 45 Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth and her supernatural birth of Jesus is confirmed.
- Matthew 1: 18 – 25 The Virgin Birth
- Matthew 2: 1 – 12 The Magi and Jesus Christ
- Matthew 2: 13 – 23 Joseph takes Mary and Jesus to Egypt after being warned by an angel to go there in order to avoid the slaughter of children enacted by King Herod.