The Coming Messiah
In the Old Testament there is a definite and continuous teaching that ‘Messiah will come’. Dozens of references state such promises as “Behold thy King cometh unto thee” (Zechariah 9:9); “the Lord GOD will come” (Isaiah 40:10); “the Lord whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple” (Malachi 3:1). (See also Deuteronomy 18:15; Isaiah 11:1; Isaiah 53:6; Haggai 2:7; Isaiah 35:4; Genesis 49:10; Numbers 24:17; Psalm 118:26; Psalm 2:6; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Isaiah 62:11; Genesis 3:15). Christ is the tie that binds the Old and the New Testament together… the New Testament is in the Old Testament concealed, while the Old Testament is in the New Testament revealed.
Any reader of the text can examine the predictions of the Messiah’s person and work found in the Old Testament, follow the gradual development of these revelations from Genesis to Malachi, and trace the prophecies as they get more and more exact to the minutest detail, until the full picture of Christ stands out. With this image in mind, turning to the New Testament and starting at Matthew one can see the Historical Jesus of Nazareth correspond in every particular instance with the prophetic person depicted in the Old Testament prophecies.
The work of redeeming mankind as well as the totality of Creation was to be accomplished by One Person who as the Preeminent figure in both Testaments was and is the promised Messiah.
As the ‘Seed of the woman’ He was to bruise the head of the serpent, Satan (Genesis 3:15 with Galatians 4:4).
As the ‘Seed of Abraham’ (Gen. 22:18 w/ Galatians 3:16) and the ‘Seed of David’ (Psalm 132:11; Jeremiah 23:5 w/ Acts 13:23) He was to come from the tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:10 w/ Hebrews 7:14).
He would come ‘in the fullness of time’ (Gen. 49:10; Daniel 9:24-25 w/ Gal. 4:4), be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14 w/ Matt. 1:18-23 & Luke 1:27,35), at Bethlehem of Judea (Micah 5:2 w/ Matt. 2:1 & Luke 2:4,6).
Visitors of power and affluence would come and worship him (Psalm 72:10 w/ Matt. 2:1,11). A jealous king would slaughter innocent children in an attempt to kill the prophesied ‘King of Israel’ (Jeremiah 31:15 w/Matt. 2:16-18).
He would have a ‘forerunner’ John the Baptist- who would announce his coming before His public ministry (Isaiah 40:3; Malachi 3:1 w/ Matt. 3:1-3 & Luke 1:17). He would be a prophet like Moses (Deuteronomy 18:18 w/Acts 3:20-22), and be anointed by the Holy Spirit without measure (Psalm 45:7, Isaiah 11:2-4, Isaiah 61:1-3 w/ John 3:34-36, Matt. 3:16,17, Luke 4:15-19, 43). A Priest after the ‘order of Melchisedek’ or an Eternal Priesthood (Psalm 110:4 w/ Hebrews 5:5-10)- as the ‘Servant of the Lord’ He was to be a faithful Redeemer for all mankind- the Gentiles as well as the Jews (Gen. 17:5, Isaiah 42:1,6 w/ Matt. 12:18, 21).
The Genealogical Records
During Biblical times, every Jewish person could trace his genealogy. The entire population of the nation of Israel could trace their family tree by genealogies. This record constituted the title deed to his property, farm, or home so everyone was very particular in preserving the genealogical records of his or her family. These records were carefully kept until the destruction of the temple and the Jewish state in 70 AD when Titus laid it waste. During the life of Jesus no one could dispute the well known fact that He was of the house and lineage of David, because it was public record that all had access to. Since 70 AD when these records were destroyed no false Messiah can prove that he is the son of David as prophecy requires. In other words , the Messiah prophesied had to come before 70 AD.
His right to the throne of David must come through Solomon’s regal line (I Chronicles 28:5; I Chronicles 29:24). But another important specification about the Messiah’s lineage is that He must be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14; Luke 1:27, 35). Since Messiah must be of the fruit of David’s body (Psalm 132:11) this virgin must be a direct descendant of King David. “Hear ye now, Oh House of David… the Lord Himself shall give you a sign (a wonder or miracle); Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call His Name Immanuel (GOD with us)” (Isaiah 7: 13,14).
Another critical specification concerning the Messiah, that all understood was that He would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). So of all the continents one is chosen, of all the nations Israel is designated, of all the provinces Judea is named; all the cities of Judea are eliminated except for one small village- obscure but to be honored in all history as the birthplace of the Savior of all mankind. “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall come forth unto Me that is to be Ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been … from everlasting ” (Micah 5:2). It was clearly understood by those of Christ’s day for when the wicked King Herod demanded of the chief priests and the scribes of the people where Christ should be born, they told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet” (Matt. 2:4-6; John 7:42).
Finally, to pinpoint exactly the Messiah, the Time of His coming is also given. He had to come when Jesus was born- all who preceded Him are eliminated, and all who followed are disqualified. His only competitor would be someone of His generation, and since there is no record of consequence- prophecy points exclusively to Him.
One final profound thought: Joseph was chosen by GOD the Father just as much as Mary was “Blessed among all women”. He was deemed worthy of the Father’s trust in raising the Son of GOD as He needed to be- to fulfill His destiny. Yet Joseph served another prophetic purpose also. There is a mystery hidden in the genealogical records of our Lord Jesus.Matthew 1 reveals the line of Jesus starting with Abraham through King David to Solomon to His step-father Joseph. Luke 3:23 goes backward from Jesus. It says “…being, so it was thought, the son of Joseph…”then immediately switches to Heli (Mary’s biological father), goes back to Nathan (another of King David’s sons), and then back through Abraham to Adam.
Many do not realize first of all how critical these genealogical records were to the Jewish people, and secondly what a devastating loss to Israel happened when all the records were destroyed, when Jerusalem was burned to the ground in 70 A.D. Legally under divine and civil law, the Messiah had to prove his credentials and lawful right to the throne of David… the Royal Seed was through Solomon. The dilemma was compounded with the fact that in order to be born sinless, He must be born of a virgin- that the Seed of GOD may fulfill all divine requirements. In Mary’s line he was a direct descendant of King David according to the flesh (through Nathan). In Israel though, the legal right to the throne was transmitted only through the male line.
In Joseph’s lineage to Solomon was Jeconiah, an evil man of whom it was written that none of his descendants would ever rule in Judah (Jeremiah22:28-30). So through Mary, Jesus obtained his literal descent from King David. From her marriage to Joseph, who was also a son of David, He obtained the legal right to David’s throne. Since she was Joseph’s wife before Jesus was born, this made Joseph- Jesus’ legal father. Therefore Joseph and Mary had to be the parents (step-father and biological mother) of Jesus the Christ, in order to fulfill the prophecy about Messiah. Joseph had to be married to Mary before Jesus was born, so He could have the legal right to David’s throne through Joseph. At the same time, Joseph could not ‘know’ Mary intimately as his wife until after Jesus was born, for He was to be born (fully delivered) of a virgin. GOD the Father’s divine order was fulfilled in every detail!
My favorite Christmas Hymn- two outstanding versions; you pick which you think is the best! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
“O’ Holy Night”- Celine Dion
“O’ Holy Night”- David Phelps
For deeper insight into how GOD the Father sees His children; to better understand the elementary principles of Christ (Hebrews 6:1-3); the ‘mysteries’ of Christ’s Kingdom; and our individual and corporate calling, commission, and empowerment- please review my first published book and the Table of Contents on the Amazon website linked here via Book Title: “Thy Kingdom Come- Here and Now!”