Promises and Prophecies

12.7.23 Devo Image

“For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”—2 Peter 1:21 (ESV)

What is prophecy? According to the HELPS Bible Dictionary, prophecy is defined as something “clarified beforehand.” Prophecy involves divinely-empowered forth-telling; it conveys beforehand the mind, plans, and purposes of God.

While some identify prophecy with fortune telling or predictions, these ideas are misguided and fall way short of the truth. You see, all Bible prophecy is fact that has yet to take place; truth that has been announced ahead of time.

Did you know the Bible contains 44 prophecies about the birth, life, work, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus? And of those, a great many concern His birth. Let’s check out some of them.

  • The Messiah would be born of a woman (Genesis 3:15) who was a virgin (Isaiah 7:14) and occurred to fulfill God’s prophecy (Matthew 1:22–23; Luke 1:26–31).
  • The Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:1; Luke 2:4–6).
  • The Messiah would come from the line of Abraham (Genesis 12:3, 22:18; Matthew 1:1; Romans 9:5), Isaac (Genesis 17:19, 21:12; Luke 3:34) Jacob (Numbers 24:17; Matthew 1:2), and Judah (Genesis 49:10; Luke 3:33; Hebrews 7:14).
  • The Messiah would sit on the throne of King David (2 Samuel 7:12–13; Isaiah 9:7; Luke 1:32–33; Romans 1:3), and His throne would be anointed and eternal (Psalm 45:6–7; Daniel 2:44; Luke 1:33; Hebrews 1:8–12).
  • The Messiah would be called Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23).
  • The Messiah would spend a season in Egypt (Hosea 11:1; Matthew 2:14–15).
  • A massacre of children would happen at the Messiah’s birthplace (Jeremiah 31:15; Matthew 2:14–15).
  • A messenger would prepare the way for the Messiah (Isaiah 40:3–5; Luke 3:3–6) in the spirit of Elijah (Malachi 4:5–6; Luke 1:5–25; Matthew 11:13–14).
  • The Messiah would be declared the Son of God (Psalm 2:7; Luke 1:31–32; Matthew 3:16–17) and would be called King (Psalm 2:6; Zechariah 9:9; Matthew 2:2).

Now, here’s the amazing part: These prophecies begin about 8,000 years ago in the days of Adam and Eve and spanned 6,000 years leading up to Jesus’ birth 2,000 years ago! Literally, from the beginning, God announced the gospel!

  • From Genesis 3, 4,000 years beforehand, God’s plan to cover our shame and restore His image bearers into right relationship was declared.
  • From Genesis 22, 2,000 years beforehand, the manner in which He would carry out His plan was rehearsed on Mt. Moriah.
  • From 2 Samuel 7, 1,000 years beforehand, the kingship of Messiah was established and His birthplace locked in 735 years before He was born.

I hope you understand the power of what we’re seeing here! All of history, every story, every moment, every declaration, every commandment, every psalm, and every prophecy was all in service of this glorious occasion when God Himself made His dwelling among us in order to bring light, truth, love, and life back into our hearts. It was all weaving together, pointing to, and declaring loud and proud that God was coming to the earth to deal with our sin by offering mercy, redemption, and freedom! These prophecies should serve to increase and enrich our praise of the God who fulfills His promises and is true to His Word. They should give us confidence that He will always be faithful to do what He has declared!

As we approach Christmas, let’s not limit the Christmas story to what took place in Matthew 1 and 2 and Luke 1 and 2. Instead, let’s reflect on the fact that it’s actually a story that was thousands of years in the making. It’s a story written over 6,000 years that was proclaimed to and through countless men and women about how the One who spoke the universe into existence and breathed life into our lungs would come to the earth in a humble manner to put the sins of humanity upon His shoulders and die in our place in order to conquer sin and death and give the hope of salvation to all who turn from their sin and believe in Him (John 3:16).

Pause: Why are these prophecies important? How does knowing how God foreshadowed and foretold the coming of Jesus and seeing Him fulfill all of these prophecies impact your faith?

Practice: Jesus’ birth was announced in advance to give people hope and show God’s faithfulness. Write down how He’s been faithful this year!

Pray: Father, You’re great and Your plans are perfect. When I survey the Scriptures and discover how every story, every prophecy, every commandment, and every deliverer You raised up are all intricately woven together to bring us to the birth of Jesus and point to the work of Jesus, I’m just in awe and full of gratitude. Thank You, Lord, for Your wonderful will and Your perfect purposes for the world, for humanity, and for me. Amen.

About the Author

Danny Saavedra

Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.