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Messianic Prophecy Fulfilled: The Birth of the King of Israel

As a Messianic organization that highlights Messianic Prophecy in the Bible, we have been receiving many emails from people condemning us for speaking about Christmas because it is not a Biblical holiday and because it is based on pagan tradition.

However, it is our responsibility to educate both Jews and non-Jews about the birth of the Messiah, the prophecy about His birth, and what better day to do it than on Christmas, the day widely celebrated as the day of His birth.

“For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder.  And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”  (Isaiah 9:6)

At this time, all around the world, Believers are commemorating the birth of Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah), who brought hope of a restored relationship with God for all humankind.

Star-sky-Bethlehem

“When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.”  (Matthew 2:10)

As a ministry of Jews who live here in Israel, we don’t celebrate Christmas, because we know that he was born at a different time of the year; however, every day should be a day of celebrating Yeshua!  The Jewish people here in Israel know that it is Christmas “outside of Israel,” and it is a great day to share the Good News with Israelis as they are open to speaking about this subject.

They don’t care what day He was born on — they just want to know more.

His birth is so wondrous and puts such joy in the hearts of Christians that at this time of the year countless carols and hymns are sung about this amazing prophetic fulfillment of Bible prophecy.

This music of praise and thanksgiving is entirely fitting!  Even the angels sang at His coming!  Though He was born as a baby, they knew that He would fulfill everything said about Him and that victory was certain.

Adoration of the Magi-Bartolomé Esteban Murillo

Adoration of the Magi, by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo

Two thousand years ago, angels appeared to Jewish shepherds who were watching over their flocks near Bethlehem.  They announced the birth of the Jewish Messiah in fulfillment of Isaiah 9:6.

“Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”  (Luke 2:10–12)

The shepherds, who were at first frightened by the astonishing appearance of the angels, received the news with great joy and rushed to pay homage to the newborn King.

Shepherd-sheep

An Israeli shepherd wears traditional shepherd garments

The Amazing Accuracy of Messianic Prophecy

Today, in this world of fear and anxiety, the good news of Yeshua’s birth is still being received with joy.

In just nine more days, all over the globe, many Christians will celebrate the birth of Yeshua (Jesus), who fulfilled dozens of Messianic prophecies of the Tanakh (Old Testament) that are central to Judaism and Messianic hope and expectation.

Here are a few of those amazing Bible prophecies:

  • The prophet Micah accurately foretold that the Messiah would come out of Bethlehem:

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for Me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days. (Micah 5:2)

Nativity-Birth

A modern-day reenactment of the circumstances surrounding the birth of Yeshua

The prophet Isaiah foreshadows His supernatural conception, revealing that He would be born of a virgin (also translated maiden):

“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].”  (Isaiah 7:14)

  • Jeremiah prophesied that the Messiah would be a descendant of King David:

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and He shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.”  (Jeremiah 23:5)

  • The prophet Daniel, who was also visited by an angel, provided a clear time frame for the Messiah’s coming, dating it from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem during the Babylonian exile:

Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and for your holy city for putting an end to the transgression, for making an end of sin, for forgiving iniquity, for bringing in everlasting justice, for setting the seal on vision and prophet, and for anointing the Especially Holy Place.  (Daniel 9:24)

Jerusalem

Jerusalem

“As clearly as Daniel could have stated it, he taught that 483 years after the decree to rebuild Jerusalem had been issued, Messiah would be here on earth,” Arnold Fruchtenbaum writes in Messianic Christology: A Study of Old Testament Prophecy Concerning the First Coming of the Messiah.

If the Messiah did not come during the 69-weeks-of-years period, then Daniel would, perhaps, have to be considered something of a false prophet.

“Since Daniel 9:24–27 speaks of events that must be fulfilled before the destruction of the Second Temple (which took place in 70 CE), the question that must be asked is this:  If Jesus did not fulfill Daniel 9:24, who did?”  Michael Brown asks in Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, Volume 3.

“Who was it that ushered in everlasting righteousness and made atonement for iniquity before 70 CE if not Jesus the Messiah?  In reality, if he did not fulfill Daniel 9:24, then no one fulfilled it and the prophecies of Daniel cannot be trusted,” Michael Brown states.

Michael Brown

Michael Brown

Messianic Prophecy: The Savior of Jews and Gentiles

As the prophets foretold, Yeshua was a Jewish male of the line of David born to a virgin in Judea in the city of Bethlehem.

The timing of His birth perfectly fulfills Daniel’s time line.

But despite the astonishing fulfillment of so many Messianic prophecies in the Bible, Yeshua was not received nationally by the Jewish People; even so, a great number of first century Jews followed Yeshua, retaining their Jewish identity.

And while the Jewish People as a nation still await the coming of the Messiah, many Gentile Christians have warmly embraced Him.

The acceptance of Yeshua by the Gentiles is also fulfillment of Bible prophecy:

I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand.  I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.  (Isaiah 42:6–7)

It is too small a thing for you to be My servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept.  I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring My salvation to the ends of the earth.  (Isaiah 49:6)

Bible study-blessings of Abraham

Through Yeshua, people of every nation can experience the blessings of Abraham.

Yeshua came as a light to the nations (Isaiah 49:6), first to the Jew, then to the Gentile (Romans 1:16).

A greater fulfillment of this is yet to come.  When Yeshua returns, all of the nations will be in submission to His authority and will worship the Lord in Jerusalem:

In the last days the mountain where the Lord’s Temple is located will be famous.  It will be the most important mountain of all.  It will stand out above the hills.  All of the nations will go to it.  (Isaiah 2:1–2)

Sadly, however, Christians quite often remove Yeshua entirely from His Jewish context and present Him as a Gentile, causing Him to be unrecognizable to the Jewish People.

While that is perhaps unintentional, over the last several years a very definite distortion campaign has been underway that attempts to undermine the power of fulfilled Messianic prophecy.

Dome of the Rock-Temple Mount

Although the Muslim Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque currently sit on the Temple Mount, and there is much Muslim opposition to Jewish prayer there, the Bible states that the Third Temple will be built on the Temple Mount in the last days.

Erasing Yeshua’s Jewish Identity As a Jew

The Palestinian Authority has been working to distort Yeshua’s identity by claiming that He is, in fact, not Jewish but Palestinian and a Muslim.

Of course, this is in large part an attempt to erase any evidence of an historical Jewish presence in the Land.

Here are a few examples of that misrepresentation:

“We must not forget that Messiah [Jesus] is a Palestinian, the son of Mary the Palestinian.”  (Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, the PA’s official newspaper, November 18, 2005)

“We’re talking about an ongoing chain [of prophets of Islam], from Adam to Muhammad, representing the call for monotheism and the mission of Islam…  The prophets were all of the same religion [Islam]… [e.g.] Jesus was born in this land in Bethlehem…  He also lived in Nazareth, moved to Jerusalem, so he was a Palestinian,” the PA’s mufti (religious leader) Muhammad Hussein said on PA TV, April 21, 2009.

“Jesus was born in this land; he took his first steps in this land and spread his teachings [of Islam] in this land.  He and his mother [Mary], we may say, were Palestinians par excellence,” Hussein said on PA TV, May 12, 2009.

Mustafa Barghouthi-Palestinian Parliament

Mustafa Barghouti, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (Palestinian Parliament) since 2006 and a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Central Council.

During the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Israel in May 2009, a PA correspondent wrote: “The Pope’s visit is an opportunity for the Palestinian leadership to present its cause… so that His Honor will assume his religious and political responsibility towards the people of the Holy Land, the Arab Palestinian people, the people of the Messiah [Jesus].”

In December of 2009, Palestinian member of parliament Mustafa Barghouti claimed on PA TV, “We always remember that Jesus was the first Palestinian who was tortured in this land.”

This attempt to completely usurp Yeshua’s true identity as a Jew compounds the lie that the Jewish People never lived in the Land and that it has always been Palestinian, even during the time of Yeshua (who lived before Mohammad and Islam even existed).

Greek Orthodox-Church-Nativity

A Greek Orthodox priest in Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity, which is traditionally thought to be built over the cave that marks the birthplace of Yeshua.  It was originally commissioned in AD 327 by Constantine and his mother Helena.

Erasing the Jewish History of Bethlehem

In fulfillment of Micah 5:2, Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah) was born in Bethlehem, which is only five miles south of Jerusalem.

Today, however, Bethlehem and the Church of the Nativity where the birth of the Messiah is celebrated, lies beyond the 1949 Armistice Line within the Palestinian Authority, shutting it off from the Jewish People.

During the past years the Muslim community has been steadily putting pressure on the Christians living there to leave.

In 1948, 85 percent of its inhabitants were Christians; today it is less than 12 percent.  (Daily Mail)

Justus Reid Weiner, an international human rights lawyer who practices both in the US and Israel, said that Muslim persecution of Christians is present throughout the Middle East and that Israel is the only exception, where the Christian population has increased four-fold since 1948.  (Arutz 7)

Armenian-Orthodox-Bethlehem-Nativity

Armenian Orthodox Christians worship at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem

“It is currently estimated that the number of Christians living in Gaza totals only 1,500–3,000 amid 1.2 million Muslims.  Probably less than fifty thousand Christians remain in all of East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza together,” Weiner said.

The result of this exodus of Christians from Bethlehem has had its effect on the Christmas celebrations in Manger Square in front of the Church of the Nativity, where Muslims have a firm hold on the celebration.

A carnival-like atmosphere complete with marching bands and a 55-foot tall Christmas tree has resulted in some feeling that the event has lost its solemnity.

Christmas Tree-Manger Square-Church of Nativity

A Christmas tree in Manger Square at the Church of the Nativity

Although this turn of events is saddening, it is not the end of the story.

This season of remembering Yeshua’s birth should also cause us to look forward to His soon return, which the Hebrew prophets describe in detail as a time of trouble and glory.

Zechariah states that He will return when the nations come against Jerusalem.

“And His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east.”  (Zechariah 14:4)

The Prophet Ezekiel states that when the Messiah returns, the Temple will have been rebuilt: “The Glory of the Lord entered the Temple through the gate facing east.”  (Ezekiel 43:4)

In that day the Jewish People will recognize that Yeshua, who was born in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago, is the Messiah they have been waiting for!

And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced.  Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn son.  (Zechariah 12:10)

Holding-Bible-Holy-Scriptures

“For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.”  (1 Peter 1:23)

During this holiday season, we can take comfort in knowing that Yeshua will return soon to set up His kingdom.

In that day, He will rule and reign as King of Israel on the throne of David.

And as the Messianic Prophecy of Isaiah 9:6 indicates, all of Israel will receive Him and the entire earth will bow to His Kingship.  Maranatha (the Lord is coming)!

“For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder.  And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”  (Isaiah 9:6)

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