Volume. XXXV, No. 26
Sunday, 27 December 2020

Christmas in the Old Testament (Part 3)

Prophesied in the Old Testament from Genesis onwards is the glorious incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Let us consider some Christmas prophecies from the book of Isaiah forward. 


In Isaiah 7:14, we have another classic text of Christmas in the Old Testament. God's promise given in Genesis 3:15 and later to David is further revealed in this passage.  The seed of women and seed of David is pointing to a virgin birth. Isaiah was making a prophecy about a young woman who is a virgin, and by the miracle of God, has a virgin conception and will give birth to the Messiah. The virgin conception and birth of Messiah are fulfilled in the birth of Jesus Christ.  


Even though this prophecy is given in a particular situation during King Ahaz’s days, it is only fulfilled 700 years later in the New Testament. Matthew, the gospel writer, applied this prophecy to Mary and Jesus, which leaves no doubt of its fulfilment (Matthew 1:22; Luke 1:34-38).  Mary is the virgin prophesied by Isaiah, and Jesus is the child. When the angel stated this virgin conception truth to Mary she was baffled as she had not had relations with any man. "Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God….For with God nothing shall be impossible" (Luke 1:34-37). It was a miracle. The virgin birth is a fundamental doctrine of the Christian faith.  The virgin-born Jesus is the only Savior. 


In Isaiah 9:6-7 Scripture proclaims that the Messiah would not only come as a child but also as God and King. "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this." (Isaiah 9:6-7). You will notice here that Isaiah's prophecy begins by speaking of a child that is born but ends up with a description of His kingship, His glorious reign. These two images of Christ must always be in our thoughts at Christmas.  Christmas is not just about Jesus’s birth as Jesus is no longer a baby, no longer a child. He is the great almighty King, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is entirely man "for unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given…", and he is altogether God as called here "mighty God, The everlasting Father".


And this virgin-born child in Isaiah 9:6 is called by beautiful names fitting the character of Jesus Christ aptly. Prophet Isaiah describes for us the nature of this child. Jesus is the wonderful counsellor as he is wiser than Solomon and has unfathomable and incomparable wisdom and knowledge. Jesus is also the Mighty God described in Isaiah 9:6. Jesus himself said to the disciples, “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30). The nature of God, the father and Jesus is the same. The Messiah is all-powerful, holy, living, true God, omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. Jesus is God Himself, and He is able to save all who believe in Him. He is also called "everlasting Father".  His beginning is from eternity, and He is a loving, tender provider and protector. Jesus is full of grace and truth. And as apostle Paul reminds us in Romans 8:15-18, we too in the Spirit of God call him Abba Father. Jesus indeed is also the "prince of Peace". He gave us peace with God (Romans 5:1) and even the peace of God. "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." John 14:27. Do you feel helpless and confused in this world? Seek the wonderful counsellor. Are you carrying a heavy burden alone? The Mighty God is your strength.   He is able to save all who believe in Him. Do you feel insecure and like no one cares?  The Eternal Father will never leave you or forsake you.  Are you anxious and restless? Trust in Christ, the Prince of Peace.


Now in Isaiah 11:1-10 we also have this branch prophecy, which is a crucial Messianic prophecy in the Old Testament. Jeremiah’s prophecy in Jeremiah 23 verse 5, also mentions the coming of the branch. It's an important theme or term that is used for the coming Messiah. "And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:  And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord;" God gave a sign of promise to His people here in Isaiah 11. The branch from a stump prophecy is about the Lord Jesus Christ who will restore all things to perfection like that during the garden of Eden.

Many prophecies also describe the nativity scene in the Old testament. The nativity scene and location of Matthew 2:11 where Christ would be visited by distant kings who would bow down and bear gifts is prophesied in Psalm 72:10-11. “The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts. Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him.”

The horrific and sad story of innocents slaughtered by King Herod the great in Matthew 2:16-18 is prophesied in Jeremiah 31:15 “Thus saith the LORD; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rahel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.”

Even details like Christ would have to flee to Egypt as described in Matthew 2:13-15 is the fulfilment of the prophecy in Hosea 11:1, "When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt."

In the prophetic book Micah 5:2, Micah 700 years ahead of time pinpoints the location of where He would come from in Judah — Bethlehem — the little village outside of Jerusalem. “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." (Micah 5:2).   Both the learned men like the magi and the ordinary people like shepherds knew that the Messiah would come from this small Judean town (Matthew 2:4-8; John 7:42). And, indeed, so it happened (Matthew 2:1; Luke 2:4-7).


Christmas prophecies in the Old Testament reveal to us all about Jesus. He is the only begotten Son of God, the One who is the seed of the woman, descendant of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, of the royal line of King David. He is the wholly sinless man born by the supernatural act of God and fully Almighty God, born of the virgin Mary, born in Bethlehem, the only one Messiah. Christ who fulfils all the Christmas predictions in the Old Testament is our Saviour and Lord.   


Editor’s Note: This is part 3 of 4 articles in the series on Christmas by Rev Mathews Abraham. We published part 4 last Lord’s Day. The Lively Hope Team apologizes for the mix up in the publication order of these Christmas articles.

More Lively Hope



  • Wishing all Hopefuls a blessed New Year.
  • Daily Manna Jan – Mar 2021 (both adults & children) available in the Foyer & the Hall. Donation $1/ copy.
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Praise & Thanksgiving

  • God’s daily guidance, protection & providence throughout 2020.
  • Journey mercies: All who have travelled.



  • Comfort in grief –  Sis Priscilla Lim (Wellspring Bible Church, Melbourne); family of Sis Evelyn Ricker (IBPFM missionary to Guatemala) on her homegoing.
  • Healing: Pastor Ki; Rev Mathews Abraham, Rev Pong Sen Yiew (S’pore) & others afflicted in health.
  • COVID-19 pandemic – God’s continued guidance & protection for South Australia & all who are affected.
  • Missions: Sis Esther Kim & orphanage (Bandung).
  • Journey mercies: Elder David & Sis Giok Yeo & family (Melb); others who are travelling.





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