Below is a selection of prophecies in the Bible that found fulfillment in the birth of Jesus the Messiah about 2,000 years ago.
The commentaries below are from the second edition of the book, 100 Prophecies, by George Konig and Ray Konig, who are the authors and copyright holders of the material. The commentaries are reprinted here with written permission from the authors. The third edition, revised and expanded, of 100 Prophecies: Ancient Biblical prophecies that foretold the future is available through Amazon.com.
Bible prophecy: Isaiah 7:14
Prophecy written: Between 701-681 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: About 5 BC
In Isaiah 7:14, the prophet Isaiah addresses the "house of David," meaning the family and descendants of King David, and speaks of a virgin being pregnant with a child, and giving birth to the child. Isaiah says this in the context of it being a sign from God. He also says that the child would be referred to as "Immanuel," which means, "God with us."
The New Testament books of Matthew and Luke record details involving the birth of Jesus, who was born about 700 years after the time of Isaiah, saying that he was born of the virgin Mary and is the Son of God. Because he is the Son of God, Jesus literally can be referred to as "God with us."
Non-Christian scholars have challenged this interpretation. They say that the Hebrew word "almah," which is the word that Christian Bibles often translate as "virgin," actually means "young maiden" or "young woman." It should be noted that the Old Testament uses the word to refer to young, unmarried women, and that unmarried women were culturally and religiously expected to be virgins. One example can be found in Genesis 24:43, where it speaks of a person being sought as a bride for Isaac.
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
Bible prophecy: Micah 5:1-2
Prophecy written: Sometime between 750-686 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: About 5 BC
In Micah 5:2, there is a prophecy that reveals that Bethlehem would be the birthplace of the Messiah.
As pointed out in the book, 100 Prophecies, by George Konig and Ray Konig: "The prophecy is effective in a simple way: It eliminates all other cities and towns throughout the world as a place in which the Messiah could be born. It narrows the possibilities to one tiny village just south of Jerusalem."
And throughout the span of the past 27 centuries, from the days of the prophet Micah up through the present time, Bethlehem is credited as being the birthplace for only one person who is widely known throughout the world. And that person is Jesus Christ.
The New Testament books of Matthew and Luke name the town of Bethlehem as the birthplace of Jesus. Matthew 2:1-6 describes the birth of Jesus as the fulfillment of Micah's prophecy.
In recent years, however, some non-believers have attempted to discredit Matthew's interpretation of Micah 5:2 by claiming that the prophecy refers to a person named Bethlehem, not a town name Bethlehem. This claim has been widely circulated on the Internet by a college professor who describes himself as a former Christian minister.
The first problem with this claim appears in Micah 5:1. In that verse, the prophet establishes that he is speaking of Bethlehem the town, not Bethlehem the person, by setting up a context in which he contrasts the great city of Jerusalem with the humble town of Bethlehem.
A second problem with the claim is that there is also evidence outside of the Bible that shows that Micah 5:2 was regarded as a Messianic prophecy involving the town of Bethlehem. Here is an excerpt from the Jerusalem Talmud, which is a collection of Judaism-related writings completed about 1600 years ago:
"The King Messiah... from where does he come forth? From the royal city of Bethlehem in Judah." - Jerusalem Talmud, Berakoth 5a.
1 Marshal your troops, O city of troops, for a siege is laid against us. They will strike Israel's ruler on the cheek with a rod.
2 "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times."
Bible prophecy: Genesis 49:10
Prophecy written: As early as 1400 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: About 5 BC
In Genesis 49:10, Jacob is blessing his 12 sons. This blessing was also a prophecy. Jacob told his son Judah that his descendants would be rulers and that one of his descendants will be an ultimate ruler. According to the NIV translation: "The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his." Christians acknowledge that this is a reference to Jesus Christ, whose kingdom will have no end. Jesus was born about 2000 years after Jacob died. Jesus' ancestry is traced back to Jacob's son, Judah, in Luke 3:23-34 and in Matthew 1:1-16. Today, there are some estimates that claim that there are as many as 2 billion Christians worldwide who follow the teachings of Jesus.
The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his.
Bible prophecy: Jeremiah 23:5
Prophecy written: Sometime between 626-586 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: By the birth of Jesus about 2000 years ago
In Jeremiah 23:5, as well as in other Bible prophecies, we are told that the Messiah would be a descendant of King David.
The New Testament books of Matthew and Luke trace back Jesus' genealogy to King David. (Some scholars believe that the genealogy in Matthew is Jesus' legal line, through his adoptive father, Joseph, and that the genealogy in Luke is Jesus' bloodline through Mary).
"The days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.
Notes: The commentaries above are summaries from the book 100 Prophecies: Ancient Biblical prophecies that foretold the future. Copyright © Ray Konig.