New Life Church Clarkfield, Minnesota
December 20, 2017
People have always had an vested interest in the future. A prudent farmer cares about the weather forecast more than he cares about current conditions. He has already prepared for today. His work today is about tomorrow.
A good stock broker scrutinizes market forecasts even more than a farmer anticipates weather. He earns the trust of investors by telling them what may happen in the future. Their lives and his livelihood depend on the accuracy of his projections.
The life insurance industry is built on the risk of possible future events. Agents depend on actuarial tables—a prediction of the future— to sell policies.
Futurists work with uncertain knowledge. They examine statistics of the past and patterns of the present to predict the future. High confidence does not come with a guarantee. They may be right about the future or they may be wrong.
Prophets don’t have that luxury. They deal with certainty, not projections. A true prophet is 100% right 100% of the time. And he places his life on the line by making a prophecy. That’s what lifts Isaiah to such high status as a prophet of God.
In The Bible Knowledge Commentary, John Martin listed 22 messianic prophecies in the book of Isaiah. Some of them are about Jesus’ first advent in Bethlehem. Others refer to Christ’s second coming to reign over the earth with power.
We can find the Christmas story in the book of Isaiah with startling clarity. Here’s one prophecy:
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)
Isaiah was speaking about both the near future and the distant future. A young woman would bear a son as a sign of God’s temporal deliverance in the time of Ahaz, King of Judah. Much later a virgin would give birth to a Son as a sign of God’s ultimate deliverance. It’s Christmas in the book of Isaiah.
The sign to Ahaz was fulfilled less than three years later when his two enemies were deposed in 732 B.C. When that happened, Ahaz knew Isaiah had foretold it. Yet God intended more in Isaiah’s words than merely the deliverance of Ahaz. The prophecy also foretold the virgin birth of Jesus.
Matthew 1:22-23 verifies the fulfillment of this prophecy in the birth of Jesus:
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
Here’s more of the Christmas story in another prophecy by Isaiah:
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
This passage foretold the birth of Jesus 700 years before it happened. It’s Christmas in Isaiah. It tells us all we need to know about the future. God wins!