The Prophetic Word and the Christmas Story
God’s Word is still the supreme authority on the subject of Christmas. There is power in the written and even more so in the spoken Word. As you celebrate the Lord’s birth, take time to read the Christmas Story aloud. The following is the chronological account as documented in Scripture.
THE MESSIANIC MESSENGER PROPHESIED—MALACHI 3:1
“Behold, I send My messenger,
And he will prepare the way before Me.
And the Lord, whom you seek,
Will suddenly come to His temple,
Even the Messenger of the covenant,
In whom you delight.
Behold, He is coming,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
GABRIEL’S GOOD NEWS TO ZACHARIAS IN THE TEMPLE—LUKE 1:5-19
There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years.
So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division, according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense. Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.
But the angel said to him,
“Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink.
He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
And Zacharias said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.?
And the angel answered and said to him,
“I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings [Good News]. But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.”
THE VIRGIN BIRTH PROPHESIED—GENESIS 3:15, ISAIAH 7:14, 9:6-7
“And I [God] will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.”
Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.“
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.
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
GABRIEL’S ANNOUNCEMENT TO THE VIRGIN MARY—LUKE 1:26-38
Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”
But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”
Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”
And the angel answered and said to her,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.”
Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
ELIZABETH’S PROPHECY—LUKE 1:39-45
Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said,
“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.”
THE PROPHESIED BLESSING THROUGH ABRAM—GENESIS 12:3
“I [God] will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing . . . And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
MARY—THE BLESSED AMONG WOMEN—LUKE 1:46-56
And Mary said:
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His name.
And His mercy is on those who fear Him
From generation to generation.
He has shown strength with His arm;
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
And exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
And the rich He has sent away empty.
He has helped His servant Israel,
In remembrance of His mercy,
As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and to his seed forever.”
ZACHARIAS’ PROPHECY— LUKE 1:68-79
Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying:
“Blessed is the Lord God of Israel,
For He has visited and redeemed His people,
And has raised up a horn of salvation for us
In the house of His servant David,
As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets,
Who have been since the world began,
That we should be saved from our enemies
And from the hand of all who hate us,
To perform the mercy promised to our fathers
And to remember His holy covenant,
The oath which He swore to our father Abraham:
To grant us that we,
Being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
Might serve Him without fear,
In holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.
And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest;
For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways,
To give knowledge of salvation to His people
By the remission of their sins,
Through the tender mercy of our God,
With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us;
To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death,
To guide our feet into the way of peace.”
THE ANGEL OF THE LORD SPEAKS TO JOSEPH IN A DREAM—MATTHEW 1:18-25
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows:
After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying,
“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying:
Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, “God with us.”
Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.
THE MESSIAH’S BIRTHPLACE PROPHESIED—MICAH 5:2
But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel,
Whose goings forth are from of old,
THERE WAS NO ROOM FOR THEM IN THE INN—LUKE 2:1-6
And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.
So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
THE MESSIAH’S BIRTHPLACE PINPOINTED—MICAH 4:8
And you, O tower of the flock, (1)
The stronghold of the daughter of Zion,
To you shall it come,
Even the former dominion shall come,
The kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem.
THE ANGELIC ANNOUNCEMENT TO THE SHEPHERDS—LUKE 2:8-20
Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them,
“Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!“
So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.
Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying, which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things, which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.”
THE B’RIT MILAH AND PURIFICATION RITUAL—LUKE 2:21-24 c.f. GENESIS 17:10-13; EXODUS 13:13
And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb. Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the LORD”), and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, ‘A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”
THE PROPHESIED LIGHT TO THE GENTILES—ISAIAH 49:6
It is too small a thing that You [Messiah] should be My Servant
To raise up the tribes of Jacob,
And to restore the preserved ones of Israel?
I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles,
That You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.
SIMEON’S PROPHECY—LUKE 2:25-35
And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.
So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:
“Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace,
According to Your word;
For my eyes have seen Your salvation
Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.”
And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother,
“Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
ANNA’S TESTIMONY—LUKE 2:36-38
Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
THE VISIT OF THE MAGI—MATTHEW 2:1-12
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”
When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
So they said to him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet:
“But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
Are not the least among the rulers of Judah;
For out of you shall come a Ruler
Who will shepherd My people Israel.’”
Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, ‘Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.’
When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.
FLIGHT INTO EGYPT—MATTHEW 2:13-15
Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.”
When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”
1) Migdal Eder (Tower of the Flock) was a tower located on the outskirts of Bethlehem and at the edge of the pastures used by temple shepherds. There is good probability that this is where Mary and Joseph found shelter.
IMAGES: (Photographic images used for illustrative purposes.)
1) The Vision of Zacharias (Vision de Zacharie). By James Tissot. Public domain/Brooklyn Museum/Enhancement, MKM Portfolios
2) The Annunciation (L’annonciation). By James Tissot. Public domain/Brooklyn Museum/Enhancement, MKM Portfolios
3) God’s Promises to Abram. Public domain/Brooklyn Museum/Enhancement, MKM Portfolios.
4) The Anxiety of Saint Joseph (L’anxiété de Saint Joseph). By James Tissot. Public domain/Brooklyn Museum/Enhancement, MKM Portfolios
5) A The Vision of Saint Joseph (Vision de Saint Joseph), By James Tissot. Public domain/Brooklyn Museum/Enhancement, MKM Portfolios
6) The Betrothal of the Holy Virgin and Saint Joseph (Fiançailles de la sainte vierge et de saint Joseph). By James Tissot. Public domain/Brooklyn Museum/Enhancement, MKM Portfolios
7) The Visitation (La visitation). By James Tissot. Public domain/Brooklyn Museum/Enhancement, MKM Portfolios
8) Saint Joseph Seeks a Lodging in Bethlehem (Saint Joseph cherche un gîte à Bethléem). By James Tissot. Public domain/Brooklyn Museum/Enhancement, MKM Portfolios
9) The Angel and the Shepherds (L’ange et les bergers). By James Tissot. Public domain/Brooklyn Museum/Enhancement, MKM Portfolios
10) The Adoration of the Shepherds (L’adoration des bergers). By James Tissot. Public domain/Brooklyn Museum/Enhancement, MKM Portfolios
11) The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple (La présentation de Jésus au Temple). By James Tissot. Public domain/Brooklyn Museum/Enhancement, MKM Portfolios
12) The Aged Simeon (Le vieux Siméon). By James Tissot. Public domain/Brooklyn Museum/Enhancement, MKM Portfolios
13) Saint Anne (Sainte Anne). By James Tissot. Public domain/Brooklyn Museum/Enhancement, MKM Portfolios
14) The Magi Journeying (Les rois mages en voyage). By James Tissot. Public domain/Brooklyn Museum/Enhancement, MKM Portfolios
15) The Magi in the House of Herod (Les rois mages chez Hérode). By James Tissot. Public domain/Brooklyn Museum/Enhancement, MKM Portfolios
16) Adoration of the Magi (L’adoration des mages. By James Tissot. Public domain/Brooklyn Museum/Enhancement, MKM Portfolios
17) The Flight into Egypt (La fuite en Égypte). By James Tissot. Public domain/Brooklyn Museum/Enhancement, MKM Portfolios
18) The Return from Egypt (Retour d’Égypte). By James Tissot. Public domain/Brooklyn Museum/Enhancement, MKM Portfolios
19) Jesus Found in the Temple. By James Tissot. Public domain/Brooklyn Museum/Enhancement, MKM Portfolios