One of the prophecies, that of the birthplace of Jesus, is probably one of the most well-known prophecies of all time even though people may not realize that Jesus’s birthplace is a matter of prophecy. We remember it through hymns such as “O Little Town of Bethlehem”.
Jesus was born in Bethlehem due to a census that required that Joseph, the guardian of the Holy Family, and Mother Mary to travel to Bethlehem for the census.
By whom and when was this prophesied? It was prophesied by Micah. Who was Micah and when did he live? Micah is called one of the twelve minor prophets, meaning his writings compose one of the twelve smaller books of prophecy found towards the end of the Old Testament. Micah lived approximately 737 to 696 BC. He was a contemporary of the prophet Isaiah, as well as two other prophets, Amos and Hosea. Minor prophets refer to the fact that their prophecies are shorter than those of the major prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel.
His prophecy concerning the birthplace of Jesus is this:
“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
Micah’s prophesy was fulfilled in the New Testament. “And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.” Matthew 2:6 If you have ever watched a movie dramatizing the birth of Christ, you will see King Herod questioning advisers as to the prophetic scripture regarding Jesus.
The long-awaited Messiah would be born at Bethlehem. It would be Jesus, who would be heralded by angels singing, shepherds visiting, and later, Wise Men bringing gifts.
This is why the study of Messianic prophecies is important. When it fully sinks in that about 737 years before Jesus came someone prophesied where He would be born, this is truly remarkable. What is even more remarkable is that there are 353 prophecies referring to Jesus. This article talks about the probability of just 8 prophecies coming to pass. Some of the 353 prophecies have already come to pass, and some are in the process of fulfillment. For example, Daniel 2:44 And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.
Probability is a mathematical study. While not everyone has taken a formal study of probability, many are familiar with the principle through games of chance, such as the probability of winning the lottery. To get numbers to match is virtually impossible. Game after game goes by with no one able to do it. There are signs on highways that will show the prize increasing week after week because no one wins the prize. This is for a game with matching numbers. Yet the probability of Jesus fulfilling all the promises is similar to getting 353 numbers to match. This is why the life of Christ, the message of Christ, and the claims of Jesus the Christ must be taken seriously. The odds are so impossible that only God Himself can fulfill them, which He did.