Cynthia: This is Cynthia with Heart of the Matter Radio for women seeking the elegance of God’s wisdom. The holidays are here and people are celebrating. Sometimes when I’m around unbelievers I think they are partying just to have a good time. You’ll hear ‘Oh Come All Ye Faithful’ and ‘Glory to God in the Highest’ in the mall. But I often wonder if Americans know what all that means. In fact the Bible contains a lot of prophecies about the birth and the death of Jesus. The first one was mentioned just after Adam and Eve sinned in Genesis 3. “I will put enmity between you and the woman and between her offspring and your offspring. He shall bruise your head and you shall bruise his heel.
Today we have an expert on these prophecies, Dianne Butts. She has written several books on both the prophecies of the birth and death of Christ. I’m glad to welcome you, Dianne.
Dianne: Hi Cynthia. I’m so glad to be here. I’m very excited about this.
Cynthia: Dianne, since I mentioned that prophecy there in Genesis, can you explain that one?
Dianne: I know that one as the first prophecy of the coming of Messiah. This is the first time right after Adam and Eve sinned that God says he going to send somebody, and he tells us a little bit about that person. So way back there in Genesis 3:15, God was saying, “I’m going to send you a special person, a messiah. Messiah is the Hebrew word. The same word in the Greek is Christ. So those are synonymous, just different languages.
Cynthia: In your prophecies fulfilled, you actually say there are thirty-five prophecies that foretold the birth of Jesus. Tell me some of those prophecies you see in the Old Testament.
Dianne: Oh, it was just fascinating to go through this. When I studied the Old Testament and then started reading the New Testament, I was like, I was reading the Christmas story and going, ‘Well, that’s prophecy. Well, that’s prophecy. Well, that’s prophecy.’ Well, I found thirty-five and other people may divide them up differently or see ones that I missed. But thirty-five prophecies of Jesus coming. Some of them are like the virgin birth—that was prophesied.
The star that led the magi to the Christ child—that was a prophecy. That he would be born in Bethlehem—that’s getting pretty specific. Even the very night Jesus was born there were prophecies spoken. The angels that came and visited the shepherds spoke prophecy. They said, “If you go into town you will find a baby lying in a manger. Well, that’s prophecy. Those shepherds didn’t know if that was true, and they went and found out it was.
There were prophecies even within the gifts of that the magi brought, the gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Those all had special meanings. There were prophecies from way back in Genesis when God continued to talk about this person he would send. He gave us hints. He gave us things that would happen that would tell us who this person was so we could identify him. For instance, he would be a descendant of Abraham. There was a prophecy that he would come from the stump of Jesse. Jesse was the father of David who became King David. God said through Isaiah that he would send a child and a son .It just goes on and on. He would be called the Son of God. There were the prophecies to Zachariah and Elizabeth that in their old age they would have a son who would be a forerunner of Christ.
Cynthia: I’m really interested in the one in the Old Testament that prophesied that a maiden would give birth. There was actually a short term one for that one and then the long term one. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Dianne: Well, the prophecy is found in Isaiah seven fourteen. And it reads, out of the NIV, it says, ‘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.’
Now when I wrote the book, this was probably the hardest chapter for me to write because I had to figure out how that could be prophesied and only come true once. And when you read it in context, Isaiah is talking to King Ahaz. And so my mind went to well if Isaiah is telling Ahaz that a virgin is going to be with child, then did it happen before? Way back then? No, that can’t be because we know that the virgin birth with Mary giving birth to Jesus was absolutely unique. Never happened before in history or since, so to go back and figure all this out was a challenge for me. And what I found was that the word virgin back in the time of Isaiah and Ahaz could refer to a maiden. It could be that Isaiah was talking about possibly his second wife, assuming that his first wife had died. And I found in my NIV study Bible that a virgin can refer to a young woman, and this young woman was possibly was betrothed to Isaiah. And this young woman was betrothed to Isaiah, presuming his first wife he died. And the same Hebrew word refers to a woman about to be married. So in Matthew 1:23, when we get to the New Testament, Matthew apparently understood that the woman mentioned here was a type, which means a foreshadowing of the Virgin Mary.
Now I also find it interesting that in our key verse for this prophecy, Isaiah 7:14, it said, ‘Therefore, the Lord will give you a sign..’ And whenever the word ‘therefore’ is in Scripture, it’s really interesting if you take time to see what it’s there for. So I went looking and the context of this story is that Ahaz is really frightened because Aram and the divided kingdom of Israel were threatening to attack him. And he was talking to the prophet Isaiah, asking for help, and asking what God would have them to do. Isaiah told Ahaz to ask for a sign. And the reason Isaiah did was that he wanted Ahaz to be reassured that God could and would protect him from his enemies. The thing is, Ahaz refused to do what Isaiah said. He would not ask God for a sign. Maybe he thought it was presumptuous. We are told never to ask God for a sign. I don’t know. But King Ahaz refused to follow Isaiah’s instructions. And so Isaiah told him ‘therefore’, God was going to give him a sign anyway. The virgin will be with child. So I thought that was very interesting, all that background.
Cynthia: When you get in the New Testament and you get in Matthew and Luke, is really very clear in not only the context but also when the actual word virgin is used, it’s very clear that that’s actually what it means. So you’re right, it probably was just a foreshadowing because God had a way of doing that in the Old Testament. He would do a near fulfillment and then a far fulfillment. And sometimes you weren’t even sure when he used the language that it was intended to be a prophecy like in Psalm 22. I’m sure David wrote that and wasn’t sure what that was about because it was referring to things they didn’t understand—pierce my hands and my feet. Later on we understand it represented crucifixion, but he didn’t know at the time.
Dianne: that’s true. I think so often many of these prophecies meant something that was less than the full fulfillment. A lot of prophecies are fulfilled in a certain way to a certain point, and then later, sometimes centuries later, have a much greater fulfillment.
Dianne: By the language in the New Testament, we know that a virgin was intended because Matthew 1: 24 and 25. The angel had come to Joseph and said, “Don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, and in the NIV Matthew 1:23 says, “When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son.” So here it clearly means an actu
al virgin would give birth to the son, Jesus.
Cynthia: Exactly, which goes in with the whole idea in Genesis where it says ‘your seed’ and ‘her seed’ because it was only the woman involved in this child and not the man. So it all ties in, but I’m sure that it’s looking back that you see that.And I think about Jesus on the road to Emmaus, he explained to them using prophets and the things said to them before. He could tie it in together and they could see it. So sometimes you had to get past it to see it.
Dianne: That’s right I love that story. I use that story in the prophecies fulfilled in the death and resurrection book. It was after Jesus was crucified, and he was making his appearances to all kinds of people. And there were two men walking on the road to Emmaus and a stranger came up and began walking with them. And they made a comment about all the things that had been going on in Jerusalem. They thought Jesus was Messiah, but they crucified him, now he’s dead. It said Jesus beginning with Moses and all the prophets he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
Cynthia: Because they couldn’t see it until they got passed it.
Dianne: That’s right. That’s right. Wouldn’t you have loved to eavesdrop on that conversation?
Cynthia: Or to see their faces when they suddenly realized who he was, cause you know, people that are dead don’t wake up, and come back to talk to you.
Dianne: Right. Right. And he actually went all the way to their home with them and they invited him in for dinner and he said, “No, I’m going to go on.” And they convinced him to come in and have dinner with them. When he went in and sat down, he broke the bread. And they looked up and instantly he was gone. I think then it was, “Oh my gosh! Do you know who that was?” it had to be nighttime because it was dinnertime and they’d walked all day.
And I can just imagine their wives. “Who is this guy and where’d he go? What happened to him? Then the two from Emmaus got up and said, “We’re going back to Jerusalem. I can just imagine those wives going, “No you’re not. Wait for me. Let me get my coat. I’m going with you. I think they went at night and ran all the way back to tell his disciples they’d just seen Jesus.
Cynthia: See this whole thing of redemption is so central to Christianity. That’s why the first prophecy is in Genesis, because that sin did break everything. They died spiritually that day in Genesis and immediately he gives that hope because it changes everything. When the angels sang Glory to God in the Highest what they really meant was, “Look the probelm is going to be solved in Jesus Christ.”
Dianne: We’ve been waiting for this for centuries and it is. Here it comes.
Cynthia: Exactly. Exactly. He’s come to die for us. I love that passage in Matthew where Jesus tangles up the teachers who are trying to tangle him up. He said, ”What did David mean when he said, ”TheLord said to my Lord, sit at my right hand till I make your enemies footstools for your feet. If David was his father, how come David call him Lord?” They couldn’t answer that. Jesus knew that he was Messiah and a son of David. David would call him Lord because he was God.
Dianne: Oh, you know, Cyndi, that is why I wanted to write these books. There’s a couple of reasons. One of them is I feel my head is so full of this stuff I can’t keep it all in. I can’t remember all the Scriptures and all of this. There’s so much. And so I wanted to write it all down. I thought, well shoot if I’m going to write it down, I might as well write it down for everyone. What was the prophecy found and where is it fulfilled? What did it originally say and was it fulfilled in every detail? That’s how these books were born—just me wanting to find it for myself, and put it in a format that I could share with everybody else.
Cynthia: You’re doing exactly what the guys on the road to Emmaus did. They probably couldn’t wait to tell the disciples what they learned.
Dianne: That’s right. I hadn’t thought of it like that. The thing about all this starting back in Genesis is the Old and New Testament is all one story. I think of it as a two act play. The Old Testament is the set up. The New Testament is the finish. The Old Testament tells us what’s going to happen, and the New Testament shows it actually happening. You can’t separate the two. You can’t have one without the other. The Jewish people who have just the Old Testament can’t understand the fulfillment without the New Testament. And I know so many Christians who don’t study the Old Testament because we don’t live there anymore. It’s irrelevant. But you can’t understand the New Testament if you don’t have the Old Testament. It’s the foundation of everything we believe. Everything.
Cynthia: It is. That’s why every year our family does Passover on Easter because Jesus Christ was the Passover lamb. And as we go through the history, there are so many symbols of Christ in the Passover. It’s just so glorious. There’s so much hope in Christ.
Dianne: There is and that is beautiful. If our listeners have not done that, you need to find some Messianic Jews who can explain. They see both sides if they are Christians now. They can explain the deep roots in the Hebrew and show how Christ fulfills that. It is so beautiful.
Cynthia: It is. We were studying yesterday in Hebrews about Melchizedek and how all that fits into not only Genesis but into the Psalms and into our lives. God didn’t make that tabernacle in the Old Testament to give them something to do. Everything in there represents Christ.
Dianne: Absolutely. I’m so glad you brought up the tabernacle. I’m very excited because I’m currently writing the third and final book in this series, which is Prophecies Fulfilled in the Life of Jesus. I’m getting close to finishing the manuscript. Seven of my chapters are on the tabernacle, which is the same design and floor plan as the temple. I call it the tabernacle/temple cause it’s all the same thing. We are going to look at how the tabernacle is a photograph of Messiah. It’s a dress rehearsal of everything Christ would do when he came. The Jewish people from the time of Moses walked through this dress rehearsal year after year after year for centuries until Christ came and fulfilled it all right there before their eyes. We can see it. It’s fascinating. I love that.
Cynthia: It ties all together so beautifully. Christmas is not just a time to go out and buy gifts. We’ve lost it so much in our society. It’s a beautiful time of year in the sense that everyone decorates, but I think those things can stand in the way, and all the things that we have to do stand in the way of us getting a grasp of what God did for us and what we have in Christ. It’s beautiful and it’s huge. It’s bigger than life itself.
Dianne: Absolutely. It is. I was doing a book signing at a Christian book store with my book Prophecies Fulfilled in the Birth of Jesus. And Cyndi, I was really, really surprised because when I was writing this book I was thinking, “Oh gosh, this is probably things that most Christians know. They may not know where to find the prophecy in the Old Testament and link it to the New Testament, but is anybody really going to need this book. When I was doing that book signing after the book came out, I was amazed at how many people coming into a Christian book store, so I’m assuming they are Christians. They’d stop and talk to me and say, “Really?.There were prophecies fulfilled in the birth of Jes
us?” I was like, “Oh, my. Don’t you know this? Let me tell you. I’ve got to tell you. It’s so fascinating.” I really think that so many Christians, they come to Christ, they get their salvation, and they don’t really read or learn or grow. It is so important to know this. Because if we don’t know what God has done in the past how can we trust him for the future? But when we start to learn and see how God predicted and seven hundred years later it came true in every detail. When we see our country and our world it appears that everything is spinning out of control. But when you study prophecy, and prophecy fulfilled, you can see that God is absolutely in control right down to the minute to the day things happen sometimes to the hour. We’ve seen it over and over in prophecy and that strengthens our faith to know we don’t need to worry just like Jesus told us, ‘When you see these things, don’t worry. It’s okay. I got it covered. I told you these things would happen.I got it under control.’
Cynthia: When his disciples heard him talking about dying on the cross, they didn’t want him to do that. They had in mind that he was going to come and deliver them from their enemies and set up his kingdom. Well, he wasn’t ready for that. And they were saying, ‘No, no, no. Don’t do that.’ But he had work to do yet, and that work was to come and give salvation to us and graft us into that olive tree, and make us part of his kingdom. I’m so thankful that. Because of that, we can have confidence that we are safe in the ultimate sense. Who knows what we’ll have to walk through in the future. We are safe in the ultimate sense because in eternity what we go through here is going to seem like a second.
Dianne: Absolutely. We are seeing so much on the horizon. For years we’ve been saying it’s on the horizon, it’s coming at us. Well it’s not on the horizon anymore. We are starting to walk into it. There are things going on in our county, and everybody knows this. Everybody senses this. They might not be able to say what is happening, but everybody senses something is happening. It can be absolutely frightening if you don’t know Christ. It can be frightening if you do know Christ. But the more I look at what he said and what he’s going to do, I have less fear, because I trust him.
You mentioned the disciples didn’t understand. Jesus said repeatedly, “I’m going to Jerusalem. They are going to beat me. They are going to hit me. They are going to spit on me. They are going to crucify me. I’m going to be given into the hands of sinful men. I don’t blame the disciples for not understanding. That was so far out of anything they could comprehend beforehand. Its no wonder they didn’t know what he was talking about, but he told them in advance for certain reasons. So that when there were in the middle of it they could remember and say, ‘well, he knew this was going to happen. He knew this was coming. It’s not out of control. It’s part of the plan. Like you mentioned the disciples thought he came to deliver them from their enemies. At that time that was Rome. Israel was an occupied country, occupied by Rome.
Now look at it. That was such a small, limited view that the disciples had. God had in mind something much more huge that would last for centuries right down to our generation. We wouldn’t have been born if that’s all Jesus was going to do back then was save them from Rome. He was talking about eternal salvation, not just physical salvation. He was talking eternal life not just physical life. The whole picture he had in mind ws so much bigger than anyone could comprehend. But now we can see it in retrospect.
Cynthia: Exactly. If you go back in the Psalms and back in Genesis God told Abraham he would bless the use him to bless the whole world. God never intended it to be just for Israel. He had in mind the whole world, and he was reaching out. That’s his purpose, and he’s bringing is purpose to happen now. We need to trust him to do what he needed to do.
Dianne: That’s true. In Hebrews I see this beautiful circular mercy he has. He used the Jews to bring salvation to the world. The Jews rejected him and so salvation came to the Gentiles. And in the end times, Scripture tells us that he will use Gentiles to make the Jews jealous and he will bring them to faith. I do believe we are seeing that going on right before our very eyes today. Since Israel became a nation in 1948, more and more Jews are returning to Israel and more and more Jews are becoming Christians. There’s no good way to say it. Some people are offended by that. They are Messianic Jews, the believe Jesus is messiah. One rejected him and he used that rejection to draw others, the Gentiles in. Now he’s using the Gentiles, and it is beautiful. That is God’s mercy.
Cynthia: Exactly. And that’s why when I meet a Jewish person, I talk about how we do some of their traditions in our home because I want to make them curious so they’ll start searching to figure out what in the world we’re doing that for, because they go together.
Dianne: Yes. Oh, that’s beautiful.
Cynthia: So what are you working on next? I know you have these two books on prophecies of Christ’s coming and of his death. What are you doing next?
Dianne: Now I’m doing the in-between of those two books. I’m doing prophecies fulfilled in the life of Jesus, and this book is in two parts. The first part is eighteen chapters, and it looks at those scriptures where one of the Gospel writers says this happened to fulfill. So an example is, at the beginning of Jesus’s ministry he was the guest speaker in a synoguge, and the attendant that takes care of the scroll, which is the Old Testament, the Torah, brought out the scroll for Jesus to read from. Jesus unrolled it and he read the words from Isaiah that said this was the year of the Lord’s favor. He read a few more words from Isaiah then he said to the congregation and said, “Today these words are fulfilled in your hearing.”
Dianne: Yeah! Okay so that’s one of those prophecies that were fulfilled during the life of Jesus. Those are the ones I’m looking at in the first part of the book. In the second part of the book, I have three sections of seven chapters each. I am so excited because I’ve wanted to write on these topics for such a long time. Seven chapters are on the tabernacle/temple and how that portrays Jesus and his work as Messiah. For example inside the tabernacle/temple there were three pieces of furniture, the lamp stand, the incense alter, and the table of bread. If you look at the table of bread, you can remember Jesus said, “I am the bread of life.” If you look at the lamp stand we can remember Jesus. He was standing very near the temple when he proclaimed, “I am the light of the world.” The whole temple is a portrait/ picture that God painted of the Messiah and Jesus came to fulfill. The next set of seven chapters is going to be about the sacrifices, the burnt offering, the grain offering. There was the sin offering. I made seven chapters to discuss the offerings and sacrifices and how they portray Jesus and his blood covering our sins. Then the last seven chapters in the book are going to be about the seven feasts of the Lord. I’ve been studying the feasts of the Lord, and it is so fascinating. The feasts are both prophetic in that they point ahead to what Jesus would do and historic in that they point back to what God has done. So for example the Passover, we know that Passover is when God brought the Israelites of out Egypt under Moses and the exodus. From then on they celebrated Passover. Well, Jesus was the Passover lamb.
Cynthia: He was.
Dianne: So there are three spring feasts and fifty days to Pentecost and three feasts in the fall. Jesus fulfilled the first three feasts the meaning, the symbolism of his first coming. Then there was Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came, which was after he ascended to heaven. Then there’s a space of time that the world has been living in up until now. There are three fall feasts and I believe those will be fulfilled in Jesus’s second coming.
Cynthia: Let me ask you at this Christmas time, how a parent or a family could use your work to focus their thoughts on Scripture. Do you have any ideas there?
Dianne: I do. Thanks for asking. Prophecies Fulfilled in the Birth of Jesus is the Christmas book, and it has thirty-five prophecies in it. I think it would be a wonderful family devotion type book to use during the advent season, between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The chapters are fairly short. They have a key verse, which is the prophecy that’s highlighted. We go back in time to the OT when the prophecy was first spoken and who spoke it and what the context was. Then we come forward in time to see it fulfilled in the event surrounding the birth of Jesus. So it’s a wonderful Christmas Bible study. It could be a small group study, family devotions, and individual reading. It could be for a nonfiction book club if you wanted to do that.
Cynthia: Very interesting stuff.
Dianne: Thank you. At the end of every chapter, I put at least three application questions. So families can discuss that or Bible studies can talk about things. There’s extra readings on related topics at the end. There’s a suggested prayer. There’s just all kinds of goodies tucked inside the book.
Cynthia: Where can we find your books?
Dianne: It’s available at all the usual online outlets. You can order if at your brick and mortar stores like Barnes and Noble. They can order for you if you go in and ask for it or call them. You can find links to it. Probably the easiest site that I have to tell people is my blog that’s for writers. It’s called www.buttsaboutwriting.blogspot.com
There are links on my blog to all the places you can buy my book. I’m especially excited that I got my books into something that is new to me. It’s called www.deepershopping.com
. If you go there and put my name in the search box, it’s Dianne Butts, there’s four books that will come up. These are two of them or you could put prophecy fulfilled in the search box and they will come up. Deeper shopping is a Christian book store that’s similar to Amazon. They have discounts on them. All your Christian books, you can find them there. So, I’m very excited to have my books at deeper shopping dot com.
Cynthia: That’s great. I’ll have to check that out myself. If anyone would like to give us feedback our program, you can contact me at Cynthia@clsimmons.com.
I want to thank you, Dianne because not only have I enjoyed reading these books, but this conversation has been wonderful. Thank you for taking your time to write all this out so other people can read and understand the wonderful, wonderful hope we have in Christ.
Dianne: Oh thank you for having me, Cyndi. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to tell people about my books. I believe we need to know what God has done in the past in order to strengthen our faith for the future. And that’s what we need right now.
Cynthia: I agree with you. Thank you.