Verse of the Day 12-17-22

The Significance of Jesus’ Virgin Birth: Isaiah 7:14

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. (NIV)

            To really and truly understand this great foretelling of a future event we must first understand the context in which it was given. In the preceding verses to verse 14 the Lord invites Ahaz to ask for a sign of assurance, but the king is reluctant to ask for such a sign (vv. 10-12). So Isaiah announces what the sign will be: a virgin will bear a son and call his name Immanuel, and when this child has grown old enough to discern right and wrong, Pekah and Rezin will no longer be a threat to Judah (vv. 14-16). This prophecy promises protection in the near future. And according to Isaiah, the birth of a son at that time signaled deliverance and assurance. The prophesied child may have been a son born to Isaiah, but whoever he was, the sign communicated that God would deliver his people, so they must stand firm in faith.

            Centuries later, when Matthew wrote about the Good News of Jesus, his opening chapter reported Jesus’ birth. The angel’s words to Joseph about Mary-“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus” (Matthew 1:21)-again connected the birth of a son with God’s plan for delivering his people. Matthew saw what God’s word had foreshadowed in Isaiah’s day: “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’)” (Matthew 1:22-23). The birth prophesied in Isaiah 7 was a sign or type of a greater birth to come. Jesus’ birth brought salvation-not from two warring earthly kings but from sin (Matthew 1:21).

            Now that we understand the context let’s look at the actual verse itself. And let’s begin with the word “virgin.” In Hebrew the word “virgin” (almah) can mean either one who has had no sexual relations or “a young woman before marriage.” However, when almah was used both meanings were usually applied. In other words in the Hebrew world when almah was used to describe someone it usually meant an unmarried woman who had not had sexual relations with anyone yet. The sign that was going to be given was that “a virgin will conceive and give birth to a son.”

            Now knowing what we know about the usage of the word “virgin” in the Hebrew speaking world, let’s take a quick look at the applications of this sign. As we have already seen this sign had both immediate (applicable during the time of Isaiah) and future applications. The immediate application referred to a new bribe, who would have been a virgin until the time of her marriage. And before her son was old enough to know right from wrong, the kings of Aram and Israel would be destroyed (v. 16).

            Now let’s look at the future applications, because it is the future applications of this prophecy that hold the most significance to all people. Why? Because this prophecy’s final and highest fulfillment came through the virgin birth of Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:23). Mary was a virgin and remained a virgin until after she gave birth to Jesus (Matthew 1:18 and 25). And this was possible because Jesus was conceived through the miracle of the Holy Spirit rather than through the sexual involvement of a man (Matthew 1:16 and 23, and Luke 1:35).

            Before we move on to the name that this “son” was to be given let’s deal some more with this idea of a virgin birth. We have already said what the Hebrew word used Isaiah meant, and now it is important to note that almah in Hebrew and Parthenos (the Greek word used in the New Testament and the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament) is never used in the Old Testament for any state other than literal virginity (Genesis 24:43; Song of Songs 1:3 and 6:8). What this means is that Isaiah in the Old Testament and Matthew and Luke in the New Testament all attest to the fact that Jesus’ mother was a virgin from the time of Jesus’ conception to the time of his birth (Matthew 1:25).

            Now let’s deal with the name this virgin born “son” was to be called. He was to be called “Immanuel,” which means “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). And that name would be understood with a new and deeper meaning when Jesus Christ, God’s one and only Son, came into the world.

            And that deeper meaning can only be understood if and only if Jesus was truly born of a virgin. And here is why: In order for Jesus to qualify as the only One who could pay the price for our sins and restore our broken relationship with God, he must fully human, totally sinless and yet fully God (Hebrews 7:25-26). In order for Christ’s sacrifice to be able to cover sin once and for all, his life had to be perfect-undeserving of death-and only God himself could provide such a perfect sacrifice. The virgin birth satisfies all three requirements.

  1. The only way Jesus truly could become a human being in every sense was to be born of a women.
  2. The only he could be totally sinless-not only throughout his life but from birth-was to be conceived by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20 and Hebrews 4:15).
  3. The only way he could be divine (fully God) was to have God as his Father. Jesus was conceived not by natural but by supernatural means: “the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).

As a result, Jesus Christ is revealed to us as one Person with two natures-divine God and sinless human.

            And by living and suffering as a human person, Jesus understands and identifies with the feelings of our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15-16). As the Son of God, he has the power to free us from sin’s destruction and Satan’s power and to restore our relationship with God (Acts 26:18; Colossians 2:15; Hebrews 2:14 and 7:25). As both God and human, he qualifies to serve as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of every person who ever lives. He also qualifies as the ultimate high priest who serves as mediator between God and all who come to him for mercy and forgiveness (Hebrews 2:9-18; 5:1-9; 7:24-28 and 10:4-12). Being fully God and fully man, Jesus was and is still able to bridge the gap that sin creates between God and all humankind. Thus, becoming Immanuel, God with us, but that was only possible because of the extraordinary circumstances of his birth, that was foretold hundreds of years before hand.

Today’s Bible Readings:

Nahum 1-3, Revelation 8, Psalm 136:1-26 and Proverbs 30:7-9


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