“Behold, a virgin shall conceive!”
About 700 years before the incarnation, the prophet Isaiah made several remarkable prophecies, giving specific details about the virgin birth, humble and holy life, substitutionary, sin-atoning death, resurrection, and glorious exaltation of our Lord Jesus Christ. These prophecies have all been fulfilled to the letter. Isaiah 9, 32, and 53 cannot be explained in honesty except by the fact that these were divinely inspired prophecies of the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Skeptics and Faith
However, we must never expect skeptics and infidels to be bothered by facts or honesty. Faith is never produced by proving infidels wrong. Faith is the gift of God. Divine truth cannot be understood or believed on the basis of science, logic, history, or human learning. The only way anyone can ever understand anything in the Book of God is by believing God. And the only way any sinner can ever believe God is by the gift and operation of God in the new birth. While I have no delusions about convincing unbelieving men and women of divine truth, it is always beneficial to God’s elect to see how easily the skeptic’s brilliant objections to Divine Revelation are foiled.
One of the most commonly attacked statements of the Old Testament is Isaiah’s declaration in the fourteenth verse of chapter seven. — “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” We are told that the word “virgin” simply means “young woman” and that if Isaiah had really meant to say “virgin” he would have used another word. But the skeptic has a problem. The word Isaiah used for “virgin” is found eight times in the Old Testament, and is translated “damsel,” “maid,” and “virgin.” Yet, the dominant translation of the word is “virgin,” and there is no indication any of those “young maidens” were not young virgins. In fact, the Septuagint (the first Greek translation of the Old Testament) always translates the Hebrew word used for “virgin” in Isaiah 7:14 by a Greek word which cannot mean anything except “virgin.”
The Incarnate God
When we refer to the irrefutable fact of our Lord’s incarnation and his entrance into the world through the womb of the virgin Mary, we often speak of what we call “the virgin birth of Christ.” That phrase is really a little misleading. The fact is, our Savior’s birth was as ordinary as ordinary can be. He was born in a cow stable by the normal biological process of birth.
The amazing thing is not how he came out of his mother’s womb, but how he entered it. The account given in Holy Scripture is emphatic. That “holy thing” formed in the virgin’s womb was conceived in her virgin womb by God the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35). That “body,” in which the Son of God was able to bear our sins and suffer the wrath of God as our Substitute, was prepared by God the Holy Spirit in Mary’s virgin womb (Hebrews 10:5). Thus, it came to pass, “when the fulness of time was come, that God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law” (Galatians 4:4-5). It came to pass exactly as God the Holy Spirit said it would more than seven hundred years earlier by the prophet Isaiah. — God the Son came forth from the virgin’s womb, Immanuel, the incarnate God, to save his people from their sins.
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