But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.
2 Peter 3:18
THE BIBLE AND THE VIRGIN
“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:15)
“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)
The first promise of the Deliverer is found in Genesis 3, immediately after the fall into sin. He will bruise the Serpent's head (a fatal crushing) after being bruised by Satan on the heel (non-fatal -- He rose again).
God refers to the promised Messiah as “her seed” in Genesis 3:15. Since all humans are the seed of their fathers (male) the seed of the woman (female) implies a Virgin Birth.
Several thousand years later, the Hebrew Prophet Isaiah clarified the promise of the Seed of the Woman. Immanuel (God with us) would be born of a Virgin.
The Hebrew word translated “virgin” in Isaiah 7:14 can mean either a “virgin” or a “young woman.” Many have fought the idea of a virgin birth on the ground that Isaiah meant a young woman, not a virgin. But their argument holds no water for several reasons.
VIRGIN OR YOUNG WOMAN?
The 72 Jewish translators of the Hebrew Bible into Greek (the Septuagint) were 2,200 years closer to Isaiah's Hebrew than any scholars are today. They lived about 200 years before the birth of Christ. So no one can rightly accuse them of a Christian bias.
When they came to Isaiah 7:14, they translated the Hebrew “alma” (virgin or young woman) into the Greek “parthenos” (meaning VIRGIN -- not just young woman).
Immanuel (God with us) was not to have a human father. He was to be the Seed of the Woman.
Matthew also translated “alma” into “parthenos” (Matthew 1:23). Matthew, a Jew, spoke the Hebrew-Aramaic of his day, in the land of Israel. Like the Septuagint translators before him, he understood Isaiah's use of the word “alma” to mean VIRGIN, not just a “young woman.”
Furthermore, what would be the SIGN Isaiah spoke about, if just a young woman bore a son? Young women have been bearing sons ALL THE TIME -- from Eve, until now. But if a VIRGIN bore a son, that would be a MIRACLE (SIGN).
The word “alma” (virgin) used by Isaiah has the definite article (“ha” meaning “the”) used in the original Hebrew. Thus, Isaiah 7:14 says “THE Virgin”. God had a specific Virgin in mind. This refers back most naturally to the Woman spoken of in Genesis 3:15.
WHY A VIRGIN BIRTH?
Why is a Virgin Birth for the Messiah important? To die for our sins, He must be free from any sin of His own. To be sinless in practice, he must first have a sinless nature.
The curse and bondage of sin are passed from the father to the children, in each generation. In order to be free from the curse and bondage of sin, the Messiah must be born of a Virgin. He must have a sinless human nature, as Adam had before the fall.
He must not be the seed of some sinful man. He must be the promised Deliverer, the Seed of the Woman.
“And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35)
SON OF DAVID
If Messiah is not the seed of a man, how is he the son of David? God promised to raise up a son of David who would rule forever and ever. Matthew gives the legal genealogy of our Lord from David through Solomon down to Joseph, the husband of Mary and foster-father of Jesus.
Luke records the biological genealogy of our Lord from David through Nathan, down to Heli, the father of Mary, the mother of Jesus. To have legal right to the throne of David, Jesus must be the legal son of Joseph. But it is through Mary that Jesus is biologically the son of David.
PERPETUAL VIRGIN AND MOTHER OF GOD?
Mary did not remain a virgin forever. Joseph “... knew her not TILL she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.” (Matthew 1:25) The “knew her not” in the Matthew 1:25 refers to carnal knowledge (sexual relations).
Joseph did not make love to his espoused bride Mary until after the Virgin Birth of Jesus. The Bible tells us that Mary had sons and daughters by Joseph. Jesus had four (4) younger brothers and at least two (2) younger sisters.
“Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?” (Matthew 13:55-56)
The natural brethren (brothers) and sisters spoken of here are distinguished from his disciples (followers) in the following verses of Scripture.
“Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?
And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” (Matthew 12:47-50)
This passage and similar ones show clearly that Mary is not to be worshipped or idolized. She was a godly Jewish woman, privileged to bring forth the Messiah through the Virgin Birth. But she recognized herself as a SINNER when she called God her “Saviour” (Luke 1:47).
She is the mother of the man, Messiah Jesus. But she is NOT the Mother of God. Yes, Jesus is the Son of God. But Mary is the mother of His human nature, NOT of His divine nature. Catholics should prayerfully consider the following verses of Scripture.
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)
“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5)
“His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.” (John 2:5)
Clearly, the Biblical teaching is that Jesus, not Mary, is the only way to God. It is in the name of Jesus, not Mary that we are saved. Jesus, not Mary, is the only mediator between God and men. Therefore, we need to do whatsoever Jesus, not Mary, says unto us.
In summary, the Bible teaches a Virgin Birth for Messiah. It was foretold in the Hebrew Scriptures (Genesis 3:15 and Isaiah 7:14) and fulfilled in the birth of Jesus to Mary (Matthew 1:18-25 and Luke 1:26-35). But our Lord Jesus Christ, not Mary, is to be worshipped.
George Theiss is a combat veteran of Vietnam who now follows the Lamb of God. He and his wife, Christy, have been married 42 years (in 2019). They have 8 grown children. You can contact George at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2002 through 2019 by George Theiss