Messiah’s Miraculous Birth
Messiah’s virgin birth is the defining point of all history. Though the date of Messiah’s birth is debated among many people, when Messiah was born is not the subject of Scripture as much as how He was born. Isaiah gives us prophetic details of Messiah’s birth.
“Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). Let us consider this prophecy word by word in order to understand the importance of His birth.
Beyond Man’s Faith
The text begins with the word “Therefore” because this verse is given in response to the unwillingness of Ahaz, King of Judah, to believe God. At this point in history an attack on Judah was imminent, and God wanted Ahaz to trust Him to handle the problem. For assurance, God offered Ahaz the unrestricted choice of a sign (Isaiah 7:11). But Ahaz had his own plans that did not include God or His will (Isaiah 7:12).
“No one but God could conceive of a virgin birth and deliver such a promise.”
Even though the king’s rejection of the prophetic word tested God’s patience, God gave Ahaz a sign anyway. The verse goes on to say, “The Lord Himself.” Lord in Hebrew is Adonai and means Master, the One who is in control of all things. The text emphasizes this by saying Himself. No one but God could conceive of a virgin birth and deliver such a promise. The text also says that “the Lord will give you a sign.” This gift was not based on the worthiness of the recipient, but rather on God’s graciousness to give. The text then says, “He will give you a sign.” In English it is difficult to determine that you is in plural form but in Hebrew it is clearly plural indicating that this sign was not just a revelation for Ahaz, but to the entire house of David.
A Miraculous Sign
The Hebrew word for sign, ot, means a miraculous wonder that would prove the work of God. This sign would be evidence that God can be trusted, and He would not forsake what He had established through His people Israel. “Behold a virgin will be with child and bear a son.” The word “Behold” is an attention getting word calling us to see things from God’s perspective.
Virgin or almah in Hebrew is used 7 times (Gen. 24:43, Ex. 2:8; Prov. 30:18; Ps. 68:25; Song of Solomon 1:3; 6:8). In these references each time the word almah is used it speaks of a virgin. The root of almah can also be translated as secret (Ps. 90:8) or hidden (Lev. 4:13). In other words, a virgin is a woman who is hidden from experiencing an intimate relationship with a man.
“our natural limitations do not restrict God”
Before the first century, when the Hebrew Bible was translated into Greek by 70 Rabbis (Septuagint), the word almah was translated into the common Greek word for virgin, which is parthenos. This translation took place before there was any controversy over Yeshua’s birth, which indicates that these rabbis had no agenda and were objective in their translation. Therefore, the virgin birth demonstrates that our natural limitations do not restrict God. The virgin birth also demonstrates God’s singular ability to secure us.
Miraculous births are not such a novelty in the history of Israel. The Jewish people exist as a people because of these miraculous births, as with Abraham and Sarah having Isaac. The prophet Isaiah continues on, “a virgin shall conceive a son.”
“God with us…”
In Matt. 1:20-23 we find fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophetic words, “An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus (Yeshua), for He will save His people from their sins.’” Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel,” which translated means, ‘God with us.’”
Miriam’s (Mary’s) pregnancy demonstrated the power of God to produce an inconceivable miracle. The uniqueness of Messiah, the Son of God, necessitated a virgin birth. Not only would she miraculously conceive, but also, she would “bring forth a son.” His birth would actually be a double miracle: born of a virgin, and the incarnation of God Himself! Her delivery demonstrated the protection of God, despite Satan’s attempts to destroy the Child (Matt. 2:13; Rev. 12:3).
Our Deepest Need Fulfilled
“His name shall be called Immanuel.” Literally, the Scripture says, “His name shall be called ‘God with us.’” But what does it mean to have God with us? It means that God is near us.
God is with us: He will never leave us nor forsake us. Through Messiah, God fulfilled His purpose for His creation, to have unbroken fellowship with mankind. “God is with you,” and will be with you as Messiah promised His followers, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20).
God is for us: He seeks our true and eternal welfare in Messiah. Our God is a desperate seeker of lost humanity. “If God be for us who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31).
God is in us: God is not limited by our limitations. God takes up residence in your soul by His Holy Spirit so that He may impart spiritual life, and fellowship with you forever! We read in Col. 1:27 “Messiah in you, the hope of glory,” and also in 1 John 4:4 “greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”
Immanuel came for us, in order to die that we might live. God is with us. He is a true Friend, who will never leave us nor forsake us. He keeps His promises. The same fulfilled promise of the virgin birth proves the certainty of the promise and power of the second birth Yeshua offers to each of us (see John 3). It is a miracle, a true miracle of the love of God. Yeshua the Messiah forever defined history by His virgin birth. He will define your destiny as well!