There has been much attack upon the foundational, fundamental truths of Bible Christianity. One of these core doctrinal truths is the virgin birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. The fact that Jesus was the Son of God and God manifest in the flesh is reinforced by this doctrine. There seems to be some aversion in professing liberal Christianity against anything that is supernatural. All things must be explained by a “natural” occurrence. But when one considers that the Bible is a supernatural Book, it does not make sense to try to force it into the natural laws of human existence.
The very fact that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin is proof that He was not merely the son of some man, but that He was the Son of God Himself. If there is no virgin birth, then Jesus was just a good man, a prophet, etc.
The main passage of this prophecy is :
11 Ask thee a sign of the LORD thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above.
12 But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the LORD.
13 And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also?
14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
It’s an interesting thing that Ahaz didn’t get to see the sign, but the sign is given to the “house of David” and they got to see the sign fulfilled in Jesus Christ. The Jews require a sign (), and that sign was fulfilled over 700 years after it was given.
God looked down around 4 B.C. or so and sought out a particular young lady who would be the vessel that He would use to bear His Son. He chose a woman by the name of Mary, a Jewess, to be that individual. She was a virgin girl who had kept herself faithfully pure, waiting for the consummation of her marriage in joining herself to her husband, and if she had not been faithful, she never would have been chosen for such a privileged task of taking care of the sinless Son of God. The story goes like this:
– 26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
35 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.
36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.
38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
The commendable thing about Mary is that she did not argue with the angel, and what little conversation she had was an inquiry as to “how” these things would come about. In verse 38 she accepts readily the call of God upon her life.
But notice all of the detail in the passage. This is not written by somebody who’s just a casual observer of such things, nor is it a generalization of information, but it is very detailed. The author, Luke (a Jew), was a medical doctor (), and as such he was a very detailed person, which comes out in his writings of the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts. So we are not dealing in the realm of fantasy or “cunningly devised fables” (), but with a detailed account of a thorough medical doctor. This further reinforces the truth of the virgin birth. The fulfillment in Mary of the Old Testament prophecy is recorded in Matthew chapter 1:
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.
20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:
25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.
Joseph is seemingly tested when he finds out about his wife’s pregnancy, because he is not told right away of the truth of all of it. We do not know how long the time lapse was between the time that Mary was told by the angel and when Joseph found out, but it does not seem like she told him about it.
Of course, what could you say? It may seem like a lame excuse to blame your pregnancy on an “angel who visited” you. Most people today would certainly not believe such a tale, although they may try! But God in His faithfulness sent the angel of the Lord to inform Joseph in a dream that the story was indeed true, and gave him further instructions as to the nature of the situation. Now someone from the “house of David” gets to experience the fulfillment of the prophecy given by Isaiah the prophet.
Notice in verse 23 of Luke 1: we are told this child will be “God with us,” a revelation that Jesus Christ was God manifest in the flesh.
In verse 25 we see that Joseph did not consummate his marriage until Jesus had been born. This dispels any thought that Mary was a perpetual virgin.
Joseph was certainly a man of character and faithfulness to God! It could not have been easy to marry a wife at the altar and then not be able to do anything with her for 9 whole months! But praise be to God he had the grace to do it.
People today act like they just cannot help themselves but to sin. They have no self control, what the Bible calls in , “incontinence.” But the truth of the matter is that anybody who can trust God enough to get them through a particular situation will find the help and grace that they need. Anybody who is willing to commit their soul to the Lord Jesus Christ can certainly trust Him to help keep their purity in this life.
So this is now the second person to document the facts of the virgin birth (Matthew). The virgin birth not only brings Jesus Christ as the fulfillment of another Old Testament prophecy, but it is also proof that Jesus Christ is GOD manifest in the flesh. If He had been Joseph’s son, he would be just another prophet or another great man like Elijah or Moses, both of whom had access to miracles, but were born after the flesh of a fallen Adam. What makes Jesus Christ unique is that He is the Son of God, the sinless seed planted in a pure, virgin vessel.
John chapter 1 tells us that this Jesus was in existence before He was born:
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
That’s what makes the virgin birth such a crucial doctrine, because it took God to come down here in the flesh in order to grant a full manifestation of His grace to mankind. He came into this world to save sinners, and the sinless blood that He shed was not the tainted blood of Adam or the sinful blood of Mary, but God’s blood. That would require a miraculous birth!
– Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
God . . . hath purchased with his own blood! That could not be accomplished without the virgin birth. That’s why so many people are against Jesus Christ being God. They want to make Him to be anything else – a good man, a good prophet, a holy man to give us life-guiding principles – but the sinless Son of God? Unacceptable to the unregenerate! They want Him to have the same tainted, polluted, sinful blood they have, so they can make Him out to be nothing worth!
There is yet more to go. The objection to the prophecy of Isaiah goes back even farther, because professed “Christian” “scholarship” says that the Hebrew word for “virgin” (“alma” or “almah”) can also mean a “young woman”. So in opposition to the Lord they will take the alternate reading, siding with the infidels (if they’re not infidels themselves!). Anticipating this, God gave the man of faith an answer. Although there may be two definitions for “almah,” the New Testament quotation in Greek of gives us the Greek word “parthenos,” which always means “virgin,” and never “young woman.”
You wouldn’t have to know that to defeat the world and the Devil however, because when Isaiah 7 is read the way they would have you read it, it is no prophetic sign at all:
“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a [young woman] shall conceive. . . “
And just exactly how is that a sign? Aren’t young women conceiving all over Judea, Samaria, and beyond? That is no sign at all; it’s nonsense! The attack against the text is not even a reasonable assertion, because a sign from God would have to be some unique, supernatural attribute, and that kind of a reading has no such substance.
(An even stranger note is that your graduating college is called your “Alma Mater,” that is, your “virgin mother.” If graduating college makes that college your virgin mother, then what does your education make YOU? GOD? Knowledge making you god. . . hmm . . . yes this does sound familiar . . . );
We now turn our attention to one of the next greatest proofs of the virgin birth. In Matthew and Luke, we are given two lines of geneologies for the Lord Jesus Christ. One of them is for Mary, and one of them is for Joseph. You can read Joseph’s in Matthew chapter 1, and Mary’s in Luke chapter 3. We will pick out the relevant passages for the sake of this study.
– And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,
Now this is actually Mary’s line going all the way back to Adam, and we know this for two reasons:
- The word “begat” is not used here, but it is in where Jacob is the one said to have begotten Joseph. The wording makes it more concrete as to who the father is directly by seed.
- Joseph is said to be “the son of Heli” here in Luke 3, but the term “son” can be a son in law in scripture (, ).
Going from there, we have both parents in the line of king David (, ), which confirms Christ’s descent from “the seed of David according to the flesh” (). That seed is made in the likeness of that line (David’s line from Abraham ), but the actual SEED came from God (, ).
We also know from prophecy that Jesus Christ was supposed to come from the tribe of Judah, and that He was supposed to inherit the throne of David:
– The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.
– And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.
– For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
Now we must examine the line of kings coming down through David’s line. This may be a bit of work, but the profit from it is gold, I assure you. From Matthew 1 there is a king mentioned who was the last king in line for the throne according to descent:
– And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon:
Right around the time that they were carried away to Babylon was the time that the Judaean kings were deposed and brought into captivity for their disobedience to God. We must examine these lines carefully in order to get the blessed truth on the other side.
Now this can get slightly complicated. When you look at the last of the kings of Judah in II Chronicles 36, you find this:
- Jehoahaz (v1)
- Jehoiakim (v5)
- Jehoiachin (v9)
- Zedekiah (v11)
We must establish the family ties for all of these kings starting with Josiah.
– And the sons of Josiah were, the firstborn Johanan, the second Jehoiakim, the third Zedekiah, the fourth Shallum.
And the sons of Jehoiakim: Jeconiah his son, Zedekiah his son.
From II Kings 23, the parallel passage, we have details on this line of kings:
“Jehoahaz the son of Josiah,” (v30)
“And his mother’s name was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah” (v31)
Jehoahaz is the son of Josiah, the “Shallom” of (cf ).
“And Pharoah-nechoh made Eliakim the son of Josiah king in the room of Josiah his father, and turned his name to Jehoiakim, and took Jehoahaz away:” (v34)
There is the Jehoiakim of . He is the son of Josiah.
“And his mother’s name was Zebudah, the daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah.” (v36)
Jehoiakim is the brother of Jehoahaz but with a different mother. So we know that Josiah had at least two wives, Hamutal and Zebudah.
Now let’s move into chapter 24 of II Kings.
“So Jehoiakim slept with his fathers: and Jehoiachin his son reigned in his stead.” (v6)
“Jehoiachin . . . his mother’s name was Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem.” (v8)
Jehoiakim’s wife is Nehushta, and his son Jehoiachin has taken over the throne.
“and the king of Babylon took him in the eighth year of his reign.” (v12)
“And the king of Babylon made Mattaniah his father’s brother king in his stead, and changed his name to Zedekiah.” (v17)
Now watch closely, this Mattiniah is Jehoiachin’s father’s brother, and his name is changed to Zedekiah. Jehoiachin’s father is Jehoiakim, so it’s Jehoiakim’s brother Zedekiah, not his son:
– And the sons of Josiah were, the firstborn Johanan, the second Jehoiakim, the third Zedekiah, the fourth Shallum.
And the sons of Jehoiakim: Jeconiah his son, Zedekiah his son.
So this Zedekiah is Josiah’s son, confirmed by , and the fact that verse 18 says that “his mother’s name was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah” which matches , the same as Jehoahaz’s (Shallum’s) mother.
Now here’s the interesting thing about all of this. When someone’s mother is mentioned in relation to the reign of a king, it’s usually a joint reign for a time until the son fully takes over. Usually the firstborn son is the one to take over the kingdom, but not so in this case, the fourth-born son takes over first.
Josiah was an excellent king, but for some reason or another, he decided to go out and fight with Pharoah-nechoh the king of Egypt, even after being warned that it was completely unnecessary, so he ended up dying in battle ( cf ). The new king put in place was Jehoahaz, or Shallum, the fourth son of Josiah as found in . Because it was a joint reign with his mother (), this could have been his mother’s idea, to put him on the throne first. That same Pharoah-nechoh did not care much for the new king, so put him in bands, took him away and put his brother, Jehoiakim, on the throne instead (). We then read in the book of Jeremiah:
– For thus saith the LORD touching Shallum the son of Josiah king of Judah, which reigned instead of Josiah his father, which went forth out of this place; He shall not return thither any more:
But he shall die in the place whither they have led him captive, and shall see this land no more.
God cut him off completely. In it says that once he got to Egypt, he died there. There is no record of any descendents from Jehoahaz/Shallum. There goes one kingly line cut off. One down, three to go.
Next we have Jehoiakim, the son of Josiah, who was the son of a second wife of Josiah’s as recorded in . Jehoiakim does evil, and the LORD brings in Nebuchadnezzar to rule over him for 3 years. Jehoiakim rebels, the LORD sends the Chaldees, Syrians, Moabites and Ammonites in after him, and he eventually perishes, but not before he has two sons, Jechoniah and Zedekiah (Note: this Zedekiah is not to be confused with Jehoiakim’s brother Zedekiah. Jechoniah’s brother Zedekiah does not appear to be mentioned any other time other than , so it looks like he perishes without seed).
Whatever evil Jehoiakim had committed, the Lord in His graciousness gave him a chance to repent by having the prophet Jeremiah write down the words of God and send it to king Jehoiakim in a book. He refused to hearken when he received the book, however, and instead burned the parchment! So what does God do? He has Jeremiah write another roll. Now, He can pronounce judgment against the king.
– 28 Take thee again another roll, and write in it all the former words that were in the first roll, which Jehoiakim the king of Judah hath burned.
29 And thou shalt say to Jehoiakim king of Judah, Thus saith the LORD; Thou hast burned this roll, saying, Why hast thou written therein, saying, The king of Babylon shall certainly come and destroy this land, and shall cause to cease from thence man and beast?
30 Therefore thus saith the LORD of Jehoiakim king of Judah; He shall have none to sit upon the throne of David: and his dead body shall be cast out in the day to the heat, and in the night to the frost.
That means that even if we had record of Jehoiakim’s son Zedekiah, he would never be in line for the throne of David. God cut off all of Jehoiakim’s seed so that no one could ascend to that throne. Part of this next judgment that is pronounced, I’m sure is because one of Jehoiakim’s sons does get on that throne for a time.
Two down, two to go.
Jeconiah, the son of Jehoiakim, takes over the throne at 8 years old with a joint rule with his mother, until he is 18 ( cf ). He too does evil in the sight of the Lord, so God sends His prophet Jeremiah after him to cut him off for good:
– 24 As I live, saith the LORD, though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah were the signet upon my right hand, yet would I pluck thee thence;
25 And I will give thee into the hand of them that seek thy life, and into the hand of them whose face thou fearest, even into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of the Chaldeans.
26 And I will cast thee out, and thy mother that bare thee, into another country, where ye were not born; and there shall ye die.
27 But to the land whereunto they desire to return, thither shall they not return.
28 Is this man Coniah a despised broken idol? is he a vessel wherein is no pleasure? wherefore are they cast out, he and his seed, and are cast into a land which they know not?
29 O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the LORD.
30 Thus saith the LORD, Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah.
What an awful pronouncement of judgment! Whatever sins he was committing, they were so bad that God announced to the whole earth the curse that was to be brought upon him. God despised this man so much that He took His prefix (JAH or JE, or JA) off his name and instead called him “Coniah!” God cut off all of his seed from ever getting on the throne of David again. We find that Jeconiah does indeed have descendents all the way down to Mary and Joseph, but none of them from that point on were able to sit on the throne of David.
There is now no hope at this point. From Josiah, God cut off Jehoahaz with no seed, He cut off Jehoiakim, and his firstborn that took over the throne is now told that none of his descendents qualify at all for rulership over the kingdom.
The rulers of Judah from which the Messiah should come have now been cut off completely!
The last son left is the third son Zedekiah, the son of Josiah, the son of Hamutal his mother (I Chro , ). But he does not hearken to the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, so goes into captivity by the king of Babylon. God gives one more chance to the last of Josiah’s seed to repent, when Jeremiah tells king Zedekiah this:
. . . Thus saith the LORD, the God of hosts, the God of Israel; If thou wilt assuredly go forth unto the king of Babylon’s princes, then thy soul shall live, and this city shall not be burned with fire; and thou shalt live, and thine house:
What a blessed opportunity! Simple humilty and submission to the one whom God said was going to rule over him. But unfortunately, Zedekiah doesn’t listen or obey, and when the king of Babylon comes in, Zedekiah flees for his life but doesn’t quite make it out completely (). The king of Babylon, (you guessed it), kills all of Zedekiah’s sons so that there is no more seed at all to sit on that throne, permanently.
– 6 Then the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah in Riblah before his eyes: also the king of Babylon slew all the nobles of Judah.
7 Moreover he put out Zedekiah’s eyes, and bound him with chains, to carry him to Babylon.
That’s it! That’s the end of the kingly descendents eligible for the throne of David. That’s the last of Josiah’s seed cut off either physically or eligibility.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Lord has so locked out the entire descent of the kingly line that there is no way any of them could ever sit on David’s throne. Both the lines from Joseph and Mary have been locked out completely, and so the only way that the Messiah can come through that line of David is, bless my soul, with a virgin birth!
Those two lines go all the way through all of that history, with all of the prophecies in place, the kingdom there and the descendents coming, and both lines are completely cut off from having any rulership on the throne of David. So what does God do? Easy for Him, He just puts His own seed made like the descendants of David into a virgin girl and produces the answer to the problem, “who will sit on the throne of David for ever?”
You can see from this study of the Old Testament text how crucial the doctrine of the virgin birth is. Without it, God would be a liar if He had to put Joseph’s son on the throne – He couldn’t possibly!
With such importance stressed over the doctrine of the virgin birth in the Holy Scriptures, it is such a wonder that modern day Christians (professing ones) don’t seem to have a problem with all of these new English “bibles” attacking the deity of Christ in many places, and calling Joseph Jesus’ father in ! Let’s stick with orthodoxy and belief in the truth instead of trying to line up the truth with what we want to believe. Let’s faithfully proclaim the mighty work that God has done in sending His only begotten, virgin born, sinless Son into the world to clean up this dirty mess of a sin cursed world!
Let’s just stick with preaching the truth so that some might believe and be saved.