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And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:32

The Virgin Birth

By H. A. (Buster) Dobbs
I.  Introduction.
    A.  Necessity of a virgin birth.
        1.  By decision of deity a member of the Godhead appeared in 
            the form of a man.
            a.  Jesus gave up being "equal with God" to come in human 
            b.  Jesus is now and has always been "in the form of God."
            c.  When he was in the "form of man," he did not abandon 
                his God form.
            d.  Jesus was fully God while also being fully human.
            e.  His divine and human natures are both stressed in the 
                New Testament.
            f.  Still, it was necessary for the God/man to limit some 
                of his God attributes to be "made in all things like 
                unto his brethren."
            g.  His God nature did not change, but he limited his 
                knowledge, power and presence during his days on earth 
                as a human.
            h.  God has the power to limit himself or he is not God, 
                that is, is not all powerful.
        2.  An Almighty being could not be procreated by natural means 
            in the very nature of his deity.  In heaven they neither 
            marry nor are they given in marriage.
            a.  A miracle was therefore required in the case of the 
                coming of Jesus into the world as a man.
            b.  "Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, 
                Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body 
                hast thou prepared me:  In burnt offerings and 
                sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure" (Hebrews 
            c.  "Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt 
                offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, 
                neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by 
                the law; Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O 
                God.  He taketh away the first, that he may establish 
                the second.  By the which will we are sanctified 
                through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once 
                for all" (Hebrews 10:8-10).
                (1)  This explains the saving power of the sacrifice 
                     on Calvary.
                (2)  The Creator died for the creatures' sins.
                (3)  The blood of animals could never accomplish what 
                     the blood of God/man was able to do.
    B.  God decided on a virgin birth as the means to bring an 
        embodied deity into the world.
II.  The Virgin Birth.
     A.  Virgin birth in prophecy.
         1.  This is such an important matter one would expect it to 
             be mentioned often in prophecy.
         2.  However, only once did the Old Testament foretell of a 
             virgin birth (unless you count the "seed of woman" 
             prophecy of Genesis 3:15 to reference virgin birth).
         3.  The one place in the Old Testament were the words "virgin 
             birth" are used is Isaiah's prophecy to King Ahaz. 
         4.  "Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and 
             shall call his name Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14).
     B.  Background of the virgin birth prophecy.
         1.  Ahaz was king in Judah (Isaiah 7:1).
         2.  Rezin was king of Syria and Pekah was king of Israel 
             (Isaiah 7:1).
         3.  The kings of Syria and Israel made threatening moves 
             toward the king of Judah (Isaiah 7:6).
         4.  Ahaz was terrified (Isaiah 7:2-4).
         5.  God sent Isaiah to assure Ahaz that the evil plans of
             Rezin and Pekah to destroy Judah would fail 
             (Isaiah 7:7-9).
         6.  Ahaz, apparently, intend to rely on Assyria and Egypt to 
             rescue him (Isaiah 7:18,19).
         7.  God warned that Assyria and Egypt would be a bane to 
             Judah as well as the destroyers of Syria and Israel 
            (Isaiah 7:20).
     C.  The Sign. 
         1.  Ahaz was told to ask for a sign of God to show that Syria
             and Israel would not destroy Judah (Isaiah 7:10).
         2.  Ahaz declined, possibly because he had no confidence in 
             Isaiah but trusted in the power of Assyria and Egypt 
             (Isaiah 7:12).
             a.  Ahaz pretended that his respect for and fear of God 
                 caused him to refuse Isaiah's invitation to ask for a 
             b.  The implication of the context is that he did not 
                 believe Isaiah.
         3.  Isaiah responded to Ahaz's refusal to ask for a sign by 
             saying that a sign would be given even if it was not 
             requested (Isaiah 7:14).
             a.  The prophecy was that a virgin would conceive and 
                 bear a son whose name would be Immanuel (Isaiah 
             b.  Within the time it would take for the virgin's son to 
                 know good from evil, Syria and Israel would be 
             c.  The sign to Ahaz and Judah was the unexpected 
                 destruction of the kingdoms of Pekah and Rezin within 
                 a short time.
             d.  The birth of Jesus about 600 years after Isaiah 
                 promised a sign to Ahaz would not be a sign to him, 
                 since he would be long dead.  The sign therefore 
                 cannot refer to the virgin birth of Jesus. 
     D.  Fulfillment of the Virgin birth prophecy.
         1.  Prophecy often has an immediate and a long term 
             a.  The immediate fulfillment of the virgin birth 
                 prophecy was the destruction of Syria and Israel 
                 within a short period.
             b.  The long term fulfillment was the birth of Jesus, the 
                 son of Mary of Nazareth.
         2.  Matthew reveals the long term fulfillment of the famous 
             a.  "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.  And she shall bring 
                 forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for 
                 he shall save his people from their sins.  Now all 
                 this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was 
                 spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 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.  Then Joseph being 
                 raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had 
                 bidden him, and took unto him his wife:  And knew her 
                 not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and 
                 he called his name JESUS" (Matthew 1:20-25).
             b.  Matthew tells us the angel said to Joseph that the 
                 birth of Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, 
                 seeing this is the only Old Testament prophecy that 
                 specifically mentions that "a virgin shall be with 
        3.  The meaning of the word "virgin" as used by Isaiah and 
            a.  It is unnecessary to spend time discussing the 
                definition of either the Hebrew or the Greek word 
                translated "virgin" in Isaiah and Matthew because Luke 
                gives the meaning of the word.
            b.  An angel said to Mary, "Fear not, Mary: for thou hast 
                found favor with God.  And, behold, thou shalt 
                conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt 
                call his name JESUS" (Luke 1:30-31).
            c.  Mary answered, "How shall this be, seeing I know not a 
                man?" (Luke 1:34).
               (1)  The virgin of Isaiah 7:14 was, according to this, 
                    a woman who had never known a man. Never mind 
                    arguments about the meaning of Hebrew and Greek 
                    words.  The angel announced the fulfillment of the 
                    Isaiah prophecy and Mary gives the definition of 
                    the word.  These inspired statements give us  
                    a clear understanding what Isaiah and Matthew 
                    meant by the word "virgin."
               (2)  A virgin -- a young woman who had never known a 
                    man -- was the vehicle, but God prepared the body 
                    (Hebrews 10:5).
               (3)  He who made the body of Adam from the dust 
                    prepared a body for the coming of the Lord.
     E.  Explanation delayed.
         1.  If the claim of virgin birth had been made immediately, 
             it is unlikely that it would have been accepted.
             a.  Matthew and Luke wrote three or four decades after 
                 the birth of Jesus.  The claim of virgin birth 
                 therefore was not made at the time of the birth.
             b.  The people who knew Jesus personally assumed that he 
                 was Joseph's son.
                 (1)  "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?" (Matthew 13:55).
                 (2)  "And Jesus himself began to be about thirty 
                      years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of 
                      Joseph" (Luke 3:23).
             c.  If Mary had immediately claimed to have conceived a 
                 child supernaturally, she would have been ridiculed 
                 and her claim rejected, just as a claim of virgin 
                 birth today would be scorned.  No one would believe 
                 (1)  The people of Nazareth and all Israel considered 
                      Jesus to be the natural born son of Joseph.
                 (2)  This assumption was allowed to prevent his 
                      rejection and especially his exclusion from the 
                      sacred confines of the temple in Jerusalem (See 
                      Deuteronomy 23:2).
                 (3)  If the enemies of Jesus had suspected that he 
                      was not the natural born son of Joseph, they 
                      would have used this to deny him entrance into 
                      the assembly of Jehovah.
         2.  The revelation of virgin birth was delayed for several 
             a.  In the meantime, Jesus gave his superb teaching 
                 (doctrines that could not have come from a human 
                 source and must therefore be from heaven), confirmed 
                 the message by miracles, rose from the dead, and 
                 ascended into heaven.
             b.  The gospel of the kingdom was preached in all the 
                 world and more than half of the world's population 
                 was converted to Jesus, and then Matthew and Luke 
                 gave the stunning information that Jesus of Nazareth 
                 was born of a woman who had never known a man.
             c.  The time was right and the revelation was given.  The 
                 timing of the declaration of virgin birth for Jesus 
                 was perfect.
             d.  Jehovah placed safeguards around the details of the 
                 birth of Jesus, but in the fullness of time gave the 
                 complete information.

H. A. "Buster" Dobbs, email: [email protected]
P. O. Box 690192
Houston, Texas 77269-0192
(281) 469-3540

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