Advent: Protoevangelium (The First Gospel). Part Two.

14 The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,
cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field;
on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life.
15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
(Genesis 3:14-15)

The Messiah was to be born from the seed of a woman. That is to say, He was to be virgin born! The first biblical text to proclaim this is admittedly rather cryptic. It is found in Genesis 3:14-15 which says, “So the LORD God said to the serpent: Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on you belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”

Two key Messianic Prophecies from the Prophet Isaiah which parallel Genesis 3:14-15. They are as follows.

  • Isaiah 7:13-14 – “Hear now, O house of David! Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will you weary my God also? Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.”
  • Isaiah 9:6 – “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

 The question remains as to whether the New Testament teaches that Jesus Christ met the qualification of being born of a virgin? What does the New Testament account of Jesus Christ’s birth have to say? Today, we’ll look at the first NT text which is Matthew 1:18-25.

The text says, 18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20  But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.”22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.  

One theologian writes, “Scholars sometimes dispute whether the Hebrew term in Isaiah 7:14 means “virgin” or “maiden.” Matthew is quoting here from the Greek Septuagint (LXX), which uses the unambiguous Greek term for “virgin.”  Thus Matthew, writing under the Spirit’s inspiration, ends all doubt about the meaning of the word in Isaiah 7:14.”

 Dr. John Walvoord writes, The Child Mary carried in her womb was a unique Child, for He would be a Son whom Joseph should name Jesus for He would save His people from their sins. These words must have brought to Joseph’s mind the promises of God to provide salvation through the New Covenant (Jer. 31:31–37). The unnamed angel also told Joseph that this was in keeping with God’s eternal plan, for the Prophet Isaiah had declared 700 years before that the virgin will be with Child (Matt. 1:23; Isa. 7:14). While Old Testament scholars dispute whether the Hebrew ‘almâh should be rendered “young woman” or “virgin,” God clearly intended it here to mean virgin (as implied by the Gr. word parthenos). Mary’s miraculous conception fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy, and her Son would truly be Immanuel … God with us. In light of this declaration Joseph was not to be afraid to take Mary into his home (Matt. 1:20). There would be misunderstanding in the community and much gossip at the well, but Joseph knew the true story of Mary’s pregnancy and God’s will for his life.”

Dr. J. Gresham Machen, in his book entitled The Virgin Birth of Christ, explains that, “According to a universal belief of the historic Christian Church, Jesus of Nazareth was born without a human father, being conceived by the Holy Ghost and born of the virgin Mary. It may be held that the Church came to believe in the virgin birth for the simple reason that the virgin birth was a fact; the reason why the creed came to say that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Ghost and born of the virgin Mary is that He was actually so conceived and born.”

When next we meet, we will examine the second significant NT text regarding the virgin birth of Jesus Christ.

May the Lord’s truth and grace be found here.

Soli deo Gloria!    

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