Those who choose to ignore this sign do so at their own peril.
Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign. The virgin shall be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14).
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. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 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. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” Matthew 1:18 – 23
It is pretty clear the Bible describes a literal virgin birth.
But it’s no surprise, in the rush to “reimagine” Christianity for modern times, the virgin birth had to go. And it has. Polls indicate that the majority of American Christians (by denominational affiliation e.g. Episcopalians, Presbyterians and Methodists) now believe the Christmas story is pure mythology. Many ask if it really matters. Yes. More than they know.
Very few people actually believe the Bible today. Instead they rely on their own understanding and traditions of men.
“See to it that no one enslaves you through philosophy and empty deceit according to human tradition, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to the Messiah.” Colossians 2:8
You can’t claim to trust God and at the same time turn the Bible into a myth (myth: a widely held but false belief or idea) because Psalm 138:2 says that God has exaulted His Word, the Bible, above His own holy name.
“I will worship toward Your holy temple, and praise Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth; for you have magnified Your word above all Your name.” Psalm 138:2
Tragically, it’s our pastors that have led the stampede into sin. They usually like gain followers by insulting people’s intelligence. But it is intelligent Bible study that will lead you to the truth.
Harry Emerson Fosdick, pastor of Riverside church in New York, at the time when German Higher Criticism (meaning abandonment of any belief in the Bible as actual truth) said,
“Of course I do not believe in the virgin birth… I do not know any intelligent minister who does”.
Professor Barnes Tatum, author of the book In Quest of Jesus, has since called the virgin birth, “theological fiction”.
Robert Funk, founder of the Jesus Seminar, called the virgin birth an “insult to modern intelligence that should be abandoned”.
The eminent Bishop Sprong, an infamous long-time influence in the Episcopal church, said that,
“In time, the virgin birth account will join Adam and Eve… as clearly recognized mythological elements in our faith tradition whose purpose was not to describe a literal event but to capture the transcendent dimensions of God in the earthbound words and concepts of first-century human existence”.
Translation: The Biblical account of the birth of Jesus is a myth, a fable, a legend, a tall tale. But it still has some emotional value.
Bell, the infamous emergent pastor of Mars Hill church in Michigan, has asked,
“What if tomorrow someone digs up definitive proof that Jesus had a real, earthly, biological father named Larry, and archeologists find Larry’s tomb and do DNA samples and prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the virgin birth was really just a bit of mythologizing the Gospel writers threw in to appeal to the followers of the Mithra and Dionysian religious cults that were hugely popular at the time of Jesus, whose gods had virgin births?”
Translation: “Who cares, It doesn’t even matter”
But we have plenty of reason to believe it is historical fact, and it does matter, a lot.
It’s All About The Blood
Jesus had to be God to forgive our sins. No mere human can do that. One of the charges levied against Him was that He committed blasphemy by claiming the authority to forgive us, a power reserved for God alone (Mark 2:1-7). To prove He had that authority, Jesus healed a paralytic (Mark 2:8-12) the immediate healing being incontrovertible evidence of His authority, derived as a direct descendant of God.
But He also had to be human to redeem us. The laws of redemption required that a next of kin redeem that which was lost. (Lev. 25:24-25) This so-called kinsman redeemer had to be qualified, able and willing to perform the act of redemption. When Adam lost dominion over planet Earth and plunged all his progeny into sin, only his next of kin could redeem the Earth and its inhabitants.
Since Adam was a human whose Father was God (Luke 3:23-38), only another direct Son of God could qualify. This is why Paul referred to Jesus as the last Adam (1 Cor. 15:45). Since the Laws of sacrifice required the shedding of innocent blood as the coin of redemption, only a sinless man was able (John 1:29-34).
To my logical mind the issue of royalty is the most intriguing factor related to the virgin birth. The opposite of the mindless belief of which Christians are accused, this one is blatantly logical. Does Jesus have a legitimate claim to the Throne of David under the rules of succession? The answer hinges on two technicalities.
First, God promised David that someone from His family would reign in Israel forever. David wanted to build God’s house, but God declined, saying He needed a man of peace for this particular purpose and David was a man of war. So God chose David’s son Solomon to build the Temple and during Solomon’s reign Israel experienced peace as never before (or since). To alleviate David’s disappointment, God promised to build him a “house” making his dynasty everlasting (1 Chron. 17:1-14). From that time forward, only a descendant of David’s through Solomon’s branch of the family tree would sit on the throne in Jerusalem as King of Israel. But by the time of the Babylonian captivity 400 years later, these kings had become so evil and rebellious toward God that He finally said, “Enough”, and cursed the royal line, saying no son of the David / Solomon / Jeconiah line would ever reign over Israel again (Jer. 22:28-30).
This is what the Lord says:
“Record this man [Jeconiah] as if childless,
a man who will not prosper in his lifetime,
for none of his offspring will prosper,
none will sit on the throne of David
or rule anymore in Judah.” Jeremiah 22
The last legitimate King of Israel was Jehoiachin, also called Jeconiah, who reigned for only 3 months in 598 BC. Did God break His promise to David?
The second technicality involves the right of inheritance in Israel. God had ordained that Israelites could never sell or give away the allotment of land given to their families during the time of Joshua. “The land is mine,” He declared, “You are but tenants.” (Lev. 25:23) It’s from this declaration that the rules of inheritance and redemption emerged. Family land was passed from father to son throughout the generations. If a son lost his land, his brother was to redeem it, so the family wouldn’t lose their inheritance. So far so good.
Read The Fine Print
At the end of the Book of Numbers an interesting loophole emerged. A man died without a son, leaving 4 daughters. They came to Moses complaining that they would lose the family land since there was no son to inherit it. Moses sought the Lord Who decreed that if there was no son in a family, daughters could inherit family land providing they married within their own tribal clan. In effect they had to marry a cousin to keep the land in the “family.” This made sense since land was allotted first by tribe then by clan then by family. Marrying within the clan kept the families in close proximity and preserved the tribal allotment. (Num. 36 1:13)
Now compare the 2 genealogies of Jesus in Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38, and you’ll discover that Mary and Joseph were both of the tribe of Judah and descendants of David. Joseph descended through Solomon and Jeconiah (Matt. 1:7, the royal but cursed line, while Mary’s line was through Solomon’s brother Nathan (Luke 3:31, the non royal, non cursed line).
Here’s the tricky part. Mary had no brothers, and so was entitled to her family’s inheritance as long as she married someone also descended from David. Joseph fit the bill and being in the royal line had a claim to the throne, but carried the blood curse. No biological son of his could ever legally qualify as Israel’s king, but Joseph could secure Mary’s right of inheritance.
Pay Attention, This Gets Good
When Mary accepted Joseph’s offer of marriage she preserved her family’s land and also made good Jesus’ claim to the throne of Israel. Being the legal son of Joseph, Jesus was in the royal line of succession. Since he wasn’t Joseph’s biological son, Jesus didn’t carry the blood curse. But He was a true biological descendant of David’s through his mother and therefore of the “house and lineage of David.” So Jesus is the only human born since 598BC with an unblemished claim to David’s Throne.
Jesus is a blood descendant of David as required.
Jesus is the legal son of Joseph as required.
But Jesus is missing the biological blood curse of the Solomon lineage as required.
This whole issue revolves around the facts that a) God has bound Himself to His own laws and b) He keeps His word; facts that should give you great comfort. God is not a man that He should lie, nor a son of man that He should change His mind (Num. 23:19). Legally, a virgin birth was required to produce a sinless man who would be qualified and able to serve as our Kinsman Redeemer, and God longed to redeem us. A virgin birth was also required to sidestep the blood curse on the royal line, fulfilling God’s promise to David that a biological descendant of his would sit on the throne of Israel forever.
We’ll Return After This Pause
But what about the 2500 years that have passed since Israel had a King? Remember Jehoiachin was Israel’s last real King. In Ezekiel 21:25-27, written while a descendant of David’s still sat on the throne in Jerusalem, God declared that He was suspending the Davidic line of succession “until He comes to whom it rightfully belongs” a clear reference to the son of David who would also be the Son of God.
This declaration was confirmed to Mary. The Angel Gabriel promised that her coming son would sit on David’s throne and rule over the house of Jacob (Israel) forever (Luke 1:30-33). But all during the life of Jesus, a member of the Herod family served as King of Israel. But Herod was an Idumean (Jordanian), a friend of Caesar’s who was appointed to serve as King. So the Davidic suspension is still in effect and the promised reinstatement is still to come, and will be fulfilled at the 2nd Coming when “the Son of Man comes in His glory and with all the angels with him” to “sit on His throne in heavenly glory” and finally “the Lord will be King over the whole Earth.” (Matt. 25:31 & Zech. 14:4-9).
Think about this complicated twist of events that had to occur to make God’s Word true the next time you read something in the Bible that “seems” to the feeble human mind to be in error.