36 Question 4

It is true that the word that is translated ‘virgin’ can also be translated as a ‘young woman’.  Let’s read Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”  The Hebrew word for virgin here is ‘almah’ which means a lass, maid, damsel, or virgin.  Then we read in Matthew 1:22-23, “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.”  You can see that Matthew 1:23 is a quote of Isaiah 7:14.  However instead of being written in Hebrew, it is written in Greek.  The Greek word for virgin here is ‘parthenos’ which means a maiden, an unmarried daughter, or a virgin.

How do we discern the proper use of the word ‘virgin’?  Are we to understand that it means a pure virgin or does it simply mean a young woman?  In Isaiah 7:14 we read that the pregnancy of a virgin was a sign from the Lord.  A young woman being pregnant would not be a sign.  It would not be anything out of the ordinary.  Let’s look a little deeper in Matthew, chapter one.  Matthew 1:18 says, “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.”  We see clearly that Joseph and Mary had never had sexual contact.  She was found with child of the Holy Ghost before they came together, or before they had relations.  Listen to Mary’s words when she was told by the angel, Gabriel, that she would have a son in Luke 1:34 which says, “Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?”  By Mary’s own words we see that she was indeed a pure virgin.  Comparing these different verses from Isaiah, Matthew, and Luke, it is obvious that the proper understanding is that the Lord would be born of a true virgin.

Even from within the professing church, there have been great attacks against the truth of the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus for over a century.  To deny the virgin birth of the Lord is to bring Christ down to our level; to make Him merely a man.  It destroys the truth of the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, the One who is both fully man and fully God.  The Gospel of John does not begin with the birth of Christ, it begins by telling us of the eternal existence of Christ.  John 1:1-2 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.”  We then read in John 1:14 that, “…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.”  To say that the Lord Jesus was a result of the seed of a man completely disregards the important truth of the eternal existence of the Lord Jesus Christ.  He is the only begotten son of the God the Father.

Why is this so important?  It is absolutely vital that we understand that Jesus had no earthly father.  If so, He would have had a sinful nature that would have disqualified Him from being the perfect sacrifice to take away our sins.  1 Timothy 3:16 says, “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.”  This mystery of godliness is that Jesus is God manifested, or shown, in the flesh.  He is fully man, and He is fully God.  He was born of a virgin, without the sinful nature that comes from the seed of man.