Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ

Although the virgin birth of Jesus is a biblical doctrine that has been held by His followers since the first century, and established formally as part of the Apostles' Creed since the fourth century, it has been one of the most controversial topics of the past hundred and twenty years or so. It has also been widely misunderstood by many, and has caused some to stumble.  But you need not stumble over this or debate it.  It's supernatural, and cannot be understood with your natural, rational mind like you would understand a scientific explanation of how the human heart beats.

As the apostle Paul said, "But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised." (1Co 2:14)

Therefore, I would first like to present to you the Scriptural evidence or record, followed by my explanation of how it happened. However, before you read any further, I suggest you stop and pray, asking God to show you the whole truth and nothing but the Truth.  Humble yourself and acknowledge that you cannot understand this, except by the Spirit of God, who is the One who caused this supernatural event to occur.

Scriptural Evidence
"Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And coming in, he said to her, 'Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.' But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. The angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.' Mary said to the angel, 'How can this be, since I am a virgin?' The angel answered and said to her, 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God. And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. For nothing will be impossible with God.' And Mary said, 'Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.' And the angel departed from her." (Luk 1:26-38)

"Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, 'Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.' Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: "Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel," which translated means, 'GOD WITH US.' And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus." (Mat 1:18-25)

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men." (Joh 1:1-4)

"But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. John *testified about Him and cried out, saying, 'This was He of whom I said, "He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me."'"  (Joh 1:12-15)

"No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man." (Joh 3:13)

"For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him." (Joh 3:17)

"For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day." (Joh 6:38-39)

They were saying, "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now say, 'I have come down out of heaven'?" (Joh 6:42)

Then Jesus cried out in the temple, teaching and saying, "You both know Me and know where I am from; and I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know. I know Him, because I am from Him, and He sent Me." (Joh 7:28-29)

"Jesus answered and said to them, 'Even if I testify about Myself, My testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going; but you do not know where I come from or where I am going.'" (Joh 8:14)

"And He was saying to them, 'You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.'" (Joh 8:23-24)

"Jesus said to them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I AM.'" (Joh 8:58)

"For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father." (Joh 10:17-18)

“For the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came forth from the Father. I came forth from the Father and have come into the world; I am leaving the world again and going to the Father."  (Joh 16:27-28)

Jesus prayed to the Father, “They knew with certainty that I came from You and they believed that You sent Me.” (Jn 17:8b)

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Php 2:5-8)

When He began His ministry, Jesus Himself was about thirty years of age, being, as was supposed, the son of Joseph, the son of Eli, (Luk 3:23)

The Birth of Christ Prophesied in Advance
Just as the prophet Isaiah accurately prophesied many other things about the life of Jesus Christ, including his crucifixion, death, and resurrection (Is 53), he also prophesied the virgin birth of our Lord seven hundred years in advance.

"Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.” (Isa 7:14)

The virgin's Son would be called Immanuel, which when translated, means "God with us."

Now here is the description Isaiah gave of this male child, called Immanuel, who would be born of a virgin:

"For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this."  (Isa 9:6-7)

The virgin's Son would be called "Mighty God," which is "El Gibor" in Hebrew.  The word "El" literally means God. This name, El Gibor, may also be translated, "God-man," "Mighty Man of war," or "Mighty Warrior."  I like all of them, and I think they all describe Jesus well.  According to Isaiah, He would also be called "Eternal Father," and He shall reign on David's throne forever and ever.  The only Person who could be called "God with us," "Mighty God," "God-man," and "Eternal Father," and who could reign forever would have to be God Himself. And that is exactly who the virgin's Son, Jesus Christ is. He is God.

How it Happened
Now I would like to explain how it happened, not scientifically, but supernaturally, based on Scripture.

He existed eternally in the form of God before He was born, and was not created. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. Therefore, the very human life of Christ in the womb came into existence through the Life in Him.

He had the power to empty Himself when He left heaven, and to take up His human life on earth, then to lay it down at the cross, and take it up again at His resurrection.  He did all of this on His own initiative, because God sent Him from heaven to earth. The zeal of the LORD of hosts accomplished this.

Just as His own children are not born (again spiritually) of blood, nor the will of the flesh, not the will of man, but of God, likewise, Jesus was born physically not of the will of the flesh, not the will of man, but of God.

The Child born to Mary was not of her own doing or Joseph’s doing. Mary was a pure virgin, who had found favor with God. Although it was supposed that her holy Child was the son of Joseph, His Father was God in heaven.  He was not of this world.  He came from above at God's command, and He knew where He came from.

He came down (descended) from heaven into Mary’s womb. The Holy Spirit came upon Mary, and the power of the Most High overshadowed her.  The Child who was conceived in her was of the Holy Spirit. Her part was only to conceive Him in her womb by the Holy Spirit, and bear a Son. 

He had the power to take on any form He chose, so He took the form of a bond-servant. When He materialized as a tiny embryo in Mary's womb, He was made in the likeness of men. He was also found in appearance as a man. When they found Him at His birth, he appeared as a male child.  The Word of God became flesh.  God became flesh.

Joseph kept Mary a virgin until she gave birth to a Son, whose name was Jesus. He is called Immanuel, which means “God with us.”  Jesus is God with us, our Savior.

Rejecting Blasphemous Heresies
Now that I have explained what did happen, I would like to explain what did not happen.  There was absolutely no sexual intercourse involved.

The Scripture explicitly says that once the angel Gabriel had delivered to Mary the message that she would conceive, and had left her, she went to stay with her cousin, Elizabeth.  "Now at this time Mary arose and went in a hurry to the hill country, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. And she cried out with a loud voice and said, 'Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!'" (Luk 1:39-42). 

She arose and went in a hurry to Elizabeth, not allowing any time for human intervention. When she arrived and greeted Elizabeth, she had already conceived, because John the Baptist leaped in the womb of Elizabeth, and she told Mary that the fruit of her womb was blessed. Although she was still a virgin when she arrived at the home of Zacharias and Elizabeth, she had the holy Child Jesus in her womb.  Therefore, no human intercourse occurred, just as the Scripture explicitly says she remained a virgin until she gave birth to Jesus (Mt 1:25).

There is yet further evidence to confirm that Mary went to the home of Elizabeth immediately after the angel Gabriel told her she would conceive a child.  Gabriel had told Mary that Elizabeth, who had been barren, was now in her sixth month of pregnancy (Lk 1:36).  And Mary stayed with Elizabeth for a period of about three months (Lk 1:56).  After Mary left, Elizabeth gave birth to John the Baptist (Lk 1:57).  Elizabeth's six months of pregnancy that occurred prior to Mary's visit, when added to the approximately three months that occurred during her visit, spanned the total nine months of her pregnancy.  Therefore, this serves to confirm what the Scripture says that she was a virgin when she conceived the Lord Jesus.

Moreover, it would be blasphemous to assume that Mary engaged in any kind of sexual intercourse in a spiritual sense.  Nothing of that sort happened, because the Scripture says Gabriel told her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God." (Lk 1:35).  There was nothing sexual about that, since her genital organs were not involved.  The first Adam was formed from the dust of the earth and God breathed life into His nostrils, so that he became a living being, without any human intercourse. Likewise, there was no sexual intercourse involved in the conception of Christ, the second Adam.  Rather Mary was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, Who is holy, and the egg inside her womb was fertilized supernaturally in a holy manner.

Had the Lord been conceived in the natural way, He would have the DNA of both Mary and Joseph, and He would be the son of Joseph.  But as it was, He had only Mary's human genes, and He is the Son of God.  He was from His Father in heaven, Who sent Him.

This matter of His DNA has been confirmed by the late archeologist, Ron Wyatt, who discovered the ark of the covenant in a cave inside the hill called Golgotha.  It was directly beneath the cross holes he discovered atop the hill, which he believed was where the cross of Christ had been inserted.  He discovered a crack at the cross hole that ran down the side of the rocky hill, which may have been caused by the earthquake that occurred when Jesus gave up His Spirit.  Ron found a pool of dried blood on top of the lid that covered the ark of the covenant that had been hidden in a cave inside that hill for centuries.  He took samples of the blood and had it reconstituted in a reliable, professional lab, where it was tested.  As I have written about in my article, Ark of the Covenant Found - Part 1, the lab said it was very old human blood, but it only contained 24 chromosomes, rather than 46.  There were 23 from the mother and one Y chromosome. It only had Mary’s chromosomes, since there was no man involved in His conception, and the one Y chromosome from Yahweh!

What About You?
I hope this has helped to clarify the virgin birth of Jesus Christ for anyone who is confused about it or doubts it.  Don't try to figure it out or understand how He could have materialized inside of Mary's womb. Just believe it.  The Word of God said it, so it's true.  That settles it! Stop doubting and believe.

Jesus Himself said that He came down from heaven and that He is God's Son.  You must believe it.  "And He was saying to them, 'You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.'" (Joh 8:23-24). 

He is unique in that He is the only Person ever born this way.  And He wants you to be born from above also.  It is not enough to be born of the flesh, you must be born again of the Spirit.

Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." (Joh 3:3)

Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit." (Joh 3:5-8)

Have you been born again? If not, you must be, in order to see the kingdom of God. You cannot be saved any other way.  I want to share with you (at the end of this blog) how to be born again and know the Lord Jesus Christ, who is God with us, and whose name means Savior.

So why do people doubt the virgin birth of Jesus? It's because it is the truth, and the devil has whispered lies to them that this doctrine is not true.  Jesus said, "But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me. Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me? He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God." (Joh 8:45-47).

If you are not of God, you will not hear these words of God about the virgin birth of Christ.  But if you are of God, you will hear the words of God.  He who has ears to hear, let him hear.  Repent of your sin and unbelief, believe on Jesus Christ, and be saved.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.

Author's note: Also see Miraculous Birth of Jesus, Is Jesus God?, The Son of Man, The Scripture Must Be Fulfilled, and The Bible is the Word of God, as well as the other articles on the Home Page of this blog. You can also find my complete collection of blogs at Writing for the Master.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

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