Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a S.I.G.N…..
Supernatural virgin birth. Incarnation of Christ. God with us. Necessity to believe.
(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 prophet Isaiah, under direct instruction and divine inspiration, foretold of the virgin birth, the incarnation and the deity of Christ nearly 750 years before it actually took place. The fulfillment of this prophecy was realized when Jesus was born at a time when religion and idolatry were open lovers. This once in a lifetime event took place not in Athens -the intellectual Centre of the world, or Rome – the political Centre of the world or even Jerusalem – The religious Centre of the world, but in a little town of Bethlehem – just a weed patch of Roman Highway.
The actual event was recorded 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.”
The doctrines of the virgin birth, incarnation, and deity of Christ have always been accepted and received as foundational to the Christian faith. But perhaps what has not been clear to some, and yet is vitally important to note and understand, is that these fundamental doctrines are distinctly different even though they are reasonably related. Let’s zoom in FIRST on the S of the S.I.G.N and focus briefly on the…
1. SUPERNATURAL VIRGIN BIRTH
Imagine the following headline and report appearing in the local Bethlehem Herald newspaper:
Bethlehem Welcomes “Virgin Born” Tax Baby
“Skeptics snickered, raised intellectual eyebrows, sniffed and sneered as they paid a curiosity visit to the “Manger Mansion,” saw the new-born child, and then listened to the young mother Mary insist she was a virgin. Yet this very possibility was borne out later in the day when they made another” curiosity visit” to local rabbis, seeking something else to gossip at over their next wine-break. They listened to several quotes from ancient holy writers. One Rabbi quoted the prophet Micah who said 700 years ago, “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting”.
Several years before Micah (according to Rabbi Solomon), the prophet Isaiah said, “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” According to this scholar these and other statements by holy writers, all provide a continuing prophecy to the family of David … a prophecy that just could be fulfilled in this “manger child” – (*The Sword of the Lord scrap Book)
The above report is just an imagined clipping and a humorous one for that, but sadly there are still those SKEPTICS who deny the virgin birth, denounce the incarnation & despise the deity of Christ. What does the Bible teach about the virgin birth?
Let’s consider 3 essential points:
Even though it is crystal clear that the Hebrew word for virgin is ALMAH yet some modernist teachers and liberal theologians who use modern language and translations, say the word should be YOUNG WOMAN. That is simply wrong, unscholarly, and inaccurate because the context demand that the proper and perfect rendering of the Hebrew word ALMAH is a VIRGIN. The Authorized version (KJV) accurately translates it as a virgin, like the other 6 times used in the Old Testament .For example Rebecca before she was married to Isaac, Miriam the big sister who became the babysitter for Moses, and the virgins in the Song of Solomon, just to name few.
Also just take a moment and think about it – what is so special and spectacular about a young woman conceiving – it is natural, normal and happens every day. But if a virgin conceives – now that’s supernatural. It never happened before and never again.
The Septuagint, which is a Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament by 70 Jewish elders that took place about 200 years before the birth of Christ also uses the word VIRGIN (Parthenos in the Greek).
C. The Spirit Of God
God the Holy Spirit, who himself authorized the holy writ using the human pen of holy men like Matthew and Dr Luke, chose the word VIRGIN. We see that in Matthew 1:23 “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and also in Luke 1:27 “To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.”
PLEASE NOTE – Our Living God never designed the Virgin Birth to become an occasion or an opportunity to deify the human agency. Nor did He desire for us, his creation, to make an icon of the personal carrier, blessed as she was among (not above) women. And what’s more, He certainly does not want us to worship the instrument that He, the Sovereign King of Heaven, first created then chose to use and bring about this special, spectacular and supernatural event.
2. INCARNATION OF CHRIST
“And 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.” (John 1:14)”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.” (1 Timothy 3:16)
Both God & man dwelt in one body & walked physically among men for thirty-three years. Christ who was ages older than His mother was in his incarnation, embodied in human flesh, demonstrated in human life, exemplified in human action, crystallized in human form………(R.G.Lee)
What makes this unusual, unique, and unheard of event, God becoming a man, not only plausible but also possible? We’ll consider three brief but Biblical points by answering three questions such as whom, how and why?
Whom? …. SON OF GOD
Firstly -this is not only possible but also proper because we are talking about “The only begotten Son of the living God”
“And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35)
“And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” (John 6:69)
…..And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. (Mat16: 16)
How? …. SEED OF WOMAN
Secondly -The theme that the promised Redeemer/Messiah will be of the seed of woman not her egg, nor of the offspring of man is throughout the Bible.
It commenced in Genesis (Genesis 3:15) “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”
It continued in the Gospels e.g.-Matthew I: 2-16a from Abraham to Joseph- we read of 39 begats until vs. 16b “And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.”- Please note that there was no explanation with any of the 39 begats until Joseph’s relationship to Jesus -Joseph the husband of Mary not the father of Jesus.
It is also considered in Galatians (Galatians 4:4) “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,” (The reference here to woman is not a mistake or a contradiction of Isaiah 7:14 rather making the point of Genesis 3:15)
– Never man was born as He, with no human father. This heavenly child of an earthly mother was the earthly child of a heavenly father. Born of a virgin. This had to be, for when He came, GOD came to earth – thus we have “Emmanuel -God with us ” Evangelist Hugh Pyle
Why? …. SAVIOUR OF THE WORLD
Thirdly – His mission was to redeem mankind and reconcile us to God by Himself.
“For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”(Jn 3:17)
“…., Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.” (John 4:42)
A WORD OF CAUTION:
Even though as a man JESUS WAS MADE in the likeness of men (Philippians 2:7) and grew (Luke 2: 52). He became tired (John4: 6), hungry and thirsty (John 4: 7-8). He was tempted (Matthew 4: 1-10) and grieved (John11: 35-38). He experienced anger (Mark.3: 5), sorrow (Matthew 26: 37-38), Joy (John 15: 11, 17:13) and death (John 19: 30) Yet He was without sin (Hebrews 4:15)…In him is no sin (1John 3:5), … He did no sin (1 Peter 2: 22), and He knew no sin (2 Corinthians 5: 21) regardless of what myths and false accusations, Pharisees and their like, manufacture.
Those who deny that Jesus was begotten of the Father and conceived by the Holy Ghost are deceived by the father of lies. They are also deceiving others with their fanciful humanistic philosophies and will perish and die in their sins.
“And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” (John 8:23-24) BUT “He that believeth on him is not condemned: (John 3:18a) “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.” (1 John 4:9).
3. GOD WITH US- “THE DEITY OF CHRIST”
(Isa 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.”
(Mat 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.”
(Luke 1:31) “And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.” (Mat 1:25) “And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.
Please note with me how the deity of Christ is clearly established in these 4 verses.
First the prophecy is given in Isaiah 7:14 “…shall call his name Immanuel”.
Then it’s Fulfillment & interpretation in Matt 1:22-23 “Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” (Immanuel with an I because it is written in Hebrew cp./with Emmanuel with an E is in Greek).
Then we have the angel instructing Mary in Luke 1:31″ …thou …shalt call his name JESUS.”
Finally Joseph in Matthew 1:25 “…. and he called his name JESUS.”
In other words IMMANUEL = GOD WITH US = JESUS
From the house of David, of the tribe of Judah, in Bethlehem, of Israel.
The prophets of old, God’s word foretold, the virgin birth of Emmanuel.
Emmanuel, Emmanuel, God with us here to dwell. He will die & will rise as well, to save from sin, judgment & hell.
Fixed before time began, & from eternity was his plan, when God became man, never before & never again.
A child is born, a Son is given, of whose kingdom shall be no end.
Begotten of the Father, conceived of the spirit, redeemer & the sinner’s friend.
What separates a New Testament Bible Believing Church, from any other determined cults, liberal organizations or religious hierarchies?
Is it the buildings that we meet in? Is it the Hymns that we sing? Is it KJV Bible that we use? Is it the short Hair, suit & a Tie that we wear? Is it Door Knocking that we do? Is it etc…etc….
It is not in the buildings that we meet in – Most religious organizations including the Roman Catholic, meet in buildings, nor is it in the Hymns that we sing -The Masons sing Hymns; nor is it in KJV Bible that we use- Many Cults in fact do prefer & use that particular translation, nor is it in Short Hair, Suit & a Tie -The Mormons do that; nor is it in Door Knocking – Jehovah’s witnesses specializes in Door Knocking.
The truth that fundamentally stands between US & THEM, set us apart & separate US from THEM is found in:
The Written Word of God ie -The Holy Bible as the ONE & ONLY authority for faith and practice –
(John 17:17) “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” See also Ps.138: 2; Prov.30: 5; Ps.12: 6; Ps.119: 89; 105, 140; Ps.138: 2. And,
The Living Word of God ie -The DEITY of the Person of THE LORD JESUS CHRIST –
(John 14:6) “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” See also (1 Jn.5: 7; Jn.1: 1,14; Rev.19: 13; 1 Jn.1: 1.)
The deity of the Lord Jesus Christ is consistently taught & clearly traced in Scripture:
CLEAR TEACHINGS OF THE BIBLE: – “DEFINITELY ONE GOD” –
OLD TESTAMENT. (Deut 6:4) “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:”(1 Kg 8:60) “That all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God, and that there is none else.” See also – Isa.43: 10-11; 44:6,8; 45:5,18,21; Ps.83:18 , Mal.1:6; 2:10;
NEW TESTAMENT – (Mark 12:29) “And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:” (1 Tim 2:5) “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;” See also Jn.10: 30; 1 Cor.8: 6; Eph.4: 6; Jm.2: 19; Rev.4: 2,3.
CONSISTENT REFERENCES: – “DEITY OF CHRIST”
Matt.1: 23 (Gk. With us the God) -c/p with Isa.9: 6 & 1 Tim.3: 16; c/p with Dan.2: 11b; Matt.21: 12-13 (c/p with Jn.2: 19); 27:19; Lk.8: 39; 7:48; Jn.1: 1; 5:18, 23 (c/p with 10:33), 8:23-24; 9:38; 10:30; 14:8-9; 20:28 (Gk.The Lord of me and the God of me); Acts 9:4 (c/p with 1 Cor.15:9); 20:28; 2:34,36 ; Rom.1: 1 (c/p with Mk.1: 1 and 2 Cor.4: 4); Rom.9: 5; Gal.1: 1; 4:4; Phil.2: 5-11 (thought it not robbery to be equal with God)…Col.1: 15-17,19; 2:2,9; 3:24 (c/p with 1 Thes.1: 9b);1 Thes.4:14; 5:9 ; 2 Thes.1:2; 2:16a ;
1 Tim.1: 17; 2:3; 3:16; 4:10; 6:13-16; Tit.2: 13; 3:4 (Gk. The great God and Saviour of us, Jesus Christ); Heb.1: 8, (Gk. Thy throne, Oh The God, is for ever and ever) ; 2 Pet.1: 1, (Gk. The God of us and Saviour Jesus Christ); 1 Jn.5: 20; Rev.2: 23b (c/p with 1 Sam.16: 7; 1 Kg.8: 39; Ps.7: 9; Jn.2: 24; Acts 1:24; Rom.8: 27)
CONSEQUENCE OF REJECTION OF: – “DIE IN YOUR SINS”
Jn.8: 23-24 “And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.
We’ve seen & studied:
First & foremost S of The sign i.e THE SUPERNATURAL VIRGIN BIRTH,
Dr R. G. Lee, the great preacher of the famous message “Payday Someday”, says: “This virgin-born Christ, His entrance into the realm of human flesh by a virgin’s womb being the seal of the Father’s approval, affixed to the claims Jesus made as the only Begotten of the Father, was presented as God’s will, God’s thought, God’s purpose swathed in mortality – His every nerve divine handwriting; His every bone divine scripture; His every muscle a pulley divinely swung; His every breath divine whisper; His every heartbeat divine pulsation; His every cry divine wooing”
Further I of The sign i.e THE INCARNATION OF CHRIST
Dr. Warren Wiersbe, Bible teacher and sound expositor, puts it this way: “The virgin birth of Jesus Christ is vital to the truth of the gospel (Isa.7: 14). Since Jesus Christ is God, He existed before Mary; therefore, He could not have been conceived, as are other babies. He was not only born, but he “came into the world” (Jn.18: 37). He is both God and man, the sinless Lamb of God (1 Pet.1: 19). Matthew opens and closes his book with “God with Us” (1:23; 28:20).
Furthermore G of The sign i.e THE GOD WITH US-THE DEITY OF CHRIST
C.H. SPURGEON, The Prince of preachers writes: “The golden name Emmanuel-is inexpressibly delightful. It is a word fit for the lips of cherubim for its majesty, but because of its marvelous condescension, none but men can utter it.He is not so with seraphs as He is with us. God with us in our nature, in our sorrow, in our life-work, in our punishment, in our grave, and now with us, or rather we with Him, in resurrection, ascension, triumph and second advent splendor”
Now Finally let’s close with N of The sign i.e THE NECESSITY TO BELIEVE & RECEIVE
4. NECESSITY TO BELIEVE & RECEIVE
The following verses give us the big picture and the best perspective for the reason of, and the response to, His coming:
(Mat 1:21) “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”
(John 20:31) “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”
(John 1:12) “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:”
(Acts 4:12)”Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven among men, whereby we must be saved.”
Take God at his word. Trust God with his word & Accept the virgin birth, Believe the incarnation & Commit to the Deity of Christ as you:
Read the scriptures with confidence and conviction that ” every word of GOD is pure (Prov.30: 5a) and forever settled in heaven. It is GOD breathed (2 Tim 3:16) and the one & only, first & final authority for faith and practice.
Rest in the sinlessness of our Lord Jesus …He was without sin (Heb 4:15),…In him is no sin (1Jn.3:5), … He did no sin (1 Pet.2:22), and He knew no sin (2 Cor.5:21) Be assured of His deity For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Col 2:9) &
Receive His salvation
The maker of life and the master of love didn’t leave his glorious throne above, stepped across eternity, came down to earth below, and became a GOD-MAN just to affirm the mere existence of each individual soul (which in reality is spiritually dead and sadly disconnected) OR to teach mortal man some golden rule.
Our Dear Lord chose to enter this world that he once made as the lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world (John 1:29b).
He LIVED a sinless life and DIED for the sinful lot, that’s you and I, as our:
SIN BEARER (1 Pet 2:24) “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”
SUBSTITUTE (Gal 3:13) “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:”
SACRIFICE (Isa 53:5) “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”
SO take him as your lamb slain. Trust him as your Lord and Saviour and like Mary you can say …”my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour (Lk1:46-47)
Receive the best gift ever, (if you have not done already so) the gift of eternal life, the gift of His grace, with thanks, as you call on his saving name.
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Rom10:13)
not may be, hopefully, probably or possibly BUT the Word of GOD says …. shall be saved.”
“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven among men,whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
Here is a suggested prayer:
Dear God: I am sorry that I have sinned against you; I turn away from my sins.
Please forgive me, and be merciful to me a sinner.
Thankyou for saving me and giving me a new life.
In Jesus name I pray. Amen
(Rev 22:17) “And the Spirit and the bride say,Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”
For six years Joseph Pistone lived among Mafia families as an FBI undercover agent. During that time he had to feign a personal interest in the Mafia’s monstrous social schemes; thievery, murder, extortion, and drug dealings. He had to produce funds for his capo (provided by the FBI through unclaimed stolen property) and had to lie for a high moral purpose – to enable the United States government to severely damage organized crime in America. From that horrifying nightmare he emerged unaltered; his personality, values, and attention to physical conditioning were intact. When his superiors finally pulled him off the job, he had no trouble leaving the role of Donnie Brasco.
Jesus came undercover to our fallen world. He stayed plenty long enough to forget why he came – but he didn’t. He identified so strongly with us that he could have seen our sins as harmless pranks – but he didn’t. He could have become so much a part of us as to forget who he was – but he didn’t. Pistone’s lifestyle said “I’ll become like you”. Jesus’ lifestyle said “I won’t become like you; I’ll let everyone of you become like me.” (speaker’s sourcebook of new illustrations-p.27 )
Then “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Mat 28:19-20)
Two missionaries were captured and imprisoned in the same cell but forbidden to speak to each other. Christmas came. One of the missionaries, shivering and silent, sat on the floor covered with hay. As he was playing with bits of hay around him, he though that he discovered a silent way of communicating with his friend. He spelled out the word Immanuel. As soon as his friend saw the word, immediately he lit up with joy. They were captives, but they both believed that God was with them and that ultimate triumph would be theirs.
This Christmas and every other day of the year, let us find a variety of ways of sharing the meaning and message of Immanuel and also show to others that God is indeed Immanuel – God With Us. (A Treasury of Bible illustrations-p.63)
With the love of Christ
Pastor – Inner West Baptist Church