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Bible verses about Jesus Christ's Birth, Prophecy of
(From Forerunner Commentary)

From what we have seen so far, one could argue that the Messiah could descend from either Ishmael or Isaac. However, as biblical generation follows generation, God narrows the lineage of His Son further. As He reassures Abraham in Genesis 21:12: "For in Isaac your seed shall be called."

Again, the genealogies of Jesus confirm He is a descendant of Isaac (Matthew 1:2; Luke 3:34). Spiritually, this fact becomes significant, as Paul explains in Romans 9:6-8:

For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, "In Isaac your seed shall be called." That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed. (See also Galatians 4:21-31.)

The apostle makes clear that physical descent from Abraham is not enough to qualify a person as an Israelite. As Paul intimates in Galatians 4:29, God considers Israelites those who have become His through regeneration by His Spirit, for the Spirit is "the Promise of the Father" (Acts 1:4). Just as Isaac was conceived through a promised miracle, so His promised Spirit given to us regenerates us as spiritual Israelites and children of God.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Born of a Woman


 

Genesis 3:15   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Important to us is the prediction that Messiah would be the child of a woman, and arguing from silence, that His father would not be a man.

The apostle Paul writes of this prophecy's fulfillment in Galatians 4:4: "But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman" (see Matthew 1:24-25; Luke 2:7). All humanity has been "born of a woman," and because of this fact, we all share this trait with our Savior. Like us, He was a human being.

Inasmuch then as the children have partaken in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. (Hebrews 2:14-15)

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Born of a Woman


 

Genesis 12:3   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

A turning point in the saga of God's people occurred when God called Abram to leave Mesopotamia for a land he knew little or nothing about, Canaan. He promised him great blessings of wealth and rulership, as well as spiritual blessing: "And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed" (Genesis 12:3; also 22:18). This could only be a reference to the work of the Messiah.

Paul mentions this prophecy in Galatians 3:16: "Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, 'And to seeds,' as of many, but as of one, 'And to your Seed,' who is Christ." It is evident from the genealogies in both Matthew 1 (Joseph's) and Luke 3 (Mary's) that both legally and naturally Jesus is a descendant of Abraham.

"And if you are Christ's then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise" (Galatians 3:29). We Christians are also children of God through our faith in Jesus (verse 26), and this makes us spiritual descendants of Abraham and co-heirs of the promised blessings.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Born of a Woman


 

Genesis 28:14   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Another generation appears on the scene, and again God chooses the line of descent for His Son. As God had promised his father and grandfather, He tells Jacob at Bethel, "In your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed" (Genesis 28:14; 35:11). Centuries later, He inspires Balaam to prophesy: "I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; a Star shall come out of Jacob; a Scepter shall rise out of Israel. . . . Out of Jacob One shall have dominion" (Numbers 24:17, 19).

Paul considers this "election" of Jacob to be significant:

And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), it was said to her, "The older shall serve the younger." As it is written, "Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated." (Romans 9:11)

The lesson in Jesus descending from Jacob focuses on God's sovereign prerogative to call whomever He wills to be His children and servants (John 6:44). We have a heavenly calling into the Family of God if we continue to endure and grow in this way (see Hebrews 3:1, 6).

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Born of a Woman


 

Genesis 49:10   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The patriarch Jacob had twelve sons, and God had to choose from which tribe His Son would descend. He proclaims His choice through Jacob's prophecy in Genesis 49:10: "The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people." Jesus of Nazareth was a Jew, as many scriptures record (Matthew 1:2; Luke 3:33; Hebrews 7:14, etc.).

This fact also has spiritual implications for us. Jesus says to the woman at the well, "For salvation is of the Jews" (John 4:22). Paul explains what this means:

For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God. (Romans 2:28-29)

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Born of a Woman


 

Psalm 2:7   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Jesus' most important descent, of course, is from God the Father: "The LORD has said to Me, 'You are My Son, today I have begotten You'" (Psalm 2:7; see I Chronicles 17:11-14). The angel Gabriel tells Mary, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:35). Later, after Jesus' baptism, "a voice came from heaven, saying, 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased'" (Matthew 3:17).

This fact has so many meanings to us, but maybe the most wonderful is found in I John 5:20: "And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life." Because Jesus is the Son of God, we can have a relationship with the Father and thus understand and receive eternal life.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Born of a Woman


 

Isaiah 7:14   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The prophecy of Jesus' birth much of the world recognizes is that of Isaiah 7:14: "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel." This, of course, came to pass precisely: "After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 1:18). Mary herself confirms she was a virgin: "How can this be, since I do not know a man?" (Luke 1:34).

His "immaculate conception" (not in the Roman Catholic sense) decreed His worthiness to be our High Priest and Mediator before the Father. Though not of Levi, Jesus qualifies as a priest "according to the order of Melchizedek" (Hebrews 7:14-15):

Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He ever lives to make intercession for them. For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens. (verses 25-26)

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Born of a Woman


 

Isaiah 7:14   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Some commentators feel that the prophecy of the virgin birth appears within a longer prophecy that runs from Isaiah 7 through Isaiah 12. A theme that holds this seemingly disjointed prophecy together is a string of Messianic prophecies, of which the virgin birth is merely the first (see Isaiah 7:14; 8:16; 9:2, 6-7; 11:1-5, 10). This is important in debunking a popular argument that the virgin-birth prophecy was only for the particular situation in Ahaz's day. The other nearby Messianic prophecies weaken this contention considerably.

Like many Old Testament prophecies, the sign of the virgin birth has both a typical and an antitypical—or a near and a later—fulfillment. Ahaz (c. 731-715 BC) was afraid that the recent alliance between Israel and Syria would tip the balance of power and spell Judah's doom. God, however, assures Ahaz through Isaiah that no such thing would happen—in fact, within 65 years, Israel itself would be completely gone from the land (Isaiah 7:8)! The virgin birth, thought by some to be by a maiden within Ahaz's house, was a sign from God that He would surely bring this to pass. Further, before the child could distinguish good from evil, both kings of Israel and Syria would be dead (verse 16; see II Kings 15:30; 16:9)!

Unfortunately, neither Isaiah nor the authors of the books of Kings and Chronicles document the fulfillment of this prophecy in Ahaz's time. We are left to assume that it indeed happened, or it would be a worthless sign to Ahaz. The virgin and her son Immanuel remain unknown in history.

The only other significant debate regarding this prophecy is the Hebrew word 'almâ, translated "virgin." The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament comments:

Since betûlâ is used many times in the OT as a specific word for "virgin," it seems reasonable to consider that the feminine form of this word ['almâ] is not a technical word for a virgin but represents a young woman, one of whose characteristics is virginity. This is borne out by the fact that the LXX translates it as parthenos in two of its seven occurrences, and that its use in Isa 7:14 was quoted to Joseph by the angel as a prediction of the virgin birth. . . . There is no instance where it can be proved that 'almâ designates a young woman who is not a virgin.

The Greek term for "virgin," parthenos, which Matthew uses in Matthew 1:23, has exactly the same meaning and nuances. Spiros Zodhiates writes in The Complete Word Study New Testament, "Generally it refers to a maiden or damsel of marriageable age," yet "particularly in the sense of one who has not known a man." The plain sense of both usages is that a literal virgin is meant. Otherwise, the sign becomes "no big deal"—thousands of young women have sons every day! But how often does a virgin bear a son?

Unlike the Catholic Church, the church of God, though believing in the virgin birth, does not make it a major doctrine. It is important as a proof of Jesus' Messiahship, and it adds detail to the transcendental nature of the Son of God. In the end, however, like Luke, we must place our focus on Him and the wonderful works He performed as a human being like us, as well as all the many things He does for us still as our High Priest before the Father.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
'Behold, A Virgin Shall Conceive . . .'


 

Isaiah 11:1   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Several generations pass before God decrees the direction of Jesus' lineage: "There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots" (Isaiah 11:1). Jesse lived at least eight generations after Judah during the days of the prophet Samuel. He and his family had lived in the town of Bethlehem in the territory of Judah for several generations—at least since the time of Boaz (Ruth 2:4). Matthew 1 and Luke 3 both mention Jesse in their genealogies.

In Romans 15:12, Paul connects Jesus descending from Jesse to the hope of the Gentiles: "And again, Isaiah [11:10] says: 'There shall be a root of Jesse; and He who shall rise to reign over the Gentiles, in Him the Gentiles shall hope.'" Jesse's female ancestors include three Gentiles—Tamar (Genesis 38), Rahab (Joshua 2; Matthew 1:5), and Ruth (Ruth 4:13-22)—who are also Jesus the Messiah's ancestors. As Paul says, Jesus Christ became a servant "that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy" (Romans 15:9).

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Born of a Woman


 

Jeremiah 23:5   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Jesse had at least eight sons (II Samuel 16:10-11), the youngest of which was David. God chose the line of this young shepherd boy to reign over Israel and ultimately to produce the King of kings: "'Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, 'that I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth'" (Jeremiah 23:5; see Isaiah 9:6-7).

Both of Jesus' human parents were of the line of David (Matthew 1:1, 6; Luke 3:31), and it was well known during His ministry that Jesus was a "son of David" (Matthew 9:27; 15:22; 21:9; etc.). Before His conception, Gabriel tells Mary, "The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David" (Luke 1:32). Paul reminds Timothy of what this means to Christians: "Jesus, the seed of David, was raised from the dead. . . . This is a faithful saying: 'For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him. If we endure, we shall also reign with Him'" (II Timothy 2:8, 11-12).

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Born of a Woman


 

Jeremiah 31:15   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Jeremiah 31:15 foretells Herod's slaughter of innocent boys in the Bethlehem area: "A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted for her children, because they are no more." Only Matthew mentions the fulfillment of this prophecy in Matthew 2:16-18.

This atrocity is a precursor of the reactions of both Jewish and Gentile leaders who, instead of submitting to Him, put Him to death. It thus indicates the normal experience of Jesus' followers in this world: "All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution" (II Timothy 3:12). Peter writes:

Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. (I Peter 4:12-14)

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Born of a Woman


 

Hosea 11:1   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

A short while after Jesus is born, God warns Joseph in a dream to leave immediately for Egypt to escape persecution from Herod the Great (Matthew 2:13). Once Herod dies, Joseph, Mary, and Jesus return to Judea (verses 15, 19-21), fulfilling the prophecy of Hosea 11:1, "Out of Egypt I called My Son."

This recalls God's redemption of Israel from bondage, suggesting the later work of Jesus as Redeemer of all mankind. Paul encourages Titus by saying that Christ "gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people" (Titus 2:14).

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Born of a Woman


 

Micah 5:2   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

He is prophesying of the birthplace of the Messiah. He makes it clear that it will be in Bethlehem of Judea, the place of David's birth as well. But when did He reveal the precise location of where a person could find Him? Not until He had an angel lead the Magi right to the house where the Messiah was at the time they arrived there. It came at the last moment. Will the timing of His second coming be similar?

We all know that He is coming. We all know that He will circle the earth when He comes, that He will come with a great horde of angels, but when precisely will He arrive? When will God reveal the exact moment? It looks as if it will be right at the end.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Where Is the Beast? (Part 3)


 

Micah 5:2   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Not only did God foretell His lineage and manner of conception but also the exact place He would be born, Bethlehem: "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be ruler in Israel, whose going forth have been from of old, from everlasting" (Micah 5:2). Both the learned and the common people knew that the Messiah would come from this little Judean town (Matthew 2:4-8; John 7:42). And, indeed, so it happened (Matthew 2:1; Luke 2:4-7).

His birth in Bethlehem ties Jesus directly to the house of David, cementing His claim to his everlasting throne. However, the meaning of the name, "house of bread," points to another title of Christ, "the bread of life" (John 6:35, 48). As Jesus says in verse 51: "If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever." This sign guarantees that Jesus Christ is the true Messiah through whom we can receive eternal life.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Born of a Woman


 

Matthew 1:18-25   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Matthew's account is plain and straightforward, as if he were laying out the facts in a court case, and in a way, he is building a case for the reader—particularly the Jewish reader—to accept Jesus as the Messiah. He takes great pains to present the facts that will show that Jesus fulfilled the prophecy in Isaiah 7:14 to the letter. What is more, this is an event in which Jesus Himself is passive, having no active part in the fulfillment of the prophecy. This, of course, increases the improbability of its achievement by human manipulation.

Matthew mentions Mary's virginity several times. In Matthew 1:18, he writes, "After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit." In verse 20, the angel verifies this fact by repeating that her conception occurred via supernatural means: "for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit." Verse 23 quotes Isaiah 7:14, "Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel." Finally, in verse 25, Matthew reports that Joseph "did not know her [a euphemism for sexual intercourse] till she had brought forth her firstborn Son." In just eight verses, the apostle makes four either explicit or implicit references to Mary's virginity, not only at the time of conception, but also throughout her pregnancy and for some time beyond.

In Matthew, this passage does not stand alone; it is only one of several scenes, along with His genealogy, in the first two chapters that together provide overwhelming proof that Jesus fulfilled many of the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament before He was old enough to have a hand in orchestrating their fulfillments. The virgin birth, however, comes first as the most astounding of them all.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
'Behold, A Virgin Shall Conceive . . .'


 

 




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