Proverbs 30:4 – Who has ascended into heaven and descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has wrapped the waters in His garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name or His son's name? Surely you know! (NASB)
Isaiah 7:14 – 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. (NASB)
Years ago, the pastor of my church invited a rabbi from a local synagogue to host a traditional Passover meal for our congregation during the Easter season. It was an interesting experience, tasting various ritual foods, such as matzo, bitter herbs, and charoses — a mixture of apples, nuts, and cinnamon. Afterward, I had a thought-provoking discussion with the rabbi regarding the Jewish Messiah and his interpretation of some Old Testament prophecies. In particular, I asked him how he would explain today's verse from Isaiah. In his view, the Hebrew word alma, translated "virgin", should be interpreted "young maiden".
Subsequently, I researched the word alma and found that it occurs seven times in the Old Testament. In every instance, the term implies a young girl of child-bearing age who is a virgin. The ancient scribes agreed with this interpretation when they translated the Bible from Hebrew to Greek. This manuscript, called the Septuagint, was transcribed two hundred years before Christ; therefore, it is an unbiased and reliable witness. But more importantly, the event that Isaiah described was said to be a "sign", so it had to be something quite extraordinary.
The Scriptures tell us that Jesus was born of a virgin in fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy. This miracle was a plan conceived by God so that the King of the universe could be made into the likeness of humanity without inheriting our sinful nature. For this reason, the Babe born in Bethlehem over two thousand years ago can rightfully be called "Immanuel" — "God with us".
With Christmas Day fast approaching, let us take time to reflect on not only the wonder and mystery of His incarnation, but also the amazing power of His life, death, and resurrection. These profound truths will motivate our hearts to praise and worship as we celebrate once again the birth of our Saviour and King.
Prayer: Sovereign Lord, thank You for the miracle of the virgin birth which made it possible for You to come to this earth as one of us, yet without the stain of sin. May our response to this mystery draw us closer to You as we acknowledge that You are not bound by the limitations of our natural world. Touch our lives with Your resurrection power to experience the miraculous, while we seek to maintain a dynamic relationship with You forevermore. In Jesus' holy name, we pray. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "O Come All Ye Faithful" (Lyrics)