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12 07 Vbirth Twp

12 07 Vbirth Twp

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Published by Dr.Terry W. Preslar

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Published by: Dr.Terry W. Preslar on Feb 16, 2009
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06/16/2009

 
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 The Preacher’s Notebook 
The Paper and Electronic Pulpit of the First Baptist Church of Mineral Springs, NC 
(Delivered by E-mail and Us Postage Through Subscription as an Extension of the Pulpit Ministry of this Church)
Dr. Terry W. Preslar – PO Box 388 – Mineral Springs, NC 28108
(704)843-3858 – E-Mail: preslar12@windstream.net
Copyright (C) 2007. Terry W. Preslar All rights reserved. 
Vol. I December, 2007 Issue 3
The Virgin Birth of Christ 
Christian Theology has three hearts – The Birth of Christ (theIncarnation of God’s Son), the Death of Christ (the Redemption of theFallen) and the Resurrection of Christ (the Justification of the Redeemed).These three hearts beat together and neither can exist without the others.To doubt either makes the others un-necessary. The believer is obligatedto trust the Virgin Birth or he can go no farther – it is a far piece from oneto the other, but, he goes at the speed of faith to the conclusion of God’sredemptive process. Dread days have come and we face doubt no worsethan that doubt that first dropped mankind into the fall that doomed all inSin until redemption came.In 1998, a Harris poll revealed that 83 percent of Americans believe in the virgin birth...That is, that Jesus was born of the virgin Mary and without a human father. In 2002, another poll showed that 27 percent of British Clergydo not believe in the virgin birth. The view of one Hampshire vicar was typical: “There was nothing special abouthis birth or his childhood - it was his adult life that was extraordinary.” He declined to be named, saying: “I have avery traditional bishop and this is one of those topics I do not go public on. I need to keep the job I have.”Do you believe the Virgin Birth? Many do not. Rev. Harry Emerson Fosdick was probably America’s mostfamous minister half a century ago. He preached in Trenton, and in the Riverside Church in New York. Fosdick wasan aggressive liberal. In 1945 a person asked him what he thought of the Virgin Birth. He responded: “Of course Ido not believe in the virgin birth...and I know of no intelligent person who does.”Large numbers of ministers agree with Fosdick. In 1998 a poll was done of 7,441 Protestant clergy in U.S. 19%of American Lutheran pastors did not believe it. 44% of Episcopalian priests. 49% of Presbyterian pastors. 60% of Methodist ministers. 34% of Baptists pastors, our denomination? I guess that makes us middle-of-the-road.Why the skepticism? There are pagan parallels of great men born supernaturally (Nimrod is said to have a childafter his death to continue his rule – Tammuz). There are various ways to understand the Bible passages (manyvariations on Theology). It just isn’t scientific (not from the viewpoint of cold human reasoning – Virgins don’t have babies!) If either of my daughters, before they married, would have come to me and said, “Daddy! An angel appearedto me and you’re going to be a grandfather!” no way would I believe it was a virgin birth. Yet, this is what happenedin the case of Mary and Joseph.People in American pews tend to believe in it. Nicholas Kristof, a columnist for the New York Times, said ina recent column that this proves we as a country are way too mystical and anti-intellectual.Dr. James Kennedy summarizes how central the Virgin birth is to the Christian faith:
 If Jesus was not born of a virgin
then the New Testament narratives are false and unreliable.
 If Jesus was not born of a virgin
then he wasmistaken about who his father was. He constantly declared himself to be the Son of God, and he declared that Godwas his father.
 If Jesus were not born of a virgin
, then he was not the Son of God, but merely the illegitimate childof a sinful liaison between a Jewish peasant girl and an unknown man. 
 If Jesus were not born of a virgin
, then he cannot be the divine Redeemer, because the sacrifice for sin must be perfect. If Jesus were not born of a virgin, we are still in our sins and without forgiveness.
 If Jesus were not bornof a virgin
, we have no hope after death. With the majority of Americans, I also believe in the virgin birth of Christ.Here are some reasons why...
 
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I- The Fact of the Virgin Birth Published
– Is there a modern equivalent? There are a lot of unknown variables thatgo into making a baby. To remove some of those variables, many are turning to technology. California has whatis called “The Repository of Germinal Choice.” Women can choose a Nobel Prize winner as the father of their child. His contribution is frozen, hers is cash.Little Victoria was the first baby born from this venture. Her “father” was a young mathematician with anIQ over 200. But her mother proved to be an ex-con who lost custody of her first two children after allegationsof child abuse. Only time will tell whether nature or nurture will win out in this little girl’s life. Jesus was not born this way. The exact mechanics are unknown, however, Matthew and Luke record that the power of Godcaused a virgin named Mary to become pregnant. This is called the “Virgin Birth.”
 A) The Bible plainly says Jesus Christ was born of a virgin. B) This was the promise of O.T. Scripture
(Isa. 7:14) and is the record of the N.T. Scripture (Matt. 1:18-25;Luke 1:26-38).
C) The O.T. prophecies are very precise in telling us that the Christ that was born of a virgin is the eternal Sonof God 
. Micah 5:2 says the one born in Bethlehem’s manger has been going forth “from everlasting.” In Isa.9:6 we are told that a child was born and a son was given. The exact wording is crucial.D) Christ’s virgin birth (‘a child was born’) denoted the beginning of His incarnation as God made flesh, but asthe eternal Son (‘a son was given’), He had no beginning. In Isa. 7:14 we are told that the virgin born Oneis “God with us.”
II- The Virgin Birth Was Prophesied
– The most popular text about the “virgin birth” is Isa. 7:14. These arefamiliar words heard in Christmas pageants: “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virginshall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”In this text’s context, King Ahaz was trying to evade God and trust human allies. The prophet Isaiahchallenged him to ask a sign of God. Ahaz put on a false spirituality: It would be wrong of me to test God. Thereality was that he had more confidence in his own schemes for victory. Since he would not seek a sign, Isaiahgave him one anyway. Who, then, is the virgin? The Hebrew word (alma) can mean a young woman, or a realvirgin. In the immediate context, it refers to Isaiah’s own wife. She was not a virgin. Within the early years of this child’s life, Ahaz’s enemies would be destroyed and this would be the “sign.” However, this text speaks tothe common advent message told in many places in the OT:
 A. Through Moses...
1. In the promise made to the serpent (Satan) (Gen. 3:15)a. The first Messianic prophecy found in Scripture b. “He shall bruise your head; and you shall bruise His heel”2. Note that it says “her seed”a. The reference to the seed of a woman is unique b. The normal expression is the seed of man (e.g., Rom. 1:3)3. While not overwhelming proof, it is a subtle hint for what was to come!
 B. Through Isaiah...
1. In the promise made to the House of David (Isa. 7:13-14)a. Though Ahaz rejected a sign, God chose to give one anyway to his descendants b. A virgin (Heb., almah) shall conceive and bear a son2. Concerning almah, which some contend simply means “a young woman”a. As a matter of fact there is no place among the seven occurrences of “almah” in the Old Testamentwhere the word is clearly used of a woman who was not a virgin. b. In the LXX (the Septuagint version of the OT) translated the Hebrew word “almah” in Isaiah 7:14 istranslated by the Greek word parthenos which can only mean a virginc. The fact that the seventy who were the most eminent Hebrew scholars in the world translated the word“virgin” is sufficient evidence that in this connection the word could have no other meaning. – Ayoung woman bearing a child is not a sign; but a virgin bearing a child, whose name was to be calledImmanuel (“God with us”) ...now that is a sign!
C. Through Jeremiah...
1. In the promise made to Judah (Jer. 31:22)a. The Lord would create a new thing in the earth b. “A woman shall encompass a man”
 
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2. The phrase has been variously interpreted; even so...a. “The fathers saw in these words a prophecy of the miraculous conception of our Lord by the Virgin”- Barnes b. Any other explanation would not likely involve God creating a new thing! – This prophecy may also be a subtle reference to what was to come!3. Especially with regards to the prophecy in Isaiah, we have a promise that the Messiah would be born of a virgin. Unsurprisingly, in the gospel of Jesus Christ we find...
III- The Virgin Birth Was Proclaimed
 A. By Matthew...
1. In his account of the birth of Jesus (Matt. 1:18-25)a. Mary was found with child, conceived of the Holy Spirit b. In fulfillment of the prophecy found in the book of Isaiah2. Concerning parthenos, used by Matthew in his accounta. It is the Greek word for “virgin” b. Leaving no doubt that the prophecy in Isaiah referred to a virgin3. Matthew, an early disciple and one of the 12 apostles, proclaimed the virgin birth!
 B. By Luke...
1. In his account of the birth of Jesus (Luke 1:26-38)a. He also calls Mary a virgin (parthenos) b. She was to have a child without the benefit of a man2. Note the words of the angel Gabriela. “For with God nothing is impossible” b. If one believes in God, the concept of a virgin birth is not an impossibility3. Luke, a physician and notable historian, proclaimed the virgin birth!
C. By Paul...
1. In his epistle to the Galatians (Gal. 4:4)a. Writing of the coming of the Son of God b. Of whom he says was “born of a woman”2. Note how careful Paul is in his epistlesa. He proclaims Jesus to be the seed of Abraham and David b. He never ascribes the sonship of Jesus to any earthly father, only to Godc. Yet he has no hesitation ascribing His birth to a woman!3. Paul, an apostle of Christ, by implication certainly proclaimed the virgin birth!
IV- The Hebrew Word for the Virgin Birth Parsed
 A) The Hebrew word translated “virgin” 
in Isa. 7:14 is almah. It is used nine times in the Bible: Gen. 24:43; Ex.2:8; Psa. 68:25; Prov. 30:19; Song 1:3; 6:8; Isa. 7:14.
 B) Almah is translated “maid” 
in Ex. 2:8 and “damsels” in Psa. 68:25. Though many commentators contend thatthe word can refer to a woman who is not strictly a virgin, it is not certain that it is ever so used in Scripture.1. Gen. 24:43 refers to Rebekah before she became Isaac’s bride. She obviously was a virgin in the strictestsense of the word.2. Ex. 2:8 refers to Moses’ sister when she was a girl living at home. Again this is a clear reference to avirgin.3. Psa. 68:25 and Song 1:3 and 6:8 are not as clear as to what kind of girls are in view, but there is absolutelyno indication in the contexts that these are not virgins. To say that they are not strictly virgins is merespeculation.4. The reference in Isa. 7:14 without question speaks of a virgin, because it was fulfilled in the life of Mary,the mother of Jesus.5. The N.T. plainly tells us that though she was espoused to Joseph, she conceived the Lord Jesus Christ“before they came together” (Matt. 1:18b).6. The Holy Spirit quotes Isaiah and applies it directly to the Lord Jesus Christ. Any “theologian” whoquestions this application or the Authorized Version’s translation of Isaiah 7:14 is denying the testimonyof God.

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