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                            "WHY I BELIEVE"

                          In The Virgin Birth


1. In 1998, a Harris poll revealed that 83 percent of Americans believe
   in the virgin birth...
   a. That Jesus was born of the virgin Mary
   b. Without a human father

2. In 2002, another poll showed that 27 percent of British Clergy do
   a. The view of one Hampshire vicar was typical:  "There was nothing
      special about his birth or his childhood - it was his adult life
      that was extraordinary."
   b. He declined to be named, saying: "I have a very traditional bishop
      and this is one of those topics I do not go public on. I need to
      keep the job I have got."

[With the majority of Americans, along with adherents of Islam, I also
believe in the virgin birth of Christ.  Here are some reasons why...]


      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., Ro 1:3
      -- While not overwhelming proof, it is a subtle hint for what was
         to come!

      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 son
      2. Concerning almah, which some contend simply means "a young
         a. "As a matter of fact there is no place among the seven
            occurrences of 'almah' in the Old Testament where the word
            is clearly used of a woman who was not a virgin."
            - J. Gresham Machen, The Virgin Birth of Christ
         b. In the LXX (the Septuagint version of the OT translated
            around 250 B.C.) almah in Isaiah 7:14 is translated by the
            Greek word parthenos which can only mean a virgin
         c. "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." - Alfred Edersheim, The Life And
            Times Of Jesus, The Messiah
      -- A young woman bearing a child is not sign; but a virgin bearing
         a child, whose name was to be called Immanuel ("God with us")
         ...now that is a sign!

      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"
      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

[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...]


      1. In his account of the birth of Jesus - Mt 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 Isaiah
      2. Concerning parthenos, used by Matthew in his account
         a. It is the Greek word for "virgin"
         b. Leaving no doubt that the prophecy in Isaiah referred to a
      -- 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 - Lk 1:26-38
         a. He also calls Mary a virgin (parthenos)
         b. She was to have a child without the benefit of a man
      2. Note the words of the angel Gabriel
         a. "For with God nothing is impossible"
         b. If one believes in God, the concept of a virgin birth is not
            an impossibility
      -- Luke, a physician and notable historian, proclaimed the virgin

   C. BY PAUL...
      1. In his epistle to the Galatians - Ga 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 epistles
         a. 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 God
         c. Yet he has no hesitation ascribing His birth to a woman!
      -- Paul, an apostle of Christ, by implication certainly proclaimed
         the virgin birth!


1. There is certainly more in the Scriptures that implies the virgin
   birth of Christ...
   a. Such expressions as "begotten of God" - e.g., Jn 1:14,18; 3:16
   b. The many references to Jesus as "the Son of God - e.g., Lk 1:35;
      Mt 16:16

2. Skeptics have offered alternative explanations of the conception,
   such as...
   a. A relationship with a secret lover
   b. A rape by a Roman soldier
   c. Sexual relationships with her fiancée, Joseph
   d. Jesus was conceived as a result of normal relations between Mary
      and Joseph after marriage
   -- Each of these imply that the virgin birth stories in Matthew and
      Luke were simple fables, invented decades after Jesus' conception,
      without any grounding in fact

3. It is important to believe in the virgin birth of Christ; otherwise
   we claim that...
   a. The New Testament narratives to be false and unreliable
   b. We are more knowledgeable than Matthew, Luke, or Paul

4. Who are you willing to believe...?
   a. The views of skeptics and opponents, who seek to undermine faith
      in Jesus?
   b. The opinions of theologians and professors, who publish for the
      sake of tenure and profit?
   c. The inspired apostles and writers of the New Testament, who
      suffered for their testimony?

I am content to place my faith in Matthew and Luke, and to heed such
warnings as this by Paul:

   "...Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane
   and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called
   knowledge -- by professing it some have strayed concerning the
   faith. Grace be with you. Amen." - 1Ti 6:20-21

Committed to our trust is the wonderful truth that Jesus Christ was born
of a virgin...!
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