It was this past Monday that I was on a taped program with Larry King. I had mentioned to you that that was a possibility, and it happened on Monday. The program was taped to be aired on Christmas Eve. So wherever you might be, if you would like to tune in, you’ll find it an interesting discussion. Some of the familiar folks that he likes to put me next to were there: Father Manning; and Deepak Chopra, who is a mystic from India; and Dennis Prager, who is a radio talk show host and a Jew; and the author of an article, the lead article in Newsweek Magazine on the birth of Christ, Jon Meacham. And Jon Meacham, he introduced himself as a devout Episcopalian, to which Dennis Prager said, “That’s an oxymoron.” But, whatever it may be…
Nonetheless, we had a very interesting discussion. And what made it so interesting was every other time that we’ve been on discussing things, we’ve been discussing 9/11 and, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” and, “What about homosexual marriage?” and I’ve always had to sort of get the conversation over to Jesus. But this one is on why – rather, “Who is Jesus Christ?” And so, that was the subject. And that made it very dramatic, I think, and a very wonderful opportunity.
But in the middle of this, the discussion came up on the virgin birth. Was Jesus really born of a virgin? Does it matter? Now, I confess to you that this discussion ones on all the time, even when we’re not on the air, so I never know whether what I’m saying is going to be broadcast or not. But somewhere along the line, the issue of the virgin birth came up.
And the basic idea is this: “Well, that’s your truth. And we’re happy for you that you believe. But if it helps you, then it’s really nice that you believe that. But let’s not say it actually happened in history, necessarily; it happened in spiritual history. And you’re certainly welcome to believe that. It doesn’t matter if it actually happened, it only matters that you believe it happened, because it helps you.”
And at one point, Jon Meacham said that there’s a great statement made by the Pope, who said that religion flies on two wings: the wing of reason, and the wing of faith. And I responded to that, that, “Understanding what you mean by that, that reason and faith are two completely separate things, I find that very frightening. I personally have faith in what is reasonable,” I said. “I have faith in what is actual. I have faith in reality. I have faith in history.” And at one point, one of them said, “Well, the Bible says faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Well, that’s true, that’s Hebrews. But it doesn’t say it’s the evidence of things that didn’t happen. It’s the evidence of things you didn’t see, that’s all.”
There is this idea that somehow religion belongs up in the stratosphere in the airy, fairy space of mystical intuitive experience; and we certainly want to keep it out of history. It’s a very tolerant attitude toward you believing what you want to believe. But don’t tell me this is history, and this is reality, and this is absolute truth, and this is necessary.
There’s a tremendous resistance to the virgin birth, because if, in fact, Jesus is born of a virgin, then He’s God. And if he’s God, then what he has said is absolutely authoritative. And that has massive implications on people’s lives, and how they conduct their lives, and how they view their lives, and how they look at time and eternity. People do not want to live according to the teaching of Jesus Christ; they do not want to live according to the Bible. They love darkness rather than light; they love sin rather than righteousness. They don’t want to live the way Jesus told them to live. And they certainly don’t want to live under guilt trip that not living the way Jesus told them to live is going to catapult them into eternal hell. And so, you have to sort of cut off the head of this thing at its very start, and you go all the way back to the virgin birth. If He’s not born of a virgin, then He’s just a man. If He’s just a man, He’s just a good teacher.
At one point, Dennis Prager said, “I don’t believe that He’s God, I just believe He’s a good rabbi, a good teacher.” And I said, “Well, He said He was the eternal God. He said, ‘Before Abraham was, I am.’” Good teachers don’t talk like that, crazy people do. You really don’t have that option. I mean, if you went to class anywhere, and the teacher got up and said, “I’m eternal,” you’d question everything else that teacher said about anything. That’s one thing you can’t say about Jesus. Either He’s God, or He’s a lunatic, or He’s a masterful deceiver.
If you’re going to cut down the Christian gospel, you have got to cut it down at the point of the virgin birth. There’s an article also in Time Magazine that essentially did the same thing. And the critics are always after the virgin birth. It seems to me that Christians don’t talk about it very much, but critics do because they understand its importance. If you have a virgin-born person in Jesus Christ, then Christianity is a real problem to people who want to deny it, particularly when you look at the life that Jesus lived.
So I had planned to do something else this morning, but I want to go back to this, because I know people are being influenced by this kind of thinking. I want to talk the virgin birth. We talked about it a little bit when we were studying the Luke chapter 1. And I read that to you this morning, that passage from verse 26 down through verse 38 or so. And I want to look at Matthew’s account of it as well, so turn to Matthew chapter 1.
One of the criticisms that was made in our little discussion was, “Well, how important is the virgin birth anyway? It’s only mentioned by two of the four Gospels, you know,” to which the response would be, “How many times does God have to say something to make it true? Once is enough.”
Matthew 1:18, “The birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together” – before they had any physical relationship – “she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit.” That’s unambiguous; she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit.
“And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, desired to divorce her secretly.” He had a right to do that, because the period of betrothal before the marriage was consummated was the period in which the people proved their purity and their virginity and their faithfulness. And he couldn’t figure out how she was pregnant. Obviously, he didn’t know about this miracle.
“But when he was considering this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bear a son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins.’ Now all this took place that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled saying, ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child’ – there’s a paradox of all paradoxes – ‘and shall bear a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which translated means, ‘God with us.’ And Joseph arose from his sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, took her as his wife, and kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a son; and he called His name Jesus.”
Virgin birth. We actually have a word in the English language that refers to this. It’s the word “parthenogenesis.” Comes from two Greek words really. Parthenos is the word for “virgin.” Genesis means “to begin,” “to begin live from a virgin,” parthenogenesis.
And there are some lab experiments that have been done to see if parthenogenic life can be produced – that is, if life can be produced from a source without a male being involved. Honeybees have been tested, and unfertilized eggs, of course, develop into drones, or males. Artificial parthenogenesis has been successful with some unfertilized eggs of silkworms; this goes back into the 19th century. In the 20th century, the eggs of sea urchins and some certain marine worms developed on their own by being placed in a particular kind of solution. There have even been experiments back in the 1940s regarding rabbits supposedly produced through some external effects on ova apart from a male rabbit, always producing only females in very inferior life forms. Such virgin births, however, have never ever reached into the human realm. There is no possibility; none has ever been discovered. None is possible for a human egg to be fertilized without a male seed.
And even if hypothetically you could do it, if somehow some experiment could cause an unfertilized egg to produce, it could only produce a girl, a female, because males have an XY chromosome, and females have only two X chromosomes; and so if there’s no male in the equation, then there cannot be a male produced. And so, if by some scientific means some artificial parthenogenic experiment could produce a human, it would produce a daughter, but never a son. But I mean, that’s all hypothetical anyway, because it can’t be done.
When Mary gave birth to Jesus without a human father, she gave birth to a son; and there is no explanation for that, since the human male determines the sex of the son. It’s obvious that Jesus’ human nature, His nature as a son, as a man, was determined by God. And what we read is that the Holy Spirit basically, miraculously produced the male chromosomes in Mary.
This is what the Bible says: Jesus is born of a virgin without a human male source for a seed, conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit in the body of Mary. That is the New Testament message, crystal clear, simple, straightforward – a very uncomplicated presentation. And it makes sense, because if God is to be born, He has to be born of God. And if He is to be man, He has to be born of man. And so, you have God and Mary.
I want us to look a little bit at the foundations of the virgin birth, because I think we can’t let go of this very important matter. The virgin birth, in a sense, is not really new in the New Testament, it is anticipated. Go back to Genesis chapter 3. And you remember, of course, that God creates the world, and creates it perfect, and He looks at it and says it’s very good. Adam and Eve are innocent of any evil; and then the tempter comes, and they succumb to his temptation, and they believe the liar and the deceiver Satan, and they cease believing in God. And of course, they fall, and the whole human race falls with them. And the disaster is recorded in chapter 3.
And then God pronounces some curses, and I just want to look at verse 15. God here curses the serpent. Verse 14, he actually curses the physical snake, the actual snake that Satan used, to be the visual representation. He went into the snake, spoke through the very mouth of the snake, and the animal itself is cursed and all snakes after that.
But verse 15, speaking not to the animal, but to Satan, “I will put enmity between you and the woman. You haven’t won the final battle. You have not won the final battle. There is going to be hatred between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel. If you think you’ve won,” – and maybe he did. After all, when the angels fell, there was no remedy. When the angels fell, it was permanent. And maybe he thought when men fell, there wouldn’t be a remedy either. And his own experience knew that there was no redemption for angels, no salvation for angels. They were forever fixed in their fallen wretchedness, and headed for the lake of fire; and maybe he thought that if he could do this to men, there was some hope that maybe this was permanent, and he had thereby captured the whole human race.
But God says to him, “It’s not over. There is going to be hatred between your seed and her seed,” between those who are Satan’s and those who are God’s is the idea. But the term, or the phrase “her seed” introduces the possibility of something that’s not ever possible. A woman with a seed? A seed’s in the man, not the woman.
But there will be a woman who will have a seed. And that seed, verse 15, shall crush the head of Satan, though Satan will bruise him on the heel. All Satan could do was bruise the heel of Christ; whereas Christ, born of her seed, crushed Satan’s head. He is the only one who ever could be called, in the specific sense, the seed of a woman.
In Isaiah chapter 7, I want you to look at the familiar verse there which I read to you in Matthew 1, because it’s quoted there. But Isaiah chapter 7, verse 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.” Immanuel means God with us.” El is God: El-Elyon, El-Shaddai, God the Almighty, God the Most High. “A virgin is going to have a child, a son, and He will be God with us.”
In our discussion on Monday, it came up, “Well, that word doesn’t mean virgin, it just means young girl. That word is almah, and the translators translate it “virgin” because it is used nine times in the Old Testament; eight of the absolutely require that it mean “virgin.” The idea of the word was just another way to say a young girl, assuming this young girl was not married. She was prior to marriage age eight of the nine times; it requires that it be translated virgin. But the word always carries that connotation.
Even in English, if you put the word “maiden” in, when we talk about a maiden, it assumes that this is a young girl. And, of course, the New Testament makes it very clear, because the New Testament quoting this, “the virgin will be with child” uses parthenos, which means “a virgin,” and it means nothing other than “virgin.”
Jesus used it three times in the parable of the ten virgins, Matthew 25. Luke used it twice of Mary, as I read earlier in the service. It’s used of Philip’s four virgin daughters by Luke also in Acts 21. Paul distinguishes in 1 Corinthians 7 the difference between a wife and a parthenos, a virgin. John actually records the word as descriptive of those who had no sexual relationships at all, but were totally yielded to God; and they are so identified in Revelation 14. It is a word that means “a person whose had no sexual involvement.” This is Mary. And when Joseph is told by the angel that she is to bear a child, obviously she’s a virgin. And when the angel says, “This is a fulfillment of Isaiah,” obviously that is the intent of the prophecy. and it’s inherent in the prophecy itself. “Behold, literally the pregnant virgin is bearing a son, and she calls His name Immanuel.”
So when you look at the Old Testament, you find the foundation of the virgin birth. There is a verse in Jeremiah 31:22; some Rabbis said through the years that this verse is about the Messiah. Jeremiah 31:22, “The Lord has created a new thing in the earth: a woman shall encompass a man.”
Well, a woman having a male child isn’t a new thing in the earth. So some of the rabbis said, “What could it mean, ‘A new thing in the earth: a woman encompasses a man’?” And some rabbis said Messiah is to have no earthly father.” And other rabbis said the birth of Messiah would be like the dew of the Lord as it drops on the grass without the action of man. Other rabbis said about Messiah, “His birth will not be like that of anyone else.” So there may have been some Jews who expected or at least were open to a virgin birth, who understood the implications of Genesis 3:15, Isaiah 7:14. And not all of them did. But the Old Testament did say in no uncertain terms in Isaiah 7:14 that He would be born of a virgin.
There were some rabbis actually who taught that the Messiah would be of heavenly origin. There were some – for example, in 150 B.C. there’s a writing called the Book of Enoch – Jude refers to it – and in it, it says He appears by the side of the Ancient of Days. So He was beside God, and He came from heaven.
And of course Psalm 2 talks about the Son, verse 7: “He said to Me, Thou art My Son. Today I have begotten Thee. Ask of Me, and I’ll give Thee the nations as Thine inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron. Thou shalt shatter them like earthenware.” This is a messianic psalm talking about the messianic kingdom. It says, “Do homage to the Son, lest He become angry, and you’ll perish in the way.”
And so, here is the Son of God, the King, the one who will rule and establish His kingdom. The heavenly origins of Messiah combined with the passage of the virgin birth in Isaiah, and a hint of it in Genesis, led some to think it was a possibility. So you could see the virgin birth certainly introduced in the Old Testament.
Also, the doctrine of the Trinity calls for the virgin birth. If you think about God, you have to think about God as one, and yet three, right? And we all know that’s not easy to do. We have a difficult time with that apparent paradox. Deuteronomy says, “And this is the Shema. This is that which sets Israel apart from all other nations. The Lord is one. The Lord is one.”
They are monotheists in a polytheistic world. There’s only one God, and you are to love Him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength; and you are to have no other Gods at all. There are not three gods, there is only one God. There are not two gods, or you would maybe love one and not love the other two equally, or love two and not love the other one equally, or whatever. You don’t give a third of your love to each of the three, there is one God.
James 2, “You believe there’s one God, you do well.” And yet, the name of that one God in Genesis 1 is Elohim. God is introduced, “In the beginning, God,” Elohim is plural. The i-m ending is plural. There is one God who is spoken of in the plural.
Genesis 1:26, “God says, ‘Let Us create man in Our image.’” In Isaiah, God speaks and says, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Isaiah 48:16, “Come near to Me and listen to this: I have not spoken in secret from the beginning, from the time it was, there am I. Now the Lord God and His Spirit have sent Me.” Here’s a reference to the Holy Spirit as well as God the father. The Old Testament understands that God is a father, that God also is the Holy Spirit, and that God also is the Son. Psalms tell us that: “My Lord. The Lord said unto My Lord.” Inter-Trinitarian conversation.
When Jesus was baptized, the Spirit descended as a dove. There He was being baptized, and the Father’s voice came out of heaven, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I’m well-pleased.” When we baptize people, Matthew 28, it says that we ought to do so in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The New Testament makes very clear the reality of the triune God.
Now listen, if Jesus then is God, if He is God the Son, as eternal as God, living with God face to face, pros ton theon, from all eternity, and if He comes into this world that is born of a man, there must then be the fatherhood of God. You cannot have God born unless God is born to God, not man. If Jesus just had an earthly father and an earthly mother, then you don’t have God. The Old Testament demands it. And so it is the doctrine of the Trinity.
And you see, this is why this doctrine is more important to critics of Christianity and skeptics of Christianity than many times it is to Christians, because they understand the implications of eliminating it. If He’s not born from God, then He’s not God; it changes everything. All His claims are bogus, all that was written about Him is untrue, Christianity is a sham; but if it makes you feel okay, have at it. That’s all you’re left with.
When you think about Old Testament messianic promises, when you think about messianic promises, the Messiah has to be God in human flesh to fulfill them. Let me just give you – and there’s so many passages on this, it could go on forever. But Isaiah 43 is a good place to look. Just look at Isaiah 43 for a couple of minutes.
In Isaiah 43, which is a great chapter – in fact, a great section in this wonderful prophecy in which God reveals His nature, Isaiah 43:11. If the Messiah is God’s Deliverer, if the Messiah is God’s Redeemer, if the Messiah is God’s King, if the Messiah is God’s Holy One who is going to accomplish God’s purpose on behalf of His people in the world, then He must be God; and I’ll show you how that works.
Verse 11: “I, even I, am the Lord, and there is no savior besides Me.” That’s God speaking. “I, even I, am the Lord, and there is no savior besides Me.”
Go down to verse 14: “Thus says the Lord your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.” Verse 15: “I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King.” Now God says, “I am the Savior. I am the Redeemer. I am the Holy One. I am the Creator. I am the King.” And all of those things were true of Jesus.
“Call His name Jesus,” – Matthew 1:21 – “for He’ll save His people from their sins.” He’s the savior. Galatians 3: “He redeems us from the curse of the law. He is our Redeemer.” Luke 1:35 calls Him that “Holy Offspring.” And clearly He is presented in unmistakable terms in Philippians 2 as “Lord” and in Revelations 19 as “King of kings and Lord of lords.” Now if God alone is Savior, and God alone is Redeemer, and God alone is the Holy One, and God alone is the King, and Christ is all of those, then clearly Christ is God.
In Deuteronomy 6:13, it says, “You shall worship the Lord, your God and Him only.” And yet in Hebrews 1:6, “And again when God brought Christ into the world, He said, ‘Let all the angels of God worship Him.’” If you can only worship God, and God tells you to worship Christ, then Christ is God. Psalm 148:2 calls on us to, “Praise Him, all ye angels,” to praise God. And God says, “Praise Him, Christ.” It’s unmistakable.
God saves, but He saves through the Savior who is Christ. God redeems, but He redeems through the Redeemer who is Christ. God makes us holy, but He does it through the Holy One who is Christ. God draws us into His kingdom, He alone is King, and yet Christ is our King. In Isaiah 45, you have very similar testimonies to the uniqueness of God that are also fulfilled in Jesus. You have the same in Isaiah 42 – and I’m not going to read them. They’re everywhere.
Listen, for example, to Isaiah 45:23 – I will read you this. God says, “I have sworn by Myself, the word has gone from my mouth in righteousness and will not turn back.” Listen to what God says: “To me, every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance.” God said that. And yet it was God who said in Philippians 2 that He gave Christ a name above the name, that at the name of Jesus, every knee should what? Should bow. And every tongue should what? Confess Jesus as the Lord. It’s God Himself affirming the deity of His Son. And those Scriptures just barely scratch the surface of the parallels between the Old and the New.
God says, “I’m the Lord, and My glory will not give to another.” And yet Jesus comes into the world, and John writes, “He was glory personified. He is the glory of God. The word became flesh, dwelled among us, and we beheld” – what? – “His glory.” And it was the very glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
When you think about the virgin birth, it takes you back to the Old Testament; and there are indications in the Old Testament of the virgin birth. It also takes you back to the doctrine of the Trinity; you can’t have God being born unless God is born of God. And it takes you back to all of the messianic purposes of redemption that are found in God and are also found in Christ.
But in spite of all of this, it’s very popular to attack the virgin birth, because if He’s not born of a virgin, everything collapses; it’s not optional. It’s very hard for me to sit in a discussion where people are making some kind of optional thing about the virgin birth, because I understand that if you can create doubt in people’s minds about that, then everything else if up to doubting. In fact, if Jesus isn’t born of a virgin, I don’t even have any doubt left; I would be convinced He wasn’t who He said He was.
There are all kinds of attacks on the virgin birth, but they basically come in two forms: denial and deception. There are people who just flatly deny it. I remember that song they kept playing on the radio years ago, the rock opera, Jesus Christ Superstar: “He’s a man, He’s just a man.” That’s one attack.
Others have said He was the illegitimate child of a Roman soldier. And they think they’ve invented something clever and new. No, the Jews came up with that one; they did, the eighth chapter of John. You know what they said about Jesus, or to Him? “At least we weren’t born of fornication.” That’s what they said. They called him a Samaritan who had a demon. They thought of every evil thing they could throw at Him. But really, the worse was to call Him illegitimate. That’s something they invented.
There grew this idea that Jesus couldn’t be the Messiah. It couldn’t be true because He was from Nazareth. Well, I mean, even Nathaniel said, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Why would he say that? Because Nazareth was a bad place. You wouldn’t want to live there. Full of Roman soldiers, not good; full of Greek merchants notorious for corruption and vice – the main highway, Tyre-Sidon where the ships came in south to Judea and Jerusalem.
And out of that came this ridiculous Pantera tradition: a Roman soldier named Pantera lay with Mary, produced a child. That came in the 6th century in some Jewish writings wanting to discredit Jesus as Messiah.
Another explanation, again around the name Pantera, was that somebody named of Joseph Pantera was married to Mary. But that wouldn’t be good enough that she got married and had a child. That’s what Brown says in the Da Vinci Code. Well, that says about Jesus that he married, and they had a baby together.
That might be too simple of an explanation for how Jesus was born. This one says, just to heap on the scorn, that she married this guy named Pantera, but it was a neighbor Jokinen who sneaked in one night and got her pregnant, so that even though she was married to this soldier named Pantera, her child was illegitimate. However, he stayed with her anyway, this Joseph Pantera guy; and then after the child was born, deserted the family; and that’s why you don’t find him in the New Testament. These have been coming against the virgin birth for centuries. And people understand how important it is.
You remember The Passover Plot, right? Hugh Schonfield twenty years ago said that Jesus actually was the natural son of Joseph and Mary, who became the master conspirator who had a messiah complex, you know. He was like Charles Manson, thought he was the Messiah. And he set out to fulfill messianic prophecies and made a noble effort at it, but it failed. And why do you write his book? To exonerate the Jews from deicide, to get the Jews off the hook for having crucified God. You’ve got to get rid of the deity of Christ. And that’s one way to get rid of it: just get rid of a virgin birth, and come up with this blasphemous, hypothetical ideas.
In fact, Schonfield wrote, “There’s nothing peculiar about the birth of Jesus. He was not God incarnate.” See, that’s what he’s after. “He was not God incarnate. No virgin mother bore Him. The church, in its ancient zeal fathered a myth and became bound to it as a dogma.”
One writer said, and I read, “The virgin birth is a myth in the highest and noblest sense of the word.” There isn’t many high, noble sense of a myth. This has found its way into so many elements of what is called Christianity.
But that’s not the only attack. Deception is another one. And sometimes it’s not the assault, the frontal assault. In this discussion we were having Monday, one of the people said – and I don’t remember whether it was while we were shooting or not – and said, “Well, look. Christianity has a virgin birth myth, and all kinds of religions of the world have these virgin birth stories, and it’s just a story that got passed down through societal evolution.”
Oh, you know, there’s some truth to that, that other societies do have virgin birth stories. The Romans have a myth that Zeus impregnated Semele – Zeus, you know, the great god of war – and he did it without contacting her; and she gave birth to Dionysus, who became lord of the earth. Yeah, that’s a mythological sort of virgin birth.
The Babylonians had their first occult priestess named Semiramis, the wife of Nimrod, and she conceived a son whose name is Tammuz. By the way, that legend appears in Ezekiel chapter 8 and Jeremiah 44. And it says in the old Babylonian legend, not in those texts, that this son of Semiramis was actually not conceived by Nimrod at all, but by a sunbeam. And so, you have Semiramis and Tammuz as the mother-child cult in Babylonian literature.
In Egypt, their names change: Isis and Osiris. In India, they become Isi and Iswara. In China, Ching Moo, the holy mother with a child in her arms. It has nothing to do with Christianity. In Phoenicia, it’s Ashtoreth and Baal. In Greece, it’s Aphrodite and Eros. They’re all over the place. And they all come out of the Babylonian mystery religions. Why? Because Satan in the arch-counterfeiter.
You understand counterfeiting, right? People don’t counterfeit brown sticks and paper; they counterfeit what’s valuable, what’s real. And Satan counterfeits what’s real. It’s a smoke screen. He knows what’s going to happen in history; muddy the waters with all these bizarre things. And by the way, that’s what Roman Catholicism is today. It is the mingling of the Babylonian mother-child cult in the mystery religions with the Mary-Jesus story. And that’s how you get Mary being called the queen of heaven. Queen of heaven comes out of cultic worship.
In the ancient Sumerian and Akkadian story, inscribed on a building that tells how the gods create life in the womb. It’s even claimed that the gods of procreation superintended conception in the womb stage of King Sennacherib, who lived six-seven hundred years before Christ.
And you might want to know this. Buddha: You know how Buddha is said to been conceived? A noble elephant white as silver or snow, having six tusks, well-proportioned trunk and feet, blood-red veins, firmness of joints. “An easy pace has entered my belly,” says the mother of Buddha. Ten months later, Buddha is born.
Hinduism nobody really left out, it’s all coming from the same Satanic source. Hinduism says divine Vishnu had seven incarnations. He was once a fish, and then a turtle, and then a boar, and then a lion; and finally Vishnu descends to the womb of Devaki, and she gives birth to Krishna. And the Beatles say, “My sweet lord, Hare Krishna. My sweet lord, Hare Krishna. My sweet lord, Hare Krishna.” Same story; virgin birth. In Greco-Roman mythology, the mother of Perseus was supposedly impregnated by Jupiter, who impregnated her through some kind of rain from heaven.
There were legends about Alexander the Great being virgin-born. The story was that some serpent got in bed with his mother – that’s pretty close – and they decided, those Greeks did, that that serpent was Zeus, because Zeus was a very deviant sexual God. And so, he impregnated Olympias, the wife of Philip of Mastodon, who was, in fact, the father of Alexander. And so, Alexander was not born of Philip and Olympias, but Olympias and Zeus.
Satan knew God’s plan; and you can either attack it head on, or you can create a counterfeit to confuse. One of the most bizarre is the birth of Polis Athena, who had no mother at all, but sprang out of the head of Zeus full grown and in full armor. That could be painful.
What is the point of all of this, and why am I telling you all of this? I don’t want you to be ignorant of these things. I want you to understand that there has been throughout the ends of this world, throughout all of society, there have been assaults and attacks on the virgin birth, both by denying it and by counterfeiting it. And it came up in the discussion, “Oh, there are virgin birth stories in all religions. Everybody’s got” – yeah, of course. Satan is a liar. And every religion has a salvation form, doesn’t it? Every religion has a heaven and a way to get there. The master deceiver is at work in all of them.
Well, we come back to where we started, don’t we? Back to Matthew chapter 1. Back to Luke chapter 1. The child is never called the child of Joseph. Never called the son of Joseph. And Mary calls Him, “My Lord,” a messianic title. And in Mary’s Magnificat in Luke 1, when she praises the Lord, she never even mentions Joseph. “The Mighty One has done great things for me,” – she says – “and all generations are calling me blessed.”
And after all, in Matthew’s record, we just read it, Joseph knew the child was not his. Joseph knew when the angel told him the child was the child of the Holy Spirit. Mary is always stated to be His mother. Never is Joseph said in the Bible to be His father.
But there’s one other great proof of the virgin birth that makes it all real to me, to anybody who’s thinking, and it’s this: the greatest proof of the virgin birth is the life of Christ.
Somebody said to a Christian, “If I would tell you that a child was born today to a woman and there was no one who fathered that child, would you believe it?” and to which the Christian said, “Well, if he lived as Jesus lived, yes.”
How else can you explain sinless perfection? How else can you explain infinite wisdom? How else can you explain power over the forces of hell? How else can you explain power over disease? How else can you explain power over death? How else can you explain His own resurrection? There’s no other explanation. He must be God. If He must be God, then He must have been born of God. And why all this? Turn to Galatians 4:4 and we’ll stop at that one.
Galatians 4:4. Why? What is the purpose of this? “When the fullness of time came,” – that means in perfect timing at God’s prescribed moment, when it was precisely God’s time – “God sent forth His Son.” Didn’t make Him, didn’t create Him; He sent Him, which means He already existed. He sent forth His Son.
These guys said in that discussion Monday, “The virgin birth is never talked about anywhere in the New Testament but in Matthew and Luke.” Wait a minute. God sent forth His Son, He sent Him forth, and he was born of a woman: fully God, sent from heaven; fully man, born of a woman.
Why? Verse 5, “In order that He might redeem those who were under the law,” – He was under the law, but He kept it perfectly. We’re under the law, and we violate it all the time. We have to be redeemed. Since He never broke the law, He could be the Redeemer – “that He might redeem those who were under the law.” That means to buy us back from just damnation, punishment; and to give us the adoption of the status of sons.
That’s why He came. He came to redeem us. And in order to redeem us, He had to be God to conquer sin and death and hell and Satan. And He also had to be man to pay the price for our sin. And it all goes back to the virgin birth, which is the foundation of His work as our Redeemer.
Lord, we thank You for helping us to grasp the critical essence of this great truth. There is no other way to explain Jesus other than this; and this explains everything, everything. In a sense, this is the foundation of everything He is and does. Even His high priestly work now He does because He was fully man and can sympathize with us and all of our troubles. And, because He’s fully God, He was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Even His right to return and reign is bound up in His being worthy to be called Lord, being worthy to take the scroll and take back the universe which is rightfully His. And the fact that He was man allowed Him to redeem a people to rule and to love and to serve and to fellowship with forever. It all goes back to this great event. And we celebrate the virgin conception and the virgin birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, grateful for this, really, unspeakable gift: the glory of this truth. Father, we ask that You would convince every heart here of its voracity, and that we might all indeed bow the knee to Christ our Lord and our God.
Father, now we come again at the end of this service, not as those who are setting aside something, but as those who are beginning. We have now received the truth to be carried from here and proclaimed. And may we do so faithfully as we rejoice in it, we pray in Christ’s name, Amen.
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