The Virgin Conception of Christ

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14 KJV).

While Christendom speaks of the “virgin birth of Christ,” according to today’s Scripture, a more accurate term would be the “virgin conception of Christ.” There was nothing unusual about Christ’s birth; it was His conception that was unique because there was no human father!

Interestingly, today’s Scripture has been the point of controversy for over a century (to Satan’s delight!). Some modern Bibles (RSV, NRSV, et al.) translate the Hebrew word here translated “virgin” as the vague “young woman,” thereby leaving room for the heretical idea that Joseph was Jesus’ biological father (and denying Christ’s deity)! If someone ever tells you almah (the Hebrew word translated “virgin”) can mean “young woman” or “virgin,” they are right, but point out that the key to choosing the right translation is not up to a translator, but rather the Holy Ghost!

The author of Matthew’s Gospel, filled with the Holy Ghost, knew which translation—“young woman” or “virgin”—was what God had intended in Isaiah 7:14. If we want to know what God meant in Isaiah 7:14, why not ask God?

“Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, “Behold a virgin shall be with child…” (Matthew 1:22,23a). The Greek word translated “virgin,” parthenos, can only mean “virgin,” not “young woman.” Isaiah was prophesying a virgin, indicated by the words “firstborn son” (Matthew 1:25; Luke 2:7) and “Joseph knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son” (Matthew 1:25). Isaiah 7:14 meant “virgin,” as indicated by Luke 1:34, for Mary “knew not a man.” Again, the Bible is clear that Joseph was not Jesus’ biological father.

Matthew 1:23 indisputably proves that almah in Isaiah 7:14 did not simply mean a “young woman,” who may or may not be sexually pure, but “a virgin,” a woman who never had any sexual intercourse. The Holy Ghost, not Joseph, was the Father of Jesus’ body (Matthew 1:18-20).

God’s Perfect Timing

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Galatians 4:4,5 KJV).

As today’s Scripture indicates, the birth of Jesus Christ was no accident—God planned its exact moment from eternity past.

When God placed the first man, Adam, on earth, He purposed that man would “subdue [control] it,” to “have dominion” over it and everything on it (Genesis 1:28). Nevertheless, Adam sinned by joining Satan in his rebellion against God. Because of sin, man was now unable to accomplish on earth what God originally created him to do. God left the human race a promise, however, that there would come a Man, who would do what Adam failed to do. Instead of cooperating with God’s adversary like Adam had, this “seed of the woman” would “bruise [Satan’s] head” (Genesis 3:15).

Traveling up through the Scriptures, we see how God lays the groundwork for that seedline. In Genesis 12:1-3, or 2,000 years after Adam’s sin, we read God’s covenant with Abraham, that through Abraham a nation, Israel, will be born, and salvation and blessing will flow to the Gentiles through Israel. The seed of the woman becomes the seed of Abraham (Galatians 3:16).

In 2 Samuel 7:12-16, and 1,000 years after Abraham, we read of God’s covenant with King David, that “his seed” will inherit his throne and reign forever. The seed of the woman and of Abraham becomes the seed of David.

About 1,000 years after David, Matthew 1:1 speaks of Christ’s birth, and declares, “…Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” This is exactly what God had promised for thousands of years!

Jesus Christ’s birth was not some haphazard event of nature. God the Father had preplanned the exact moment of the incarnation of His Son, Jesus Christ (today’s Scripture). Over a period of some 4,000 years, the three members of the Godhead worked to bring about the birth of man’s Redeemer, a plan they had even before man was created! Amazing!

For What Saith the Scriptures?

Monday, December 15, 2014

“For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness” (Romans 4:3 KJV).

Today, our Bible Q&A website, “For What Saith the Scriptures?,” turns one year old!

A question rarely asked in Christian circles, “What saith the scripture?” is found twice in the Bible—today’s Scripture, and Galatians 4:30, “Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.”

God’s will for our lives is summed up in 1 Timothy 2:4, “[God our Saviour] Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” There are two issues here—soul salvation from sins and everlasting hellfire, and soul salvation from false teaching unto sound Bible doctrine. Firstly, God wants everyone to become Christians by trusting in and relying exclusively on His Son Jesus Christ and His finished crosswork at Calvary as sufficient payment for their sins. Secondly, God wants Christians to trust in and rely on the grace doctrines found in Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon.

Amazingly, both occurrences of “What saith the scripture?” have a special application to us—each instance correlates to one of the issues in 1 Timothy 2:4! The question “What saith the scripture?” in today’s Scripture uses the Bible to answer the question of soul salvation from sins and everlasting hellfire (faith instead of works, “all men to be saved;” 1 Timothy 2:4). The question “What saith the scripture?” in Galatians 4:30 uses the Bible to answer the question of soul salvation from false teaching unto sound Bible doctrine (grace instead of legalism, “come unto the knowledge of the truth;” 1 Timothy 2:4).

For this past year, we desired you to have a clear understanding of how to have forgiveness of sins and justification unto eternal life, and for you to have a clear understanding of what God’s Word has to say about issues in your Christian life. We were honored to serve you in this additional capacity; thank you for the prayer and support this past year. As always, we welcome your Bible questions, and hope to serve you in that way for years to come! :)

Our 100th Bible Q&A: “Does doctrine really matter?

The Messiah Is Coming!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS” (Jeremiah 23:5,6 KJV).

Jerusalem, the Messiah is coming, the Messiah is coming!

The Old Testament “Major Prophets” (the five “large” books of Isaiah through Daniel) and the “Minor Prophets” (the 12 “small” books of Hosea through Malachi) have two main themes—God’s judgment on the Jews in response to their centuries of pagan idolatry by forcing them out of His land, and God’s forgiving and restoring Israel to return to that Promised Land and enjoy His earthly kingdom forever. Although Jeremiah (the prophet of today’s Scripture) devoted large portions of his ministry and book to that impending divine wrath, the Holy Spirit moved him to also preach and write verses that declared that God’s Messiah would come to deliver Israel from the religious (spiritual), social, and political mess in which she put herself (see today’s Scripture).

While Judah was captive in Babylon, JEHOVAH revealed to the Prophet Daniel that in addition to 70 years necessary for the Promised Land’s cleansing, 70 weeks of years (or 490 years) were needed to cleanse the Jewish people (Daniel 9:24-27). After this 490-year period, Messiah would come and deliver Israel from her sins and her enemies. Once Jesus Christ came, Israel had the prospect to be a redeemed people in a cleansed land. Just as that 69th week of years expired, they delivered Him to the Romans to have Him die on an awful Roman cross. He resurrected and returned to heaven rejected.

Now, one seven-year period (Daniel’s 70th week) remains on the prophetic calendar before Jesus Christ can return for Israel and establish her kingdom (today’s Scripture). When He comes the second time, He will use His blood shed at Calvary to establish a New Covenant to take away Israel’s sins (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Acts 3:19; Romans 11:26,27; Hebrews 8:8-13; Hebrews 10:15-17). Yes, Jeremiah 29:11 is still true—God’s wonderful plans for Israel are to be fulfilled in His own time! :)

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is grace a ‘license to sin?’

The Jews Are Coming!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

“And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive” (Jeremiah 29:14 KJV).

Jerusalem, the Jews are coming, the Jews are coming!

From 606 B.C. to 536 B.C., Judah was captive in Babylon. JEHOVAH told them that after those 70 years (Jeremiah 25:11-12; cf. Daniel 9:2), He would bring these Jews back to Jerusalem; He would not leave them hopeless, for He still had marvelous plans for them despite their unbelief and disobedience (Jeremiah 29:10-11, the context of today’s Scripture).

The Jewish Bible, which ends with 2 Chronicles, concludes with Israel back in her homeland (chapter 36): “[20] And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia: [21] To fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years. [22] Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, [23] Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the LORD God of heaven given me; and he hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? The LORD his God be with him, and let him go up.”

These two Jewish expeditions from exile to Jerusalem are recorded in the Bible books of Ezra and Nehemiah. Still, many Jews are still scattered worldwide today, and certainly not enjoying God’s earthly kingdom as they should have.

Jeremiah 29:11 is Israel’s hope in such a hopeless condition!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why do the wicked prosper?

The Babylonians Are Coming!

Friday, December 12, 2014

“For I have set my face against this city for evil, and not for good, saith the LORD: it shall be given into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire” (Jeremiah 21:10 KJV).

Jerusalem, the Babylonians are coming, the Babylonians are coming!

We hear Jeremiah 29:11 quoted quite often in today’s lukewarm Christianity: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” However, who quotes today’s Scripture (found in the same Bible book)?

Before JEHOVAH God could have good thoughts toward Jerusalem and the nation Israel, He had to first deal with their sins. Rather than relying on God’s grace—God freely giving them everything they needed—they agreed to enter into a covenant with Him. This was the Old Covenant, the Mosaic Law (part of it was the Ten Commandments). Israel contracted to perform perfectly to gain His blessings and acceptance; to fail in a single point was to merit His wrath and curses. Israel was doomed to fail right from day 1, but God loves freedom so much that He gave them exactly what they wanted. They wanted religion, and they got just that, along with the consequences of weak human nature.

So, we reach the time of today’s Scripture. Nine hundred years after the ratification of the Mosaic system, and Israel (technically, the southern kingdom of Judah) is entering the fifth course of judgment. What began in the book of Judges (because of her pagan idolatry) is now in its fifth and final phase—after four previous attempts of JEHOVAH trying to reform them with chastisement, Leviticus 26:27-39 says Israel must now be removed from the Promised Land. Today’s Scripture is Jeremiah’s message from God to warn Judah that the Babylonian armies are coming: Jerusalem will be sacked, its walls burned to the ground, the Temple destroyed, and the Jews will be led away captive to present-day Iraq. The Jews are instructed not to fight but rather capitulate to their enemies’ desires. In 586 B.C., Jerusalem was decimated—the Babylonians cleansed JEHOVAH’S land of idolatry.

Jeremiah 29:11 is Israel’s hope in such a hopeless condition!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is the Holy Spirit a Person or a force?

NOTE: All 9 messages (~12 hours) of the 2014 Slidell Grace Bible Conference are now available on YouTube! Speakers were Richard Jordan, Ed Yarber, Frank Redman, and myself (Shawn Brasseaux). You may find all those videos here.

Peace with God

Thursday, December 11, 2014

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1 KJV).

As the Christmas Season approaches, we remember where true “peace on Earth” can be found!

Our world is always searching for peace. It is said if we could eliminate anything and everything “religious” and “spiritual,” our world we be peaceful. Others say that we should meet and converse with heads-of-state, and make many peace treaties to ensure international tranquility. Africa and the Middle East are ravaged by war and destruction, ever so desperate for peace from centuries- or millennia-long conflicts. The suffering these poor people are facing make even some Christians wonder how can God just keep letting it continue. We can rest assured that God is not “sitting around in heaven in a recliner,” taking pleasure in what mankind has done to His once-perfect world. In His own time, He will consummate it all: we cannot rush Him because He knows best.

Beloved, we will never even partially fathom the depths of God’s longsuffering. Even in the Apostle Peter’s day, nearly 20 centuries ago, the scoffers kept asking how long before Jesus Christ would return and wipe them out. We read in 2 Peter 3:8,9: “[8] But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. [9] The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” Once God gets angry, whether one day or 1000 years later, His wrath is still undiminished, until it is poured out. But, today, God is withholding that wrath.

In verses 15 and 16, Peter reminded them that Paul had the answers to Christ’s delay—He was waiting for people to be saved into the Body of Christ: “And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;…” May we never take God’s peace in and through Christ for granted, for one day, He will withdraw it from this world, and replace it with His wrath!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What does ‘Forbid not to speak with tongues’ mean?