Virgin Birth Claim Disproves Biblical Inspiration
Below are my own personal beliefs about Isaiah 7:14-16 and Matthew 1:22-23, based on the research I have just done.
First, let's have a look at what the Hebrew word for "virgin" or "young maiden" is in Isaiah 7:14:
H5959 - ???? - ?alma^h
Brown-Driver-Briggs' Hebrew Dictionary Definition:
1) virgin, young woman
1a) of marriageable age
1b) maid or newly married
Part of Speech: noun feminine
A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: from H5958
Then, let's see what the Greek word for "virgin" means in Matthew 1:23:
G3933 - pa??e´??? - parthenos
Thayer's Greek Dictionary Definition:
1) a virgin
1a) a marriageable maiden1b) a woman who has never had sexual intercourse with a man
1c) one’s marriageable daughter
2) a man who has abstained from all uncleanness and whoredom attendant on idolatry, and so has kept his chastity
2a) one who has never had intercourse with women
Part of Speech: noun feminine
I believe that Isaiah 7:14 did have an immediate fulfillment. I do not know who the woman was that was spoken of in Isaiah 7:14.
Isaiah 7:14 says (Literal Translation of the Holy Bible): So, The Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold! The virgin will conceive and will bring forth a son; and she shall call His name Immanuel.
Does that Scripture say that the virgin will be a virgin when she conceives or when she gives birth? I don't think so. It says that the virgin (who at the time Isaiah 7:14 was spoken, was a virgin) would later conceive (which must have been done by having sex with a man).
That makes the most sense to me -- she was a virgin at the time Isaiah spoke those words -- but then she had sex with a man and conceived a child, and called him "Immanuel".
So, it did have an immediate fulfillment (and obviously the people involved knew who that woman was).
Matthew 1:22-23 says (Literal Translation of the Holy Bible): And all this happened so that might be fulfilled that which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, "Behold! The virgin will conceive in her womb and will bear a son, and they will call His name Emmanuel" (which translated is, God with us).
I believe that Matthew was saying that Isaiah 7:14 foreshadowed and typified the Messiah's birth -- I do not believe that Matthew is saying that the immediate or only fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14 is the Messiah's birth. In the same way, Abraham's near-sacrifice of Isaac foreshadowed and typified The Father sending The Son [Jesus Christ] to Earth to be sacrificed.
Also, notice in Hebrews Chapter 9, it is explained that the sacrifices of bulls and goats foreshadowed the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and that the earthly Tabernacle and earthly Temple foreshadowed the True Tabernacle and the True Temple, which are in Heaven.
I believe that Matthew was saying that Isaiah 7:14 had an indirect, greater fulfillment in the birth of the Messiah, which was foreshadowed by original immediate fulfillment. I believe that Matthew was pointing out that Mary was actually a virgin when she conceived and when she gave birth, which would have been a greater future fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14, because in the original immediate fulfillment, the woman was a virgin when the prophecy was made, but then she had sex with a man in order to conceive the child. Also, Matthew was pointing out that the Messiah would truly be God With Us [Immanuel] in His Nature and Essence, which is a much greater fulfillment than the original immediate fulfillment (in the immediate fulfillment there was a child born called Immanuel as a sign that "God is With Us", but he was not God With Us by his nature or essence).
I believe Matthew was saying that Isaiah 7:14 was "fulfilled" or "made absolutely complete" in a greater sense, in the birth of Christ.
Can you give me a reason why Isaiah 7:14 could not have had two fulfillments -- One that was immediate, and one that was future, which was much greater? Why could Isaiah 7:14 not have foreshadowed the Messiah's birth, in the same way that Abraham's near-sacrifice of Isaac foreshadowed the Messiah's sacrifice, or in the same way that sacrificing bulls and goats foreshadowed the sacrifice of Christ, or in the same way that the earthly Tabernacle and earthly Temple foreshadowed the Heavenly ones?
It is as clear to me as it is to you that the scripture in Isaiah 7:14 was not applied to the Messiah until the time of Jesus. As you say, there are a number of prophecies which we probably would not have applied to the Messiah if there were not specific application by the NT writers.
But the fact that the Jews were not expecting the Messiah to be born of a virgin adds veracity to the account of the virgin birth. How so ? Because there was no need to make up a virgin birth as a sign of messiahship when no such sign was expected. If Jesus was the natural son of Joseph (or ben Pandera as Jewish polemic would have it) then there would be no need other than demonstrating a descent from David to qualify as a potential messiah. The fact that only Matthew narrated the virgin birth would suggest that it was not widely known amongst early Christians and not considered a requirement for messiahship.
Much of what is written in the NT is written in defense of Christ and christianity. So it is likely that there definitely was something unusual about the birth of Jesus which Matthew felt necessary to explain. I cannot think of anything other than a virgin birth which would require him to give the far-fetched explanation he gave.
Now it is clear he used the LXX translation of Isaiah 7:14 which says that a virgin ("parthenos" cp. the virgin Athena and the Parthenon) would give birth, and applied that to the Messiah. This raises an interesting thought regarding translation. When the NT Bible writers use the LXX to apply certain passages in the OT that gives greater weight to the translation than the original. Does this apply to the NWT ? It would seem that the WTS believes so because all translations of the NWT into languages other than English are based on the English translation rather than the original languages.
The fact that Matthew was using the Septuagint when quoting Isaiah, brings up another interesting point.
Witnesses (and others) believe that Matthew wrote his gospel originally in Hebrew. If this is actually true, Why would a he find it necessary to quote from the Greek Septuagint?
Always let a red flag go up when it takes reams of "explanation" to make something fit one's pre-conceived notions of what they should mean. It either means the explainer is a fuzzy thinker or the thing trying to be explained is bullshit.
After trying to decifer what the hell that commentator was trying to say......I felt like I had read the "Let God be True "book.
Talk about skipping around the subject of how a virgin could give birth sounded just like old 'freddie 'trying to explain his pipe dreams.
Regardless of the arguments that follow Allens comments.....the fact is summed up in his last paragraph. There is no arguing.
If any bible thumpers ever dare to look at books that deal with this very subject.......is the bible God's word......there are many out there that show how the Jesus story as it is portrayed in the Gospels........was an invention of the church........after pauls gnostic letters.......not before.
Eusibius was constantines sidekick that lied more than the GB. He was the N.T.'s editor.
UnDisfellowshipped, your final arguments are a good example of the special pleading that I explained is a false argument. Answer this: If Isaiah 7:14 refers to a truly virgin birth for Jesus, then why does it not refer to a truly virgin birth for the child that was to be born in Ahaz' day? In your answer, keep in mind that variations of "it must be so or the Bible is uninspired" are forms of special pleading, and therefore false arguments. Actually, your entire argument so far is precisely this particular case of special pleading.
Earnest, while I understand your arguments, they have nothing to do with the point I made in this post, namely, that you can't have it both ways. Either Isaiah 7:14 refers to a truly virgin birth both for Jesus and for the child to be born in Ahaz' day, or for neither. The claim that in one case it means a virgin birth, and in the other a non-virgin birth, is pure special pleading.
As for your comments, I don't think that Matthew felt any need to explain something unusual about Jesus' birth. The very fact that Jesus' followers thought he was the divinely sent Messiah was enough to warrant attributing all sorts of miraculous things to him. Unfortunately, a good many of these miraculous things had already been attributed to various more ancient religious icons. Bhudda and Krishna, for example, were claimed to have been born of virgins. I'm beginning to read a book about this, which details the many similarities of claims of their respective followers to the claims of Jesus' followers.
On the notion that the writer of Matthew quoted from the LXX, the Watchtower and a number of other commentators would disagree with it, since they argue -- perhaps correctly -- that Matthew was originally written in Hebrew. If so, then it's still possible, but not likely, that the writer quoted from the LXX. If he wrote in Hebrew, he would most likely have quoted from the Hebrew scriptures, in which almah is ambiguous. But if he deliberately quoted from the LXX in order to use the unambiguous parthenos, then he is guilty of selective quoting, which is flat out dishonesty -- which would again prove that the Bible is not inspired.
You raise an interesting point about the translation of the NWT into languages other than English. I've also heard that most of these are based on the English NWT, but in some cases the translators seem to have referenced the original languages. For example, in John 17:3 the English NWT improperly renders the Greek ginoskw as "taking in knowledge of you" whereas it should read "knowing you". The point of the Greek word was that Christians needed to get to know God personally, whereas the NWT renders it in a completely impersonal way. A person can "take in knowledge of God" all he wants and never know God at all in a personal sense. The French NWT renders this properly, using the French word for "know" (connaitre) that means "know in a personal sense" rather than the impersonal word (savoir) that is used of "knowing something". But the Spanish NWT dumbly follows the English, using a virtually word for word translation into Spanish.
Gumby, excellent points about fuzzy thinking etc!
: Gumby, excellent points about fuzzy thinking etc!
Those were my comments.
" Uh, Alan,
: Gumby, excellent points about fuzzy thinking etc!
Those were my comments".
Awww come on fark......let me have a little glory once in a while.......even if I didn't deserve it.
(If I knew how to use those damn "quote" tabs......this wouldn't have happened.)
On the notion that the writer of Matthew quoted from the LXX, the Watchtower and a number of other commentators would disagree with it, since they argue -- perhaps correctly -- that Matthew was originally written in Hebrew.
Since most scholars believe that the writers of Matthew and Luke used Mark as a source while writing their gospels, is it really likely that Matthew was written in Hebrew? Just curious, because I never bought into the idea that Matthew was first written in Hebrew.
Also, I never realized that Matthew and Luke are the only ones to mention the Virgin birth. The following is from the “Interpreter's One Volume Commentary”.
The Hebrew original of the verse quoted from Isa 7:14 speaks of almah, i.e. a "young woman" who shall conceive and bear a son. It is the period of conception and birth, not her virginity, that is of importance for Isaiah. The Greek version of the OT in wide use among Jews from the first cent. B.C. on (the LXX) had translated almah by the Greek word parthenos-virgin. Matt. uses this translation, since it suits his purpose of showing that Jesus was divinely conceived in fulfillment of the Hebrew Scriptures. Although Luke has his own version of the extraordinary birth of Jesus, he does not quote or refer to the virgin birth passage from Isa. Neither Mark, or John, nor Paul has any hint of the virgin birth story; it seems to have become important for the church only in the 2nd cent. as a way of combating the charge that Jesus was not truly human. These stories insisted that he was truly born, although they also served to place Jesus at least on par with the pagan saviour-gods for whom a miraculous birth was claimed. Indeed, the idea of Jesus' virgin birth does not figure at all in the rest of Matt.; it is the conviction that Jesus is Emmanuel...God with us that is more significant than the circumstances of his birth. (Interpreter's One Volume Commentary)
Is it possible that Virgin birth concept was also found in the Q document used by Matthew and Luke?
: Those were my comments.
Oops. I see that now. Kudos to you!
: Since most scholars believe that the writers of Matthew and Luke used Mark as a source while writing their gospels, is it really likely that Matthew was written in Hebrew? Just curious, because I never bought into the idea that Matthew was first written in Hebrew.
A good point. That's why I said, "perhaps correctly". I've read scholarly comments that perhaps Matthew wrote in both Hebrew and Greek, which would account for his possibly basing his gospel on the Q document, and then translating that into Hebrew (or arguably, Aramaic; the question appears to be controversial among some scholars) for a Jewish audience.
One George Howard, a professor of religion at the University of Georgia, published a book in 1995 called Hebrew Gospel of Matthew. It contains part of the text of a polemical writing from the 14th century by a Spanish Jew known as Shem-Tob. Howard extracted a Hebrew text of Matthew from Shem-Tob's writing and presented the Hebrew along with his translation into English and an analysis of the text. He argues that certain early Church Fathers, such as Papias, Irenaeus and Origen, made reference to an early Hebrew text of Matthew, so that the text of Shem-Tob was based on this and was not just a translation of existing Greek texts into English.
Whether Howard's arguments hold water or not, I don't know. Let the reader do his own research and draw his own conclusions.