© Gregory L. Jackson, 1999
A Mighty Fortress Lutheran Church
6421 W. Poinsettia Drive
Glendale, Arizona 85304
#4 The Virgin Birth of Jesus, Isaiah 7:14
The purpose of this lesson is to teach children how far in advance God promised the exact details of His Son’s birth. This will set the stage for talking about the Old Testament when we discuss each story in the New Testament. It would be easy to spend a year on the Old Testament prophesies, but that involves so much history at this point that many children and adults would get lost.
1. The youngest children should learn that the unique birth of Christ was given and written down centuries before it happened. They should also think about the two natures of Christ, divine (born of a virgin) and human (born with all our human traits).
2. Grade school children should become more aware of prophecies. God never fails to keep His promises. They should consider how many promises were kept and fulfilled, even though they were made centuries in advance.
3. Confirmation age students should learn to look for Old Testament prophecies about Christ everywhere in the Old Testament and to notice their fulfillment in the New Testament.
4. All students of the Bible should see it as “The Book of the Holy Spirit,” a unified message spoken by God through many different human writers, without any errors or contradictions.
Some of this lesson is based upon the Bible History Commentary, Old Testament, by Werner H. Franzmann, 1980. Teachers will also gain from the “almah” issue of Christian News. Liberals have attacked this prophesy more than any other in the Old Testament. The Revised Standard Version changed it to “a young woman” will conceive.
King Ahaz was evil, someone who promoted idolatry (2 Chronicles 28:1-5). King Ahaz had suffered severe reverses and feared that he would be attacked. Isaiah 7:1-9 sets the stage for the prophesy. Ahaz trusted in his own wisdom and wanted to forge an alliance with Assyria (2 Kings 16:7; 2 Chronicles 28:16)
God sent the prophet to offer hope, a miracle. God commanded Ahaz to ask for any miracle he desired. We must obey God’s commands, and who would not ask for a miracle from God? But Ahaz was so hardened against God that he played the hypocrite and piously stated he would not ask for a miracle.
Isaiah 7:12 But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the LORD.
The prophet, speaking for God, severely reprimanded the king.
13 And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also?
Then God spoke through Isaiah, announcing that a miracle would come!
14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
The teachers should know that liberals try to erase this prophesy in several ways.
1. One method is to say that “almah” the Hebrew word, means “young woman” and not “virgin.” No one in the Christian Church or in Judaism knew that until about 1950. Until then, every translator translated the Hebrew word as virgin.
2. Another tactic is to say that this was a prediction of a king’s wife giving birth to a son, or that some young woman would bear a son. Some miracle! The liberals try to apply this also to Jesus later and claim this was a typological prophesy (fulfilled immediately and then later as well). Some prophesies fit this category, but not Isaiah 7:14.
3. Therefore, remember that this is a rectilinear prophesy, fulfilled only once, when Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary. Only He can be called “God with us,” the Hebrew word Immanuel.
We have to remember that God’s concept of time is not ours. He promised us the Messiah when Adam and Eve were driven from the Garden of Eden. Thousands of years passed before the Virgin Birth was promised. Many other promises were given as well.
We can see from this passage that God did exactly what He promised. King Ahaz did not live to see the miracle. But we can look back and see how God performed the miracle in His time.
We should always trust in God’s promises. Another word for the promises of God is the Gospel. Whenever God promises blessings, forgiveness of sin, and eternal life, He gives us comfort. All this comes through Christ alone.
1. List the Old Testament prophesies that were fulfilled by Jesus, from what you remember. (Hint: look at Isaiah 9:1 and following; Isaiah 53; Psalm 22; Psalm 23 and John 10).
2. Compare how you keep your promises to how God keeps His promises. Does He forget? Does he make excuses?