Is Jesus told of in the virgin birth?

Greetings, and welcome back to the Island gentle reader, this little essay started as a chat on the net, which turned into an email conversation that went unanswered. I figured it would make interesting reading for everyone. Instead of altering it for the Island, I left it as I mailed it out to the individual. Enjoy, and feel free to mail me about the virgin birth fiasco!

Hello, as we had arranged in our chat the other day, here is the beginning of what I hope to be a learning experience for us both. I am of the position that the virgin birth prophecy as related in Isaiah 7:14 is not fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ, as claimed in the book of Mathew (1:18-25) and the book of Luke (1:26-35). Both books claim that Jesus was born of a virgin, and appeal to the book of Isaiah (7:14) as the prophecy to support this. This is not the case, as I will clearly show.

To start with, we shall look at the verses in Isaiah in which this supposed prophecy of Jesus is. When the verses are viewed in their proper context it is clear that this is nothing more than a local prophecy, which is reported to be fulfilled in the next chapter of Isaiah.
To begin I will list the verses of the prophecy alone, as the majority of Christians do. Then afterwards I will list them within the proper context. The verses are taken from the King James Version of the Bible.

Isaiah 7:14
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.

Now, when read out of the proper context you get the Christ prophecy. But within the context we will see that is a local prophecy meant for King Ahaz, and for a very special purpose. Also within the full prophecy (which Christians never really quote all the way through) we will also see that it could not be talking about Jesus.

Isaiah 7
7:1 And it came to pass in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Rezin the king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up toward Jerusalem to war against it, but could not prevail against it.
2 And it was told the house of David, saying, Syria is confederate with Ephraim. And his heart was moved, and the heart of his people, as the trees of the wood are moved with the wind.
3 Then said the LORD unto Isaiah, Go forth now to meet Ahaz, thou, and Shearjashub thy son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller's field;
4 And say unto him, Take heed, and be quiet; fear not, neither be fainthearted for the two tails of these smoking firebrands, for the fierce anger of Rezin with Syria, and of the son of Remaliah.
5 Because Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah, have taken evil counsel against thee, saying,
6 Let us go up against Judah, and vex it, and let us make a breach therein for us, and set a king in the midst of it, even the son of Tabeal:
7 Thus saith the Lord GOD, It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass.
8 For the head of Syria is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rezin; and within threescore and five years shall Ephraim be broken, that it be not a people.
9 And the head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is Remaliah's son. If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established.
10 Moreover the LORD spake again unto Ahaz, saying,
11 Ask thee a sign of the LORD thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above.
12 But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the LORD.
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?
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.
15 Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.
16 For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings.

As we can see by the proper context, the prophecy is a local one set to happen within the time of King Ahaz. This sign was to show Ahaz that an attack against him and his kingdom would fail. This is not an event 700 or so years in the future. In fact, the propchey was stated as being fulfilled in the next chapter of Isaiah. But first let us look a wee bit closer to the above prophecy and ask the following questions:
1. If it is about Jesus, then why does it state that the child will refuse the evil and choose the good?
2. If Jesus is god, then he would know automatically. But in the prophecy, it is said that "before" the child knows to choose the good. Why? How can thi be of Jesus if Jesus is god?

As I said before, in the next chapter of Isaiah the prophecy is fulfilled, and this can be read in verses 3-4:

Isaiah 8:3-4
3 And I went unto the prophetess; and she conceived, and bare a son. Then said the LORD to me, Call his name Mahershalalhashbaz.
4 For before the child shall have knowledge to cry, My father, and my mother, the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria shall be taken away before the king of Assyria.

So, we see here it is a local prophecy. Also note that the child is NOT named Immanuel. But Mahershalahashbaz. Also note that Jesus in not named Immanuel either. (We will get to this later).

Okay, following me so far? Being a local prophecy, there is no way it can be a Jesus prophecy. If it is a dual prophecy, as some Christians will claim, then Jesus was not the first to be born of a virgin. Correct? I doubt there would be many Christians willing to admit this, though I could be wrong. But in all actuality, the word used for virgin here in verse 14 is "almah", which is correctly translated as "young woman." The correct word for virgin is "bethula." Some modern versions of the bible correctly translate the verses, such as the National Revised Standard version, and with the proper translation we see even more that the prophecy is a local one for King Ahaz:

Isaiah 7:14 (NRSV)
14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.

She is pregnant now, and a young woman, not a virgin. Put in the proper context, this is not a prophecy about Jesus Christ, never was, and never will be.

As a side note here, I would also like to mention the following, this prophecy failed in a few ways: the child was not named Immanuel and when one reads 2 Chronicles 28:1-5 the attack against Ahaz was successful after all:

2 Chronicles 28
28:1 Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem: but he did not that which was right in the sight of the LORD, like David his father:
2 For he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, and made also molten images for Baalim.
3 Moreover he burnt incense in the valley of the son of Hinnom, and burnt his children in the fire, after the abominations of the heathen whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel.
4 He sacrificed also and burnt incense in the high places, and on the hills, and under every green tree.
5 Wherefore the LORD his God delivered him into the hand of the king of Syria; and they smote him, and carried away a great multitude of them captives, and brought them to Damascus. And he was also delivered into the hand of the king of Israel, who smote him with a great slaughter.

So we see from the bible itself, this is not a prophecy of Jesus, and it is a failed prophecy as well.

Thanks for time you have taken to read this.

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