Summary: The Virgin Birth of Jesus is a direct fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14.
Christmas B.C.: The Birth
Rev. Brian Bill
I love how kids enjoy Christmas, but sometimes I wonder how much they really understand. I heard about a young girl who came home from Sunday School recently. She was pretty pumped when she ran up to her mom and said, “Mommy, my teacher said that I drew the most unusual Christmas picture she has ever seen!”
The mother studied the picture for a while and agreed with the teacher -- it was rather strange. The mother, wanting to understand the art work, but also not wanting to offend her daughter, asked very gently: “This is great, but who are all these people riding on the back of the airplane?”
“That’s the flight into Egypt.”
“Oh,” the mother said cautiously, “Well, who is this mean-looking man at the front of the plane?”
“That’s Pontius, the Pilot!” the girl responded.
“I see. And here you have Mary and Joseph and the baby.” As the mother studied the picture some more, she summoned up the courage to ask, “But who is this large man sitting behind Mary?”
The little girl sighed. “Can’t you tell, Mom? That’s Round John Virgin.”
As we continue in our series called, “Christmas B.C., we’ve identified several key Old Testament prophecies that were fulfilled specifically and with precision when Jesus was born on that first Christmas. We don’t have to guess what they mean because they are clearly evident in the pictures of Scripture.
Three weeks ago, we learned from Genesis 3:15 that Jesus is the ultimate seed of Eve who would one day crush the serpent’s ugly head. Two weeks ago we spent some time looking at several Old Testament pictures and predictions found in Genesis 22 and Exodus 12 that depict Jesus as the ultimate sacrificial lamb.
Last week, we established from Micah 5:2 that Jesus had to be born in a place called Bethlehem. Just as the place of Jesus’ birth was prophetically identified 700 years before it happened, so was the process of his birth. According to Isaiah 7:14, the birth of Immanuel would be mysterious and miraculous because He would be born of a virgin.
The Gospel According to Isaiah
As has been our practice in this series, let’s look first at the context surrounding the Old Testament prophecy before we focus on its fulfillment. Please turn in your Bibles to the book of Isaiah. Isaiah was a contemporary of Micah and was considered one of the most prolific prophets in Israel. He ministered during the time of Israel’s decline. The book that bears his name is filled with predictive prophecies about the birth of Jesus – we see them in chapters 7, 9, and 11. And, of course, chapter 53 is filled with startling predictions about his substitutionary death.
Jerome, a church leader from the 4th Century, said this about Isaiah: “He should be called an evangelist rather than a prophet because he describes all the mysteries of Christ so clearly that you would think he is composing a history of what has already happened rather than prophesying about what is to come.”
In chapter 6, when Uzziah was king, Isaiah describes his call from God in vivid and powerful language. This vision of Yahweh in the Temple colored his whole view of life. He had seen God as the holy one of Israel and he would never forget it. To him, sin was appalling and God’s awesome purity was cleansing. He had been forgiven and taken into God’s service.
When we come to chapter 7, Uzziah’s grandson, Ahaz is on the throne. Ahaz defied God and as a result his kingdom came under attack from all quarters. In 2 Kings 16 we get some further insight into what kind of man Ahaz was. In verse 2, we learn that he “did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord his God.” Verse 3 tells us how far south he had slid spiritually: “He…even sacrificed his son in the fire, following the detestable ways of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites.” He was a wicked king. In verse 5, two kings gather together to come and fight against him.
Now let’s go back to Isaiah 7. Look at verse 2. “So the hearts of Ahaz and his people were shaken, as the trees of the forest are shaken by the wind.” He’s shaking like a leaf. Instead of turning to the Lord, he begins to think about allying himself with the evil empire of Assyria. At this crucial time, God in His great love and mercy toward the house of David, took the initiative and sent Isaiah the prophet to help King Ahaz.
Isaiah said to Ahaz in verse 4: “Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid. Do not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood…” The two countries fighting against him could do no harm to him. Why? Because God himself had made a covenant with David that his kingdom would endure forever and ever. But what did Ahaz do? He didn’t want to listen to God.