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PROOFS OF THE VIRGIN BIRTH

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Evening, December 13, 2015

“Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).


This is a clear prophecy of the Virgin Birth of Christ – given in the Old Testament Scriptures. Some people have a problem with this great Christian doctrine. But their real problem is that they don’t believe in miracles of any kind. Secular humanism has robbed them of the possibility of miracles – and robbed them of God Himself!

We showed Ben Stein’s film “Expelled” in our church some time ago. The most interesting part of the film, to me, was Mr. Stein’s interview with Dr. Richard Dawkins. Dr. Dawkins is the foremost evolutionist of our day. He makes a case for the evolutionary process going back through the ages of time. But, like all evolutionists, he is faced with the dilemma of how to explain the beginning of life. Mr. Stein pressed him hard on this question. You could see Dawkins’ lip quiver in a closeup. Stein pressed on – “Where did life come from in the first place?” Beads of sweat appeared on Dawkins’ forehead. Finally Dawkins said that aliens from another planet may have come and “seeded” life on earth. Mr. Stein jumped on that. “Do you mean that aliens from another planet could have brought life to the earth?” I think Dawkins forgot that he was being filmed when he said, “Yes.” Later he tried to sue Mr. Stein to make him take out that part of the film. But the contract he had signed prevented him from winning the case.

How absurd! Little men in a spaceship bringing the first life to our planet! It sounds like a science fiction story for children! Even if Dawkins’ silly idea were true, it would still not explain how life began on the other planet! So we saw, in Mr. Stein’s film, the strained and weird extent to which the secular humanists must go to avoid the miracle of God creating life on our planet.

C. S. Lewis said, “I use the word miracle to mean an interference with nature by superhuman power.” Again, C. S. Lewis said, “If we admit God, must we admit Miracle? Indeed, indeed.” (Miracles, pp. 105, 9).

C. S. Lewis meant that if there is a God miracles are possible. You don’t need little green men to come and bring life to the earth. If there is a God He is capable of creating life ex nihilo (out of nothing). Jesus said, “With God all things are possible” (Mark 10:27).

My mother was converted at the age of 80. There was not the slightest reason to think she would ever be converted. None at all. I could go into it and tell you why I know her conversion was a miracle, but I won’t do that tonight. I will give you the miracle that came before her conversion. I was in New York City with my family. My mother was three thousand miles away, here in Los Angeles. I was praying when suddenly, in the middle of my prayers, I knew my mother would be saved. I phoned Dr. Cagan and asked him to go and lead her to Christ. He was afraid to go because she had screamed at him when he approached her before. But I insisted that God told me she would now be saved. So he drove over to her place and led her, quite easily, to Christ – and her whole life was transformed. Yes, that was a miracle. But that’s not the one I want to emphasize here. How did I suddenly know she would be converted? I was three thousand miles away from her. I had not spoken to her on the phone. But I knew it. How? It was a miracle. God told me that by a miracle. It was as simple as that.

My mother herself didn’t believe in miracles. She was a secular humanist and an evolutionist. That’s where the third miracle came in. First, God told me she would be converted. Second, she was converted. But the third miracle was, in many ways, the greatest – at least it was to me.

A few months after she was converted, I took her with Ileana and our boys to visit my cousin. He had several buddies that were heavy drinkers. One of their wives was half drunk. She knew I was a preacher, so she sat down at the table, across from me, and started picking on me. “How did those miracles happen? How did He feed 5,000 people with a few fish? How did He rise from the dead? How did the Red Sea part? Ha, ha, ha!”

I didn’t say a word. I didn’t want to start a fight in my cousin’s house. My mother was sitting beside me. All of a sudden I saw her eyes flash. No one ever talked back to her when her eyes flashed like that! She looked at that drunk woman and said in a big, loud voice, “You believe in God, don’t you?” The poor woman flinched. Her face turned white. In a small voice she said, “Well, uh...yes.” Mother glared at her and, in an even louder voice, said, “Then what’s your problem?” There was total silence in the house. That was the end of the argument over miracles!

See, if you believe in God – then as C. S. Lewis pointed out – there is no argument against miracles! As Jesus put it, “With God all things are possible.” And that brings us to the Virgin Birth of Christ. I am going to give you two “proofs” of Christ’s Virgin Birth. But these “proofs” will only convince you if you believe in God. They will not convince anyone who refuses to believe in the existence of God.

I. First, the Virgin Birth of Christ is proved by the Old Testament.

The first prophecy of the Virgin Birth of Jesus was in the Garden of Eden, a short time after our first parents sinned against God. They had listened to Satan tempt them, and had sinned. And God said to Satan,

“I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15).

Here God gave the first prophecy of the Virgin Birth. The seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent. The Lutheran Old Testament scholar Dr. Claus Westermann (1909-2000) said, “From the time of Irenaeus (130-202) Christian tradition has understood the passage as a prophecy about Christ (and Mary). The ‘seed of the woman’ referred to one individual descendant [Christ] who crushed the head of the serpent [Satan]...This explanation runs from Irenaeus right through the history of exegesis in both Catholic and evangelical tradition” (Claus Westermann, Ph.D., Genesis 1-11: A Commentary, Augsburg, 1984, p. 260).

Dr. Henry M. Morris said, “The ‘seed of the woman’ can only be a [reference] to a future descendant of Eve who would have no human father. Biologically, a woman produces no seed...Biblical usage always speaks only of the seed of men. This promised Seed would, therefore, have to be miraculously implanted in the womb [of Mary]. In this way, He [Christ] would not inherit the sin nature which would disqualify every other son of Adam from becoming a Saviour from sin. This prophecy thus clearly anticipates the future virgin birth of Christ” (Henry M. Morris, Ph.D., The Defender’s Study Bible, World Publishing, 1995, p. 13; note on Genesis 3:15).

Our opening text is also from the Old Testament. The prophet Isaiah said,

“Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).

The English word “virgin” here is translated from the Hebrew word “almah.” It is used seven times in the Old Testament to refer to an unmarried young woman. Edward E. Hindson said, “Its [use] always denotes a virgin. Biblical usage of almah is clearly never that of a married woman, but always of an unmarried one” (Edward E. Hindson, “Isaiah’s Immanuel,” Grace Journal 10, Fall, 1969, p. 7). The great scholar J. Gresham Machen said, “There is no place among the seven occurrences of almah in the Old Testament where the word is used of a woman who was not a virgin” (J. Gresham Machen, Ph.D., The Virgin Birth of Christ, Baker Book House, 1965, p. 288).

But the greatest proof that “almah” means “virgin” is from the rabbis of 200 years before Christ. Seventy of the greatest rabbis in the world translated the Old Testament Hebrew Bible into Greek, the language spoken by most Jews in the Roman world. These rabbis were considered the greatest Hebrew scholars in the world at that time, 200 years before Christ. These Jewish rabbis translated the Hebrew word “almah” in Isaiah 7:14 with the Greek word “parthenos” – which can only refer to a virgin – a woman who has never had sex with a man. The 70 rabbis translated the Old Testament into Greek. It is called the Septuagint. Dr. Ben Witherington III said that if “almah” did not mean “virgin,” “It is difficult if not impossible to see why the [rabbis] translators of the LXX [the Septuagint] used ‘parthenos’ as the Greek equivalent” (Ben Witherington III, Ph.D., “The Birth of Jesus,” Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, InterVarsity Press, 1992, p. 64).

All these proofs show that the rabbis were correct when they translated Isaiah 7:14 as

“Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).

The only woman in history who was a virgin, and was impregnated by supernatural means, was Mary, the mother of Christ.

II. Second, the Virgin Birth of Christ is proved by the New Testament.

Please turn in your Bible to Matthew 1:23.

“Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (Matthew 1:23).

Joseph was engaged to Mary. Before they were married “she was found with child of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 1:18). Naturally Joseph thought she had committed fornication. He did not want her to be humiliated by putting her away and not marrying her. He was thinking of this problem as he drifted off to sleep. The angel of the Lord appeared to him and told him, “fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is [from] the Holy Ghost.” Then the angel quoted Isaiah 7:14 to Joseph,

“Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (Matthew 1:23).

By the way, the Septuagint translation was carried over to Matthew 1:23 by the Holy Spirit.  So "parthenos" became the inspired Word of God. 

I decided to go through the New Testament to see what the people who knew Jesus best thought about His virgin birth. I just jotted down on a piece of paper what people who lived with Him thought.

I started with Joseph, his stepfather. Joseph believed in His virgin birth.

“Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS” (Matthew 1:24-25).

Next, there was Mary. Like Joseph, she started out by not believing in the virgin birth. She said, “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” (Luke 1:34).

“And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).

“For with God nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1:37).

Then Mary herself believed in the virgin birth, for she said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.”

“That holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).

Then, there was Jesus Himself. Jesus Himself said,

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

Jesus said He was the “only begotten Son” of God. Next, there was God Himself. John the Baptist plunged Jesus beneath the water of the Jordan River in baptism. Then the voice of God spoke from Heaven and said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). Then John the Baptist said, “I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God” (John 1:34). Joseph, Mary, Jesus Himself, John the Baptist, and God the Father – all said He was the Son of God – showing that He was born of a virgin.

“That holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).

I went on through the New Testament. I saw that the demons “cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?” Yes, even the demons knew He was the virgin-born Son of God! When Jesus asked His Disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). So did the Apostle John, who knew Him best of all. The Apostle John said, “These are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God” (John 20:31). Again John said, “Our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ” (I John 1:3). Yes, the Apostle John, who knew Him best, said that Jesus was the virgin-born Son of God. He called Jesus “the only begotten Son” of God (John 1:18). When the Apostle Paul was converted, “straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God” (Acts 9:20). And thus did all of His Disciples, for they all knew “that holy thing” which was born of the Virgin Mary was “called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35). The last words of Jesus on the Cross affirmed it, for He “cried with a loud voice, [and] said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46). Then the centurion who nailed Him to the Cross fell to his knees and said, “Truly this man was the Son of God” (Mark 15:39).

The only ones who mocked His Sonship were the wicked men who crucified Him. Those wicked men sought “to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father” (John 5:18). They screamed at Him as He suffered, “If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross” (Matthew 27:40). But if He had come down from that cross it would have shown the exact opposite. It would have shown that He was not the Son of God!

The holy, virgin-born Son of God came down from Heaven, into the womb of Mary, born to die on the Cross to pay the penalty for our sins. He lived among us poor sinners, and shed His holy Blood to cleanse us from all our sins.

But I have not yet commented on the last part of our text. I will give Isaiah 7:14 as it is quoted from the Septuagint in Matthew 1:23,

“Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (Matthew 1:23).

That is what the word Emmanuel means. It means “God with us.” That is who the virgin-born child is. He is “God with us.”

I knew there was a God when I was a little child, hiding under the flowers in my grandmother’s back yard. I talked to Him, but I did not know Him. I only knew there must be a God who created those breathtakingly beautiful flowers! I knew there was a God when I stood alone, way out on the desert in Arizona – with the rain falling on the parched earth – with the fantastic, rich smell of the earth as it drank in the rain. There had to be a God who made such wonders. But I did not know Him. I knew there was a God when I fell, sweating and crying, on the grass, the day my grandmother was buried. I could feel God come down. There had to be a God. But I did not know Him.

But then one morning Jesus came down to me and saved my soul. That is the difference! His name is Emmanuel – God with us! His Blood cleanses us. His Word comforts us. His presence calms our fears. Jesus – our Emmanuel – God with us! I love Charles Wesley’s (1707-1788) charming Christmas carol!

Christ, by highest heaven adored;
   Christ, the Everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come,
   Offspring of the Virgin’s womb:
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
   Hail the Incarnate Deity,
Pleased as man with men to dwell,
   Jesus, our Emmanuel.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
   “Glory to the newborn King.”
(“Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” by Charles Wesley, 1707-1788).

I pray that you trust Jesus and be saved from punishment and sin, cleansed from all iniquity by His holy Blood. Heavenly Father, I pray that someone will come to Thy Son and be saved by Him tonight. Amen! 

If this sermon blessed you Dr. Hymers would like to hear from you. WHEN YOU WRITE TO DR. HYMERS YOU MUST TELL HIM WHAT COUNTRY YOU ARE WRITING FROM OR HE CANNOT ANSWER YOUR E-MAIL. If these sermons bless you send an e-mail to Dr. Hymers and tell him, but always include what country you are writing from. Dr. Hymers’ e-mail is at rlhymersjr@sbcglobal.net (click here). You can write to Dr. Hymers in any language, but write in English if you can. If you want to write to Dr. Hymers by postal mail, his address is P.O. Box 15308, Los Angeles, CA 90015. You may telephone him at (818)352-0452.

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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: Matthew 1:18-25.
Solo Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” (by Charles Wesley, 1707-1788).


THE OUTLINE OF

PROOFS OF THE VIRGIN BIRTH

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).

(Mark 10:27)

I.   First, the Virgin Birth of Christ is proved by the Old Testament,
Genesis 3:15.

II.  Second, the Virgin Birth of Christ is proved by the New Testament,
Matthew 1:23, 18; 24-25; Luke 1:34, 35, 37; John 3:16;
Matthew 3:17; John 1:34; Matthew 16:16; John 20:31;
I John 1:3; John 1:18; Acts 9:20; Luke 23:46; Mark 15:39;
John 5:18; Matthew 27:40.