It is vital because it was necessary for Jesus to be a perfect and sinless, so that He could qualify as a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. Scripture teaches that children are inherently born with sin (Psalm 51:5), and that sin is passed down through the seed of the male (Romans 5:12). Though sinful flesh is a spiritual condition, it is connected to the person through the physical, and so in order to be sinless at birth, Jesus could not have a human father.
In this way also, He was like the new Adam, born without sin, and the new representative of all mankind.
The problem with Isaiah 7:14, however, is that it was not originally a Scripture on the Virgin Birth.
In the context of the passage, God was giving a sign to King Ahaz that Assyria would invade the land. Unless we are ready to believe that there were two virgin births in history, the verse must have meant something different to Isaiah and King Ahaz than what it does to us today.
For if the verse is nothing more than a prophecy about the virgin Mary giving birth to Jesus, then the sign would have never come true for King Ahaz. But if the sign did come true for King Ahaz, then the verse must be predicting something other than a virgin birth.
Christian scholars have proposed numerous options. Here are a few of them:
- The word “virgin” could be translated as “young girl”, and Isaiah was predicting that a certain young girl they both knew would get married and get pregnant in the normal way very soon. This probably is best option.
- When Isiah speaks of a “virgin” he is using irony to refer to a woman who was supposedly a virgin, but with whom King Ahaz had secretly slept. The prophecy then was that Isaiah knew of this secret sin, and was predicting that the sin would be found out when the woman became pregnant.
- The young virgin is a reference to Isaiah’s own wife, and he was predicting that she would get pregnant and the child would be a boy. In this case, the son would also be Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz (cf. 7:16; 8:3-4, 18).
- Some see this as simply a reference to Ahaz’s wife, and therefore the son is King Hezekiah. The prediction in this case is that their child would be a son and that before he is a few years old, Assyria would attack.
Which view one takes does not really matter. Prophecy can have multiple meanings and fulfillments, as indicated by numerous other prophecies that were fulfilled in Israelite history and then re-fulfilled in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
Today, we can celebrate the virgin birth of Jesus, knowing that we have a perfect Savior who has secured for us redemption and the forgiveness of sins.
Scriptural Books on the Virgin Birth
Here are some helpful books for learning more about what Scripture teaches about the Virgin Birth. Click on a book below to see pricing and reviews.