Hi there all! I am by no means a scholar, but I would like to attempt to share what I understand to be true in the hopes that it will bring clarity.
I will be responding to only the quote about the virgin birth referenced in Matthew.
Your position (as I understand):
The translation of "almah" (עַלְמָה ) does not mean "virgin," but young woman, therefore the text in Isaiah 7 cannot be referring to the messiah, and the NT has misquoted the OT.
So the NT has been misquoting the Hebrew Bible.
Nowhere in the Tanach (Tanach is compilation of the first letters of the three parts of the Hebrew Bible, Torah, Nevi'iem, (prophets), and Chetuviem, (writings)) is a virgin to be found who would get pregnant. In fact, NOWHERE in the Tanach does a virgin bear a child. This concept is only to found in pagan mythology.
And when we look at the whole chapter of Isaiah 7, then we see that it doesn't speak about the messiah. It speaks about God giving a sign to Achaz, that he will have peace in his days.
This chapter has no bearing on the messiah whatsoever.
What the NT does is ripping a text out of context, mistranslating it, and presenting it as a messianic prophecy."
This text is obviously the source of much disagreement. I would like to point to the context of this text for my thesis statement, which is: "It doesn't matter whether the text means virgin or not."
The reason why it doesn't matter is because the girl being a virgin or not is not a required detail for the prophecy's fulfillment. Let me explain.
Throughout this post I will be referring to Isaiah, 2 Kings, Revelation, and Luke. I will be providing texts throughout so feel free to check my texts and read the story for yourself for authentication. Let's begin, come on this journey with me
. To begin, let's look at the text in question:
10 Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, 11 Ask a sign of the Lord your[f] God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven. 12 But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test. 13 And he[g] said, Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign.Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
In order to illustrate, I need to point to three significant events that take place:
- The first event is the meeting of Isaiah and his son, Shear-jashub (שְׁאָר ) with Ahaz "at the end of the conduit of the upper pool, on the highway to the Washer's field" (Isaiah 7:3, ESV). The reason why this event is important is because Isaiah's son, Shear-jashub (שְׁאָר ) literally means, "a remnant shall return." Source
. The idea behind the name was the eventual returning of Israel to YHWH for deliverance (Isaiah 10:21), and his presence at this meeting is significant because it is at this place ("on the highway to the Washer's field) where everything comes to a head.
- The second event is the actual prophecy in question; the one given to Ahaz concerning an "almah" (עַלְמָה ) that will "be with child and give birth to a son, and she will call his name Immanuel" (עִמָּ֫נוּאֵ֫ל ), which means "God with us/with us is God" The word's most recknognized meaning is "maiden"Source
, but is also translated as young girl, maid, and virgin in other places in the OT."Almah" does seem to generall refer to a sort of "chaste woman" in six other texts in the OT: Gen 24:43; Ex 2:8; Ps 68:25; Pr 30:19; Song 1:3; and Song 6:8, but may also just refer to a maiden, I.E., virginity is not a requirement but it is implied. Regardless, I will be using the word "maiden" as translation for "almah." So, getting back to the story, King Ahaz would apparently be aware of the pregnancy of a "maiden" at some point, and this maiden would name her son "God-with-us." The text does not
state the identity of the woman or the child, or the father, or even give us any other name by which to identify any of the mentioned. But there are two prophecies about this child which are significant:
1. "before the boy knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land whose two kings you dread will be deserted. (Isaiah 7:16), meaning that before this boy has both grown old enough to understand good and evil (probably adolescence), and be capable
of choosing good over evil, the kingdoms of Aram and Israel (10 northern tribes) would have fallen.
2. This "Immanuel" is referenced in the 2nd person singular in Isaiah 8:5-8:
The Lord spoke to me again: 6 Because this people has refused the waters of Shiloah that flow gently, and rejoice over Rezin and the son of Remaliah, 7 therefore, behold the Lord is bringing up against them the waters of the River, mighty and many, the king of Assyria and all his glory. And it will rise over all its channels and go over all its banks, 8 and it will sweep on into Judah, it will overflow and pass on, reaching even to the neck, and its outspread wings will fill the breadth of your land, O Immanuel.
Here, the speech is directed
at Immanuel, saying that a flood will reach "the neck" of Judah, but in the following passages it continues in that repentance will follow, and that the plans will be thwarted because "Immanuel." which of course, literally, is god-with-us.
So, since no other information is given in the text, for Ahaz, kind of the tell-tale sign of Immanuel, was that he would "eat curds and honey when he learns how to refuse the evil and choose the good." (Isaiah 7:15). I mentioned adolescence because the natural tendency of children is to be disobedient as they develop instead of obedient. This may be speculation, but at any rate it was at some age that the change took place, and that was the thing Ahaz was to look for. Keep in mind that the identity of neither the mother or Immanuel are simply not mentioned.
Now we're going to zoom over to Isaiah 22. In this chapter we find that the two chief assistants to King Hezekiah are mentioned, Eliakim the son of Hilkiah (chief of the royal household) and Shebna the scribe. Shebna is condemned by God, a guy who will apparently be "cast out" (isaiah 22:15-17). On the other hand, Eliakim is a righteous man, one who "will become a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah." (Isaiah 22:21). Not only that, but God was going to "set the key of David on his shoulder" and he would be "driven like a peg in a firm place" (Isaiah 22:23).
Stick with me, this is where it comes together
In Isaiah 36, both Eliakim and Shebna meet with the Assyrian Rabshakeh in a familiar place: by "the conduit of the upper pool, on the highway to the Washer's field."
There is the geographical connection with Isaiah 7:3 when, at the same place King Ahaz was met with Isaiah and his son, שְׁאָר ("a remnant shall return"). So why is that significant?
The significance is that Israel is now at a turning point. King Hezekiah began plundering the temple and paying tribute to appease the Assyrians (2 Kings 18:13-16). It wasn't until the Rabshakeh arrived basically at the doorstep (or "neck") of Israel that Hezekiah actually turned to the Lord for help. In short, tribute and appeasement were the means of addressing the problem of the impending Assyrian invasion.
So who is the child "Immanuel?" The one unidentified in the text?
It cant be Hezekiah, because he was born before
king Ahaz began to reign Judah at 20 years old (compare 2 Kings 16:1-2 with 2 Kings 18:1-2).
The only other character that appears within the context of this narrative (Isaiah, 2 Kings, and 2 Chronicles) is Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the righteous head of the royal household mentioned earlier.
As previously noted, the prophecy of the sign of Immanuel was given to King Ahaz "at the end of the conduit of the upper pool, on the highway to the Washer's field" (Isaiah 7:3). Isaiah's son, "a-remnant-shall-return (שְׁאָר ) was also present. This Immanuel was to witness the "flood up to the neck of Jerusalem" mentioned earlier.
It was Eliakim son of Hilkiah who met the Rabshakeh "by the conduit of the upper pool, on the highway to the Washer's field." (Isaiah 36:2). The interesting thing is that according to 2 Kings 19:2, he (Eliakim) was one of the leaders sent to plead with Isaiah to petition YHWH "on behalf of the remnant." (Isaiah 37:4). Basically, Eliakim son of Helkiah was the "MEDIATOR"
, or intermediary, and his role resulted in the inhabitants of Jerusalem to turn (and return) to YHWH for help.
In other words, Eliakim was a righteous man. It was not King Hezekiah, but Eliakim who had (or was given by God) the "key of David on his shoulder" (Isaiah 22:22). This same key is mentioned of Christ in Revelation 3:7-9, where the context is the repentance of "evil Jews." Eliakim was the "firm peg" upon which the throne of the house of David would rest. (Isaiah 22:23). However, it is also mentioned that at some point the peg would break (Isaiah 22:25).
So throughout this journey we have established three things:
1. We get to see that Eliakim is realistically the only possible character given in the text who fulfills the prophecy of Immanuel.
2. By standing as the intermediate between king Hezekiah and the Rabshakeh, Eliakim is, therefore, the type
for Jesus of Nazareth, whose mother was also an "almah" (עַלְמָה ). Therefore "god-with-us" does not mean so much that God is reconciled to man but that man is reconciled to God through the work of the MEDIATOR
who is Immanuel. Eliakim mediated and was the physical link (he was at the right place at the right time) for this reconciliation and deliverance through YHWH, and of course Jesus Christ is the mediator by through whom we are reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:20, Colossians 1:21-23. Thus, the "key of David" mentioned in both Isaiah 22:23 and Revelation 3:7-9 is free access to covenant/reconciliation with God.
3. It does not matter if either the maiden mentioned in Isaiah 7 or even Mary the mother of Jesus was a virgin or not, since the point of the prophecy was not the miraculous nature of the boys birth, but what the "Immanuel" would do; his purpose.
One final point to bring it all together:
There were many things the apostles didn't really understand until near and/or after the death and resurrection of Christ. The references to the OT in regards to the Messiah are likely one of those things. The awesome thing about these references is that they were already understood by the Jews within the historical context in which they were written, I.E., the religious leaders of that time did not believe these texts were about a God-Man-Messiah,
but purely saw them within the historical context as you are arguing. (Am not saying they didn't believe in a Messiah, just that they did not relate these specific texts with him, which is what led to confusion on the part of the religious leaders because Christ was not what they expected.)
Just before the ascension we read in Luke 24:
44 Then he said to them, These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled. 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures
This identifies specifically when Jesus opened the apostles eyes to the meaning of the scriptures about him in the OT. All throughout the gospels we are told that they saw, but did not understand, and we see Jesus occasionally explaining to them but it is quite apparent that they do not really get it...but now they finally understand.
This is the understanding by which Matthew writes this gospel.
Hopefully this has offered some clarification from my understanding of the aforementioned texts! Wish I had more time to do others!
Edited by Raphael, : No reason given.
Edited by Raphael, : No reason given.
Edited by Raphael, : No reason given.