December 2, 2017

Matthew 1:23

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

“Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
    and they shall name him Emmanuel,”

which means, “God is with us.”

The Incarnation and Immanuel!

WORD STUDY

VIRGIN

In the Bible, only four ways are noted to get a body: (1) 
without a man or a woman--as Adam did, made from the dust of the earth; 
(2) with a man, but no woman--as Eve did, made from Adam's side; (3) 
with a man and a woman--as all humans are born; or (4) with a woman, 
but no man--as Jesus was born, having an earthly mother but no 
biological father. It was important that Jesus be born of a virgin and 
conceived by the Holy Spirit (see Luke 1). Since He existed before the 
creation of man, how could He ever be born of a human father and mother? 
Every new baby is a being that has never existed before. The modernist 
who denies Christ's virgin birth denies His eternal Godhead and 
deity. Either He is God, or He is an imposter. [Wiersbe Expository 
Outlines mod.] 

There is no question that "virgin" is the correct translation. 
It is true to Matthew's text and its lxx source. "Virgin" 
translates the Greek parthenos found in the lxx in Isa 7:14, there used to 
render the Hebrew ‛almah. There is no example where it can be 
demonstrated that ‛almah refers to a young woman who is not a virgin 
(cf. Gen 24:43; Song 1:3; 6:8). Furthermore, the Greek word most 
often rendered "girl," "maiden," or "a young woman" (neanis) is not 
used by Matthew. Instead, he is precise in his use of parthenos, 
which is translated "virgin," "maiden," "pure," or "chaste" even in 
classical Greek literature. The lxx also uses parthenos to translate 
another Hebrew word meaning "virgin" (betulah), again underscoring the 
fact that parthenos meant "virgin" in the lxx and for Matthew. It is 
clear that both Matthew and the lxx translators understood that Isaiah 
was speaking of a virgin when he used ‛almah. And this is 
precisely the purity which both Matthew and Luke ascribe to Mary (cf. vv. 
18-25; Luke 1:26-35). [Believer's SB] 

Directly and indirectly Matthew and Luke supply evidence to 
confirm the truth of the virgin birth: (1) Both affirm that Jesus was 
born of the Holy Ghost (Matt. 1:18, 20; Luke 1:35). (2) They declare 
that Mary was to "bring forth a son" who was not to be the son of 
Joseph (see on Matt. 1:21) but the Son of God (Luke 1:35). (3) Mary 
remained a virgin "till she had brought forth" Jesus (Matt. 1:25). (4) 
Mary affirmed her virginity to the angel (Luke 1:34). Thus the virgin 
birth of Jesus is fully attested, even apart from the word "virgin" 
itself, and would stand even if Matthew had never used that word in this 
setting.... There can be no doubt that Matthew here uses "virgin" in the 
strict sense of the word, in reference to Mary as a chaste, unmarried 
young woman.... Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Matthew applies 
Isaiah's prediction to Christ, and in doing so uses the word parthenos, 
which strictly means "virgin" and nothing else. [SDA Commentary] 

The virgin birth of Jesus Christ is vital to the truth of the 
gospel (Isa. 7:14). Since Jesus Christ is God, He existed before Mary; 
therefore, He could not have been conceived as are other babies. He was not 
only born, but He "came into the world" (John 18:37). He is both God 
and man, the sinless Lamb of God (1 Pet. 1:19). Matthew opens and 
closes his book with "God with us" (1:23; 28:20). [Chapter by Chapter 
Bible Commentary by Warren Wiersbe] 

The message, that Mary was pregnant by the Holy Spirit, was 
accepted by Joseph, as it has been by Christians throughout history. The 
name, "Immanuel," explains the implications. The Child conceived by 
the Holy Spirit is Himself God: God, come to be "with us," not 
simply as a presence, but as one of us. Why the name "Jesus"? The name 
means "deliverer" or "saviour," and expresses the purpose of His 
coming. God became one of us in order to "save His people from their 
sins." 
Some who claim to be Christians do deny the Virgin Birth. Yet if 
Jesus was not both God and man, united through a miracle in Mary's 
womb, He was merely a man. And no mere man, doomed to struggle with 
his own sins, would be free to save us from ours. Without the Virgin 
Birth there is no biblical Christianity. With it, our destiny is 
secure. For with it, the Jesus on whom we rely is God, and as God He 
guarantees the salvation He won for us on Calvary. [The 365-Day Devotional 
Commentary] 

Three times in this section (vv. 18, 20, 25) Mary is described 
as having had no "union" with Joseph. She was "with child through 
the Holy Spirit." Additional details may be read in Lk 1:26-2:20. We 
cannot explain the virgin birth. It is another instance of miracle 
being exception to the natural order of things. In faith we accept the 
simple truth of the Holy Spirit's action and praise God for keeping His 
promises and sending our Savior.... The virgin birth was God's chosen way 
to become incarnate: the invisible, spiritual God became human. 
[Disciple SB] 

EMMANUEL/IMMANUEL

Why was Jesus not actually called "Immanuel"? According to 
Hebrew usage the name does not represent a title but a 
characterization, as in Isa 1:26 and 9:6. The name "Immanuel" 
shows that He really 
 was "God with us." Thus the Deity of Christ is stressed at the very 
beginning of Matthew. [Scofield SB] 

Jesus was to be called 'Immanuel' ("God with us"), as predicted 
by Isaiah the prophet (Isaiah 7:14). Jesus was God in the flesh; 
thus God was literally among us, "with us." Through the Holy Spirit, 
Christ is present today in the life of every believer. Perhaps not even 
Isaiah understood how far-reaching the meaning of "Immanuel" would be. 
[Life Application SB] 

APPLICATION COMMENTARY

In many ways the birth of Christ could be considered the most 
significant and far-reaching miracle of all time. The wonder was not just 
that he came into the world without a human father, but that the 
infinite, holy, all-knowing, all-powerful, eternal God, the Creator of 
this universe, would agree to take upon himself the likeness of 
sinful flesh, knowing full well that he would be cruelly crucified by 
his own sinful creatures! This is perhaps the greatest miracle of 
all.  [Daily Devotional Bible re Luke 1:31] 

The doctrine of the virgin birth is crucial to our faith. The 
incarnation of the Son of God was accomplished by a creative act of the Holy 
Spirit in the body of Mary, a virgin. It was a special miracle 
performed by the third person of the Holy Trinity - the Holy Spirit - 
which enabled the second person of the Trinity - the eternal Son of 
God - to take upon Himself a genuine human nature. He was born of a 
virgin, as a man, without surrendering any aspect of His deity..... 
One with us, yet one with God. He had to become man because man 
was the one who had sinned. He had to be God because God was the 
only One who could do anything about the sin of man. Humanity had 
tried for centuries, and the situation only got worse! The only way 
God could bring about the salvation of the fallen human race was to 
assume the form of the race He was to redeem.  
God has given us the means to know the truth. Jesus is the way 
to the Father, because He is our Redeemer. He is the truth because 
He is the fulfillment of all the prophecies concerning Him. He is 
the life because He overcame death..... Jesus has the fullness of God 
dwelling in Him bodily forever and ever. The Son of God became the Son of 
man so that the sons of men might become the sons of God. Terry 
Fullam [Time With God SB mod.] 

His Birth in History. "..... that Holy One who is to be born will 
be called the Son of God (Luke 1:35). Jesus Christ was born into 
this world, not from it. He did not emerge out of history; He came 
into history from the outside. Jesus Christ is not the best human 
being the human race can boast of--He is a Being for whom the human 
race can take no credit at all. He is not man becoming God, but God 
Incarnate--God coming into human flesh from outside it. His life is the highest 
and the holiest entering through the most humble of doors. Our 
Lord's birth was an advent--the appearance of God in human form. 
His Birth in Me. "My little children, for whom I labor in birth 
again until Christ is formed in you ....." (Galatians 4:19). Just as our 
Lord came into human history from outside it, He must also come into 
me from outside. Have I allowed my personal human life to become a 
"Bethlehem" for the Son of God? I cannot enter the realm of the kingdom of 
God unless I am born again from above by a birth totally unlike 
physical birth. "You must be born again" (John 3:7). This is not a 
command, but a fact based on the authority of God. The evidence of the 
new birth is that I yield myself so completely to God that "Christ 
is formed" in me. And once "Christ is formed" in me, His nature 
immediately begins to work through me.  
God Evident in the Flesh. This is what is made so profoundly 
possible for you and for me through the redemption of man by Jesus 
Christ. [In His Time; My Utmost For His Highest]

 

Categories: Freedom From Fear

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