Archive for the 'Apologetics' Category

The doctrine of the virgin birth of the Savior of the world, Yeshua, has repeatedly come under attack by those he came to save yet, who refuse to believe. This doctrine, however, is coming under attack by those who profess to believe as well. May this study aid your understanding of this important issue.

There are several arguments used to attack the virgin birth doctrine. They are as follows;

1. Virgin birth proponents have divorced Isa 7:14 from the time frame in which it was given. They have shredded the context to prove the doctrine.

2. The Hebrew word “almah” should have been translated “young woman” rather than “virgin.”

3. The Messiah must literally be an ancestor of King David through a human father.

4. The virgin birth is never mentioned in New Testament writings except for the alleged birth accounts in Matthew and Luke’s accounts.

5. The virgin birth story has been copied from other pagan religions that have similar accounts.

When viewed superficially, each of these arguments has merit which is why many have rejected the virgin birth throughout history. If we examine these points under the light of Scripture, we can’t help but establish our faith in this doctrine and in Yahweh’s Word.

Argument #1 – Isa 7:14 has been divorced from its context.

I will not try to refute this argument by proving the context refers to Yeshua’s birth. The immediate context may very well be fulfilled in Isa 8:3,4 with the birth of Isaiah’s son. If so, there is another fulfillment which is, in reality, the primary fulfillment.

In the next chapter, Isa 9:6, 7 speaks of a male child being born which none will argue refers to Yeshua the Messiah.

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty El, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of Yahweh of hosts will perform this.”

This prophecy, however, is couched in the same context as Isa 7:14 and Isa 8:3.

All of chapter 8 refers to the destruction that was coming from the king of Assyria. All of chapter 9, with the exception of the messianic prophecies in vss. 1, 2, 6 & 7, refers to the same subject. We see king Rezin in vs.11, the Syrians in vs.12 and the destruction of Israel in the ensuing verses.

If we apply the same contextual argument as with Isa 7:14, we have no choice but to believe the child of Isa 9:6 is the same child of Isa 7:14. In fact, Isa 9:6 is never quoted in the New Testament as applying to Yeshua whereas Isa 7:14 is. The only verses we have that would somewhat tie in Isa 9:6 with Yeshua is Isa 9:1 & 2 which were quoted in Mt 4:15, 16 as pertaining to Yeshua.

“Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations.

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.”

Herein lies the answer to the problem of context. It is the nature of many prophecies, Messianic or not, to be divorced from their context. We just saw how that is true concerning Isa 9:6 & 7. Let’s look at a few more.

Deut 18:15-19 – “Yahweh thy Elohim will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; According to all that thou desiredst of Yahweh thy Elohim in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of Yahweh my Elohim, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. And Yahweh said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken. I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.

This prophecy was given in response to the Israelite request found in verse 16; ” Let me not hear again the voice of Yahweh my Elohim, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not.” The context shows the Prophet would speak to “them” (vs.18) rather than Yahweh. Yet, Jn 6:14 and Acts 3:19-26 teach us the Prophet to come was Yeshua. So how did Yeshua speak to “them” that said they did not want to hear Yahweh’s voice again?

Ps 16:10 – “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.”

Since David wrote this prophecy, the context suggests David’s soul would not be left in sheol to suffer corruption.. Yet, Acts 2:27, 31 teach us Yeshua fulfills Ps 16:10. This prophecy is clearly divorced from its context.

Ps 41:9 – “Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.”

The context suggests the “me” of verse 9 is the same “me” of vss. 4-7. Yet, Yeshua applied this verse to himself in Jn 13:18. How can that be if the context of Ps 41:4-9 clearly shows the “me” of verse 9 to be a sinner (vs.4)?

Ps 68:18 – “Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that Yahweh Elohim might dwell among them.”

The context of the entire Psalm concerns praise to the Almighty Elohim of Israel, “Yah” (vs.4). Yet, Paul applies verse 18 to Yeshua in Eph 4:8.

Ps 69:1-5 – “Save me, O Elohim; for the waters are come in unto my soul. I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my Elohim. They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored that which I took not away. O Elohim, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee.”

The context concerns David praying in his affliction. Yet, in Jn 15:25, Yeshua applies Ps 69:4a to himself. How can that be if the context reveals the speaker to be “foolish” and a sinner (vs.5)?

Ps 109:7,8 – “When he shall be judged, let him be condemned: and let his prayer become sin. Let his days be few; and let another take his office.”

The context of Psalm 109 is David complaining about his enemies. Yet, verse 8 is applied to Judas in Acts 1:16, 20.

Ho 11:1 – “When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.”

The context clearly speaks of Israel as a people. Israel, as a people, was also called Yahweh’s “son” and “firstborn” in Ex 4:22. However, Mt 2:14, 15 applies Ho 11:1 to Yeshua being called out of Egypt. This prophecy obviously refers to two different events; one for the immediate context and one for the ultimate fulfillment.

Zec 9:9 – “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.”

The context of verses 1-8 is Yahweh’s judgment upon Tyrus and verse 10 speaks of the destruction of Ephraim and Jerusalem. Yet, verse 9 is applied to Yeshua in Mt 21:4, 5.

Zec 11:12,13 – “And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. And Yahweh said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of Yahweh.

The context of verses 1-9 is the destruction of Jerusalem followed by the breaking of the brotherhood between Judah and Israel (vss. 14-17). Yet, Mt 26:15 and 27:3-10 apply Zech 11:12, 13 to Judas’ betrayal of Yeshua.

From the few examples I have listed it is obvious that the context suggests a different fulfillment than the New Testament records. The fulfillment of each of these prophecies has been divorced from the context, not by man, but by the Spirit of Yahweh.

The same is true of Isa 7:14. What appears to be the fulfillment based on context is not the primary fulfillment recorded by the Spirit of Yahweh.

Those that oppose the virgin birth would have us discard Matthew and Luke’s accounts as unauthentic because they don’t fit their interpretation of Isa 7:14. Using that logic, every New Testament reference to the fulfillment of the prophecies listed above should be discarded as well. That, however, is an illogical conclusion. Wisdom suggests that we understand Isa 7:14 as we would any other prophecy whose fulfillment is divorced from the context, especially when there are New Testament witnesses to the ultimate primary fulfillment.

Additionally, as far as I know, Matthew and Luke’s accounts are found in all Greek manuscripts. This leaves us absolutely no grounds to question their authority. Yet, one virgin birth opponent writes, “Matthew and Luke’s accounts can NOT be proven to be free of scribal corruption.”

First of all, neither can any other New Testament verse. So what’s the point of such a comment? Second, they don’t need to be proven authentic; they need to be proven unauthentic and that proof has yet to be seen.

The same author writes, “Matthew and Luke’s accounts may be an invention of the early Constantinian minded Greek and Roman scribes.” Yet, Ante-Nicene Fathers records virgin birth discussions 200 years prior to Constantine ( Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians, chapter VII). Ignatius was martyred no later than 117 A.D.

Argument #2 – “Virgin” is an erroneous translation.

The following is a list of all verses that contain “almah” which was translated “virgin.”

Ge 24:43 – “Behold, I stand by the well of water; and it shall come to pass, that when the virgin cometh forth to draw water, and I say to her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water of thy pitcher to drink;”

Ex 2:8 – “And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, Go. And the maid went and called the child’s mother.”

Ps 68:25 – “The singers went before, the players on instruments followed after; among them were the damsels playing with timbrels.”

Pr 30:19 – “The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid.”

So 1:3 – “Because of the savour of thy good ointments thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee.”

So 6:8 – “There are threescore queens, and fourscore concubines, and virgins without number.”

Isa 7:14 – “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”

“There is no instance where it can be proved that this word designates a young woman who is not a virgin.” (TWOT)

On the other hand, the word for “virgin” in Mt 1:23 is “parthenos.” Here is Thayer’s info on this word.

3933 paryenov parthenos par-then’-os

of unknown origin; TDNT – 5:826,786; n f

KJV – virgin 14; 14

1) a virgin

1a) a marriageable maiden

1b) a woman who has never had sexual intercourse with a man

1c) one’s marriageable daughter

2) a man who has abstained from all uncleanness and whoredom attendant on idolatry, and so has kept his chastity

2a) one who has never had intercourse with women

I don’t see a non-virgin in this definition.

“Parthenos” was used in the following OT verses of the Septuagint;

Ge 24:14 – “And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shewed kindness unto my master.”

Ge 24:16 – “And the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her: and she went down to the well, and filled her pitcher, and came up.”

Ge 24:43 – “Behold, I stand by the well of water; and it shall come to pass, that when the virgin cometh forth to draw water, and I say to her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water of thy pitcher to drink;”

Ge 24:55 – “And her brother and her mother said, Let the damsel abide with us a few days, at the least ten; after that she shall go.”

De 22:23 – “If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her;”

Jud 19:24 – “Behold, here is my daughter a maiden, and his concubine; them I will bring out now, and humble ye them, and do with them what seemeth good unto you: but unto this man do not so vile a thing.”

2 Sa 13:2 – “And Amnon was so vexed, that he fell sick for his sister Tamar; for she was a virgin; and Amnon thought it hard for him to do any thing to her.”

2 Ki 19:21 – “This is the word that Yahweh hath spoken concerning him; The virgin the daughter of Zion hath despised thee, and laughed thee to scorn; the daughter of Jerusalem hath shaken her head at thee.”

Isa 7:14 – “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”

Isa 37:22 – “This is the word which Yahweh hath spoken concerning him; The virgin, the daughter of Zion, hath despised thee, and laughed thee to scorn; the daughter of Jerusalem hath shaken her head at thee.”

Isa 47:1 – “Come down, and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon, sit on the ground: there is no throne, O daughter of the Chaldeans: for thou shalt no more be called tender and delicate.”

Jer 2:32 – “Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? yet my people have forgotten me days without number.”

Jer 18:13 – “Therefore thus saith Yahweh; Ask ye now among the heathen, who hath heard such things: the virgin of Israel hath done a very horrible thing.”

Jer 31:4 – “Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry.”

Jer 31:21 – “Set thee up waymarks, make thee high heaps: set thine heart toward the highway, even the way which thou wentest: turn again, O virgin of Israel, turn again to these thy cities.”

La 2:13 – “What thing shall I take to witness for thee? what thing shall I liken to thee, O daughter of Jerusalem? what shall I equal to thee, that I may comfort thee, O virgin daughter of Zion? for thy breach is great like the sea: who can heal thee?”

Am 5:2 – “The virgin of Israel is fallen; she shall no more rise: she is forsaken upon her land; there is none to raise her up.”

From these verses it is quite clear that “parthenos” refers to a virgin who was undefiled by man. The Septuagint is older and probably more reliable than the Massoretic text. Most New Testament quotes of Old Testament verses agree with the Septuagint. I don’t believe the New Testament writers were actually using the Septuagint, but that they were quoting from the Hebrew text from which the Septuagint was translated. That text is no longer available. All we have now is the post-Yeshua Massoretic text which may have undergone scribal manipulation concerning “almah.” Even if it didn’t, “almah” still carries the meaning of virgin.

Since it has been shown in Argument #1 that Isa 7:14 has a dual fulfillment, the word “virgin” is a perfect translation. Isaiah’s wife was a virgin and Miriam was a virgin. If we choose “young woman,” then we create unnecessary complications. The Septuagint uses “parthenos” to leave absolutely no doubt what was meant. Additionally, the Septuagint was translated from Hebrew to Greek by Jews. This tells us that the Hebrew word “almah,” at the time the Septuagint was wriiten, meant “virgin,” not “young maiden.”

Argument #3 – Messiah must be a literal ancestor of King David through a human father.

I will address this argument in two sections;

A) Could Messiah have been fathered by a genetic ancestor of King David?

B) Could Messiah sit on the throne of David even though he was not begotten by a human father?

A) Let’s assume Joseph was a genetic ancestor of King David and that he was the genetic father of Yeshua. That would make Yeshua the son of Joseph. Yet, time and time again we are taught that Yeshua is the “Son of God” (Son of Yahweh). How can it be said that he is the Son of Yahweh if Yahweh did not father him?

The superficial answer is that we are not to understand “Son of Yahweh” literally. Spiritually speaking he is the son of Yahweh just as any other believer would be a son of Yahweh. Sounds good, but it is not the whole truth.

First, that would imply the prophets were sons of Yahweh in the same sense that Yeshua is. Yet, consider Mt 21:33-41;

“Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.”

This parable refers to the nation of Israel killing the son (Yeshua). Prior to that, Yahweh (the householder) sent many servants (prophets included) who they also killed. Yet, those servants are not referred to as sons. There was only one son sent. Why? Because the householder (Yahweh) only has one true son (Yeshua).

Second, that simplistic answer does not address why Yeshua is called the “only begotten Son of Yahweh.” (Jn 1:14, 18; 3:16, 18; 1 Jn 4:9). “Only begotten” is from the Greek “monogenes” (Strong’s #3439). It is a contraction of #3441 “monos” meaning “remaining, i.e. sole or single; by impl. mere,” and #1096 “ginomai” meaning “to cause to be (“gen”-erate), i.e. (reflex) to become (come into being).” In other words, Yeshua is the only being that Yahweh brought into being. However, we know Yahweh brought Adam into being through creation from dust. Therefore, monogenes cannot be understood in that sense. Nor can it be understood in the sense of Yahweh bringing Abel into being through Adam and Eve. Then there would be many sons begotten by Him, not “monos.” Therefore, “monogenes” can only be understood in the sense that Yeshua is the only being that Yahweh directly brought into being in the way that He did (without an earthly father or via creation as Adam was).

“Monogenes” was also used in Luke 7:12; 8:42; and 9:38 referring to a woman’s only son, a man’s only daughter and a man’s only child respectively. It should also be noted that Isaac is called the “monogenes” of Abraham in Heb 11:17. This is a reference to Gen 22:2 which says;

“And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.”

“Only” is from the Hebrew “yachid” yet, the Septuagint did not use “monogenes” to translate “yachid”, but “agapetos” meaning “beloved.” “Agapetos” was no doubt chosen because Isaac had a half-brother (Ishmael).

Some will say “only begotten” refers to Yeshua being begotten at his resurrection. This is based on Ps 2:7 and Acts 13:33;

“I will declare the decree: Yahweh hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.”

“God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Yeshua again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.”

While this is true in a spiritual sense, it has a literal application as well. In Jn 3:16, 18, before his resurrection, Yeshua said he was the only begotten Son of Yahweh.

Having established that, how can Yeshua be Yahweh’s only begotten Son if he was just like any other man that has ever been begotten by an earthly father? Can it be said that Moses or Paul were Yahweh’s only begotten Sons?

Additionally, there are several problematic verses that prove Yeshua could not be fathered by a man.

In Jn 6:31-71, Yeshua taught the people that he was the true bread that “came down from heaven.” (Jn 6:33,38,41,42,50,51,58). After he taught them, he perceived his disciples murmured at his hard sayings. He then said to them, “What and if you should see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?” (Jn 6:62).

How can Yeshua declare he came down from heaven if he was merely born of Joseph? How can he imply he would ascend back to heaven where he originally came down from? Was there ever a time between his birth and this account in John where he ascended into heaven? If not, that proves he had to have a heavenly origin, not an origin from Joseph.

Consider also Jn 3:13;

” And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.”

And 1 Cor 15:47;

“The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Master from heaven.”

Other problematic verses are Jn 16:27,28,30; 17:8.

“For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father. . . Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God.” (KJV)

“For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that Icame out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.”

The phrases “came out” and “came forth” are from the same Greek word, “exerchomai,” meaning “to issue” (Strong’s #1831). It comes from two root words. The first is #1537, “ek” or “ex,” “a primary preposition denoting origin (the point whence action or motion proceeds), from, out (of place, time, or cause; literal or figurative; direct or remote).” The second is 2064, ” erchomai.” Thayer’s definition is;

1) to come

1a) of persons
1a1) to come from one place to another, and used both of persons arriving and of those returning
1a2) to appear, make one’s appearance, come before the public

2) metaph.

2a) to come into being, arise, come forth, show itself, find place or influence
2b) be established, become known, to come (fall) into or unto

3) to go, to follow one

I have tried to understand these problematic verses as they would apply to Joseph as Yeshua’s genetic father to no avail. There can only be one conclusion, Yeshua did not have two earthly parents. Since Miriam was undoubtedly human, the other had to exist in heaven from which the Messiah issued out of and came down from.

One other problematic verse is Mic 5:2;

” But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”

“Goings forth” is from the Hebrew “mowtsa’ah. Strong’s says the word means “a family descent.” In other words, lineage. BDB says the word means “origin” or “places of going out to or from.”

If Yeshua was born of Joseph, then his family descent, lineage, or origin can be traced no further back than Adam. Yet, Mic 5:2 says his “family descent” is “from of old, from everlasting.” This can only be true if Yeshua came into being by Yahweh who has no beginning. Some might argue that “everlasting” (Heb – “olam”) does not necessarily mean forever and ever without end. That may be true in certain circumstances, but not based on the context of this prophecy. If “olam” is to be understood as going no further back in lineage than to Adam, then this would be true of all men. Yet, this is a specific, identifying characteristic of the coming Messiah. It must be understood in such a way that it disqualifies most men just as being born in Bethlehem and becoming a ruler in Israel would disqualify most men.

B) Could Messiah sit on the throne of David even though he was not begotten by a human father?

I believe the answer is yes.

First, we know Joseph was of the seed of David (Mt 1:20; Luke 1:27; 2:4). We also have two genealogies showing Joseph to be a descendant of David. Certainly one of them is truly Joseph’s genealogy.

Second, the people of Yeshua’s day thought he actually was Joseph’s son (Luke 4:22; Jn 6:42).

Third, Luke 3:23 says,

” And Yeshua himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,” (KJV)

“As was supposed” is from the Greek “hos enomizito.” According to Strong’s #3543, “nomizo” means; “prop. to do by law (usage), i.e. to accustom (pass. be usual); by extens. to deem or regard.” It comes from the root word “nomos” meaning “law.” Is it possible that Luke 3:23 does not mean “as was supposed” but rather, “as was customary” or “as was regarded” or “as saith the law”? In other words, Jewish custom and law considered Joseph to be the lawful, legal father of Yeshua.

How can that be? Via adoption!

At this point I would like to present an excerpt from an article entitled, “Virgin Birth, Jewish Adoption and Genealogy of Yeshua,” by Mike Gascoigne. The article can be viewed in its entirety at http://www.write-on.co.uk/vbirth.htm.

In the article, the author quotes the Talmud which many readers reject. I, too, reject most Talmudic writing. However, references in the Talmud to Jewish customs and culture at that time should be accepted as valid practices of the day. The bold print is mine.

Jewish Adoption Means the Child is Begotten of the Adoptive Parents

In the case of Yeshua, it is unlikely that Joseph would have registered Yeshua as an “adopted son” because he would then have to explain the Virgin Birth to the Roman authorities and they would have considered him to be mad. He would have just registered Yeshua as his son.

Even if Yeshua had been born outside of Joseph’s household, and Joseph had adopted him, he would still be considered to be Joseph’s son just as if he had been born there.

The Talmud states emphatically that there is no difference between an adopted child and a child who was born into the household, and the genealogical tables in the Bible do not attempt to identify anyone as an “adopted son”. Instead they are just called “sons”.

Here is an example.

And the sons of Ezrah were, Jether, and Mered, and Epher, and Jalon … And his [Mered’s] wife Jehudijah bare Jered the father of Gedor, and Heber the father of Socho, and Jekuthiel the father of Zanoah. And these are the sons of Bithiah the daughter of Pharaoh, which Mered took. (1 Chr. 4:17-18)

According to the Talmud, Jehudijah and Bithiah were one and the same person. She was the daughter of Pharaoh who took Moses out of the bulrushes and looked after him. She was a Jewish Proselyte, and the purpose of her trip to the river was to cleanse herself from the idolatry of Pharaoh’s house. Jered is considered to be Moses, and it says she “bare” him, even though she only looked after him.

The quotes from the Talmud are as follows:

R. Simon b. Pazzi once introduced an exposition of the Book of Chronicles as follows: ‘All thy words are one, and we know how to find their inner meaning’. [It is written], And his wife the Jewess bore Jered the father of Gedor, and Heber the father of Socho, and Jekuthiel the father of Zanoah, and these are the sons of Bithya the daughter of Pharaoh, whom Mered took. Why was she [the daughter of Pharaoh] called a Jewess? Because she repudiated idolatry, as it is written, And the daughter of Pharaoh went down to bathe in the river, and R. Johanan, [commenting on this,] said that she went down to cleanse herself from the idols of her father’s house. ‘Bore’: But she only brought him [Moses] up? – This tells us that if anyone brings up an orphan boy or girl in his house, the Scripture accounts it as if he had begotten him. ‘Jered’: this is Moses. Why was he called Jered? Because manna came down [yarad] for Israel in his days. (Talmud Mas. Megilah 13a)

And his wife Ha-Jehudiah bore Yered the father of Gedor [and Heber the father of Soco, and Jekuthiel the father of Zanoah] and these are the sons of Bithia the daughter of Pharaoh, whom Mered took. Now, ‘Mered’ was Caleb; and why was he called Mered? . – Because he opposed the counsel of the other spies. But was he [Moses] indeed born of Bithia and not rather of Jochebed? – But Jochebed bore and Bithia reared him; therefore he was called after her. (Talmud Mas. Sanhedrin 19b)

The Talmud Mas. Megilah uses the literal translation of Ha-Jehudiah which means “the Jewess” while Mas. Sanhedrin acknowledges it as a name. The name “Bithiah” might have been given to Pharaoh’s daughter when she was converted, since it means “daughter of God”. Then she was called Jehudijah when she married Mered, because she had joined the tribe of Judah. Amram and Jochebed, the genetic father and mother of Moses, are mentioned in Exodus 6:20 and Numbers 26:59.

If Mered was Caleb, it follows that his father Ezrah was Jephunneh the Kenezite, mentioned in Numbers 32:12 and Joshua 14:6,14. The Kenezites lived in the land that God had promised to Abraham and his descendants, and they are mentioned in Genesis 15:19. It appears, therefore, that Ezrah (Jephunneh) was a Proselyte who worshipped the God of Israel and joined the tribe of Judah. So we have Mered (Caleb), the son of a Proselyte, marrying Bithiah, who was also a Proselyte.

The genealogy is as follows:

image 179

It is difficult to verify whether or not the Talmud has correctly interpreted this passage in 1 Chronicles. However, the purpose of this study is not to establish a precise genealogy, but to investigate the Jewish view of adoption. The Talmud is universally accepted as an authentic account of Jewish culture and the statement that an adopted orphan is considered to be born into the household should be taken as authoritative.

Here is another example which is easier to verify:

Saul had two daughters, the older one was Merab and the younger was Michal. (1 Sam. 14:49). Merab was promised to David as a wife, but she was given to Adriel the Meholathite instead. (1 Sam. 18:17-19). David married Michal, the younger daughter of Saul (1 Sam. 18:20-30). Michal was given to another man called Phalti after David had fled from Saul (1 Sam. 25:44) but David took her back again when he returned to take the kingdom. (2 Sam. 3:13-16)

When David brought the Ark to Jerusalem and danced before the Lord, Michal mocked him, saying he had exposed himself to the women. She died childless, apparently as a judgement for her mockery.

Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death. (2 Sam 6:23)

In apparent contradiction to this, the following passage suggests that Michal had five sons from Adriel, who as we have already seen, was the husband of Merab.

And the king … took the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul, whom she bore to Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite. (2 Sam. 21:8. Green’s Literal Translation)

The Talmud resolves this as follows:

Now as to R. Joshua b. Korha, surely it is written, And the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul whom she bore to Adriel. – R. Joshua [b. Korha] answers thee: Was it then Michal who bore them? Surely it was rather Merab who bore them! But Merab bore and Michal brought them up; therefore they were called by her name. This teaches thee that whoever brings up an orphan in his home, Scripture ascribes it to him as though he had begotten him. (Talmud Mas. Sanhedrin 19b)

The genealogy is as follows:

virgin_birth_2

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The Genealogies of Yeshua in Matthew and Luke

The Gospels of Matthew and Luke give two different genealogies of Yeshua.

Matthew 1:1-17 gives the genealogy from Abraham to David, and then from David to Yeshua via Solomon.

Luke 3:23-38 gives the genealogy in reverse order, and goes all the way back to Adam. The line of descent from David is through his son Nathan instead of Solomon. There are many more generations in Luke, and the names are different. According to Matthew, the father of Joseph is called Jacob. According to Luke, he is called Heli. It is not certain whether Matthan and Matthat are the same person, listed in Matthew and Luke respectively as the grandfather of Joseph. The only two names that appear identically in both lists are Zerubbabel and his father Shealtiel.

One possible explanation for the differing genealogies is that Luke’s Gospel gives Mary’s genealogy, with Joseph’s name used as a covering to avoid the suggestion that Yeshua was illegitimate.

However, a much more satisfactory explanation is that one or both lists include adopted children, and there is nothing in either of them to suggest who is an adopted son and who is a genetic son.

To illustrate this, we should look at the two names that appear in both lists, Zerubbabel and Shealtiel. Matthew associates them with the exile into Babylon as follows:

And Josiah fathered Jechoiachin and his brothers, at the carrying away of Babylon. And after the carrying away of Babylon, Jechoiachin fathered Shealtiel; and Shealtiel fathered Zerubbabel. (Matt. 1:11-12. Green’s Literal Translation)

These are undoubtedly the same Shealtiel and Zerubbabel that appear in Ezra as follows:

Then stood up Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and his brethren, and builded the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings thereon … Now in the second year of their coming unto the house of God at Jerusalem, in the second month, began Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel…appointed the Levites … to set forward the work of the house of the Lord. (Ezra 3:2-8)

They also appear in Haggai as follows:

In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet unto Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, saying… (Haggai 1:1)

Speak now to Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and to the residue of the people, saying… (Haggai 2:2)

In 1 Chronicles 3 there are a number of fragmented genealogies of the tribe of Judah. Jeconiah (Jehoiachin) is mentioned as the father of Shealtiel, in agreement with Matthew’s Gospel, but Zerubbabel is not listed as the son of Shealtiel. Instead he is the son of Shealtiel’s brother Pediah.

And the sons of Jeconiah were Assir, and Shealtiel his son, and Malchiram, and Pediah, and Shenazar, Jecamiah, Hoshama, and Nedebiah. And the sons of Pediah: Zerubbabel and Shimei. … (1 Chr. 3:17-19. Green’s Literal Translation)

Why does this verse appear to be at variance with Ezra, Haggai and Matthew’s Gospel, suggesting that Zerubbabel was the son of Shealtiel’s brother Pediah? The only possible answer is that Zerubbabel was the genetic son of one of these two brothers, but was adopted by the other. During the return from the Babylonian captivity, there must have been many orphans who required adoption. It is very likely that either Shealtiel or Pediah might have died and Zerubbabel was adopted by the surviving brother.

The genealogy is as follows:

virgin_birth_3

In true Jewish tradition, as we have already seen, the Bible does not say anything to distinguish between genetic birth and adoption. In this case it is not even possible to tell from the context who is the genetic father of Zerubbabel and who is the adoptive father.

This, of course, provides the answer to all the Jewish anti-missionary groups that try to ridicule Christians with the suggestion that if the New Testament can’t even get the genealogy of Yeshua right, how can we believe anything else it says? They should be aware that the same apparent contradictions occur in the Tanakh, for the same reasons. Not only do we have two different fathers of Zerubbabel, but we have also seen how Michal, the daughter of Saul, was childless until the day of her death, yet she bore five sons to Adriel.

It is likely that at the time of Yeshua, many different genealogical tables existed, and none of them made any distinction between genetic birth and adoption. Far from contradicting each other, Matthew and Luke are actually strengthening the point, that Yeshua was descended from David, by giving two different tables that both have the same result.

The book of 1 Chronicles goes on to list the children of Zerubbabel.

… And the sons of Zerubbabel; Meshullam, and Hananiah, and Shelomith their sister: and Hashubah, and Ohel, and Berechiah, and Hasadiah, Jushab-hesed, five. (1 Chr. 3:19-20)

Why does it say “five”? Some translations say “five others”. Are these the five who were born after their sister Shelomith, or were they adopted? In true Jewish style it doesn’t tell you. This whole chapter is just a fragmented genealogy and there is no reason to believe there were only five. There might have been six or seven. Matthew’s Gospel says there was a son of Zerubbabel called Abiud, and Luke says there was a son called Rhesa.

According to Luke’s Gospel, the father of Shealtiel was Neri instead of Jehoiachin, giving a different line of descent from David. Again, an adoption might have occurred during the chaos of captivity into Babylon.


(End of excerpt)

The Scriptures have several teachings concerning adoption that would help us to understand this issue as it relates to Joseph and Yeshua. The question is, “Can an adopted son sit on the throne as King?”

Rom 9:4 says;

“Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;”

The Israelites were adopted by Yahweh. That is why Yahweh spoke of them as “my son” (Ex 4:22,23; Deut 14:1,2; Isa 43:6; Jer 31:9; Hos 11:1).

Now, who was the first king over Israel? 1 Sam 12:12 & 8:7 tell us Yahweh was their first King. Yet, they rejected Him as King resulting in Saul reigning over them. David followed Saul as Israel’s next king. He, in turn, was succeeded by his son Solomon. Notice what the Word says about David and Solomon;

“And they made Solomon the son of David king the second time, and anointed him unto Yahweh to be the chief governor, and Zadok to be priest. Then Solomon sat on the throne of Yahweh as king instead of David his father, and prospered; and all Israel obeyed him. (1Ch 29:22b, 23)

Solomon was actually seated on the “throne of Yahweh.” He was there instead of David. In other words, David also sat on the “throne of Yahweh” as king over Israel at one time. This is said because Yahweh was Israel’s first King and it was His throne they ruled from after rejecting Him.

Saul would have been the first fleshly king to sit on Yahweh’s throne. All successive kings of Davidic descent clear down to Zedekiah sat on the throne of Yahweh. (They also sat on the throne of David).

The point is this; every king that ever sat on the throne of David, including David himself, was an adopted child of Yahweh. As such, they were entitled to inherit everything from their father (Yahweh). Every king of Davidic descent, even though they were adopted, was permitted to rule.

It doesn’t stop there, however. Rev 2:26, 27; 5:9, 10; 20:5, 6 all show that believers in Yeshua (the king who sits on David’s throne), will also reign as kings. Whose throne will they sit on?

“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” ( Rev 3:21).

Those that overcome will sit on the throne of David with Yeshua and will rule with him over the nations. Who are those overcomers? Are they literal descendants of David through an earthly father? No. They are adopted sons of Yahweh who are entitled to the throne just as though they were literal sons.

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of [Yahweh], they are the sons of [Yahweh]. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of [Yahweh]: And if children, then heirs; heirs of [Yahweh], and joint-heirs with Messiah; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of Yahweh.

Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of Yahweh.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love [Yahweh], to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Rom 8:14-17, 19, 21, 28)

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of [Yahweh]: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of [Yahweh], and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” (1 Jn 3:1, 2).

We have a glimpse of what we shall be in Revelation. We shall be kings reigning with Yeshua. We have already seen, in Rev 3:21, that the throne that overcomers will sit upon is Yeshua’s throne, the throne of David, the throne of Yahweh. How does one acquire the throne? One way is through inheritance!

” He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are Yahweh’s, and he hath set the world upon them.” (1 Sam 2:8)

In other words, Yahweh will bring to power whoever He chooses to inherit it. Deut 17:15 says Yahweh is the one who would choose Israel’s king. He chose Saul. Then He chose David even though David was not the firstborn of Jesse (1 Sam 16:11-13). Eventually Joash became king even though he was not the firstborn of Ahaziah (2 Kgs 11:12).

Yahweh rules in the kingdom of men, and “He gives the kingdom [and its throne] to whomever He will” (Dan 4:25). His adopted sons, or “overcomers,” will inherit all things.

“He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his Elohim, and he shall be my son.” (Rev 21:7)

One of the things they will inherit is the right to sit on the throne of David with Yeshua. The point, however, is that they don’t sit on the throne because they are David’s literal seed according to the flesh, but because, as adopted sons, they receive it through inheritance.

If overcomers can sit on the throne of David with Yeshua even though they are not the literal seed of David according to the flesh, then Yeshua can as well. He can sit on David’s throne because he is Joseph’s adopted son. As such, he was adopted into the tribe of Judah through Joseph and therefore entitled to Joseph’s inheritance as well as the right to sit on the throne of David, the throne of Yahweh.

Actually, Yeshua has more right to sit on the throne of David than David himself since Yeshua is literally Yahweh’s Son whereas David was only Yahweh’s adopted son.

Some may continue to argue that an adopted son cannot be considered “the seed of David.” Are not adopted sons in Messiah Abraham’s seed? (Gal 3:29). If we are Abraham’s seed, then we are also Isaac’s seed, Jacob’s seed. Yeshua is the seed of David through Joseph’s adoption of him (Joseph being the seed of David as well).

Argument #4 – The virgin birth is not mentioned anywhere in the New Testament except for the alleged birth accounts in Matthew and Luke’s gospels.

This reasoning is hardly worth countering, but I will briefly address it for the sake of those who promote it.

There are many beliefs that are based on less than a handful of verses. For example, the account of the wise men in Mt 2:1-18 is only found in that book. I am not aware of any prophecies pointing to that visit nor of any parallel accounts in the other evangels. Does that mean the account is bogus and should be cut out of our Bibles?

What about the account of the two blind men that is only found in Mt 9:27-31? This is not the same account as in Mt 20:29-34; Mk 10:46-52; or Luke 18:35-43. Should we consider this an “alleged” account and trash it?

In Mt 13:44-50, Yeshua gave three parables that are only found in Matthew’s evangel; The Buried Treasure, The Pearl of Great Price, and The Parable of the Net. More fuel for the fire?

In Mt 17:24-27, Yeshua tells Peter to go find some money in the mouth of a fish to pay his tribute (taxes). Again, there is only one witness to this account.

Yeshua gave the Parable of the Laborers in Mt 20:1-16 and the Parable of Two Sons in Mt 21:28-32. Only one witness, Matthew. Yet, who would reject these as authentic truth?

The Parable of the Ten Virgins is the last example I will give. Again, only Matthew gives this parable, but only those who lack understanding would consider these to be the “alleged” words of Yeshua and call for their removal from the Bible.

I have only superficially scanned Matthew’s evangel to glean these examples. I was looking for examples where only Matthew is a witness. There are far more examples in the other evangels including where only two evangels witness an account as in Matthew and Luke witnessing about the virgin birth. We might as well totally discard all four evangels if we are going to discard the virgin birth accounts in Matthew and Luke.

Argument #5 – The virgin birth story is copied from pagan myths.

Here is an excerpt from an anti-virgin birth study;

“One source is quoted as saying that there were many mythological figures: Hercules, Osiris, Bacchus, Mithra, Hermes, Prometheus, Perseus and Horus who share a number of factors. All were believed to have:

been male.

lived in pre-Christian times.

had a god for a father.

human virgin for a mother.

had their birth announced by a heavenly display.

had their birth announced by celestial music.

been born around December 25th.

had an attempt on their life by a tyrant while they were still an infant.

met with a violent death. rose again from the dead.”

According to the logic of this argument, since all these figures were believed to have a virgin mother, we should reject a belief in Yeshua’s virgin birth. To carry that logic one step further, we should reject all the other points as related to Yeshua. We should reject the belief that he was a male, that Herod tried to kill him, that he rose from the dead, etc. Are proponents of this argument prepared to rewrite the New Testament scriptures that teach these truths as they have proposed to rewrite the verses concerning his virgin birth? I am certainly not prepared to do that.

Some additional thoughts

Irenaeus, in combating some of the heresies of his day, made several analogies which you can read in “Ante-Nicene Fathers”, Volume 1, pages 453, 454 and 547. His comments are summed up below.

1Co 15:45 says, “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.” Yeshua is being identified as an anti-type of Adam. He is the “last” or second Adam and Paul is drawing an analogy between the two. To carry the analogy a liitle further;

Adam came to exist without an earthly father. If he had an earthly father, then we can understand the last Adam, Yeshua, to also have an earthly father, Joseph. Since Adam was created directly by Yahweh from dust, he had no earthly father. Yeshua, to be the anti-type, would not have an earthly father either.

Adam was created from dust before it ever rained upon the earth and before the ground was ever tilled by man (Gen 2:5). Therefore, Yahweh brought forth Adam from virgin soil that was untouched by man. The last Adam would also be brought forth from a virgin source that was untouched by man. It is interesting to note that Yahweh could have created Eve from that virgin soil as well, but He chose a different means, possibly to preserve the anti-type of only one being, Yeshua, to ever be born of a virgin.

Another analogy is drawn between Eve and Miriam. It was an angel (fallen) that had deceived Eve (a virgin) into disobeying the Almighty. Through that virgin’s disobedience, bondage to sin and death came upon the human race. In contrast, an angel (good) brought good tidings to Miriam that she would bear a child miraculously. She obeyed the Almighty and allowed His will to be done in her thereby allowing the human race to be rescued from bondage to sin and death through a virgin. The disobedience of one virgin was balanced out by the obedience of another virgin.

Irenaeus also sees an analogy between the stone that was “cut without hands” which was part of king Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and Yeshua’s coming of a virgin. Just as no human stone cutter brought forth the stone of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, Yeshua’s advent into this world was not by the will of man or the physical intervention of man, but by the will of Yahweh.

In conclusion, when the Scriptures are rightly divided the virgin birth doctrine stands secure as a one of its precious truths. It does not matter if Miriam was of the seed of David or if matrilineal descent is acceptable. Joseph, a descendant of David, was Yeshua’s lawful father under Jewish law and custom; a custom that Yahweh Himself established by example in adopting Israel; and a custom that will continue in the future as overcomers in Messiah are enthroned with him via adoption!

Praise be to Yahweh for His Word and His ways.

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