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Is Isaiah 7:14 Really a Prophecy of the Virgin Birth of Jesus?

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Followers of Judaism often argue that the scripture of Isaiah 7:14 is misused by Christians in what they deem as our attempt to make the passage a prophecy of the birth of Jesus. It is argued that the Hebrew word used in Isaiah 7:14 not only translates to "virgin", but also simply to "young girl". Therefore, Christians cannot prove that Isaiah's prophecy spoke of Jesus' mother, Mary, being a virgin, but rather simply, a young woman.

We read, "...The Lord himself shall give you a sign; behold a virgin shall conceive and bare a son and shall call his name IMMANUEL (Isaiah 7:14).

Later in the New Testament, we read, "And she shall bring forth a son and thou shalt call his name Jesus for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet saying, 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. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him and took unto him his wife: and he knew her not till she had brought forth her first born son and he called his name Jesus (Matthew 1:21-25).

Again, it is argued that the Hebrew word used in Isaiah 7:14 does not only mean "virgin" but also "young girl". This fact has been used to dispute the virgin birth of Jesus. It is contended that Mary was not a virgin at all but rather simply a young woman. Actually, it is by divine providence that such a word was used. In fact, it was very necessary that the scripture of Isaiah 7:14 use a Hebrew word with BOTH meanings, one being "virgin", the other being "young girl". This is because God is speaking about the birth of TWO different boys.

Again, Isaiah foretold the birth of not just ONE, but TWO completely different babies. They have different names. They are born at different times. They are born for different reasons, yet they are spoken of in one single prophecy. One is born of a literal virgin, the other is born of a young woman. Therefore a single word meaning "virgin" only cannot be used because BOTH PROPHECIES WERE WRAPPED INTO ONE. The word with both meanings was chosen to be able to intertwine two prophecies concerning the births of two different sons. One of them is the birth of the son of Isaiah, who was not born of a virgin but rather a young woman, and the other baby is the Son of God, who was born of a true virgin. Isaiah lets us know that his own son's birth is definitely not a virgin one because he wrote, "And I went unto the prophetess and she conceived and bare a son... (Isaiah 8:3). Isaiah cannot tell us in any plainer language that he is the biological father of one of these sons and therefore a young woman gave birth instead of a virgin.

Remember also that Isaiah was never told to call his son's name Immanuel. The Lord chose a different name for the son of Isaiah. "And I went unto the prophetess and she conceived and bare a son. Then said the Lord to me, call his name MAHERSHALALHASHBAZ" (Isaiah 8:3).

The birth of Isaiah's son, named Mahershalalhashbaz, was a sign from God to the king and people of the land of Judah that the evil council that Syria and Ephraim had taken against them would not stand (Isaiah 7:5-11). The people were supposed to watch for when Isaiah's son was old enough to know right from wrong. The age of Isaiah's son was God's sign to the people that the lands of Syria and Ephraim (Judah's enemies) would be abandoned and broken (Isaiah 7:16).

It is very obvious that the name for Isaiah's son was not Immanuel but rather Mahershalalhashbaz. He was the first baby born; and his birth served as a sign of the Lord's salvation for the people of Judah of that time period. Now then, Isaiah speaks of another son to be born whose name is Immanuel. This other son is NOT born to him. Immanuel is the second baby who was not to be born for many years to come. Immanuel is the baby who is to be born to a true virgin mother, unlike Mahershalalhashbaz, whose mother was a young woman, but not a virgin at the time of his birth.

In Isaiah there are TWO prophecies intertwined. The first concerns the non virgin birth of Isaiah's son named Mahershalalhashbaz as a sign to the people. The second concerns the true, literal virgin birth of God's Son, Immanuel. This was common among the prophets. God would give them a short-term AND a long-term prophecy. If the short term one came to pass, the people knew they would do well to believe the long term one also would come to pass. The short-term prophecy of the birth of Isaiah's son came to pass. Why reject Isaiah's long-term prophecy of the birth of God's Son, Immanuel?

"And if thou say in thine heart, how shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously..." (Deuteronomy 18:21-22).

Matthew 1:21-25 speaks of the fulfillment of the long-term prophecy of the birth of Jesus (Emmanuel), explaining that Jesus is Emmanuel. Indeed, Jesus was called Emmanuel. He was called "God with us."

"Now when the centurion and they that were with him watching Jesus, saw the earthquake and those things that were done, they feared greatly saying, truly this was the Son of God (God with us)" (Matthew 27:54).

"And Thomas answered and said unto him (JESUS), my Lord and my GOD" (St. John 20:28).

Again, it was by divine inspiration that the Hebrew word meaning both "virgin", and "young woman" be used in Isaiah 7:14. The two meanings are necessary to speak of the two prophecies, the two different sons, and the two different conditions of the mothers of these boys, one born to a young woman, the other to a virgin. What appears to be a mistake in God's word only serves to further prove the extreme accuracy of the Bible and the prophecy of the birth of Jesus.

The prophecies of Revelations will come to pass with the same accuracy as the prophecy of the virgin birth of Christ.


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