“Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
QUOTE from Time Magazine article – Aug. 15th, 1988
WHO WAS JESUS
“That question is today, not only at the heart of Hollywood’s controversies, but also at the centre of equally bitter, though less publicized disputes among scholars concerning the life of Jesus and what can accurately be said about it…….a distinguished Oxford philosopher…..charged concerning the virgin birth and the resurrection, that it is threatening to make the church a “fraud” and a “laughingstock”. …..how reliable are the gospels?……the New Testament is the only source of information concerning the most influential life that was ever lived…….” This rather lengthy article goes on to say very clearly that the majority of scholars agree that the New Testament does not present any convincing evidence of an “Historic Jesus”, but rather the gospels present Christ as a mere “Inspired Rabbi”, an “Itinerant Sage”, “the Hellenistic Cynic”, and an “Apocalyptic Prophet”. The article then concludes with a very amazing statement: ‘…but to examine the biblical texts and fail to deal with questions about the truth of faith is quite uninteresting….’”
The basis of our belief in God and in His son Jesus Christ is our faith – not in historical accounts. “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Heb 11:6 NIV) The scriptures are God’s account – “His Story” of His Son Jesus Christ and we must be willing to accept this account on the basis of faith. The Scriptures also teach that since Adam sinned, all born thereafter inherit the sin nature from their parents and God holds all mankind accountable for sin, since the Law requires the death for all sinners .
GOD’S PROVISION FOR PARDON UNDER THE LAW
The sacrifices given in the Law served a specific purpose to the people of Israel, as they were a representation of what was to come – the final and eternal sacrifice of God’s Son our Lord Jesus Christ. There were two mandatory sacrificial offerings – “The Sin Offering”; for specific unintentional sin, and the “Guilt Offering”; for unintentional sin requiring restitution and these two sacrifices were offered continually in the Temple as the people were always guilty of sinning. All sacrifices under the Law were to be “pure and spotless”, that is, they were not to have any physical defects and they were not to be sick, and these sacrifices could only be offered by the appointed priest in the Temple. God, in His wisdom, knew that if these sacrifices were not of a temporary nature, there would be a tremendous burden upon people in today’s world, So He set a specific time for the transition from the Old to the New way of dealing with sin .
WHY DID CHRIST HAVE TO BE BORN OF A VIRGIN?
To be a true sacrifice for sin as stated by the Law, Christ had to be “pure and spotless” in order make atonement for sin, so the virgin birth was a necessity so that Christ would not inherit the sin nature. Thus as a human He was “sinless”, and as God’s sacrifice for our sins He was “spotless”, i.e. no fault could be found in Him. The evidence of this is seen in the fact that all who came in contact with Him carefully scrutinized his life, and finally at His trial Pilate could say “I find no fault in Him”. How then was Jesus born without the sin nature? If Christ inherited the sin nature, then He was a sinner and died for His own sin. If Christ was born without the sin nature, how was this accomplished? The only logical answer is that the sin nature is passed from the father and not from the mother, Jesus did not have a human father, for the scriptures reveal that the Holy Ghost was His father . The Christmas story tells of God becoming man in the person of His Son Jesus Christ, , and Christ’s advent and atonement is clearly documented and taught in the Scriptures.
THE VIRGIN BIRTH WAS FORETOLD IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
The first promise is in Gen. 3:15: a descendant from the woman will deal a death blow to Satan, while Satan would cause him to suffer. God chose the nation of Israel <Gen.12: 1-3> “…in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed”, He chose the tribe of Judah <Gen.49: 10> “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah….”, and the family of David was selected <2 Sam.7: 8-16>. The prophecy of Isa.7: 14 is repeated in Matt.1: 23 and is further explained in Isa.9: 6 “….a child is born” (HUMANITY) “….a son is given” (DEITY).
THE HISTORIC FULFILMENT OF THE VIRGIN BIRTH IS RECORDED IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
The event is recorded in Matt.1: 18-25 and Luke 2: 4-7 where we find that Mary is engaged but not yet married to Joseph. Mary’s conception was definitely of the Holy Ghost and not from Joseph or any other man. God guarantees this to give us a perfect Saviour. The Lord encouraged Joseph to marry Mary so as to protect her from the maximum penalty of the law . Joseph and Mary, although married, “had no union” (NIV) until after the birth our Saviour and God took special care to insert this information in the account to show that a human father could not possibly contaminate the unborn child. There are three highly significant events recorded in relationship to the Christ-Child:
1. The visit of the Magi – as a result, the actual birthplace was confirmed to Herod <Micah 5:2>
2. The flight to Egypt – God protected His Son from the Satanic attack of Herod
3. The return to Nazareth – Matthew states that this was a fulfillment of prophecy – however, no O.T. reference is quoted or can be confirmed to the fact that he would settle in Nazareth, so there could be a possibility that Matthew was quoting an oral prophecy that is not recorded in scripture. Matthew’s purpose was to record these significant incidents to support the conclusion that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, the Son of David, and the Son of God.
Satan had made every effort from the creation until this point in time to contaminate the holy offspring that was to be born to David and he still continues to do this today by using prominent people to plant doubt in the minds of others as to the person of Christ. How does he do this? Primarily, it is by their writings and films. Quote: (“Using The Da Vinci Code For Christ” by Drew Dyck – Faith Today May/June 2006) “John Thompson, an authority on historical theology at Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, Calif., says looking for errors in The Da Vinci Code “is like shooting fish in a barrel.”…..Some pages have so many errors you don’t know where to start…..The problem isn’t that academics are being fooled by the novel; it’s that less informed readers are.”
THE VIRGIN BIRTH IS TAUGHT IN THE SCRIPTURES
Some scholars maintain that Paul did not teach the virgin birth, but although he did not use that expression he knew the risen Christ <1 Cor.15: 8), and recognized Him as the one fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy prophesied 740 years before the actual event. Matthew, in his account, explicitly states that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Ghost and born of a virgin. , Luke, a medical doctor, carefully explains the unusual conception in his account . Mary, in her query of the angel, inferred that she was a virgin and abhorred immorality, and also mentioned the fact that she was unmarried , and the angel carefully explained that the Holy Ghost would be the father.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE VIRGIN BIRTH
The significances was to reveal God <John 1: 18>, to bridge the chasm between God and man which is caused by sin <1 Tim.2: 5>, to provide salvation for mankind and to rescue/redeem the whole creation <Rom.8: 19-22>. Jesus Christ was a real human being; truly man <Phil.2: 7>, He was God and remained God because of His conception through the Holy Ghost and was sinless; that is, He was without original sin.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE DOCTRINE
Since modernists and liberals attack this doctrine constantly, it is of vital importance that we as born-again believers continue to teach this and impress it upon the minds of younger believers. Since mankind is totally depraved we need a saviour to redeem us, and Jesus Christ is the only possible Saviour of the world. The only way that Jesus could become man and not inherit the sin nature is by the virgin birth and our salvation is closely linked with this doctrine, because if Jesus was not born of a virgin; we are all still lost in our sin.
It is undeniable truth and is definitely taught in the scriptures. We must accept this teaching in faith and believe it to be true. It is unchangeable truth; i.e. it does not change with the times, thoughts, or theories of man. It is critical truth; our salvation is an urgent matter and without a saviour who is sinless our salvation is impossible. It is truth hidden from the understanding of the natural mind, but accepted in faith by the redeemed person. It is unconditional truth; in Rom.10: 9 we are instructed to confess Jesus as Lord. If he were not virgin-born, then He has broken all the prophecies of Holy Scripture and therefore cannot be Lord. It is important truth for the Almighty God has entered our world as a man – a sinless man. Immanuel, God with us. It is unavoidable truth for we face it yearly as the Christmas story is repeated.
OBJECTIONS TO THIS DOCTRINE
It is found only in a few places in scripture. – It is confirmed by Isaiah, Matthew and Luke, and referenced by other Prophetic Scriptures. Jesus did not claim to be virgin-born and there was no need; He proved it by the way He lived and conducted Himself. Scientists do not accept it but there is not much that they agree on anyway; they reject it because it is miraculous yet other miraculous events are accepted. Modern theologians do not accept it, they do not accept very much of scripture anyway
It is impossible for me to prove the accuracy of any historic event or individual. We normally accept these accounts on the basis of what has been recorded (in faith). It is also impossible for me to prove the virgin birth as it is recorded in scripture in regards to Jesus Christ. Therefore, we must also accept God’s account on the same basis of faith. The difference is: acceptance of a secular historic account will be to our temporal benefit only, while acceptance of God’s account in “His Story” concerning His Son Jesus Christ the Lord, will be to our eternal benefit. To reject the virgin birth, the sinless Saviour, and the deity of Christ, is to deny your only hope of eternity with God. The life and death of Christ as the final sacrifice for sin, was fully accepted by God ; everything was fulfilled, and God raised Him from the dead and accepted Him back into heaven – Proof of His deity and sinlessness. “……God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” <Phil. 2:9-11 (NIV)>
THE RESURRECTION IS PROOF OF HIS DIETY AND SINLESSNESS!