At this time of year, there is no shortage of people proclaiming skepticism or even scoffing at the idea of the virgin birth of Jesus. It was necessary, because the virgin birth was the only way Jesus could live a sinless life free of the sinful nature of pride that is the root of all sins. Nevertheless, the scoffers abound. They seem to catch media attention more often than believers.
The birth of Jesus is one of at least three miracle births in Scripture. God did the “impossible” in the lives of Abraham and Sarah, Zachariah and Elizabeth, and Joseph and Mary—three highly improbable births.
The birth of a child to a virgin is a one-time miracle. Mary became pregnant when she was “overshadowed,” by the Holy Spirit of God [Luke 1:35]. Since she was a healthy young woman, the rest of the gestation and birth process proceeded normally. For the God who created the universe, the Earth we call home, and all the plant, animal, and human life that makes up our environment, enabling a virgin to give birth is no obstacle.
A child born to an old woman is an even greater miracle than the virgin birth. At the birth of Isaac, Abraham was 100-years old and Sarah was 90-years of age [Genesis 17:17]. Scripture also tells us that at the birth of John-the-Baptist, his father Zechariah was an “old man” and his mother, Elizabeth, is variously described—depending on the translation—as “old as well,” “advanced in years,” or “beyond child bearing years.” [Luke 1:18] Having never previously given birth, both Sarah and Elizabeth were described as “barren.” The combination of old age and barrenness reduces that chances of pregnancy to virtually zero, apart from the intervention of God.
The birth of a child to an old woman can be viewed as a long-term continuous miracle or long series of miracles. The conception itself is two miracles. The reproductive systems of both the father and mother must be miraculously restored to youthful vigor. The conception must overcome the lifetime of barrenness, which confirms the miracle of the actual conception.
The mother’s womb must be effectively resurrected from the deadening effects of old age to harbor the baby and enable the formation of the umbilical cord through which she feeds and nourishes the baby. Her hormonal system must be quickened to support a growing baby and all the necessary changes to allow her body to carry the baby for nine months and eventually give birth. Prior to the actual birth, the mother’s hormonal system and the flesh and muscles, required for birth, must be rejuvenated to enable them to perform harmoniously at the time of birth.
Prior to the birth, the mothers’ breasts, that have never before nursed a baby, must be restored to youthful vitality to function and feed the newborn baby for a prolonged period of time. Today, the supermarket shelves are stocked with an array of infant formulas and baby foods. No such products were available in ancient Israel. A baby’s survival largely depended upon milk from the mother. Few alternatives were available, except perhaps goat’s milk.
The births-in-old-age enjoyed by Abraham/Sarah and Zechariah/Elizabeth were 2 – 3 year long continuous miracles or two amazing series of miracles from conception until weaning. Compare those long series of miracles with the one-time miracle of conception that occurred within the virgin called, “Mary,” who gave birth to Jesus.
Quite simply, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” [Matthew 19:26 NIV]
Of course the real miracle of Christmas is not just that a virgin gave birth. The greater miracle is that Mary gave birth to the Messiah who came to save mankind from the ravages and ultimate death penalty of sin.
Merry Christmas to All!
4 thoughts on “Three Miracle Births—Virgin Birth is One + Two”
I would like to ask you Mr. Stebbins, where in the scriptures is Christmas the time of the Messiahs’ birth? As far as I know in my very thorough and in depth research, the only “deified” being linked to this holiday is Nimrod and his offspring Tamuz. The Christmas holiday is a day that the RCC(Roman Catholic Church) said “Hey instead of teaching these pagans the truth, lets just take their day and wrap it in the name of Christ and have them start worshiping their holiday for our Messiah, Yeshua.” According to the scriptures, this act is a pure act of defiance to Yahweh’s mitzvot. In Deuteronomy 12:30-32, “beware that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How do these nations serve their gods, that I also may do likewise?’ “You shall not behave thus toward the LORD your God, for every abominable act which the LORD hates they have done for their gods; for they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods. “Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it.” The RCC took their ways and placed His name on it and said we will worship our God in their way, which is against the command stated above. Furthermore, if you look at Jeremiah 10:2-4, you will see that we are not to erect a tree into our homes. From the NIV, “This is what the Lord says “Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by signs in the heavens, though the nations are terrified by them. For the practices of the peoples are worthless; they cut a tree out of the forest,
and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel. They adorn it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter.” Clearly this is speaking of a christmas tree. Christmas is a pagan holiday of fertility. Most people I encounter state that it doesn’t mean that to them, it’s the birth of Christ. Well, my response to them is this, does it matter what it means to you or does it matter what it means to Yahweh? Most of the time the answer I get in return is that Yahweh knows the heart. Well, if it is our heart that is judged and not our actions, thoughts and commitments toward Yahweh and His commands, then most people would go to heaven because just being a good person should be good enough. However, as a believer I know that Yahweh demands obedience and states many times that disobedience will merit His discipline. Remember the scripture, spare the rod spoil the child.
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Good comments, Devlin. It was not the intent of the blog to address Christmas, only the virgin birth. As long as you brought it up, let’s take a look. The earliest reference to Christmas on December 25th is in the second century. By 529 A.D., the Roman Emperor, Justinian codified it as a holiday. It was likely originally created to compete with or be an alternative to the pagan celebration of Saturnalia.
Clearly, the Old Covenant feasts were commanded by God. Celebrating Christmas was not. Also, it is not likely that Yeshua (Jesus) was born on December 25th. It would have been much too cold for the hillside shepherds to be “watching their flock by night.” Although, it cannot be proven, it is much more likely that Yeshua was conceived during the Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah) and born during the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot), the happiest and most joyous of all the feasts.
I agree that a number of Christmas traditions have pagan associations or roots. Rather than address each one individually, I’ll just comment on your quote from Jeremiah 10:2-4. When a “craftsman shapes it with his chisel,” refers to carving human-like statue to be worshipped as an idol. Continuing on in verse 5, “Like a scarecrow in a melon patch, their idols cannot speak.” Although the verse does not apply, the tradition of a Christmas tree does nevertheless have pagan roots.
Actually, a few of the original American colonies, especially in New England, outlawed the celebration of Christmas, because of the pagan associations. The practice of outlawing Christmas celebrations continued for a while even after the colonies became states. As recently as July 4, 1837, former President John Quincy Adams, in a lengthy Independence Day address, acknowledged the objections of some to the celebration of Christmas. December 25th was officially declared to be federal holiday on June 28, 1870.
Despite the errors, Christmas has become embedded in the American culture and overcome by the god of materialism. Many are not even aware of the pagan associations with the origin of Christmas. The purpose of this blog is to engage both Jews and Christians in vibrant discussions. Accordingly, between now and December 25th, there will be a couple more such blogs. I can hardly wait for your comments.
Even though the blog we are discussing here was not about Christmas, perhaps some others will see our discussion and find it worthwhile. Thanks for your interest and detailed comments.
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Amen! Oh, and don’t forget Hannah, mother of the prophet Samuel.
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Good observation, Anna. Hanna was indeed barren. Scripture provides no information about Hannah’s age when she bore Samuel. However, she was barren long enough for Elkanah’s other wife to have numerous sons and daughters. [1 Samuel 1:4]