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Yeshua is born of a virgin according to the Hebrew Scriptures, it clearly states Yeshua must come through the father, not the mother. Is this not a contradiction?

This special topic was recorded on January 26, 2008. Our speaker for this session was Elie Nessim.

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The text for this session:

We are dealing with our first question today. The question is as follows: -


If Yeshua is born of a virgin according to the Hebrew Scriptures, it clearly states Yeshua must come through the father, not the mother. Is this not a contradiction?


In answer to that question, first of all, the question concerns Yeshua the Messiah, born of a virgin as foretold in the Bible.


In Matthew, chapter 1, verse 18 – 23: “Now the birth of Yeshua HaMashiach was as follows: After His mother Miriam was betrothed to Yosef, before they came together she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Yosef her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Yosef, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Miriam your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name YESHUA, for He will save His people from their sins. Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”””


In keeping with the biblical method of reckoning one’s descent from the father, Yeshua’s father should be named as the progenitor, just as the Jewish people are descended from Avraham, Yitzak, and Yaakov, and not from Sarah, Rivka and Rachel, although those women did bear our ancestors. However, no mention seems to be made of the one through whom Yeshua is descended.


In Luke, chapter 3, the most that is said is that, in verse 23, “Now Yeshua Himself began His ministry about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Yosef…” Clearly He was not.


Does this imply a contradiction as the above question suggests? Why is the true father not mentioned?


Firstly, when speaking of Messiah’s virgin birth, scripture is referring to His human origin. But because He is also divine, He also has a heavenly origin. His human origin is from Miriam, and His heavenly origin is from GOD. GOD is His true Father. This was declared to Miriam, in Luke 1, verse 30 – 35: “Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Miriam, for you have found favour with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name YESHUA. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Yaakov forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” Then Miriam said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.”””


Yeshua, during His sojourn on earth, constantly affirmed this fact, that GOD was His Father. In Luke, chapter 2, verse 48 – 50, we read about Him being left behind in Jerusalem by His parents, and how they had to come back and look for Him, and search for Him, and at last we read: Luke, chapter 2, from verse 46:


“Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.” And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.”””


Or as we have it also in John, chapter 10, and verse 30, Yeshua said to His people, “I and My Father are one.” And again in John, chapter 8, and verse 42, the Lord Yeshua said, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me.” So in these passages, Messiah affirms that GOD was His Father.


Secondly, Messiah is presented as human and divine in nature; both natures inseparably united in Him. In Isaiah, chapter 7, and verse 14, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” (Which means “God with us.”)

And again in Isaiah, chapter 9, and verse 6, Messiah is again presented to us as human and divine. “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”


Again, in the book of Micah the prophet, chapter 5 and verse 2, the birth of Messiah is declared, and His origin is also described as being in eternity.

Micah 5, verse 2: “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from Everlasting.” His human nature is described in the declaration of His birth. But His divine origin is also declared. His “goings forth are from of old, from Everlasting.”

One other striking passage where His human nature and His divine nature are combined is to be found in the prophet Zechariah, chapter 13. In Zechariah, chapter 13, the death of Messiah is described. Verse 7: “Awake O sword against My Shepherd, against the Man who is My Companion” says the LORD of hosts. Strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered; then I will turn My hand against the little ones.””


“The Man who is My Companion” says GOD – pointing out this One who really took human nature upon Himself was no other than GOD’s equal, who took upon Him human nature.


What is recorded of Yeshua’s disciples is true of Him in another sense.

In John 1, verse 13, we read about the disciples of Yeshua “who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” This is true of Him in another sense. Messiah was born, not of the will of the flesh, nor of blood, nor of the will of man, but of God.


In the Brit Chadasha, the New Covenant scriptures, this truth is often affirmed. For example, in the Letter to the Romans, chapter 1, verse 1: “Shaul, a bondservant of Yeshua HaMashiach called to be an apostle separated to the gospel of God which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Yeshua HaMashiach our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of Holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.”


“According to the flesh” He was born of the seed of David. He was born through Mary. But He is also declared to be “the Son of God” His divine nature is derived from His deity.


When Shaul wrote to his disciple and companion in labour, Timothy, in the First Letter to Timothy, chapter 3 and verse 16, once again this great truth is declared. “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory.”


One more text is found in the book of Hebrews where the 40th psalm is applied to the Messiah. Hebrews 10, beginning in verse 5: “Therefore when He (Yeshua) came into the world, He said: “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come – In the volume of the book it is written of Me – To do Your will, O God.’”


There is therefore no contradiction. The human nature came through a human being; the divine nature came from GOD Himself - no contradiction, merely misconception.




(Q): In Genesis, chapter 3, verse 15, it speaks of the Seed of the woman. Is that a Messianic prophecy in that Messiah would come from the mother’s line; not the father’s?


(A): The text referred to is found in Genesis, chapter 3 and verse 15. It concerns a promise that God made, that one day the Seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent. It was not a promise made directly to Adam and Eve, but made indirectly to them as GOD pronounced sentence on the deceiver.

Verse 15: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” That Seed of the woman is specifically mentioned to show the human birth of the coming Deliverer who would be mightier in power than the deceiver, who is represented here by the serpent. He is called the Seed of the woman rather than the Seed of the man to hint that His descent would be from woman, but bypassing the agency of man. Yes, this does refer. This is the first promise of the coming Redeemer, and some of our ancient scholars have admitted this.


(Q): As you read in the prophet Isaiah, in chapter 7, verse 14, about the virgin being with Child, could you speak a little on the different words used for young woman, and virgin - ‘almah’ and ‘betulah’?


(A): Yes, the question is one that has caused a lot of debate amongst scholars. Verse 14 says “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son..” The word for ‘virgin’ here is a rare word. It’s used about six or seven times in the scriptures, and it’s the word ‘almah.’ The other word for ‘virgin’ is ‘betulah’ but it refers more generally to a young woman of marriageable age. And so if a ‘betulah’ was truly a virgin, she was described like this – she was a virgin and no man had known her. She was a ‘betulah’ and no man had known her. But when it is an unqualified statement, the word ‘almah’ is used. That word ‘almah’ is used of Rebekah and of Miriam, Moses’ sister – not ‘betulah’ – but to show that both Rebekah or Rivka, and Miriam, Moses’ sister were pure unsullied young women. So the word ‘almah’ is unqualified, whereas the word ‘betulah’ has to be qualified if it truly means ‘virgin.’ In Genesis 24, the two words are used together. In Genesis 24, verse 16: “Now the young woman was very beautiful to behold, (that’s referring to Rivka) a virgin; (the word there is ‘betulah’) and then it follows: no man had known her. And she went down to the well, filled her pitcher, and came up.” And then the word ‘almah’ is used without that qualification later on in Genesis 24, verse 43: “Behold, (here is Eliezer praying in his prayer) I stand by the well of water; and it shall come to pass that when the virgin comes out to draw water, and I say to her, “please give me a little water from your pitcher to drink…” that word is ‘almah’ in verse 43. In verse 16, it is ‘betulah.’ But you notice ‘almah’ is not one that is qualified because it is an unmistakable term. I hope that answers the question.


(Q): In the New Testament books of both Luke and Matthew, we have the genealogies of Messiah, could you explain why they are different?


(A): The reason why the genealogies are different in the book of Matthew and in the book of Luke, is because in the book of Matthew, the regal legal descent is being described – descent from Solomon. In Luke, chapter 3, the genealogy is that of the physical and literal descent of Messiah – physically through Miriam. That’s the difference between the two.


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