SUBJECT: Virgin Birth—Immanuel and Isaiah 7
QUESTION: If this Immanuel spoken of in Isaiah 7 was
born of a miraculous 'virgin birth' just as Jesus was, does
also make him a deity and the Savior?
No. Jesus Christ is the only savior.
First let us look at the verses in question:
1 And it came to pass in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham,
the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Rezin the king of
Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went
up toward Jerusalem to war against it, but could not prevail
2 And it was told the house of David, saying, Syria is
confederate with Ephraim. And his heart was moved, and the
heart of his people, as the trees of the wood are moved with
3 Then said the LORD unto Isaiah, Go forth now to meet Ahaz,
thou, and Shear-jashub thy son, at the end of the conduit of
the upper pool in the highway of the fuller's field;
4 And say unto him, Take heed, and be quiet; fear not,
neither be fainthearted for the two tails of these smoking
firebrands, for the fierce anger of Rezin with Syria, and of
the son of Remaliah.
5 Because Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah, have
taken evil counsel against thee, saying,
6 Let us go up against Judah, and vex it, and let us make a
breach therein for us, and set a king in the midst of it,
even the son of Tabeal:
7 Thus saith the Lord GOD, It shall not stand, neither shall
it come to pass.
8 For the head of Syria is Damascus, and the head of
Damascus is Rezin; and within threescore and five years
shall Ephraim be broken, that it be not a people.
9 And the head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of
Samaria is Remaliah's son. If ye will not believe, surely ye
shall not be established.
10 Moreover the LORD spake again unto Ahaz, saying,
11 Ask thee a sign of the LORD thy God; ask it either in the
depth, or in the height above.
12 But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the
13 And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small
thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also?
14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold,
a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his
15 Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse
the evil, and choose the good.
16 For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and
choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be
forsaken of both her kings.
QUESTIONS AT HAND:
Was a child born of a virgin in the presence of Ahaz? If
so, was it a diety the same as Christ and if so, does that
not make this child born of a virgin before Ahaz a second
1) Was a child born of
a virgin in the presence of Ahaz?
Yes. Notice the commentary:
Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a
virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his
A virgin shall conceive. The word for virgin here is
carefully chosen. Etymologically (`alma)
does not necessarily signify a virgo intacta (an
untouched maiden). In actual usage in the Hebrew
Scriptures, however, it refers only to a maiden chaste and
unmarried (so far as the
context shows). This well fits the prospective
mother allude to in this situation. Judging from Isaiah
8:1-4, the typical mother was the prophetess who became
Isaiah's wife within a short time after this prophecy was
spoken. Therefore she was a virgin at the time this promise
was given. She serves as a type of the Virgin Mary, who
remained a virgin even after her miraculous conception by
the Holy Spirit. The son of this prophetess,
correspondingly, is a type of the Messianic Immanuel.
~from The Wycliffe Bible
physical birth of a baby was a type of the birth that would
take place with Mary. Notice that the meaning of the word
virgin in this physical birth is specific. It refers only
to a maiden chaste and unmarried. She serves as the type of
Mary and the physical child as the type of the Jesus who
would be born to Mary. This use of type is used over and
over again in the Bible especially in regard to prophecy.
Also regarding the point made in the Wycliffe Bible
Commentary that Mary remained a virgin even after her
miraculous conception by the Holy Spirit: The meaning here
is that she remained a virgin until the birth of Christ and
then, of course she began having normal sexual intercourse
with Joseph and had children. Jesus had brothers and
Now notice that the physical child was born in the next
1 Moreover the LORD said unto me, Take thee a great roll,
and write in it with a man's pen concerning
2 And I took unto me faithful witnesses to record, Uriah the
priest, and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah.
3 And I went unto the prophetess; and she conceived, and
bare a son. Then said the LORD to me, Call his name
4 For before the child shall have knowledge to cry, My
father, and my mother, the riches of Damascus and the spoil
of Samaria shall be taken away before the king of Assyria.
Notice the commentary now as we link the virgin birth of
Isaiah 7:14 with the physical baby born to Isaiah and his
And I went unto the prophetess; and she conceived, and bare
a son. Then said the LORD to me, Call his name
Then said the LORD - The
name thus given was to be emblematic of a particular
event-that Assyria would soon take away the spoil of
Damascus and Samaria. It is not remarkable that the name
Immanuel should also be given to the same child, as
signifying the presence and protection of God in defending
the nation from the invaders; see the notes at Isa 7:14-15.
Calvin thinks that all this passed in a vision before the
prophet; but it has every mark of being a literal narrative
of the birth of a son to Isaiah; and without this
supposition, it is impossible to understand the account
contained here. ~from
Thus we see that the physical baby was physical and not a
God. The virgin was a maiden chaste and unmarried. The
father was Isaiah. The baby was not a God and is not a
THERE IS MORE:
Here is the word “virgin” used in Isa. 7:14
`almah (al-maw'); feminine of OT:5958; a lass (as
veiled or private):
KJV - damsel, maid, virgin.
~Biblesoft's New Exhaustive
Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew
Note: The word
does not denote a virgin birth in the idea of the Holy
Spirit making her pregnant. There is no explanation
anywhere showing how the damsel of Isaiah 7:14 gets
pregnant. The prophecy simply states that a virgin will
conceive and bear a son. For Mary in the New Testament
there is a specific explanation of how Mary was made
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his
mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came
together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
Note: There is
no explanation for the damsel spoken of in Isaiah 7:14.
Now there is a specific statement made about the baby Mary
And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his
name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
child, born of a virgin by the Holy Spirit saves people from
their sins. Though the baby of Isaiah 7:14 is a type of the
baby born of Mary, it does in no way save the people from
THIS SUBJECT ON THE INTERNET
There are a number of web sites that speak to Isaiah 7 and
specifically verse 14. Some call it the most controversial
subject in scripture.
Here is an excerpt from one site we found:
The identity of the mother of Immanuel in Isaiah 7:14 has
been a subject of debate over the
centuries: Was the prophet Isaiah speaking of a virgin
conceiving or not? The Gospel of
Matthew quotes Isaiah 7:14, linking Jesus' conception
to the sign the prophet Isaiah had given
centuries earlier. Those who believe the gospel account
regard Isaiah 7:14 as a messianic
passage fulfilled by Jesus. Others disagree. Did the
prophet intend that word to mean "virgin"
or merely "young maiden"? Are Christian interpreters
reading too much into this verse? Zhava
Glaser presents the case for you to decide for
The word almah is rare--usually translated as "maiden"
it appears only ten times in the
Hebrew Scriptures, six of these in the plural and four
in the singular. Some say the word
almah is merely the feminine of elem, or "young man."
In the few verses where almah appears, the word clearly
denotes a young woman who is not
married but is of marriageable age. Although almah does
not implicitly denote virginity, it is
never used in the Scriptures to describe a "young,
presently married woman." It is
important to remember that in the Bible, a young Jewish
woman of marriageable age was
presumed to be chaste.
The prophet could have chosen a different word had he
wanted to describe Immanuel's mother
as a virgin. Betulah is a more common way to refer to a
woman who has never been with a
man (both in biblical
and modern Hebrew).
---end of excerpt---
Note: We agree
with this excerpt. We believe and have shown the word to be
“almah” rather than “betulah”.
Here is an excerpt from another site we found:
In Isaiah 7:14 the Bible gives a prophecy of the name of
Jesus. It says, "Therefore the Lord Himself will give
you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a
son, and she will call His name Immanuel." If we go
to Matthew 1:21, it says, "And she will bear a Son; and you
shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His
people from their sins." (See also, Matthew 1:25; Luke
1:31; 2:21). Is this a contradiction? No. It is not.
In ancient times names were often given as
representations of the hopes and dreams of the parents or
recognition of divine assistance. Names in the Old
Testament had understandable meanings. For example: Abram
means "exalted father," but Abraham means "Father of a
multitude." Some names could even be translated into
complete sentences as in Uzziel (‘God
is my strength’ - Exodus 6:18), Adoniram (‘my
lord is exalted’ - 1 Kings 4:6),
and Ahimelek (‘my [divine]
brother is king’ - 1 Samuel 21:1).
So names are more descriptive in the Hebrew and Greek
then they are in English. They often refer to the
character, purpose, etc., of the one being named. The
closest we come to understanding this is in Native
American culture. We are familiar with such names as
"Running Bear," or "Pretty Eagle, "or "White Owl" as
names. These names meant something and were far more
descriptive than "Bob," or "Tom," or "Sue."
When we come to Isaiah 7:14, we encounter a prophecy
about the Messiah stating that his name will be
Immanuel. Immanuel literally means "God is with us." This
is a significant because Jesus is God in flesh:
---end of excerpt---
Note: We concur
with this excerpt.
I visited hundreds of sites on Isaiah and specifically
Isaiah 7. I could find no sites anywhere on the Internet
that speak to there being two Saviors. In fact, I found
many sites (regarding Isaiah
7) that maintain there was NO VIRGIN BIRTH EVER.
These, of course, are certain Jewish and atheist sites who
LOGICAL ARGUMENTS AGAINST
THE SECOND SAVIOR USING THE BIBLE AS THE BASIS OF THIS LOGIC
This section speaks to the second of the QUESTIONS AT HAND
above: 2) If so, was it a deity the same as Christ and if
so, does that not make this child born of a virgin before
Ahaz a second Savior?
Answer: No on both counts: There is no deity and no second
No where in
the Bible or in any mainline Bible Help (dictionaries,
commentaries, etc.) do I find any reference to a
There is no
reference in the Bible to a third God in the Godhead (Family).
There is God, the Father and Jesus Christ, but no mention of
any other being. If such a being existed, would not the
Bible be very clear (as with
Jesus) that he existed?
Christ is the focus of the New Testament. His life is
covered in detail. All of Paul’s letters and the Book of
Revelation mention His name frequently. There is no such
mention of the supposed second savior on this scale. A
second savior is never mentioned at all.
Christ had to die after a sinless human life to qualify as
our savior. There is no such account of a second being
doing this. It takes more than a virgin birth to qualify as
a savior (assuming one could
prove a virgin birth).
nothing in Isaiah to describe an actual virgin birth such as
Jesus experienced. All that IS mentioned is a virgin (young
woman) who later gave birth to a baby.
many verses which point to the fact that we must love and
worship Jesus and God, the Father but none for any other
asked you to provide sources for your belief you offered
none. You only gave me your interpretation of what you
thought the scriptures were saying. This confirms to me
that you have no such sources to support this belief.
were, in fact, two saviors, how would you see the Salvation
process being carried out? Would half the population
worship one or report to the one or would they worship
both? What would be the logical purpose for having two
saviors? If there is a logical and provable basis for
having two then why not three or four or ten or a hundred?
Bible is to be believed then why is Matthew referring to
Isaiah 7 as referring to Jesus Christ? If this is a lie,
then the whole Bible cannot be believed.
THERE IS STILL MORE
The following is commentary from my Hebrew-Greek Key Study
Bible by Baker Book House for Isaiah 7:14:
Since Matthew first applied this verse to the virginal
conception of Jesus (Matthew 1:23), it has been one of the
key passages in the Christian collection of Old Testament
prophecies of Jesus. So effective were the early Christians
in using this verse, and a few others from the Septuagint (the
Greek Old Testament originally done by Jews in Egypt),
that the Jews found it necessary to modify the translation
and even produce another Greek Old Testament. Matthew
applied it to Jesus on the basis of an interpretive
principle which saw equally God-given deeper meanings for
Old Testament passages. In the context of the eighth
century B.C., Isaiah was offering Judah’s king, Ahaz, a sign
of encouragement and perhaps even of punishment, should he
not act on faith. Ahaz was concerned with pressure being
put on him by Rezin of Damascus and Pekah of Israel, so he
wanted to appeal for help from Tiglath-pileser III of
Assyria (2 Kings 16:5-7). Isaiah directed Ahaz to trust in
the Lord, not in a foreign king, and offered him a sign of
God’s help. A woman was to conceive and bear a son, whom
she would name Immanuel, which means “God with us.” While
the child was still young, the crisis would end. Whether or
not the woman was a virgin when she conceived has nothing to
do with the sign to Ahaz. The sign was in the meaning of
the boy’s name and in how soon the problem would be over, as
indicated by his young age. Ahaz did not heed Isaiah’s
words and appealed to the Assyrian king, plundering the
temple and his own treasury to pay for his help (2 Kings
6:7-8). Tiglath-pileser defeated Damascus and killed Rezin
(2 Kings 16:9). In 732 B.C. he captured and exiled northern
Israel, and Pekah was assassinated (2 Kings 15:29-30). God
had already determined to solve Ahaz’ problem, but Ahaz
foolishly took matters into his own hands and paid dearly
for it. Since Matthew’s use of this passage was based on
the Greek Old Testament, not the Hebrew, and since he was
deriving a deeper meaning than the one at the historical
level which applied to Isaiah’s day, whether the Hebrew word
in Isaiah 7:14 should be translated “young woman” or
“virgin” has no real bearing on the issue of Jesus’ virgin
birth. Matthew settled the question by choosing to follow a
translation which made His virgin birth explicit.
Note: It is
clear that Isaiah 7 has to do with the birth of Christ.
From this commentary it is also clear that the birth Ahaz
sees as a sign has nothing to do with virgin birth (Mary
type) or whether the woman who has the baby is a
virgin or young woman though we have addressed those issues
in this document.