It's time to derive your worldview from the Bible

Rather than reading the Bible through the eyes of modern secularism, this provocative six-part course teaches you to read the Bible through its own eyes—as a record of God’s dealing with the human race. When you read it at this level, you will discover reasons to worship God in areas of life you probably never before associated with “religion.”

by Charles Clough
Because Jesus Christ is God’s highest revelation to man, man is measured by his response to Christ. Linking the virgin birth of Jesus Christ to the doctrine of the hypostatic union. The legal and moral necessity for the virgin birth of Christ. The spiritual necessity for the virgin birth of Christ. The virgin birth of Jesus Christ resolves the issues of imputed sin and inherent sin. The ancient Jewish reaction to the virgin birth claim.
Series:Chapter 2 – The Birth of the King
Duration:57 mins 3 secs

© Charles A. Clough 1999

Charles A. Clough
Biblical Framework Series 1995–2003

Part 5: Confrontation with the King
Chapter 2: The Birth of the King

Lesson 109 – The Virgin Birth: Prophetic Necessity

07 Jan 1999
Fellowship Chapel, Jarrettsville, MD

I want to follow in each of these four divisions of the Lord Jesus Christ, the God-man Messiah, a similar approach. What we’re doing in our approach is to show that because the Lord Jesus Christ is the sine qua non the highest manifestation of the revelation of God it follows very quickly that people’s response to the Lord Jesus Christ reveals their heart. Man is measured by his response to Christ. It’s not the other way around. The world would have us believe that we’re not really sure who Jesus is, we’re not really sure, the church isn’t really sure who He was. That’s the kind of article you always get in Newsweek or Time Magazine around Christmastime.

The New Testament is exactly opposite. In the New Testament, we are very sure of who Jesus is. We’re not really sure what men do with it. In the birth, what we’ve done in the notes, we’ve spent considerable time on pages 20-22, showing that the virgin birth is necessary to expositing who Jesus Christ is. The virgin birth is not a peripheral issue. The virgin birth of Christ in the first part of the 20th century came to be a very, very church-splitting controversial issue, but the virgin birth is the essential historical event behind the advent of the God-man. We’re talking here about God becoming man; the vehicle of that is the virgin birth. So that’s why the virgin birth is not a subsidiary, secondary topic.

What I’m doing here is I’m trying to link in your mind a doctrinal truth with a historical event to protect you against defection, because if you learn Bible doctrine separated from its historical root, what you wind up with is just religious opinion. True truth is related to what happened in real history. It will also protect you against assaults of unbelief when those assaults come spouting Christian terminology, but denying these historic events, saying they are just peripheral, they’re incidental, you don’t really have to believe those. What we’re trying to show you is that the Bible itself, it’s not me, not the fundamentalists, the Bible itself insists that God acted in history, in His arena, and if He says He did something, then He did something. His works are open to historical observation. They are empirically verifiable in that sense of the word.

Since we’re talking about the virgin birth as the anchor event for the truth that we’re going to get into, the God-man truth, we’re going to link the virgin birth with a doctrine that has been known in church history as the doctrine of the hypostatic union. The hypostatic union means the union of God and man in one person. Talk about creation being incomprehensible, this is a tremendously difficult doctrine to get balanced correctly. But every heretic, every false cult denies the hypo­static union in some form or another. It’s a great litmus test, it’s like a Geiger counter, it detects radioactive activity in the environment; this detects theological radioactivity in the environ­­­­­­­­­ment, theological decay. Watch how any group handles the doctrine of the hypostatic union and you’ll know immediately whether they’re on track or off track. This is really essential stuff.

We’re going to fortify why the virgin birth is so necessary to this doctrine. In doing it we’re just simply continuing the same idea that we developed earlier, the doctrine of God, man and nature is linked to the Creation event. It’s also linked to the flood and the covenant that followed the flood. Redemption in the Old Testament is linked to the historical Exodus. So we’re doing nothing different than what we’ve already been doing, we’re just applying that same methodology to the New Testament. We’re showing that the virgin birth is part and parcel of the whole Scripture framework.

We saw that from the standpoint of prophecy, the virgin birth is a necessity. Isaiah 7:14 is a signal of the Messiah in the Old Testament and we pointed out that Isaiah 7:14 speaks of the virgin. In pagan religion you have a lot of emphasis on the virgin. One of our constellations is called Virgo, so it’s been around for centuries and centuries, so much so that when you sit in a modern college classroom, the professor will often tell you that the virgin birth of the New Testament is just another example of ancient thinking where they looked to this virgin birth Deliverer. We reverse that. We say that the ancient world did look to a virgin birth figure, but it did so because they had been taught Genesis 3, the first occurrence there, and that had unfolded gradually through Noah, through Noah’s sons, out into the various pagan people groups.

These stories became distorted, they became corrupted, but they had some of the original vocabulary in them, so the mere presence of the virgin birth stories is not a refutation of Scripture, it’s a confirmation of Scripture. It’s part of the early Noahic revelation, it just simply hasn’t gone away yet, or has been picked up and distorted. The idea of the virgin goddess, Venus, etc. why is there this fascination in ancient mythology with this goddess? It’s because it’s a perversion of something that’s true. What did Adam call his wife? The mother of all life. There’s something very powerful about the role of the female in history. We’ll see more of that tonight.

It’s necessary prophetically by Isaiah 7:14, and the other prophetic side of the story is where the Davidic line comes to an end with Jechoniah in Jeremiah 22, so that if Joseph, who is married to Mary, was the father of Jesus we’ve got a problem with the Jeremiah 22 prophecy. So Isaiah 7:14 is a positive prophecy; that positively affirms that the Messiah must be born of the virgin. The other prophecy, the Jeremiah 22:30 prophecy negatively insists that it can’t be through the Davidic line, through Jechoniah. That pretty well sets up a template which has to be fulfilled in the New Testament somehow. I followed Fruchtenbaum’s suggestion that the Matthew genealogy is there to basically show that Jesus Christ can’t be of that genealogy.

We’re going to get into some deep stuff as far as new areas, but we have to understand these areas in order to understand what the Bible is getting at. We’re going to study two words, two kinds of sin. There are actually three kinds of sin in Scripture, there’s imputed sin, inherent sin, and there’s personal sin; ninety-nine times out of a hundred when we use the word “sin,” what we’re thinking about is personal sin, acts that we do. But the Bible speaks of two other categories of sin.

One is imputed sin, and what this means is because of our organic union with Adam we share his sin. Adam’s sin is imputed to his progeny. Everyone in Adam has sin. I know the objection, I wasn’t in the garden and that’s unfair because I wasn’t there. The divine answer to that basically is if you were there you would have done the same thing. Adam acts as our representative. It’s not altogether clear, all the details, it’s just that the Bible says that somehow we’re in union with Adam and we share his destiny. So we share his sin, his sin is imputed to us. It doesn’t make any difference how many personal sins you did, you may have 1,852 in the last week, it doesn’t affect your imputed sin. Imputed sin is yours by virtue of your birth, period. You don’t have to do any personal sin to have imputed sin. Just because you exist you’re under imputed sin. Even if you lived a perfect life, you still have imputed sin.

The third category of sin is inherent sin, and that’s in the flesh. That’s the sin principle behind personal sin. That’s the thing we’re always fighting in redemption, is our own personal, depraved, fallen nature. That’s inherent sin.

When we come to the Lord Jesus Christ, here’s why those categories are important. Jesus has got to be free of all three categories of sin, not just personal sin. In order to qualify as a perfect sacrifice that’s going to die for us on the cross, it’s got to be “a lamb without spot and without blemish.” Therefore Jesus Christ has to be free from category one sin, category two sin, category three sin. The virgin birth is the vehicle through which that miracle takes place. It’s a grand chess maneuver by the sovereign Creator to bring about the generation in human history of a human being who escapes all three categories of sin.

On page 23 you see there are two more necessities. One is a legal-moral necessity; the other is a spiritual necessity. By legal-moral necessity what we’re dealing with is the issue of imputation. That’s what we’re dealing with there. By the spiritual necessity we’re dealing with the issue of inherent sin. Let’s look first at the legal-moral necessity to deal with the imputed sin issue.

Turn to Romans 5. The Bible must be taken on its own terms. We cannot come to the Bible and wish it said something else, and then force it; you can’t force it, you have to let the text speak. You can disagree with it, you’re perfectly free to disagree, but you have to give it a shot and try to understand it before you disagree. In Romans 5:12, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.” Watch the logic of this. This is Paul; he’s talking about imputed sin. What was the curse in the garden? If you eat, what would happen? You’re going to die, there are various kinds of death but you’re going to die. The issue to Adam was if you go negative, you reject, then death to you. That’s the issue. Once God said that He can’t retract it; that’s the rule, that’s the function, that’s the name of the ball game.

Of course Adam went ahead and sinned. Because he sinned, the death that comes upon him comes upon us all. Paul, in Romans 5:12 says that” sin entered into the world, and death” entered into the world “through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.” The argument is that we are dying right now because of imputed sin. When a baby is born he begins to die. We all carry the death sentence; we’re all under capital punishment. For what? Not our personal sin. We’re under the capital punishment because of our sin in Adam. It’s imputed sin that causes death. That’s why Paul says “death spread to all men because all sinned. [13] For until the law sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed when there is no law.” So it wasn’t the violation of personal sin under the law that caused death. [14] “Death reigned from Adam until Moses,” it’s pre-Torah, it’s pre-Law, “even over those who had not sided in the likeness of Adam’s offense, who is a likeness of Him who was to come.”

His point is that death is a universal, and the universal effect in God’s history has to have a universal cause. There’s only one universal cause you can find, the death sentence in the Garden of Eden. How all this fits together theologians have butted heads with for centuries. We’re not going to get into all the theological debates. That’s a whole graduate course in historical theology. I’m just pointing out there’s a whole vast area of specialized theology right here. It’s just that for our purposes, to keep things practical and under control, reasonably, we’re going to say that it was necessary for Jesus Christ somehow to enter this world without becoming part of Adam, because if He becomes part of Adam, then He inherits that imputed sin. So how does the God-man get set up in history so that He avoids imputed sin?

In the notes [p. 23] I say, “Adam’s original sin is credited or imputed to all his descendants. All humanity, including Eve, is descended from Adam.” Here’s where you’ve got to watch it. People are so fast, slippery and goosey with Scripture, they like to come in and make fun of the Genesis 2 story, ha-ha, isn’t that a nice poetic story of man’s creation, how sentimental, what a wonderful poetic picture of woman being created out of the side of man. Better watch it, there’s a deep theology there. If Eve was not created from the side of Adam, then Adam is not the head of the human race. The feminine genetic structure has got to be under that sentence; how else is Eve going to be under Adam if she didn’t come out of Adam and share in Adam’s nature. Then the imputation doesn’t run through the feminine side of the line. So Eve is created.

Here’s one of those neat things about Scripture, the more you learn of Scripture the less inclined you’re going to be to doubt it, because it fits so nicely together, it tucks together so well. When you see these little details, if at first you don’t understand them, keep reading, keep praying, and keep asking the Lord to give you insight. It may be years later before it fits together but don’t worry about it, we have all eternity to talk about these things. As you learn more Scripture you’ll see these things dovetail to the point where nobody is going to shake your faith because you are so convinced; when God speaks He speaks coherently from generation to generation. And when God works He works consistently from century to century. This little episode isn’t just sweet poetry. This is a very specific method and rule of created history, and Eve’s generation out of the side of Adam is essential to that.

Follow again in the notes: “Another well-known biblical illustration of mankind’s legal-moral unity is Hebrews 7:4-10.” The idea of imputation is carried on, not just with Adam but it was carried on later in history. “Now observe how great this man was to whom Abraham, the patriarch, gave a tenth of the choicest spoils. [5] And those indeed of the sons of Levi who receive the priest’s office have commandment in the Law to collect a tenth from the people, that is, from their brethren, although these are descended from Abraham. [6] But the one whose genealogy is not traced from them collected a tenth from Abraham, and blessed the one who had the promises. [7] But without any dispute the lesser is blessed by the greater. [8] And in this case mortal men receive tithes, but in that case one receives them of whom it is witnessed that he lives on.”

Verse 9 “And so to speak, through Abraham even Levi, who received tithes, paid tithes.” Watch verses 9-10, it’s the same Hebrew idea that when Abraham acted in this position of coming before the last of the great Gentile priests, Melchizedek and he was blessed by Melchizedek, he’s in the passive recipients mode, but because he is going to spread out in history, with his sons and his grandsons and his great-grandsons, all of those sons, great-grandsons and great-great-grandsons, are seen as participating somehow in that act ... [10] “For he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him.” Today we maybe have a little more insight into that because we work with DNA structures, genes, etc. but they didn’t know genes in the days in which this text was written. But it was an idea that had been given to them by God. So whenever we have a point in history where a significant event is done, the physical descendants of that somehow share in that.

Just as a sub point, this explains something about the Mosaic Law Code that may at first glance seem kind of hard, there’s a passage in the Ten Commandments where God says I visit the sins of the fathers unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me. You say well why does He do that, visiting the sins upon the third and fourth generation, that’s the grandchildren and the great grandchildren that somehow get blasted by God because of what grandpa did? What’s going on there? To make a long story short, what’s happening is that families have different sin patterns. Your family has a sin patter, my family has a sin pattern, and we either fight it, we redeem it when we become Christians, or as non-Christians we develop it. We come into this world inheriting these things; maybe it’s partly environment because three and four generations are the kinds that lived in the tents in the dessert, they lived close to one another. So grandpa and grandma had quite an influence here, all the way down to the third and fourth generation. They weren’t ruptured families like we have, or geographically distributed families like we have.

In that sense there’s a solidarity in family. We could go into all kinds of things. All I want to do here is to show you that the Bible takes seriously genealogies. The most serious thing of all is the ultimate genealogy of all of us tracing our lineage back to a man who acted as our representative in a point in time when he said no to God, I will go my own independent way, and I’m taking my descendants with me. We are his descendants. God said the moment that you do that, Adam, you are going to die, and your entire race is going to die. And we’re dying; we share what happened at that moment.

Continuing in the notes on page 23, “The legal-moral unity appears to be caused by only the father, not the mother, of a child. In Hebrews 7 this unity is a feature involving only the males, Levi and Abraham, not their wives. Imputed sin seems to be credited through the father alone.” Evidently God hadn’t studied modern sociology to realize that this is a gender bias. The virgin birth, therefore, involving only Mary, not Joseph, avoids the imputation of sin to Jesus. Jesus thus acquired true humanity from His earthly mother without acquiring imputed sin from any earthly father. Again, the virgin birth is required for reasons quite apart from the New Testament announcements.”

Imputed sin passed by representation of the male, therefore the way God dealt with that to create genuine human Messiah, was to have Him virgin born, so as far as His genes, His DNA, and as far as His whole legal entity, He came out of Mary. He didn’t come out of Joseph, and since there was no male to carry the imputed sin He doesn’t carry imputed sin, so the Lord Jesus Christ came onto the stage of history free of imputed sin. He’s absolutely unique in His birth this way.

The third necessity deals with inherent sin. “Still yet another implicit reason for the virgin birth exists. Jesus is God incarnate.” Turn to Romans 8:3 because there’s a fundamental passage in that text. The New Testament text is so careful, that’s why we want to be careful when we read it, it’s nice to speed read it and get the big picture, but if you take an inductive Bible class, etc., after you get into it you’re pretty amazed at all the details you begin to see in the text, and Wow, I didn’t see that there before. It goes on, the more you grow in Christ the more you see this stuff. The New Testament text and the Old Testament because it is the Word of God is written very carefully. There’s a little qualification note in Romans 8, you’ve probably read it a thousand times but might never thought about it too carefully when you read it. “For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh,” which category of sin is this, category 1, 2, or 3, personal sin, imputed sin or inherent sin? How is the law weak? It’s inherent sin, the flesh. What the Law could not do because of inherent sin, “God did: sending His own Son,” now look at the qualifier, “in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh.”

The Lord Jesus Christ’s body was constitutionally different from ours. It was genuine humanity, but it did not have fallen flesh. He was free of the sin nature. That’s going to cause a problem later on because people are going to say oh well, then He didn’t have all the battles we do, He was tempted, another doctrine that comes into play. The New Testament is balanced, we’ll get to that. It turns out His temptations were greater than ours. We’ll see why when we get into the doctrine of the impeccability of Christ. But for right now we’re just dealing with the virgin birth and the incarnation, and the Bible says that Christ came “in the likeness of sinful flesh,” but not sinful flesh. He looked like us, His body was made of the same biological thing, but whatever it was that causes us fallen flesh and eventually causes physical death, whatever that is, He was free of that.

This has another exciting implication which we probably won’t get to this year but when Christ died He didn’t die like we did. He actually chose His death. It was not a suicide in the sense that suicide is a sinful rebellion against God’s sovereignty in my life, but it was an offering of His body before God. It was a choice to die, because had He not done that, He could on living forever. He didn’t have the death sentence on Him. In His humanity the Lord Jesus Christ could have lived forever. So the very fact that He went to the cross and died was a voluntary act. It caused Him to experience death which He normally would never have experienced, apart from that act. So that adds a little dimension when we start thinking through what He did for us.

Continuing in the notes, “For that reason the Bible very consistently notes that Jesus was sent ‘in the likeness of sinful flesh’ rather than in sinful flesh itself. The revelation of glory observed through Jesus was glory ‘as of the only begotten from the Father’ (John 1:14).” Now it couldn’t be glory “as of the only begotten from the Father,” what’s “only begotten of the Father?” It’s uniquely begotten; there is a uniqueness to the Lord Jesus Christ, that glory wasn’t visible any where else. God indwelt the prophets, God indwells Christians, but there’s no glory in us and in the prophets anything like the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s why the Bible qualifies it, glory “as of the only begotten of the Father. Jesus could claim in His true humanity: ‘I do always the things that are pleasing to [the Father.] (John 8:29).” Think of this claim.

This is why C. S. Lewis said these people that yak yak about Jesus being a great teacher but not being who He claimed to be are really people who haven’t thought through what just came out of their mouth. C. S. Lewis put it something like Jesus would be either a lunatic or on the level of some man who said he was a poached egg. Look at the claim that Jesus is making here. “I do always the things that are pleasing to the Father,” can you imagine any of us trying to make that claim. Can you imagine any religious person trying to make that claim? Oh, there are religious people that think that, but come on, get real, nobody can do that. So either this guy is a nut or He is who He claims to be. People who say Oh I believe Jesus is a good teacher… no, I believe He’s a liar, if you don’t accept His deity and you don’t accept the salvation story and you sit there and tell me He’s a good teacher, I think you’re screwed up. You’d better just be honest and say no, Jesus was a liar, He’s an imposter.

Jesus could claim “I do always the things,” that’s His claim to perfection, to moral perfection. Jesus Christ having a sinless, though genuine humanity could qualify as a sacrificial lamb without spot, without blemish. Remember in the Old Testament they had to have a lamb without blemish. Why do they keep doing that? To set up a category of thinking for people, so that believer will be equipped, so that when the real Lamb came, all the mental categories, all the logic, all the thought forms were in place so we could interpret this guy. Now we understand why they went to a lamb “without spot,” because Jesus Christ had to go to the cross without any sin, because if He had any sin, he would have had to pay for His own sin. He can’t be a substitutionary atonement for us if He Himself has His own sin to deal with. So all three categories of sin…

On page 24 there follows a speculation, and I offer this as a speculation, it’s not part of theology, but I think it’s an intriguing speculation, and I think Dr. Custance, who was a godly Canadian physiologist, has some interesting insights here biologically. I think it well may be true. “The exact problem is how Jesus could gain true humanity without the indwelling sin nature (inherent sin to be distinguished from the previously mentioned imputed sin). The Canadian physiologist, Dr. Arthur Custance has produced a fascinating study on the transmission of inherent sin from Adam to all humanity. He points out that the prophecy in Genesis 3:35 speaks of a ‘seed of the woman,’ not the seed of Adam, which is a strange usage for the word ‘seed.’ ” The word “seed” here in the Greek is translated sperma, now when have females produced sperm. That’s the text; the text says that, “the sperm of the woman.” What on earth is that? “He utilizes modern anatomical research that points to the conditional immortality of the female ova.” Let’s follow him here. This guy is not ignorant of human anatomy; he worked on it for 35 years.

He writes: “ ‘The seed of the woman is the only remnant that has retained the original immortality possessed by our first parents. By contrast, the seed of man and the body cells of both the man and the woman have been mortalized.’” Let me draw a diagram that he uses to explain this. The idea is that we have what we call germ plasm, that’s old biological terms for all the information, all the biological structures that are necessary to make a baby. After this germ plasm multiplies you get specialized cells out here called body cells. But something happens here. At some point in the biological development, a miraculous thing occurs, the cells that have all the information in them, suddenly produce cells that are specialists, they’re going to make an ear, they’re going to make a leg, going to make a fingernail. But the cells that those cells came from weren’t, they were general cells, they could have made anything. One of those massively complicated things that God has built in and we just take it for granted.

What Custance is arguing is that the seed of man and the body cells of both man and woman have been mortalized. So let’s draw the female germ and body, male germ and body, this would be the sperm and the ovum. What Custance is arguing for is that the body cells of both the male and the female, these have all been mortalized, death or whatever this thing in us has thoroughly dominated all this body. He’s going to argue, on the basis of biological evidence, that the male sperm has also been contaminated, but that the female ovum isn’t. Let’s follow him.

“‘Furthermore, even the seed of the woman is fatally poisoned by fusion with the male seed. However, this poison affects only that portion of the woman’s seed which will develop into body cells: the remainder of her seed continues to form the immortal stream of germ plasm. Only if an ovum from this germ plasm reservoir can be fertilized by some means not natural to man can a body with the original endowment of potential immortality be recovered again.’ Since the sin nature is transmitted from the moment of conception (Psalm 51:5), a supernatural intervention is required for the seed of the woman to produce fruit independent of fallen man.” So what he is arguing, and if he’s correct, is that when Eve was the mother of all living, she really was.

Down through Jewish history, you always hear this and I just don’t have that knowledge in Orthodox Judaism to confirm or disconfirm it, the idea that Jewish women would look forward to being the mother of the Messiah. It was constantly in the culture; that that would have been the greatest thing she could have as a woman, is to be the mother of the Messiah. That, coupled with the fact that Adam called his wife Evah, what Custance is arguing is that this ovum goes on and on, from mother to daughter, from mother to daughter, down through history, and it’s sort of a setup so that it can be used on down through history when God chooses the moment to use it. “When the fullness of the time” comes, the Holy Spirit comes upon a young Jewish teenager, and He takes advantage of this, so to speak, mechanism that’s been preset to go off under supernatural intervention, under an unnatural intervention. That’s the speculation of a godly physiologist, and I offer it just as that.

For something more scripturally based, turn to Psalm 139; this is a central reference to the fetus. This is a central passage in the Bible on what happens in the womb. A Psalm of David; we won’t exegete the passage because there’s a whole problem of Hebrew translation in verse 16 that’s involved, but let’s look at the context. Verses 13-16, “For Thou didst form my inward parts; Thou didst weave me in my mother’s womb. [14] I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Thy works, and my soul knows it very well. [15] My frame was not hidden from Thee, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth. [16] Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Thy book they were all written; the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.”

Let’s look at that passage. Maybe today, because we’re more biologically informed, we can hear stories about mothers who are on crack, they have crack babies, and the baby inherits all this garbage. Women who don’t take care of themselves while they’re pregnant, this is kind of a sobering thing because in verse 16 what he is saying is that his personal destiny is being shaped in the womb. It’s a wonderful eloquent passage for protection of what is happening during those nine months. It’s so important because in verse 16 it says, “in Thy book they were all written,” it’s God’s book, and what’s going on in the womb has to do with the baby’s whole life that he’s going to live, it’s all shaped there, God is working in the womb. Of course today He frequently gets interrupted in His work.

What I want to point to tonight is verse 15, the metaphor that he uses, and it’s a conscious memory of Genesis 2. Remember in Genesis 2 how did God make Adam? What did He do first? He reached down into the [blank spot] … He physically creates his body, and then what does God do after He physically creates the body? He blows into the nostrils the breath of life. And the third thing that happens, he becomes a nephesh, he becomes a living person. So it’s the material part of man, the immaterial part of man wedded together becomes a person. But it was done in the Garden. Now “when I was made,” verse 15, “in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth,” what is David talking about there? Why does he use that metaphor? He knows he was in the womb. Why does he refer to his mother’s womb as “the depths of the earth?” I believe it’s because he has on his mind Genesis 2, and he sees what goes on in the womb as almost like a recapitulation of what was going on in the Garden of Eden, when God was making. Just as God carefully built Adam, so God is carefully building him. So we have this analogy with Adam.

Back to the notes on page 24, “An analogy thus exists between the creation of the first Adam and the creation of the Second Adam, Jesus Christ,” because Jesus Christ was formed in the womb. “The female embryo was structured to bring forth mankind just as the original ground in the Garden of Eden was structure to bring forth Adam. The Second Adam was a special object of the Father’s direct creative work upon the womb or ‘earth’ just as the first Adam was (Hebrews 10:5).”

Let’s turn to Hebrews 10:5, because that does figure prominently in this passage in the virgin birth. This is a prophecy out of the Old Testament that’s Messianic. “Therefore, when He comes into the world,” this is God the Son, the Second Person of the Trinity, “when He comes into the world, He says,” He’s talking to the Father, God the Son is talking to God the Father, and He says, “‘Sacrifice and offering Thou hast not desired, but a body Thou hast prepared for Me.” There’s the incarnation, and there’s the body that’s prepared for the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s what’s going on in Mary’s womb.

“Moreover, it is fitting that just as the woman first brought sin into the world so she would first bring salvation into the world (Genesis 3:6, 20; 1 Timothy 2:13-14).” Let’s turn to 1 Timothy 2:13-14, this is another New Testament passage that has caused commentators over the years to hit a greasy spot sometimes. I notice the NASV translation takes one of the two possible interpretations. In the context he’s talking about the gender roles in the congregation, this is an interesting, (quote) “practical” issue. And then all of a sudden he goes back to the Genesis narrative, to deal with a practical issue? Yes, that’s right, because the Genesis narrative is a very practical narrative, it sets up the framework for the practical issues. And he says, “For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve.” Sounds like he read Genesis 2. [14] “And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being quite deceived, fell into transgression,” so he sees the order, the woman sinned first, then Adam, [15] “But women shall be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint.” There’s a whole thing about translating verse 15, but there’s a tradition in the church that what Paul is referring to in verse 15 is yes, the woman will be preserved in bearing of children, but it’s one child in particular that vindicates the role of the woman, i.e. the woman was the first one to sin but the woman is the one through whom the light of the world comes. Salvation comes through the female, not the male.

Continuing in the notes, “Even today this prominent role of the woman is remembered in the Jewish Passover each year as the woman of the house initiates the actual Seder by lighting the candle before the rest of the service proceeds.” Nothing can happen. The men can sit around the table all they want to, but according to the liturgy, it has to be the woman of the house that lights the candle; then and only then does the rest of the Passover proceed.

“The virgin birth is a spiritual necessity for the incarnation of God. Henry Morris is right when he says: ‘It is not surprising, therefore, that the Christian doctrine of the virgin birth of Christ has always been a watershed between true Christians and either non-Christian or pseudo-Christians. Without such a miraculous birth, there could have been no true incarnation and therefore no salvation. The man Jesus would have been a sinner by birth and thus in need of a Savior Himself.”

We want to follow the method; we’ll just introduce it tonight. Remember I told you the method I’m following. We’ve outlined the positive side of this act, the virgin birth, the incarnation. Now what we’re going to study is the reactions to that. On page 25 it’s the Jewish reaction; on page 26 it’s the Gentile reaction. We only have time to look at the Jewish reaction, but whether it’s the Jewish or the Gentile, it both precedes and illustrates the presupposition of unbelief, that believers will come to something like the virgin birth and accept it. The non-Christian comes to a thing like the virgin birth and he gets all hot under the collar about it and rejects it. Why? It’s the same virgin birth. But the virgin birth claim is being interpreted through one grid over here and another grid over here. Here’s where we’re going to see presuppositional apologetics come out.

“Ancient Jewish Rejection:” The Jews had to deal with this, the virgin birth claim was being made. Turn to John 8:41 and you’ll see how apparently they were already doing this at the time of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Jewish excuse to cover up and interpret the virgin birth claim is that Jesus was an illegitimate child, that Mary fornicated. You can’t be nice about this, the Bible is quite brutal. It forces you to take a position; people don’t like to take positions, people don’t like this, but the Bible backs you into a corner. You’ve got to say it was a virgin birth or Mary fornicated. John 8:41, this is a hint many exegetical scholars have seen this as sort of an insinuation, it’s one of these angry discourses between Jesus and the Jews, and He says, “You are doing the deeds of your father,” in other words, you’re murderers, not nice, this is the Gentle Jesus operating in John 8. “They said unto him, ‘We were not born of fornication;” where’d they get that one from? It’s an insinuation that was on the street, this was the talk in the street, and Jesus had to deal with that, all of His life, that you’re a bastard, you’re an illegitimate child.

In the notes I give Jewish authorities to show that this was a part of Jewish tradition. “Joseph Klausner, a Jewish scholar, writes of the Mishnaic section, the Mishna is a book of compilations of writings of Jews from the general New Testament period. “‘That Jesus is here referred to seems to be beyond all doubt.’ Klausner notes that throughout the Jewish Talmud, including its Mishnaic section, Jesus is known as ‘Yesho ben Pandera’ (Jesus son of Pandera), a title which may refer to Mary’s alleged paramour or to the virgin-birth claim itself (virgin in Greek is parthenos).”

“Another Talmudic scholar, Herbert Danby, summarizes the entire Talmudic reference to the virgin birth claim. ‘A Yeshu,” that’s Jesus’ name, Jesus=Yeshu “called Notsri, so Son of Stada, or Son of Panaters [or pandera] was born out of wedlock. His mother was called Miriam. She was a woman’s hairdresser (the word here is M’gadd’la, a pun on the name Mary Magdalene).” So they confused Mary Magdalene with Mary the mother of Jesus, two different women. “Her husband was Pappus, the son of Yehudah,” they at least got that right, he was of the Judaic line, “and her paramour a Roman soldier, Pantera.’ ”

“Thus ancient Jewish unbelief very clearly contradicted the actuality of the virgin birth by the clear counterclaim that Mary fornicated. Unwittingly, however, this kind of reaction refutes the later unbelief among Gentile critics that the virgin birth claim came later” in church history. It couldn’t have come later in church history because early on they were already calling Jesus a bastard.

So the argument here is that this whole issue came up during Jesus’ lifetime, probably in John 8 he’s dealing with it right there. So if they’re calling Him a bastard, why are they doing that? They’re doing it because they have to deal with the virgin birth claim. So it obviously shows that the virgin birth claim was circulating at the time of Jesus, it’s not a later addition by AD 100 or 200 when the church said you know, it’d be really nice to jazz up the Messiah story a little bit, let’s stick the virgin birth in, that’s a nice thing to add on to it. It’s not a church addition.

“Ancient Jewish fornication theories testify that the virgin birth claim occurred at the very beginning of church history.”

Next week we’ll deal with the Gentile rejection and we want to look, because we’re going to see light and darkness, remember Jesus said “Who do you say that I am?” We’re getting a clear answer here; a lot of people call Him a bastard, that’s who they say He was. The point we want to see is why? Let’s examine, as the forces of evil begin to react to the Lord Jesus Christ, we’re going to do a little anatomy. We’re going to cut it open and see what kind of puffy mess we get out of unbelief. We want to look at it in its ugliness and see, because that is an expose of the human heart, and Jesus reveals the human heart by virtue of how the human heart in its depravity responds to Him.