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In the previous blogpost Superdadsuper explores how Mary, Joseph and Elizabeth reacted to the news of a virgin conception


During the reign of Augustus Caesar, it had been over 150 years since anyone had seen what passed as a miracle in Judea . As reported by the Jews, this miracle made one flask of oil last eight days rather than the one day expected. This happened just as winter was beginning. Today we know the commemoration as Hanukkah.

Even the devoutest Jew did not expect miracles to happen. Mary of Nazareth was no exception. Her reaction to Gabriel's claims showed that she thought them impossible. Even when the angel told her that her older cousin, once barren, was now pregnant, she could only wait to see if this unheard of miracle would actually happen. Gabriel assured her that anything was possible with God [1].

And then, after Mary had visited her pregnant cousin for three months, it became obvious that she herself was pregnant. Gabriel had been right, God had worked a miracle. Gabriel had to come to Joseph h in a dream to remind him of Isaiah's remarkable prophecy[2]. That seemed to ease his concern. He trusted the Prophets to call it right.

Years later, when reporting the genealogy of Jesus , Luke relates to Theophilos that "it was supposed" that Joseph was the father[3]. That was a confirmation that the evangelist, a trained physician[4] and careful historian[5], believed the story related to him by Mary and Elizabeth. Years after Jesus' ministry, miracles were expected even among Gentiles.

Jesus had been proven to be the Son of God several times over. The Father had acknowledged him at his baptism[6], and again at his transfiguration[7]. Finally, his resurrection and ascension proved without a doubt that he was who he claimed to be[8]. There is nothing in the Bible to deny this truth. God does things that no man can explain. From the creation of the earth, to the virgin birth and resurrection of Jesus, and beyond.

It is foolish for finite men to make arguments trying to "prove" that Isaiah was misquoted by an angel. The Greek Old Testament demonstrated that the Hebrew original word -- almah -- required a pure woman, untouched by a man. Five out of seven occurrences of the word are above question.

The other word, bethulah, which might be expected, seems to be the general term that could mean "virgin." The first two uses of these two words has bethulah being qualified as being a girl "whom no man had known"[9]. Later in the same account, the servant recounts his prayer and the answer, using the same word that Isaiah would use hundreds of years later: almah with no qualifiers[10]. Out of the seven times the word appears, it is never qualified. A clear indication is that almah means "virgin" more times than not. The Greek translators saw this as well.

So, as we look to the festivities of the Christmas season, let us not listen to the skeptics. Such doubters do not expect miracles from God, for they do not believe He is able to perform miracles. History has shown that miracles are not to be expected. But then, Jesus explained that we are more blessed that way[11].

  1. Luke 1:26-38 (Link)
  2. Matt. 1:18-25; Isa. 7:14 (Link)
  3. Luke 3:23 (Link)
  4. Col. 4:14 (Link)
  5. Luke 1:1-4; Acts 1:1-3 (Link)
  6. Matt. 3:16-17; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:21-22; John 1:32-34 (Link)
  7. Matt. 17:5; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35 (Link)
  8. Rom. 1:4 (Link)
  9. Gen. 24:16 (Link)
  10. Gen. 24:43 (Link)
  11. John 20:29 (Link)

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