Bible Prophecy

Round yon’ virgin mother and child…but why a virgin?

The Bible often refers to man’s descendants as his “seed.” But in one strange verse, it uses the word “seed” in reference to the offspring of a woman, not a man. This is the first hint of a virgin birth.

From here, an intricately woven fabric emerges in which every detail complements the next, and every prophecy is fulfilled. We are left with an unrivaled Book, an unrivaled birth, and an unrivaled God.

That first hint of a virgin birth appears early in the Bible.

“And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and HER SEED; He [Messiah] shall bruise your head, And you [Satan] shall bruise His heel.” — Genesis 3:15

Messiah was to come from the Tribe of Judah:

The scepter shall not depart from JUDAH, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; — Genesis 49:10

Messiah was also to come from the family line of David:

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. Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, UPON THE THRONE OF DAVID and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. — Isaiah 9:6-7

The problem was that after King David, Israel’s kings were largely ungodly and inadequate. God is long suffering, but at a certain point, he’d had enough and he cut off this royal line at King Jehoiachin:

Thus says the LORD:

‘Write this man down as childless, A man who shall not prosper in his days; For none of his descendants shall prosper, sitting on the throne of David, And ruling anymore in Judah.'” — Jeremiah 22:30

God just presented himself with a problem. He already spoke through Isaiah that Messiah would come through the line of David, yet he just cut off David’s royal blood line.

This is where the most boring parts of the Bible, the genealogies, become very important. Just scroll through and look at the bold parts.

Matthew 1:1-16, The Genealogy of Jesus Christ The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham: Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers. Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Ram. Ram begot Amminadab, Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon. Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David the king. David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah. Solomon begot Rehoboam, Rehoboam begot Abijah, and Abijah begot Asa. Asa begot Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat begot Joram, and Joram begot Uzziah. Uzziah begot Jotham, Jotham begot Ahaz, and Ahaz begot Hezekiah. Hezekiah begot Manasseh, Manasseh begot Amon, and Amon begot Josiah. Josiah begot Jeconiah [at this point, royalty is cut off] and his brothers about the time they were carried away to Babylon. And after they were brought to Babylon, Jeconiah begot Shealtiel, and Shealtiel begot Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel begot Abiud, Abiud begot Eliakim, and Eliakim begot Azor. Azor begot Zadok, Zadok begot Achim, and Achim begot Eliud. Eliud begot Eleazar, Eleazar begot Matthan,and Matthan begot Jacob. And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ. — Matthew 1:1-16

Mary’s husband, Joseph, is in David’s BIOLOGICAL line, but not David’s ROYAL line. This is crucial. Mary could have married any other man. In particular, she could have married someone whose family line went through a sibling of Solomon’s, a sibling whose line was not cut off from David’s royalty. Within the tribe of Judah, there was presumably no shortage of such men. But Mary married Joseph, a man from the only line specifically precluded from David’s royalty.

God set himself up for a miracle, and to fulfill his prophecies.

As stated earlier, the “seed” of a woman mentioned in Genesis 3:15 was the first hint, or foreshadowing, of the virgin birth. In Isaiah, however, God fully commits to the prophecy of a virgin birth:

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel [In Hebrew, “Immanuel” means “God with us”]. — Isaiah 7:14

So now what? Enter a 2nd genealogy of Jesus written by Luke. Again, just scroll through to the bold parts:

Luke 3:23-4:1, The Genealogy of Jesus Christ Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, the son of Heli [Heli is Mary’s father, not Joseph’s. However, genealogies were mapped from male to male, so as Heli’s son-in-law, Joseph is here mapped in Heli’s family line, the conclusion being that Heli had no sons, i.e. Mary had no brothers], the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Janna, the son of Joseph, the son of Mattathiah, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai, the son of Maath, the son of Mattathiah, the son of Semei, the son of Joseph, the son of Judah, the son of Joannas, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmodam, the son of Er, the son of Jose, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonan, the son of Eliakim, the son of Melea, the son of Menan, the son of Mattathah, the son of Nathan, the son of David, the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Salmon, the son of Nahshon, the son of Amminadab, the son of Ram, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel, the son of Cainan, the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God. — Luke 3:23-4:1

The genealogy in Luke is Mary’s family, whereas the genealogy in Matthew was Joseph’s. From Abraham to David, these genealogies are the same. However, after David, the genealogy that Matthew wrote goes through David’s son Solomon, which was the line specifically cut off from continued royalty in Jeremiah 22:30. The Messiah still had to come through the family line of David as prophesied in Isaiah 9:6-7. Yet if Messiah came through the side of the family that was cut off from royalty, scripture is proven wrong and it’s game over. Notice the name “Nathan” in bold above. Nathan was another son of King David, a son not cut off from royalty. Mary descended from Nathan.

So Mary herself has the DNA fulfilling the prophecy of Messiah’s Davidic Royalty. However, inheritance was passed down from men to their sons, not to their daughters. Although Mary biologically carried eligible DNA, she legally could not claim her father Heli’s royal heritage and pass it on to her son.

Enter an obscure event centuries prior, in the days of Moses, that would be part of the intricate fabric woven by God into the history of the Hebrew people, his chosen people, the apple of his eye in this physical world.

Now Zelophehad the son of Hepher had no sons, but daughters; and the names of the daughters of Zelophehad were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. — Numbers 26:32-33

Zelophehad’s daughters said to Moses:

Why should our father’s name disappear from his clan because he had no son? Give us property among our father’s relatives.” — Numbers 27:4

Moses brought their case to God, and God said:

“What Zelophehad’s daughters are saying is right. You must certainly give them property as an inheritance among their father’s relatives and turn their father’s inheritance over to them. “Say to the Israelites, ‘If a man dies and leaves no son, turn his inheritance over to his daughter. — Numbers 27:7-8

If you think you can do this with any other religious book on earth, please be my guest.

Merry Christmas!

6 replies »

  1. Genesis 3:15’s mention of the “woman and her seed” is often given as evidence that Mary was without “original sin” or “incarnate” by Catholics. What is your take on this tenant of the Catholic church? It is one of my bigger hang-ups, having been raised Methodist.

    • Karen,

      Great question, thank you.

      The Genesis 3:15 mention of the “woman and her seed” is indeed cited as evidence for the Immaculate Conception, which is the idea that Mary was born without original sin. In Genesis 3:15, The woman and her seed oppose the serpent and his offspring, setting the woman and her seed apart. With that in mind, let’s consider this passage.

      As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. ~ Ephesians 2:1-4

      Jesus was obviously not included among those “gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts.” And since the “seed” of Genesis 3:15 depends upon the woman (“the woman AND HER SEED”), the Immaculate Conception argument contends that since the Genesis 3:15 woman AND her seed oppose Satan and his offspring, and since the woman’s offspring is obviously Jesus, and Jesus had no original sin and is an exception to Ephesians 2:1-4, then the woman might also have no original sin and might also be an exception to Ephesians 2:1-4. I think Genesis 3:15 lends some weight to the Immaculate Conception argument, but I don’t believe it is compelling evidence in and of itself.

      A much more compelling argument (to me anyway) is Mary as the Ark of the New Covenant. Remember the Ark of the Covenant from the Old Testament? It carried the Ten Commandments (the word of God) and had to be overlayed with pure gold.

      “Have them make a chest of acacia wood [the Ark of the Covenant]— two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high. Overlay it with PURE GOLD, both INSIDE AND OUT…” ~ Exodus 25:10-11

      Just as the Ark of the Old Covenant was pure inside and out starting at its very construction, so must the Ark of the New Covenant be pure inside and out starting at her very conception. The Ark of the Old Covenant carried the word of God. The Ark of the New Covenant carries the word of God made flesh.

      In the beginning was the Word [Jesus], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. ~ John 1:1

      And remember that the Ark of the Old Covenant could not be touched by just any man?

      “After Aaron and his sons have finished covering the holy furnishings and all the holy articles, and when the camp is ready to move, the Kohathites are to come to do the carrying. But THEY MUST NOT TOUCH THE HOLY THINGS OR THEY WILL DIE.” ~ Numbers 4:15

      And when they came to Nachon’s threshing floor, Uzzah PUT HIS HAND TO THE ARK OF GOD and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. Then the anger of the LORD was aroused against Uzzah, and GOD STRUCK HIM FOR HIS ERROR; AND HE DIED THERE by the ark of God. ~ 2 Samuel 6:6-7

      This is a pretty remarkable foreshadowing of the sexual purity of the Ark of the New Covenant.

      And then there is the fact that the Arks of the Old and New Covenants made visits for the same lengths of time.

      The ark of the LORD remained in the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite for THREE MONTHS, and the LORD blessed him and his entire household. ~ 2 Samuel 6:11

      Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about THREE MONTHS and then returned home. ~ Luke 1:56

      Finally there is the excitement generated by the Arks of the Old and New Covenants because of what (and who) they contained.

      So David went and brought up the ark of God… Then David DANCED before the LORD with all his might… David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with SHOUTING and with the sound of the trumpet. ~ 2 Samuel 6:12-15

      When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby LEAPED in her [Elizabeth’s] womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. ~ Luke 1:41

      As I learn more about the Immaculate Conception, I will write an entire article about it and post it. Thank you.

      Tom

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