Pages

Categories

Archives

Meta

Doctrine of Virgin Birth

July 21, 2010

Virgin Birth
The Incarnation was accomplished through the Virgin Birth (Isa. 9:6-7; Micah 5:2; Luke 1:30-35). The word Incarnation is from the Latin: In and caro, stem carn means, “flesh.” In the context of Christian theology, the Incarnation is the act whereby the eternal Son of God, the 2nd Person of the Trinity, without ceasing to be what He is, namely God the Son, added to His deity what He did not possess before the act, namely an impeccable human nature, thus making Him, the unique theanthropic Person of the cosmos. Therefore, the hypostatic union is the result of the Incarnation. It was accomplished by means of the Incarnation and the Incarnation was accomplished by means of the Virgin Pregnancy.
The Virgin Birth provided all of mankind with a Redeemer. Gal 4:4-5, “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”
Without the miracle of the virgin birth there would be no incarnation. If there was no incarnation, there would be no resolution to the angelic conflict.
2 Cor 8:9, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.”
If not for the virgin birth of Christ, there would be no Cross and Resurrection and therefore there would be no salvation or hope for mankind. Titus 2:11, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men.”
The virgin birth was the means by which the incarnation became a reality. John 1:14, “And the Word (The Lord Jesus Christ) became flesh (a Man), and dwelt (“tabernacled”) among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only uniquely born One from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
1 Timothy 3:16, “And by common confession great is the mystery of godliness: He (The Lord Jesus Christ) who was revealed in the flesh, was vindicated in the Spirit, beheld by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.”
1 John 1:1-3, “We announce to you what was from eternity past, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld, and what our hands touched, regarding the Word of Life and the Life was manifested, and we have seen, and we bear witness, and we announce to you the Eternal Life which was with the Father, and was manifested to us. We announce to you what we have seen, and what we have heard, that you also may have fellowship with us and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ.”
The Old Testament prophets as well as the New Testament writers clearly state, that the child to be born of a virgin, would be God Himself: (1) “The Son of God” (Luke 1:35) (2) “The Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:32) (3) “Mighty God” (Isaiah 9:6) (4) “Eternal Father” (Isaiah 9:6) (5) “His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity” (Micah 5:2).
In 700 B.C., the prophet Isaiah was used by God the Holy Spirit to prophecy the birth of our Lord. Isa 7:14, “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.”
In Isaiah 7:14, Immanuel is the Hebrew proper name `Immanuel (la% WnM*u!), “God with us.” The name Immanuel refers to the Incarnation or that God would become a man by entering into the human race through the virgin birth.
2002 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 1
The 2nd Person of the Trinity, God the Son, would become something that He wasn’t before, a human being without a sin nature.
“A Virgin” is composed of 2 Hebrew words: (1) Definite article ha (h*). (2) Noun `almah (hm*lu^), “young woman who has not had sex yet with a man, but is at the age to be married.” The definite article preceding the noun `almah indicates a specific virgin in God’s plan.
Contrary to Jewish tradition, no father is mentioned. The omission fits with the fact that the Child is virgin-born. Matthew 1:23 tells us who Immanuel is, the Lord Jesus Christ, and who “the virgin” is, Mary. The phrase “God Himself will give you a sign” points to the fact that the omnipotence of God will perform the miracle of implanting the seed for the formation of the humanity of Christ.
Matthew 1:18, Luke 1:35 and Hebrews 10:5 says that God the Holy Spirit prepared a human body for God the Son. Matt 1:18, “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.” Luke 1:35, “The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.”
Isa 9:6-7, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of {His} government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.”
The phrase “will be born” is the 3rd person feminine singular pual perfect form of the verb yaladh (rl^y*), “to bear a child, to give birth.” The perfect tense says that in 700 B.C. when this was written, God saw the virgin birth as already having occurred. The verb yulladh is also in the Pual stem which is an intensive passive stem meaning that the virgin birth is a promise by God to the house of Israel which is certain to occur or pictured in the mind of God as already having taken place. The pual passive means that the house of Israel will receive the virgin birth from God.
“Will be given” is the 3rd person masculine singular niphal perfect form of the verb nathan (/j^n*), “to give.” The pual stem is used in the passive sense meaning that the nation of Israel is going to be acted upon by God when God the Holy Spirit will produce a sinless human body for the Son of God and God the Father will impute soul to the sinless human body. The perfect tense indicates that God already considers that the birth of Christ is a certainty since He knows all things because He is omniscient.
“The government will rest on His shoulders,” means He will be a King. “Wonderful” and “Counselor” indicates His character. “Wonderful” is a noun and means He will be a supernatural wonder, a marvel (Ex. 15:11; Judges 13:18). “Mighty God” is the Hebrew name El Gibbor which refers to the fact that the Child will be the omnipotent God. “The Everlasting Father” (Aviad) could be translated “Father of all eternity” (Micah 5:2). “Prince of Peace” (Sar-Shalom) means that He is the One bringing salvation to men.
The Lord Jesus was born on September 11, 3 B.C. just after sundown on the 1st of the Jewish month of Tishri, which marked the beginning of the Jewish New Year Rosh sha’shanah, which the Bible calls the Feast of Trumpets. First of all, we know that John was six months older than Jesus (Lk.1:24, 26, 36). We know that John began his ministry sometime in the 15th year of Caesar Tiberius, which was reckoned from 19 August, 28AD, to 18 August, 29AD (Lk.3:1). We 2002 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 2
know that at the time Jesus “began His ministry” He “was about thirty years of age” (Lk.3:23). We know that John the Baptist was conceived during the time frame when his father “was performing his priestly service before God in the appointed order of his division” at the Temple. This is a key because Zacharias’ course was that of Abia (Heb., Abijah), which was the 8th course (of 24 courses established by David). The 8th course served two times (each course served one week twice a year), once in late Spring, and again in late Autumn. Jewish tradition said that the first priestly course commenced its duty on the Sabbath before Nisan 1 (first month of religious year).
In 4BC, Nisan 1 was March 29, and so the preceding Sabbath was March 24, making the week of the duties of the first course (Jehoiarib; see 1Chr.24) from Sabbath noon, March 24 to Sabbath noon, March 31 (2nd: March 31 to April 7, etc.). The third course (started April 7) was interrupted by the period of the Passover when all priests officiated together; this interruption caused the third course not to end its administration until the Sabbath after Passover, which was April 21 in 4BC. The period for the 8th course of Abujah would have been from May 19 to May 26. So Zechariah was serving in the Temple when the Gabriel appeared and struck Zacharias was struck dumb during his administration, which immediately disqualified him, from that moment, from exercising the priest’s office (Lev.21:16-23). He left for home and sometime near May 26 to June 1, Elisabeth conceived.
Since the human gestation period is about 280 days (9 months and 10 days), this would place the birth of John near March 10 in 3BC. This would place Christ’s birth in the 1st half of September, 3BC because Jesus was 6 months younger than John. Now we can conclude that Jesus was born on the 11th of September because September 11th was Tishri One on the Jewish calendar.
Tishri One is none other than the Jewish New Year’s day (Nisan 1 was the beginning of the Jewish ecclesiastical year; in 3 BC this fell on 18 March). Otherwise known as Rosh sha’shanah, or as the Bible calls it, the Day of Trumpets (Lev.23:23-25]. Sundown on 11 September 3 BC (6 p.m.), was the beginning of Rosh sha’shanah (Jesus was born very soon after 6 p.m. when the day changed from 30 Elul to 1 Tishri). The theme of the Day of Trumpets’ is that of kingship in Israel. This was the very day that the kings of Judah reckoned as the inauguration day of their rule. This procedure was followed consistently in the time of Solomon, Jeremiah, and Ezra (Thiele, The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings, pp. 28, 31, 161, 163). The Day of Trumpets was acknowledged as the time for counting the years of kingly rule. Indeed, it was customary that the final ceremony in the coronation of kings was the blowing of trumpets (for Solomon, 1Kgs.1:34, for Jehu, 2Kgs.9:13, for Jehoash, 2Kgs.11:11).
So Jesus was born in a stable in the early evening hours (just as the Jewish calendar advanced to 1 Tishri) of September 11, 3BC. He was circumcised on September 19, 3BC, Lk. 2:21. He was dedicated in the Temple on October 21, 3BC.
The angel Gabriel prophesied to Mary that the Child’s name would be called “Jesus” (Luke 1:31). “Jesus” (Iesou) is a Greek form of a Hebrew name, Joshua, meaning “Jehovah our salvation.” It is from the Hebrew name Jehoshua which is taken from two famous Jewish names: (1) Joshua, the successor of Moses (2) Jeshua, the high priest of the Jews upon their arrival back from the Babylonian exile. Joshua was originally named Hoshea which means “saving,” but was altered by Moses (Num. 13:16) into Jehoshua, “Jehovah our salvation,” therefore, we get the expression, Savior. The promised Savior would have a totally unique birth from other men: He is the “only begotten from the Father” (John 1:14, 18; 3:16, 18; Acts 13:33; Heb. 1:5; 5:5; 1 John 4:9)
2002 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 3
The promised Messiah would have no human father, but instead would be born of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35). Because He would have no human father, therefore, His Father would be God (Heb. 1:5; 10:5). Joseph, who married Mary, was not the natural father of our Lord. He was excluded from sitting upon the throne of his great ancestor King David because of the Coniah Curse (Jeremiah 22:24-30); therefore, he had no part in the birth of Jesus. David had two sons, Solomon and Nathan. God used Nathan’s line and not Solomon’s. Mary was in the line of Nathan. Joseph was in the line of Solomon. Coniah was in the line of Solomon. Coniah’s line was cut off, therefore, excluding Joseph from taking part in the birth of the Messiah. Nathan’s line would be used to produce the humanity of our Lord, and not Solomon’s. Mary was in Nathan’s line. The marriage of Mary and Joseph made our Lord the “adopted” son and “legal heir” of Joseph. This reflects God’s Divine Sovereignty, Omniscience and Omnipotence. Our Lord’s claim to the Davidic Throne could be proven through the Temple Register. Both Mary and Joseph’s ancestry could be traced all the way back to David through the Temple Register. Mary and Joseph would not have gone to Bethlehem, David’s birthplace, when Caesar. Augustus gave the command to have a census taken unless they were of the House of David (Luke 2:1-5). No one, not even our Lord’s enemies, the Pharisees and the Sadducees, contended with our Lord about His Davidic ancestry since the records were in the Temple Register. Those records were destroyed when the Roman general Titus destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in A. D. 70. These records can now only by found in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.
The Virgin Birth is a tremendous act of Grace on the part of God towards mankind. God alone produced the body of our Lord: (1) “The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will accomplish this” (Isa. 9:7) (2) “The Lord Himself will give you a sign” (Isa. 7:14) (3) “The Holy Spirit” came upon Mary and “the power of the Most High” produced the body of our Lord (Luke 1:30-35).
Mary’s womb was only the vehicle for the formation of the human body of our Lord, which was not contaminated by Adam’s old sin nature. Because of the virgin pregnancy the humanity of Christ did not have an old sin nature. He had a human body that was produced through the omnipotence of the Holy Spirit (Heb. 10:5-7).
Luke 1:1-25, “Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write {it} out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught. In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah; and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. They were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both advanced in years. Now it happened {that} while he was performing his priestly service before God in the {appointed} order of his division, according to the custom of the priestly office, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And the whole multitude of the people were in prayer outside at the hour of the incense offering. And an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense. Zacharias was troubled when he saw {the angel} and fear gripped him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John. You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be
2002 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 4
filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God. It is he who will go {as a forerunner} before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS BACK TO THE CHILDREN, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Zacharias said to the angel, “How will I know this {for certain?} For I am an old man and my wife is advanced in years.” The angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. And behold, you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time.” The people were waiting for Zacharias, and were wondering at his delay in the temple. But when he came out, he was unable to speak to them; and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple; and he kept making signs to them, and remained mute. When the days of his priestly service were ended, he went back home. After these days Elizabeth his wife became pregnant, and she kept herself in seclusion for five months, saying, “This is the way the Lord has dealt with me in the days when He looked {with favor} upon {me} to take away my disgrace among men.” Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth.”
Luke 1:26 says that the angel Gabriel was sent on a mission by God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth. Nazareth was located 70 miles northeast from Jerusalem and was a half-way house between that city and Tyre and Sidon in Phoenicia. Nazareth stood on a hillside, and at the foot of the hill ran the great highway between Tyre and Sidon and Jerusalem. Along that highway there passed Roman soldiers, Greek merchants, Greek travelers, and Jewish priests. It contained at least 15,000 inhabitants in our Lord’s day and possibly more. It was one of the cities of Galilee and being where it was geographically, it was the place where Roman soldiers often stayed overnight and Greek merchantmen put up in the caravansaries. Nazareth was a hotbed of corruption much like our modern cities such as New York and Los Angeles. Remember what Nathanael said, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth” (John 1:46)? He said this because it was filled with all the vices that are contained in our modern cities today. Gabriel was sent to this city called Nazareth by God to visit a virgin named Mary who was engaged to a man named Joseph.
Luke 1:27, “to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.”
“Virgin” is the noun parthenos (parqevno$), which denotes “a young, unmarried girl who has not had sex with a man yet.” Joseph and Mary were legally considered to be married but had not consummated the marriage by having sex. The Jews had a tradition called betrothal or engagement period. The betrothal was an agreement that included witnesses, a marriage contract, and the payment of the bridal price. The betrothal or engagement period was the 1st stage of the marriage and usually began when the girl was about 12 years of age. This period was generally concluded after a year when the woman would go to live at the man’s house instead of her parents. The betrothal was considered preparation for marriage but was legally binding. If the marriage did not take place because of a breach of contract such as the dowry not paid to her parents or if she had sex before marriage, the young woman could not be married to another man until she was freed by due process and a certificate of divorce.
“Joseph” who was engaged to Mary is said to be “of the descendants of David.” This is intended to show Jesus’ legitimate claim to the throne of David through his legal father Joseph (see verse 31). Joseph, who married Mary, was not the natural father of our Lord.
2002 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 5
Joseph was excluded from sitting upon the throne of his great ancestor King David because of the “Coniah Curse” (Jeremiah 22:24-30); therefore, he had no part in the birth of Jesus. David had two sons, Solomon and Nathan.
Jer 22:24-30, “As I live,” declares the LORD, “even though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah were a signet {ring} on My right hand, yet I would pull you off; and I will give you over into the hand of those who are seeking your life, yes, into the hand of those whom you dread, even into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and into the hand of the Chaldeans. I will hurl you and your mother who bore you into another country where you were not born, and there you will die. But as for the land to which they desire to return, they will not return to it. Is this man Coniah a despised, shattered jar? Or is he an undesirable vessel? Why have he and his descendants been hurled out And cast into a land that they had not known? O land, land, land, hear the word of the LORD! Thus says the LORD, “Write this man down childless, a man who will not prosper in his days; for no man of his descendants will prosper sitting on the throne of David or ruling again in Judah.’”
God used Nathan’s line and not Solomon’s. Mary was in the line of Nathan. Joseph was in the line of Solomon. Coniah was in the line of Solomon. Coniah’s line was cut off, therefore, excluding Joseph from taking part in the birth of the Messiah. Nathan’s line would be used to produce the humanity of our Lord, and not Solomon’s and Mary was in Nathan’s line. The marriage of Mary and Joseph made our Lord the “adopted” son and “legal heir” of Joseph. This reflects God’s Divine Sovereignty, Omniscience and Omnipotence. Our Lord’s claim to the Davidic Throne could be proven through the Temple Register.
Both Mary and Joseph’s ancestry could be traced all the way back to David through the Temple Register. Mary and Joseph would not have gone to Bethlehem, David’s birthplace, when Caesar Augustus gave the command to have a census taken unless they were of the House of David (Luke 2:1-5). No one, not even our Lord’s enemies, the Pharisees and the Sadducees, contended with our Lord about His Davidic ancestry since the records were in the Temple Register. Those records were destroyed when the Roman general Titus destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in A. D. 70. These records can now only by found in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.
Luke 1:28-35, “And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord {is} with you.” But she was very perplexed at {this} statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.”
God the Holy Spirit produced the body of our Lord: (1) “The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will accomplish this” (Isa. 9:7). (2) “The Lord Himself will give you a sign” (Isa. 7:14) (3) “The Holy Spirit” came upon Mary and “the power of the Most High” produced the body of our Lord (Luke 1:30-35).
God the Holy Spirit was responsible for Mary’s pregnancy. Matt 1:18, “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before
2002 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 6
they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.” Matt 1:20, “But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.”
God the Holy Spirit was the source of Mary’s pregnancy (Matt. 1:18). The preposition ek plus the genitive of pneumatos hagiou denotes the source of Mary’s pregnancy, which was God the Holy Spirit. The divine omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit created the human body of our Lord. In Luke 1:35, the term “overshadow” is an OT image of the cloud of God’s presence that descended upon the tabernacle (Ex. 40:35).
The term “overshadow” is a metaphor for the presence of God. An act of divine omnipotence produced the sperm that fertilized the egg in Mary’s womb. The Lord Jesus Christ had no sin nature like we do because He did not have a human father. God could not impute Adam’s original sin in the garden because there was no place to impute it. Our Lord did not have a genetically formed sin nature like we do. The reason being is that He did not have a human biological father, but instead, had a divine Father in heaven. Therefore, God could not impute an old sin nature to our Lord’s human body. The principle of sin was not found in Him. He did not have an old sin nature to tempt as we do though He was tempted many times to reject the plan of God for His life which was to die for the sins of the world.
Mary’s womb was only the vehicle for the formation of the human body of our Lord. The omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit provided 23 perfect chromosomes to fertilize Mary’s normal, pure ovum. This produced a fetus in Mary’s womb that was uncontaminated by Adam’s old sin nature. Our Lord did not receive an old sin nature because He did not have a human father. Our human father produces the 23 contaminated chromosomes needed to fertilize our mother’s ovum. In Mary, as in all normal women, approximately once a month that one egg cell was purified through meiosis. Her sin nature’s presence in an immature reproductive cell had crossed over into polar bodies, leaving the mature ovum uncontaminated. In other words, the physical basis for the virgin birth can be found in any good biology textbook. The old sin nature is in the male sperm. We receive Adam’s old sin nature from our human father’s sperm. Every person whether male or female possesses an old sin nature as a result of this (Rom. 5:12). When the female ovum is fertilized by the male sperm, it is contaminated by the sin nature carried in the sperm. Mary conceived apart from the contamination by the male sperm. Her pregnancy was, therefore, a virgin pregnancy. The blastocyst, embryo and fetus that developed within Mary was totally free from the corruption of Adam’s sinful trend. At the instant when, in the Bethlehem stable, the fetus emerged from Mary’s womb, God the Father imputed human life to its divinely prepared home, Christ’s human soul. The result of this imputation, as it would have been with any other member of the human race, was physical life.
Our Lord was born true humanity, qualified to represent mankind before God. But at the same moment, when the justice of God would normally impute Adam’s original sin to a newly born infant, no such imputation was possible. Christ had no genetically formed old sin nature. Adam’s sin had no home in Him. Christ was not seminally in Adam. Jesus Christ was thus born unique. He was born both physically and spiritually alive.
The Greek adjective monogenes (monogenhv$ ) in John 3:16 is not “only begotten” Son but “uniquely born” Son. The Unique Person of the universe, the Lord Jesus Christ, was born perfect in the midst of totally depraved mankind. Christ was the only free Man ever to enter Satan’s world. The 2nd Person of the Trinity entered into the world as perfect, uncontaminated Man, qualified to go to the Cross as our Substitute.
2002 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 7
Our Lord was free from: (1) 1. The devil’s rulership. (2) The sovereignty of the old sin nature. (3) The imputation of Adam’s sin. (4) The condemnation of spiritual death.
Luke 1:36-38, “And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. For nothing will be impossible with God. And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.”
Mary had to agree with God’s plan before the omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit could implant the seed that would form the perfect humanity of our Lord Jesus Christ. When Gabriel announced that God had selected her as the virgin to take part in the formation of the perfect sinless body of our Lord, Mary had to first give her consent.
When Mary said, “be it done to me according to your WORD” (Luke 1:38). She was saying yes to the plan of God. Mary believed that the prophesy of the virgin birth which was related to her by the angel Gabriel would be fulfilled, and therefore, she was blessed because of her faith in God’s WORD. The fact that God had selected her as the human vehicle to form the humanity of Christ was the greatest privilege conferred upon a woman (Luke 1:28, 30, 48).
Luke 1:28, “And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord {is} with you.” Luke 1:30, “The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.” Luke 1:48, “For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave; for behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed.”
The last 3 months of Mary’s pregnancy were spent in Bethlehem away from the gossip and the turmoil that would have surrounded her in Nazareth. Both, Joseph and Mary as born-again Jews were aware of the prophesy in Micah 5:2 which said that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem.
Luke 2:6-7, “While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”
The word for “manger” is the Greek noun phatne (favtnh), “feeding trough.” The feeding trough was employed by Mary and Joseph as a crib for the baby Jesus. The mangers in the ancient world were often made of stones laid like blocks, then plastered over with a substance to make them waterproof. These feeding troughs could also be carved from a single block of stone. It is significant that our Lord was laid in a feeding trough. Animals would eat and drink at these troughs. Our Lord’s being laid in one of these troughs speaks of the believer feeding from our Lord who is the Word of God.
We are to feed off the Word of God. Our Lord was the Word of God in a human body (John 1:14). The Word of God became something that He wasn’t before, a human being. Our Lord said to His disciples in John 6:53 that unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourself.
John 6:54-56, “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me (has fellowship with the Lord), and I in him.” Matthew 4:4, “man does not live on bread alone but from every WORD that proceeds from the mouth of God.”
Eating the flesh of our Lord is having fellowship with Him by eating the Word of God or by taking in Bible Doctrine. We have to go to the feeding trough, which speaks of Christ in order to be fed spiritual food. The spiritual food that we need is Bible Doctrine, the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16). Our Lord was not laid in a wooden crib but one cut out of rock, which is also
2002 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 8
significant. Our Lord is described in many passages in the Word of God as a Rock (Deut. 32:4, 15, 31; 1 Sam. 2:2; 2 Sam. 22:2-3, 32, 47; 23:3; Psa. 18:2; 19:14; 62:2; 89:26; 94:22; 144:1; Isa. 26:4; 30:29; Matt. 16:18; 1 Cor. 10:4; 1 Pet. 2:8).
1Corinthians 10:4 calls the Lord a spiritual Rock. We are to build a spiritual house in our soul upon this Rock, which speaks of the Lord Jesus Christ (Matt. 7:24-25). Our Lord in His death was laid in a tomb that was cut out of rock (Matthew 27:60; Luke 23:53). The Lord is the Rock of our salvation (Psa. 95:1). The Lord is the Rock that delivers us from our sins (Psa. 18:2). The Lord is the Rock that redeems or purchases us out from the slave market of sin (Psa. 19:14). The is the Rock that gives us protection (Psa. 31:3; 94:22). The feeding trough cut out of rock speaks of the believer feeding off the spiritual rock, which is Christ.
Luke 2:8-12, “In the same region there were {some} shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This {will be} a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Mary wrapped the Child in strips of cloth like bandages used to keep the infant’s limbs straight and to limit movement. This type of treatment was considered appropriate and also served to identify a newborn (Luke 2:12). This process was similar to the preparing the body for burial as we noted in our Lord’s burial when we study the resurrection of Christ. So this foreshadowed our Lord’s death.
The mother who bore the child had to wrap the child herself. The custom of the day included cleaning and rubbing the baby with oil, usually olive oil. Then the arms were placed at the baby’s side and were wrapped in strips of cloth. This also served as a sign to the shepherds who were in field and were told by the angel of the Lord that they could see the Messiah wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger (Luke 2:12).
Luke 2:13-20, “And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased. When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds {began} saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us. So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. When they had seen this, they made known the statement, which had been told them about this child. And all who heard it wondered at the things, which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.”
The announcement of the birth of Christ was not given to the religious people in Jerusalem. It was not given to the Pharisees. It was given to a despised class of people, the shepherds. Shepherds were looked down upon in Jewish society. The Pharisees despised them, putting them under the same classification as publicans and tax-collectors, depriving them of certain rights in the community. They were not allowed to hold a judicial position and could not be admitted as a witness in court. The shepherds were the first to receive the news of the Savior being born in the town of Bethlehem, not the Pharisees (Luke 2:8-20). It was a despised, ostracized group of people who first received the good news of the Messiah being born. The Pharisees hated the
2002 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 9
2002 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 10
shepherds but our Lord identified with them, calling Himself the Good Shepherd (John 10:11, 14). He is described in Hebrews 13:20 as the Great Shepherd of the sheep.