Mary a Virgin?
©December 27, 2009 Asher Intrater
Mary's real name was Miriam. Technically, when Miriam gave birth to Yeshua (Jesus), she was not a virgin, but a virgin-betrothed. In biblical law, there is a big difference. Miriam was legally married to Yoseph (Joseph), but they had not yet come together physically. Had she been with another man, it would have been a case of adultery demanding the death penalty (Deuteronomy 22:23-24). If a man lies with an unbetrothed virgin, he must pay a fine and marry her (Deuteronomy 22:28-29).
Legally, according to Deuteronomy 22, Miriam was not a virgin but a virgin betrothed. This is important for several reasons. First, both Miriam and Yoseph had to believe in the supernatural power of God to overcome the circumstances that would have warranted a death penalty.
Secondly, the prophecy in Isaiah about the birth of Messiah uses a different term other than "virgin."
The word for virgin in this passage is not the normal word betulah but a special word alma. The word alma is found in scriptures only 3 other times.
Opponents of the gospel who know biblical Hebrew claim that the Isaiah 7 passage does not refer to Yeshua because the woman there is not betulah but alma.
However the prophecy fits Yeshua perfectly.
There are three genealogies concerning Yeshua. John 1 deals with His divinity. Luke 3 deals with His physical birth through Miriam. Matthew 1 deals with His legal lineage from King David.
The work of the Holy Spirit was to cause the child to be conceived inside of Miriam. The work of Miriam was to give birth to the baby. The work of Yoseph was to call His name.
All three were necessary for salvation. Yeshua had to be of God to be holy. He had to have a physical body to be part of the human race. He had to have the royal covenant lineage of David to have the authority of earthly government.
Had Miriam been simply a virgin (betulah), Yeshua would not have had legal rights to the throne of David. Had she been married with a normal conception, Yeshua would not have had the divine power to save us. So God invented a category in the Torah – betrothal: a time of being married legally without conception. He did that to create a framework for an unusual opportunity. Miriam, not a virgin, but a virgin-betrothed, gave birth to a Son, who was spiritually God, physically human, and legally the heir of the kingdom. To fit that category, He used a different word: alma.
Both Miriam and Yoseph were of David's lineage. Yeshua was a native born Israeli, born in Bethlehem, circumcised in Jerusalem, raised in the Galilee. He was of Middle Eastern background, likely dark skinned, and observed the commandments of the Torah.
Some of our people mock our faith, saying that no one could be born of a virgin. I ask them: Do you believe in the Torah? If so, do you believe in the creation of Adam? If so, which is harder: to create a man from dirt or to cause a virgin to give birth?
Isaac was born supernaturally; as was Samson; as was Samuel. How much more should we expect the Messiah to be born of supernatural origin?
What Kind of God?
God revealed Himself to mankind in a way mankind could understand. Yeshua was born through the womb of a woman. What kind of God would do that? God wants to be close to us and in friendship with us. Any person or religion who does not see God in Yeshua cannot fully understand how much God is committed to intimacy and involvement in every part of our lives.
The same God-Man who walked in the Garden of Eden and came to visit Abraham at Mamre, loved us so much that He was born into this world as a human baby. He became like us so we could become like Him. In that baby lies the ultimate revelation of God and the ultimate destiny of man. In the birth of Yeshua, the divine and the human came together.
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