A Virgin Will Conceive…

Isaiah 7:11, A sign … either in the depth, or in the height above. Sign is the Hebrew word owth (Strong’s H226) meaning “sign, token, signal, a beacon, a monument, evidence, prodigy or omen.”

Traditionally, Christians have viewed this passage along with the following verses as a prophecy concerning the Messiah would be born of a virgin.

Some who are opposed to the virgin birth interpretation of Isaiah 7:14 will say that owth is never used in Scripture in reference to a miraculous sign. To the contrary, there are numerous examples in the Scriptures where owth is indeed used in reference to a miraculous sign (e.g., Exod 4:8, 9, 17, 28, 30; 7:3; 8:23; 10:1, 2; Num 14:22; Deut 4:34; 6:22; 7:19; 11:3; 2 Kgs. 20:8–11; Neh 9:10; Isa 20:3; Jer 32:20, 21). For example, owt describes such supernatural occurrences as rods becoming serpents, the Nile turning to blood, the death of the Egypt’s first born, the splitting of the Red Sea or time moving backward ten degrees on Hezekiah’s sundial. So when Isa 7:11–14 uses the word owth to describe a virgin miraculously giving birth to a child, such an interpretation is not a biblical hermeneutical twist on this scripture.

The word depth is the Hebrew masculine noun aymek (Strong’s H6009 from H6010) meaning “valley or depression.” This same Hebrew word in its adjective form (same spelling, different vowel points) refers to the depths of sheol or hell (Prov 9:18; Job 11:8). In Psalm 139:15, David in reference to his formation in his mother’s womb (verse 13) says, “I … was curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth (Heb. aretz). Aretz (Strong’s H776) is the commonly used word for earth or land in Scripture. A valley or depression is the lowest part of the earth. Here David figuratively likens his mother’s womb to a low place or depression in the earth. Though the Hebrew words for depth in Isaiah 7:11 and lowest parts in Psalm 139:15 are different, the Hebraic concepts seem connected and analogous.

Height is the Hebrew word gabahh (Strong’s H1361) and means “to soar, to be lofty, to exalt.” This root word in its adjective form is also gabahh (Strong’s H1362) with the only difference between the two words being a slight vowel pronunciation difference in the second syllable. This word means “lofty or high.” We see this adjective used in Job 35:5 as a poetic reference to heaven (Heb. shamayim) as well as in Isaiah 55:9; Psalm 103:11 (“For as the heaven/shamayim is high above the earth …” or “according to the heights of heaven” (alternate Hebrew rendering, KJV marginal notes).

Above, which is opposite the word height in the passage under analysis, is the word ma’al (Strong’s H4605) meaning “upward, above, overhead, from the top, exceedingly.” Thus, the phrase in this verse could be rendered as highest heaven (where YHVH abides). The word ma’al can be used as an adjective to refer to heaven above where YHVH dwells (Deut 4:39; Josh 2:11).

What is the point we are trying to make here? YHVH prophesies, through Isaiah, that he will give a supernatural, miraculous sign to the house of Judah from both the depths (or womb of a woman) and the highest heavens. In verse 14 Isaiah speaks of the (the Hebrew uses the definite article the) virgin or the young maiden (depending on your Bible translation) giving birth to a son named Immanuel meaning “El With Us.”

Now great controversy has raged as to the meaning of the word virgin (Heb. almah). Does it refer simply to a young maiden or to an actual virgin? Much has been written by scholars on both sides of this hotly debated issue and it is outside the scope of this work to deal with this particular subject. Both sides (the pro-virgin birth side and the anti-virgin birth of Messiah side) have valid points to their credit. This author maintains that if Isaiah 7:14 were to stand alone, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to prove the virgin birth of the Messiah either way. However, with the context of verse 11 considered (not to mention the other references in the Tanakh referring to the virgin birth of the Messiah (e.g., Gen 3:15; Isa 9:6–7; Pss 2:7; 110:1–7), it seems that Isaiah had one thing in mind in penning verse 14: the Messiah would be born of a virgin. He would be formed in the womb of a woman (without the seed of a man (see Gen 3:15) and at the same time would originate from the highest heaven. This seems to be a clear reference to the incarnation, that YHVH would miraculously fuse (by the Spirit of Elohim [Matt 1:20]) with the physical egg of a woman to form the Yah-Man (God-Man) referred to in Christian theology as the incarnation or the hypostatic union.

 

Nuggets in Isaiah

Here are some precious pearls and gold nuggets from the first several chapters of Isaiah. Bon appetite!

Isaiah 6:3, Holy, holy, holy. (Also Rev 4:8.) Since these are the words of worship being proclaimed to Elohim in his throne room continually, then holiness must be his chief attribute—not love, mercy, grace, etc. as many in the church teach and believe.

Isaiah 6:8, Us. Here is another proof of the plurality of the Godhead. Compare this with Gen 1:26; 3:22; 11:7 and Matt 28:19.

Isaiah 7:11 and 14, Here is a scripture proving the virgin birth of Yeshua. (See http://www.hoshanarabbah.org/pdfs/vbirth.pdf .)

Isaiah 8:14, A stone of stumbling. This an obvious reference to Yeshua who is a stone of stumbling to both houses of Israel (i.e., the non-believing Jews and the Christians.) The Christians stumble over or reject (at least, in part) Yeshua who is the Written Torah-Word of Elohim (John 1:1). The non-believing Jews, on the other hand, reject Yeshua, the Living Torah-Word of Elohim who came in flesh form (John 1:14).

Isaiah 8:16, Bind up the testimony. Here Isaiah is prophesying the canonization of the NT by the disciples of Yeshua (who is mentioned in verse 13). Did you know that the NT’s name for the NT isn’t the NT, but the Testimony of Yeshua—a name that John who finalized the NT canon gave it when he was writing the Book of Revelation? There, he calls the OT/Tanakh  the “Word of God/Elohim” and the NT “the Testimony of Yeshua” (see Rev 1:2, 9; 6:9; 12:17; 14:12; 20:4). If you didn’t know that John canonized the NT before his death, read my article on the subject (http://www.hoshanarabbah.org/pdfs/nt_canon_full.pdf .)

Isaiah 9:7, Increase. Here is another proof of the virgin birth of Yeshua. How you say? You have to dig into the Hebrew on this one. (See my article http://www.hoshanarabbah.org/pdfs/closed_mem.pdf .)

Isaiah 11:11–16, The second exodus. This is one of the main Tanakh passages on this subject. It’s too detailed to discussed in this blog. Stay tuned to a full-scale teaching that I have written on the second exodus, which is about to be published on the hoshanarabbah.org website.

Isaiah 12:2 literally says, “God/Elohim is my salvation/Yeshua…He [YHVH Elohim] has become my salvation/Yeshua.” Then verse 3 says, “Therefore with joy you will draw waters from the wells of salvation/Yeshua.” This verse was quoted on Hoshana Rabbah (the last or seventh day of Sukkot) during the water pouring ceremony. Yeshua referenced this in John 7:37–38. Can anyone shout HALLELUYAH (!) for this Tanakh passage that not only proves the deity of Yeshua, but shows how Yeshua fulfilled the OT prophecies like no one else ever did!

 

On Shiloh, Donkeys, the Vine, the Blood of Grapes and the Messiah

Genesis 49:10–12, The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes: His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.

This passage is a clear reference to the Messiah and the Messianic Age (the time when Messiah would come) and has been so recognized by the Jewish sages from time immemorial (ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash, p. 279). “The general consensus (with few exceptions) of Rabbinic interpretation is that this phrase [Until Shiloh arrives] refers to the coming of the Messiah …” (ArtScroll Bereishis/Genesis Torah Commentary, Vol. 1b, p. 2152). In fact, Onkelos [a second-century scholar who translated the Torah (Pentateuch) into Aramaic] in his Aramaic version of the Torah translates this version as follows: “Until the Messiah comes, to whom the kingdom belongs” (Ibid.). Rashi (b. 1040 and recognized by Jewish scholars as probably the preeminent Torah commentator of the modern era) “concurs and similarly comments: Until the King Messiah will come…, to whom the kingdom belongs. According to the Midrash, shiloh is a composite of the Hebrew words shi  and lo meaning “a gift to him” — a reference to King Messiah to whom all peoples will bring gifts. See Isaiah 18:7; Psalms 76:12” (Ibid. p. 2153). It should not be difficult to see the fulfillment of this rabbinic understanding in the magi’s giving of gifts to the young child Yeshua (Matt 2:11).

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