One of the most powerful aspects of Yeshua’s life was that his mother Miriam was a virgin. He was the seed of man and yet the seat of God. Matthew claims that this was a fulfillment of the prophecy that Isaiah gave 700 years before. However, many Jewish rabbis and scholars claim that this prophecy was not about a virgin at all.
Virtually every Messianic Jew has come face-to-face with self-described anti missionaries. These are Orthodox Jews trained to deprogram us because we’ve been brainwashed. One of their go-to verses is Isaiah 7:14, even as it is a go-to verse for those of us who claim that Yeshua is the Messiah. The prophecy was given at a difficult time in Judah’s history, when it was possible that the Jewish nation would be annihilated as a people. In fact, Dr. Michael Brown points out that Isaiah’s choice of addressing the house of David instead of Judah shows that the threat was to the Davidic line and thus the eventual Messiah. Indeed not long after the prophecy, Israel, i.e.the northern ten tribes, was destroyed even as Isaiah said. “Within 65 years, Ephraim will be too shattered to be a people” (Isaiah 7:8) Isaiah is sent to the godless king Ahaz to say “No, despite your lack of faith, Judah will not be destroyed. God is with you.” Ahaz was a supremely wicked and pagan king sacrificing his own children in the fire, worshiping the Baals. (2 Chronicles 28:1-3) He had no patience for Isaiah. Isaiah tells him to ask God for a sign so that it can be proven that God is real and will protect Judah.
“ASK the Lord your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights.” But Ahaz said, “I will not ask; I will not put the Lord to the test.” Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David!” (Isaiah 7:11-13)
However, Ahaz refuses and Isaiah changes to the plural tense and he addresses not merely Ahaz but the entire house of David. Instead of “ask” (singular) he says “hear” or “listen” (plural) Why is this interesting? Because what he is about to prophesy is not merely for the wicked King Ahaz but the entire Davidic dynasty. Isaiah says therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14) Isaiah goes on to say that by the time the child knows the difference between good and evil, the kings of the nations that are threatening Judah will be gone. (Isaiah 7:16) Ahaz rejects this prophecy and instead makes a deal with the king of Assyria to protect Judah. The question is: Who was this child in the days of Isaiah? The truth is there is no historical account. It is even possible that his rejection cancelled the sign and it was pushed to a future generation, which was God’s plan all along, to fulfill it in David’s seed Yeshua. In either case, the name of the child Emmanuel is powerful, meaning “God is with us”. It was a message to the Jewish people in the time of Isaiah that no matter what, God is with you, he will protect you as a nation. The fact that I am recording this video as a Jew in Israel 2700 years later is a testimony to the fact that God has been faithful just as he promised despite every attempt from the enemy to destroy us. However, the greater fulfillment is in Yeshua. Miriam, the virgin, conceived and he was and is God with us. But we have a problem: the word that Matthew translates as “virgin” simply means young woman. Matthew was accused of changing the word of this obscure prophecy to fit the narrative of Yeshua. In part 2, we will scrutinize Matthew to see if he was justified.