THE IMPORTANCE OF THE VIRGIN BIRTH OF JESUS CHRIST TO HIS HUMANITY
December 25th is not the birth date of Jesus Christ. That date was originally a pagan holiday that the Roman Catholic Church adopted in its efforts to convert the pagan world to Christianity. It is still a pagan holiday dressed in Christian garb. Christ was probably born sometime in September or early October. However, the virgin birth of Jesus Christ and His humanity, is a very critical and cardinal truth to the whole life and ministry of Jesus Christ. He is Only Begotten of the Father and He is also the Eternal Son of God, incarnated in human flesh. While the world celebrates Christ’s birth each year, many will deny the truth of this statement. They either deny Christ’s deity or His Humanity.
“This denial has persisted for twenty centuries. The questions have been worded differently, but the answers have basically remained the same. How could God become a man? How could one person be both divine and human at the same time? Atheists, skeptics and liberal Christendom have united in their denunciation of the Incarnation through the virgin birth. To them, it is irrational that the Trinity could exist. To them it is illogical that God could become flesh.” Robert Gromacki, THE VIRGIN BIRTH.
First, I want to set forth that I believe the Bible clearly teaches that Jesus Christ is the Eternal, Only Begotten Son of God. The Word of God teaches that, as the second person of the Holy Trinity, Jesus Christ existed before His incarnation in time (John1:1-5; 8:68;17:5,24). He existed as God, co-equal with God the Father. As such He is “the only begotten of the Father,” being begotten of the Father in eternity past, before His human birth. The theological term for this is called “the eternal generation of the Son.” Christ, is Eternal and has no beginning. He, as the Eternal God was party to all the decrees of the Godhead and “the everlasting covenant” (Hebrews 13:20). He was active in the creation of the universe, earth and man. John says, “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made”(John 1:3). Paul says, “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn [ruler, lord over] of every creature:”[creation] (Colossians 1:15).
In the sixteenth chapter of Matthew, Jesus Christ asked His disciple who do men say that I am. They gave answer that He was John the Baptist, or Jeremiah or one of the other prophets. He then asked them directly, “But whom say ye that I am?” Peter answered, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (verse 16). Jesus replied, “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”(verse 17). Christ never rebuked Peter for what he said, but rather blessed him. There are two positive statements made here, Simon was the son (bara) of Jona (John 1:42) and flesh and blood had not revealed to Peter who Christ was, but God the Father had. Both of these were true statements, Jesus was “the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
John the Baptist gave witness to the deity of Jesus Christ after he had baptized him in Jordan River. “I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.” (John 1:33-34)
Paul, who at first did not believe in the deity of Jesus Christ and had been a persecutor of the church at Jerusalem, after his conversion, gave this witness about to the deity of Jesus Christ: “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:” (Philippians 2:6) He began his letter to the church at Ephesus by saying, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesus 1:3)
He began his letter to the Hebrews by saying in chapter one, “God...hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” (Hebrews 1:1-3)
John the Apostle began his Gospel by declaring that Christ is the eternal, only begotten Son of God, (John 1:1-3) “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (1:14) “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (1:18) “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”
Jesus Christ Himself declared He was the Only Begotten God of God in that well known verse of scripture, when He said, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) and in chapter seventeen, we read: “These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: ... And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. (John 17:1,5)
More scriptures could be given to show that Christ is the Eternal, Only begotten Son of God, but that is not the subject of this paper. The subject is the Importance of the Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ to His Humanity. While Jesus is the Eternal, Only Begotten Son of God, He is also very man. Sinless man indeed, but very man with a human nature. How can this be possible many will ask and some even deny it.
While some may accept that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, they have a problem with His humanity. They ask, “How can it be that a sinful woman could bring forth a sinless person?” In an attempt to answer that question, they have put forth several unscriptural theories. Some say that Christ had a physical body in eternity past and in His birth that eternal body simply passed through the womb of Mary and came to be the Christ that died. This ancient heresy is refuted by the scriptures and has been denounced by many sound Bible scholars.
This first-century heresy came to be known as “Docetism” because it taught that Jesus Christ only appeared to have a human body. It was rejected by the early church fathers as a heresy and by Baptist men like John Gill and Charles Spurgeon, yet this heresy still has its advocates today. John Gill says: “That which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Ghost; this I observe to meet with, and confute the heretical illapse, as it is sometimes called; it was a notion of some of the ancient heretics, the Valentinians, and of late, the Mennonites, that the human nature of Christ was formed in heaven, and came down from thence into the virgin, and passed through her as water through a pipe, as their expression was;” BODY OF DIVINITY, John Gill, Bk. V, p. 384 (See also Spurgeon’s commentary on I Corinthians 15:47)
Paul says in (1 Timothy 3:16) “without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh,...” Gill says in his commentary on this text: “The incarnation of Christ, his birth of a virgin, the union of the two natures, divine and human, in his person; this is a mystery, which though revealed, and so to be believed, is not to be discerned nor accounted for, nor the modus of it to be comprehended by reason: and it is a great one, next, if not equal, to the doctrine of the Trinity of persons in the divine essence;”
Just because something is incomprehensible to our understanding as mortals, does not destroy its reality or truthfulness. There are many marvelous mysteries in the Bible; such as creation, the Trinity and the Resurrection, which are all beyond our comprehension, but simply because we cannot understand it all, does not deny their truthfulness. Jesus said, “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26). True faith is the belief and acceptance of what the scriptures teach as a reality, even though we can not comprehend or explain it. (Hebrews 11:1,3). “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29:29
Because the doctrine of the Deity of Jesus Christ and His Humanity are of such fundamental and cardinal importance to Biblical Christianity, the Apostle John gives several warnings in his epistles:
1 John 4:3 “every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.”
2 John 7 “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.”
John Gill says in his commentary on this verse, “is not of God; neither he nor his doctrine are of God; his doctrine cannot come from God, being contrary to the word of God; and he himself is neither born of God, nor on his side.”
It is important to notice that each of these warnings involve the issue of Jesus Christ coming in the flesh. John begins his gospel with the declaration that Jesus Christ, “the Word” was the Eternal God and that He “was made flesh and dwelt among us.” He begins his first epistle with the statement, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1:1-3).
The last part of verse three is very critical. John says “our fellowship is with the Father, and His Son Jesus Christ.” Christian fellowship is based on a fellowship with God the Father and with God the Son, Jesus Christ. There can not be true Christian fellowship unless it is based on a proper fellowship with the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. He repeats this thought in chapter two verses (22-23) “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: [but] he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. (The translators have printed this passage in Italics; but it is found in many authentic manuscripts, as well as in the Syriac, Vulgate, and other versions)
By means of the miraculous incarnation (see Appendix 1) of the virgin Mary, Jesus Christ received a fleshly body that was human, yet without sin. The theological term for this is the “Hypostatic Union”. Webster’s Dictionary gives as an explanation: “the union of the divine and human natures of Christ in one hypostasis”.=the substance or essential nature of an individual.” (Appendix 2)
Augustus Strong, D.D., LL.D., President and Professor of Biblical Theology at Rochester Theological Seminary, in the early 1900’s gives this definition of the God-man, Jesus Christ:
“The Scriptures represent Jesus Christ to have been possessed of a divine nature and of a human nature, each unaltered in essence and undivested of its normal attributes and powers, they with equal distinctness represent Jesus Christ as a single undivided personality in whom these two natures are vitally and inseparably united, so that he is properly, not God and man, but the God-man.” Two Natures of Christ, SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY, Judson Press, Valley Forge, PA, pages 683-684
- L. Dagg, DD., President of Mercer University, in Macon, Georgia, and esteemed preacher and leader among Baptists in the south during the 1800’s, wrote:
“Jesus Christ was a man. The manner of Christ’s conception was peculiar. Without a human father, he was conceived in the womb of his virgin mother, by the power of the Holy Ghost….”
“Jesus Christ had a human body. He was not a mere shadowy form of humanity; for, even after his resurrection, he said to this disciples, ‘Handle me and see me, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have’. It was a real body that bore the weight of the cross, and was afterwards nailed to it. It was a real body that was pierced by the spear; and real blood and water issued from the wound. It was a real body that was embalmed with spices and laid in the tomb; and that afterwards rose from the dead. This body was human. It had the appearance and organs common to human bodies; was sustained by food, was subject to hunger and weariness, and needed the rest of sleep, like the bodies of other men.” MANUAL OF THEOLOGY and CHURCH ORDER, Chapt.1, Sect.1, The Person of Christ, pages, 179-180, Gano Books, Harrisonburg, VA., 1982,
John Gill, DD, was an eminent English Baptist pastor of the 18th Century. In 1748, he was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity by the University of Aberdeen. He was a profound scholar and prolific author. Some of his most important works are: THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY STATED AND VINDICATED, THE CAUSE OF GOD and TRUTH; An Exposition of the Old and New Testaments; A Body of Divinity and Truth.
In his A BODY OF DIVINITY AND TRUTH, discussing the incarnation of Jesus Christ, Gill writes:
“To observe, in what sense the Word, or Son of God, was made flesh, became a partaker of flesh and blood, came in the flesh, and was manifest in the flesh: all which phrases are made use of to express his incarnation, John 1:14; Heb.2:14; I John 4:2,3; 1 Tim.3:16 and signify, that he who is truly God really became man, or assumed the whole human nature….what is meant by flesh, in the phrases and passages referred to? And by it is meant, not a part of the human body,...but a whole individual of human nature, consisting of soul and body…”
“He took a true body, not a mere phantom, specter, or apparition, the appearance of a body, and not a real one; as some fancied, and that very early, even in the times of the apostle John, and afterward; and who imagined, that what Christ was, and did, and suffered, were only seeming, and in appearance, and not in reality;”
“I treat the union of the two natures, divine and human, in the person of the Son of God,...Of the union it self; (1) that though Christ, by assuming the human nature, united it to his divine Person; yet there is a difference between assumption and union; assumption is only of one nature; union is of both; Christ only assumed the human nature to His divine Person; but both natures, human and divine, are united in his Person...(2) This union is hypostatical, or personal; but not a union of persons;...This is a union of natures;...of the divine nature, and the essential properties of it, to the human nature;“
“The effects of this union, both with respect to the human nature, and to the Person of Christ...Perfect holiness and impeccability: it is called, the holy Thing; it is eminently and perfectly so; without original sin, or any actual transgression: it is not conscious of any sin, never committed any, nor is it possible it should.” Book V, Chap.1, pages 378-386
- THE IMPORTANT PROPHESIES OF THE VIRGIN BIRTH OF CHRIST
The virgin birth of Christ was necessary to fulfill the many Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament about His birth.
The first and one of the most important prophecies given by God concerning the coming of Jesus Christ into the world, is recorded in the first book of the Bible. In (Genesis 3:15), we read, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Those words, spoken by the Lord God in one of man’s darkest hours, gives a sure prophecy of a coming Saviour who would defeat Satan with a fatal blow to his head which would be delivered by the seed of woman to the Serpent. This prophetic promise was fulfilled in the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, His subsequent death on the cross of Calvary and His resurrection. Christ declared this true when He spoke to John on the Isle of Patmos: “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death”. (Rev. 1:18)
The second great prophecy of Christ’s birth is recorded by Isaiah, who gives us more details: “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14 ) The angel Gabriel quoted this prophetic promise when he was assuring Joseph not to hesitate to take Mary as his wife, because Mary’s pregnancy was in fulfillment of God’s promise. (Matthew 1:23). So we read: “Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS. (Matthew 1:24-25).
As a young boy, I remember the great controversy in 1952 when the Revised Standard Version was presented to the general public. That controversy centered primary around the word “virgin” found in Isaiah 7:14. Fundamental Bible scholars and preachers (especially Baptists) all across America warred against that translation because of the phrase “young woman” was used in that version rather than the word “virgin.” One was considered to be a liberal, or worse, if they did not stand against the RSV, as it was called. You were a denier of the Deity of Jesus Christ as the Son of God.
Of course the issue was not really based on scholarship, it was an economical issue for the publishers of the RSV. The translation using the phrase “young woman” gave the RSV Old Testament greater acceptance among liberal Christians and especially with the Jewish public. This was a “dollar” issue and not a “scholar” issue. Scholarship would have used the word “virgin”.
In all that controversy over Isaiah 7:14, there was no debate about the word “conceive.” It was well understood what the Hebrew text meant. It was not a question about what would happen, but who would conceive. Today, the attack is against the humanity of Jesus Christ and not over the word “virgin” but rather it is the word “conceive.” The present controversy is about the Humanity of Christ.
If we believe in the verbal, plenary inspiration of the Scriptures, we must hold fast to the words given to us by the Holy Spirit. Baptists have historically held that that every word given to us in the scriptures are the very words we are to use in formulating our doctrines. The words translated “conceive” in Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:20; and Luke 1:24,26;2:21, are the words that the Holy Spirit gave the authors to use. Conception and birth are not the same. A surrogate woman may give birth to a child she has not conceived. It was said by the prophet Isaiah that, “a virgin shall conceive and bear a son”. Mary was not a surrogate mother, she was the very woman in whose womb the human body of Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Ghost coming upon her. (Matthew 1:20; Luke 1:35).
In Micah 5:2, we are told: “But thou, Beth-lehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”
The wise men from the east knew the approximate time and place of the birth of the Messiah because of the prophecies of Daniel and Micah. They believed those promises and follow His star to worship Christ. In order to fulfill all those Old Testament prophecies, Christ must not only be born in Bethlehem, but He must also have a human body, conceived and born of a virgin Mary. His body must also be of the seed of Abraham and of the seed of David.
- THE PURPOSES OF THE VIRGIN BIRTH
- Christ must have a human body that He might be properly identified with those He came to save and make a VICARIOUS sacrifice for their sins. In Matthew 1:21, the angel told Joseph, “she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins”.
According to Webster’s Dictionary, the word “vicarious” means “performed or suffered by one person as a substitute for another or to the benefit or advantage of another.” Christ must have a human body to suffer and make a vicarious sacrifice for His elect people.
Arthur Constance, in his book, THE VIRGIN BIRTH AND INCARNATION writes about the “germ plasm.” He quotes “August Weismann (1834-1914), a German biologist whose prime interest had been insect embryology. But due to trouble with his eyes, he was forced to abandon the use of a microscope and turned to the theoretical aspects of embryology. In due course he formulated a theory to the effect that a special hereditary substance must be assumed to exist in all animals (the germ plasm), which, unlike the perishable body of the individual (the somatoplasm), is transmitted from generation to generation essentially without modification. The theory came to be known as ‘the continuity of the germ plasm. He postulated that in each individual the germ plasm was derived directly from the germ plasm of the parents. With comparatively minor qualification, his theory regarding germ plasm has stood the test of time...”
The author goes on to show that the “germ plasm” contained in the egg is produced by the woman, which is then fertilized by the sperm from the father. He says, that while the father will contribute family characteristic by means of his sperm, it is in the “germ plasm” from the woman, that the characteristics of a human being are passed on to the embryo so that which is born, regardless of race, social status, gender or time period, is always identified as a human being. While this is secular science and as such is not a basis for Biblical doctrine, except where secular science supports what the scriptures teach.
The scriptures refer to Eve as “the mother of all living” (Genesis 3:20). Paul says, that God “hath made of one blood all nations of men...” (Acts 17:26). Every human being that has ever been born since the days of Adam and Eve has had a body and blood that identified it as a human being. The body that Christ received from Mary, was a sinless, human body. It had all the same appearance and characteristics of any other body of that time. We read in Luke’s Gospel that “the child (Christ) grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.” (Luke 2:40) While we may not be able to fully understand all that this verse says, it is a fact that Jesus Christ had a human body that grew. Not only did His body grow, but His body was immersed in Jordan River. He grew a beard, He became weary, He hungered, He slept, and He wept. His human body was beaten, a crown of thorns placed on its head, then nailed to a cross, a spear pierced its side from which blood and water gushed out. Then that body was taken down from the cross, wrapped in grave clothes and laid in a tomb. Jesus Christ had a real, literal human body.
The Saviour must have a human body so that He was properly identified with those whom He came to save. In Hebrews chapter two, Paul teaches us Christ’s identification with His elect people. Paul begins in verses five through eight to show the failure of man, then he proceeds to show for whom Christ came to save, it is humans, not angels. They are called “sons”, “brethren”, “children”. We are told, “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same;” (Hebrews 2:14) As “the children”, he also himself likewise took part ( metéchō=be a partaker, a partner or to share) of the same (flesh and blood). Christ had the same kind of body as do all His elect people. He is our “near kinsman”, our Redeemer/Avenger. This speaks of His work as our Redeemer. It was the Law of God, that the redeemer/avenger of an Israelite must be one who was a “near kinsman.” (Numbers 5:9; 27:11) This is beautifully set forth in the story of Ruth, the Moabite and Boaz. Christ, by means of His virgin birth received a human body by which He became the “near kinsman” to His people.
In Hebrews 2:16, we are told that Christ did not take on “him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.” We read about this promise made to Abraham in the Book of Genesis, after Abraham had come into the land of Canaan. God promised him that He would bless all the nations of the earth in his seed (Genesis 22:18). In Galatians, chapter three and verse sixteen we are told by Paul, that the promise was to a singular seed which is Christ. In this verse in Hebrews two, sixteen, Paul tells us that Christ “took on him the seed of Abraham.” The point here is that not only would Christ fulfill God’s promises made to Abraham, but He is identified as being of the “seed of Abraham.” Here again, we have the physical link (flesh and blood) between Abraham’s seed and Christ, the Redeemer of His elect people. Christ is identified with His people in that He likewise had a human body which had “flesh and blood.” Again, the virgin birth was essential for Christ to have a human nature by which He was identified with His people.
- B. Christ must have a human body to satisfy the Justice of God properly.
The justice of God is seen in the Old Testament law, “life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.” (Exodus 21:23-25; Deuteronomy.19:21) “And thine eye shall not pity; but life shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.”
When the first Adam sinned, he died. He died immediately spiritually and began to die physically. The second Adam (Christ), if He is to completely redeem His people from their sins, must satisfy the Law of God and secure a salvation that redeems both body and soul to God. In order to fully satisfy the justice of God, Christ’s death must truly be “life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, stripe for stripe.” This is a universal law of justice, the substitute must be fully and completely qualified to substitute for the thing or person being substituted for, if satisfaction is to be granted. Paul says, ,“God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” (Galatians 4:4-5)
Truly in the death of Christ, “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” (Psalm 85:10) because He had a human body that could suffer the punishment for sin, to feel its pain and know its shame. “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight:” Colossians 1:21-22.
1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
1 Peter 4:1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;
- C. Christ must also have a sinless human body to make proper sacrifice for sin
In order for Christ to offer Himself as a sacrifice for the sins of His people, He must be sinless Himself. The scriptures clearly teach that He was sinless. As I have already stated, this is where some have a real problem. “How can a woman, who is a virgin but still a sinner, bring forth a sinless body” they ask? The Roman Catholics solve the problem for themselves by the doctrine of Immaculate Conception. Essentially, it is the belief that Mary was protected from original sin, that she did not have a sinful nature and was therefore sinless. Others have revived the ancient heresy of Docetism by advocating a doctrine of “the eternal manhood of Christ” which teaches that Christ merely passed through the womb of Mary, like water passing through a pipe. These are all unscriptural teachings, denying what the Bible teaches.
Joseph, who the Bible calls a “just man” had a problem about proceeding with his marriage when he learned that Mary was pregnant and was thinking of terminating their engagement. We read in Matthew “But while he thought on these things behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost”. (Matthew 1:20) The body, that the Son of God assumed, was divinely prepared for Him by the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary (Hebrews 10:5), it was a sinless body. Look at some (not the same) other incidents recorded in the scriptures that we need to consider.
1.When Jesus touched the leper in Matthew 8:3, which was against the Law of God and would have rendered any other person unclean, Jesus was not defiled. The leper was healed and made to be clean, but Christ remained holy and sinless. As Paul says, “where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” (Romans 5:20).
- Samson was to be a Nazarite from his birth. His mother was told, “For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines” (Judges 13:5). He was separated unto God from his mother’s womb as a chosen vessel to deliver Israel. Although his mother was not a virgin, she was no doubt a godly woman, yet she was not a Nazarite whom God used to birth an anointed person.
- Jeremiah, who God told, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5). He was separated and sanctified unto God before he was ever born and his mother’s character made no impact on his calling or ministry.
- John the Baptist was a man that was prophesied in the Old Testament. Zacharias, his father was told, “For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb” (Luke 1:15). While his mother may have been a very godly woman, even as Mary was, yet her sinful nature did not hinder John from being filled with the Holy Spirit, even when he was yet in his mother’s womb.
John tells us that “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14 ). But it is Luke, the physician and faithful historian, who will tell us, by divine inspiration, the details how the Eternal Son of God became flesh to dwell among us. Luke, a chosen instrument of God, gives us the most intimate details about the conception and birth of Jesus Christ. In the first chapter of his Gospel, he writes: “It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,” (Luke 1:3) He writes to Theophilus and tells him he has “perfect understanding of all things from the very first.” “From the very first” is the Greek word ánōthen, which I believe should be translated, “from above”.
This word is used three times in chapter three of the Gospel of John. Twice it is translated “again” which does not make sense, but then in verse 31, it is correctly translated “from above.” I understand Luke is telling us that he had been given perfect understanding of the events surrounding the birth of Christ by the Holy Spirit (from above). It is Luke that tells us about the conversation the angel Gabriel had with Zacharias the priest, the father of John the Baptist. Luke is made to know about the conversation of the angel with the virgin Mary. He tells us, by Divine revelation, about the very private conversation between Elizabeth, pregnant with the baby John and Mary, who was pregnant with the baby Jesus.
Luke the physician, also records all the details of the birth of Christ; the visit of the shepherds, the circumcision of Christ: “And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.” (Luke 2:21), and the adoration of Simeon and Anna at the Temple.
He says, the angel Gabriel told Mary, “thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS”(Luke 1:31) When Mary asked the angel “How shall this be, seeing I know not man? (Luke 1:34) “The angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. (Luke 1:35) These facts are recorded for us by inspiration of the Holy Spirit and they are to be believed just as they were written because they are divinely inspired from God (2 Timothy 3:16).
This sinless human body, prepared by the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary is the fulfillment of the promise made in the Garden to Eve. The seed of Eve, which would crush the head of the Serpent, is the seed of Mary by which Christ was conceived in her womb by the Holy Spirit.
So Paul says, “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son,(ton huion autou) made of (genomenon ek gunaikos) a woman, made under the law,” (Galatians 4:4) A.T. Robertson, in his WORD PICTURES. According to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance and Young’s Analytical Concordance, the word γίνομαι (gínomai) is used over 600 times in the New Testament and is translated in various forms but mostly it means “came to be, to become or begin to be.” The same Greek word that is translated that Christ was “made under the law” is the same Greek word that is used by the Holy Spirit to say that Christ was “made of woman”. If in any manner Christ was not fully made to be of woman with a human body, then it could be questioned that He was fully made to be under the law which raises many other questions. How could He keep the Law of God as our substitute? What kind of body was circumcised? What kind of body hung on the tree? Where did the precious blood come from that flowed from His side? What kind of body was laid in the tomb? What kind of body was resurrected from the grave?
- D. Christ must have a sinless, human body in order to have sinless blood to make an EXPIATORY sacrifice for the sins of His people.
Paul tells us the importance of the blood of Christ, saying “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;” (Ephesians 1:7)
Peter says, “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)
The dictionary gives a definition for the word “expiate, to pay the penalty of; making amends for wrong, sin.” Expiatory is an adjective describing the nature of Christ’s death. It was for sin. In Hebrews 10:4, we read, “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” The Holy Spirit is showing us the deficiency of the Old Testament sacrifices. They never did take away any sins, they were only a temporary covering. So they are called an “atonement.” That is the reason why those sacrifices must be repeated over and over, because of their deficiencies. Animal sacrifices could never satisfy the law of God concerning the sins of mortal beings. The only hope for mortals is that a human, a sinless human, would die as a substitute for sinners. The fifty-third chapter of Isaiah sets forth the truth of the substitute suffering for sinners. Notice verse eleven. “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. (Isaiah 53:11)
In we read, Leviticus 17:11 “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” In Matthew 26:28, when Christ was instituting the Lord’s Supper with His church, He said, “this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” All throughout the Old Testament, God taught the preciousness of blood, because He said, “it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” Paul says in Hebrews 9:22, that “without shedding of blood is no remission.” He asked a rhetorical question in Hebrews 9:14 “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
Peter says, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:” (1 Peter 1:18-19) In these verses he tells us what will not redeem us from our sins, then he tells us the only thing that will, “the precious blood”. How precious is that blood! It is the only thing that will satisfy the Law and Justice of God concerning our sins. It is the blood that redeems us, it is the blood of Christ that justifies us. “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” (Rom.5:9) The blood of Jesus Christ alone, washes away all our sins. (I John 1:7; Revelation 1:5)
What makes this blood so precious, is whose blood it is: “the precious blood of Christ” who died as the Lamb of God, “without blemish and without spot.” “Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,” (v.20). This precious blood was ordained by God the Father in eternity past and especially prepared for us in the womb of the virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit to be shed for the sins of God’s elect people. In order for Christ to have blood whereby He would be a propitiation for our sins (I John 2:2), He must have a sinless human body prepared by the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary. “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:” (Colossians 1:14). “Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood” Revelation 1:5.
- E. Christ must have a physical human body in order to properly fulfill His three-fold office of Prophet, Priest and King
- Christ’s prophetic office
In Deuteronomy 18:15. Moses gives a prophetic promise, “The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;”
This prophecy was quoted by Peter in Acts chapter three as he preached in the Temple at Jerusalem, warning the Jews about rejecting the ministry of Jesus Christ. When Nicodemus came to Christ by night, he said, “Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.”(John 3:2).
While the Jews did reject Christ and crucified Him, yet many times He was acclaimed by them and the religious rulers of that day as a prophet. “When he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.” (Matthew 21:10-11). “But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.” (Matthew 21:46) “And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people.” (Luke 7:16)
Christ gave several prophecies during His earthly ministry and the Book of Revelation is a prophecy given to John when he was on the island of Patmos. Certainly Jesus Christ was the greatest of all the prophets, as Paul says, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;” (Hebrews 1:1-2)
The unique means by which Christ delivered the message of God was “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) The only way this was possible was by His virgin birth.
- Christ’s Priestly Office
In the Book of Hebrews, Paul teaches us about the superior ministry of Jesus Christ over the Aaronic Priesthood. In chapter three and verse one he tells us to “consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus”. In chapter four and verse fourteen, he says that “we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God.” In chapter five, verses one through ten, the Apostle gives us the qualifications of a High Priest. These are:
- Must be taken from among men verse 1
This seems to refer to Leviticus 21:10 where we have the office of “High Priest” referred to for the first time in the scriptures. In that verse, the first qualification was that “he must be taken from among his brethren.” Jesus Christ, by His virgin birth, certainly meets that qualification. Not only was He taken from among His spiritual brethren, but even from His own physical brethren. (Matt.12:47-49; 13:55). Only by a birth that gave Christ a human body can He properly meet this requirement.
- Must be ordained by God
When Christ’s body was baptized by John, we read, “lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthews 3:16-17) This was in fulfillment of the vision given to Daniel in chapter nine, in the prophecy of the seventy weeks. (Daniel 9:24). This baptism was the ordination of Christ to His earthly ministry, which also marked the beginning of the 69th week. Later, after Christ had been in the wilderness, having being tempted of the Devil, He returned to Nazareth and on the Sabbath Day, stood and read from Isaiah, “the Spirit of the Lord is upon me because He hath anointed me to preach the Gospel...(Luke 4:18). This was His public declaration to Israel of His calling and anointing of God.
Paul tells us of Christ’s eternal ordination to His office of High Priest. “So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. (Hebrews 5:5-6)
- Must offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins
Paul, speaking about the ascension of Jesus Christ, says that “When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men” (Ephesians 4:8). In Hebrews 10:12, speaking about the sacrifice of Christ says, “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;”. There was never to be another sacrifice for sins, because the sacrifice of Christ fully satisfied the law of God for all the sins of all the elect. Wherefore, He has sat down at the right hand of God on high in Heaven. (Hebrews 1:3)
- Must be compassionate
“Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity.” (Hebrews 5:2) A study of the life of Jesus Christ will show that He far exceeds this high priestly qualification. The scriptures give us ample proof:
Matthew 9:36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.
John 11:33-35 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see. Jesus wept.
From these, and many other scriptures it can be easily seen that Jesus Christ is a sympathizing Saviour. While we have very little information given to us about His childhood, yet from what we learn about His conduct as an adult, it can not but be imagined that from His earliest days, He always acted in a most compassionate manner towards all who were around Him. Even while He was hanging on the cross, Christ showed compassion on His accusers, praying for their mercy. He even granted saving mercy to a dying thief. And in His dying hours, showed compassion towards Mary’s welfare.
This Christ says, Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthews 11:28). Paul says, “We have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15-16). This Christ, “Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;” (Hebrews 5:7-9).
It can should be seen that Christ’s human body made Him to be a more sympathizing Saviour. He was given a human body whereby He is easily touched with the feelings of our infirmities. The saints of God therefore, are encouraged to come to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in the time of need” (Hebrews 4:16)
- Christ Kingly Office
Christ, the Messiah must have a human body that is of the genealogy of David in order for Him to have a legal claim on the throne of David
In Psalm 89:3-4, God made promise to David, “I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant, Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations.”And in Psalm 132:11 “The LORD hath sworn in truth unto David; he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne.” The angel of the Lord promised Mary, “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”(Luke 1:33)
God keeps His word. He made promise to David concerning an heir to his throne. In two different New Testament scriptures and by two different apostles, the Holy Spirit shows us how God fulfilled His promise to David.
Peter, preaching on the Day of Pentecost about David says, “Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;”(Acts 2:30)
Paul writing to the saints at Rome says, “Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh” (Romans 1:3)
In the Gospel of Matthew, chapter one, verses one through seventeen, we are given the genealogy of Joseph back to Abraham. In verse 11 of this genealogy, there is a problem. We read, Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon: (Matthews 1:11). However, Josias is not the father of Jechonias, he is the grandfather. Jehoiakim is actually his father, but his name is left out here. This no doubt is because of the judgment pronounced against him by the Lord. (Jeremiah 36:30). As a result of that judgment, the legal line of kingly succession from David through Solomon is terminated. Christ could not have received His legal claim to the throne of David because the line of succession was broken by God and because Joseph was not His father. The genealogy of Joseph is given to prove him to be of the tribe of Judah, which bears on Christ’s legal claim to the throne of David.
In the Gospel of Luke, chapter three, we have the genealogy of Mary back to Adam given to us. Of special note is that Mary’s genealogy goes back to David through Nathan, a son of David. (Luke 3:31). This is very important because the legal line of succession had been broken by God. However, Mary’s genealogy back to David through Nathan is given to show that Christ has legal claim to the throne of David through Mary.
According to the law of inheritance for daughters, she had to marry within her own tribe in order to keep her inheritance (Numbers 27:1-11). So the genealogy of Joseph proves that Mary and Joseph were both of the tribe of Judah. Christ received His legal claim to the throne of David through Mary, who was a descendant of David, which fulfilled the promises made to David by God. Jesus Christ was of the seed of David (Acts 2:30; Romans 1:3). The only way Christ could have a human body and be of the seed of David and Abraham, was by His virgin birth through Mary, His mother.
Dr. Robert Gromacki says:
“Although it would appear that Mary did not determine the gender of her fetus, yet it should not be concluded that she did not contribute anything to Christ’s human nature. It was Mary’s egg that God the Son entered. However, one view claims that Mary did not even contribute the egg. This view would maintain that Christ’s human nature was created by God and merely placed into Mary’s sustaining womb. Just as God created the human nature of Adam, so God made the human nature of Jesus. Although this view would solve the problem of Christ’s sinless human nature, it eliminates His genetic relationship to the human race, which was necessary for redemptive purposes.”
“Christ’s direct relationship both to Israel and to the human race would only be legal, not physical. Thus, He could only be the legal son of Mary, the legal son of David, the legal son of Abraham and the legal son of Adam. However, this view violates clear exegesis of key passages. How could Jesus be the seed of woman (Gen.3:15) when the woman did not furnish the egg? How could it be said that a virgin conceived (Matt.1:23; cf. Luke 1:31)? According to this position, all Mary needed to do was to bring forth the son. There is a difference between conception and birth, and yet it was predicted that Mary would do both. Paul said that Christ “was made of the seed of David according to the flesh” (Rom.1:3 cf. 2 Tim.2:8).”
“The genetic relationship of Jesus to Mary, to Israel, and to the human race is absolutely necessary for the proper interpretation of Matthew’s analysis of Jesus; sojourn in Egypt: “When he [Joseph] arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: and was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son” (Matt.2:14-15). Critics have charged Matthew with a false application of Hosea’s historical allusion: “When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt” (Hos.11:1). Hosea did refer to the exodus of Israel out of Egyptian bondage under the leadership of Moses, How then could Matthew apply the passage to Jesus? The only suitable explanation is that Jesus was genetically present in His physical ancestors who walked out of Egypt fifteen hundred years before. This is one concept that defies a rationalistic approach to the Scriptures, but nevertheless, it is true.”
“This is not the only place where such a genetic reference was used. To prove the superiority of the priesthood of Christ according to the order of Melchisedec over that of the Levitical order, the author of the Book of Hebrews selected a historical event out of the life of Abraham . After Abraham had defeated the kings who had kidnapped Lot, the patriarch, on his return trip home, encountered Melchisedec, the king of Salem and priest of God (Gen.14:17-24). Abraham paid tithes to him, and Melchisedec blessed the patriarch in return. The Book of Hebrews then argued: “And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham. For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him” (Heb.7:9-10)….”
“So it was with Jesus. He was genetically present in His physical ancestors in Egypt: when they came out, He came out. He not only came out genetically in the historical past, but He also came out of Egypt in His own lifetime. Now, if there had been no real genetic, physical relationship to Mary, then Matthew would have been wrong in applying Hosea’s reference to Jesus. Mary was the real mother of the human nature of Jesus, not just the channel through whom the divinely created humanity could be carried in the womb and be born.” THE VIRGIN BIRTH, Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI, pages 113-115
In THE WONDERS OF BIBLE CHRONOLOGY, Philip Mauro, writes:
“Concerning Jehoiachin (also called Jeconiah, and Coniah) this word was spoken: (Jeremiah 22:24-30)
“As I live, saith the Lord, though Coniah, the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, were the signet upon My right hand yet would I pluck thee hence. And I will give thee into the hand of them that seek thy life and into the hand of them whose face thou fearest, even into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and into the hand of the Chaldeans. And I will cast thee out, and thy mother that bare thee into another country, where ye were not born; and there shall ye die. But to the land whereunto they desire to return, thither shall they not return. Is this man Coniah a despised broken idol? Is he a vessel wherein is no pleasure? Wherefore are they cast out, he and his seed, and are cast into a land which they know not? O earth, earth, earth (or land, land, land) hear the word of the Lord: Thus saith the Lord, Write this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his day: for no man of his seed shall prosper sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah’ (Jeremiah 22:24-30).”
“This is a very notable prophecy. Jehoiachin was the last occupant of the throne of David in the direct line from father to son; for Mattaniah, whom Nebuchadnezzar placed upon the throne as his vassal, changing his name to Zedekiah, was Jehoiachin’s father’s brother (2 Kings 24:17): and Zedekiah is not counted in the genealogy of Matthew 1. Thus the line of David comes to an end, as a ruling line, with the solemn word and oath of the Lord that none of the last occupant’s seed should sit upon the throne of David, or rule any more in Judah. But, in view of this it will be asked, what then becomes of God’s oath which He swore to David, saying, ‘I have sworn unto David My servant, thy seed will I establish forever, and build up thy throne to all generations’ (Psalms 89:3,4,35,36)? And again: ‘The Lord hath sworn in truth unto David, He will not turn from it: of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy Throne’ (Psalms 132:11)? And again, after Jehoiachin had been carried away to Babylon, the Lord said:”
“David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel;….Thus saith the Lord, If ye can break My covenant of the day, and My covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season; then may also My covenant be broken with David My servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne’ (Jer. 33:17-21).”
“It is a matter of the deepest interest to trace the complete fulfillment of both these lines of prophecy concerning David and his house, prophecies which seem on their face to contradict each other.”
“The genealogy of the royal line was carefully preserved and is given in Matthew 1, from Abraham and David (the two Old Testament pillars of the Gospel) to Joseph, the betrothed husband of Mary, of whom Christ was born. This line runs through Jehoiachin (Jeconias), but, according to the Word of God in Jeremiah 22;30, no man of his seed was to sit upon the throne of David or rule any more in Judah. This word, however, does not bar Jesus Christ, for He was not “of the seed” of Jeconiah, being born of a virgin, the Seed of the woman. But He was born under the roof of Joseph, the son of Jeconiah, the heir to the throne, and of one whom Joseph had betrothed to himself as his wife. Hence, under the law of Israel, He was entitled to the throne.”
“The other prophecy, which pledged the throne to David’s seed forever, is also fulfilled in that Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, was of the house of David, but her descent (given in Luke 3) does not come through Jeconiah and the other kings of Judah, but through David’s son Nathan, the younger brother of Solomon, Nathan being also a son of Bathsheba (1 Chronicles 3:5).”
“God’s stern word concerning Coniah, that though he were a signet upon His hand, yet would He pluck him thence (Jeremiah 22:24) should be compared with His gracious word to Coniah’s grandson, Zerubbabel (for the relationship see Matthew 1:12) who built the Temple, and to whom God said, “In that day will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, said the Lord, and shall make thee as a signet, for I have chosen thee, said the Lord” (Haggai 2:23).”
The genealogy of Christ given to us in the books of Matthew and Luke prove that Jesus Christ had a human body that was of the seed of David. His legal claim to the throne of David is preserved through His mother, Mary. The angel Gabriel had told Mary in his announcement of her conception,
“Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1:31-33). Paul writes: “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” “Which in his (Christ)times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;”(1 Timothy 1:17; 6:15 )
- F. Christ must have a real human body to be a true prototype of the resurrection of the saints.
The resurrection is a very vital part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It has been a belief and source of comfort for the saints of God every since the death of Abel. They all died in the faith that God would raise again their dead bodies. Job, one of the oldest books in the Bible expresses that faith. “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me”(Job 19:25-27).
In John’s gospel, chapter two, we have the first recorded prophecy given by Christ, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19). This prophecy, given by Christ to His disciples, was a proof to them that He was the Son of God. Paul writes that Christ was, “declared to be the Son of God with power…. by the resurrection from the dead:” (Romans 1:4)
John tells us that Joseph of Arimathaea went to Pilate and requested the body of Jesus after His death. “Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid” (John 19:40-41)
Paul says that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the very heart of the Gospel. “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
(1 Corinthians 15:3-4). He informs us in this same chapter, “if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not”
1 Corinthians 15:14-15.
He makes it even more personal when he says, “And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.” (17-18).
Of course the saints of God would answer with a very strong shout of affirmative assurance based on the scriptures, that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead and “become the firstfruits” of our resurrection (I Corinthians 15:20). But wait, what if the body of Christ that was placed in the grave is not the same kind of body that the saints of God place in the grave? What if His body was something other than flesh and bones? If Jesus Christ is the prototype of our resurrection, and if we are to be raised from the grave like He was, than He must have the same kind of body as the saints, to prove His resurrection.
Jesus Christ died for our sins on the cross, was buried and laid in a tomb. He rose again, the third day and is now seated at God’s own right hand (Hebrews 1:3; 10:12). Christ resurrection is the firstfruit of the saints resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:20). He is the prototype of our resurrection. “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,”(51). “Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth.” Revelation 1:5.
Christ’s human body was laid in the grave, after three days and three nights, His body was resurrected by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is the great comfort that the saints of God have concerning their death. “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you” (Romans 8:11) Christ, by His virgin birth, had a physical human body, without sin, that was made like the human bodies of His people. That body was placed in the grave and was resurrected by the Holy Spirit. The saints of God today can face death knowing that its sting has been removed and we are victors over the grave because we have a risen Saviour. Just as His body was resurrected, so also, by the same power of the Holy Spirit shall we be resurrected from the grave and we shall with glorified bodies worship our risen Lord and Saviour for all eternity. Hallelujah!!! God be Praised!
- Incarnation-Latin: “taking on flesh”; The act whereby the eternal Son of God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, without ceasing to what He is, God the Son, took into union with Himself what He before that act did not possess, a human nature, ‘and so[He] was anc continues to be God and man in two distinct natures and one person, forever’ (Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q.21)” (Walter Elwell, ed., EVANGELICAL DICTIONARY of THEOLOGY. 601)
- The Hypostatic Union: “The doctrine of the hypostatic union, first set forth officially in the definition of faith produced by the Council of Chalcedon (AD 451), concerns the union of the two natures of deity and humanity in one hypostasis or person of Jesus Christ. It can be stated as follows: In the incarnation of the Son of God, a human nature was inseparably united forever with the divine nature in the one person of Jesus Christ, yet with the natures remaining distinct, whole, and unchanged, without mixture of confusion, so that the one person, Jesus Christ, is truly God and truly man.” (Elwell, 583)
- “Christ assumed a reasonable soul, with his true body, which make up the nature he took upon him, and are included in the flesh he was made, as seen: and is the flesh and blood he partook of;...Had he not a human soul, he would not be a perfect man; and could not be called, as he is the man Christ Jesus: the integral parts of man, and which constitute one, are soul and body; and without which he cannot be called a man; these distinguish him from other creatures;...and if Christ was without one, he could not be in all things like unto us; being deficient in that which is the most excellent and noble part of man. But that he is possessed of a human soul, is evident from his having a human understanding, will, and affections; he had a human understanding, knowledge, and wisdom, in which he is said to grow, and which in some things were deficient and imperfect...Besides, if he had not had a human soul, he could not have been tempted in all points like as we are (Heb.4:15), since the temptations of Satan chiefly respect the soul, the mind, and the thoughts of it, and affect and distress that: nor could he have bore the wrath of God, nor have had a sensation of that; which it is certain he had, when the weight of the sins of his people lay on him and pressed him sore; (Psalm 89:38; Matt.26:38). Nor could he have been a perfect sacrifice for their sins; which required his soul as well as his body, (Isa. 54:10; Heb.10:10). Nor have been the Saviour of their souls; as he is both of body and soul, giving life for life, body for body, soul for soul, (1 Peter 1:9).”
(from Gill’s BODY OF DIVINITY, Book V, chapter 1, “The Incarnation of Christ,” page 382)
CUSTANCE, Arthur C.,
THE VIRGIN BIRTH AND THE INCARNATION, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1976
A COMPLETE BODY OF DIVINITY AND TRUTH, Paris, Arkansas: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1984
THE VIRGIN BIRTH, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Kregel Publications, 2002
THE WONDERS OF BIBLE CHRONOLOGY, Ashburn, Virginia: Hess Publications, 2001
WORD PICTURES IN THE GREEK NEW TESTAMENT, Nashville, Tennessee: Broadman Press, 1933
ROSS, Bob L.,
THE TRINITY and the ETERNAL SONSHIP OF CHRIST, Pasadena, Texas: Pilgrim Publications, 1993
SPURGEON, Charles Haddon,
NEW PARK STREET PULPIT, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1964
STRONG, Augustus Hopkins,
SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY, Westwood, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1907
EXHAUSTIVE CONCORDANCE OF THE BIBLE, Nashville, Tennessee: Abingdon Press, 1980
VINE, W. E.
EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY OF NEW TESTAMENT WORDS, Westwood, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Co. 1958
ANALYTICAL CONCORDANCE TO THE BIBLE, Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, 1973