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The Virgin Birth
“Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (Matthew 1:23).
What do we know about the life of Jesus? We know according to the scriptures that he came down from heaven. John 1:1 says, “In a beginning was the Word, and the Word was with the God, and a god was the Word” (Emphatic Diaqlott interlinear). “Word” in this scripture is translated from the Greek word logos, which signifies a word spoken and is applied to our Lord Jesus.
Our Lord’s Pre-human Existence
Revelation 3:14 tells us that our Lord was the beginning of the creation of God. A further description of him is given in the eighth chapter of Proverbs: “(22) Jehovah formed me as the beginning of his way, The first of his works of old. … (30) Then I was by him, as a master workman: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him” (Proverbs 8:22,30 ASV margin).
The scriptures indicate that from the beginning the Logos occupied a high position of trust and responsibility in the heavenly realm. Our Lord Jesus was not only the beginning of God’s creation, but was the active agent in all of the Father’s creative work. 1 Corinthians 8:6 says, “To us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.”
The Apostle John gives us a brief statement of our great Redeemer’s pre-human history. He writes in John 1:3, “All things were made by him and without him was not anything made that was made.” In other words, Jesus was the direct creator, under the instruction of his Heavenly Father, of all things. He was the divine agent, or Word, of our Heavenly Father. He did all the great work of creation; but he himself was the first of God’s direct creation, the firstborn of all creatures, as well as the firstborn from the dead (Colossians 1:15, 18).
The Need for a Ransom
But the Father gave him up, inviting him to lay aside the heavenly glory and become a man in order that he might sacrifice his humanity for the sins of the world. When the time came, our Heavenly Father gave Jesus the opportunity to be the servant in this great work of restitution which he intended to accomplish for mankind.
The Apostle Paul explained how Jesus laid aside his heavenly glory and divested himself of those conditions to become human, and was made flesh in Hebrews 2:9: “We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”
Jesus becoming a human being was crucial, because all of God’s precious promises depended upon a ransom to take Adam’s place in the grave. It was crucial because Psalms 49:7 tells us, “None of them [no man] can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him.” Why not? As the scriptures declare, Father Adam was created a perfect human being capable of obeying our Heavenly Father’s laws. Adam was made in the image of God. Genesis 1:26-27 says, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, [an earthly image] after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
Because of Adam’s disobedience and fall into sin and death, he and all of his descendants became fallen and imperfect. God’s requirement for Adam and his race to be recovered and brought back into fellowship and harmony with his creator was a perfect life to take the place of the perfect life forfeited by Adam. Since no descendant of Adam was perfect, a perfect man had to be found somewhere else. Romans 5:19 says that our Lord Jesus came to earth and gave his perfect life for Adam. “As through the one man’s disobedience [Adam] the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the one shall the many be made righteous” (RV).
Jesus Was Made Flesh
Jesus provided this loving sacrifice by willingly leaving the heavenly realm, the spiritual nature, and coming to earth and giving his human life as man’s Redeemer. 1 Timothy 2:5-6 tells us, “For there is one God, one mediator also between God and men, himself having been a man, Christ Jesus, the one having given himself a ransom for all” (RVIC).
It was necessary for Jesus to be a specially born child, different from all others of mankind. We could ask the question: Why would this human baby need to be born different than the rest of the human race?
The scriptures explain to us that he was not begotten of an earthly father. Although Joseph was espoused to Mary, this child was not the child of Joseph. This child was specially begotten by divine power, in Mary, though she was still a “virgin” when she brought forth the child. Matthew 1:18 says, “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” (NASB).
If the Redeemer was not perfect, he could not be the savior of the world. The promised redemption implied that Jesus would be perfect. It implied that he would be as the first Adam was before he sinned. So he had to be, as the Apostle declares, “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners” (Hebrews 7:26). He must be entirely distinct and separate from humanity so far as sinful conditions were concerned. But there is no human father who can produce a perfect child. So, it was necessary in this case, as the scriptures declare, that God should beget this son by power from on high. Therefore, that which was born of the “virgin” was separate and distinct from all humanity. His life came not from an earthly father, but from his Heavenly Father.
Jesus’ Birth and Life
We learn of Jesus’ birth in Luke 2:8, 10-11, “There were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. … And the angel said unto them, fear not: for, behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”
There is a special meaning in the word Savior—one who saves, or a deliverer. It signifies life giver. Matthew 1:21 says, “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.” In him the world will have a king who died for his subjects and who will provide for them an opportunity to gain everlasting life. “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22).
Luke 2:40 says, “the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.” In God’s due time a savior was born, he grew to manhood, he consecrated his all to the doing of the Father’s will, and then for 3½ years he laid down his life as a willing sacrifice. Finally, he was put to death, the ignominious death of the cross.
Jesus, Man’s Deliverer and King
Today, mankind has little understanding of God’s principles of righteousness. They must be taught God’s commandments and laws so that they can become obedient to them. Christ will eliminate the confusion that mankind has today through the conflicting teachings and commandments of different religions and will make it possible for the world to learn righteousness. “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9). As a result of Jesus’ return, mankind will yet be brought back to perfection of heart and mind and back into obedience and harmony with God.
The human family will be called forth from the grave and will be healed of all their diseases. Man will no longer say I am sick because they will be forgiven for their iniquities (Isaiah 33:24). The obedient ones will be restored to perfect health and everlasting life. Mankind will regain sonship and fellowship with the Father. Our Lord’s dying a ransom for Adam guarantees the success of His Kingdom.
He will replace man’s imperfect, selfish and corrupt forms of government with the perfect government of his kingdom. In foretelling the birth of Jesus, the prophet Isaiah declared that the government shall be upon his shoulder (Isaiah 9:6-7).
Our Father is calling out of this evil world a special class of people—those willing to live righteous lives and suffer and die in obedience to God’s will. “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32). The members of this little flock do not conform themselves to this present evil world. Instead, they strive to become more like our dear Lord. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:4).
As a result of their faithfulness, this little group of faithful followers will receive a crown of life, and be with our Lord and our Heavenly Father in Heaven. “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne” (Revelation 3:21). These faithful ones will assist the Lord in his earthly kingdom to bring about the restoration and happiness of all mankind. What a glorious prospect, all because our Lord Jesus humbled himself and came to earth.
The Scriptures state that “for the joy set before Him,” Jesus endured the cross. Hebrews 12:2 says, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” The joy was in doing God’s will and bringing the Father’s plan of salvation for all mankind to completion—“a salvation of souls” (1 Peter 1:9, Rotherham). If Jesus had failed, the results would have been no redemption for the world of mankind, and Jesus would have lost his life. But Jesus was successful, and as a result, he was given this great reward because of his obedience unto death, even the death of the cross.
What did coming to earth and giving his life for mankind show of our Lord Jesus’ character? It demonstrated his faith in God and his humility by his leaving the special position he held on the spiritual plane. It demonstrated his submission and obedience to do the Father’s will in everything, even to the death of the cross. This revealed Jesus’ great love for the Father and for the race of mankind, and his loyalty to the principles represented in the Father’s character and government.
“Praise you the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever” (Psalm 106:1).