"O L-RD, Who are my power and my strength and my refuge in the day of trouble, to You nations will come from the ends of the earth and say, 'Only lies have our fathers handed down to us, emptiness in which there is nothing of any avail! Can a man make gods for himself, and they are no gods? 'Therefore, behold I let them know; at this time I will let them know My power and My might, and they shall know that My Name is the L-RD".
Jeremiah 16:19-21

Abuse and Misuse of the Hebrew Scriptures: Isaiah 7:14 – Virgin or Not?

May 23, 2011

in Christianity:,Idolatry,Judaism vs. Christianity,Judaism:,Noahide - The Ancient Path

by Bruce James (Baruch Gershom)
A center point of Christian belief is in that Mary conceived Jesus without sex. Matthew 1:22-23 states: “Now all this took place that what has spoken by the L-ord through the prophet might be fulfilled saying: ‘Behold the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a son and they shall call his name Immanuel, which translated means, ‘G-d with us.'”

In the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible, the translation of Isaiah 7:14 seems to be the prophecy Matthew spoke of: “Therefore the L-rd himself will give you a sign: Behold a virgin will be with child and bear a son and she will call his name Immanuel” (KJV).

But wait! The Hebrew text (of which a 1900 year-old version is on display in the Israel Museum) doesn’t mention anything about a “virgin.” The Hebrew word for virgin is “betulah” but it appears nowhere in this text. The word used is “almah” which refers to a young woman, but not a virgin! Isaiah only uses the word once. But he knew how to use the word “betulah” — he uses it five times.

Another problem with the text is that it is not a prophecy with respect to the coming of the Messiah. If one reads the entire chapter, one sees that flaw immediately. The birth of the child, Immanuel, was to be a sign from G-d to King Ahaz, who lived at least 500 years before Jesus. The sign is meant to convince Ahaz that he shouldn’t worry about the two invading armies. A simple analogy is in old spy movies where the spy meets someone secretly and recognizes him because he is standing in a pre-arranged spot, wears clothing and ornaments that are relatively unique, and says something that would not seem remarkable except for the spy expecting to hear it. Clearly, the sign for Ahaz is something that would seem unremarkable to most people — a young woman has given birth to a boy whom she happens to name Immanuel, which was perhaps not the most popular name in those days. But to Ahaz it is a special sign that had meaning 500 years before Jesus, and apparently occurred.

Christian missionaries, nevertheless, will tell you that this sign also was meant to predict who the Messiah was. Moreover, they will say that an “almah” can be a virgin. Well, I doubt the first argument. It is absurd to think that G-d would give him a sign Ahaz needs right away that will not occur for another 500 years. The second issue is also absurd. Can you imagine poor Ahaz going to each household asking new mothers if they were virgins or not? Poor Ahaz would have thought to be totally screwy and would have been overthrown.

A final problem with the text is that it predicts that the child would be called “Immanuel.” Jesus was not called “Immanuel,” he was called “Jesus.”

Why did the Christians manufacture a prophecy about a virgin birth — something that is not required of the Messiah? The answer is clear. When the Jews did not accept Jesus as the Messiah (because the many preconditions for the Messianic era had not been fulfilled), the Church faced the real threat that non-Jews would reject him too. So Paul did two things: He issued an order that said that a Christian no longer had to observe Jewish laws (Acts 15), and he introduced a few pagan myths into the new Christian religion so that it would appeal to the pagan gentiles. One such myth concerned the god Attis, who was worshiped in Western Asia (where Paul actively preached). According to The Golden Bough, by Frazier, Attis was born from a virgin. He later was mutilated and bled to death. The worship of Attis involved an effigy of him that was hung. Afterwards it would be buried in a cave, and when the tomb was reopened, the god Attis would rise from the dead and softly whisper glad tidings of salvation. In the Roman worship of Attis, an animal’s blood, symbolic of the blood of Attis, would be poured on worshipers. They believed that his blood would wash away the worshipers sins. (Like Early Christians, worshipers of Attis also practiced celibacy). The two religions are so close that it cannot be a coincidence. Rather, Paul introduced these ideas into the worship of Jesus.

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