"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
by Rav. PhilJ Alcide, PhD

 

ReadingNow all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 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.” (Mt.1: 23)

 

The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel; to know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; to receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; to give subtlety to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion. A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels (Prov.1: 1-5). For the past 2,000 years blood has been to sword what ink is to pen for the proponents of the claim:

  • “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”.

It seems much easier and desirable to demonize those who oppose this claim from its inception than to test its validity. This article aims at bringing together two insiders, one from each camp to investigate this issue. From one side, the word virgin will be analyzed, while the other side will explain his role in supporting the claim.

 

This endeavor should not be viewed as an assault on any religious group. It should rather be received with the spirit that true freedom and salvation come from knowing and accepting the Truth, though it challenges one’s prior belief and commitment. A true Holy Spirit-filled seeker has no room for pride in his heart.

 

According to the gospel writer, the claim is part of the following prophecy of Isaiah:

 

“vayomer shimuna beit david hamat mikem halot anashim ki talu gam et-elohai. lachen yiten adonai hu lachem ot hineh ha-almah harah v’yoledet ben v’karat shemo immanu el”

 

which is rendered by the King James Version:

 

“And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Is.7: 13-14)

 

The claim is that Myriam (Mary) was a virgin and G-d caused her to be pregnant without having sex with her fiancé Joseph. Consequently, the child that was born, Jesus, was the son of G-d. This means two things:

  1. He is a divine being of the same order as his father YHWH, Israel’s Deity.
  2. He is the promised deliverer from the line of David whose mission is to save mankind from the sin of Adam and Eve, the original sin.

The implication of the claim is that unless one accepts Jesus as his personal savior, he is going to hell. Therefore, everyone who believes this claim is compelled to spread the good news of salvation to the world. This is the Gospel: confess that Jesus is lord and believe in your heart that G-d raised him from the dead so that one can go to heaven. Otherwise, go straight to hell. As a social network, now Facebook becomes the battleground where those who oppose this claim continue to die. Character assassination, verbal assault, and condemnation to hell are among the most effective weapons used against them. What happens to the first amendment?

 

The word virgin translated

 

Let us begin by pointing out that there are only two places in the Tanakh where the word “Almah” can rightfully be translated as “virgin”:

  1. In the case of Rivkah, Isaac’s wife, as it is written: “hine anochi nitsav al-ein hamayim v’haya ha-almah hayotset lishov v’amarti eleiha hashekini-na m’at-mayim mikadech”, which is translated “Behold, I stand by the well of water; and it shall come to pass, that when the virgin cometh forth to draw water, and I say to her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water of thy pitcher to drink” (Gen.24: 43)
  2. In the case of Myriam the sister of Moshe, as it is written: “vatomer-la bat-paro lechi vatelech ha-alma vatikra et-em hayaled”, which is rendered “And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, Go. And the maid (virgin girl) went and called the child’s mother.” (Ex.2: 8)

Rivkah wasn’t yet married to Isaac. So she was a virgin, given that we have no indication of her having been with a man before Isaac. Myriam, the sister of Moses, also was a little girl of about 10 to 12 years old, with no indication of her touching a boy.

 

Here is what is written in the book Isaiah:

  • “vayomer shimu-na beit david hamat mikem halot anashim ki talu gam et-elohai  lachen yiten adonai hu lachem ot hineh ha-almah harah v’yoledet ben v’karat shemo immanu el.”,

which is commonly rendered:

  • “And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Is.7: 13, 14).

Here in Isaiah, can we translate “almah” as “virgin”? No, because the context doesn’t allow it. Here’s the reason. After verse 14, the next time we hear of the “almah” is here:

  • “And I went unto the prophetess; and she conceived, and bare a son. Then said the LORD to me, Call his name Mahershalalhashbaz. For before the child shall have knowledge to cry, My father, and my mother, the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria shall be taken away before the king of Assyria” (Is.8: 3, 4).

This is the reason why Isaiah said:

  • “Behold, I and the children whom the LORD hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion.” (Is.8: 18).

The almah of Is.7: 14 and the prophetess of Is.8: 3 are the same person, the wife of Isaiah who already had Shear-Jashub (Is.7: 3). The “ot” or sign is, therefore, not a “virgin that will conceive” but the fact that before the baby has the ability to speak, calling mommy and daddy:

  • “Before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste. The Lord will bring on you and on your people and on the house of your father a time unlike any since Ephraim broke away from Judah—he will bring the king of Assyria.” (Is.7: 16-17).

Here is another place where “almah” is not rendered as virgin:

  • “sheloshah hemmah nifleu mimeni ki v’arbah lo yedatim derech hannesher bashamayim derech nachash alei tzur derech-oniyah v’lev-yam v’derech gever b’almah”,

which is translated

  • “There are three things that are too amazing for me, four that I do not understand: the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a snake on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a maiden” (Prov. 30: 18-19).

Notice that “almah” is translated “maiden” and that maiden is compared to “the way of the eagle in the sky”, “the way of a snake on a rock”, and “the way of ship in the heart of the sea”. This means that just as an eagle, a snake, and a boat do not create a path in the air, on the rock, and in the water, so too a man does not create a new path in the sexual organ of a woman after having sex with her. But we know that this is not true of a virgin! Therefore, this “almah” in the book of Proverbs is not a virgin, just like the “almah” in the book of Isaiah. Why then was “almah” translated “virgin” in the KJV and other versions? Was this a mistake or a deliberate deception? What motivated the translators to choose the word virgin rather than any other word?

 

If almah doesn’t mean virgin in Isaiah 7: 14, then, at least, one of the following conclusions is true:

  1. Isaiah 7: 14 is not a prediction of the miraculous conception and birth of Jesus.
  2. Even if we agree, for the sake of brotherhood, that it is about Jesus you must concede that Joseph is the biological father of Jesus.

The verse in Isaiah was used simply because the word almah could be exploited and abused to support the claim. Therefore, there is no reason to agree that Isaiah 7: 14 is about Jesus if almahdoesn’t mean virgin in its context. There is no reason to have a Jesus that is not born of a virgin Myriam because he, too, would have needed a savior from the original sin, according to the claim. Why, then, do they insist so much on the virgin birth? Would Jesus be ineffective if he were born of human parents? But again, what was he supposed to be successful at that requires a virgin birth?

 

The first conclusion is true because the study of the historical context of Isaiah 7: 14 shows that the events predicted by Isaiah, the birth of the boy and the defeat of Ahaz, actually took place as foretold in Isaiah’s time. Also, the first conclusion proves that the second is true. Since there was no prophecy about the miraculous conception and birth of Jesus in Isaiah we must admit that he, like you and I, had a set of biological parents: Myriam and Joseph. In short, Jesus was the biological son of Joseph.

 

The confession of St. Jerome

 

Jerome (c.340-420), one of the most influential figures in the history of the [Christian] Bible, introduces Isaiah as follows in his commentary:

 

  • “He should be called an evangelist rather than a prophet because he describes all the mysteries of Christ and the Church so clearly you would think he is composing a history of what has already happened rather than prophesying about what is to come” (Sawyer, p.1, 2)… “He [Jerome] is obviously referring to Isaiah 9: 6 and Isaiah 53” (Ibid.)

 

Let us analyze Jerome’s statement to find out what he was really trying to tell us. First of all, let us look at the introductory sentence of Sawyer: “Jerome, one of the most influential figures in the history of the [Christian] Bible…” What does that statement mean?

 

By now everyone should know that Jerome was the man who translated the [Christian] Bible in Latin. That version was called the Vulgate. However, there is something very sinister to know about St. Jerome. A 12th Century manuscript of Jerome’s commentary on Isaiah in Durham Cathedral Library has a miniature which nicely illustrates his perception of Isaiah, according to Sawyer (p.1-2). Plate 1 shows Isaiah at the top with a scroll in each hand: one carries the portion of verse:

  • ecce virgo concipiet… Behold, a virgin shall conceive” (Is.7: 14),

while plate 2 has some apocalyptic words from Isaiah 24: 16:

  • “…secretum meum mihi, secretum meum mihi vae mihi… My secret to myself, my secret to myself, woe is me” (Douay-Rheims Bible).

Other versions translate it:

  • “I’m wasting away! I’m wasting away! How horrible it is for me!” (God’s Word Translation)

or

  • “I am wasting away, wasting away, the curse is on me!” (Bible in Basis English).

To understand what St. Jerome is saying you need to know the coded language he used. In this case, the meaning of what he meant is hidden in the omitted part of Isaiah 24: 16, which reads in different versions:

  • “…Deceit still prevails, and treachery is everywhere” (New Living Translation),
  • “The false ones go on in their false way, yes, they go on acting falsely” (Bible in Basis English),

or

  • “…The traitors have betrayed, with betrayal the traitors have betrayed” (New International Version).

This was St. Jerome’s confession. He admitted of spreading a lie, the gospel, and agreed that he was damned because of that. Look at these early words of Isaiah:

 

  • Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for” (Is.6: 5-7).

 

Is it any surprise that Jerome later corrected the Vulgate by comparing it with the Hebrew Bible, the Tanakh? For that reason, the church called him a forger. This was an attempt to discredit his confession. Slander and name-calling are among the church’s most effective weapons, as Jerome himself pointed out. Jerome had more to tell those who are willing to listen. In describing Isaiah, he said: “…He should be called an evangelist rather than a prophet…” This reveals two important facts:

  1. He explained that an evangelist is a historian, an individual who writes about what has already taken place. But doesn’t the historian have the ability and power to manipulate the facts of history? He also admits that a prophet foretells the future, which a historian cannot do.
  2. He simultaneously boldly challenged the “Inspiration” of the so-called “Apostolic Writings” because he insisted that those who wrote them were functioning like mere historians. This fact is admitted openly in the gospel according to Luke:
  • “Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught” (Lk.1: 1-4)

 

Jerome’s intention was not to say that Isaiah was not a prophet but to say that the gospel writers were not prophets as was Isaiah. A prophet speaks on behalf of G-d but not so of a historian. Was Isaiah describing the mysteries of Christ and the Church or was Isaiah used to make up the mysteries of Christ and the Church? This is the question that St. Jerome, a doctor of the Church, asks everyone who supports the claim:

  • “A virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son”.

Erasmus translated and edited the works of St. Ambrose, Aristotle, St. Augustine, St. Basil, St. John Chrysostom, Cicero, and St. Jerome. In his book The Praise of Folly, he asserts that:

 

  • “I don’t know why I bother to defend myself with a single example, seeing that it’s the generally accepted privilege of theologians to stretch the heavens, that is, the Scriptures, like tanners with a hide. According to St Paul, there are words which can do battle for Holy Scripture, though in their context they don’t do so, if we are to trust Jerome, that ‘master of five tongues’. Paul once happened to see an inscription on an altar in Athens and twisted its meaning into an argument for the Christian faith. He left out all the words which would have damaged his case and selected only the last two, ignoto deo “to the unknown god.” Even in this he made some alteration, since the complete inscription read “to the gods of Asia, Europe, and Africa, the unknown and foreign gods.” This, I believe, is the precedent our present-day ‘sons of theology’ follow when they pick out four or five words from different contexts, and if necessary even distort their meaning to suit their purpose, though those which come before and after may be either totally irrelevant or actually contradictory. This they do with such carefree impudence that theologians are often the envy of the legal experts.”

 

The church often blamed Erasmus for starting the Protestant Revolution and prohibited his works. He gained the ire of Protestants for not committing to their cause, continuously rejecting their offers so as to keep his scholarly integrity.

 

The confession of Myriam

 

There is always one person who knows for a fact who the father of a child is: the mother. They may lie to Maury but they are certain of the child’s paternity. The written Torah never forbids sex outside the context of marriage, with the exception of adultery and incest. On the contrary, the Torah seems to assume that it is a natural part of life…It was the rabbis of the Talmudic period who explicitly outlawed sexual relations outside marriage…The Bible is natural and unembarrassed about the sexual activities of its major personalities. Although adultery and incest are explicitly forbidden, fornication is not (http://www.myjewishlearning.com/life/Sex_and_Sexuality/Premarital_Sex/Traditional_Sources.shtml). Even more so, if Joseph and Myriam were engaged and living together, why would sex between them be a problem? Judaism does not ignore the physical component of sexuality. The need for physical compatibility between husband and wife is recognized in Jewish law. A Jewish couple must meet at least once before the marriage, and if either prospective spouse finds the other physically repulsive, the marriage is forbidden. This fact is not really known outside of Jewish circles. In fact, Myriam confessed about the fatherhood of Jesus. Here it is, right in the New Testament:

 

  • “And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing” (Lk.2: 48; KJV).

 

Is Myriam here lying to the child Jesus? Why didn’t the child Jesus reply: “Joseph ain’t my real daddy”? Was the child Jesus also lying there as well or was he supporting his mother’s truth? Myriam makes clear that Joseph was the biological father of Jesus and Jesus agreed. That is the end of it. Even the community where they lived knew factually that Joseph was Jesus’ biological father, for they said:

 

“Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?” (Mt.13: 55; KJV)

 

From the analysis of the word almah and its uses in the Tanakh, we find no justification for translating it as virgin in Isaiah 7: 14. The historical context also shows that the prophecy was fulfilled in the time of Ahaz as Isaiah predicted. On the other hand, St. Jerome surprises us with his confession and invites us to help him mourn his soul for his involvement in a global deception, the story of the virgin birth. He also challenges those who support the virgin birth prophecy to build their case outside of Isaiah, given the extent to which the text has been manipulated. Also, Myriam the mother of Jesus told Joseph: “You are the father!” Even their community confirms the paternity of Jesus, “old school DNA testing”. Therefore, as the Torah says: “A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses” (Deut.19: 19). This is exactly what I have done!

 

The cover-up

 

Jesus’ answer to his mother was:

 

“Why were you searching for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” (Lk.2: 49; KJV)

 

The “evangelist” or historian, however, added: “But they did not understand what he was saying to them.” (Lk.2: 50). The critical reader would ask: “How come Jesus who lived at the same time as his parents say that they knew what he was supposed to do but the “evangelist” who wrote decades after the fact said they didn’t know?” Well, if I am to believe the report of the evangelist, then it is clear that Jesus’ answer to his mother cannot be true or was inserted later in the text. Or did the poor twelve year-old boy utter a word at all after disappearing for three days?

 

At that point, you need to realize that there is a deliberate deception going on. Jesus’ answer was introduced to rebuke Myriam for telling the truth about Joseph being the father and discredit her testimony in the court of public’s opinion. This is how the church operates. The Truth will always be hidden in plain sight because people do not question what they read or attempt to interpret something that begs for no interpretation at all. 

 

I anticipate the negative reactions to this article and pray that a blessing may be drawn from it, whether you choose to re-evaluate your position or not. I have informed you.

 

One sure obstacle to your emancipation, you must admit, is the fear that has been instilled in you, the fear of hell-fire. Yet, I leave you with this passage:

 

  • “Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit… I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you. Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him.” (Ps.32: 1, 2, 8-10)

 

Shalom,

 

Reference:

 

ERASMUS, D., & VAN LOON, H. W. (1942). The praise of folly. New York, Published for the Classics Club by W.J. Black

 

JAMES C. WINSTON PUBLISHING COMPANY (NASHVILLE, TENN.). (1993). The original African heritage study Bible: King James Version : with special annotations relative to the African/Edenic perspective. Nashville, J.C Winston.

 

SAWYER, J. F. A. (1996). The fifth gospel: Isaiah in the history of Christianity. New York, Cambridge University Press.

 

Retrieve on March 6: 2011 fromhttp://www.myjewishlearning.com/life/Sex_and_Sexuality/Premarital_Sex/Traditional_Sources.shtml

 

Want to share or print this? Choose how below:
  • Print
  • email
  • Add to favorites
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: