CHAPTER XXXIV

THE PROBLEM OF HUMAN REDEMPTION


As we have seen, the fellowship between God and humanity was broken by the disobedience of the one man Adam. But by the light of the revelation that came through Moses and the prophets, from Adam to Christ, it was not absolutely clear—although disclosed in a general way—how God would act and what He could do to prevent the entire human family from going off into everlasting death—separation from God and the glory of His might forever and ever in the place of incarceration for the wicked. Since the human family in the person of Adam sinned, as we learn in Romans 5:12,13 ("Therefore, as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin; and so death passed unto all men, for that all sinned:—13 for until the law sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed when there is no law"), what could God do to retrieve the situation? How could He act in regard to the situation that had developed?

We must at this juncture of our investigation remember what we learned of God's moral government in Chapter III.* We have seen that, whatever the Lord did, He, being the omnipotent Sovereign that He is, would have to respect the principles of His moral government, all of which are of course in accordance with the basic attributes of His eternal existence—His righteousness, holiness, love, and truth.

Had He chosen to do so, He had the power to deal summarily and drastically with man and could have banished him into the regions of darkness to remain there forever. In His doing so, He would have prevented the perpetuation and the continuance of sin in the human family. Had He chosen to pursue this course, His actions would have been an admission of utter defeat. Such an idea is unthinkable. For God, who is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient, would not originate a plan, a system, or a project that could be a failure. Humanly speaking, what then was left for Him to do under the circumstances?

I. THE LOSS MUST BE RETRIEVED ON THE HUMAN LEVEL
AND IN THE REALM OF THE WILL

Under God's moral government the losses sustained by man must and can be retrieved only on the human level and within the realm of the will. Since Adam and Eve on the human level frittered away their high position, the losses sustained must, under the divine moral government, be retrieved on the same plane. Justice to all and fair play under such an ethical regime as the one which God instituted demand that some being regain the lost position and restore the race. Since God banished man from His presence there must be a mediator, a being who can intercede to God for man: "For there is one God, one mediator also between God and men, himself man, Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all ..." (I Tim. 2:5,6). Moreover, since it was in the realm of the will that Adam and Eve were defeated the regaining of their standing with God had to be in the same sphere.

II. COULD GOD HAVE CREATED ANOTHER MAN TO REDEEM MAN?

Had the Lord created another Adam, He would have made a duplicate, a precise copy of the first man, who, as a human being was perfect. God would not create an imperfect creature Hence the man whom He would have created would have been exactly like the first Adam. Being like him, he would have yielded to temptation as Adam had done. Thus Satan would have tricked him as he did Adam. Conditions then would have been exactly as they were after Adam sinned. It is therefore inconceivable that God could retrieve the loss by the creation of another man.

III. COULD ONE OF ADAM'S DESCENDANTS REDEEM THE RACE?

After the Fall Adam begat sons and daughters in his likeness in the likeness of his fallen nature. Man's nature was contaminated by the poison of resistance against the divine will. Man has transmitted his fallen nature to all his descendants. The heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (Jer. 17:9). In harmony with this statement is one by the Apostle Paul an exhortation to Titus that he urge Christians "... to speak evil of no man, not to be contentious, to be gentle, showing all meekness toward all men. 3 For we also once were foolish, disobedient, deceived serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy hateful, hating one another. 4 But when the kindness of God our Saviour, and his love toward man, appeared, 5 not by works done in righteousness, which we did ourselves, but according to his mercy he saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit ..." (Titus 3:2-5). The entire human family, Jew and Gentile alike, has inherited the fallen nature from its foreparents. Another vivid picture of the condition of the human heart is set forth in the following passage: "And you did he make alive, when ye were dead through your trespasses and sins, 2 wherein ye once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the powers of the air, of the spirit that now worketh in the sons of disobedience; 3 among whom we also all once lived in the lusts of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest" (Eph. 2:1-3). Every man stands condemned at the bar of his own conscience. Having the fallen nature, he is utterly unable to keep the law of God in holiness and truth.

But is there such a thing as progress and advancement in human nature to the extent that there may be born someone who will be of such a character that he can withstand the temptations of Satan, can champion the cause of man, and become victorious against the forces of evil? We have heard much about man's steady progress upward and the development of a super race. If such a thing as this were possible, certainly there would have appeared some indications heralding the advent of such a superman—before this time. Admittedly every creature produces after its own kind. This is an unvarying law. Water cannot seek a level higher than that at which it stands, by and in virtue of its own power. Man cannot lift himself by his own bootstraps. No man, therefore, is able to redeem his brother, himself, or anyone else.

6 They that trust in their wealth,
And boast themselves in the multitude of their riches;
7 None of them can by any means redeem his brother,
Nor give to God a ransom for him
8 (For the redemption of their life is costly,
And it faileth for ever),
9 That he should still live alway,
That he should not see corruption (Ps. 49:6-9).



IV. COULD A CELESTIAL CREATURE REDEEM THE RACE?

If one of the angels had offered to champion man's cause and to match swords with Satan, could not he have defeated this great enemy of God and humanity and accomplished man's deliverance? As has been seen under Chapter II,¹ the battle had to be fought on the human plane and in the realm of the will. Had it been possible under God's ethical regime for such a celestial being to champion man's cause, this one could not have won the fight; for Satan, his adversary, who is the wisest and most powerful of all creatures (Ezek. 28:11-19), would have tricked him. As further evidence of this truth, note the fact that Michael, the archangel—the highest and doubtless the wisest and most powerful of all the hosts of angels remaining faithful to God—would not match swords with Satan, but turned him over to the Lord: "But Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing judgment, but said, The Lord rebuke thee" (Jude 9). Of course Michael had respect for the authority and dignity of Satan's position. At the same time we learn that this archangel turned the devil's case over to the strong Son of God to deal with him as He saw fit. From all the facts we conclude that no angelic being could have matched wits and swords with Satan in an attempt to bring him who had the power of death to nought (Heb.2:14). Thus no angel could have accomplished man's redemption.

If a seraph, a celestial being, had volunteered to come into the human realm and champion man's cause, he too would have been powerless to cope with Satan. Moreover, he could not have taken the keys of death and Hades away from Satan and released the righteous dead from Sheol.

Should a cherub, one of the highest order of the heavenly hosts, who was created on the same plane with the anointed cherub, but lower in order and rank, have volunteered to come into the human realm by virgin birth to champion man's cause—to die in his stead, to pay his death sentence—could he have done so? He could have come and might have obeyed perfectly the will of God. He also could have given the blood from his human body to redeem man, could have died in man's stead—passed out of this life through the portals of death, the same avenue through which man leaves it—and could have passed into Sheol. But there he would have remained, because he would not have had the power to take the keys of death and Hades from Satan, who is the minister of death. He therefore would have had to remain in Sheol and could not have delivered man from the death grip Satan had on man.

V. COULD GOD CREATE ANOTHER BEING POWERFUL ENOUGH TO REDEEM MAN?

In Ezekiel 28:12b we have these words: "Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty." What do these words mean? Concerning the anointed cherub, God declared that he sealed up the sum, or, as the marginal reading of the Revised Version states, "sealed up the pattern." God, figuratively speaking, had a pattern, according to which He created this anointed cherub. This pattern included the sum of all perfections which could be possessed by a created being. To strengthen the idea that, according to the pattern, this one possessed the totality of personality and perfections, the Lord used the figurative expression "sealed up." In the ancient world when documents were completed, they were closed with a seal, the signet therefore indicating completeness, the fullness of that which was written. Thus the plans and specifications, figuratively speaking, which constituted the sum, or pattern, according to which this creature was brought into existence, comprehended all wisdom, power, beauty, and excellencies possible to a created being.

Had the Lord decided to create a being to champion man's cause and to accomplish his deliverance, He could not have brought into existence a creature higher than this anointed cherub who, possessing equal powers, would have checkmated him at every turn. The contest therefore between them would have been a stalemate.

Thus another created being could have died for man's redemption, but he would have had to descend into Sheol and snatch the keys of death and Hades from Satan in order to deliver those who were held as captives there and to bring life and immortality to light by the resurrection from the dead. This thing he would not have had the power to do. He too would have had to remain in Sheol, as Satan would have had the mastery over him by possessing the keys of death and Sheol.

In the light of these facts we can see that no created being whatsoever could accomplish man's redemption.

VI. THE GOD-MAN

Since another Adam created perfect by the hand of God would have failed, since no man born by natural generation could redeem his brother, since no celestial being could bring deliverance, since God could not create a being that could bring deliverance, and since man must be redeemed upon the human plane and in the realm of the will, there was, under God's great moral government, left open to Him only one avenue of redeeming the race: This was for some being to come to earth, to enter the human realm, who could absolutely meet the demands of the broken law, who could do the will of God perfectly with reference to the problem of sin, and who could withstand the connivings and onslaughts of the devil.² Such a one would of necessity have to enter the human realm, not by natural generation, but in such a manner that He would not be tainted by the least trace of sin and be affected by it, so that He could fulfill the demands of the law of God perfectly. Since man begets his progeny in the likeness of his own fallen nature, the Redeemer of man cannot have a human father. But since He is to fight redemption's battle on the human level, He must be born of a woman. These facts indicate most positively that the only way for God to redeem the human family was by His bringing into the world a Saviour by miraculous conception—as opposed to natural generation—and by virgin birth. Is such a thing as this possible? In answering this question, I wish in the first place to call attention to the fact that there is such a thing as parthenogenesis³ among some of the lower forms of life. Could not the same God who created all life, and who is the author of parthenogenesis, also bring a being into the world by miraculous conception and virgin birth? Certainly God, who could create man originally and breathe into his nostrils the breath of lives4 in order that he might become a living soul, could bring a man into the world in such a miraculous manner. But should He thus have brought such a man—a sinless man capable of keeping the law perfectly—into being for the express purpose of redeeming the race, Satan—being the wisest and most powerful creature under God and being wholly possessed of wrath toward God and man—would have tricked such a one and would have wrecked his plan of redeeming the race. Because of this fact, it was necessary that one of the divine personalities—who alone could circumvent Satan in his diabolic maneuvers, and who could, under God's moral government, see that no foul measures were adopted by the devil to sabotage the divine plan to redeem the race—enter the world by miraculous conception and virgin birth, champion man's cause, and accomplish his redemption and final glorification.

This is exactly what God announced to the serpent that He would cause to be done. In talking to the serpent the Lord said, "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: he shall bruise thy head and thou shalt bruise his heel" (Gen. 3:15). In this passage we find an expression which does not appear anywhere else in the Hebrew Scriptures: "the seed of the woman." Genealogies are always reckoned after the male and never after the female, but here is a departure from this ordinary usage. This fact marks this expression as unique and distinctive. In speaking of Him who is to conquer Satan, the Lord called Him the "seed of the woman." This one is to conquer the great enemy of man, the anointed cherub, who is, as we have seen, the most powerful and the highest of all God's creatures. What He is to do to Satan is compared to a crushing knockout blow administered upon the head of a victim. As we have seen above, the facts demand that a Redeemer of man should come, one who is on the human plane, but who does not inherit the weaknesses of the race that are passed on from generation to generation by human fathers. Since this one is such, the mighty conqueror and deliverer of the race, and since He is spoken of as "the seed of the woman," we may know that He has no human father. At the same time we know that He is perfectly human because He is "the seed of the woman."

In perfect alignment with this primeval promise and hope is the prediction made by Isaiah the prophet in the following forecast:

"Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign:5 behold, a virgin6 shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel" (Isa.7:14). Here we are told that God would perform a miracle which would consist of a virgin's conceiving and bearing a son.

In keeping with the idea of the miraculous conception and virgin birth of this child is the name which is given to Him—Immanuel, which means God with us, or God is with us. Thus we have in this marvelous prediction a prophecy that God would enter the human realm through miraculous conception and virgin birth and would live on the human plane.

In perfect keeping with this prediction is the one found in Isaiah 9:6,7: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to establish, it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from henceforth even for ever." Note the fact in verse 6 that this child is born to the nation of Israel. This statement connotes a special relationship to the whole nation that no other child bears. It likewise immediately arouses our curiosity to see why He thus sustains such a unique relation to the whole Hebrew race. In verse 7 we learn that the government of Judah will rest upon the shoulders of this one, and that, when it does, He will be recognized as "Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." In this passage is a prophecy that there will appear upon the historic scene the Miracle One who is able to counsel everyone, who is God the Hero, championing man's cause, who is the Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace—the one who alone can establish peace in a war-weary world.

To some scientists the miraculous conception and virgin birth of Messiah are unthinkable. The principal reason for this attitude is found in their conceiving of the earth and all things therein as a closed system, in which law reigns supremely. According to this theory everything in this world is in some way related to other things by the law of cause and effect. To those holding this mechanistic, materialistic idea regarding all things, a miracle is impossible—not even Deity, the Creator, can break into their closed system.

While the true believer recognizes the fact that the material universe is governed and controlled by laws to which the Creator has subjected it, he believes that the Almighty can and does step into the natural order, so to speak, and for good and sufficient reasons performs what nature unaided could never accomplish. Such acts we designate as miracles. The omniscient, omnipotent creator, the author and enforcer of all nature's laws, including that of cause and effect, can perform whatever He in His wisdom knows is best for all and for the carrying forward of His eternal purposes. To the one who recognizes that the Creator is greater than His creation, and that He does all things well, miracles are both reasonable and possible. History confirms this position. We therefore can logically accept the scriptural teaching regarding the virgin birth of the Messiah, the Son of God.

The absolute necessity for the miraculous conception and the virgin birth of the Redeemer of man and the Messiah of Israel is made to stand out in bold relief by the fact that Deity had to become a man, as we have already seen—a sinless, perfect man—in order to champion man's cause and to defeat Satan.

There is only one way of becoming a member of the human race—by being born of a woman. God ordained no other way. Every human being—the species,
anthropos erectus—has been born of a woman. A person's being born of a woman makes him a human being. This fact is a deduction from the following general proposition: A creature's being born of a female makes it a member of the species to which the mother belongs.7 This biological principle is clearly set forth in the biblical phrase, "after their kind," which occurs in various statements that both plants and animals reproduce "after their kind," after their species (Gen 1:12, 21, 24).

But, as we have seen, man begets his progeny in the likeness of his own fallen nature. The Redeemer therefore cannot have a human father who is a member of our race. The only door left open even to Deity himself of coming into the world as a man who could champion man's cause and redeem the race was for Him to create a germ, pure, perfect, and holy, in the womb of the woman whom He would choose. This seed would unfold and develop according to nature, being nourished by the mother. At the proper time He himself would unite with this being—"the holy thing which is begotten" (Luke 1:35)—thus becoming the one who would redeem man.

Such a procedure is most reasonable and logical to everyone who will look at all the facts involved. The God who created the universe, of which this earth with all its teeming life is but a very small part, certainly could create a germ of the species,
anthropos erectus, in the womb of the one selected that it might unfold, and develop into the God-man who was able to redeem the race. It is universally acknowledged that man has the power in his own body to generate the germ which in conjunction with that of the woman produces his offspring. Cannot the great Creator produce a germ that can unfold into a human? Cannot He place that germ where it can be nourished and developed into the God-man? Every unbiased person will answer these questions in the affirmative.

The possibility and the plausibility of His doing this very thing become apparent to everyone who believes the Genesis account of the birth of Isaac, and who will dispassionately consider all the facts which I am presenting. Abraham, according to Moses, was ninety-nine years of age and Sarah, his wife, was eighty-nine. Hence they were both past the age of parenthood. Nevertheless, God performed a biological miracle upon their bodies which made possible the birth of Isaac. (See Genesis 21:1-7, and Romans 4:16-22.)8 This miracle is called an act of creation: "But now thus saith Jehovah that created thee, 0 Jacob, and he that formed thee, 0 Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed thee; I have called thee by thy name, thou art mine" (Isa. 43:1). If we believe the facts regarding the birth of Isaac, we are logically bound to accept the proposition regarding the possibility of the virgin birth of Messiah, the Son of God.

From the purely scientific view we can see the possibility of Deity's entering into the human realm by miraculous conception and virgin birth. We can, therefore, accept at face value those predictions which foretell His entry into the human realm to redeem lost humanity. (For a sane scholarly treatment of this subject see
The Virgin Birth of Christ, by J. Gresham Machen. Also consult my volume, Messiah: His Nature and Person, for additional facts.)

We have already examined the prophecies of Genesis 3:15,16 and Isaiah 7:14, in which God promised that one of the persons of the Godhead, as the Redeemer of humanity, would enter the human realm by miraculous conception and virgin birth. These passages show that, while He is a man, He is more than a man—He is the God-man, and she (the mother) "shall call his name Immanuel," which means
God is with us.

The problem that confronts one is not so much that God did become incarnate, but rather how He did it, without inheriting the sinful nature. The man in the street who interests himself in the matter and the student of the sciences, such as genetics, biology, and chemistry—these and others—want to know how. How could sinless Deity completely identify Himself with sinful mankind and yet become sinless man? God's Word declares that, following the fall of man, sin passed upon all men; and of course Mary, the mother of Jesus, herself, was not immune from sin and its results. She acknowledged herself as being a sinner by saying, "Blessed be God, my Saviour!" Only sinners need a Saviour. How could a sinless person come from such a source on the human side, even by virgin birth? How could Deity appear in sinless humanity when the avenue of the entrance into the human realm was itself tarnished by sin—not only by the Adamic sin, but by conscious sins? The answer to this question lies in the realms of biology, psychology, genetics, and chemistry, as well as in the realm of theology.

The virgin birth itself is a miracle; it is a unique manifestation. It has never occurred before nor since. But the second miracle is equally remarkable, one that also has never happened before; namely, a sinless man issuing from a mother—a member of our fallen race. Although the problem is deeply embedded in genetics, I may state it simply thus: There had to be a true and essential blood descent from Mary in order for the Lord Jesus to possess two vitally important factors: one prophetical, the other redemptive. He had to be a true blood descendant in order to be the prophetic son of David, the victorious King Messiah; and He had to be a true blood descendant in order to be a real human being to redeem fallen human beings. One might ask, "If ought of the blood or being of Mary was inherent in the person of the Lord Jesus, would not sin be transmuted? On the other hand, would He
really be true humanity—true son of David—if the blood and being of Mary were not inherent in Him?"

It is admitted and recognized that there are certain laws and principles in the purely physical realm. Many of these laws we have by scientific research discovered. We now know that the material universe is, generally speaking, under the dominance and control of the law of cause and effect. But let me hasten to add that this general statement does by no means exclude the possibility of interposition on the part of the Creator into the realm of His universe, whenever He sees fit thus to inject Himself—for purposes of a moral and spiritual nature.

In addition to the physical cosmos there is manifestly a realm, invisible to the human eye, which is the counterpart or complement of the material order. This sphere is likewise governed by laws and principles workable in such an etherial realm. Many of these are now discovered by those who have labored in this field. As science—true science, not wild-eyed speculation and guessing—labors in these fields, it continually brings forth new light on many things. The more we learn, the more we are convinced that the laws governing both the visible and invisible realms are essentially of like nature. This statement being true, we can reason quite accurately and logically from the well-known to that which is less-known.

In the realm of matter, for instance, elements are capable of classification. Their properties are known. They can be seen, tasted, handled, and smelt. Since that which is seen obeys certain known actions and reactions, which we call forces, it is also certain that these forces themselves, though unseen, possess characteristics and reactions: for instance, magnetism, gravitation, and the like. Though unseen, these are definite forces, obeying specific laws. I am fully persuaded that love also, and prayer, are examples of definite forces. I am very confident that there are forces unseen. The study of psychology, especially extrasensory perception and psychokinesis, may possibly give added confirmation of this. Now I am convinced that back
before the creation of man, in God's original glorious creation, all forces were good and none evil. Whence then came evil?

I am of the opinion that God warned Satan, who is called the anointed cherub in Ezekiel 28:11f, not to interfere with the laws and forces of the original creation; but he, through pride, introduced into the universe, by an unauthorized intrusion into and interference with those good forces, sin—and the force, or power of evil, was the tragic result. But how could this be? It seems quite logical that he combined two or more forces, or powers, which, in their pure state, contributed to the well-being of all of God's creatures. But by his manipulating and combining these forces, he produced a new power in the universe, which has proved to be a disruptive, destructive, and tragic element, and which in God's Word is called
sin. The Apostle Paul declared that sin, a mighty power, existed before the Fall. Adam transgressed God's law. Then this power, sin, entered the world. As a result of its entrance into the human realm, death came unto all men. The graveyards bear silent testimony to the disastrous effects of this power called sin.

In a discussion with two physicians whom I interviewed on one of my conference tours, I illustrated my points by calling attention to several examples from the field of chemistry—how various primary elements are combined in different proportions, and how they result in different substances.

I said one could combine two good forces and could produce a new force with characteristics entirely opposite to or different from the two out of which it was produced. One could give interesting illustrations from chemistry. The chemical formula for water is we know, H2O, that is, two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen in the molecule. Both hydrogen and oxygen are gaseous, but combined they become an entirely new thing with different characteristics, which is water—a liquid. If the atoms of oxygen are increased to four and sulphur is added to the formula, the result is H2SO4—sulphuric acid. Let us take just one more fact from chemistry: Take that strange metal—which sizzles, sending forth sparks when plunged into water—known as sodium. Add to that the gas chlorine (which was used as a deadly weapon in the first world war); and when combined in chemical action, they become sodium chloride, common table salt.

In chemistry there is a force or agency which is known as a catalyst, though it is little understood. There are instances known to chemists when one can take two elements, or a combination of elements, and measure them or weigh them by every medium of measurement known to the chemist and try to effect a chemical action without any success whatsoever. But if one brings this other element to bear upon these two, which were immovable, it is discovered that the presence of this third element brings about the action chemically that was desired of the first two. Now, this is really the point: When one examines this third element, or catalyst as chemists call it, it is found that, in so far as they have been able to discover, this third element, surprisingly, has remained unaffected in the slightest degree. This new force or action, though little known or understood, produces this amazing chemical action between the first two elements which were found otherwise to be immovable; and at the same time it, the catalyst, may be recovered practically unchanged at the end of the reaction.

As I suggested before, there are the psychic and spiritual realms with their laws and forces. To these spheres belong, for instance, love, that, in the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians, is clearly set forth as a force, a power and is in conformity with the nature of the realm to which it belongs:

(Continued on the next page)

Footnotes:

* Chapter III of Man: His Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Glorification.

¹ Chapter II of Man: His Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Glorification.

² From these statements it is clear that no creature could cope with the situation that arose from Satan's rebellion, and that led to man's sin with the loss of his high position, for which he was created. Only one of the persons of the Godhead could solve the problem and retrieve the loss. But in order to do this, Deity would have to enter the human realm and champion the cause of man on the human plane. This He did, as we shall see in continuing our investigation.

³ Natural parthenogenesis typically involves the development of eggs from virgin females without fertilization by spermatozoa.

4 "Jehovah God formed man ... and breathed into his nostrils the breath of lives" (Gen. 2:7, lit. trans.).

5 The word translated "sign" In this passage has two connotations; (1) It sometimes refers to natural phenomena. For instance, the sabbath is said to be a sign between Israel and God. (2) In many other instances it is seen from the context in which this word appears that it connotes a miracle. For example, see Exod. 4:1-9, relating to God's calling Moses to lead the nation of Israel out of Egyptian bondage: "And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice; for they will say, Jehovah hath not appeared unto thee. 2 And Jehovah said unto him, What is that in thy hand? And he said, A rod. 3 And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it. 4 And Jehovah said unto Moses, Put forth thy hand, and take it by the tail (and he put forth his hand, and laid hold of it, and it became a rod in his hand); 5 that they may believe that Jehovah, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee. 6 And Jehovah said furthermore unto him, Put now thy hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous, as white as snow. 7 And he said, Put thy hand into thy bosom again. (And he put his hand into his bosom again; and when he took it out of his bosom, behold, it was turned again as his other flesh.) 8 And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign. 9 And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe even these two signs, neither hearken unto thy voice, that thou shalt take of the water of the river, and pour it upon the dry land: and the water which thou takest out of the river shall become blood upon the dry land." The facts of the context of Isa. 7:14 show conclusively that here it signifies a miracle.

6 The word rendered "virgin is עלמה 'almah and appears seven times in the Hebrew text. In the other six places where it occurs, it unquestionably refers to a young woman of marriageable age who is a virgin. A young married woman's giving birth to a child is not a miracle. But since the context of Isa. 7:14 indicates that the birth of this child is a miracle, we therefore conclude that "virgin" here means exactly what the word connotes in other places. For a full discussion of this point see my volume, Messiah: His Nature and Person.

7 The mule, which is a cross between the horse and the ass, is no exception to this principle. It cannot propagate its kind, because it is sterile. Hence this hybrid, though born of the female of the species, horse, cannot logically be recognized as being of that species. The facts connected with its birth and all others similar to it therefore have no bearing upon this general biological principle.

8 21 And Jehovah visited Sarah as he had said, and Jehovah did unto Sarah as he had spoken. 2 And Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. 3 And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac. 4 And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. 5 And Abraham was a hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him. 6 And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh. Every one that heareth will laugh with me. 7 And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should give children suck? For I have borne him a son in his old age. (Genesis 21:1-7)

16 For this cause it is of faith, that it may be according to grace; to the end that the promise may be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all 17 (as it is written, A father of many nations have I made thee) before him whom he believed, even God, who giveth life to the dead, and calleth the things that are not, as though they were. 18 Who in hope believed against hope, to the end that he might become a father of many nations, according to that which had been spoken, So shall thy seed be. 19 And without being weakened in faith he considered his own body now as good as dead (he being about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah's womb; 20 yet, looking unto the promise of God, he wavered not through unbelief, but waxed strong through faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully assured that what he had promised, he was able also to perform. 22 Wherefore also it was reckoned unto him for righteousness. (Romans 4:16-22)

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