The prophecy of the Virgin Birth and the Sign of Immanuel in Isaiah 7:14 is one of the most difficult passages in the Bible. Scholars have written volumes on this prophetic text because the words of Isaiah have played an important role in the understanding of the Christological views of the Christian church.
Matthew 1:23 cites Isaiah 7:14 as being fulfilled in the birth of Christ. However, the historical context of Isaiah 7:14 is the events related to the Syro-Ephraimite war. The sign of Immanuel was given to Ahaz, king of Judah, to assure him and the people of Judah that God was present with them to deliver the nation from their enemies.
In these studies I emphasize that the Sign of Immanuel must be understood, first of all, in light of the historical events which gave birth to Isaiah’s oracle. Once the historical context and the Hebrew text are taken into consideration, the exegesis will clarify how Matthew used Isaiah’s prophecy.
The interpretation offered in these studies affirms the virginal conception of Christ and also affirms that sexually, Mary was a virgin when Jesus was born.
The proper understanding of these seven studies requires that they be read in the order they were posted. Before you read post number two, read post number one. Before you read my last post, read the six previous posts. Unless one follows the argument presented in each post, the last post, the conclusion of these studies, will make little sense.
The first study on this series, “The Virgin Birth — And More,” was written by my friend Edward Fudge. It was his article that motivated me to write these studies. As you read these studies, you will notice that I mention Edward Fudge several times.
You may not agree with the conclusions I present in my last post, but I am convinced that my conclusions are based on a correct interpretation of the biblical text. Whenever I mention Hebrew words in these studies, I try to provide a transliteration of these words to make the discussion easy to follow.
I hope you enjoy reading these studies on the Sign of Immanuel.
Studies on Isaiah 7:14 and the Sign of Immanuel
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary