“Someone pointed out to me that the word ‘virgin’ in Isaiah 7:14 is the Hebrew word ‘almah’ meaning, ‘a young woman’—in other words, a ‘young woman’ who may or may not be a virgin. I am a firm believer in the virgin birth of Christ, but how do I address this dilemma?”
It is true the Hebrew word almah simply means a “damsel” or a “maiden,” who may or may not be a virgin. However, almah can refer to a young woman who is a virgin, such as in the case of Rebekah (Gen. 24:43-45). Interestingly, the Holy Spirit does not leave the matter open for debate in regard to Mary. Under the guidance of the Spirit, Matthew directly quotes Isaiah and, in doing so, he uses the Greek word parthenos. This term is solely used of a woman who has never known a man.
“Behold, a virgin [Gr. parthenos] shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (Matt. 1:23).
The purpose of the miraculous conception and virgin birth of Christ was to show that He was not stained with Adam’s sin. As Paul says, “He knew no sin” (II Cor. 5:21). Christ was an empty vessel when it came to sin. This allowed the Father to pour our iniquities into His dear Son at Calvary, where He was made “sin for us.” It is essentially a matter of faith! If Christ wasn’t born of the virgin, then we are yet in our sins.
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.