Presentation on theme: "February 24, 2011Jeremiah 31:21 and the “Virgin Birth” Page 1 of 7 Will A Bride Circle A Groom, or A Divine Baby Form in A Virgin’s Womb? A Counter-Missionary."— Presentation transcript:
February 24, 2011Jeremiah 31:21 and the “Virgin Birth” Page 2 of 7 Introduction The doctrine of the "Virgin Birth" is a foundational "building block" of Christian theology since it "touches" the other important doctrinal elements of Christianity by virtue of the fact that, for Christians, it establishes the deity of Jesus and confirms his identity as the divine “Son of God”, i.e., "God manifest in the flesh". Earlier, we examined two so-called "proof texts“ being used to validate the New Testament “Virgin Birth” accounts of Jesus: Isaiah 7:14, a natural choice since it is referenced in the account of Jesus’ conception and birth in the Gospel of Matthew, and Genesis 3:15, though not referenced in the New Testament as a messianic prophecy, via the phrase “seed of a woman”, taken as a euphemism for the divine conception that resulted in the “Virgin Birth” of Jesus. In this lesson we shall examine Jeremiah 31:21*, yet another so- called “proof text” being claimed as a prophecy of the "Virgin Birth“, even though it is not referenced in the New Testament. * Note: The verse numbers differ between the Hebrew Bible and the Christian "Old Testament“. The citation shows the verse number in the Hebrew Bible followed by the verse number in the Christian "Old Testament" in brackets, i.e., Jeremiah 31:21.
February 24, 2011Jeremiah 31:21 and the “Virgin Birth” Page 3 of 7 The Verse Jeremiah 31:21
February 24, 2011Jeremiah 31:21 and the “Virgin Birth” Page 4 of 7 Comparison of Christian and Jewish Perspectives Christianity ( )Judaism ( ) “A woman shall compass a man” is a metaphorical description of a woman conceiving a child in an unusual and unconventional way, via a creative act by God, a “new thing” that was never before witnessed on earth. Unlike the customary courtship, where a man courts a woman, the newly created phenomenon will see a role-reversal, in which a woman will court a man. This is a metaphor that points to the future reconciliation of Israel with God. The prophet Hosea describes a similar scenario:
February 24, 2011Jeremiah 31:21 and the “Virgin Birth” Page 5 of 7 What’s Wrong with the Christian Interpretation? Christianity ( )Judaism ( ) The scenario in this passage bears a similarity to Isaiah 7:14 since both speak of a new and wondrous act of God, who will create a male child in his mother’s womb without the normal process of fertilization Isaiah 7:14 speaks of a wondrous feat by God, indeed; an historical event that occurred in the 8 th century BCE – His divine intervention to protect the Kingdom of Judah and the House of David The use of the verb בָּרָא (ba RA ), [he] created, denotes a creative act by God The verb בָּרָא is not used exclusively to refer to ex nihilo creative acts This future miracle from God, חֲדָשָׁה (hada SHAH ), a new thing, a novelty, is something that never occurred before: the conception and birth of a divine child by a virgin The same term, חֲדָשָׁה, is used only one other time in the Hebrew Bible to describe something new created by God that has not existed in the past (Isaiah 43:19) Use of the noun נְקֵבָה (n e qei VAH ), a female, is an uncommon reference to a woman as compared with אִשָּה (i SHAH ), thus, it refers to “a virgin” Of the 22 instances of נְקֵבָה in the Hebrew Bible, 13 refer to “a woman”, regardless of her sexual experience, and 9 refer to “a female” animal
February 24, 2011Jeremiah 31:21 and the “Virgin Birth” Page 6 of 7 What’s Wrong with the Christian Interpretation? (Continued) Christianity ( )Judaism ( ) “[A woman] shall compass”, is a reference to the [virgin’s] womb that will contain the fetus. None of the 162 instances of the verb לָסֹב\לִסְבֹּב (la SOV /lis BOV ), to encircle, to surround, to encompass, in the Hebrew Bible refers to a female's womb, neither in a literal sense nor as a metaphor Use of the noun גָּבֶר ( GA ver), a man, is unusual as compared with אִישׁ ( ISH ); thus, it refers to “a special man”, “a mighty man”, which can only be Jesus “God” manifest in the flesh All instances of גֶּבֶר \ גָּבֶר in the Hebrew Bible refer to mortal men, and some refer explicitly to sinners; never to God Himself nor to any man who may have had a “familial” relationship with God
February 24, 2011Jeremiah 31:21 and the “Virgin Birth” Page 7 of 7 An Anecdotal Note A well-known custom, the origin of which is commonly attributed to Jeremiah 31:21, is followed in traditional Jewish wedding ceremonies, where the bride circles (walks around) the groom under the wedding canopy [ חֻפָּה (hu PAH )] before the officiating Rabbi begins the formal wedding ceremony. The bride will make either three or seven circles around the groom, depending on which particular tradition the families follow, and various symbolisms are associated with the circling as well as with the number of revolutions. For example, in some traditions the circling symbolizes the shift in the bride’s commitment priorities from her parents to her husband, and there are other symbolisms. In some traditions the 7 rounds recall the 7 times T’filin strap is wrapped around a man’s arm symbolically binding himself in love to God and, again, there are others. The tradition of 3 revolutions comes from Hosea 2:21-22 where God says to the Jewish people: “I will betroth you to Me forever; and I will betroth you to Me with righteousness and with justice and with loving-kindness and with mercy; and I will betroth you to Me with faith”. Conclusion: Jeremiah 31:21 is a messianic prophecy, indeed, and it points to the national reconciliation of Israel with God. It has nothing to do with some miraculous conception and birth of a divine child by a virgin.