The first hint of this, by the way, some of you will remember is Genesis chapter 3. Do you remember the promise that God gave the woman and that God pronounced on Satan and said the seed, he said to Satan, the seed of the woman will crush your head. You read that and go seed of the woman. The seed doesn't come from a woman. It comes from a man.
You're right. This is a virgin birth. Which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. Today on Connect with Skip Heitzig, Skip begins a new series titled Jesus Hope Foretold and shares a powerful message about why the virgin birth is such a critical element in the hope we have in Christ. But first, here's a resource that will deepen your love and understanding of God's Word. Over the years, Skip Heitzig has invited a number of notable speakers to come to Albuquerque for an end of year resource. We want you to hear some of these amazing messages by speakers such as Tim LaHaye.
I've traveled all over the country and speak on prophecy conferences and it's very seldom that you find churches that really recognize the importance of history written in advance, only by God coming true so we can believe what we believe. Also a part of this pulpit package, the familiar voice of Pastor Chuck Smith. I'm overwhelmed when I see what God is doing here.
What a thrill to see the work of God being wrought here in Albuquerque. This package contains 10 full length messages available on CD or as a download. We will send it to you as a thank you when you make an end of year donation of $100 or more to support this program. Thank you for watching by J. Vernon McGee. I counted a privilege to be here to talk to many young people and especially those that are interested in Bible study. This is sure a high pulpit made for a tall fellow. Request your pulpit package at connectwithskip.com or by calling 1-800-922-1888.
That is connectwithskip.com or call 1-800-922-1888. Okay, now let's turn over to Isaiah 7 as we join Skip today. Well, the first half of that 26.2 mile race and then walk the second half. Well, she's 39 weeks pregnant. She manages to run half the race and about halfway she starts feeling labor pains. And yet she and her husband walked the rest of that race only to go immediately to the hospital and birth a child. A child was born right after she finished the race. That's an unusual birth. Another one is that of a British teenager who was in labor.
Her name is Amy Buck. She was in labor for 20 days, almost three full weeks. Evidently at 19 weeks of her pregnancy, she went into premature labor and they gave her a medication to delay the labor and boy, you did for about three weeks. She was in labor. I discovered the oldest woman on record to give birth was a lady from India, 70 years old. She had never before had a child. Her name was Rajo Devi Lowen from India.
She had been married 50 years. Her husband wanted children and she got one at 70 years of age. And then finally for unusual births is the largest child born.
Let me let me rephrase that. The largest child born to survive. No, again, I have to rephrase that the largest child born who survived and whose mother survived.
That's probably a better way to see it. And that record comes from September of 1955, Carmelina Fedele of Versa, Italy, gave birth to a baby boy weighing, get ready, 22 pounds, eight ounces. 22 and a half pounds. Now you see why I had to revise that as we were going. She survived that. But certainly Jesus Christ still holds the record for the most unusual birth. You'll see why in just a moment as we read this wild prediction from Isaiah. When Jesus was born, his birth didn't simply provide the world with another birth. It provided the world with hope because of who he would become and what he would do.
It's been said that a person can live for 40 days without food, can survive for three days without water, eight minutes without air, but not a single second without hope. When Jesus was born, hope came into the world. Let me explain that. Paul the Apostle in Galatians 4 said, when the fullness of time had come.
Listen to that phrase. When the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth his son, born of a woman, born under the law. That's Galatians chapter four, verse four. It was just the right time.
What does that mean? Well, first of all, it was the right time spiritually. There was a hunger that had been developing that was, some historians say, at fever pitch just before Jesus was born. The Jews had always anticipated, longed for, prayed for, a deliverer, a messiah, but now that Rome had occupied their territory, that grew to such a longing, a depth of longing like never before.
Not only the Jews, but we are told that people of other religions, like even the Roman religions, were burnt out on their religious systems and they looked toward Judaism with their hope in the coming deliverer, their monotheistic viewpoint. And so it was the right time spiritually. Second, it was just the right time culturally. For the first time since the Tower of Babel, the world was now unified with a single language, the Greek language.
You could go from India to Britain 2,000 years ago and share the same ideas in the same common precise language. Also, it was the right time politically. 2,000 years ago, Rome had taken over the world. And because Rome had taken over the world, as oppressive as that might feel to the Jews in Judea, it still brought a unification of the world. You see, Caesar Augustus imposed what he called the Pax Romana, the Roman peace, which means that for nearly 200 years, there was economic growth and cultural growth with military stability. Do you know that during that time, there was almost no military conflicts whatsoever because of the Pax Romana? Not only that, but Rome built a road system around the world, 250,000 miles of roads, 50,000 of which were paved, many can still be seen today.
So people could now travel freely with their ideas and have military guards ensuring their safety along the way. So now the gospel is in the most precise language ever, under the most ideal circumstances ever, with people who are hungrier than ever, going to places more freely than ever. It was the fullness of time. Isaiah the prophet, I've had you turn to Isaiah chapter seven in your Bibles. The prince of all the prophets, I call him that because he is quoted more than any other Old Testament prophet in the New Testament, 21 different times New Testament authors quote Isaiah. He gives us a prediction 700 years before the birth of Christ of the birth of Christ. And here's what I want you to see from this single verse is a meditation before we take the Lord's Supper. When Jesus Christ was born, God was giving us three things. He was giving us a sign. He was giving us a son.
He was giving us a savior. Let's look at Isaiah chapter seven, verse 14. Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign.
Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son and shall call his name Immanuel. First of all, the text tells us that God gave us a sign. The Lord himself will give you a sign.
The word sign means in Hebrew, a signal, a mark, a token, or you could even translate it, a miracle. The Lord himself will show you something, a miraculous token, a sign. I see the Old Testament prophecies of Jesus like road signs.
By the way, there are hundreds of them. It's like road signs on the road telling you that something is coming down the road. Whether it's a sign that tells you the name of a city that you'll be going through if you keep driving or you see a picture of a restaurant and food that is promised to be served.
You see on the road sign something that is coming. And Matthew, when he writes of the birth of Jesus Christ, refers to this road sign of Isaiah. Matthew writes in chapter one.
So all of this was done. That's the birth of Jesus. All of this was done that it might be fulfilled, which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, that's Isaiah, saying, Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they will call his name Immanuel, which is translated God with us. Now, allow me to just unravel the context a little bit. I always like to make sure you understand the text in the context around it. And I'm doing this because if you were to just read this chapter, you might scratch your head and say, I get the fact that a virgin is going to be with child, which is miraculous, certainly, but I really don't see reading the chapter how this has much to do with Jesus, who will be born in Bethlehem later on.
So let me just paint the picture for you. This chapter, chapter seven of Isaiah, is about Isaiah the prophet approaching the king of Jerusalem, of Judea at the time. His name is Ahaz. Ahaz is worried the day Isaiah comes to visit him.
Why is he worried? Because there are three nations above him that are bearing down on him politically, militarily. The first is the kingdom just to the north of Jerusalem. That's the kingdom of Israel under the leadership of a king by the name of Pekah.
His name is mentioned here, but we're not going to read the whole chapter. So the kingdom of Israel and above Israel, the kingdom of Syria with the headquarters in Damascus. It's a problem now.
It was a problem then. So you have Israel and Syria both joining forces to fight an even bigger bully north of them called Assyria. And so these two northern kingdoms have formed a coalition to fight against the Assyrians, and they asked Judah to help them in the coalition. Ahaz said, no way, I don't want to fight the Assyrians. So these two guys say, fine, then we're just going to attack you. So what King Ahaz does, he's panicked. He sends a bribe of money up to Assyria to have them attack those two intermediate bullies.
Follow so far? You take care of them, and then I'll be fine. Well, just then, God sends Isaiah the prophet in. And Isaiah says, don't worry about Israel and Syria. They won't be a bother to you. In a couple of years time, they won't even be on the map. They'll be taken captive by the Assyrians.
Don't even worry about them. And then, while Isaiah is in the presence of the king, he says this, hey, king, ask the Lord for a sign. Go ahead, ask him for a sign.
Any sign at all, in heaven above or down on the earth, just ask him for a sign. And the king acts real pious, goes, I'm not going to ask the Lord for a sign. I'm not going to test the Lord. Now, what he really meant by I'm not going to test the Lord, because that sounds really pious.
I know people like that. They say stuff like that, I'm not going to test the Lord. What he really meant, translation is, I'm not going to trust the Lord.
Because he's already proved that he doesn't trust the Lord by sending money to the Assyrians saying, I trust you to take care of my problems more than God to take care of my problems. So Isaiah comes back at him, he goes, okay, you don't have to ask for a sign. God will give you a sign anyway. But not just a sign to you that your problems are going to be taken care of, and they will, but a sign for the entire house of David, for all of you down here in Judea and Jerusalem. A miraculous sign, a virgin will conceive and bear a son, and they will call his name Immanuel.
And then he walks out. 700 years later, Matthew, in looking at the birth of this boy in Bethlehem says, that's the road sign that has happened in our recent days. This is that which was spoken of by the prophet. These are signs, God gave us a sign. I don't know if you've ever considered the signs that the prophecies of the Old Testament are to people in general.
But evidently, God wanted to make sure that there be none of this nonsense of people saying, well, you know, people have different beliefs, they believe in this person or that religion, and everybody has their own belief system. God wanted to make sure that people knew exactly who the one he was sending to the world would be, precisely by giving them signs in advance. So Isaiah predicts his birth 700 years before his birth takes place. The prophet Micah predicts that he will be born in Bethlehem 720 years before he's born in Bethlehem. Hosea the prophet says at some point he will arise out of Egypt, which he did. He moved down to Egypt with his parents and then came out. And then not one, but several prophets said that the Messiah will come forth to the nation out of Galilee, which he did.
He was raised in Nazareth of Galilee. So you've got sign after sign after sign that Jesus fulfilled. There are, as I said, hundreds of them. Why is this important?
It's important because if you were to look at the 26 or so other books in the world that claim to be Scripture by different religious systems, that's their holy book, there's something absent from them all. Fulfilled prophecy. It's not there. You don't have detailed predictions made that actually happen so you have a track record of accuracy.
You don't have them. So whether it's the Upanishads or the Vedas or the Sutras or the Quran or the Confucian texts or the Book of Mormon, they do not have fulfilled prophecy. The Bible has tons of it. Tons of it.
A few years ago, the National Enquirer, you know, that wonderfully accurate magazine that you see when you stand in line at the grocery store, they had an article called Modern Day Prophets and they took movie stars and rock stars and sports stars and they asked these luminaries to make predictions of what would happen, anything they wanted to, but make a prediction of what will happen in the next six months. So 61 different predictions were made in this article of what would happen in the next six months by these stars. You know how many of them happened? Zero. Not a single one.
Nada, nicht, zilch. The Bible has hundreds of them. They're called signs. God gave us a sign. Not only did He give us a sign, He gave us a son.
That's what the text tells us. Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign. Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son. Now, this is quite a sign, right, for a virgin to conceive. When the ultrasound of a virgin girl reveals there's a pregnancy, that's some kind of sign.
That's a miraculous sign. A few years ago when Larry King was still working for CNN, he said, if I could interview a single person out of history, I'd want to interview Christ and I'd ask him a single question. Are you really virgin born? He said I'd ask him that because his answer would absolutely define history for me. What did he mean by that? Well, Larry King is Jewish. And he must know that the sign of a virgin birth was a sign given to the Jewish people. But if that really happened, if this really came to pass, it changes everything.
Because this is a miraculous sign. No human has ever been or ever will be born without a father. Human birth requires a human source for a sperm to inseminate the egg of a woman. But there's only one person who's ever been born without any contribution of a male, and that is Jesus Christ. A virgin shall conceive. You see, this is why Joseph was having a tough time.
This is why he was going, I don't get this. I know I didn't do it, but she's pregnant. And there's only one way that can happen.
And he's beside himself. That's why he had to get a special visit by an angel who said, Joseph, don't be afraid to take Mary to be your wife. The angel said, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. This is unique. This is singular.
This has never happened before, nor will it ever happen again. This is a virgin birth. Now, some of you may be predisposed with the scientific background to hear this and go, not so fast. You know, in science, we have this phenomenon called parthenogenesis. Some of you may have heard the term parthenogenesis, where creatures are conceived asexually, that is, without fertilization. It happens in certain insects and plants, lower life forms, lower invertebrates. Honey bees, for example, their unfertilized eggs will develop naturally into the drone bee.
Silkworms, since the 1800s, there's been an artificial parthenogenesis that has caused them to be produced. Even in recent years, frogs and rabbits have been reproduced by parthenogenesis. So people go, ah, see, this whole idea of the virgin birth is not so singular. Okay, good for you. But that does not explain human virgin birth.
Why do I say that? Because parthenogenesis can only reproduce genetically identical species. Frogs, for example, might be stimulated to reproduce, but they will always be female frogs. In other words, the offspring will always be genetically identical to the mother that laid the eggs.
Studies have shown, it's been done years ago by a group of scientists under the leadership of Gregory Pincus, he proved that if Mary had conceived parthenogenetically, she would have had a daughter, not a son. The sign will be, the virgin will conceive and bear a son. The sign will be the son. Two chapters later, Isaiah will expand it, unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given. And so the prediction is a virgin will bear a son.
The first hint of this, by the way, some of you will remember is Genesis chapter three. Remember the promise that God gave the woman? And that God pronounced on Satan and said, the seed, he said to Satan, the seed of the woman will crush your head. You read that and go, seed of the woman? The seed doesn't come from a woman, it comes from a man.
You're right. This is a virgin birth. That which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. That concludes Skip Heitzig's message from the series Jesus Hope Foretold. Find the full message as well as books, booklets and full teaching series at connectwithskip.com. Right now, listen as Skip shares how you can share life changing teaching from God's unchanging word with more people around the world. I believe the Bible has something to say about absolutely every experience in life.
There might not be a direct Bible verse about that, but there are principles that speak into every aspect of life. This ministry exists to help people around the world experience life change that comes by connecting to God's word. Through your generosity, you can grow the reach of Connect with Skip Heitzig into even more places in the United States and around the world. Plus, you'll keep these teachings available to you wherever you listen.
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800-922-1888. Thank you for your generosity. Join us tomorrow as Skip continues to examine the uniquely supernatural birth of Christ. This is not some quasi-natural experiment and reproduction. This is the God-man conceived by the Holy Spirit. He came upon Mary. He enabled her virgin womb to produce that single cell zygote to develop into an embryo encased in embryonic fluid, become a fetus, become a child, grow up, die, rise. This is the Holy Son of God. Make a connection, make a connection at the foot of the cross and cast all burdens on His word. Make a connection, connection. Connect with Skip Hyton is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
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