Biographical Sketch of Dr. Stuart E. Lease / Bible Messages by Dr. Stuart E. Lease
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THE VIRGIN BIRTH
FATHER As we come to this subject, we realize our utter inability to handle such a blessed and profound and glorious subject as this. And yet, were thankful for the Holy Spirit Who indwells each one of us who believe and Who enables us to understand spiritual things; and we trust that as we open our Bibles, we shall with a deliberate act of our wills also open our hearts to receive what You have for us. Take from us any distracting thought or attitude. May we be open to receive what the Holy Spirit has for us, I pray in Jesus Holy Name. Amen.
If I were to ask you, where is the first prophecy of the virgin birth, do you know where it is? Its in the first book of the Bible. Its in the third chapter and its verse 15. As we think of the virgin birth, I want us to think first of the prophecy of the virgin birth; then the presentation of the virgin birth, and then the perspectives we receive from the virgin birth.
Open your Bible with me first in Genesis 3 and verse 15. This is after the fall of man, after Eve had succumbed to the subtlety of Satan and had taken of the forbidden fruit and had given to her husband to eat and he did; and then they had themselves from God, as a result of their sin, God came and appeared unto them and asked His first question of man [verse 9], Where art thou? and Adam said, I heard thy voice in the garden. I was afraid, because I was naked and hid myself. And God said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman who Thou gavest me. [He sort of accused God.] The woman that Thou gavest to be with me. She gave me of the tree and I did eat. And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me and I did eat. And so God then retroactively taken each one: the serpent, the woman, and then Adam. The Lord God said unto the serpent [and this is really God speaking unto Satan who had taken over the serpent and clothed himself with the serpent there], Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, above every beast of the field, Upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: I will put enmity between thee [Thats Satan.] and the woman, and between thy see [That is those that should follow after Satan and succumb to him] and her seed [that is the one who should come forth from the woman]; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heal. There is a struggle prophesied here between the woman and the seed of the woman and the serpent or Satan; and the fact that a Savior is promisedher seed. Now usually in scripture, except in this case, the seed was from the male. You have the seed of Abraham referred to and others similarly called for example, in Genesis 13:15 theres a reference to the seed of Abraham For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. Later on, its indicated that this seed issued forth to be specifically the Lord Jesus. Here, the seed of the woman is also the Lord Jesus Who would come. It shall bruise thy head [Now thats a mortal wound, a wound that leads to ultimate death.], and thou shalt bruise his heel [which is a corporal wound which though one is hurt by it, he is not totally destroyed, and though the Lord Jesus is hurt by the death on the cross, He would not be totally destroyed.] Thus, the very first prophecy of the coming of the Lord Jesus into the world, relates Him to a woman as the seed of the woman. I was speaking to my people recently about the church, and I do believe that the church began at Pentecost and terminates at the Rapture. It is a unique body. I believe however, Christianity began long before the church. You say, What is Christianity? Belief in Christ! And even the Old Testament saints believed in Christ, that is, believed in the Messiah. In fact, Christianity begins here in Genesis 3:15, because its the first promise of a coming Messiah. When people believe in that promise and in the promises to follow and in the pre-figuring [thats found here for example in verse 21, unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.] by means of a sacrifice [Heres the pre-figuring of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus] to cover us with His righteousness. All who believed in that Messiah were related, to Him by faith. I think that we have to acknowledge, even though we are dispensationalists and I am without apology, that in every age men have been saved by faith alone. What they did was simply evidence of the reality of their faith. I believe that men throughout the Old Testament, men and women, were saved by believing in the coming Messiah.
A second passage that I want us to look at briefly is in Jeremiah 31:22, How long wilt thou go about, O backsliding daughter? for the Lord hath created a new thing in the earth, A woman shall compass a man [or surround or as it were pass over and surround a man, become as it were greater than a man]. I believe if you turn to Galatians 4:4 you find both this and the Genesis 3:15 passage confirmed in the New Testament. Galatians 4:4 and 5, When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons... In the fulness of time, God planned and purposed the sending of His Son into the world, and it would happen not through a man giving birth [You say, Thats not conceivable anyway, even though I didnt believe that word would be so fitting; but in Greek mythology, they did have male gods having other gods come forth for example, from their heads they just pop out.] So in Greek mythology it was true that men would produce other gods but not so in Christianity. In Christianity, it is a woman who is going to defeat Satan and bring forth a male child. You see something of this [and actually this is not a prophecy, it relates back to what has happened in prophecy] in the book of Revelation 12 beginning in verse 1 and 2, There appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars; And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. [Now this I believe is certainly, Israel.] And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon [That is Satan.], having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a man child [Now while this is referring to Israel, the whole hope of Israel was centered in the woman who would bring Messiah into the world, and as biblically set forth, this woman we shall see was Mary.], Who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to His throne. Thus, this happened to the Lord Jesus and He was received up into heaven.
Now probably the greatest verse in the Old Testament relating to the virgin birth is Isaiah 7:14. This is brought over into the New Testament in relation to our Lord, Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel. Now there are some who believe that this sign was fulfilled during the time it was given. I believe with the great servant of God that preached a great sermon a hundred years ago on this and pointed out that while the Lord offered to give a sign to Ahaz, Ahaz refused to seek a sign and thus Isaiah looks forward to the future and is given a message from God concerning that which will happen far beyond the time of Ahaz. Go back to verse 10, Moreover the Lord spake again unto Ahaz, saying, Ask thee a sign of the Lord thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above. But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the Lord. And He said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also? [It appears that Ahaz has rejected a sign, thus God gives a greater sign] Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign [Beyond all signs as it were]; Behold, a virgin shall conceive [In recent days, especially by so-called modernists, there has been great criticism of the virgin birth Harry Emerson Fosdick, one of the leading lights of old-fashioned modernism, said that the virgin birth is a biological impossibility and thus he ruled it out as being a possibility for Christ.] The amazing thing is that medically in our day, it is possible for a virgin to give birth, unfortunately. In fact, just last week, they had a kind of documentary thing on television, some fiction Im sure, of a young lady who did bear a child for a couple whose wife was not able to carry a child full term. Now you say, Why do you bring this in? Well, Im not concerned how far modern science goes with this. I wonder sometimes if they may not be treading on thin ice, but I will tell you this, God can do it better than any of modern science ever could. And, it was done better when Christ was born, and I am convinced that He was born to a virgin. By that I dont mean just a young woman of marriageable age, as some of the critics have tried to say, nor do I mean there was a human earthly father involved. I want to say that Mary was a pure woman. She was pure in body, mind, and spirit and chosen carefully of God. The word virgin that is used both in the Septuagint and in the New Testament is a word that is restricted to a young lady who has never had relations. Thus taking the New Testament and reading it back into Isaiah 7:14, it is clearly as the King James translates it as the meaning should be...a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel.
I want us to look at the New Testament for the presentation of this truth of this virgin birth, turning first of the presentation to Mary as recorded in Lukes gospel chapter one beginning at verse 26, And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth [Now the term city is used lin a rather loose sense here. Nazareth was really just a small town.], To a virgin [and there the name is used as the term is used properly] espoused [or engaged] to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgins name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. [Someone has pointed out that we should notice that it is not above women but among women.] And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name [What?] JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest [Thats the second designation.]: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His Father David: And He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end. [Now notice Marys response.] Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? [That didnt mean that she didnt know anybody. It meant that she had not had relations with a man, and thus that is as accurately true and puts to the lie any of these accusations that false teachers have given about her.] And the angel answered and said unto her, [And by the way, heres a Trinity verse, because you have three persons of the Trinity referred to in verse 35.] The Holy Ghost [or the Holy Spirit the Third Person of the Trinity] shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee [and thats God, the Father the Highest]: therefore also that holy [In the Greek, its just that holy; and translated in the King James or in any translation, they add the word thing to give it meaning there for us] which shall be born of thee shall be called [and heres the Second Person of the Trinity] the Son of God. [The Highest the Father; the Son of God the Second Person; the Holy Ghost the One Who does the actual work of conception there]
I believe that this is true as the scriptures stated. I believe that we should not doubt or question the Word of God in this regard. Now, I realize it is a great mystery. A mystery is not something that cannot be understood at all, but it is something that not having been understood can be understood by those who are initiated, that is, by those who entered in to the truth of this. There is a confirmation given to Mary, And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. Now notice this statement in verse 37 and Marys response, For with God nothing shall be impossible. [When Harry Emerson Fosdick said that it is biologically impossible, that he ruled out God For with God nothing shall be impossible!] And Mary responds, Behold, the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
A number of years ago when at each Christmas, I try to receive from the Lord some new insight to the Christmas event recorded in scripture, the coming of the Lord Jesus into the world; and I was impressed one year to study the two parents of our Lord, that is the earthly parents. You know, Hes the only Person that was ever born into the world who could choose his parents? Have any of you had the opportunity to choose your parents? We kid our daughter, Becky, and tell her that she chose very well! But really, she had no choice, and you and I has no choice of the parents we have. But Jesus did; and its very profitable to study the type of person Mary was and the type of person Joseph was; because I believe that they were ideal parents. Now thats not our study tonight, but God chose carefully when He chose this young lady, Mary, a true virgin.
Now Joseph could not understand this. So God had to give the message to him. Go back to Matthew, chapter one beginning at verse 18, Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused [That means, engaged. An engagement to them was stronger than an engagement in our culture is. It was a matter of really committing themselves to each other, very much as in marriage, except not having the marriage relationship as yet.] ...When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together [Notice that explicit statement!] she was found with child of the Holy Ghost [or Holy Spirit]. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man [a righteous man], not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily [or on the sly]. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name [There it is again!] JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. By the way, this is one of only three references in the New Testament to the Lord Jesus as The God. Only one of three references. This is the first. [When you deal with Jehovahs Witnesses, they like to point out that when Jesus is referred to, you have God without the definite article, so a God and it really isnt The God. Their answer here is, He was God with us, just like an ambassador is in a foreign country with him in a foreign country. A second reference is found in Hebrews 1:8, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever... That also is a reference to The God. They retranslate that in their New World Translation, God is thy throne. which takes all meaning out of it, and cannot really be the translation of the Old Testament reference.] But the greatest reference to the Deity of Christ is made by Thomas in John 20:28. Now notice, its Emmanuel...God with us. Notice what Thomas says here and how the Lord deals with him. Thomas had not been present when the Lord Jesus appeared and showed Himself to His disciples, and he now is present when the Lord appears again to His disciples and Jesus said to him [verse 27], Then saith He to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but [Whats the next word?] believing. Now Im going down to verse 29 deliberately. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast [What?] believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have [What?] believed. Now, whats He talking about? Believing! Now, what was he to believe? Exactly what He says in verse 28, Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God. In the Greek, its the Lord of me and the God of me. You say, Why is that important? Because, even as yet, though Jehovahs Witnesses have tried all kinds of semantics to destroy this, when you tie in 27 and 29 and emphasize the believing aspect, they have no answer to the fact that Jesus Christ is truly the God the one and only true God Emmanuel...God with us.
Thats why there had to be the virgin birth. Jesus Christ had to be born into the human race as an actual human being, and yet He had to be apart from sin, because sinners cannot save sinners. If Christ had been a sinner, He could never have saved us; and thus, its very clearly stated in Romans 8 concerning the Lord Jesus and the way He came into the world apart from sin. Notice in verse 3, For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son [Now it doesnt say in sinful flesh but in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.] Thus Jesus became the God-Man through the virgin birth, and this indicates and indeed proves that He was truly God and truly Man, united in such a way that it would never be separated. Now I want to stress that point that in the virgin birth, and as a result of it, He took upon Him humanity forever. [Some of you may remember back in the days when you could get pasteurized milk and the cream would rise to the top, and sometimes when it would freeze, you would have frozen cream on top. Well, they came up with a process thats known as homogenization; and I believe thats exactly what you have in the two natures of Christ. You have them homogenized. You dont have the cream separating out His Deity and the skim milk separating out His humanity, although there are evidences of both of those during His life. You have the homogenization of the humanity and Deity of Christ which He has taken upon Himself as a result of the virgin birth, and He has that eternally and forever.]
As a result of that, there are a couple of Perspectives that I want to emphasize. First, Christ did exist before He came as a man. In Isaiah 9:6 it says, For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given... as a child He was born, but as a son, He was given because He existed eternally as the Son of God. In Micah 5:2 it says, ...Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. No you might say, What about Revelation 3:15? It says, Hes the beginning of the creation of God. [That is another passage in which the Jehovahs Witnesses love to try to destroy the Deity of Christ.] Well, number one That doesnt say a thing about His beginning. [If I begin a Bible class, did I have my beginning in that Bible class? No, it just tells you that I began a Bible class. And, in essence, thats all that I just said. The passage says in Revelation 3:15 He is the beginning but what it really means is the bringer forth of the creation of God. Similarly, in Colossians 1:15 where it refers to Him as the first born of every creature [the Greek word there really means the first born over and above all creation which indeed He was.
Second, Christ did properly and actually became a man. In Philippians 2, in the incarnation passage where it indicates that Jesus Christ came as a man Who bring in the form of God, thought it not robbery [or a thing to be grasped or held onto] to be equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and [Notice!] was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2:6-8, Thus, He could come into the world and live and die as a man. Hebrews 2, speaking of Jesus as being the one before all things, says in verse 9, But we see Jesus, Who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death [now], crowned with glory and honor; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man. And He did! Then down in verse 14, Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death [dying as a human and yet as God, separated from the Father for a period of time on the cross, thus a spiritual death in being separated that way] ...through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Thus, Jesus had to become a man in order to die on the cross, to pay the price of our sins, so that we could enter into heaven.
And, I want to emphasize as my concluding point Christ persists as the God-Man in glory. There is a man in outer space, a man in a human body, a glorified body, but a human body; and one day Hes coming back to receive us. Now He is the God-Man to save us and He is the God-Man to secure us because He ever lives [Hebrews 7:23-25]; He is there to succour or to help us [Hebrews 2:18]; to strengthen us [I Corinthians 10:13]; and then finally to satisfy us [Hebrews 13:5-6].
I want to give you some points to remember: First, He ever lives [Book of Hebrews makes that very plain.] Second, He also ever loves. Third, He ever leads [and He does] For when He putteth forth His own sheep, He goeth before them; and finally, from Hebrews 13:5-6, He never leaves you nor forsakes you. Why? Because as a result of the virgin birth, He became the eternal God-Man.
A little boy when he called to his mother, he said, Mom, Im scared. She replied, Dont you know God is always with you? Yeah, but I need somebody with skin on. You know, we have somebody with skin on, and thats the Lord Jesus Who took upon Him our humanity. Hes the one in glory, and Hes coming back for us!
FATHER Were thankful for the tremendous truth of the incarnation of Christ by means of His virgin birth. Were thankful for Mary, for the great receptacle through whom You saw fit to bring your Son into the world; and were thankful for all the implications of the virgin birth. May be draw nigh to God through Christ Who ever lives to make intercession for us and loves us forever and will never leave us. If perchance someone does not know our Savior, may they make known their need, so that we can point them to the Lamb of God Who has already dealt with their sin problem. And upon Your own, may Your grace, mercy, and peace abide as we go forth. Give journeying mercies to those who travel and rest to all in Christ. I pray in His Name. Amen.