Recent findings from Pew Research Center continue to have a lot of people talking this Christmas season. Respondents were asked whether they believe in four elements of the Christmas story, including that “Jesus was born to a virgin,” that “an angel of the Lord appeared to shepherds to announce the birth of Jesus,” that “wise men were guided by a star and brought Jesus gold, frankincense and myrrh,” and that “the newborn baby Jesus was laid in a manger.” In regards to each statement, Pew found a declining majority of Americans believe the Christmas story reflects historical events.
Here is what is wrong with the declining majority. If we do not believe the Christmas story, we do not believe scripture. Meanwhile, the Old Testament is packed with messianic prophecies, including the Book of Isaiah. It is in Isaiah 7:14 that we read the following:
“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
In addition to this prophecy, there are dozens of messianic prophecies found in the Old Testament. Not counting repeating prophecies, there are 37 messianic prophecies besides Isaiah 7:14. Some of these prophecies are minor, things such as, “He will be a descendant of Abraham and Isaac” and “He will enter into public ministry” (Genesis 12:1-3, 21:12, 22:18, Isaiah 61:1-2). If you know anything about Jewish-born people, they are descendants of Abraham and Isaac, and a number of men were in public ministry in the years leading to and through Jesus’ ministry. For example, John the Baptist fulfilled these characteristics, but we know from scripture that he had a human mother and a human father (Luke 1:1-80).
Fulfilling other messianic prophecies would be more difficult. For instance, it would be very hard for someone to ascend into heaven after performing miracles and being turned over for thirty pieces of silver that would later buy a potter’s field (Psalm 47:5, Isaiah 35:5-6, Zechariah 11:12-13). But that is exactly what happened to Jesus, and we see the fulfillment of these things in the New Testament.
For the sake of this article, let’s say Jesus fulfilled every prophecy except for Isaiah 7:14. That means Jesus is not the Messiah. That would mean the Messiah has not yet come, and that the man we call Jesus died on the cross for his own sins. If that were the case, then we would have no hope. But because Jesus Christ was and is the Messiah, we have hope. And that hope is contained in the inspired Word of God, also known as the Holy Bible.
Yes, it is humanly impossible for someone to be born to a virgin. It would take a miracle, some might say. In a recent sermon on the virgin birth, Pastor Jeff Schreve of FBC Texarkana said all miracles are impossible, humanly speaking.
“But things that are impossible to man are impossible to God,” he added.
Even Mary, the mother of Jesus, knew it was humanly impossible for her to be pregnant when she was visited by an angel.
“Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” (Luke 1:34)
Meanwhile, check out the angel’s response to Mary’s question:
“And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
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.
For with God nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1:35-37).
If you doubt this, then you are opening up a can of worms that only God can close for you. That’s because doubting one part of scripture leaves the door open for doubting other parts of scripture. You cannot pick and choose what you want to believe. The Bible says all scripture is inspired by God for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness, not to mention doctrine. What is doctrine? A set of ideas or beliefs that are taught or believed to be true. God tells us these things for a reason.
“That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:17)
Sure, people will mock you for believing the Bible. You may even be betrayed by friends. In those times, turn to Jesus Christ. Because that is exactly what happened to that baby, born to a virgin in Bethlehem after He became a prophet like Moses, preached in parables, entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey before He was crucified and resurrected, fulfilling every messianic prophecy contained in scripture.
Yes, this old book that we hold in our hand is blessed and true from beginning to end. And just as the song This Blessed Old Book says, “It is the solid foundation where I firmly stand.” What say you?