Scholars have debated the interpretation of Isaiah 7:14 for centuries. Three primary views tend to dominate the discussion. One view holds that the prophecy “the virgin will conceive” refers to a young, unmarried woman of marriageable age (the literal meaning of the Hebrew word translated “virgin”), who actually lived an married in the time of Isaiah and then gave birth to a son. Thus, this was not a “virgin birth” but a normal instance of marriage and childbirth.

In this view it is required that King Ahaz knew such a woman, would have recognized these events, and would then have been comforted by what they signified: the certain destruction of the ominous northern alliance between Israel and Aram.

A second view sees this prophecy as exclusively messianic; that is, it refers solely to Mary, the mother of Jesus, and the birth of the Messiah (Matthew 1:21-23).

A third position sees a dual fulfillment in this prophecy-that it was directed primarily to Ahaz but also had a secondary and ultimate fulfillment in the birth of Christ some seven hundred years later.

ISAIAH 7:14 – Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

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