Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: December 2019

Monday, December 30, 2019

The Judgment Seat of Christ

The Judgment Seat of Christ

           Our lives are composed of thousands of links connected by thousands of touches from the lives of others over our lifetimes.  Those touches of interaction shape us into the people we become.  Sometimes those touches are long spans of time like parents with children and children with parents.  Sometimes those touches encourage us, motivate us, challenge us, and help us to love life and enjoy it.  Sometimes those touches by others hurt us, discourage us, drag us down, and make us feel worthless.  Sometimes our touches upon others lives bring more pain than help.  In whatever manner we live our lives, we are going to be touching thousands of other lives to various degrees every day.  Those touches must be careful touches.  Those touches should be considerate touches.  God did not save us to be cannon balls crashing through the lives of everyone around us doing more destruction than construction.   

Truly good intentions will always be truly careful intentions. 

8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. 9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done {outcomes}, whether it be good or bad. 11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men {to be ‘born again’ and to live carefully for Christ}; but we {all} are made manifest unto God {no act, thought, or motive is hidden from the sight and knowledge of us by God}; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences” (II Corinthians 5:8-11).

Augustus Strong said, “Holiness is the inherent opposition of God to all that is sinful.”  Yet, in God’s opposition to all that is sinful, there is a gentleness and compassion about His operations of grace that seeks to lovingly draw His opposition to His side.  In God’s opposition to all that is sinful, there is no compromise or bending of His will in complacency to sin or sinners.  If you are living today, you have experienced the firmness of His gentleness in His thousands of thousands of touches upon your life.  Every one of His touches were His gentle nudges upon your freewill to make a choice that would be best for you and those you touch with your life.  If sinners are not sensitive to God’s touches, we are like a billiard ball that never ends up in the hole God intends, but just haphazardly crashing into every other ball on that table.

All the touches in all the links of links that make up the chain that we become must be somehow controlled by our own spirits or the hurtful and painful touches from others will shape us into cynical critics who become the kind of people that hurt, destroy, and discourage those we touch with our words and lives.  The touches of God’s Spirit upon our lives are intent upon shaping us into the kind of links that join to the links of other’s lives with very positive touches that are encouraging, uplifting, and the guiding lights of thousands of careful, gentle touches.  The touch of God’s Spirit upon our lives is intended to shape us in such a manner that we can be used of Him to touch the lives of others to bring them to walk with us as we walk with Him.  The Bible calls this MINISTRY. 

Ministry involves Biblical knowledge, spiritual wisdom, gentleness, kindnesses, and spiritual integrity that can only be produced through a very intimate relationship with God.  Biblical knowledge is knowing what to say.  Biblical wisdom is knowing when to say it and with what voice or mannerism should be connected to saying it.  Biblical wisdom controls Biblical knowledge lest truth comes forth with the force of water out of a fire hose just knocking everyone off their feet pushing them away from us.  These qualities of Biblical knowledge, spiritual wisdom, gentleness, kindnesses, and spiritual integrity are qualities of character that must be carefully and meticulously cultivated through spiritual growth.  If we are careless, these qualities will not be fully developed and our touches on the lives of those that cross our paths will be worthless, or worst, maybe hurtful.  

The point of saying all this is the preface to whether the Judgment Seat of Christ can be something we look to with joyous anticipation or with great trepidation.  When the qualities of Biblical knowledge, spiritual wisdom, gentleness, kindnesses, and spiritual integrity are NOT the cultivated qualities of our characters, the Judgment Seat of Christ will not be a pleasant experience for any believer.  If the qualities of Biblical knowledge, spiritual wisdom, gentleness, kindnesses, and spiritual integrity are NOT the cultivated qualities of our characters the judgment of our works done in the flesh will end up a pile of ashes of shame at our feet.  

           The Judgment Seat of Christ is also called the Bema Seat.  The Judgment Seat of Christ is the place where the Church Age believer-priest’s works are judged (not their sins) by their High Priest Jesus Christ.  The Judgement Seat takes place in Heaven.  The time is after the resurrection/glorification of those “in Christ” called the Rapture, which begins the “judgment of the nations” on earth called the seven-year tribulation.  The Judgment Seat of Christ is payday for the faithful works of faithful believer-priests.  It would be wise to predetermine what those works are supposed to be according to the job description given us by our Great High Priest because it defines faithfulness in the work expected from us by Him.  

           As a pastor, one of my concerns about standing before my Great High Priest and having my works judged by Jesus is how well the congregations given me to lead were perfected for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:12).  The pastor will be held accountable for teaching the whole counsel of God AND for the manner by which God’s Word is presented to the hearer’s ears (Hebrews 13:17).  He will not be responsible for anyone’s decisions to obey the truth taught unless some aspect of a carnal personality purposely injured someone spiritually causing a person to reject of the truths taught.  Even if the pastor had a bad spirit and still taught the truth accurately, the pastor’s bad spirit does not lessen any believer’s responsibility to learn and obey the truth taught (remember Jonah).  I would rather someone go to Hell angry with me for some truth or warning I have given than for him to go Hell never having heard me say anything.  Being silent about truth is the most subtle form of self-deception when it comes to faithfulness. 

           As the new human sovereign over the creation of God, Jesus’s righteous judgment of the earth, and all that is of the earth, is part of His restored redemption of dominion.  However, Jesus is the Name given the eternal Son of God in His union with humanity in the incarnation.  Therefore, Jesus will judge with both human and divine knowledge that goes far beyond the testimony of human understanding (Isaiah 6:3).  When the Word of God declares “with righteousness shall he judge” (Isaiah 6:4), there is a depth of divine understanding of the events of human interactions that we cannot now even begin to comprehend. 

1And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse {the promised incarnation of JEHOVAH in Messiah}, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: 2And the spirit of the LORD {JEHOVAH; omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence} shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; 3And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: 4But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked” (Isaiah 6:1-4).

           Superficial teaching of theology and superficial teaching of the Gospel has created a mass of professing Christians with no spiritual discernment and no fear of God.  They have rightly been taught that every sin has been already judged in the body of Jesus Christ and the penalty of that sin has already been paid.  However, they have NEVER been taught that they will be judged for their “works” (the way they used their new life in ministry) after they were “born again” (the way they used their new life in ministry). The judgment of the “born again” believers “works” is accountability for the Blood investment Christ made to redeem your wretched soul from the bondage of death and Hell.  Therefore, it is “your reasonable service” (works, Romans 12:1) to present your life to Jesus to live through you for the rest of your time in this body of flesh.  “Reasonable service” means that letting Christ live His life through your life is expected of you.  This is the basis of the Judgment Seat of Christ and what defines the difference between “rewards” and standing in a pile of ashes of burnt “down” dead works.  The point is that all that you have built-up on the foundation of your salvation through ministry will be burned down to ashes if what you have built up is built in your own power or for your own glory.  

           The Judgment Seat of Christ is the time when Christ rewards faithful believers for faithful works of ministry when put to the test of fire coming from the evaluation of those “works” by Jesus Christ.  

 14 If any man’s work {of ministry} abide {is not consumed by the fire of righteous judgment because the work was done according to God’s commands in truth; righteously} which he hath built thereupon {built up; upon the foundation of salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone; I Corinthians 3:10}, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work shall be burned {burned down to ashes; is consumed by the fire of judgment because it was done carnally or unrighteously outside of the parameters of truth or contrary to the commands of Christ}, he shall suffer loss {of reward}: but he himself shall be saved {this judgment has nothing to do with his salvation}; yet so as by fire” (I Corinthians 3:14-15).  

Many Christians have some very strange notions about what will earn them rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  Many Christians think if they don’t drink, chew, or go with girls that do, God will reward them for the lives they lived.  Scripture teaches us in many places that what constitutes earned rewards is the fruit of souls won to Christ and of disciples (followers) made for Christ.  Holy living and separation are merely a part of what constitutes “abiding” in Christ in order to release the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit of God upon our “work of the ministry” (even God cannot bless what you do not do).

           Rewards for faithful service are spoken of often in the Word of God.  Christ gives us considerable detail regarding rewards for the faithful in the parable of the “talents” in Matthew 25:14-30 (He expects “fruit’).  Uniquely, the context takes on both the sense of encouragement and warning.  The Apostle Paul uses similar language in II Corinthians 5:1-11 as he speaks about the ‘judgment seat of Christ,” concluding with the statement in verse 11; “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men” (dealing with the carnal and selfish lifestyles of the Corinthians) 

God inspires the use of metaphors relating to the ancient Greek Olympic games/contests to refer to the spiritual rewards from the Lord Jesus at the Bema/Judgment Seat of the “King of kings and LORD of lords” awarded to His faithful servants at the beginning of the Kingdom Age.  One of those uses is in II Timothy 2:1-7 and another is in I Corinthians 9:24-27.  If we look at all these texts inductively, we see that these “crowns,” or rewards for faithful service, will determine the prominence of the positions of Church Age believers as “kings and priests” during the Kingdom Age.  Telling professing believers to be “faithful” without defining faithfulness is being unfaithful.

1 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace {supernatural enabling} that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. 3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. 5 And if a man also strive {athleo; ath-leh'-o; compete} for masteries {lit., the victor’s crown}, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully {legitimately or according to the rules}. 6 The husbandman {God; John 15:1) that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits {the firstfruits of glory belong to God}. 7 Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding {spiritual comprehension} in all things” (II Timothy 2:1-7).

           In the metaphor of II Timothy 2:5, the Word of God tells us essentially that a person might appear to have won a victory but will yet not be “crowned” as a Victor if that person does not compete according to the exact specifications regarding the competition that is entered.  The critical statement defining the specifications for being “crowned” is actually found in II Timothy2:1 in the phrase; “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”  

Therefore, the believer’s ministry that will bring spiritual reward MUST be done within the confines of a strict interpretation and application of what the Word of God teaches regarding the doctrine of Grace (the supernatural enabling of the believer who has yielded his will to the indwelling Holy Spirit of God; Romans 6:11-13).  Because there is such errant teaching regarding the doctrine of Grace by many from both the Legalists and the Liberals within professing Christianity, the vast majority of professing believers will be found looking for Crowns at the Bema Seat, but will instead find themselves in shame before the Lord.  

           Sadly, many Christians have lived their Christian lives in the power of the flesh (Legalism).  They think they have been faithful, and they think that they will receive rewards at the Bema seat.  Instead, they will discover that they have spent their lives building up a pile of kindling for the Judgment Seat.  The kindling of “wood, hay, and stubble,” from ministries lived in the power of the flesh, will bring much shame at the Bema Seat.  Carnality is more than living sinfully and worldly.  Carnality exists anytime we live in the power of the flesh. 

Anonymous comments will not be allowed. 
Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 50 years.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Conception Announcement from God

Conception Announcement from God

Birth announcements are common in our day and age.  However, I am not aware of anyone ever sending forth a conception announcement, especially before that conception has happened.  God does not do things the way humans do things.  This conception announcement of Luke 1:26-38 is unique.  It is unique because it gives details of the baby to be conceived that go far beyond anything any person might be able to imagine regarding a future child and that child’s future.  Every aspect of this conception announcement is connected to fulfilments of prophecies both in the birth of Jesus and His future accomplishments extending into the New Heaven/Earth. 

Nine different specific prophesies are to be fulfilled in the conception and life of Jesus as announced by the angel Gabriel to Mary in Luke 1:26-38.  There were many other prophesies fulfilled by Jesus, but these nine encompass all of the others.  The Jesus in which you rest your faith MUST BE the Jesus of the Bible.

26 And in the sixth month {Hebrew calendar month Elul: sometime in August/September; if this was the time of conception, Jesus would have been born nine months later in April/May closer to time of Passover} the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 27 To a virgin1 espoused {perfect, passive, participle} to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David2; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. 29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. 30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. 31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son3, and shalt call his name JESUS4. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest5: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David6: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever7; and of his kingdom there shall be no end8. 34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? 35 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 God9. 36 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. 37 For with God nothing shall be impossible {which extends far beyond two miraculous pregnancies}. 38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her” (Luke 1:26-38).

           Why is there such animosity, mockery, and ridicule about the teaching of a virgin conceiving a child?  There is a subtle undermining of “the faith” in all of this called Religious Humanism.  Religious Humanism is a non-theistic ethical cultural development which evolved into what today is called Political Correctness.  Religious Humanism is a non-theistic religion demanding a moral ethical code apart from any absolutes established by God in His inspired Word (Relativism).  Religious Humanism would then develop into Secular Humanism as an ever-changing fluid view of a constantly evolving cultural moral ethic.  This eventually must develop into pure Amoralism, i.e. nothing can be said to be right or wrong according to any theistic absolutes.  The foundation of Religious Humanism began within professing Christianity with the questioning of the verbal, plenary inspiration of the Word of God.  This would evolve into Secular Humanism moving many people into Atheism and the theory of Evolution abandoning the Bible as little more than religious mythology.  

Part of the evolution of Religious Humanism was the attempt to explain the Bible in non-miraculous terms, which came to be known as Naturalism.  All the miraculous events of the Bible had to be explained through natural means or be relegated to being just stories that were mere myths or exaggerations.  One of these first denials was the denial of the miraculous virgin conception of Jesus.  Naturalism and Religious Humanism were originally the outgrowths of varying degrees of theological liberalism, which began with Higher Criticism and Lower Criticism.   

Higher Criticism began to approach the Bible as just another book written by human authors and inculcated with human motives of the control of the masses of people by imposing the absolute will of a god upon society.  Although Higher Criticism was presented to the world as merely a new scholarly and philosophical approach to establishing the validity and trustworthiness of the Bible, its covert agenda was intent upon undermining the authority of the Bible and destroy any foundations for moral and doctrinal absolutism.  Therefore, the foundation of Higher Criticism is predominantly UNBELIEF.  As corruption always does, this came forth into professing Christianity at thousands of levels and constant waves of new questions bringing ever increasing doubts about the trustworthiness of the Scriptures.  

Lower Criticism was presented as the attempt to rediscover the original wording of the Bible texts.  Therefore, there is an undercurrent of unbelief in Lower Criticism in the preservation of the inspired Words of God by God.  This led to Textual Reconstructionism through a system of subjective rules called Eclectic Textual Criticism.  How do you spell Eclectic Textual Criticism?  B  O  G  U  S!  Almost every new translation of the Bible into English since the translation of King James Version has been translated from a corruption of the Bible from one of the many variations of reconstructed texts through Eclectic Textual Criticism done by people who do not even believe the Bible is the inspired Words of God (latest Eclectic Text is NA25 UBS3 and they are still working on more revisions).  

One of Liberalism’s first questions of doubt was aimed at the validity of the Bible’s claim of a virgin conceiving a child from God without a human father.  This attacked Christianity at the foundational level of the birth of a sinless Redeemer and salvation as a gift from God received through faith in the finished propitiation of God’s wrath. 

A Virgin (Luke 1:27)

“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a {the} virgin shall conceive {while remaining a virgin}, and bear a son, and {the virgin; i.e., while still being a virgin; Matthew 1:25, ‘knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son’} shall call his name Immanuel {Theanthropic union}” (Isaiah 7:14).

           The reason that the first line of attack against the absolutes of the Bible was against the virgin conception of Jesus is because the virgin conception of Jesus is an incredibly important truth.  However, without an understanding of the spiritual significance of the purposes of God in redemption of lost sinners spiritually blinded and living in the darkness of spiritual ignorance, we could never grasp the necessity of a sinless Saviour born into lost humanity.  The spiritual ramifications of the virgin conception of Jesus are incredibly simple.  They are only complex because understanding them is like describing a rainbow to a blind person who has no point of reference as to what you describe.  A person living in the total absence of light with no knowledge of even the concept of what light is certainly cannot grasp the concept of beauty in the multiplicity of colors and shades of light.  This is the complexity involved in explaining the Gospel to lost people spiritually blinded by sin.  Blind people are naturally skeptical about things intangible to their functioning senses. 

1 Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; 2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (II Corinthians 4:1-4).

Why did Jesus need to be born into humanity rather than merely appear as a thirty-year-old man in human form?  Jesus needed to be conceived and born into the humanity of the first cursed creation to blast open a spiritual door of opportunity for sinners to be “born again” out of this fallen genesis and into the New Genesis.  In this understanding, His sinless life is as equally important as His substitutionary death for sinners.  Jesus was “made {became}. . . to be sin for us” (II Corinthians 5:21).  
What this means is that Jesus took on a human sinless body (union), lived a life of righteousness in that body, and then went to the Cross of Calvary where God poured out all His wrath upon the sins of humanity upon the body of Jesus.  In the single once-for-all act of His substitutionary crucifixion, the sinless One became “sin for us” (II Corinthians 5:21)  In doing this solely by the grace of God, Jesus bore the full wrath of God on our sin in His body on the tree (“propitiation”) so sinners could be provided a doorway out of this cursed creation into the New Creation through “faith in His Blood”.  

In the virgin conception of Jesus, His sinless life, His vicarious death for sinners, and His resurrection from out of the dead, Jesus literally blasted a spiritual door out of the condemnation of God’s cursed first creation into the light of the glory of God’s New Creation.  That doorway of escape is also a doorway of entrance.  A sinner enters through that doorway by repenting of sin and “dead works,” and then resting in the accomplishments of the death, burial, and resurrection of a sinless Saviour.  This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  

Explaining this Gospel is the “ministry of reconciliation” to which Paul speaks in II Corinthians 5:17-21.  “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation {the way out and the way in}” (II Corinthians 5:19).

1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.  2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. 4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. 5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? 6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:1-6).

The virgin conception of Jesus is as equally important as the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus if we are to understand the propitiation of God’s wrath upon sin “by grace” and the justification of sinners “through faith.”  Leading a sinner to the understanding of all of this is what it means to lead a soul to Christ.  Sinners must be led to the understanding of this “light” because they are still spiritually blind to the light of the Gospel.  Therefore, even though the spiritual light of the New Genesis is shining brightly through the door which is Christ, sinners must be guided to the understanding of the existence of that door and lead through that door by faith; repentance, belief, confession that Jesus is LORD, calling on His Name to be “born again,” and receiving Jesus as Lord in His indwelling Holy Spirit.   

Without the virgin conception of Jesus, a sinless Savior does not exist.  If Jesus had an earthly father, He than would also possess an inherent sin nature as all other mere humans (Romans 5:12).  If Jesus is not sinless, He cannot vicariously bear the sins of the world in His body because His death would simply pay Hs own sin penalty (Romans 6:23) and God could not be vicariously propitiated (I John 2:2).  If Jesus did not possess God-kind righteousness, He could not gift (impart; II Peter 1:4) God-kind righteousness to the believing sinner in justification upon His death, burial, resurrection, and glorification.  Jesus was virgin born into this cursed Genesis so that “by grace . . . through faith” in His life, death, burial, and resurrection you can be “born again” into the New Genesis. 

14 And the LORD God said unto the {Satan in the} serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: 15 And I will put enmity {hostility or warfare; the ‘mystery of inequity’} between thee {Satan in the serpent and his spiritual corruption of Adam’s seed by infecting Adam with a sin nature, which Adam would pass on to every one of his descendants} and the woman, and between thy seed {the corrupted nature/spirit of Adam of which Satan and his emissaries seek to destroy with constant evil temptations contrary to the righteousness of God thereby creating enmity and hostility between God and humans} and her seed {the egg of the woman that does not pass the sin nature forward, of which enmity is constantly mitigated and softened by God’s redemptive love for humanity}; it {the seed of the woman and the first promise of the sinless Messiah born without the ‘seed’ of man} shall bruise {completely crush} thy head {satanic dominion over humanity in that humanity has been infected seminally with the satanic nature of rebellion, pride, which are the roots of all sin; the crushing of the satanic dominion of the seminal passing of the sin nature would end in the progeny of the Messiah born without the ‘seed’ of a fallen man providing an avenue for a new primogeniture through the New Birth into ‘the regeneration’} and thou {the serpent’s infective venom of a sin nature that insures all infected by it with ultimate and painful death} shalt bruise his {the seed of the woman, who is Messiah, born without the corrupted seed of a man} heel {wound; refers to the crucifixion of Messiah, which is simply viewed as the viper biting the heel of the person stepping on the serpent’s head to destroy the serpent and end his threat to humanity.  The resurrection of Jesus from the serpent’s bite brought victory over the poison of the sin nature that infected all humanity unto death.  The FACT of Jesus having been resurrection out from the dead is the declaration of victory over Satan’s death-hold upon humanity offering every ‘born again’ person the blessed hope of the surety of being resurrected out from the dead and glorified as was Jesus glorified as the ‘firstborn’ into the New Genesis}” (Genesis 3:14-15).

           Understanding that Genesis 3:15 is referring to the “seed” of the woman without the corrupted “seed” of fallen man to be the promised Messiah/Redeemer is certainly the meaning of “the virgin” in Isaiah 7:14.  Isaiah 7:14 is the explanation of Genesis 3:15.  The historical context is a warning to unbelieving king Ahaz. 

“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a {the} virgin shall conceive {while remaining a virgin}, and bear a son, and {the virgin; i.e., while still being a virgin; Matthew 1:25, ‘knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son’} shall call his name Immanuel {Theanthropic union}” (Isaiah 7:14).

           The historical context of Isaiah’s “sign” of “the virgin” giving birth to a child that has no earthly father is said to the wicked king Ahaz.  Ahaz’s genealogical future was rapidly being decimated and eradicated.  It appeared as if the hope of the continuation of the Davidic line reigning over Judah would end with Ahaz. 

“Pekah slew 120,000 valiant men of Judah in one day, ‘because they had forsaken the Lord God of their fathers,’ Zichri of Ephraim slew the king’s son Maaseiah, and Azrikim the governor of his house, and Elkanah next to the king. Israel carried captive 200,000, and much spoil, to Samaria.” [1]

           Isaiah’s prophetic statement to Ahaz was simply that God’s promise of the continuation of the Davidic throne would not be through the “seed” of Ahaz, or through the “seed” of any other man for that matter.  The fulfilment of the Davidic throne promise would be through the Messiah being born through the “seed” of “the virgin.”  No male descendant of David would be required in the conception and birth of the promised Messiah!  

           How important then is belief in the virgin conception to the Gospel of Christ?  The answer is unequivocal that without the virgin conception of Jesus there can be no Gospel because without the virgin conception of Jesus we have no Saviour.  It is not enough that Jesus was a good person.  It is not even enough that Jesus lived without sin all of His life.  If Jesus had an earthly father, Jesus received a sin nature from that earthly father no matter who that earthly father might have been or from what genealogical line that earthly father was descendant (Romans 5:12).  Any compromise of the virgin conception of Jesus is an attack at the foundation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in that the Gospel of Jesus Christ DEMANDS a sinless Saviour BOTH in the absence of acts of sins and the absence of a sin nature.  Christ Jesus had to be a NEW KIND of man to become the primogeniture of a New Creation of which He became the “firstborn” of this New Genesis.

17 Therefore if any man be {‘born again’} in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become {perfect – once for all forever, active, indicative – a matter of fact} new {new of a different kind}. 18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (II Corinthians 5:17-21).

There can be no “new creation” or “new creature” without a new, sinless “last Adam” (I Corinthians 15:45).  The union of God and man must be restored in true redemption and the ONLY way that can ever happen is for sinners to be “born again” out of the cursed creation and into the New Creation “in Christ.”  This is the indwelling of the Spirit of Christ upon the event of being “born again” as a gift of grace received through faith.  The indwelling Holy Spirit is the “seed” of the New Genesis “in Christ” that destines every “born again” believer for a new body in the New Genesis.  All of this emphatically connects to the virgin conception of Jesus and the birth of a new kind of human being where the union of God and man once again becomes possible through the New Birth.

35 But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? 36 Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: 37  And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: 38 But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. 39 All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. 40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41  There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. 50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption” (I Corinthians 15:35-50).

[1] Fausset, Andrew Robert; Fausset’s Bible Dictionary, SwordSearcher\Modules\Fausset.ss5book, Module file time: 7/31/2011 7:15:26 PM UTC.

Anonymous comments will not be allowed. 
Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
 Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 50 years.