14. The "Virgin Mary" MYTH
"Sing, O barren one, who did not bear; break into song and cry aloud, you who did not labor, for the children of the desolate are more than the children of a married woman," says the L-rd.
"For your Maker is your Husband, the L-rd of hosts is His Name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, `The G-d of the whole earth,' He is called. For the L-rd has called you like a woman deserted and distressed in spirit and [like] a wife of one's youth who was rejected," says your G-d.
These verses are referring to the Messianic redemption of the Jewish people and the repopulation of the "barren" Land of Israel, as this chapter continues to state:
For a brief moment I [G-d] forsook you, but with great compassion I will gather you.
"No weapon that is formed against you shall succeed, and every tongue that rises against you in judgment you shall condemn-this is the heritage of the servants of the L-rd, and their just reward from Me," says the L-rd.
Before she was in labor, she gave birth; before her pain came, she had delivered a son. Whoever heard of such a thing? Who has seen such things? Is a land born in one day? Is a nation brought forth in one moment? [Yet] as soon as Zion was in labor, she brought forth her children.
G-d is Israel's "Husband":
"And on that day," says the L-rd, "you [Jews] will call Me, `my Husband,' and no longer will you call Me `my Master.' "
Missionaries claim that the verses under discussion refer to Mary, who is said to be "married" to G-d!
Therefore the L-rd Himself shall give you a sign: behold, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and she shall call his name Immanuel.
King Ahaz of Judah was very distressed by the imminent invasion of Syria and the kingdom of northern Israel:
And it came to pass in the days of Ahaz (the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah) that Rezin (king of Syria) and Pekah (the son of Ramaliah, king of Israel) came to Jerusalem to wage war against it, but they could not conquer it.
G-d promised Ahaz His help (Isaiah 7:4--9) but suggested that he nevertheless ask for a sign of the L-rd's protection:
And the L-rd spoke again to Ahaz, saying: "Ask a sign of the L-rd, your G-d...."
Ahaz refused, however, so Isaiah responded with the verse under discussion. Concerning this child, Isaiah said:
He shall eat curd and honey when he knows how to refuse evil and choose good. For before the child knows how to refuse evil and choose good, the land whose two kings you dread will be deserted.
And so it was:
II Kings 15:29--30
In the days of Pekah (king of Israel), Tiglath--pileser (king of Assyria) came and took Ijon, Abel--beth--maacah, Janoah, Kedesh, Hazor, Gilead, and Galilee-all the land of Naphtali-and carried them captive to Assyria. And Hosea (the son of Elah) plotted a conspiracy against Pekah (the son of Ramaliah) and smote him, killed him, and reigned in his stead in the twentieth year of Jotham, the son of Uzziah.
II Kings 16:9
And the king of Assyria hearkened to [Ahaz], for the king of Assyria marched up against Damascus [Syria] and seized it, carrying its people captive to Kir, and he killed Rezin.
Throughout the Hebrew Bible, signs given to individuals are performed immediately. For example:
II Kings 20:8
And Hezekiah said to Isaiah: "What shall be the sign that the L-rd will heal me and I will go up to the House of the L-rd on the third day?"
They agreed that the sundial should move ten degrees backward. Immediately we read:
II Kings 20:11
And Isaiah the prophet cried to the L-rd and He brought the shadow back ten degrees, by which [the sun] had declined on the dial of Ahaz.
Similarly, when Gideon was chosen to lead Israel in battle, he asked for a sign that he would be victorious:
And he said to [the angel]: "If now I have found favor in your eyes, then show me a sign that it is you who speaks to me."
Immediately, we read:
Then the angel of the L-rd extended the tip of the staff that was in his hand and touched the meat and the unleavened cakes; and fire went up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened cakes; [then] the angel of the L-rd vanished from his sight.
Likewise, to assure Moses of his success against Pharaoh, G-d promptly turned his staff into a snake and made his hand leprous (Exodus 4:2--7). The signs performed in Egypt were also immediate:
And Aaron spoke all the words that the L-rd had spoken to Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people.
According to the original Hebrew, the verse under discussion states that the young woman "is with child," in the present tense, i.e., it is referring to someone living at the time. This same present--tense Hebrew verb, "harah," appears in the following verses:
And the angel of the L-rd said to [Hagar]: "Behold, you are with child and shall bear a son; you shall call his name Ishmael because the L-rd has heard your affliction."
About three months later, Judah was told: "Tamar your daughter--in--law has played the harlot; moreover, she is with child by harlotry...."
II Samuel 11:5
And [Bathsheba] conceived and she sent and told David: "I am with child."
Furthermore, the use of the definite article-"the young woman"- indicates that this was someone both Isaiah and Ahaz knew. When the child was born, she would unknowingly give him a name with a symbolic message for Ahaz: Immanuel, which means "G-d is with us."
According to the New Testament, the verse under discussion foretells that Jesus would be born to the "virgin" Mary, even though the child's name was Immanuel!
All this took place to fulfill what the L-rd had spoken by the prophet: "Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel...."
But news of a virgin birth in another seven hundred years would have offered Ahaz little comfort.
Moreover, the original Hebrew explicitly calls the mother of Immanuel "the young woman" ("ha'almah"), not "the virgin" ("ha'bethulah"). Unlike the New Testament, such modern Christian translations as The New English Bible, The Good News Bible, and The Revised Standard Version have translated it correctly.
And the man knew Eve, his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain; and she said: "I have acquired a man with the L-rd."
Having just been created directly by G-d, Eve was fully aware that He is the Direct Cause of everything. Therefore, upon bearing her first child, she acknowledged Him in appreciation. Thus, this verse is commonly translated: "...I have acquired a man with the help of the L-rd."
Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth, because "G-d has provided me with another child in place of Abel, for Cain killed him."
According to missionaries, Eve thought that G-d had impregnated her while she was still a virgin, and that she had given birth to the Messiah! However, as evident in the beginning of the verse under discussion, she was well aware that her husband had fathered her child. Indeed, the Hebrew word "yada" (knew) signifies sexual intimacy.
I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed: he will pound your head and you will bite his heel.
As part of the serpent's punishment for luring Eve to eat from the forbidden tree, there would be strife between their descendants: people would kill snakes by crushing their heads, and snakes would bite people's heels.
Since G-d is here addressing the serpent, who ensnared only Eve, Adam is not mentioned in this curse. However, the descendants of Adam and Eve are identical. Similarly:
The angel of the L-rd said to [Hagar]: "I will greatly multiply your seed, and it will be too numerous to count."
Although Abraham, Hagar's husband, was to be the father of this seed, he was not mentioned because the angel was speaking only to her.
Missionaries claim that the verse under discussion is a prophecy that Jesus will destroy the works of Satan:
I John 3:8
...the reason the Son of G-d appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.
They identify "her seed" as the "virgin Mary" 's, i.e., Jesus; the serpent as Satan; and "your seed" as the works of Satan.
Yet evil still prevails in the world, indicating that Jesus did not "destroy the works of the devil." Even according to the New Testament, Satan has been very active since Jesus died:
...then the G-d of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet...
I Thessalonians 2:18
...because we wanted to come to you, I, Paul, again and again, but Satan hindered us.
For from the rising of the sun to its setting, My Name is great among the nations....
Here, Israel is being rebuked for sacrificing blemished animals to G-d:
"When you offer a blind animal in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer a lame or sick animal, is that not evil? Present that to your governor: will he be pleased with you or show you favor?" says the L-rd of hosts.
Although they worshipped many gods, the heathen nations recognized G-d as the Ultimate Creator.
And Jethro said, "Blessed be the L-rd....Now I know that the L-rd is greater than all gods...."
The king spoke to Daniel and said: "Truly, your G-d is the G-d of gods...."
Therefore, relative to their understanding, their sacrifices were considered to have been offered to G-d, albeit indirectly, as the verse under discussion continues:
...and in every place incense is offered to My Name, and a pure offering....
Missionaries claim that the verse under discussion is describing the worship of Jesus, even though he would not even be born until four hundred sixty years later!
Christians deny that Jesus had siblings, lest this familial background detract from his "uniqueness." Therefore, they maintain that Mary was a virgin both before and after his birth. But the New Testament says otherwise:
When Joseph woke from his sleep, he did as the angel of the L-rd commanded him; he took [Mary], but knew her not until she had brought forth her firstborn son, and he called his name Jesus.
While [Jesus] was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him.
Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us?...
So [Jesus'] brothers said to him: "Leave here and go to Judea, [in order] that your disciples may see the works you are doing."
All these [disciples] devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.
But I saw none of the apostles except James, the Lord's brother.
I Corinthians 9:5
Do we not have the right to be accompanied by a wife, as the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?