Matthew 1.22-23 cont.
22 Now all this took place to fulfil what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet.
23 See a virgin will conceive and bear a son, and they will call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is: ‘God with us’.
Verse 23 is a direct quote of Isaiah 7.14 taken from the Greek version of the Old Testament (the Septuagint). The only difference being is that ‘they’ is ‘you’ in Isaiah.
The Hebrew for a virgin ‘al-maw’ = a woman, usually a young woman, who has reached the age of being able to be married. It can refer to a young woman who is either unmarried or newly married. There is no evidence to suggest that the word refers to any woman other than one who has never engaged in sexual relations. It also means concealment, hidden.
Perhaps this was in the mind of David when he wrote:
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb – Psalm 139.15 (NLT).
The Greek for a virgin is ‘parthenos’ = a woman who is of a marriageable age and has never had sexual relations.
It is true that the verse from Isaiah does not state that the conception will be by the Holy Spirit. However, it is clear from both Matthew and Luke’s account that Mary was to conceive Jesus through no other means than the Holy Spirit.
The necessity of the virgin conception and birth of Jesus is that His conception should be free from the sin that all mankind inherits through being conceived of man.
The conception of Jesus is generally regarded as the immaculate conception, which is a Roman Catholic teaching that refers to Mary’s mother conceiving Mary. The tradition is that Mary’s mother was Anne.
Her name does not appear in the Bible, but is to be found in the apocryphal gospel of James, where she is said to be the husband of Joachim. The teaching is that, although Anne conceived Mary through her husband, God kept her pure and spotless (immaculate) so that she was able to conceive Jesus in absolute purity.
Therefore, the immaculate conception refers to Mary being conceived, not Jesus. It is a teaching that has no foundation in the Bible.