In chapter 1 of the Gospel of Matthew, Isaiah 7 is quoted:
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). Matthew 1:22-23
Here is the Isaiah 7 prophecy given to King Ahaz of Judah by Isaiah by YHWH’s command:
Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, 11 “Ask the Lord your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights.”
12 But Ahaz said, “I will not ask; I will not put the Lord to the test.”
13 Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of humans? Will you try the patience of my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you[c] a sign: The virgin[d] will conceive and give birth to a son, and[e] will call him Immanuel.[f]15 He will be eating curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, 16 for before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste. 17 The Lord will bring on you and on your people and on the house of your father a time unlike any since Ephraim broke away from Judah—he will bring the king of Assyria.”
This is the primary scripture/prophecy used to create the doctrine of the virgin birth. After actually reading and studying the prophecy in Isaiah 7 IMO there are some troubling aspects of using the Isaiah 7 prophecy in relation to Jesus:
- The prophecy was about an event that was fulfilled several hundred years earlier
- The prophecy was focused not on “the virgin” but on the events that would occur before the child was old enough to know right fro wrong.
- In other words the “sign” God gave Israel to prove “Immanuel” God is with us, was the destruction of Ahaz’s enemies (King Rezin of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel who had marched up to fight against Jerusalem (King Ahaz) but they did not overpower it. See Isaiah 7)
- The sign that “God is with us” was not that “a virgin will conceive and give birth to a son named Immanuel”
Of course this also begs the question how are prophecies to be understood in the first place? Do they repeat them selves? Do they have double meanings that are unfolded later in history?
Here are a couple views on the virgin birth of Jesus as it relates to the Isaiah 7 prophecy.
Tovia Singer a Jewish Scholar (who for obvious reasons is not too popular with evangelical Christians) who has a ministry, particularly Messianic Jews, to bring them out of Christianity and back to Judaism.
Dr. Michale Heiser, a Biblical Scholar in Ancient near east studies and biblical Hebrew also addresses the prophecy of Isaiah 7 as it pertains to the virgin birth of Jesus.