Fulfillment of Bible Prophecy

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Fulfillment of Bible Prophecy
You ask, “How difficult would it have been for the Gospel writers to tell the story of Jesus’ life so as to make it conform to Old Testament prophecy?”74 While this may appear simple to you, neither the writers, nor any individuals prior to them who may have known Jesus’ family personally, had the ability to direct the events of, say, Jesus’ birth, in such a way as to convince both Joseph and Mary that this was a normal birth. You claim, with respect to the virgin birth, that Luke and Matthew “relied upon the Greek rendering of Isaiah 7:14. The Hebrew text of Isaiah uses the word ‘almâ, however, which simply means ‘young woman,’ without any implication of virginity.”75

    Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. - Isaiah 7:14
The Hellenistic ruler of the Egyptian Ptolemaic Empire, Ptolemy II Philadelphus of Alexandria commissioned the Greek rendering of the Hebrew Scriptures in the 260s BC, quite some time before the birth of Christ. The translators were a group of seventy-two Jewish Rabbis, six elders from each of the twelve tribes of Israel,76 all highly respected for their work. The non-Christian historian Josephus and the ancient philosopher Philo both ascribed divine inspiration to the translators of the Septuagint.

The Dead Sea Scrolls found in Qumran in 1947 included many fragments that agreed closely with the Septuagint, attesting to its place of honor among ancient translations. One of the scrolls found in Qumran also contained “a complete manuscript of the Hebrew text of Isaiah. It is dated by paleographers around 125 BC.”77
    The Hebrew word in the text that is translated virgin is "almah." It has a definite article in Hebrew as can be seen in the last word in the first line in the Hebrew text above. It is "ha'almah" or literally "the virgin." Only after the beginning of the Christian dispensation did Jewish scholars insist that the word means a young woman who is not necessarily a virgin and therefore they say a virgin birth was not predicted. Irenaeus is the first one to answer that argument and his points have not been improved upon. One of the most telling arguments he uses is that the Septuagint translators not only translated the verse here but they told what it meant, to them, before the advent of Jesus.78
The Septuagint authors translated the Hebrew word ‘almâ into the Greek word parthenos, strictly translated “virgin.” Note also that the verse indicates that a sign would be given. Most would not consider such a common event as a “young woman giving birth” a sign. However, the uniqueness of a virgin giving birth would deem the event worthy of such a designation.79

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Footnotes:
74 Sam Harris, p. 57.
75 Ibid., p. 58.
76 F.F. Bruce, The Books and the Parchments (Westwood: Fleming H. Revell, 1963), p. 146-147.
77 Josh McDowell, Evidence That Demands a Verdict (San Bernardino, CS: Here’s Life, 1979), p. 58.
78 http://www.ao.net/~fmoeller/7-8.htm#alma.
79 See also http://www.hadavar.org/antimissionary4.html and http://www.asia.si.edu/exhibitions/online/ITB/html/earliestScriptures.htm.


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