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Behold, A Virgin Shall Conceive

No. 8 – Recitative

Music courtesy of The Falls Church Anglican Choir, Falls Church, Virginia, under the musical direction of Simon Dixon. Audio mastering by Andrew Schooley. From Messiah by George Frideric Handel (1742)

Listen to the full playlist for Handel’s Messiah.

“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”

– Isaiah 7:14

“Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”

– Matthew 1:23

The coming of God’s Son into the world was a unique event in human history, and it took place in a unique way. His conception was not simply a rarity, it was utterly unparalleled in world history before or since. It was an act of God.

Jesus was born of a virgin through the intervention of the Holy Spirit, befitting and signaling His divine origin. This has long been dismissed and derided by theological liberals, who do not believe in God’s supernatural work in and through Jesus. But the Hebrew word Isaiah used for virgin, almah, means a young woman of marriageable age, who would normally have been a virgin in Hebrew society. This was clarified by the Jewish scholars who translated the Old Testament into Greek in the second and third centuries BC when they translated almah with the Greek word parthenos, meaning virgin.

To men and women who believe in the God of the Bible—the God who spoke the creation into existence, who delivered His people from Egypt through mighty miracles, who raised Jesus from the dead—the birth of Jesus from a virgin is entirely in keeping with God’s pattern of supernatural interventions in the world He has made.

But the significance of Jesus’ virgin birth, true and important as it was, pales in light of who Jesus was: Emmanuel, God with us! God became incarnate in Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus was fully God and fully man, a mystery that human beings cannot understand, but a truth that we can believe and trust. Jesus, the Messiah—God in human form—is presented to us as the Savior of the world, and He offers complete forgiveness and reconciliation to God to all who trust Him and His atoning death on the cross.


Thank You, Father, for sending Your Son, Jesus. What a marvel and
mystery that You would come as a child, born of a humble young
woman who put her trust in You. May I also worship You with my body,
and may I be a vessel for Your good purposes.


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Thomas A. Tarrants

Thomas A. Tarrants is President Emeritus of the C.S. Lewis Institute. After serving twelve years as president and nine years as vice President, he retired from his position as Vice President for Ministry and Director, Washington Area Fellows Program, with CSLI in June 2019. He holds a Masters of Divinity Degree, as well as a Doctor of Ministry Degree in Christian Spirituality. Tom is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Church Alliance and a member of the Evangelical Theological Society. He spends his time writing, mentoring, consulting and traveling. His life story is told in Consumed by Hate, Redeemed by Love, published by Thomas Nelson Publishers.


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