From Rabbi Singer:
It should be said at the outset that the word "virgin" does not appear in the seventh chapter of Isaiah. The author of the first Gospel deliberately mistranslated the Hebrew word ha'almah as "a virgin." This Hebrew word ha'almah does not mean "a virgin." It means "the young woman," with no implication of virginity. Most modern Christian Bibles1 have corrected this erroneous translation, and their Bibles now correctly translate this Hebrew word as "the young woman." Let's now examine the context of Isaiah 7:14.
The seventh chapter of the Book of Isaiah begins by describing the military crisis that was confronting King Ahaz of the Kingdom of Judah. In about the year 732 B.C.E. the House of David was facing imminent destruction at the hands of two warring kingdoms: the northern Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Syria. These two armies had laid siege to Jerusalem. The Bible relates that the House of David and King Ahaz were gripped with fear. Chapter seven relates how God sent the prophet Isaiah to reassure King Ahaz that divine protection was at hand -- the Almighty would protect him, their deliverance was assured, and these two hostile armies would fail in their attempt to subjugate Jerusalem. In Isaiah 7:1-16 we read,
And it came to pass in the days of Ahaz son of Jotham, son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Rezin, king of Aram, and Pekah son of Remaliah, king of Israel, marched on Jerusalem to wage war against it, and he could not wage war against it. It was told to the House of David, saying, "Aram has allied itself with Ephraim," and his heart and the heart of his people trembled as the trees of the forest tremble because of the wind. The Lord said to Isaiah, "Now go out toward Ahaz, you and Shear-Yashuv your son to the edge of the conduit of the upper pool, to the road of the washer's field, and you shall say to him, 'Feel secure and calm yourself, do not fear, and let your heart not be faint because of these two smoking stubs of firebrands, because of the raging anger of Rezin and Aram and the son of Remaliah. Since Aram planned harm to you, Ephraim and the son of Remaliah, saying: "Let us go up against Judah and provoke it, and annex it to us; and let us crown a king in its midst, one who is good for us." So said the Lord God, "Neither shall it succeed, nor shall it come to pass . . . ." ' " The Lord continued to speak to Ahaz, saying, "Ask for yourself a sign from the Lord, your God; ask it either in the depths, or in the heights above." Ahaz said, "I will not ask, and I will not test the Lord." Then he said, "Listen now, O House of David, is it little for you to weary men, that you weary my God as well? Therefore the Lord, of His own, shall give you a sign: Behold the young woman is with child, and she shall bear a son, and she shall call his name Immanuel. Cream and honey he shall eat when he knows to reject bad and choose good; for, when the lad does not yet know to reject bad and choose good, the land whose two kings you dread, shall be abandoned."
It is clear from this chapter that Isaiah's declaration was a prophecy of the unsuccessful siege of Jerusalem by the two armies of the Kingdoms of Israel and Syria, not a virgin birth more than 700 years later. If we interpret this chapter as referring to Jesus' birth, what possible comfort and assurance would Ahaz, who was surrounded by to overwhelming military enemies, have found in the birth of a child seven centuries later? Both he and his people would have been long dead and buried. Such a sign would make no sense.
Verses 15-16 state that by the time this child reaches the age of maturity ("he knows to reject bad and choose good"), the two warring kings, Pekah and Rezin, will have been removed. We see, in II Kings 15-16, that this prophecy was fulfilled when these two kings were suddenly assassinated. With an understanding of the context of Isaiah 7:14 alone, it is evident that the child born in Isaiah 7:14 is not referring to Jesus or to any future virgin birth. Rather, it is referring to the divine protection that Ahaz and his people would enjoy from their impending destruction at the hands of these two enemies, the northern Kingdom of Israel and Syria.
So, the notion of G-d impregnating a human woman has more basis in Grecco-Roman pagan mythology than the G-d of Abraham, Issac and Jacob.
"Actually, Joseph decided to take her for his wife after.."
Yes but He was engaged or betrothed. So, G-d impregnated an engaged woman? Knowing the potential scandal? It is still taking a mans woman. That is not the behavior of a Holy G-d.
"Mary and Joseph were married when the Messiah was born...
Yes but Joseph was not the father. G-d and Mary were not married, so the baby was born out of wedlock.
"God did not offer Jesus as a sacrifice.."
John 3:16? And he humbled himself to death...death on the cross. And if Jesus is God...
Again, a hybrid god-man, offering himself as a human sacrifice is thoroughly pagan.
"Jesus freely offered His life
He is not allowed to do that. No man can die for another mans sins...Ezekiel 18
19 "Yet you ask, 'Why does the son not share the guilt of his father?' Since the son has done what is just and right and has been careful to keep all my decrees, he will surely live. 20 The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him.
21 "But if a wicked man turns away from all the sins he has committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, he will surely live; he will not die. 22 None of the offenses he has committed will be remembered against him. Because of the righteous things he has done, he will live. 23 Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?
24 "But if a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits sin and does the same detestable things the wicked man does, will he live? None of the righteous things he has done will be remembered. Because of the unfaithfulness he is guilty of and because of the sins he has committed, he will die.
" ...allow others to die without a chance..."
Again, G-d would never give us the Torah if it was futile! What kind of cruel god would do that? He has given us means of grace (forgiveness) by prayer, repentance and charity. Blood animal sacrifices were only for unintentional sins.
So, there is no need for a Roman hybrid god-man to offer himself as a human sacrifice. G-d had already given man everything he needed to atone for sins, with and without a Temple. And since G-d says vicarious atonement is invalid (Ezekiel 18 and other places) the whole man from Nazareth thing is of no value.
21 “But if a wicked man turns away from all the sins he has committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, he will surely live; he will not die.
Have you done so? Are you righteous before God based on your behavior and the keeping of the “law” in the Torah?
Perhaps you could explain away this verse as well:
Micah 5:2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
You stated: Most modern Christian Bibles have corrected this erroneous translation (”virgin” in Isaiah 7:14), and their Bibles now correctly translate this Hebrew word as “the young woman.”
To which modern “Christian” translations do you refer? I just checked around 10 of them, and only one used young woman, which could or could not mean virgin — the rest translate the Hebrew word to virgin.
“There is no instance where it can be proved that ‘almâ designates a young woman who is not a virgin. The fact of virginity is obvious in Gen 24:43 where ‘almâ is used of one who was being sought as a bride for Isaac.” (R. Laird Harris, et al. Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, p. 672.)
You further posted: The author of the first Gospel deliberately mistranslated the Hebrew word ha’almah as “a virgin.” This Hebrew word ha’almah does not mean “a virgin.” It means “the young woman,” with no implication of virginity.
Actually, ha’almah is used 7 times in the Old Testament. 4 times it is translated as virgin in the KJV, twice as maid, and once as damsel.
Gen 24:43 Behold, I stand by the well of water; and it shall come to pass, that when the virgin cometh forth to draw [water], and I say to her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water of thy pitcher to drink;
Exodus 2:8 And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, Go. And the maid went and called the child’s mother.
Psalms 68:25 The singers went before, the players on instruments followed after; among them were the damsels playing with timbrels.
Proverbs 30:19 The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid.
Song of Songs 1:3 Because of the savour of thy good ointments thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee.
Song of Songs 6:8 There are threescore queens, and fourscore concubines, and virgins without number.
Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.