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If one is satisfied that Isaiah 7:14 is properly translated as:

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

. (Translation of the Hebrew word as virgin is discussed here.)

And if one is convinced this prophecies about Mary conceiving Jesus. Is there also a reason to conclude that this scripture is telling us that the virgin who conceived would still be a virgin when she gives birth to the son?

It seems that the verse would still be accurate even if the virgin who conceived lost her virginity during the time she was pregnant.

She would still be the virgin who conceived. And she would inevitably give birth to the child conceived while she was a virgin.

Does the scripture rule out the possibility that after conception the pregnant woman may have consummated her marriage before the miraculously conceived child was born?

I am not asking if Mary remained a virgin throughout the pregnancy as Matthew 1:25 certainly tells us that she did. But when people point to the verse in Isaiah as having prophesied about more than her being a virgin at conception I am not convinced from my understanding of this verse as rendered in English.

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  • What does Numbers 3:13 "all firstborn are mine" mean? (also Ex 13:2; "Consecrate to me all the firstborn. Whatever is the first to open the womb among the people of Israel, both of man and of beast, is mine"). – Constantthin Jan 30 '18 at 14:02
  • @Constantthin did you post this question in the wrong place? – Kris Jan 30 '18 at 14:05
  • No. I thought that there could be some kind of link between those verses and the one you quoted. Exactly what I don't know. But there seem to be some common ground somehow. – Constantthin Jan 30 '18 at 14:08
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On its own perhaps not. But Isaiah 7:14 is not understood to be the sole Scripture pertaining to the virginity of Mary. Also relevant is Ezekiel 44:2:

This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it; because the LORD, the God of Israel, hath entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut.

This was also understood in antiquity to refer to Mary. It was cited in this context by Methodius of Olympus1 (d. 311), Cyril of Alexandria2 (378-444), Ambrose3 (340-397), Jerome4 (347-420), John Cassian5 (360-435), Theodoret6 (393-457), and John of Damascus7 (676-749)


1. Oration Concerning Simeon and Anna
2. Commentary on Luke, Sermon I
3. e.g., Letter 44
4. Commentary on Ezekiel, Sermon I
5. On the Incarnation VII.25
6. Commentary on Ezekiel, Sermon I
7. Complete Exposition on the Orthodox Faith, IV.14

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The answers to these series of questions depends to a great extent on how Mary is viewed theologically.

The Catholic Church has held that Mary remained a virgin even after the birth of Jesus and that Mary never consummated her marriage with Joseph. In that view (with which I disagree) James and Jude are the sons of Joseph by a previous marriage. According to Catholicism the virginity of Mary was attested by a mid-wife following the birth of Jesus. Nearly all of these ideas about Mary come from a non-biblical source. They come from a text written some time in the latter half of the second century called the gospel of James or the protoevangelium of James. As the Catholic Church began to develop its theology of Mary, they used various passages in a non-literal way to indicate the concept of the perpetual virginity of Mary. One example is Ezekiel 44:2.

Protestants would dispute that there is very little if anything of historical accuracy in the gospel of James. Protestants view James and Jude as the half brothers of Jesus. Joseph being the father and Mary the mother.

As far as the debate about the meaning of the Hebrew word almah. It is one of the best examples of how a person approaches a verse with various presuppositions. If one approaches the text with the presupposition that a virgin could never conceive (as did the theological higher critics of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries) then the emphasis will be on almah as a young woman. Yet there have been numerous conservatives who have written that while almah does mean a young woman it is never used in the Old Testament of a married young woman. To this is added the fact that the Septuagint used a Greek term that cannot have any other meaning except that she was a virgin when she conceived. There is also the fact that the woman of Isa. 7:14 had to be both good and that her pregnancy would be a sign to the people of Israel. A virgin conception is such a sign.

Previously I had that the Scripture was silent about the time between the conception and His birth. Kris rightly pointed out that Matthew 1:25 says they did not have sex until after Jesus was born. This verse also points out that Mary did not remain a virgin after the birth of Jesus.

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  • Matthew 1:25 tells us that there was no sex until after the birth of Jesus – Kris Jan 31 '18 at 21:24
  • Your right Kris -- I stand corrected about the time between the conception and the birth of Jesus. Thanks for pointing it out. I will edit my answer. – Ken Banks Feb 1 '18 at 3:15

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