Religion Information

The Christmas Victory

As the Chritmas season approaches, I figured it's a good time to submit the following article:


A logical and practical interpretation of Is.7:14 in the light of context and language.

As you celebrate Christmas, sending out cards, putting up the tree with bright lights and decorations and getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of gift-buying, do you stop to ask yourself what is the real meaning of Christmas? If you do, what is your answer? Simply that a babe was born in a manger 2000 years ago?

But then, do ask how does it apply to me? I'm sure some of you would say that of course the babe was our Savior, who would later die for our sins. True, but even this doesn't go quite far enough. In fact, it makes Christmas seem somewhat subordinate to Good Friday, which, according to some, should be the major holiday we celebrate and not Christmas. I believe however that if we would realize the full intent of His coming as given by God in the Holy Scriptures, we would see that we have good reason for making Christmas the major holiday it is and for celebrating to the hilt.

What, you ask, is the full intent of His coming? It is notsimply that without his birth there would not have been Hisdeath, but rather that His birth was, in itself, a sign andguarantee both of this death and of the salvation it would bring in all it's fullness. This fullness includes not only a future eternity, but also a present victory and freedom from fear in our everyday lives.In Matthew 1:20-21, Joseph is told by the angel not to be afraid to take Mary for his wife because "that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost, and she shall bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for it is he who will save his people from their sins." The very name "Jesus" means "Savior," or more literally, "Deliverer." It is the transliteration of the Old Testament name, "Joshua." Just as Joshua led his people into victory in the land of Canaan, so Jesus leads us to victory in the land of our Spiritual heritage.

Then in verse 21, Matthew explains "Now All this took place that what is spoken by the LORD through the prophet might befulfilled, saying, "BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL, WHICH TRANSLATED MEANS 'GOD WITH US.' Before we look at the quote, we must notice the word "fulfilled." In the original Greek, its literal meaning is "filled up" or "completed" or "completely filled." Also let me mention at this point, to avoid misunderstanding later, that the word for "virgin" in Matthew allows for NO other translation. Verse 23 is a direct quote fromthe Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures) of Is.7:14, which uses the Greek word specifically indicating one who is a virgin.

Please keep the meaning of these three Greekwords in mind as we continue. "Jesus" = Deliverer," "fulfilled"= "completely filled up," and "virgin" = "virgin."Yes, there is no question that in Matthew the word "virgin" can only mean "virgin." When we come to original Hebrew Is.7:14,however, the case is different. The Hebrew language, being much broader in its word usage than Greek, allows for several related meanings to be attached to one word within a general context or circle of meaning. For example, the word "shalom" not only means "peace," but also "welfare," "blessing," "hello," and "goodbye,"among other things. The same sort of thing is true of the Hebrew word "alma," which was translated as "virgin" by the King James translators in Is.7:14 The word has a broad meaning of "a young woman of marriageable age, one of whose characteristics may or may not be that she is a virgin." (See I Chr.15:20, Ps.68:25, Prov.30:19, Song 1:3 & 6::8) Thus, the translators of the RSVtranslated it as "young woman." They were roundly criticized, although this is a perfectly allowable translation, and one that fits more readily into the context as we shall see.

One of the main principles of interpretation is to check thecontext. In this case the immediate context would be the 7th and 8th chapters. Forget for a moment the prophetic nature of verse 14 and try to picture yourself back in the time of Ahaz andIsaiah. In the beginning of Chapter 7, we see that we areinvolved with a situation of actual physical warfare. Ahaz, king of Judah is facing two enemies, Rezin, king of Syria and Pekah,king of Israel, and he's scared to death. Thus, the LORD sent Isaiah to tell Ahaz not to fear, because these two kings would bedefeated. Sensing Ahaz's doubt, the LORD asked Ahaz to as Himfor a sign, but Ahaz, in a false piety, refused. So the LORDsaid that He would give Ahaz a sign. Thus, we come to verse 14. The fact that the message is addressed to the "house of David"does not negate its being intended for Ahaz, as he was the ruler,and thus the representative of the nation. If we translate"alma" as "young woman" and continue reading through verse 16, wesee clearly what the sign to Ahaz was. The LORD is saying that achild will be born, and before the child is of age, the landwhose two kings Ahaz dreads will be forsaken. If we continue oninto Chapter 8, we see that a child is indeed born. Isaiah had a son, whose name means "hast-ye-haste-ye-to-the-spoil," and asimilar statement is made in verse 4 to that of 7:16, tyingIsaiah's son in with the prophecy of physical victory made toAhaz. The child is even called "Emmanuel" in verse 8.Now you have a clear picture of what verse 14 meant to Ahaz.

"But," you ask, "How does all of this relate to Matthew'squotation of verse 14, and the use by Matthew of a word whichcould only mean 'virgin'?" I believe the answer lies intypological interpretation. Do you remember the other word usedin Matthew, which is translated "fulfilled"? Remember we saidthat it literally means "completely filled up." The prophecy wasonly partially fulfilled in Ahaz's time. The completefulfillment would come later on. Thus, Isaiah's son, whose veryname has the ring of victory in it, was BOTH A SIGN TO AHAZ AND ATYPE OF THE ONE TO COME, WHO WOULD BE TO US A SIGN OF SPIRITUALVICTORY. In 8:18, Isaiah says that he and his children are forsigns and wonders in Israel, and the word used here for "sign" isalso translated as "type." (A type is a real person place thingor event in the Old Testament, which also represents, by way oflooking forward to, a corresponding Spiritual reality, [calledthe "antitype"] in the New Testament.)

This typological interpretation allows for the full meaning of"alma" to come into play. Ahaz heard it as "young woman" and sawit fulfilled as such in his time with the birth of Isaiah's son. But, looking back, we can see that this was not all that Godintended. God had more in mind than the birth of Isaiah's son. He was also looking down the corridors of time to when He wouldsend His son, through a virgin. Thus the prophecy was completelyfilled up by the birth of the antitype, Jesus, as recorded inMatthew. Hopefully, we can now see more of the reason that Jesuscame and why we can celebrate his birth to the full. Ahaz fearedtwo enemies. We also have two enemies, which we need now nolonger fear. I mentioned Is.8:18. This verse is quoted in theNew Testament in Hebrews.2:13 in reference to the incarnation ofChrist, and in verse 14 & 15, we see that he came to set us freefrom the fear of death. Paul also speaks of this inIcor.15:55-57. The second enemy that Jesus came to defeat is theenemy of sin, mentioned by Paul in Romans 6, saying in verse 14that it shall not have dominion over us. He combines these twoenemies in Romans 8:2, saying that Christ has set us free, or"delivered" us from them. Thus, as He tried to tell Ahaz, weneed no longer fear them.

Of course, Rezin and Pekah may also represent your own personalfoe or foes. Whatever your Rezin & Pekah are (the multiple ofthings the Devil may use to get you down), do not fear, but knowthat Jesus came to deliver you.

This is the real meaning of Christmas-that Jesus came to be oursign of victory-to show us that we need no longer fear themultiple forces that may be arrayed against us in the Spiritualrealm. It is evident as well in Chapter 9 of Isaiah, where thespecific promise of the birth of Christ-the son to be given inverse 6-is couched in the language of warfare and victory (vs.4 &5). It is further confirmed by the prophecy of the angel to Maryin Luke 1:33, and in the Magnificant of Mary and the Benidictusof Zacharias (Luke 1:46-55 & a68-79), especially vs.69, 71,&74-75. These especially present the idea that Jesus delivers usfor fear-free service to God. Read these wonderful portions ofscripture and rejoice in the fact that victory can be yoursthrough faith in Jesus, whose birth we celebrate at this time ofyear. May the bright lights beautiful decorations, and fancilywrapped gifts we see this season serve to remind us of theglorious victory which can be ours through the one whose birthdaywe are celebrating.

Rev. James M. Becher, M.Div., Bible teacher, Publisher of the "Inspirational Succcess Tips" E-zine (to subscribe, send a blank email, author of the novel, "OF SUCH IS THE KINGDOM, A Novel of Biblical times,"(visit

News and Society:Religion Articles from
05/20/2018 07:19 PM
Godly Combat
How are Believers to respond to the challenges that our society faces? What is the objective of the Believer when he is confronted by trials and conflicts? God has a plan and every Christian needs to be aware of His directional leading. Ignorance is no excuse for ineffectiveness.
05/20/2018 10:06 AM
Your Faith Also Strengthens Others
Life is not just moonshine and roses. All of us experience this first hand and in person nearly every day of our lives.
05/20/2018 10:05 AM
Watch Out for the Wolf in Sheep's Clothing
When I was in the army, it was hard. I was part of the Mech Infantry Unit and big operations in which the enemy was attacked with a lot of force occurred regularly.
05/20/2018 10:04 AM
Life Happens
Life happens all the time and not always with some light background music. When we look back over our lives, each of us has a story to tell.
05/20/2018 09:57 AM
The Power of the Holy Spirit in the World Today
The Spirit continues to guide us and the church today. Our circumstances change daily thanks to new technologies and politics, but the Holy Spirit is ready to help us relate God's truth to new situations. In every new circumstance, the same Holy Spirit guides us to re-learn old, faithful truths and to apply those old truths in new and faithful ways.
05/17/2018 10:31 AM
Christianity and Classical Culture in Ancient Rome
The relationship between Christianity and classical was in some respect similar and contradict which means that the essay will discuss the similarities and difference in context. The law of nature, respect of governance, statues and prediction of a saviour these factors shows that the relationship between Christianity and classical culture was similar which therefore can lead one to say that it was intertwined. However on the other hand contradictions also can be found between the classical culture and Christianity taking into consideration monotheism in Christianity contrary to polytheism in classical culture. Also the fact about how the world came to be that is creation of the world and also worship of emperors in classical culture which contradicts with Christianity. Therefore one need to note that the relationship was not an obvious guess but also help one to define Christianity today.
05/15/2018 03:48 PM
Prepared for Troubles
Since I started writing about 1 Thessalonians, I've used the word 'hardship' quite a lot. Hardship and suffering was a reality in the lives of these new Christians.
05/15/2018 03:45 PM
Ireland Thinks About Abortion
Many nations in the West offer abortion services in their healthcare programmes. One small country that has, so far, resisted the availability of State approved abortion services is the Republic of Ireland, where much of the pro-life stance flows from the once-dominant influence of the Roman Catholic Church. Now, as that old dominance has collapsed and as a popular secular humanism rises in its place, Irish legislators are holding a national Referendum aimed to secure the freedom to offer abortion services by a change in the Irish Constitution. Clearly, how we view the issues surrounding abortion demonstrate the character of a society.
05/13/2018 09:46 PM
The Vine and the Branches
When is the last time we scanned the Scriptures in search of verses that we may have over looked, either intentionally or unintentionally? What about those Biblical salvoes that hit us between the eyes, but we glossed over them because it caused us to be uncomfortable?
05/09/2018 03:23 PM
Life Before Birth - Challenges Many Preconceptions
Don't we love to hear promises of a better world, of greater peace, security and individual happiness? And then, for some women along comes an 'unwanted pregnancy'. And how dare a man write about such a subject! Well, my main goal here is to offer a sympathetic understanding of women who feel they cannot go ahead with their pregnancy and who are seriously considering an abortion, and how I square this with my pro-life beliefs. In doing so I have a challenge on my hands to explain why I am concerned not to make a woman's life more burdensome than it is already!
05/08/2018 11:00 AM
Absence of Muslims Leaderships in Heartland, India
The way both side of leaderships involved in the Gujarat Assembly election (2017) reminded the peoples that how the Gujarat is important for both the side. But, my concern is that how Gujarat is different or similar from UP? Why new leaderships emerged in the Gujarat than UP? How both the state became suspicious for Muslims in shape of leadership?
05/07/2018 09:20 PM
Remember What God Has Taught You
God wanted the Israelites to learn from their past, and He wants us to learn from our past as well. There is an old saying that "those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it." If we don't learn from our mistakes, our past or our sins, we will repeat them.
05/07/2018 08:16 AM
Missing Others
When I get to heaven, the first guy I want to make an appointment with is Paul. I have so much appreciation for this man - probably because I can see so much of myself in him.
05/07/2018 08:16 AM
Prepared to Suffer?
In the period after Jesus, many, many people were saved. But it wasn't easy.
05/07/2018 08:15 AM
America Under Siege
Satan has released an unparalleled attack against our country. Everything that this country was founded upon is under a well orchestrated assault. What should the Church do?
05/06/2018 09:44 AM
The Election Of Souls
From before the church father Augustine till today there has been much ado about the how and why of election by God, predestination, foreknowledge and the like. Here I would llike to express a few thoughts of my own.
05/04/2018 04:07 PM
Never Try to Fulfil Ministry Without the Anointing and Equipping of the Holy Spirit - Never!
Jesus, in his grace, gives the confirmation to those whom He has called and chosen. We can be called and chosen but it may be sometime before we are commissioned. The disciples having been called and chosen by Jesus had to wait until Pentecost when they were anointed with the power of the Holy Spirit - and that is when they were commissioned for the task of ministry. Never try to fulfil ministry with the equipping and anointing of the Holy Spirit. If God is sending you, then God is obviously confident that you are the person to get the job done.
05/03/2018 12:21 PM
In A Post-Christian Era - Remember
Many societies, especially in the West, are getting used to the idea that Christianity is a thing of the past. The thought is, 'now we can breathe a huge sigh of relief as that old puritanical, churchy stuff and all that decrepit morality is ditched. Now we can get on with living our lives the way we want to.' Does it sound great, the way to make real progress, but have you considered where this is leading?
05/03/2018 12:13 PM
The Art of Christ's Crucifixion Is "Distasteful"
For the past eight centuries, European paintings that depict Christ's crucifixion and modern movies about Jesus' life have traditionally portrayed our Lord as a nearly naked man registering no trace of pain or emotion. As a matter of fact, He looks like He's sleeping with his arms stretched out and his feet standing, (not hanging) on a cross. Many images show little or no blood "which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
05/02/2018 08:11 AM
Too Used to the Things of God
Life can so easily become routine. Things so easily become ordinary.
05/01/2018 02:15 PM
Christ's 9 Kingdom Keys for Conservative Born Again Christians: How To Worship God in Spirit & Truth
A chance encounter with a remote Quaker family in need, leads to our discovery of a 320 year old method of worship that's not just different from modern worship, it's far more powerful. Years later, after I repent of my sinful ways, accept Jesus as savior, and experience a born-again spiritual awakening, God leads me to realize this Quaker form of worship, meditating in silence until someone receives a Word from God, is the true meaning behind Christ's words, "The true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and Truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and Truth." (John 4:23-24)
05/01/2018 12:18 PM
Return To The Lord: Part 2 - The Adulterous Bride
It's Time To Stop Playing The Harlot - As mentioned in Return To The Lord: Part 1 ~ Jesus is Calling His Bride, this word was given to me by Wisdom to share with the Bride of Christ. Part two of this word comes directly from the Book of Hosea 2. In this book we find the love story of Christ for his Bride (the church) played out through the prophet Hosea and his adulterous wife Gomer. It shows us the unconditional love that the Lord has for us even when we leave Him and walk away to follow after other lovers. Although this topic may be considered controversial for some, it is still what the Lord is speaking to His Bride in this season.
04/30/2018 02:25 PM
Extracurricular Activities
I am amazed at the number of Christians involved in extracurricular activities. One of those areas of involvement is politics.
04/30/2018 12:37 PM
I Thought The Cross Of Jesus Was Just Pieces Of Wood
A lot of strange ideas about the cross Jesus was crucified on have grown up over time. Some of these honour and venerate religious crucifixes, while others, back in the medieval period, claimed to have small pieces of the actual cross as relics that were venerated with superstitious belief hoping this will help gain a place in heaven. There is no doubt that the cross as an emblem or symbol of the Christian Faith is widely recognised, but if it was only two pieces of wood formed into a cross, what's the big deal - why make so much of pieces of wood?
04/30/2018 09:03 AM
Understanding the Purpose of Singleness
There is a need for us to learn what it means to be "single" so as to help us grow into better men and women in the society. What we see in our society today is that a lot of young folks leave life without a sense of direction, purpose and without the future in consideration.
04/29/2018 06:32 PM
Speculating On His Return
I never cease to be amazed at the continual speculations as to when will be the culmination of life as we know it. What are the signs of the "end times?"
04/28/2018 11:55 AM
A Child Can't Be Religious
As a boy I went to a Church of England school and this meant that there were occasions when I would have to go to church. Additionally, my father was a Christian and he was part of the church choir as a boy.
04/27/2018 02:25 PM
What Are The Illuminati Membership Requirements?
For those that believe in the Illuminati order and may just want to know some basic requirements before joining up, we will see how. But first we need to talk about this group called the Illuminati, I'm not delving into whether it is real or fake, or whether they really do give riches or not. I'll try to present the facts and let you decide on your own.
04/25/2018 04:22 PM
Mosques Over 1,300 Years Old
To peep into the history and to see the oldest mosques in the world by yourself, just pack your baggage and fly to the places given in the article. The experience would surely be enthralling and enriching.
04/25/2018 08:04 AM
To Meet the Author of the Bible
Sometimes it feels as if there are as many opinions about the Bible as there are people on earth. People quote truths from the Bible that makes me wonder where they found it, because it is often the opposite of what I had read.
04/24/2018 12:11 PM
Return To The Lord: Part 1 - Jesus Is Calling His Bride
Have there been times in your spiritual life when you feel so distant from God. It feels like you are walking in a dark place and all the doors of escape are locked shut before you. High walls are surrounding you and there is no way to go under, over or around. You find yourself at a spiritual standstill groping in the darkness for God's hand or searching for just a tiny ray of light to guide you out of this dark,dry and lonely place.
04/24/2018 12:10 PM
This World's Empty Glory - Too Negative
These first few words come from an old Christian hymn, but they express a thought that I find challenging, and I wonder what you think of it, and how it may affect you. The words mean that this world's values, the wealth, success and popularity, the splendour of impressive possessions, mansions in sprawling country estates, and so on, are in fact an empty glory. Doesn't that sound rather negative? Is it all merely passing, superficial glitter, 'empty glory' that masks a worried mind and an empty heart, or are many possessions the key to life? How will we decide which it is?
04/23/2018 12:32 PM
Catholic Faith Met Its Waterloo in India
Background The British ruled India for close to 200 years. Generally, it is accepted that the Battle of Plessey (1757) under Robert Clive which the British won, marks the start of British rule. By a policy of divide and rule, the British became the paramount power in the subcontinent.
04/21/2018 09:13 PM
Heavenly Power Verses Spiritual Power
Acts 4:5-12 features a boldness characterized by the Holy Spirit, which shows up just in the time of need. The passage recalls the words of Jesus in Luke 12:11-12: "When they bring you before the synagogues, the rulers and the authorities, do not worry about how you are to defend yourselves or what you are to say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you that very hour what you ought to say." Both passages foresee how Jesus' followers will respond. For example, Peter is filled with the Holy Spirit in Acts 4:8 and answers in a way that Acts 4:13 calls "boldness".
04/21/2018 09:07 PM
How Can Jesus' Death Possibly Apply To People Today?
Yes, I know where this question is coming from. If Jesus died around two thousand years ago, just how could his death have any relevance or meaning for people today, even to the point of influencing, or changing their lives - it seems way too remote, far too mystical to be of use to people today, I just don't get it?
04/19/2018 04:21 PM
Walk the Straight Path
People keep a close eye on the children of God. When it looks as if they're deviating just one millimeter from the straight and narrow, people start lifting the finger to point it out.
04/19/2018 08:56 AM
The Stronghold Called Tradition
A stronghold is a place of power, a stronghold is a fortress, a place of strength, a stronghold is a place that is difficult to attack and very easy to defend. No wonder the bible says though we walk in the flesh but do not war after the flesh for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but they are mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. There is a stronghold know as tradition.
04/17/2018 09:40 AM
An Insight Into Religious Tolerance And Intolerance
I may have to narrow this down to reasons, justification and human development gaps of either of the two. One maybe intolerant just because they have no new alternative to life as convincing as what they already know, and any new positions are threats to one's own, also perceived as having best explanation to life and determinant of existence. Any new, alternative view acts as a threat thus of other individual or group existence cannot be tolerated.
04/15/2018 06:52 PM
Piggyback Scriptures
To stand on the Word, one must understand the context in which the Scripture is used. Many people claim a Scripture without fully grasping the intent of the presented Word.
04/13/2018 01:33 PM
I Thought Jesus' Cross Was Just A Religious Symbol
After all, a necklace with small silver or gold cross is a very common form of religious jewellery. Mind you, it was probably more common in the past, and often worn as a lucky charm. As to the cross itself, it has long been the central symbol of the Christian Faith. But is this distinctive shape just an instantly recognisable symbol, or should we be looking beyond a visual symbol to a deeper meaning?
04/13/2018 01:33 PM
To Overflow With Love
How strong is your love for other people? Do you really care for people who suffer?
04/12/2018 09:09 AM
Is Morality Subjective?
After spending a quiet evening reading the book of Poverbs in the Christian Bible, I began to ask myself--- "Is it truly realistic to live up to these guidelines?" The next morning, I began to read, "The Prince", by Niccolo Machiavelli who seems to agree that morality is subjective. Society has etched these ideas in our hearts that murder, lying, cheating, and stealing are wrong or undesirable.
04/11/2018 04:37 PM
The Power of Prayer in Prophecy
What is the most important item involved in both prophecy and God's plans? It is prayer, and there is a good example in Daniel 9:1-19. This passage took place on the Sabbath. Daniel read the scroll containing the prophecies of the prophet Jeremiah. As he read Jeremiah's words, he wept as he was reminded how God's people had ignored the prophet's warnings that the Israelites would be captured because they did not follow God's law.
04/10/2018 08:33 AM
Like a Mother
Before Paul's conversion he was a thunder-and-lightning kind of guy. He rode roughshod over everything.
04/09/2018 12:14 PM
Roman Crucifixion: The Surprising Lack of Archaeological Evidence
Crucifixion was a painfully slow method of execution practiced by the ancient Romans. It involved nailing or tying a victim's legs and arms to a wooden cross which was designed to induce maximum pain. Crucifixion was a widespread punishment throughout the Roman Empire from the 3rd century BC to the 3rd century AD.
04/08/2018 05:59 PM
Fuel for Your Actions
What drives your actions? Why do you do things for others?
04/08/2018 05:59 PM
See God Working
Today, we must see God working, and when we do, we must be ready to be the visible evidence of that action. It is time to reach out as we have seen Jesus do through the Gospels and start touching the hurting.
04/06/2018 03:35 PM
Our Doubt
Picture the scene in John 20:19-31. All the disciples except Thomas are in a room behind locked doors at night. It was common for early Christians to meet at night. In times of persecution they were forbidden to meet during the day, so that had to meet at night. The disciples are scared. They saw their leader brutally killed, and they are afraid that they will also be killed. In more ways than one, the room and the situation are dark.
04/04/2018 04:14 PM
Top 10 Reasons for the Growing Popularity of Spirituality Without Religion
Why are people saying "I love God but hate religion?" Does religion have anything to offer a society focused on personal fulfillment over corporate achievements?
04/04/2018 08:14 AM
The Christian Is God's Untouchable
2 Timothy 2:19 - "But the firm foundation of (laid by) God stands, sure and unshaken, bearing this seal (inscription): The Lord knows those who are His, and, Let everyone who names [himself by] the name of the Lord give up all iniquity and stand aloof from it." Dear people of God, two days ago precisely Easter Sunday April 1, 2018, I heard a powerful testimony during our retreat in Church.

home | site map
© 2006