“The Lord is Salvation”: The Meaning of the Bible’s Miracle-Births

Jesus wasn’t the first “miracle baby” in the Bible; there are actually seven people in the biblical account who were born by way of miraculous pregnancy.

  1. Isaac – Promised to Abraham and Sarah (Gen. 15)
  2. Jacob – Miraculously given to Rebekah, along with his twin brother Esau. (Gen. 25:19-23)
  3. Joseph – Miraculously given to Rachel (Gen. 30)
  4. Samson – Child of Manoah and his wife (Judg. 13:1-5)
  5. Samuel – Child of Hannah (1 Sam. 1:1-19)
  6. John – Child of Zechariah and Elizabeth (Luke 5:1-25)
  7. Jesus – Child of Mary, a virgin (Matthew 1:18)

What is the significance of these stories?

Each of the first six men were integral players in God’s salvation-acts throughout human history. Isaac and Jacob, promised descendants of Abraham and Sarah, were the human agents through whom God would create the nation of Israel; a nation designed to be a beacon of hope and restoration for a lost and sinful world. Through Joseph, God shielded the Israelites in Egypt from a global famine. Samson was an Israelite judge who delivered Israel from the Philistines. The birth of Samuel laid the groundwork for David, Israel’s greatest king. John the Baptist proclaimed the coming of the Messiah, Jesus.

Jesus, the final miracle-birth, was the divine-human agent through whom God rescued not only Israel, but the entire human race, from its greatest enemy: sin.

Miraculous birth signals salvation – not by human hands, but by divine intervention as God steps into human history to rescue and redeem his people. Each of the miracle births in the Bible point toward the coming age wherein God himself would be born into the world to carry out his ultimate salvation-act: Jesus (“Yeshua” – The LORD is our salvation); Emmanuel (“Immanu’el” – God is with us). Unlike his predecessors, Jesus’ birth was not the result of human conception: his was a miraculous union of divinity and humanity that had never, and will never, be witnessed again in human history.

So, when you come across a story of a miraculous birth in your Bible, pay attention. They are reminders that God alone is able to bring forth life from that which is barren – primordial chaos; the dust from which he created man; an arid desert; an infertile womb; a burial tomb; a sinful heart; a depraved world. They signify that salvation is coming

When you read the birth story of Jesus, who was not born from a barren womb, but from a womb that had not yet conceived, pay extra attention. It signifies that salvation is here.

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new”

Revelation 21:5

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