Isaiah 7:14 and Matt. 1:23

Jim Hamilton has made available his paper “THE VIRGIN WILL CONCEIVE:
TYPOLOGY IN ISAIAH AND FULFILLMENT IN MATTHEW, THE USE OF ISAIAH 7:14 IN MATTHEW 1:18–23″ which will be published as a chapter in the forthcoming book Built upon the Rock which examines various biblical-theological nuances of Matthew. See his paper here (PDF).

He writes, “My objective in this essay is to argue for an understanding of Matthew’s use of Isaiah 7:14 which allows the text to mean what it says in its OT context.That is to say, I am not arguing against the virgin birth by saying that Isaiah was not predicting it. Matthew’s testimony to the virgin birth of Jesus is sufficient for it to be established. The question for this study is how Matthew understands and claims fulfillment for the OT.”

12 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Matt Waymeyer on October 26, 2007 at 1:13 am

    Paul: Thanks for the link. I just skimmed it and it looks excellent. That’s about where I landed back when I studied it in seminary. I especially like how he defines typological fulfillment (in contrast to predictive fulfillment) and says that it is neither allegory nor sensus plenior. I look forward to reading it more carefully.

  2. Posted by Scott on October 26, 2007 at 3:32 am

    Again – thank you guys at ET! These are the issues I/preaching pastors need to be working through as we seek to feed the flock each week.

    Also, the way you work through responses is helpful and pastoral as well. The standard is high here and instructive for me. Keep up the good work!

  3. Wow! Great essay. That’s a difficult view to argue because it sounds like you are denying the virgin birth, but your conclusion is exactly right.

    You are correct in concluding that Matthew often uses “fulfill” to refer to typological fulfillment.

    However, Matthew does record Jesus as using “fulfill” to refer to prophetic fulfillment at his baptism, when he said to John “Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (3:15).

    Jesus’ baptism is the fulfillment of Isaiah 61:1, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor, etc.”

    Jesus’ baptism = Jesus’ anointing by the Holy Spirit

    BTW: If anointing = baptism, then this should inform us about the mode of baptism.

  4. Hey Eric,

    Thanks for dropping by. It wasn’t lost on me that you concluded “BTW: If anointing = baptism, then this should inform us about the mode of baptism.”

    I would simply say, not so fast. However lets do have that discussion here sometime. I still believe there’s hope for you my presbyterian brother.

    BTW: You can look for Matt Waymeyer’s book on infant baptism after the first of the year. In fact, I’ll make sure you get one of my free copies since I expect to get twenty or so (right Matt?).


  5. Posted by Matt Waymeyer on October 26, 2007 at 4:09 am


    You wrote: “If anointing = baptism, then this should inform us about the mode of baptism.”

    That’s interesting. I never realized that anointing conveyed the idea of immersion, but I’m open to the possibility. I’ll have to look into that.


  6. Posted by Matt Waymeyer on October 26, 2007 at 4:12 am

    Paul: Looks like we were posting our comments at the same time. You may be faster, but I think I was funnier!

  7. Ha! You guys are funny. Mode is a fun discussion, perhaps later. Sorry about hijacking the post, though. I don’t think I know who Jim is, but excellent work. Well done.

  8. gents, about an hour away from having my own work up. Do you want it emailing to you directly? Or just a link here?

  9. David,

    Just email it to me and if it’s good will post something on it and if it’s not we’ll talk bad about you in the comments. Just kidding of course. Thanks for offering your paper I look forward to reading it.

  10. love the essay.

    I addressed Isaiah a couple of years ago, looking at the question of the place of Zion in the book. Along the way I made this observation:

    “The servant, having already consciously accepted the mission (50:4-9), inaugurates all that has so far been promised (Phillips 1979, 373). More so, where previously we saw Zion raised (Hb;G”) above the hills with the nations streaming to her (2:1-4), we now see the Servant also “high and lifted up” (Hb;G”) and “exalted” (52:13). His saving work also reintroduces the theme of children (53:10) which has recurred throughout the book. Webb sees this repeated theme of birth as a metaphor for the creation of a pure remnant (1990, 81). He also sees in these children a secondary messianic application; the young woman who will give birth in 7:14 is Zion herself and ‘her son, symbolically called Immanuel, is the small community of believers who gather around the prophet, his “disciples” or “children” (8.6-18)’ (1990, 82). Thus the Messiah is the remnant, or at least represents them just as the Servant both is Zion and yet also acts on her behalf.

    In the final song of 52:13-53:12, then, we see a marriage between the male Servant and the female Zion, the children of which are the faithful remnant. This promised seed will come because the word of the LORD truly is trustworthy (55:11). Zion, who previously were sceptical (49:14), are now called to seek the LORD (55:6-13) (Woude 2004, 114).

    The Servant, then, is the one who is called upon in 40:1 to issue words of Comfort. He does this not just by speaking God’s word but by enacting it in redeeming Zion.”

    I wonder, then, if there’s not just a typological progression through Jeremiah (as you note) to Matthew but one that begins in Isaiah itself. The theme of childbearing is strong and issues in a progeny of the Servant that, surely, finds its fulfilment in the new people that Jesus “gives birth to” (pardon the expression).

  11. […] Jesus revealed in Isaiah 7:14 according to Matthew October 26, 2007 Posted by roberttalley in Isaiah, Jesus, Matthew, Messiah, Religion, Virgin Birth. trackback The most popular post on this blog deals with how Jesus is revealed in the Old Testament. Expository Thoughts has had several excellent posts touching on this subject recently. Here is the most recent. […]

  12. Posted by Nick Batchelor on August 20, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    It would be good to study carefully Isaiah 7 and 8 and try to understand who “Immanuel” was in Isaiah’s day. How would he serve as a sign? Was he also a God-man? Because one of Isaiah’s sons was called “Immanuel,” did this mean he was God himself? In what way was God at that time “with his people?”

    The widely acclaimed Trinitarian Bible dictionary, The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, 1986, Vol. 2, pp. 86, 87, states:

    “The name Emmanuel [or Immanuel] which occurs in Isa. 7:14 and 8:8 means lit. ‘God [is] with us’ …. In the context of the times of Isaiah and King Ahaz the name is given to a child as yet not conceived with the promise that the danger now threatening Israel from Syria and Samaria will pass ‘before the child knows how to refuse evil and choose the good.’ Thus, the child and its name is a sign of God’s gracious saving presence among his people …. [The name Emmanuel] could be a general statement that the birth and naming of the special child will indicate that the good hand of God is upon us.” – p. 86. And, “The point of the present passage [Matt. 1:23] is to see in the birth of Jesus a saving act of God, comparable with the birth of the first Emmanuel. Both births signify God’s presence with his people through a child.” (pg. 87)

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: