HOW COULD THE CONCEPTION OF CHRIST BE A SIGN TO KING AHAZ IF AHAZ DIED CENTURIES EARLIER?
by Shawn Brasseaux
Read from Isaiah chapter 7: “ Moreover the LORD spake again unto Ahaz, saying,  Ask thee a sign of the LORD thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above.  But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the LORD.  And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also?  Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
Bible critics form an objection based on this passage. Their argument is quite easy to follow. How could the conception of Messiah be a sign to Ahaz (something he would witness) since Ahaz died long before Isaiah 7:14 was actually fulfilled? Yes, we see a problem here too—a greater problem. They are misreading the Bible, thus misunderstanding it, and thereby misrepresenting it. It is highly significant to point out the nouns and their second-person pronouns, thus making the prophecy read smoothly and remarkably.
Verses 10 and 11: “ Moreover the LORD spake again unto Ahaz, saying,  Ask thee a sign of the LORD thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above.” “Thee” in verse 11 applies to Ahaz (verse 10). God is speaking to one man here. If you are using a modern English vesion, “thee” reads “you,” thus making it impossible for you to distinguish the singular (“thee/thou/thy/thine”) and plural (“ye/you/your”) forms. Older English, a “dead language,” is superior to modern English in this regard.
Verse 12 is most noteworthy: “But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the LORD.” JEHOVAH God ordered Ahaz to ask for a sign, but Ahaz was so unbelieving that he refused! Yet, he pretended to be pious and respectable—“I will not ask for a sign and I will not challenge the Lord!” In reality, he defied the LORD’S instructions by not asking for that sign!
Read verses 13 and 14: “ And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also?  Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” This is a different audience than the one in verses 11-12.
Verse 13 addresses a group—“ye,” or more specifically, “O house of David.” David’s royal bloodline is in view here. It is his ancestors beyond Ahaz (also a son of David). Verse 14, of course, is the virgin conception of Jesus Christ. However, the Scriptures are not saying such a miracle will occur during Ahaz’s lifetime. The Bible is stating David’s house will see the Messiah conceived. In other words, Israel’s royal family will witness Jesus Christ being born. To the Bible student, there is nothing tenuous here. Were not Mary (Jesus’ mother) and Joseph (His foster-father) present to hear His conception announced and then see His actual birth nine months later? Yes, and, most significantly, they were of David’s house (Matthew 1:1-6,16; Luke 3:23,31)!
Matthew 1:18-25: “ Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.  Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.  But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. [Did you notice how the angel addressed Joseph, Jesus’ legal father, as “son of David?”]  And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.  Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,  Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.  Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:  And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.”
Luke 1:26-33: “ And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,  To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. [Did you notice how Mary, Jesus’ mother, is said to be “of the house of David?”]  And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.  And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.  And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.  And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.  He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:  And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” (Did you see how Jesus Himself is a descendant of David in verse 32?)
King Ahaz himself did not see the virgin conception of Jesus Christ—and the Bible never said he would anyway. It was not a failed prophecy. Ahaz indeed died many years before Christ, but that made no difference whatsoever. The prophecy of Isaiah 7:14 was that “the house of David” (verse 13) would witness the birth of Christ. King David’s ancestors did see Messiah’s birth. Joseph and Mary, and David’s other royal ancestors alive at the time, bore record of the fulfillment of Isaiah’s magnificent “virgin conception” prophecy. There is no mistake in the Bible!