Without prevarication the English use of the word ‘bastard’ conveys and expresses a child neither born nor begotten in lawful wedlock; an illegitimate child. The mamzer, rendered “bastard” in the Hebrew dialectal, is something worse than an illegitimate child. He is the offspring of a father and mother between whom there could be in law no binding betrothal: issuing either from adultery between a married woman and a man other than her husband. The Greek equivalent, nothos, denotes a spurious or an illegitimate child.
A mamzer, according to Deuteronomy 23:3, must not “enter the congregation of the Lord,” that is, marry an Israelite woman, “nor shall his tenth generation enter.”
We look at the story of the birth of Jesus who was born to Mary and Joseph. The story of his birth stands as one of the most controversial stories of today. Jews, atheists and many more sects contest his birth as they in their liberal minds think of the process of his birth. This story has also contributed to why so many would not follow Jesus as the savior of the world. The Jews especially, aristocrats and non-aristocrats, have stuck to their synagogue.
Scientists have reasoned about how impossible this birth is; they seem to have reasoned humanly about how impossible it is for this mystery birth to happen. Thank God for medical science but this write-up would help you understand that when it comes to God and what He does, it defies the five human senses, most importantly reasoning.
God, with the attributes and characteristics of being all knowing, all-powerful and being present everywhere at the same time was going about His plans and purpose for planet earth and His children. The prophets have prophesied, the teachers have taught and the priests have spoken about that ‘day’ when God would come down from Heaven in the salvation of humanity.
According to prophecies, the redemption of God would start from Bethlehem through the family of a couple engaged to be married. Yes, they were not yet married. The woman was a virgin and according to the custom of the day, young girls looked forward to the day of their marriage when they would have the whole world (then) know that they have not been broken, as relates to their virginity. One of such prophecies was “the Lord shall give you a sign: behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel”. Isaiah 7:14
Sometimes, Jesus is called an illegitimate child because at the time she conceived baby Jesus, Mary was not yet married to Joseph. The general idea was that men were not allowed copulation. So, how could Mary be pregnant and Joseph was not responsible for it? The logical thinking in their minds would be that Mary must have cheated on Joseph. She would therefore be called an adulteress, who is supposed to be stoned to death going by the law. She got pregnant through the process. Therefore if this child is born, the child automatically is called a bastard or an illegitimate child. That child, Jesus in this case would subsequently not be allowed into the congregation of the righteous.
Joseph was going to keep Mary away from the consequences of the law; bible describes him as a just man. It was a shame for him and his betrothed woman. He loved her so much he didn’t want to make her a public example. Like I said, the law would require such a woman to be stoned to death. The Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery to Jesus, so that they could catch him out for not following the law to letter.
What becomes of the prophecy quoted above if Joseph were married to Mary? The Word would have been whitewashed, subjugated and trounced; God would have been called so many names. The Bible today wouldn’t mean anything to us because of the inconsistencies which their marriage before the birth of Jesus would have produced. They were betrothed to each other with the purpose of getting married in the future and this is the mystery.
This is one of the reasons a very large percentage of the Jews wouldn’t believe in Christ. They feel Christ was an illegitimate child and by law, was not fit to be called the Son of God. They wouldn’t believe Him to be the messiah, the one sent by God to save the world from Sin. It is true that Mary was pregnant, it is true she was not married to Joseph and the question about where the pregnancy came from would arise and therefore needs to be answered.
The angel appeared to Joseph to make him understand that Mary had not cheated on him; that the pregnancy was not from any man but an act from God. It was divinely appointed in accordance with the purpose of God, written in the volume of the books; for that which has been conceived in Mary is of the Holy Ghost. Joseph then considered the dream and did as he was told: he did not touch or sleep with Mary until the child Jesus was born.
The Apostle Paul in his presentation of the Gospel to the Church at Rome was asked a question about their father Abraham as regards the advantage of the Jew over the Gentile; Paul had taught that all had sinned before God and that no one was exempted. I have brought this up to help us to understand that the Jews believed in the same God through Abraham. They had linked back their ancestry to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
The birth of Isaac was promised by God to Abraham and just when they (Abraham and Sarah) felt that they were running out of time, Sarah brought her house maid, Hagar to Abraham requesting that he sleeps with her so that she could give birth to a baby she could not have. Ismael was born as a result of this, but that was not the child of promise. God appeared to Abraham again and told him Ismael was not the child of promise that the child they should expect has to come through Sarah and not Hagar, according to the records in Heaven.
‘Exactly a year from now, you will have a child, God told Abraham and Sarah through the visit they got from three men. Sarah laughed and in exactly a year, she gave birth to a baby boy who was called Isaac. Isaac means laughter; Sarah laughed at the promise of God and here we have laughter given to her exactly a year after the promise.
Sarah was eighty-nine years old, while Abraham was ninety-nine years old when they received the promise from God. Medically speaking, Sarah would have reached and gone past the age of menopause, and I am guessing this was the reason she laughed. If it then happens that she gives birth at that age, it would have been a miracle. I also have not read it anywhere where Abraham knew Sarah and she conceived. In other words, the birth of Isaac was an extraordinary phenomenon and occurrence. The Jews believed the phenomenon hence the reason why they call Abraham their father. If they didn’t believe that, then the whole story about the formation of Israel would have been a sham and facade.
If Isaac was a miracle baby, I see no reason why it cannot be believed that the birth of Christ was a miracle one as well. Whether we believe it or not as humans, Christ has been born as the savior of the world. That’s God’s plan and that’s God’s way of reaching the world.