The virgin birth is essential to Jesus’ right to govern Israel. Without the virgin birth, Jesus could not be the Christ, the Messiah who will bring in the promised kingdom.
Old-line liberals used to argue against the virgin birth of Christ. They saw it as an unreasonable and unscientific theory that was, on their view, completely dispensable. Whatever was special about Jesus they held to lie in His unique but quite human God-consciousness, not in His actual deity. These old liberals and modernists became quite dismissive and even derisive toward those who insisted that the virgin birth was essential to the Christian faith.
The liberal view, now rusting away after more than a century’s antiquity, was unfaithful to biblical revelation. Furthermore, it left gaping holes in the system of doctrine that the Bible teaches. To remove the virgin birth of Christ is to damage fatally the Bible’s message of God’s dealings with humanity.
One reason is because Jesus Christ claimed to be the rightful king of Israel, and the legitimacy of this claim rests upon matters of parentage. To rightly claim the throne and scepter of Israel, Jesus had to be able to trace His descent from certain individuals. Just as importantly, He had to be able to deny His descent from others.
Most obviously, only a descendent of David could occupy the throne of Israel. This qualification was not humanly imposed but rested upon God’s own promise (2 Sam 7:11-16; 1 Chr 17:11-14; 22:9-10; 28:5-7). In the Davidic Covenant God promised David that his biological descendants (seed) would be the rulers of Israel. He further promised David a perpetual throne, dynasty (house), and kingdom. This complex of promises would only be fulfilled when a descendant of David permanently established David’s dynasty by forever occupying the throne of the kingdom of Israel.
Part of the Davidic Covenant pertained to David’s son, Solomon. God promised not to reject Solomon but to establish his kingdom and throne. Interestingly, however, God did not promise perpetuity for Solomon’s descendants. The absence of this promise becomes important in view of later events.
We might ask why it matters. After all, how could Solomon have a perpetual kingdom and throne without having descendants who would rule it? The question seems trivial, but its importance is determined by the curse that God placed upon Solomon’s descendant, Coniah (Jehoiachin).
Coniah was the next-to-last king of Judah before the Babylonian Captivity. Grandson to the godly Josiah, he was a terribly evil king. Nevertheless, he was the king through whom the Solomonic line was to be perpetuated. God was so angered by Coniah’s wickedness that He sent Jeremiah to pronounce a curse upon him (Jer 22:24–30). Part of the curse was that none of Coniah’s descendants would ever occupy the throne of David.
This curse seemed to be terrible news for the Davidic Covenant. God had promised that a descendant of David would permanently occupy the throne of Israel. God had further specified that the throne and kingdom would belong to Solomon’s house. When Coniah brought himself under God’s curse, however, it became impossible for any of Solomon’s descendants to fulfill that promise. How could God ever keep His covenant with David?