Mother and Child by Frances Hodgkins
An interesting passage of scripture to look at is Isaiah 7:1-17. In this portion of scripture, King Ahaz is given a sign that the Lord is going to be with Him. Isaiah says that a "virgin shall conceive and bring forth a child, and before he is old enough to know the difference between right and wrong the two kings that are troubling him will be destroyed."
The traditional Christian view is that this is a messianic prophecy about the virgin birth of Jesus tied to the gospels in Matthew 1:22-23. This seems to coincide with the Matthew text, but what about King Ahaz? It would be a horrible sign that everything was going to be fine if he had to wait 800 years to be certain of the Lord's promise to him.
The Hebrew word used here for virgin is (Almah). This word actually has several meanings in the Hebrew. The most common translation is young woman, but it can also mean virgin in some instances. So which word is the right one? An Almah young woman would allow the promise of the Lord for Ahaz to come to pass in short amount of time, but would seem to negate the virgin birth and Matthew's gospel account of Jesus' birth. However, an Almah virgin could mean that Ahaz never got his promise or there was more than one virgin birth. How does one translate this word according to the Hebrew? If it is translated either way, there would seem to be major problems.
This verse in Isaiah is one that could be seen as a dual or double fulfillment. This means that at the time of Isaiah's message to Ahaz the term may have been a young woman who was not married, or was a virgin at the time of this promise. Soon, though she would marry, be a virgin no longer, and bear a child. This would fulfill the sign to Ahaz. Also, the Holy Spirit revealed this passage later to Matthew to speak of Jesus who was truly conceived of a virgin. The Hebrew words used in Isaiah may have been vague for a reason, that reason being that the sign that came to Ahaz was not the end of the prophecy but only the first fulfillment of the double prophecy that was completed through the virgin birth of Jesus.