I know an American couple who had one son but tragically suffered three miscarriages. The boy grew up without siblings but when he was seventeen years old had a vision in which he met his absent family. In the dream he was swimming underwater, surfaced, and found himself in a heavenly realm. Sitting before him were three beautiful girls who introduced themselves and said, “We are your sisters!” The experience was shocking–one in which he was out of his dimension–and one he never forgot. God imparts life at the moment of conception. Though microscopically small, that little one is a future child, teenager, adult, who was created in the “image and likeness of God.”
Amazingly, the largest cell in the human body is the female ovum; the smallest cell is the male sperm. The ovum can almost be seen with the naked eye, the sperm, only with a microscope. In spite of their smallness, each produces complete life when joined to the other. In uniting, a new person is conceived. Though infinitely tiny, that one may be a future scientist, doctor, mother, father, musician, inventor, mathematician, or someone else. Regardless of their role in life; the beginning is miraculous.
We read the Angel’s message to Mary without realizing that his brief words can open our minds to oceans of new revelation. Such is true with the word womb. If there is a “mystery-zone” in human language, it is this word. For that reason I want to focus on the word not just in the Angel’s message to Mary but to its role in the whole creative-plan of God. I will speak very plainly about this astounding miracle.
Scripture identifies our bodies as “Temples of the Holy Spirit.” In the case of the woman’s womb, her Temple serves dual purposes. In a very real sense, birthing a newborn is a return to the Garden of Eden where God “breathed into Adam’s nostrils the breath of life and he became a ‘living soul.’” Conception in the womb is similar to God’s original work of creating man. It is important that every human grasp this holy reality: Life physically and spiritually made its first appearance here. The wonder of Jesus’ conception is not just of Him but also of the womb in which He was conceived. Two miracles are displayed: One is spiritual; the other is physiological. God used Mary’s virgin body, she became the “Handmaiden of the Lord ,” but she did not become an object to be worshiped. Nor did she become superior to the Holy One she bore. Such ideas are heretical and alien to Bible truth.
The uterus is the strongest muscle in the human body. Male weight-lifters impress us with their strength but this small organ inside a woman possesses more physical power than “Mr. Universe.” How is that so? The womb has multiple layers of muscle that wrap together, running in every direction, and per square inch make it the strongest of all body tissues. If these muscles spasm, as in child-birth, they produce significantly more pain than any other muscle. A cramping football player on the field cannot compare his pain to that of a woman in childbirth.
The ancient Hebrew word for womb, “rechem”, interestingly contains the same three letters as the Hebrew word for “Compassion.” There is a reason for this similarity: The organ is as strong compassionately as it is muscularly. We find “rechem” first used in Scripture in Exodus 2:6, when Pharaoh’s daughter found the infant Moses’ hidden in the bulrushes of the Nile: “When she opened the basket, she saw the child, and behold, the baby wept. So she had compassion (rechem) on him, and said, ‘This is one of the Hebrew children!’"
Moses’ sister who was watching nearby volunteered to provide a Jewish nurse for this young Egyptian: That woman was Moses’ own mother. Meditate on this fact: Pharoah’s daughter called the baby’s name Moses, saying, “I drew him out of the water” (Exodus 2:10). I don’t think I am elaborating too far when I make this point: This Egyptian young woman “yearned for him” when she saw his being “drawn out of the water.” It was the motherhood of her own womb that longed for him. She knew he was Jewish. She knew she was violating the Law. But, her sense of maternity was more intense than her fear of Judges, rules, and legalism. (1 Kings 3:16-18). In rescuing the weeping baby she was responding to God who worked in her sense of motherhood.
Each of us is alive today because of our mother’s womb. But, her secret place gave us more than a physical body. We also have a soul and spirit. These came to us in the womb. It was here that we were “made in God’s image”– Trinitarian – possessing spirit, soul, and body. Our mother’s womb not only joined us to hers and our father’s ancestry reaching all the way back to the Garden of Eden. It was in this “secret place” we were conceived in God’s image and likeness. Most wonderfully, we were designed for an eternal future. David expressed this truth in Psalm 139:12-16, when he said:
“You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. my frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.”
David knew this mysterious 280 day period from conception to birth. That time-frame is 40 weeks or 7 times 40 days. Both numbers, 7 and 40, are important in Scripture. There are 40 Old Testament references to the number 40. The number 7 continues the mystery since the gestation period for many animals is divisible by 7. Chicken is 3 times 7. Ducks and other waterfowl is from 21 to 31 days. Ostrich incubation is 35 to 45 days but many are divisible by seven. This strange statistic also repeats in a woman’s fertility period. For example, in humans, a woman’s menstrual-cycle follows the moon’s cycle of 29.5 days. Women whose cycle is closest to this rhythm have a higher rate of fertility and bear more children. At age 50-52 many women enter menopause which is close to the same number of weeks in a year. Genesis 18:11.
My point is that the womb is a “Holy-of-Holies” which reflects the astonishing work of God. A new life is transported into it through male and female bodies. God intended that conception occur during a married man and woman’s greatest experience of romance and love. Recent discoveries by Harvard University scientists have revealed that a woman’s lymph system actually absorbs part of the male seminal fluid and stores it permanently in her body. The two not only become “one flesh” in the conception of their children but he physically remains one flesh with her. Such is the wonder of God! Heaven simultaneously reveals the sanctity of marriage and truth of Scripture in this incredible way.
This reproduction of “life” through conception has never been explained, will never be, but remains an eternal mystery. What is life? We can only identify the physical parts through which life reveals itself–but the reality of the human life principle remains forever elusive. Life is the essence of God which He breathed into the lifeless form of Adam in the Garden and he became “a living soul.” Adam’s body contained the sperm of half-life that when joined with Eve’s ovum of half-life created the full-life of others and began the human race. Through them, the pattern was set that every individual born of mankind would have both a mother and a father. The Virgin Mary knew this and when told by the Angel that she would “Conceive in her womb and bring forth a Son ...” she was astonished. Her answer was, “But! Sexually, I know not a man!" The Angel explained, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you!” Mary experienced conception, not by man, but by the Holy Spirit’s invasion of her body.
So also today, the mother provides the nest in which conception occurs. It is here that we encounter one of the greatest mysteries of life: In a single instance the male may produce as many as 50,000,000+ sperm to the female’s single ovum. Another astonishing fact is this: The quadrillions of sperm a man produces in his lifetime were formed in his embryo within four weeks after his conception. Every one of them was present long before he was born. Though these spermatozoa have no brain or apparent intelligent-guide they behave with a highly-developed sense of direction and purpose. They understand the critical timing of their mission and each desperately strives to reach the egg before the other sperm. This occurs with incredible speed. When it enters, the ovum instantly closes the outer wall and allows no other sperm access. There are millions of sperm available in the moment of pregnancy and their timing is beyond our calculation. This mystery of the womb is one of the greatest wonders of the Universe.
When a woman is not pregnant the uterus normally measures around 7.5 inches long and 2 inches wide. During pregnancy it may expand five hundred times its original size–all this occurring within an eight month period. There is no other human elasticity greater than this. It stretches from the rib-cage to the pelvis and outward. After birth, the womb quickly returns to it’s original size. The organ’s most vital function is to protect and nourish the developing infant; to provide this, it contains many layers of tissues and thousands of miles of microscopic blood vessels. The fertilized egg embeds itself in the linings of the uterine wall. Here, the endometrium provides nourishment for the developing baby. The uterus also serves other vital functions: It provides muscular structure and shape to the abdomen and keeps the bladder, pelvic bones, kidneys, and other structures in place. A laboring uterus exerts incredible pressure to push the baby out of the womb and is the strongest force exerted by any muscle in the body! Tragically, the uterus is sensitive to the industrial chemicals now flooding our environment and hundreds of toxins are finding their way into the wombs of women. Worse still, they are also found in the blood of newborns.
62,000,000+ abortions of such little ones has occurred in the U.S. since the Supreme Court legalized the carnage in 1973. The practice of abortion is murderous and inconceivably evil. Of the defenseless infant it may be said, “What God has joined together let no man put asunder!” The willful killing of human beings and the use of their body-parts in medical research is the most grim and despicable crime in human history. Adolph Hitler’s massacre of Europe and torturous death of millions of Jews is numerically small in comparison. Conception and birth is the most magnificent event in the Universe! Nothing else compares to its wonder and mystery. Thank you Angel! Thank you Mary! Thank you, every mother who has given birth! — CC
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