Scripture reading – Isaiah 9

For regular followers of, the recent Scripture readings have presented a dark, foreboding shadow of judgment coupled with destruction that was soon to fall to Israel, and thereafter Judah. Yet, in spite of the approaching clouds of war, and the threat of captivity, the LORD gave His disobedient people a future hope.

A Day When Darkness and Gloom Will Be No More (9:1-2)

Zebulun and Naphtali, the tribal lands situated around the Sea of Galilee (9:1), would suffer much under the Assyrian invasion and captivity. Yet, it was that same geographical region of Israel where the coming Messiah would base much of His ministry.

In that day, the Sea of Galilee, and the lands east of the Jordan River teemed with multitudes listening to the Messiah’s teachings, and witnessing His miracles (Matthew 4:13-16). That which Isaiah had foretold 700 years before Jesus Christ was born, would come to pass: “The people that walked in darkness [would see] a great light: They that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them [would] the light shine” (9:2).

Isaiah’s prophecy was fulfilled when the LORD said of Himself, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).

Four Blessings Would Attend the Messiah’s Coming (9:2-5)

Israel was promised the Messiah would bring deliverance from the bondage of sin and darkness (9:2; John 1:4; 8:12; 12:46; 2 Corinthians 4:6; 1 John 1:5). In that day, men would have cause for joy, and the people would rejoice like the rejoicing in time of harvest, and when men divide the spoils of war (9:3).

A third blessing accompanying the Messiah’s coming would be the LORD’s promise to deliver His people from the yoke of bondage [captivity], and remove the weight of those who oppressed them (9:4).

Finally, the Messiah would bring lasting peace to Israel (9:5). The bloodstained garments of war would be discarded, and burned with fire (a promise partially fulfilled when God saved the city of Jerusalem from the Assyrian army, Isaiah 37:1-38). Nevertheless, that promise has yet to be fulfilled, and will only be fulfilled when Jesus Christ returns to set up His Millennial Kingdom (Isaiah 2:1-5).

The Promise and Birth of A King (9:6-7)

One of the best known, and most celebrated of Isaiah’s prophecies was recorded in Isaiah 9:6-7. Isaiah foretold the Messiah King would be like no other, for He would be the God-Man, conceived and born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14; 9:6a; Luke 1:34-35), the incarnate Son of God named “Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14; Philippians 2:6-7). Of that Son we read:

6For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: And the government shall be upon his shoulder: And his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, Upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, To order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice From henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this” (Isaiah 9:6-7).

Christ’s birth fulfilled the first part of Isaiah’s prophecy (9:6a), but the balance of Isaiah 9:6-7 will be fulfilled at Christ’s Second Coming. When He returns, He will rule the earth, and “the government shall be upon His shoulder” (9:6b), for He will sit on the throne of David and rule the world. His titles and attributes will be “Wonderful, Counsellor” [for He is the God of all wisdom]; “the Mighty [omnipotent, all powerful] God.” He is “the Everlasting Father [the Father of Eternity], and the “Prince of Peace” [the fount of everlasting peace]” (9:6).

Christ will establish His kingdom on earth, and sit “upon the throne of David,” and all the earth will be at peace (9:7; 11:6-9). Those promises are sealed and guaranteed by “the zeal of the LORD of hosts” (9:7).

The Imminent Wrath and Judgment of the LORD (9:8-21)

Turning from the blessed hope of the Messiah, Isaiah prophesied against Israel that which would be partially fulfilled when Syria led a coalition of nations against Israel (9:8-12). Foreshadowing the Assyrian invasion that would follow, Israel refused to repent of her sins and turn to the LORD (9:13).

Isaiah 9:14-18 described how the LORD would pour out His wrath on Israel, cutting off “the head and the tail” (the head being the elder statesmen, and the tail identified as lying, false prophets, 9:14-15). Israel was blighted with wicked leaders that had “caused [the people] to err…and led the [nation to be] destroyed” (9:16).

In spite of the troubles, famine, and anarchy suffered by Israel (9:18-20), the nation refused to repent, and even determined to make war with Judah! Isaiah warned, “For all this his anger is not turned away, But his hand is stretched out still” (9:21).

Closing thoughts – Isaiah foretold the Messiah King would be like no other. He would be the God-Man, conceived and born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14; 9:6a; Luke 1:34-35), the incarnate Son of God named “Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14; Philippians 2:6-7). Yet, He would be rejected by His own people, suffer a humiliating, but vicarious, substitutionary death (Isaiah 53:3-10). For Jesus Christ did bear the sins of the world (John 1:29; Romans 5:8).

Romans 5:88But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith

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