Monday, December 8, 2014

For Unto Us A Child Is Born (Isaiah 9:1-7)

In Isaiah 9:1-7 the Prophet spoke of the coming Deliverer who will effect the changes in the nation of which the prophet had been speaking. The Messiah's coming will lead the nation into joy and prosperity, which had been lacking for years. His coming will fulfill the promises to Abraham and David about the prosperous kingdom. The "child" motif again is evident (v. 6; cf. 7:14-16; 8:1-4,18). The Child will grow up to be the Deliverer (9:7), not a sign (8:18) of deliverance but the Deliverer Himself. He will effect the changes necessary for prosperity and spirituality to come to the nation.

Isaiah 9:1 predicts that a time will come when gloom and darkness (8:22) will be a thing of the past. The gloom on the northern section of Israel came because of discipline. God humbled... Zebulun and... Naphtali for a while. Though Isaiah was probably using these two tribal names to represent the Northern Kingdom, it is striking that Jesus' upbringing and early ministry was mostly in that very area near the Sea of Galilee. His presence certainly "honored" that area. In 732 B.C. this northern portion of Israel became an Assyrian province under Tiglath-Pileser III, thus humbling the people there and putting them in gloom. Under Gentile domination, that area was called Galilee of the Gentiles.

The way of the sea describes a major international highway running through this region. This is the only place where the Bible used this phrase, but it appears often in Assyrian and Egyptian records. The invading Assyrian soldiers took that route when they invaded the Northern Kingdom. From that area the Messiah will arise and will wipe away the gloom and darkness brought on by Gentile domination.

With typical Hebrew parallelism the prophet described the effect of the Messiah on this northern part of Israel. The people were in darkness (cf. 8:22, 9:2.) and in the shadow of death. Then they saw a great light and light... dawned on them. Matthew applied this passage to Jesus, who began His preaching and healing ministry in that region (Matt 4:15-16).

Isaiah 9:3-5. You probably refers to God the Father, who will lead the people from spiritual darkness into light (v. 2) by sending the Child (v. 6), the Messiah. The light will increase their joy like the joy at harvest time or the joy of winning a battle and dividing the plunder. "Joy" is another emphasis of Isaiah's, mentioned more than two dozen times in the book. This will be a supernatural work of God much like the nation's deliverance when Gideon defeated Midian (Judge 7:1-24; Isa 10:26). It will be like taking a burden off one's back (9:4). At that time, after the Child-Messiah will come, the implements of warfare will be destroyed (v. 5) because in His reign of universal peace implements of war will not be needed (cf. 2:4).


1. He was to be born a Child. The implication, given in parallel style, is that this Child, a Son, was to be born into the nation of Israel (to us) as one of the covenant people.

2. He will rule over God's people (cf. Mic 5:2) and the world (Zech 14:9). The government will be on His shoulders figuratively refers to the kingly robe to be worn by the Messiah. As King, He will be responsible to govern the nation. In Isaiah's day Judah's leaders were incompetent in governing the people. But the Messiah will govern properly.


3.1. He will be the nation's WONDERFUL COUNSELOR (this Wonderful could be trans. "exceptional" or "distinguished") and the people will gladly listen to Him as the authoritative One. In the kingdom many people will be anxious to hear the Messiah teach God's ways (2:3).

3.2. He is also the MIGHTY GOD (cf. 10:21). Some have suggested that this simply means "a godlike person" or hero. But Isaiah meant more than that, for he had already spoken of the Messiah doing what no other person had been able to do (e.g., 9:2-5). Isaiah understood that the Messiah was to be God in some sense of the term.

3.3. This Deliverer will also be called the EVERLASTING FATHER. Many people are puzzled by this title because the Messiah, God's Son, is distinguished in the Trinity from God the Father. How can the Son be the Father? Several things must be noted in this regard. First, the Messiah, being the second Person of the Trinity, is in His essence, God. Therefore He has all the attributes of God including eternality. Since God is One (even though He exists in three Persons), the Messiah is God.

Second, the title "Everlasting Father" is an idiom used to describe the Messiah's relationship to time, not His relationship to the other Members of the Trinity. He is said to be everlasting, just as God (the Father) is called "the Ancient of Days" (Dan 7:9). The Messiah will be a "fatherly" Ruler. Third, perhaps Isaiah had in mind the promise to David (2 Sam 7:16) about the "foreverness" of the kingdom which God promised would come through David's line. The Messiah, a Descendant of David, will fulfill this promise for which the nation had been waiting.

3.4. The Messiah is also called the PRINCE OF PEACE, the One who will bring in and maintain the time of millennial peace when the nation will be properly related to the Lord. Together, these four titles give a beautiful picture of the coming Messiah's character (Isa 9:6 includes the first of Isaiah's 25 references to peace.)

4. The Messiah, seated on David's throne (Luke 1:32-33), will have an eternal rule of peace and justice. His rule will have no end; it will go on forever (cf. Dan 7:14,27; Mic 4:7; Luke 1:33; Rev 11:15). Following the kingdom on earth, He will rule for eternity. He will maintain righteousness (cf. Jer 23:5), as His rule will conform to God's holy character and demands.

5. This will all be accomplished by the zeal of the LORD Almighty. The coming of the millennial kingdom depends on God, not Israel. The Messiah will rule because God promised it and will zealously see that the kingdom comes. Without His sovereign intervention there would be no kingdom for Israel.

Apparently Isaiah assumed that the messianic Child, Jesus Christ, would establish His reign in one Advent, that when the Child grew up He would rule in triumph. Like the other prophets, Isaiah was not aware of the great time gap between Messiah's two Advents (cf. 1 Peter 1:10-12; and see comments on Isa 61:1-2).

(Taken from Bible Knowledge Commentary © 1983, 2000 Cook Communications Ministries)


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