As a newly married couple, we did not plan on having children immediately. We took some time to get used to living together. However, when we decided it was time to have children, nothing happened. We were a bit confused and wondered if we were unable. Perhaps adoption would be another option. But the Lord had other plans. He blessed and we were expecting a child to arrive some time in December. When the due date got closer, we were excited and wondering what the little boy would be like. He eventually arrived just before Christmas at the hospital in Iron Mountain, Michigan.
When Isaiah 9:6-7 was written, the Lord told Isaiah to tell the people to expect the birth of a Child who would be everything they needed. He would take care of all of their problems and have the characteristics of a perfect King. Those who believed in the Lord were looking forward to the birth of this child in earnest expectation. Little did they know that this child would be born some 700 years later. And yet, without a perfect understanding of the prophecy, the people still longed for the birth of this child, expecting Him to arrive at any time to help them through their current circumstances.
- Why did they need the Child’s help?
a. The invasion of Syria and Israel (Isa. 7).
As you may recall from a previous message, “Rezin, king of Aram, northeast of Israel, and Pekah … king of Israel (752-732) had made an alliance. … Rezin convinced Pekah to join him against Pekah’s southern neighbor Judah (2 Kings 15:37; 16:5). They threatened to replace Judah’s King Ahaz with a puppet king… . The prospect of such formidable enemies as Aram and Israel caused the people of Judah to be afraid” (Martin 1046).
b. The invasion of Assyria (Isa. 8:7-8)
“God had kept the flood tide of foreign invasions walled off from His people for over five hundred years. Now He opens the floodgates and permits an enemy to cover the land like a flood” (McGee 216). This was a judgment on the people for turning away from Him. Here is what would happen:
“The king of Assyria (cf. 7:17) would sweep down on the Northern Kingdom like a river in flood stage overflowing its banks. Amazingly this ‘floodwater,’ that is, Assyria, would continue on into the land of Judah (701 B.C.). Assyria would cover Judah up to the neck, meaning that Judah would be almost but not quite drowned” (Martin 1051).
The coming invasion would not annihilate Judah but would be devastating, nonetheless. This was something that would be hard to go through, but it would also reveal something else about the people.
c. The darkness of the people (Isa. 8:19-22)
What was the status of the people in Judah? “People in Judah were pulled into the pagan practice of consulting mediums and spiritists, who specialized in trying, by whispering and muttering, to contact the dead… .”
Really? The people of God were consulting witches and having seances? Even Isaiah was mystified by their actions. He “questioned the rationality of going to the dead to find out the future instead of inquiring of the living God. The place to look was in the Law and … the testimony (cf. Isa. 8:16), which contained everything the nation needed to know about her future. A person’s failure to heed God’s Word means he has no spiritual light (cf. John 3:19-20)” (Martin 1052).
You can see how dark the land was at that time. Not only was it gloomy because of the coming invasions. It was also dark because the people had turned away from God’s light and protection.
Remember the name of the promised Child in Isaiah 7? It was Immanuel which means God with us. This was a sign to the people who were willing to trust God. “Because God has promised to be with His people they were to have faith in Him no matter how bad their circumstances. He would not desert them” (Martin 1051).
But how is a child going to help with these circumstances?
- Who was this Child? (Isaiah 9:6-7)
Notice what was promised in Isaiah 9:6. A child would be born and that child would be a son “born into the nation of Israel” (Martin 1053). If you study verses 1-7, you will see the child described clearly.
a. He would bring light into the darkness (1-2).
Have you ever been in a dark place without a flashlight? Nowadays, most of us have a flashlight built into our mobile phones. But what if your battery was dead and you had to feel around to find your way. This is how the people were in Isaiah’s day. They were needing someone to shine the light of God’s truth on them. The child to be born would bring light to their troubled situation.
b. He would have divine character (6).
Isaiah said that the child’s name would be… . This is another way of saying that these names would describe His character.
Wonderful – He would stand out from everyone else in the crowd.
Counselor – “The people will gladly listen to Him” (Martin 1053).
Mighty God – He would be the all-powerful God.
Everlasting Father – “The title ‘Everlasting Father’ is an idiom used to describe the Messiah’s relationship to time, not His relationship to [God the Father]… He is … everlasting” (Martin 1053).
Prince of Peace – He is the one who would bring in the peace they needed.
These characteristics all point to someone who is greater than any human being every could be: exceptional, listened to, Almighty God, everlasting, and a bringer of peace. But this does not conclude his description.
c. He would rule with justice (7).
According to verse 7, this future Son would sit on David’s throne, meaning that he would be king over God’s people. His kingdom would be (1) without end, (2) known for justice, and (3) empowered by the Lord. This describes a kingdom that would never end. It would not be corrupt like many are today. And it would happen because of the Lord’s doing. That sounds like a government that we would want today.
The prophecy recorded by Isaiah was written about 2,700 years ago. That kingdom has not been instituted yet. So, we are left with an important question.
- Has the Child been born yet?
By now, I would imagine that you know who this Child is. It is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is God who became man and lived among us. We know Him as Immanuel, God with us. But how does the prophecy apply to Jesus?
a. He shone a light on their spiritual darkness (Matt. 4:12-16).
Compare Matthew 4:12-16 to Isaiah 9:1. Isaiah spoke of Zebulun and Naphtali (northern tribes of Israel) as seeing a great light in their spiritual darkness. Matthew sees a fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy in Jesus’ ministry to the people in those areas.
“The people in … Galilee were in the darkness of paganism and religious tradition. … When the Lord Jesus began His ministry in that area, the people did see a great light. They saw the Lord Jesus Christ, the Light of the world. … (John 8:12)” (McGee 220).
John 8:12 – “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.'”
As the Light of the world, Jesus offered to show the path away from sin and trust in things that could not help. He shines on our lives and reveals our sinfulness but also show us that the remedy for our sin in found completely in Him.
b. He is the coming King (Rev. 20:4)
In another Christmas message, we looked at the genealogies of Jesus and found that He is from the line of David and thus able to be heir to the throne. But did Jesus reign on the earth when he first came to Bethlehem and Galilee? The answer is no. The people wanted Him to, but it was not in God’s plan for that time. He will reign on the earth during the millennial kingdom at a future, undisclosed date. So, we need to understand that “these verses … look forward to the second coming of Christ” (McGee 221).
After Jesus died and came back to life, His disciples asked Him, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” Jesus told them it was not for them to know right then. So, when will Jesus reign as King on the earth?
The New Testament reveals that there will be a seven-year Tribulation period after which Jesus will return to destroy his enemies and rule over the world. According to the Book of Revelation, Satan will be thrown into the bottomless pit and Jesus will rule the earth for 1,000 years (see Rev. 20:1-4). His reign will be known for peace and justice. While their will be a rebellion when Satan is released, that rebellion will be crushed and He will reign forever and ever.
Every Christmas, when we talk about the sweet, little baby in the manger, we think of a cute little baby wrapped up tightly, cooing, and looking up at His mother. Sometimes, we also think about what He came to do on the cross. These are good things to consider. But have you contemplated the thought that this little baby was born to rule over all the earth? That time is coming at some future date, unknown to any of us. But it will happen as promised by God through the prophet Isaiah and in the Book of Revelation.
As you go through life and experience the ups-and-downs, are you satisfied with the way things are? Be honest. When is the last time that you were completely satisfied with a president or politician? We never are. No matter how much we like Washington, Lincoln, JFK, or Reagan, they all had faults and were not completely successful in what they did.
Jesus is the promised Child in Isaiah 9 who will one day reign as the King over all the earth. While all of us would like a perfect ruler, are you ready for Him to be the King of your life? You can’t wait to make the decision in the future. Each of us needs to have a right relationship with Him now to be prepared for then. So how can you be ready?
- Repent of your sin. Repentance is not becoming perfect but turning away from your sin. God knows that all of us are sinful and unworthy of His love. But He wants us to recognize our sinfulness and to consciously have a change of mind about it. My sin is against God and I don’t want to live that way anymore. That is repentance.
- Trust in Jesus. The Bible tells us that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” This means that everyone who believes that Jesus died for their sins and rose again will be saved from the punishment due for their sins. You escape judgment simply by putting your trust in Jesus and what He accomplished for you.
When someone repents of his sin and puts his faith in Jesus, God causes him to be born again. This is a spiritual change made by God in the life of each person who believes. Have you had that change in your life? If not, this is the time to make things right with God. Turn from your sinfulness and place your faith in Jesus who died to pay for your sins and rose from the dead and you will be born again by God.
- Follow His directions. Sometimes, we talk about being saved or being born again and then stop thinking. Do you realize that Jesus is not just your Savior but is also to be your Lord. This means that He is in charge of your life. After being born again, you should read the Bible and find out what He wants you to do. That is a reasonable response after all that He has done for you. This includes meditating on what the Bible says, talking to God on a regular basis (prayer), and telling others about Him. It also includes living a life that is pleasing to Him. Thankfully, He doesn’t leave us alone to accomplish these things, but has given us the Holy Spirit to enable us to be and do what the Lord desires.
For those of us who know the Lord, we gladly choose to obey Him. It isn’t a have-to but a want-to situation. When we have this kind of attitude about the Lord, we will be ready for His Second Coming. It may be today or at some time in the future. But why wait to serve the King of Kings and Lord of Lords? Turn over your life to Him and enjoy serving Him today.
Leupold, H. C., Exposition of Isaiah Volume II Chapters 40-66, Grand Rapids: Baker, 1977, pp. 169-187.
Martin, John A., “Isaiah,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary, (USA: SP Publications, 1989), pp. 1046-54.
McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, Vol. III, Proverbs through Malachi, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982, pp. 216-22.