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Isaiah 7

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The Sign Of Immanuel (ch. 7:1 - 25)                 


In verse 1 we see Ahaz, the king of Judah.  He was king of Judah from 735 to 715 B. C..  We also see Rezin, king of Aram, or Syria.  We also see Pekah, king of Israel, and, in this case, Israel refers to the northern kingdom of Israel.  Israel does not refer to the whole nation of Israel, meaning the north and the south. 


The northern kingdom of Israel and Syria were enemies.  The northern kingdom and Syria joined forces in order to fight the Assyrians.  They wanted the southern kingdom to join in the fight.  The south refused.  Therefore the north and Syria attacked the southern kingdom of Israel.  The northern kingdom of Israel and  Syria invade Jerusalem but fail to win the battle. This took place around 735 B. C. and is called the Syro-Ephraimatic War. 


To get the historical setting here you should read 2 Kings 16 and 2 Chronicles 28.


In verse 2 we see the term "house of David".  This refers to the southern kingdom of  Israel, Judah.  We need to remember that throughout the prophetic books that both the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Israel are called by a number of names.  You can only understand these prophecies by understanding what names refer to what part of Israel is being spoken of.


Anyway, in verse two we note that Ahaz, king of Judah, realizes that the northern kingdom of Israel had made an alliance with Syria.  This scares the king because it's clear this alliance was formed to attack Judah. 


Aram in verse 2 is Syria .  Ephraim is another name for the northern kingdom of Israel.  Ephraim is often used for the northern kingdom because it was the most predominant of the ten northern tribes.   


In verses 3 to  6 we see that Isaiah takes his son, whose name means "a remnant will return", goes to visit king Ahaz who is in fear of the northern kingdom and the Syrians.  Isaiah wants to calm the king down.  In his words these two enemies are just "smoldering stubs".  In other words, they're not worth worrying about.


From 2 Kings 16 we note that Ahaz wants to form an alliance with Assyria, another traditional enemy of both the northern kingdom and the southern kingdom of Israel.  This is typical human nature, and nations do this all the time.  They form alliances with their enemy to defeat another enemy, but many more times than not, this backfires.


In verses 7 through 9 the Lord speaks to the king through Isaiah by saying that he should not worry.  Both Syria and the northern kingdom are way to weak to cause any harm. 


There is mention of the northern kingdom being next to nothing in 65 years.  Most commentators struggle to understand this.  The northern kingdom was defeated by Assyria in 722 B. C..  The dating of this 65 years is well after 722 B.C.. 


The last part of verse 9 was not only important for Ahaz, it's important for us today.  "If you don't stand firm in your faith, you won't stand at all".   When considering the days ahead for those of us in the western world, and really, for those in all the world, we will not stand unless we stand firm in the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ.  It's that simple.  It's time to find the strength now before it's too late.


In verse 10 God challenges Ahaz.  God says, "ask for a sign".  Ahaz replies in verse 12.  His answer shows his stupidity.  He refuses to ask for a sign from God Almighty.  In verse 13 God replies to Ahaz through Isaiah again.  He basically says, "you try the patience of men, don't try the patience of God".  It's a bit of a slap in the face to Ahaz.


Trying the patience of God is something that man is doing more and more as this age comes to an end.  This trying of God's patience reaches its heights in the book of Revelation as we see man's futile and stupid  attempt to fight against God. 


In verse 14 we see that it didn't matter if Ahaz was going to ask for a sign or not.  God would give him a sign, and not only him, but the whole world would be given this sign. 


The sign is one of the most famous verses in the Bible.  "The virgin will be with child and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel".  Of course, we all know these words from the Christmas story found in the gospel accounts of the New Testament.  


Note the word "the" in verse 14.  It's not "a" as some versions say.  You normally don't make a big deal over words like "the", but in this case we will.  The virgin is one particular virgin as we know well. 


There are two Hebrew words that can be translated as virgin.  "Almah" is a Hebrew word used of a young virgin who is of marriageable age.  This is the word used here.  "Bethulah" is a Hebrew word for virgin who is too young to marry.  It can also be translated as state or country.  


Immanuel means "God with us". This is a Messianic verse.Immanuel suggests the Deity of Christ.


Now, to understand what is going on here, verse 14 speaks of two babies being born.  The one is Jesus, who was born of a virgin, through the power of the Holy Spirit and the other was a baby to be born in Ahaz's day.  We do not know the mother or the father of this baby. Some believe this baby was a child of Ahaz. 


Verses 15 and 16 speak to this second baby, who by the time he grows up and knows the difference between right and wrong, both the northern kingdom of Israel and Syria will pretty much be history. 


Verse 17 causes us some problems.  It is clearly directed to Judah , not to the northern kingdom, but, it mentions the king of Assyria, as if this Assyrian king will invade Judah. The problem is this.  The Assyrians invade and conquer the northern kingdom of Israel.  They attempt to conquer the southern kingdom, but God rescues the south from the Assyrians.  So it's hard for us to understand what's going on here when Isaiah predicts a day that is real bad, a day that the south had never experienced since the civil war between the north and south a couple hundred years earlier.


We have a couple of possibilities here.  Isaiah could be predicting the Assyrian attempt to conquer Judah.  The problem with this thinking is that Judah was rescued from Assyria , so would that be as bad as what the text seems to suggest.  There are many, who feel that this has a double meaning, as many prophecies do.  They believe this is speaking of the end of our present age.  Then, many who believe this speaks to the end of this present age, believe the anti-Christ is portrayed in the king of Assyria .  Thus the anti-Christ to them is in modern day terms, Islamic.  The text suggest here that the time of trouble for the south, will be as Jesus said, has never been seen in history past, or never will be seen in history future.


From verse 18 to the end of the chapter speaks of a day after the rule of Ahaz when Judah will become desolate.  It has been desolate for much of the last two centuries.   In symbolic terms, verse 18 states that God will whistle for the Assyrians and the Egyptians to come in and ravage the land.  Again, we have a similar problem  Is this speaking of the last days, or the time when this land was ravaged.  It's probably speaking of both.  We do need to realize that in many cases, prophecies of the Bible have a double fulfillment.



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