About Jesus   Steve Sweetman

Home Page

Isaiah 9

Previous Section - Chapter 8

Next Section - Chapter 10

ch. 9:1-7     ch. 9:8 - 10:4

To Us A Child Is Born (ch. 9:1 - 7)             

 

In verse 1 we see the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali.  These two tribes of srael are in present day north east Israe, in the area west of the Jordan River, known as the West Bank. This is presently disputed land that is mostly occupied by Palestinians.  In Isaiah's day, these lands were in the northern kingdom of Israel.  

                         

Verse 1 speaks of "gloom and distress" that Zebulun and Naphtali had experience.  This is probably do to the attack by the Assyrians on this part of the northern kingdom in and around 735 B. C..

 

Verse 1 predicts a day when these two lands will be restored.  In Matthew 4:15 and 16,  Matthew quotes this verse.  He says that Jesus, at least in part as I see it, fulfilled Isaiah's prophecy of this land being "honoured".  The very fact that Jesus spent most of His time walking the western shore of the Jordan River and teaching on the hillsides, was seen as honouring this land. 

 

I personally see an end time fulfillment of this verse when Jesus returns, restores Israel, and hands all her land back to her, including the lands of Zebulun and Naphtali.  This means that the present day disputed West Bank will eventually be handed completely over to Israel by Jesus.

 

The term " Galilee of the Gentiles" is seen in verse 1.  The reason for this is because this was a mixed area.  Both Jews and Gentiles lived here, which includes Samaritans, who were half Jew and half Gentile, both by marriage and religion.

 

Verse 2 speaks of the people living in darkness and under the shadow of death.  These people are those who live in the land of Zebulun and Naphtali.  Isaiah predicts a day when the shadow of death will disappear.  The people will walk in the light.  Did that take place in Jesus' day?  Not really.  They had the opportunity to live in life and light, but for the most part rejected Jesus' offer of light and life.  The real fulfillment of this verse is at the end of this age, when Jesus returns to earth.  I would suggest that this land is still under the shadow of death.   

 

Verse 3 speaks of the day of the return of Jesus.  The lands of these two tribes, and really, the land of all twelve tribes, will be enlarged and secured.  There will be much rejoicing in that day. 

 

Verses 4 and 5 continue on in this vein of the restoration of these two lands.  The mention of a Midianite invasion that Israel fought off in victory is meant to symbolize the victory of Israel in the last day.  This Midianite invasion took place in Israel's past.

 

Verse 6 is one very well known verse.  We read it every year at Christmas, but really, this verse is more about the return of Jesus to earth in victory than it is about His birth, even though there is mention of His birth.  Verse 6 is what we call a Messianic prophecy, predicting the coming of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. 

 

Verse 6 begins by saying, "for unto us a child is born".  Even though Christians relate the word "us" to themselves as they read this at Christmas, the word "us" really refers, first to the lands of Zebulun and Naphtali, and then to Israel in general.  If you read John, chapter 1, you will note that the Messiah, that's Jesus, came to Israel.  His mission was to Israel, not to the world.  His death was for the world, but His birth and His ministry was to Israel.   

 

There isn't anything really wrong with thinking the word "us" can't refer to Gentile believers, because in the long run, the birth of Jesus touches us all.  That being said, in context, "us' refers to Zebulun and Naphtali, and in general terms to Israel.

 

The term "child is born" speaks of the humanity of Jesus.  He was born into humanity as a human. 

 

The term "son is given" in verse 6 refers to Jesus' divinity.  Jesus was not the son of Joseph.  He was the Son of God.  His mother was human,  His mother was Mary, but His father was not human.  His father was God Himself.

 

So, in the first part of verse 6 we have a clear picture of who the Messiah is.  He is both human and divine.

 

"The government will be on His shoulders".  We need to ask, "in context, what government is Isaiah speaking of here".  It's got to be the government of Zebulun and Naphtali, and if these two tribes, then all of Israel.  So, the Messiah will lead the government of Israel at some future point to when Isaiah predicted these words.  I ask, "has this yet happened"?  The answer is, "no".  The Messiah of Israel has never been the king of Israel.  Since the southern kingdom fell to Babylon in 586 B. C., Israel has never been a nation, not until 1948.  This speaks of the return of Jesus to Israel and to the earth. 

 

When thinking of the Jewish Messiah as being King of the Jews, we need to understand that the Bible predicts the return of Jesus to the city of Jerusalem, where He will rule over Israel.  Yet beyond His rule over Israel, He will rule over all the nations on earth.  Israel, during the thousand years, will exist as it was meant to exist in Old Testament times. Israel was to be, but never was, God' representative nations to the nations of the world.  It will be that during the thousand year rule of Christ on earth from Jerusalem.

 

Verse 6 gives a number of titles or job descriptions given to the Messiah.  The first is "Wonderful Counselor".  Some suggest that Wonderful is an adjective to Counselor, meaning, the Counselor is Wonderful.  That could be so in English but the problem is that Hebrew had no such thing as an adjective.  I believe Wonderful and Counselor are two separate distinct characterizations of Jesus.  He is Wonderful and He is also Counselor. 

 

The term "Mighty God" clearly shows the Deity of the Messiah He is God, but, He is the God of warriors.  The Hebrew translated as "Mighty" here, or, "Almighty" elsewhere, means "army".  The Messiah is the "God of armies".  We see Jesus in that roll when He returns to earth.  You may recall that Jesus could have called on a heavenly host of angels to rescue Him from death.  This heavenly host is a heavenly army. 

 

The term "Everlasting Father" also clearly portrays the Messiah as God.  A more accurate translation would be "the Father of Eternity".  Again, this speaks of the Deity of Christ, the Deity of the Messiah.  The word "Father" portrays the idea that the Messiah, although being a son, demonstrates the protecting and caring aspects of a Father, not only for a time, but for all of eternity. 

 

The last title given to the Messiah here is the "Prince of Peace".  The word "Prince" is a military word in Hebrew.  This tells us how the Messiah will eventually bring eternal peace to this planet.  Peace will come by victory of war, as seen in the last great battle that ends this age. 

 

So, I think you can clearly see, verse 6 is more about the return of Jesus to earth than it is about His birth.  This is a nice verse  to read at Christmas, but we should understand, Christmas isn't exactly what this verse is all about.

 

Verse 7 tells us that the kingdom of the Messiah's rule of peace will have no end.  So, the rule of peace may begin during the thousand year rule of Christ, but it doesn't end when the thousand years is up.  It continues into the days of the New Heaven and the New Earth. 

 

Verse 7 speaks of "the throne of David".  Many Christians get mixed up on this point.  They think Jesus is ruling right now in heaven on the throne of David.  That is not so.  He does rule from Heaven, but from the right hand of God, from His Father's throne.  The throne of David was, and will be, an earthly throne.  As King David ruled Israel from a throne in Jerusalem, so will Jesus rule from His throne in Jerusalem.

 

Again, we see that the Messiah's rule will be forever.  It will not just last a thousand years.

 

This section ends with the words, "the zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish it".  Remember, the word "Almighty" means "army".  The Lord, the Messiah is Lord of a vast heavenly army who will accomplish what has just been prophesied.  The Hebrew word translated as "zeal" means "a very powerful jealousy".  The Messiah has an indescribable jealousy for His people.  This is the motivation behind Him coming to earth to establish His kingdom.  The last sentence makes it clear.  What has been predicted, will come about.

 

The picture this last verse paints of God seems very outdated in our modern society.  As seen in the eyes of modern man, this looks more like old style Greek mythology than anything else.  In our so-called intelligence, we've ruled such a portrayal of God out of existence.  That being said, this is the God of the Bible.  Christians must understand this, but often don't.      

 

 

The Lord's Anger Against Israel
 
(ch. 9:8 10 - 4)  

 

In verse 8 we see Israel and Jacob mentioned.  This is in reference to the northern kingdom of Israel, not Judah.  I say that because of the reference to Ephraim and Samaria in verse 9, both of which are in the northern kingdom.

 

Verse 10 is a clear demonstration of the pride and arrogance of the northern kingdom.  Even though they have been defeated in war, they arrogantly proclaim that they will rebuild and bounce back stronger than ever.  They are relying on their own strength for their restoration, not the Lord's strength.  We should view these words as words spoken in defiance to God. 

 

In relation to this verse, I recommend you read, "The Harbinger", by Jonathan Cahn.  It relates this verse in a very interesting and prophetic way to America and 911. 

 

In verse 11 we see Rezin mentioned.  He is the king of Syria. 

 

In verse 12 we see the Arameans mentioned. The text states that they are from the east.  These are the Assyrians who are to the east of Israel.  The Philistines are to the west of Israel, on the  Mediterranean Sea, which is modern day Gaza.    

 

Verses 11 and 12 are in reference to the alliance that the northern kingdom of Israel made with Syria and her king, king Rezin.  The enemies of both Israel and Syria, who are Assyria and the Philistines, will attack and defeat the northern kingdom and Syria, yet for that, as verse 12 states, Israel, the northern kingdom, will still not repent.  They will be as arrogant as ever.  This goes to show you, that God's judgment doesn't always bring a nation to its knees. 

 

If Jonathan Cahn is right, and 911 and the recession of 2008 are harbingers of judgment, then we might as well carry on this analogy to verse 12.  America will not repent as well.

 

Verse 13 tells us that the people, Israelis, will not return to him who struck them.  "Him who struck them" refers to God, not the Assyrians.  We see a clear picture here.  God uses nations to judge other nations.  The one behind the Assyrian attack is not the king of Assyria, but God Himself.

 

Note the word "Almighty".  As I have said before, the Hebrew word translated as "Almighty" means "army".  The Lord, is the Lord of armies.

 

In verses 16 through 18 we see the anger of the Lord against the northern kingdom of Israel, especially to the elders and the prophets.  God always judges leaders more severely than those they lead.  That being said, God will judge everyone in the nation, even the fatherless and the widows.  He does so because even these under privileged live in ungodly ways.  The simple fact is this.  Whether rich or poor, bond or free, or, whatever, God is no respecter of people.  If you are ungodly, He will judge you accordingly.

 

The last half of verse 17 is interesting.  Even after God judges Israel, His anger is not turned away.  God never allowed the northern kingdom to return as a nation again. His judgment remains to this very day.  Modern day Israel survived through the southern kingdom of Israel , not the northern kingdom of Israel.

 

In verse 18 wickedness is portrayed as a forest fire.  It spreads from tree to tree until it devours the forest.  How true.  You can see this in the world today.  Aided by modern communication, wickedness creeps across our lands just like a forest fire creeps across the floor of a forest.

 

Verse 19 speaks of the scorched land brought about by the fire of God's judgment.  When Assyria devastated the northern ten tribes.  This land has been a desert ever since those days.  Only since the Jews have returned to this land in the last one hundred or so years, has the land been turning green again, and this is in direct relation to fulfilled prophecy.

 

Verse 20 and 21 speak of civil war.  The text talks about cannibalism.  I believe this is not symbolic.  I believe this is an accurate portrayal of how bad it got when  Assyria invaded the northern kingdom. 

 

The chapter ends by saying the Lord's anger has still not been satisfied.  He is still angry with Israel.

 

Verses 1 and 2 of chapter 10 speak of judgment of those who oppress God's people in a number of ways, whether it is by unjust means, not helping the poor, or, whatever.  God, through Isaiah, says that Israel's oppressors will have their day.  Throughout the prophetic writings you will see that one reason for God judging a nation, whether it is Israel or another nation, it is because there is a lack of national justice.  In this verse the lack of justice is directed towards Israel. 

 

Verse 3 speaks of judgment in terms of "the day of reckoning".  God always has a day when any nation's actions will be accounted for.  The western world today should pay close attention to this, but obviously, our nations are so far removed from God they don't even know there is a day of reckoning for them

 

I believe that all nations, as well as all individuals, will have a day of reckoning.  Of course, that will come when Jesus finally wraps all things up at the end of time as we know it.  I also believe that nations, prior to the day of individual reckoning, will have their own day of reckoning when God will account for their national sins. 

 

Verse 3 says that "disaster will come from the altar".  In other words, the disaster that will befall the oppressor  will come from God.  No one will be able to turn back the disaster.

 

Note that verse 4 states that even though God judges the oppressor, His anger is not turned away.  From this we can learn that even though God brings judgment on a nation, that does not mean his anger is satisfied.  It means that if that nation tries to rise from the ashes, God will simply knock that  nation down again.

 

Next Section - Chapter 10 

Previous Section - Chapter 8

Home Page