A RE-LOOK AT ISAIAH 9:6
The Christmas song "When a child is born” reminds us of the importance of the birth of Jesus Christ... "All across the land dawns a brand new day, this comes to pass, when a child is born...". The birth of Christ was foretold in the Book of Isaiah and other places in the Scripture, being a most important event in the history of mankind and one that is most significant among all the prophecies in the Old Testament.
The prophesies in the book of Isaiah are often very vivid (say for example in Chapter 53...) and more amazing than can be imagined. The famous and unique Isaiah 9, verses 6, which foretold the birth of Jesus as Lord and King is well-known (...and even used on Christmas cards). What is not often talked about is that it is a "double prophecy" and speaks about events in the end-of-days. Many prohecies in the Old Testament, be it in the Book of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Amos, Habakkuk, Hosea, Micah.... all containing such "double prophecies " referring to in the same breadth Christ’s second coming and end-time Israel. In this era of “Diligently interpreting God’s words for the End-times”, It can be quite mind-blowing.
To fully understand V.6, we need first to look at V.1-5:
1 Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan—
2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.
3 You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder.
The New Testament map (right) showing Galilee (right) has a same location as Zebulun and Naphatali in the Old Testament. Megiddo is in Galliee to the west.
4 For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor.
5 Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire.
What is it saying? And saying them before the famous V.9:6.
6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.
What is Isaiah saying about the Child that is to be born?
Before proclaiming the full destruction of Israel in the 600 BC, Isaiah first predicts how God will bless that territory in the future. The area selected is the most northern part of the nation that is allocated to the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali. These names were of two of Jacob’s sons (Gen. 35:23-26), and their descendants became two of the tribes that ultimately settled in these northern regions. These two tribes were nevertheless among the 10 tribes who gave up their faith in God and turned to worldliness and sinfulness. In the Assyrians’ conquest of Israel, this is the first area to be annexed. In the future such gloom and anguish will be no more but in contrast there will be a great light (V. 1-2).
Truly, there can be no greater light than the coming of Christ. Remarkably Isaiah stated that this will be the area of Galilee. Zebulun and Naphtali in the Old Testament are in the same area as Galilee where Christ ministered. The outcome is obviously the great joy as a result of Christ’s salvation (V. 3-5)! Christ' s Galilean ministry related in Matthew 4:13 is a direct fulfillment of this prophecy.
Another outcome mentioned here is a gigantic victory in battle comparable to that of Midian, a reference to Gideon’s miraculous victory in Judges Chapters 6-7. The destruction of all warriors in immense “blood” is suggestive of the Battle of Armageddon in Rev. 16:1-21,
16 1Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, “Go, pour out the seven bowls of God’s wrath on the earth.”
2 The first angel went and poured out his bowl on the land, and ugly, festering sores broke out on the people who had the mark of the beast and worshiped its image.
3 The second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it turned into blood like that of a dead person, and every living thing in the sea died.
4 The third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood.
16 Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.
The “oppressor” in Isaiah 9:4 which in Hebrew is in singular with “the” (definite article) could be referencing to the “Antichrist”. Amazingly, Megiddo, the site of this battle, is also in Galilee!
The Megiddo Park in Galilee now spreads across a hill 37km southeast of Haifa. This is the huge spot of ultimate reckoning in Revelation 16 which describes the seven bowls of God’s wrath and a final battle on the hill of Megiddo, called 'Har Megiddo' in Hebrew. The word in English is ‘Armageddon’
In verse 6, it started with the word “For”, meaning “all this is possible because a child is born”. What is possible? Those that happened in verses 1-5.
The first advent of Christ established His identity; it did not begin His reign, for He has yet to conquer all the enemies. The prophecy, like many that are in the Scripture, was also pointing to the end-of-days, a prophecy on the birth of Christ who after Armageddon will reign as king forever.
That “the government will be upon His shoulder” in verse 6 will come to complete reality at His second coming — the time when this Son will rule as king. We may say that Jesus now reigns above, and that is certainly true, but Isaiah envisions a time of uniterrupted peace and righteousness in this world. That has not happened yet. This time will come.
In V. 6, Counsellor, God, Father, and Prince are the permanent titles; wonderful, mighty, everlasting, and peace are the descriptives. Isaiah is affirming that the one who is coming will not merely have great titles, but will be what those titles proclaim Him to be. Jesus has brought peace through redemption by His death and resurrection. He will eventually bring total peace through His exalted reign over all the earth. The prophet anticipates that the gloom of war will be replaced by the joy of peace. That peace can only be accomplished through a King who is a Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace!
Isaiah had declared that in spite of the prospect of war, God has promised a glorious future ahead. The Messiah’s first coming was to lay the foundation of the glory that would follow, and we should now look forward to His second coming again. The words of Isaiah hold out hope for us.
Therefore, looking at the other way round, the passage presented us very importantly with three essential features that we now should know as being so essential.
1) There must be first a great ministry in Galilee.
2) There will be a great battle at Megiddo, in the area of Galilee.
3) All is dependent on the birth of a special child, who will rule as King of Peace and Righteousness forever.
The prophet Isaiah had made these prophecies many years before the birth of Christ. Modern scholars often assert that this is impossible and postulate that it must be added or edited after the beginning of the Christian era. However, with the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in Qumran in 1947, the authenticity of these verses that they were written before Christ can now be firmly established.
The Great Isaiah Scroll (1QIsaa) is one of the seven original Scrolls. It is the largest (734 cm), best preserved and the only one that is almost complete. The 54 columns contain all 66 chapters of the Hebrew version of the Book of Isaiah. Dating from ca. 125 BCE, it is also one of the oldest of the Dead Sea Scrolls, some one thousand years older than the oldest manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible known before the scrolls' discovery. The Book of Isaiah contained prophetic words dating from the time of the First Temple, around 700 BCE, and later chapters around the time of the Babylonian exile and the restoration of the Temple in the Persian Period. Several prophesies appearing in the Book of Isaiah have become cornerstones for Christian believes, such as those in chapter 53. And 9:1-7 are among the most amazing and renowned of all of them.
Indeed many prohecies in the Old Testament contain similar "double prophecies " referring so much to Christ’s second coming and the end-time Israel. This short passage is a good example. It is amazing and mind-blowing. God’s words are so awesome! This is BUT one example. You can find so many others in the scripture!
Many of the prophecies for Israel, and Jesus speaking about the eminent persecutions of the Christians and the destruction of Jerusalem in the first century, for example in Matthew 24:32-35, are similarly double-prophetic that are applying to Jerusalem then as well as to our future.
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