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the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Isaiah 9

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-21

Chapter 9

Now as we get into chapter 9, he said,

Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her that was by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in the Galilee of the nations ( Isaiah 9:1 ).

Now the invasion, of course, began with the north and the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali wherein the northern part, the upper Galilee regions. There's where the invasion began. When they began to move into there, you would think that the people would repent and turn to God and really seek the Lord, but they didn't.

Now, again, he leaves the immediate scene and prophecy flashes to the future. And here is where you come into prophecy.

The people that walked in darkness [that is, the Gentile world] have seen a great light: and they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and the men rejoice when they divide the spoil. For thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, and the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian. For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and the garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with the burning and a fuel of fire ( Isaiah 9:2-5 ).

And now the fabulous prophecy concerning the birth of Jesus Christ and His ministry:

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. And of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this ( Isaiah 9:6-7 ).

So the beautiful flash of inspiration, prophetic inspiration, as Isaiah again looks beyond the immediate turmoil. This confederacy with Syria and Samaria, it's not going to stand. It's going to fall. Assyria's going to move in and take that territory. Assyria's going to come down into this area, but they won't take this area. But on down into the future, the hope of the future isn't in man. The hope of the future is in a child that would be born of a virgin. "For unto us a child is born." That is looking at the birth of Jesus Christ from the human side. A child is born in Bethlehem. "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord" ( Luke 2:11 ). A child is born.

Looking at it from the divine side, a Son is given. The two aspects. From the human side a child is born. From the divine side, it's more than just a child born; a Son is given. "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son" ( John 3:16 ). Humanly, a child is born; divinely, a Son is given. "And the government shall be upon His shoulder." Now that portion of the prophecy is not yet fulfilled. That portion of the prophecy is yet to be fulfilled.

Now this is why, and please, let's have mercy and understanding for the disciples. They were completely confused with Jesus. They were looking for their Messiah. They were waiting for the Messiah, anticipating the Messiah, for they knew these prophecies. And whenever Jesus would start to talk about His death, they would get bugged because they didn't want to talk about His death; they wanted to talk about Him sitting upon the throne of David. They wanted to talk about the kingdom and the reigning over the world. And so every time He would bring up the fact that He was going to be crucified, Peter said, "Lord, be that far from Thee." Peter began to rebuke Him for talking about His crucifixion. And in turn got rebuked. They didn't understand. And they were always saying, "Well, Lord, when are You going to set up Your kingdom? When is that aspect going to come?" Jesus said, "Hey, there's a job to be done in the meantime. Don't you know that a point in His time He's going to do that. But in the meantime, there's a job to be done."

Now the kingdom shall be established. This portion of the prophecy is yet unfulfilled. The child was born; the Son was given. Given in a way that they didn't anticipate. His life was given as a ransom for our sins. But now we await the day when the government will be upon His shoulder. But that day will come very soon. I'm convinced of that. When Jesus returns to set up the kingdom, the government will be upon His shoulder, and His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God. Whose name is going to be The mighty God? The child that was born, the Son that was given. Oh, how that bugs the Jehovah Witnesses.

Even more, The everlasting Father. And the Prince of Peace. His name. "And of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end." And He shall reign forever and ever. "Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end." Thinking of Micah's prophecy, "And thou, Bethlehem of Judea, though thou be little among the provinces of Judah, yet out of thee shall come He who is to rule my people Israel; whose going forth is from henceforth, even forever" ( Micah 5:2 ). Ruler on the throne of David, "and upon His kingdom, to order it, to establish it with judgment and with justice from now on even forever. For the zeal of the Lord of hosts."

So fabulous prophecy of that yet future time when Jesus comes and establishes the kingdom. Coming again in power and in great glory. Not coming as a child, as a servant to die. He died once and for all. He's coming now to reign, to establish His eternal kingdom.

Now God is going to bring His judgment upon these people, and he comes back now to the immediate.

The Lord sent a word into Jacob, and it hath lighted upon Israel. And all the people shall know, even Ephraim [that is, the Northern Kingdom] and the inhabitant of Samaria [the capital of the Northern Kingdom], that say in the pride and stoutness of heart, The bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones ( Isaiah 9:8-10 ):

In other words, they've attacked us and they've knocked down our bricks, but we will build with stones.

the sycamores are cut down, but we will change them into cedars. Therefore the LORD shall set up the adversaries of Rezin against him, and join the enemies together; The Syrians before, and the Philistines behind; and they shall devour Israel with an open mouth. For all of this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still ( Isaiah 9:10-12 ).

In other words, God is going to start bringing Samaria, even the confederacy that they've made with Rezin, Syria is going to come against Samaria and they will be joined by the Philistines in the attack. But even that the people's hearts are stiffened and hardened against God. And thus, God continues His judgment. His hand is stretched out still, because this isn't going to change them and bring them revival.

For the people turns not [they turn not] unto him that smites them, neither do they seek the LORD of hosts ( Isaiah 9:13 ).

Now God oftentimes brings judgment into our lives or chastisement into our lives, or judgment in the life of a sinner in order to turn that sinner unto God. And if you don't respond, it will get worse and worse and worse, until you'll finally be destroyed. And so the nation, His hand is stretched out still. For all of this they will not turn to God. They will not hearken.

Therefore the LORD will cut off from Israel the head and the tail, the branch and the rush, in one day. The ancient and the honorable men, [the older men or] the head; and the lying prophets or the tail ( Isaiah 9:14-15 ).

God's going to wipe them out.

For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed ( Isaiah 9:16 ).

That's a tragic thing when the leaders and supposed spiritual leaders are leading the people into error. Jesus said, "If the blind lead the blind, they're both going to fall in the ditch" ( Luke 6:39 ). That makes sense. And if people are following blind leaders, false prophets who are leading them into error, then the people will be destroyed. I think of Jim Jones and that tragedy of Guyana which never needed to be. Except that he began to put himself and his word above the Bible. He began to be the god unto the people. The people were left without a true authority of God's Word. They were led to challenge and to doubt the Word of God as authority and they began to accept the word of man as an authority.

There are a lot of people today who are being led by false prophets. There are so many hypes in the world today. So many of these big-named ministers, evangelists and all, who are using totally worldly practices in order to try to gain support for their ministries. Sending out these letters in which they are begging for funds. But there is such a total inconsistency in it all. If anybody has eyes, surely they can see the inconsistency in these letters that are being sent out.

They used to have a radio station down in Del Rio, Texas that used to broadcast every wild evangelist in the country. And the gimmicks that these guys would offer you can't believe. There was one fellow who was offering miracle wallets. You could send in for this miracle wallet and he guaranteed that you'd never be broke as long as you kept this miracle wallet. Blessed of God, a miracle wallet, and it will always have something in it. And he would, you know, ten-dollar donation and all, you get this miracle wallet. But then he'd say, "Now friends, I want to talk to you about the program. We're needing your support and if you don't send your support right away, we're going to have to go off the air, friends. So please now, send in your tithes and your offerings so that we don't have to go off the air. And if you give a generous offering, I'll send you the miracle wallet, you know." Man, is that inconsistent! Why doesn't he use one of the wallets himself and stay on the air?

And so they send these poor-mouth letters where, "Our ministry is being threatened. We're not going to be able to carry on this great program of God." Or, they usually don't say the great program, "our great ministry. We won't be able to carry it on unless we hear from you. And if we hear from you, we will send you our free book on how to be healthy, wealthy, and wise. How to have more faith." Why don't they exercise their faith as far as the funding of their program? Or their possibility thinker, why don't they use that for themselves? Why do they have to send out letters begging people for the funds? And why in the letters do they say, "We are trusting in you." That's why. Because they are trusting in you and not trusting in God, and that's why they're having financial problems. If they were trusting in the Lord, they wouldn't be going through the financial problems. But you can read the inconsistencies right into the letters. And those that follow them are being led astray. The blind are leading the blind.

"The leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed." It's tragic. Tragic indeed. All of the spiritual hype that is going on in the country today. All of these computerized letters that these people are receiving.

We received a letter the other day with a check enclosed. Person said, "We really enjoy your program. We wanted to send in some support. But please don't put us on a mailing list, because this is all we're going to send, you know." And I wrote back and I said, "Thank you for your check. Rest at ease, we don't have a mailing list. We don't need a mailing list. I don't read of Paul the apostle or of Jesus using mailing lists to support their missionary endeavors. They trusted in the Father."

It was neat. I was up in Napa Friday night at a special service. The auditorium was just packed. People standing around on the outside. And it was so glorious that I could stand before those people and say, "I'm not here tonight because I had nothing else to do. Probably have a lot that I could be doing this evening. I'm not here tonight because I need an offering, because I'm not going to receive one penny of the offering that you gave tonight. Not one penny comes to me. In fact," I said, "we spent more money coming up here and putting Future Survival on your television than what the offering will even cover. It won't even cover expenses. But that's not why we're here. Because I have a very wealthy Father who takes care of my own needs and my expenses wherever I go. So we're not up here depending on you."

And it's so glorious to be able to say that. To go into a community and not say, "Well, we're going to have to have ten thousand dollars in order... " But just to go in and say, "Hey, we're here for one reason. Because we believe that Jesus Christ is coming soon and He sent us out to warn you." And to just be able to go out and freely preach the gospel and not have to beg the people for money or anything else, because that always makes, to me, the whole issue suspect if you get up and spend the first hour in taking up an offering and telling the people the great needs. You really wonder, "Why did they try and get me out here tonight?" Well.

Therefore the LORD shall have no joy in their young men, neither shall he have mercy on the fatherless or the widows: for every one is a hypocrite, an evildoer, every mouth speaks folly. For all of this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still ( Isaiah 9:17 ).

Even in all of this, when they have become desolate, still they're not turning.

For wickedness burns as the fire: and it shall devour the briers and the thorns, and shall kindle in the thickets of the forest, and they shall mount up like the lifting up of smoke. Through the wrath of the LORD of hosts is the land darkened, and the people shall be as the fuel of the fire: no man shall spare his brother. And he shall snatch on the right hand, and be hungry; and he shall eat on the left hand, and they shall not be satisfied: they shall eat every man the flesh of his own arm: Manasseh, Ephraim; and Ephraim, Manasseh: and they together shall be against Judah. For all of this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still ( Isaiah 9:18-21 ).

The stretched out hand of God in judgment, but still the people are not turning but staying up obdurate in their ways. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Isaiah 9". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/isaiah-9.html. 2014.
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