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The Birth of Christ in Isaiah
Isaiah 7:5-14 ; Isaiah 9:6-7
The Book of Revelation opens thus: "The Revelation of Jesus Christ." "We see no reason why the whole Bible is not a "revelation of Jesus Christ." We see no reason why the Book of Isaiah is not a "revelation of Jesus Christ." We know that Isaiah, the same as other Old Testament Books, carries much by way of history, and yet we contend that the history of the Bible is there because of its particular relationship to the Lord Jesus.
In the 7th chapter of Isaiah there is a very striking historical message. The days are those of Ahaz, king of Judah. During his reign, Rezin, the king of Syria; accompanied with Pekah, the king of Israel, joined affinity and went up toward Jerusalem to war against Judah, but could not prevail against it.
Ahaz, however, was greatly troubled. Then it was that Isaiah met Ahaz and said: "Fear not, neither be fainthearted, for the two tails of these smoking firebrands." The purpose of the king of Syria and Ephraim was to make a breach against Judah, to overthrow Ahaz, and to make Tabeal king in the stead of Ahaz. The Lord God said: "It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass."
Then the Word of the Lord came to Ahaz, saying: "Ask thee a sign of the Lord thy God." Ahaz, however, would not ask. Then the Lord replied, "Hear ye now, O House of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also? Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His Name Immanuel."
1. The birth of Jesus Christ is God's sign that Judah shall not cease to be a nation before the Lord. When this sign was given, some five hundred years before Christ was born, Satan was using every strategy and every power in his command to utterly destroy the kingdom of Judah. The time became more and more troublesome. It was not long until the ten tribes were broken and ceased to be a people, nationally. Later on, Judah's last king was carried captive to Babylon and her people became a vassal nation dwelling in captivity.
God, however, did not permit His people to be wiped off of the face of the earth. He raised such men as Ezra and Nehemiah to rebuild Jerusalem and restore her walls.
As the years rolled by, an angel came to Mary, a virgin, saying, "Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a Son, and shalt call His Name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His Father David: and He shall reign over the House of Jacob for ever; and of His Kingdom there shall be no end."
Thus it was that the sign of Israel's integrity and security was realized and fulfilled. The wonderful day when Christ was born was the fulfillment of God's promise in the Book of Isaiah that no hand raised against His chosen race would prosper.
The throne of David belongs to Jesus Christ, whose lineage after the flesh gives Him the legal right to the throne of David, and whose authority under the command of God gives Him the spiritual right. The Lord Jesus Christ shall yet rule and reign over the House of Jacob. No hand lifted against Him can prosper.
I. THE MESSAGE OF SIMEON CONCERNING THE INFANT CHRIST (Luke 2:34-35 )
When the child Jesus was brought up to the Temple to do for Him after the custom of the Law, there was a man named Simeon, who was a just man and devout, and waiting for the consolation of Israel. The Holy Ghost was upon Him and it had been revealed unto Him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ. Thus it was that he came by the Spirit into the Temple, and when he saw Joseph and Mary and the child Jesus, he took Jesus up in his arms and blessed God and said:
"Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy Word: for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel."
While Joseph and Mary, the mother of Jesus, marveled at what Simeon had spoken, he blessed them, and he said unto Mary, Christ's mother, "Behold, this Child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."
1. In the words of Simeon, we have the acknowledged fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy. The Child whom he took in his arms was indeed the Babe who was to be born as the sign of God's redemption of His own people. In those days this man Simeon was waiting for the consolation. The Lord God revealed by the Holy Ghost to Simeon that Christ Jesus was that consolation.
The fact that Christ came settled for all time the fact that Israel should never cease to be a nation before the face of God.
2. In the words of Simeon we have the fact that the sign of a virgin conceiving was to be a sign that should be spoken against. Mary's own heart was truly pierced as with a sword. The fact of her virginity was a necessity to God's purpose in the birth of her Son. Otherwise, her Son could never have been the Son of God and God the Son, neither could He have been called Jesus our Saviour. Remember at Christmastide that the Old Testament sign that a virgin shall bring forth a Son is until this hour a sign that is spoken against.
II. THE PROMISE OF THE BIRTH OF CHRIST ENLARGED (Isaiah 9:6 )
"For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given."
1. Unto us a Child is born. In the Book of Galatians we read: "But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the Law." In the Book of Hebrews we read: "A body hast Thou prepared for Me."
The Child that was born had a body made like unto our body, because when God created Adam and Eve, He created them physically in the image of the body which Christ was destined to wear and to bear when He was born of a virgin.
In 1 Corinthians 15:1-58 we have, "As we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the Heavenly." We know that when He comes the second time, these vile bodies of ours shall be changed and made like unto His glorious body, thus shall we bear the image of the Heavenly.
2. Unto us a Son is given. Jesus Christ in body was a child born, in Spirit He was a Son given. The Lord God sent an angel to Mary to say, "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that Holy Thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God."
Great is the mystery of godliness. God manifest in the flesh. So far as the records go, Jesus Christ always spoke of His coming forth from the Father, and of His coming into the world. He said: "As the Father hath sent Me." He said: "I came forth from the Father."
He said again: "Ye are from beneath; I am from above." Only once did Christ speak of being born. That was when He said: "To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world."
III. THE STATEMENT THE GOVERNMENT SHALL BE UPON HIS SHOULDER (Isaiah 9:6 )
1. Here is the anticipated fulfillment of the sign. We remember the previous consideration of how the Son born of the virgin was the sign that the kingdom of Judah should never be destroyed. Isaiah 9:6 is indissolubly linked to Isaiah 7:14 . In Isaiah 7:1-25 the Lord definitely stated: "The land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings." God knew and knowing He foretold the disintegration of Israel's kingly thrones. The two tribes as well as the ten were to be carried into captivity and to lose their place among the nations. They were never, however, to lose their place in the purposes of God. The Lord said, "Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. I will overturn, overturn, overturn it: and it shall be no more, until He come whose right it is; and I will give it Him" (Ezekiel 21:26-27 ).
Thank God, the government is to be upon the shoulder of Christ when He returns to reign!
2. Here is the anticipated increase and peace of His government. This is set forth in Isaiah 7:7 , "Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end." When the government is on His shoulders, the earth will be filled with peace.
Thank God, the Lord is Coming Again. When He comes His government of peace will increase. His preachers of righteousness will girdle the world with salvation. There will not only be national peace, but there will be heart peace. Even now we can hear Him saying, "Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God."
IV. THE NAMES OF THE KING (Isaiah 9:6 )
The names of the Lord Jesus are many, and none are without their significance. Our friend, Dr. Horton, wrote a book of meditations, and for every day in the year, he used a distinctive name given unto our Lord.
Of all the names, there is no more marvelous grouping than the ones in our key verse. Let us look at them briefly one at a time.
1. "His Name shall be called Wonderful." The very word "Wonderful" carries with it the thought of the miraculous, the marvelous. It stands for that which is superhuman, beyond the reach of mortal man. He will be Wonderful in His Person, Wonderful in His works, Wonderful in His Word, Wonderful in His city, Wonderful in His grace and graciousness. No matter from what angle He is viewed, He will be known over the world as the "Wonderful Son of God."
2. "His Name shall be called * * Counsellor." His commands will be wise and just and true. His advice will be recognized as authoritative, as full of wisdom and of equity. He will rule with righteousness, reprove with justness. Upon Him will rest the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.
He shall be of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord. It is for this cause that His Name will be heralded from sea to sea as the "Counsellor."
3. "His Name shall be called * * The Mighty God." In that day there will be no modernists, no atheists to defame the Son of God. He will not be debased and humanized on the one hand, white men are glorified and deified on the other hand. Jesus Christ when He was born was called "Immanuel" which is being interpreted, God with us, but He was God rejected and despised. He was God but He was God on a cradle of hay.
When He comes again and the government is placed upon His shoulder, He will be recognized as The Mighty God. There will be none to defame Him, or to deny and reject Him. The knowledge of our God will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. The glad tidings of salvation will sound forth, saying unto Zion, "Thy God reigneth."
V. THE NAMES OF THE KING CONTINUED (Isaiah 9:6 )
1. "His Name shall be called * * The Everlasting Father." It seems, perhaps, to some peculiar that Christ should be called The Mighty God. It now appears more peculiar that He should be called the Everlasting Father. When we think of the Trinity, we think of God the Father, God the Son, and of God the Holy Ghost.
However, in considering the Triune God, we remember the statement in Deuteronomy, "The Lord our God is one Lord." Three persons, and yet three in one. They are three in one because of the unity of their action. The Father created the heavens and the earth. However, it is also written: "His Son, by whom and for whom were all things created." It is also written, "Thou sendest forth Thy Spirit, and they are created." We may not be able to comprehend but we are abundantly able to accept the unity of the Godhead. Jesus Christ said: "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work." Of those works, however, He also said: "The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do, for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise."
We, therefore state that Jesus Christ is the Everlasting Father because of His oneness with the Father. He said that all men should honor the Son even as they honor the Father. Again, He said: "As the Father hath life in Himself; so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself."
To Philip, Jesus said: "If ye had known Me, ye should have known My Father also," then He added: "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father." A little later Christ said: "I am in the Father, and the Father in Me." Thus we may well comprehend why it was that our Lord Jesus will be known in the days of His Kingdom as the Everlasting Father.
VI. THE NAMES OF THE KING CONTINUED (Isaiah 9:6 )
"His Name shall be called * * The Prince of Peace."
1. This age is not the age of the Prince of Peace. We might as easily and as truly write, this age is not the age when Christ is known among men as the Wonderful, the Counselor, The Mighty God, and The Everlasting Father. All of the Names of Isaiah 9:6 are His Names when the government shall be upon His shoulder.
(1) This is the age of personal peace. To the individual Christ said: "Come unto me, * * and I will give you rest." To the disciples Christ said: "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you."
The angel at the birth of Christ announced, "On earth peace, good will toward men." He did not mean that peace would dominate the world. He did mean that peace would be given to men of good will, to men who opened their hearts to the Son of God.
The Lord plainly said: "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword." This, therefore, is not the age of peace in any national sense or international sense.
(2) This is the age of wars and rumors of wars. With what folly have some well intending saints said: "Universal peace and freedom from war has come." Some proclaim Andrew Carnegie a prince of peace; Woodrow Wilson, and William Jennings Bryan both made strenuous efforts to establish peace among men. When at last the World War broke out, it was heralded as a war to end war. All this was utmost folly. The Word of God forewarned us that unto the end wars are determined.
2. The age of the Prince of Peace will come when the Prince comes. Under the reign of Christ, the nations of the earth will learn war no more. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks, of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end.
Why say ye not a word about bringing back the King?
VII. THE THRONE OF CHRIST WILL BE THE THRONE OF DAVID (Isaiah 9:7 )
1. The throne of David is not in the heavens. We know the methods of certain men who endeavor to make the throne of David in Jerusalem and the Throne of God in the heavens as one throne.
To us this is no more than the negation of Scripture. In the Book of Revelation it is written: "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My Throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His Throne."
Thus the throne of David is one throne and the throne of the Father is another throne.
2. The throne of David is a literal earth throne. It is upon this throne that Jesus Christ is to sit. This may be positively established according to Scripture.
(1) Our key text says: "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." Certainly, the Throne of the Father in the heavens does not need to be ordered nor established, it has never been broken down and does not need to be set up.
(2) The angel said to Mary: "The Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David: and He shall reign over the House of Jacob for ever, and of His Kingdom there shall be no end." The throne of David was not only an earthly throne but the House of Jacob consisting of the twelve tribes formed by Jacob's twelve sons was an earthly house.
(3) Peter preaching at Pentecost said: David "being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, He would raise up Christ to sit upon his throne." There is no way to make the throne of David, or the Throne of Christ upon David's throne a Heavenly throne, other than by distorting the plain sense of the Word of God.
We have read that near the North Pole, the night lasting for months and months, when the people expect the day is about to dawn, some messengers go up to the highest point to watch; and when they see the first streak of day they put on their brightest possible apparel, and embrace each other and cry, "Behold the sun!" and the cry goes around all the land, "Behold the sun!" The world was in darkness. Long centuries had the people lain in ignorance and in sin. The cry of Zacharias was the joyful one: "Behold the Sun! Behold the Sun of righteousness is rising with healing in His wings I The Day-spring from on high hath visited us!"
These words well express the purpose of Christ's coming. It was to give light. What the sun is in the material world that Christ is to us in the spiritual world.
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Isaiah 9". "Living Water". https://www.studylight.org/
the First Week of Advent