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Bible: What Does Isaiah 7-9, 11 Teach Us About "Immanuel" and His Kingdom?

Updated on September 15, 2016

Immanuel's Birth in Bethlehem

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The Virgin Conception of Jesus Christ

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Prophecies: Immanuel, and Messiah's Birth in Bethlehem; The "Branch's" Earthly Kingdom

The Virgin Conception

Ephraim (the northern kingdom) and Syria attack Jerusalem without success while Ahaz rules the city (v. 1).

News that Syria has camped in Ephraim—apparently to plan Jerusalem's overthrow (vv. 5-6)—upsets this king and the people (v. 2).

The LORD sends Isaiah and his son Shear Jashub (“a remnant shall return”) to a specific locale to encourage Ahaz with a prophecy predicting the demise of Ephraim within sixty-five years (vv. 3-8).

The only condition for the king’s survival: believe Isaiah's word (v. 9).

Despite receiving a divine invitation to ask for a “sign,” which would have ensured his survival if met with faith, the king "piously" refuses (vv. 10-12).

Therefore, the LORD gives him the sign of the "virgin birth" (v. 14).

[This is a complex hermeneutical problem.

Although this verse refers to Isaiah's son Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz (8:3, 4), Matthew borrows it when referring to Jesus.

Ahaz would see Ephraimite and Syrian kings forsake "the land that you dread" before the child is not very old at all (v. 16; cf. 8:4).]

Isaiah warns of the Assyrian invasion (v. 17); the LORD will summon the "fly" and the "bee," and they will cover the land (vv. 18-19).

He will employ this army as a “shaving” instrument of chastisement to cleanse Judah (v. 20) and to turn His inheritance into a place of briers and thorns (vv. 23-24)-- even a place for sheep to roam (v. 25).

Israel: The Olive Tree

Isaiah 8

The Immanuel Prophecy

The LORD commands Isaiah to write the name Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz on a large tablet and to acquire two witnesses to verify this divine word (vv. 1-2).

[Does this document constitute a marriage contract?]

Then Isaiah begets a son and, under God's direction, names him Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz; the child would serve as a symbol of the Assyrian destruction of Syria and Samaria and its looting of Judah (vv. 3-4).

Thus Assyria would soon overthrow these peoples, because they all chose to side with their kings instead of with the LORD (vv. 5-7).

[The text states that God speaks to Isaiah in verses five through ten, yet Isaiah appears to address Immanuel directly in verse eight.

Could this be a case in which God and Isaiah are so linked as dual authors that the prophet could be said to be speaking, even when the text records it otherwise?

According to 8:3, 4, Isaiah 7:14-16—the Immanuel prophecy—had an immediate fulfillment in Isaiah's son.

Isaiah, therefore, addresses his son here.

Is it plausible that he calls him Immanuel out of respect for his prophetess-wife’s preference?]

The man of God (or Yahweh) promises the destruction of all nations opposing God's people, despite all attempts to avoid it (vv. 9-10).

Yahweh instructs the prophet to fear Him rather than the people who accuse him of conspiring with Assyria (vv. 11-13).

He will cause them to "stumble" over Him, and they will be led into captivity (vv. 14-15; cf. Rom.9:33; 1 Cor.1:23; 1 Pet. 2:8).

In response, Isaiah commands a subordinate to keep what he has written among the prophet's followers (v. 16).

He himself will wait on God with the rest of the remnant, which he designates "the children whom the LORD has given me" (vv. 17-18; cf. Heb. 2:13).

Whereas so-called “prophets” advise others to seek spiritualistic counsel, the man of God commands adherence to his/His word (vv. 19-20).

The adversaries of Yahweh will be forced into captivity because they refused to listen to God's warning (vv. 21-22).

Parentheses in Time


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Isaiah 9

A Parenthesis in Time

Verses 1 and 2 continue the thoughts of 8:22.

[Key words of continuity here are “gloom” and “darkness”].

Yet they also transition into a discussion of the ceasing of these miserable conditions (especially verse 2) and the commencement of a new day ("a great light," "a light has shined").

This great light brings freedom from oppression; Isaiah points to God as its source (vv. 3, 4). In that day, people will burn military uniforms for fuel (v. 5).

A parenthesis of time must exist between "For unto us a child is born" and "unto us a Son is given" to account for the two advents of the Messiah.

[The parenthesis exists, unless this prophecy would not see literal fulfillment--an inconceivable interpretation].

The birth of a child, of course, refers to the Lord’s nativity in Bethlehem (cf. Mic. 5:2).

However, at the Second Advent, the throne (i.e., government) of David will reside on earth, not in heaven at the Father's right hand, as progressive dispensationalists erroneously maintain.

In addition, his Son's kingdom will be prosperous, peaceful, and just. People will call this great Son of David the Everlasting Father; that is, the Father, or perhaps Originator, of eternity.

[Therefore, no confusion exists between the identities of the Persons of the Godhead].

The zeal of Yahweh Sabaoth will surely accomplish this victory (vv. 6-7).

After this brief look at a happier day, Isaiah returns to the present distress and announces Israel's destruction, despite their proud determination to rebuild "bigger and better than ever" (vv. 8-12).

The end of verse 12 records the refrain that will become familiar in these passages of judgment: God is not yet finished judging His people.

Because the people do not repent, Yahweh will "cut off" their leaders who cause them to go astray, and will show no favor toward them (vv. 13-17).

Verse 17 concludes with the drumbeat refrain.

Comparing God's judgment to a forest fire, the man of God relates even more results of Israel's wickedness.

Civil war brings great bloodshed and terrible devastation to the land (vv. 17-21).

The drumbeat refrain sounds again to end the chapter (v. 21b) [Alva McClain, The Greatness of the Kingdom, 137-38].

Branch's Earthly Kingdom

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The Branch

Isaiah 11

The "Branch's" Earthly Reign

Isaiah reviews the reign of a "Rod" from the "stem of Jesse"; from the prophet's description of him, this "Branch" could only be the Messiah (v. 1; cf. Ezek.17:22; Zech.6:12; Jer. 23:5).

His righteous judgments on behalf of the poor and against the wicked will manifest that the Holy Spirit controls His life (vv. 2-5).

This Man's fear of God keeps His decisions objective (v. 3).

[Elsewhere, writers employ similar descriptive phrases to discuss the works of the LORD (v. 4b; cf. Ps. 2: 9; Rev. 19:15)].

Messiah’s reign will maintain conditions on the Earth that one can only explain as the work of God:

(1) Peace will exist between mortal enemies/antagonists in the animal world.

Ferocity and venom will cease among carnivores and serpents, respectively.

Human violence will cease, but the knowledge of the LORD will increase (vv. 6-9).

(2) In that day the Gentiles will seek Him (v. 10), and the LORD will gather His remnant from the earth (vv. 11-12).

(3) The political split in Israel will heal (v. 13), and the united nation will dominate its enemies (v. 14).

(4) God will dry up the Euphrates, so that His remnant might return to the land via a highway (vv. 15-16; cf. Rev. 16:12 where the same miracle occurs for a different purpose).

© 2012 glynch1

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