Scripture Text – Isaiah 7-12
“Here am I and the children whom the LORD has given me! We are for signs and wonders in Israel From the LORD of hosts, Who dwells in Mount Zion.” – Isaiah 8:18.
This statement by the Prophet Isaiah is a key to understanding the meaning of the events and prophecies we are going to cover in this lesson. Four symbolic names are involved in Isaiah’s messages, each of them with a very special meaning: Immanuel, Maher-shalal-hash-baz, Shear-jashub, and Isaiah. We’ve discussed Immanuel and Maher-shalal-hash-baz, we will continue with the others.
Shear-jashub: A Promise of Mercy
Please read Isaiah 9:1-11:16 for the background to this section.
This name means “A remnant shall return,” and the return of the Jewish remnant to their land is a major theme in these chapters. When Assyria conquered the Northern Kingdom of Israel (also known as Ephraim), the nation was never restored but became what we now know as Samaria. After the Babylonian Captivity from 606 to 586 B.C., the people of Judah were given another chance to establish themselves in the land; and through them, the Lord brought the Messiah into the world. Had a remnant not returned, God’s plans for redeeming a lost world might have been frustrated. How much depended on that small remnant! God’s mercy to His people is seen in four ministries the Lord performed for them.
The Lord promised them a Redeemer (Isaiah 9:1-7). Isaiah continued the theme of light and darkness by announcing, “There will be no more gloom.” (NIV). The Redeemer will come and bring to the world the dawning of a new day (verse 2; also Luke 1:78–79; John 8:12). We know that this prophecy refers to Christ because of the way it is quoted in Matthew 4:13–15. The geographical areas named in Isaiah 9:1 were especially devastated when the Assyrian army moved in, but these areas would be especially honored by the ministry of the Messiah. Jesus was identified with “Galilee of the Gentiles” – Matthew 4:15, and His loving ministry to the people brought light and joy.
But the prophet looked beyond the first coming of Christ to His second coming and the establishing of His righteous kingdom. Instead of protecting a small remnant, God would enlarge the nation. Instead of experiencing sorrow, the people would rejoice like reapers after a great harvest, soldiers after a great victory (see Judges 6–7), or prisoners of war after being released from their yoke of bondage. Of course, some of this occurred when God defeated Assyria and delivered Jerusalem (Isaiah 37). But the ultimate fulfillment is still future; all military material will be destroyed because the nations will not learn war any more (Isaiah 2:4).
Isaiah 9:6 declares both the humanity (“A Child is born”) and the deity (“A Son is given”) of the Lord Jesus Christ. The prophet then leaps ahead to the Kingdom Age when Messiah will reign in righteousness and justice from David’s throne. God had promised David that his dynasty and throne would be established forever (2 Samuel 7:16); and this is fulfilled literally in Jesus Christ (Luke 1:32–33; Zechariah 9:9), who will one day reign from Jerusalem (Isaiah 11:1–5; Jeremiah 23:5–8; 30:8–10). This kingdom is called “the Millennium,” which literally means “one thousand years.” The phrase is used six times in Revelation 20.
Since His name is “Wonderful,” then there will be nothing dull about His reign! As “Counselor,” He has the wisdom to rule justly; and as the “Mighty God,” He has the power to execute His wise plans. “Everlasting Father” does not suggest that the Son is also the Father, for each Person in the Godhead is distinct. However, “Father of Eternity” is a better translation. Among the Jews, the word “father” means “originator or source.” For example, Satan is the “father [originator] of lies” (John 8:44 NIV). If you want anything eternal, you must get it from Jesus Christ; He is the “Father of eternity.”
The Lord judged Israel for their sins (Isaiah 9:8-10:4). This portion of Isaiah’s message describes what will happen to Ephraim (Israel) when the Assyrians invade. While Isaiah’s ministry was primarily to the people of Judah, he used Israel as an object lesson to warn the Southern Kingdom that God does not take sin lightly. Judah had sinned greatly, but God in His mercy spared them for David’s sake (Isaiah 37:35; 1 Kings 11:13; 15:4; 2 Chronicles 21:7). However, God’s long-suffering would one day end.
The key statement is, “For all this His anger is not turned away, but His hand is stretched out still.” – Isaiah 9:12. (see also verses 17, 21; Isaiah 5:25; and Isaiah 10:4). This is the outstretched hand of God’s judgment, not His mercy (Isaiah 65:2; Romans 10:21). God judged them for their pride in thinking that their present difficulties were temporary and the nation could rebuild itself better than before. He also judged them for their hardness of heart in their refusal to repent and return to the Lord. God’s loving purpose in chastening is that we yield to Him; but if we harden our hearts, then chastening becomes judgment (Hebrews 12:1–11). Israel was being led astray by false prophets and foolish leaders; the nation would not listen to God’s Word. Ephraim’s own wickedness was destroying the nation, the way a fire destroys a forest or a field. But the sinners would become fuel for the fire God could kindle! In their greed, the people of the Northern Kingdom were devouring one another and battling one another; but they would soon be devoured and defeated by Assyria.
To Be Continued