From the fall of Man in the Garden of Eden, the objective was to be like God. They did not understand what it truly meant to know good and evil, but when the man and the woman took the fruit and ate it, they exerted pride. Their expulsion from Eden would result in Cain killing his brother because of pride. If you boil down the lust of the flesh and the eyes, it’s all about pride. God made us in His image. We weren’t made God. And unfortunately, when we reached out and tried to become God, it was too much for the creature to be the Creator. We were in desperate need of the eternal Messiah.
Biblical and all human history is a chapter-in-verse story of war, pride, and power. Every war is fought over land, power, water, or expanding an empire. Subjects under said kingdoms, empires, and governments live with the consequences of evil and sinful rulers. Detached from the people they would shepherd, power and pride rule their hearts. There’s nothing new under the sinful sun.
The ancients were not cavemen who crawled out of the mud; They longed for peace and prosperity. Adam and Eve were the most brilliant people on the planet. They had an unhindered relationship with God, made in God’s image before they sinned, with the capacity to know God, relate to Him, and have fellowship with Him at their disposal. But, unfortunately, everything after the fall results in war.
But it goes back to an understanding that the ancients knew something we may not appreciate. We are familiar with Isaiah 9:6-7, but the larger context is helpful in understanding the prophetic word, ‘A child is born.’ The backstory of why the Eternal Messiah would come is so important. They’re in a time of despair. They’re discouraged. Isaiah, the prophet, moved by God, speaks words of comfort to the Israelites of the eternal Messiah over 700 years before Christ was born of Mary.
Have Hope in a Time of Despair
The author attributes the problem of Naphtali and Zebulun to the judgment God inflicted. Zebulun and Naphtali are His tribal people. First, he treated them with contempt, but later, He would make this glorious.
Mount Arbel, though not mentioned in the Bible, is on the sea of Galilee looking northwest. The lower area is called the Valley of the Doves. The same weather patterns from Jesus’ day are still present there. When you stand on the top of Mount Arbel looking at the so-called Jesus triangle, you can see 60 to 70% of his ministry.
Those oppressed, who walk in darkness, will see a great light. Isaiah 9:3 tells us it will increase their gladness. Isaiah is speaking here to God. The Israelites overheard the prophet’s conversation with God about a future multiplication, increase, gladness, and rejoicing. This is true prosperity, as opposed to the lies taught in today’s prosperity theology.
The ancients understood the Bible and its stories well. When God reigned His kindness on the land, then it was fertile. When He blessed their crops and livestock, they attributed that to God. Isaiah 9:4-5 tells us that victory is not only extensive but also permanent.
Have Hope in God’s Plan, an Eternal Messiah.
Note the phrase, A child will be born, and a Son will be given. These are important in understanding this passage to the ear of the Jew that would hear it during Isaiah’s time. They are equally important in the ear of the believer, who should understand what God was saying to His people 700-plus years before Jesus Christ came on the scene.
A child will be born to Mary, and a Son will be given. A Son of man is a designation that deserves a lot of study. These two passages have to do with God’s Son as a lineage. Daniel 7:9-14 and 2 Samuel 7:13-16 are two passages that will help you understand this phrase, ‘Son of man’ and its importance. Beginning in Daniel 7:13b, we read that you don’t give dominion and glory, much less a kingdom, to a human.
This has been given to the Son of God. All the peoples, nations, and men of every language serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which will not pass away, and His kingdom will not be destroyed. The Jew understood 2 Samuel 7:13-16 arguably better than Christians today understand John 3:16. God promised in the Davidic covenant that there would always be a king on the throne of David.
In Galatians 4:4, we read, ‘But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law.’ When God said it was time, Christ was born. But why and how could He be born? That’s all interlaced in the unfolding of Jesus Christ. Many expressions here are about Jesus’ eternality, humanity, and mission for the world. As Allen Ross points out, He is proving His origin is not Bethlehem but heaven.
Think of Bethlehem as a night stay in a motel. It wasn’t where He was really born because He eternally existed. Jesus, the soon and coming King reigns. Scripture bears out that Jesus is Lord of lords, King of kings, yet His reign is not yet universal in the sense that He will end all war, deal with evil, and reign over all, literally and completely.
Characteristics of The Eternal Messiah
We don’t have names of Messiah, but characteristics. We call Him Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace, Mighty God, Eternal God, and Father. Wonder / wonderful referred to supernatural powers, and the counselor referred to the wisdom to rule. When you put those together, we have God, who can do things that no one else can do, and He has the wisdom to know how to do it.
Mighty God is Emmanuel, God with us. This is El Shaddai. In Matthew 28:18, Jesus says, ‘all authority has been given to Me.’ You don’t give all authority to a human being. The Eternal Father refers not just to longevity but to perpetual rule. Prince of Peace is the One who brings peace, not who rules over peace, but by His coming, He’s the one who can bring and establish peace.
The Messiah who reigns righteously, mentioned in Isaiah 9:7, has no end to His rule. This was following the Davidic Covenant. Uh, the Messiah is the one who will reign righteously. Verse seven. There’s no end to His rule and peace; this goes back to the Davidic Covenant. It was a unilateral, unconditional covenant that there would be an eternal king on the throne of David. Finally, God’s zeal accomplishes this. The Christian needs to live obediently and humbly, confess our sins, and live righteously in an unrighteous world, which puts us in a posture for God to bless and use us.
The Lesson of The Text
Your hope in Jesus is not in vain. We need a clearer Biblical view of who Jesus is. The clearer picture you have of who Jesus Christ is, the more aligned your life becomes. This can be a struggle for Christians because we are consumers and are guilty of an ‘if-then’ way of thinking.
I long for an America where Christian men and women can raise their sons and daughters to grow up to be sinning, confessing, growing men and women. Because the men and women of pride and hubris will one day stand before the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords and give an account. Ask God to help you smile, stand firm, be loving and kind, and say, ‘I don’t hate you. I’m not mad at you. I don’t wanna be mean, but this is wrong.’
The ancients had the same concern. During the life and times of Jesus’ public ministry, political hubris, evil power, and know-it-all sanctimonious religious zealots jousted with Jesus. But we have hope in the One who can solve this mess. A child will be born, and a Son will be given as the King of the universe. The message of Isaiah: We’ve won. And we are part of a family of God.
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