March 20, 2022
This week we read Isaiah 9-23. Much of the reading was about prophesies against nations, starting with Assyria and Babylon, and then the smaller nations. It was God’s judgement against his people and the pagan nations as well.
God does not leave his people in the dark. There is hope in the future with the prophecy he made in Chapter 9 and this is the topic of our discussion this week. It is one we usually talk about at Christmas. Let’s look at each verse and break them down.
Isaiah 9:1 says, “]Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan”
During the time of Isaiah, the Israelites were living a sinful lifestyle, and living in gloom and distress. Isaiah makes this very clear in these chapters. They were living in darkness spiritually. They were also living in darkness physically. This was a time when the Israelites split. Ten of the tribes lived in the north and they were called Israelites, and two tribes (most of Benjamin and Judah) lived in the south, called Judah. Two of the ten tribes that lived in the north were Zebulun and Naphtali. They were small, supposed insignificant tribes that were not mentioned much in the Bible, until the prophesy of Isaiah.
Why are these towns important? Before Jesus was born, a census was taken. Joseph and Mary went from Nazareth to Judea, to Bethlehem because Joseph was from the line of David. While there, Jesus was born (Luke 2:1-7). After Jesus’ birth Herod wanted him killed. Joseph had a dream that had him take Jesus and Mary to Egypt for safety. Once Herod died, Joseph had another dream to go back to Nazareth in Galilee. The tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali inhabited the land of Galilee. Galilee was the place where Jesus selected many of his disciples and spent most of his time preaching, teaching and performing miracles. Matthew 4:12-16 says, “When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he withdrew to Galilee. 13 Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali— 14 to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah:15 “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—
Isaiah 9:2 says, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” Galilee was spiritually dark and was a small town with uneducated people. Jesus gave light to this spiritually dark area. The rest of the prophecy in Matthew 4:17 says, “16 the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”[f]John 8:12 says, “I am the light of the world, whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Isaiah predicted that people living in darkness would have light. He also predicted about who would bring that light. Isaiah 9:6-7 says, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders, And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.”
Let’s break down the description of the person coming, which we know would be Jesus.
- “For unto us a child is born…”. Isaiah is telling us that the Messiah would come into the world as a baby. This shows Jesus’ humanity.
- “…to us a son is given…” John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son. God gave his son Jesus to us, and the statement by Isaiah shows Jesus’ deity.
- “…and the government will be on his shoulders…” means he will rule.
- “Wonderful Counselor” means he will give wonderful, wise counsel.
- “Mighty God”: means God the Mighty One, again speaking of his deity.
- “Everlasting Father”: Some commentators do not believe this means Father God because Jesus is the Son in the trinity. Commentators believe in this verse, Father means originator. He is the originator of eternity.
- “Prince of Peace”: means he is the child who would rule in peace, safety and wellbeing, unlike the other kings and rulers.
- “He will reign on David’s throne…”: means that Jesus was in the line of David and would rule forever.
The Bible is full of prophesies. Hugh Ross says there are 2500 prophesies in the Bible and 2000 have come true. You can see how the prophecy in Isaiah 9 was fulfilled in the person of Jesus.
I love the descriptors Isaiah uses for Jesus. How would you describe Him?
Next week we will read Chapters 24-39. This will finish some of the more difficult reading about judgement, and the following week we get to read about God’s restoration.
References: Sermons from Jeff Strite, Gordon Curley, Jordan Muck