Saturday, December 09, 2006

Unto Us A Child is Born Part 2 (Isaiah 9:6-7)

From birth a Child is King (Isaiah 9:6-7)
The Climax of the passage. Luke 2:11. The word name is singular – not plural. This is one particular child, a son. The word Child is the first word in the Hebrew text, indicating emphasis.

Monarchies often take titles. When England’s Richard III went on Crusade, the pope awarded the English king the title, “Defender of the Faith.” When Henry VIII broke from the Roman Catholic Church and formed his own Church of England, he retained his title, and today Queen Elizabeth II holds “Defender of the Faith” as one title of her reign. Ancient Near East royals did the same. The Pharaohs had a formal, time-honored tradition of bestowing five titles on each new ruler as he or she ascended the throne. These were expressions of their faith in the pharaoh’s deity. Niqmepa, king of Ugarit (mid-second millennium BC) was titled Lord of Justice, Master of the Royal House, King who Protects, and King who Builds.
[1]

Some say: "Perhaps this is an historical child born at the time of Isaiah and Hezekiah." If so, whose birth ever accomplished what is described here? To ask the question is to answer it. The One mentioned here is the birth foretold in Isaiah 7:14. There the birth of this Child is a sign. Here it brings salvation to the world.

Some say: "Perhaps this is a spiritual birth and not a literal Child." Au contraire, mon frere. The verb form emphasizes that this is a real, historical birth, not something vague and ephemeral, but a birth of a boy in history on this earth in a specific time and definite place.
[2]

He is a Child, and He is also a Son. Why is He also designated a Son? He is of course a son of David, an heir to David’s throne (9:7; Isaiah 22:22). But He is not only the Son of David. It is redundant to say that the ruler on David’s throne is David’s son, even considering Hebrew poetic parallelism. He is also the Son of God (Psalm 2:7). That is why Son is mentioned as well. The Child is a son (Hebrews 1:2). And He is born for us. Notice that Isaiah includes himself in the Son’s blessings (“Unto us”).

Adam, the first man, stepped into existence as a full-grown man, but Adam fell and dragged down with him the whole human race to ruin and sorrow. Jesus Christ came in the feeble steps of infancy and grew through every stage of man from cradle to grave, and Jesus never failed.
[3]

The Child is also a Sovereign King. (9:6, 7). Matthew 28:18; 11:27; John 5:22; Psalm 72:2, 7, 11; Zechariah 9:10

This Child and His Kingdom
A Wonder (9:6). Literally, a ‘miracle.’ This King is a Wonder, the underlying idea is supernatural. This word, Wonder, pele, is used Psalm 78:12 for the “marvelous” things God did for Israel in rescuing them from Egypt and in Judges 13:18 when the Angel tell Manoah that His name is pele, “too wonderful to comprehend.” “To designate the Child with the word pele’ is to make the clearest attestation of His deity.” Placement of the word first is striking. We are brought head on with the Child’s deity first in the list.
[4] The Child is a Supernatural God.

The Counselor (9:6). The wisest of all kings was Solomon, but now “a greater than Solomon is here.” The royal Babe of Bethlehem is the wisdom of God. No one could confuse or confound Him (Mark 12:34). He has no need for counselors or advisors. He is His own Counsel. The words king and counselor are synonyms in Micah 4:9. Isaiah 11:2; 28:29; Romans 11:33-36. The Child is Royal Wisdom Himself.

The Mighty God (9:6). He is not just Sovereign. He is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent. ‘el gibbor means “Mighty Warrior.” He fights for His own. He wrestles in intercession at the right hand of the Father, a place of authority. The Child is an Heroic Mighty Warrior God. John 16:33; Hebrews 7:25

The Everlasting Father (9:6). Literally, Father of Eternity. All His plans and purposes are everlasting and eternal. Now and forever He is a Father, provider, protector, and shepherd of His people. Isaiah 57:15; 63:16; Psalm 103:13

The Prince of Peace (9:6). The greatest gift of all. Shalom. He brings peace, as the Davidic descendant to rule in peace over the earth. He came to remove the cause of all war, which is sin in our hearts. He brings peace between God and humankind through removing sin. Ezekiel 34:24; Ephesians 2:14; Romans 5:1.

Built on the twin foundation of justice and righteousness, Messiah’s reign will be perpetual and progressive (9:7). Here is the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant in one person (2 Samuel 7:12-17). Most kingdoms increase through war. This one will increase through peace. Daniel 2:44; Luke 1:32, 33.

Here Isaiah is bringing out an important contrast. By using the words Child and born, he emphasizes the Messiah’s humanity, but in using words like Wonder, Counselor, and Mighty God, we encounter full-force Messiah’s deity.
[5] This is a person who can only be totally human and totally God at the same time. Mohammed wasn’t. No Hindu sadhu has ever said he was. Not even the Gautama Buddha declared himself totally human and divine at the same time. Only the Man from Nazareth ever made such an audacious claim. Therefore you must either accept His claim as God’s unique Son, the Messiah who was to come or you must reject Him as a fanatical fraud.

He is either a pathological liar, a megalomaniac, a psychotic, or He is Sovereign. He is either a liar, a loser, a lunatic, or Lord. You must deal with that reality in your heart and choose whether you receive Him and His claims fully or you reject Him. Your choice determines your destiny.

Commentator Joseph A. Alexander (1846): “There is no alleged prophecy of Christ, for which it seems so difficult with any plausibility to find another subject” to fulfill the prophecies except the Nazarene himself. Until someone can come up with another possibility, “we may repose upon the old evangelical interpretation as undoubtedly the true one.”
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Application:
Wonderful: You can trust Him with your impossibilities because He is a Supernatural God.

Counselor: You can believe Him and follow His counsel in the Word because He Himself is Wisdom.

Mighty God: You can rest in Him because He goes before you to fight for you. He labors for you and your loved ones in intercession at the right hand of God.

Everlasting Father: You are eternally secure in Him. No one can take you out of His hand. You cannot lose your salvation. He provides for you in the temporal and in the eternal.

Prince of Peace: He Himself is your Peace. Only He can bring peace in yourself, your family, and in the earth. If you have accepted His treaty of Peace, then you are safe in Him forever. If you have not, you are outside Peace where there will be darkness, weeping, and gnashing of teeth.

Unto us a Child is born, and that Child is Jesus Christ the Living Son of God who was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died a criminal’s death on a bloody cross, rose again on the third day from the dead, and sits in reigning power at His Father’s right hand in heaven right now as we speak. He is the true King and Shepherd of Israel and in Him alone is to be found the peace mankind is seeking.

Invitation:
Is the Wonderful One in your life? Have you anything supernatural in your religion? Has He miraculously answered your prayers? Has He supernaturally provided for you when you had no other option? Are you a miracle of grace through the salvation of the Child from Bethlehem?

Have you been to the Counselor? Have you surrendered your fancied, human, and inept wisdom and trusted His solid guidance in your life?

Do you know the Almighty God? Have you allowed Him to fight that battle for you that cannot be won any other way? Have you cast your burden on Him because He cares for you? Have you allowed Him to clothe you in his almightiness, to make you strong in His strength? Have you claimed it by faith and prayer?

Have you invested in the Father of Eternity? Have you given up your plans and purposes for yourself and trusted Him with His plans and purpose for yourself? For your spouse? For your children? For your grandchildren?

Have you received real peace and contentment from the Prince of Peace? Have you received the Peace that is a Person? Have you surrendered to the increase of His Peace and His Government in your heart? In your family? In your business? In your church?
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[1] The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament, 597.
[2] Young, 329.
[3] Simpson, 330.
[4] Young, 334.
[5] Young, 338.
[6] Young, 345-6.
[7] With additions of my own, much of this from Simpson, 330ff.