Sunday, December 19, 2010

Isaiah 9:6-7 - Unto us a Child is born

Contextual Notes: 
At the end of Isaiah 5, the picture is dark and gloomy, but in 6:1, Isaiah saw the Lord high and lifted up, and his priestly robe filled the sanctuary – a Priest-King-Deity. At 6:13, we have the hope of a stump in the land which will be to preserve God’s covenant with David, and that covenant is confirmed to the House of David in chapter 7 with a sign: “A virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name will be Immanuel, God with us!” (7:14).

That Son will choose the right and reject the wrong, exactly the opposite from the sons of Adam.  He will therefore cause an offense because the sons of Adam (that’s us!) choose the wrong and reject the right, and this Child will be a Rock that will cause many to stumble (8:14), but for those who regard Him as Holy, as God, for them he will be a sanctuary (8:14). By the end of chapter 8, the prophet has painted another deep darkness over the Land. But in 9:1-2, Isaiah says, a Light is coming in the form of a Child. That Child will turn gloom to honor (9:1), darkness to light (9:2), oppression to joy (9:3-4), and war to peace and victory (9:5).

In verses 6 and 7, Isaiah tells us about this Child, this son conceived and born of a virgin, and the picture is remarkably similar to the Priest-King-Deity of chapter 6 high and lifted up! This Child of 9:6-7 is the Divine Priest-King of chapter 6. This is the climax of the passage. Isaiah wants us to see it! This is incredible! What’s more incredible is that this is not a new interpretation of this passage. It is the simple interpretation of the New Testament writers. I can’t wait. Let’s dive in!

Pray & Read Isaiah 9:6-7

Key Truth: Isaiah wrote Isaiah 9:6-7 to teach Israel that the virgin-born Child of chapter 7 is the Divine Priest King of chapter 6 because this Child is born the King; he is hailed the King; and he will reign as King.

Key Application: Today I want to show you what God’s Word says about our Soon Coming King!

Key Verse: Isaiah 9:6b

Sermon Points:
1.   This Child is born the King (Isaiah 9:6a)
2.   This Child is hailed the King (Isaiah 9:6b)
3.   This Child reigns the King (Isaiah 9:7)


1.   This Child is born the King (Isaiah 9:6a)
a.   The Climax of the passage. Luke 2:11: for is born to you this day in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.

b.   9:6: A Child Born, A Son Given: This prophetic reference to Jesus illustrates his two natures in one being. The Messiah is a child born, yet also a Son who is given. Jesus came into the world as an infant through the womb of a virgin, but he had existed from eternity as God the Son whom the Father gave to us as a sacrifice.

c.   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 “Then I will set the key of the house of David on his shoulder, What he opens no one will shut, What he shuts no one will open”).

d.   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"I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You”). That is why Son is mentioned as well. The Child is a son (Hebrews 1:2“in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world”).

e.   And He is born for us. Notice that Isaiah includes himself in the Son’s blessings (“Unto us”).

f.    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.[1]

g.   ILLUSTRATION: S. M. Lockerbie in 1978 in Detroit described this king.  This “King was born King. The Bible says He's a Seven Way King. He's the King of the Jews - that's an Ethnic King. He's the King of Israel - that's a National King. He's the King of righteousness. He's the King of the ages. He's the King of Heaven. He's the King of glory. He's the King of kings and He is the Lord of lords. Now that's [the] King.”

h.   Liberals: 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.

i.    Liberals: Perhaps this is a spiritual birth and not a literal Child. 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]

j.    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.

k.   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.”[3]

l.    The Child is also a Sovereign King. (9:6, 7).
                i.    Matthew 28:18 - And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
              ii.    Matthew 11:27 - All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.
            iii.    John 5:22 - For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son,
             iv.    Psalm 72:2, 7, 11 - May he judge Your people with righteousness and Your afflicted with justice. In his days may the righteous flourish, And abundance of peace till the moon is no more. And let all kings bow down before him, All nations serve him.
               v.    Zechariah 9:10 – His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.

a.   Here is the heart of the passage, and this Child has five titles.

b.   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.[4] Let’s look at the prophetic royal titles this Child King has.

c.   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.[5] The Child is a Supernatural God.

d.   APPLICATION: 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? He is a Wonder, a Miracle. You can trust Him with your impossibilities because He is a Supernatural God.

e.   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.

                i.    No one could confuse or confound Him (Mark 12:34 - When Jesus saw that he had answered intelligently, He said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." After that, no one would venture to ask Him any more questions.).
              ii.    He has no need for counselors or advisors. He is His own Counsel. The words king and counselor are synonyms in Micah 4:9 - "Now, why do you cry out loudly? Is there no king among you, Or has your counselor perished, That agony has gripped you like a woman in childbirth?
            iii.    Isaiah 11:2 - The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD
             iv.    Isaiah 28:29 - This also comes from the LORD of hosts, Who has made His counsel wonderful and His wisdom great
               v.    Romans 11:33-36 - Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! for who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became his counselor? 35or who has first given to him that it might be paid back to him again? 36for from him and through him and to him are all things to him be the glory forever. Amen.
f.    APPLICATION: Have you been to the Counselor? Have you surrendered your fancied, human, and inept wisdom and trusted His solid guidance in your life? The Child is Royal Wisdom Himself. He is your Counselor: You can believe Him and follow His counsel in the Word because He Himself is Wisdom.

g.   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.

                 i.    John 16:33 - "These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world."
                ii.    Hebrews 7:25 - Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
h.   APPLICATION: 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? He is your 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.

i.     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.
                 i.    Isaiah 57:15 - For thus says the high and exalted One Who lives forever, whose name is Holy, "I dwell on a high and holy place, And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit In order to revive the spirit of the lowly And to revive the heart of the contrite.
                ii.    Isaiah 63:16 - For You are our Father, though Abraham does not know us And Israel does not recognize us You, O LORD, are our Father, Our Redeemer from of old is Your name.
              iii.    Psalm 103:13 - Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.

j.    APPLICATION: 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? He is the 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.

k.   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.
                 i.    Ezekiel 34:24 - I the LORD will be their God and my servant David will be prince among them. I the LORD have spoken.
                ii.    Zechariah 9:10 - I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the horse from Jerusalem; and the bow of war will be cut off and He will speak peace to the nations; and His dominion will be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.
              iii.    Ephesians 2:14 - For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility
              iv.    Romans 5:1 - Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

l.     APPLICATION: 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?[6] He is your 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.

a.   Built on the twin foundation of justice and righteousness, Messiah’s reign will be perpetual and have a high view of life (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.
                 i.    Daniel 2:44 - "In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.
                ii.    Luke 1:32, 33 - He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.

b.   9:7: Justice and righteousness – The prophecy opens with a promise that Zion will be redeemed in justice and righteousness (1:27). The Song of the Vineyard in ch. 5 ends with a vain search for justice and righteousness (5:7) though the Lord of hosts will be exalted in justice and righteousness (5:16). From Isaiah 1-12, this word pair is only found two other times, here at 9:6-7 as the foundation of the eternal kingdom ruled by the divine Son, and at 11:4, the Messiah the Root of Jesse, the father of David. Only through this king will God be pleased with what he finds in his vineyard. After chapter 12, the pair is found at 16:5 where a clear prophecy of the Messiah as a king from the house of David, and at 26:7-9, the Messiah is worshiped as God. We do not see the pair again until the first Servant Song (42:4, 6). The Servant of chapter 42 is the Child of 9:7!
c.   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.[7] 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.
d.   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.
e.   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.

So what are you going to do about Him? How are you going to respond to Him? 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. Will you submit to this King right now?

[1]  Simpson, 330.

[2] Young, 329.

[3] Young, 345-6.

[4] The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament, 597.

[5] Young, 334.
[6] With additions of my own, much of this from Simpson, 330ff.

[7] Young, 338.