Monday, January 14, 2008

Isaiah, Chapter 9

The ninth chapter of Isaiah is an important chapter because in it we see another important prophecy concerning Christ. We had seen one in chapter seven, but according to the notes in my study Bible that prophecy could have been applied to another child. Indeed it was in chapter eight, verse three of Isaiah. There a child is born to the prophetess and the same prophesy spoken of in chapter seven, verse 16. Therefore there still could be some doubt as to who the Messiah was and when he could be coming. Chapter nine, however, is clearly a prophecy about the Messiah.

4 For as in the day of Midian's defeat,
       you have shattered
       the yoke that burdens them,
       the bar across their shoulders,
       the rod of their oppressor.

 5 Every warrior's boot used in battle
       and every garment rolled in blood
       will be destined for burning,
       will be fuel for the fire.

 6 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 increase 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. – Isaiah 9:4-7

Clearly, this prophecy is referring to Jesus. Who else could it be referring to? Let's look at it in a little more depth. The reference of the government being on His shoulders implies that he will succeed over all governments. We know that in Jesus' first trip to earth He did not follow any particular government's rules. He knew that his power came from a higher authority, and God had placed in him the ability to rise above the rules of this earth.

Secondly, He is said to reign on David's throne. David is held in great esteem by many of the Israelites, as he was the greatest king the nation had ever known. Since David's time in power, Israel had fallen from grace under a succession of bad ruler after bad ruler who had turned away from God. Since Jesus would be ruling from David's throne, this is a sign that he would e returning the nation of Israel back to the ways of God.

Thirdly, we see an allusion to shattering the yoke that burdens the people. This yoke is the yoke of sin. Sin is bound to our hearts and as we saw throughout our study of Paul's work in the New Testament, we cannot do anything ourselves to break free of this burden. Only the power of Christ can set us free from the bondage that is sin. This power comes from His death on the cross. As the only perfect person who ever lived, Jesus did not succumb to sin as we have. Therefore, when he died he broke the bonds for all of us in His sacrifice.

14 So the LORD will cut off from Israel both head and tail,
       both palm branch and reed in a single day;

 15 the elders and prominent men are the head,
       the prophets who teach lies are the tail.

 16 Those who guide this people mislead them,
       and those who are guided are led astray.

 17 Therefore the Lord will take no pleasure in the young men,
       nor will he pity the fatherless and widows,
       for everyone is ungodly and wicked,
       every mouth speaks vileness.
       Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away,
       his hand is still upraised. – Isaiah 9:14-17

Finally, here we see more of the reason why we needed a Savior in the form of Christ. Isaiah illustrates here just how lost the people of Israel had become. Why would we need Jesus if we could find the way ourselves? How would we know of this need unless it was pointed out to us? This is still several hundred years before Christ came in person, but Isaiah feels the need to begin planting the seed for his need. He was also the voice of the Lord in a time when no one else would speak for Him.


  1. Why would God delay in sending Christ when the need was obvious at the time?
  2. How had Israel fallen away from God?
  3. Were there still devoted followers of God in Israel other than Isaiah?


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