Israel’s celebrated prophets, Isaiah is the king. The writings which bear his name are very profound and the prophecies from his book are all about faith. One great theme found in Isaiah is the theme of salvation by faith. It’s about faith in God’s promise to carry out salvation through his son, the virgin born Immanuel, which means “God with us” (Isaiah 7:14). The term Immanuel is a definite symbolic name for Christ, pointing to the incarnation of the Son of God. This word is a title that describes the deity of Jesus, implying that God came to be among His people and did so in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ. The child born of a virgin is a sign about having the faith to trust in God and his continuing presence and action in our lives. Isaiah, indicating that he is presenting the divine Child as though already born, uses the prophetic perfect tense. He is called wonderful counselor, which means that His wisdom will be miraculous. Mighty God is the Hebrew El Gibor, or “God the mighty one.” In Isaiah, El is always used of God and never of man. Everlasting Father is literally known as “Father of Eternity,” describing One who is the source of life eternal. Prince of Peace, Sar-Shalom, indicates that this Mighty God will bring lasting peace to this earth through the establishment of His millennial kingdom and the eternal state beyond. Chapter 7 of Isaiah describes just such a situation and the events leading up to the great sign from God. Isaiah foretold of a servant that would be humiliated and put to death so that mankind will gain forgiveness and allow us to be with our God in heaven. This is a clear reference to the forth coming savior Jesus Christ.
The events and conversations recorded in Isaiah Chapter 7 took place in the year 734/733 BC. It was a time when King Ahaz and his Kingdom of Judah were threatened by an alliance from his neighbors to the North. The two political Kingdoms, The Northern Kingdom of Israel, and the Kingdom of Syria decided to invade Judah. Rezin the King of Syria, and Pekah the King of Israel, had “marched up against Jerusalem but they could not overpower it” (Isaiah 7:1). Though they didn’t yet have the strength to attack him, their threatening was enough to make the heart of Ahaz and his people shake “as the trees of the forest shake before the wind” (Isaiah 7:2). Their plans are clearly stated in Isaiah 7:6, “Let us invade Judah, let us tear it apart and divide it among ourselves, and make the son of Tabeel king over it.” It is obvious from this context that Judah was facing real and imminent danger. Unless God was “with them,” they would face certain defeat.
King Ahaz was terrified. God sent the prophet Isaiah to calm the king. The prophet declared that these forces from the North would not prevail (Isaiah 7:1-9). In verses 7-9, the Lord God gives one prophetic assurance and one warning to Ahaz. The prophetic assurance was for Ahaz to “keep calm, and be not afraid” for an invasion will not happen (Isaiah 7:4, 7). Isaiah gives the reason why he has nothing to fear. He calls Rezin and Pekah and the two nations “two stubs of smoking firebrands” (Isaiah 7:4). In essence he is saying they are nothing but hot air; there is no fire in them.
The warning that was given to Ahaz was that he would be removed from the throne if he did not trust the Lord God, “If you will not believe, surely you shall not be established” (Isaiah 7:9). In other words, he will be removed from the throne. In chapter 7, Isaiah reminded Ahaz that God had made a covenant with David and promised him that a Davidic ruler would one day sit upon the throne of David forever (Isaiah 7:12). This says that the Lord will remove Ahaz as king, yet he will still be faithful to his promises to David. Ahaz was encouraged to “ask for a sign” documenting this word of prophecy, but the stubborn king refused. So Isaiah gives him one anyway. Isaiah chapter 7 demonstrates God’s faithfulness to a promise that he made with King David by giving the ultimate sign to the House of David. The sign would be a virgin born Son named Immanuel, God with us. It is the Immanuel prophecy.
We read of this fulfillment in 2 Kings 16:9 and 17:6 where we are told that Assyria took both Syria and Israel into captivity. But how would Judah know that God would not use Assyria to also destroy them? This is where the Immanuel prophecy comes in. Something was going to happen right before their eyes that would serve as a sign of God’s protective providence. The Lord Jesus Christ is the sinless Immanuel and God manifest in human flesh. Isaiah asks Ahaz to ask for a sign, which Ahaz refuses, demonstrating his faithless nature. The Lord then replies to Ahaz, referring to him as the House of David. Then he said, “Hear now, O house it a small thing for you to weary men, but will you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:13-14). Isaiah says this in the context of it being a sign from God. He also says that the child would be referred to as “Immanuel,” which means, “God with us” (Isaiah 7:14). This would be the proof of God’s faithfulness to the house of David despite the wickedness of some of its kings. This child born of a virgin, conceived by the Holy Spirit, is Jesus Christ, the true Son of David who would establish the throne of David’s kingdom forever. He was God in human flesh, proof that God really is with his people.
Therefore, a virgin woman would give birth to a child, a miracle no human could have devised. This prophesied event is designated as a sign. The term sign is a point of controversy. The immediate context does suggest a miracle. The king had been challenged to ask for a sign, either “in the depth, or in the height above” (Isaiah 7:11). This indicates something phenomenal. Non-Christian scholars have challenged this interpretation. They say that the Hebrew word “almah,” which is the word that Christian Bibles often translate as “virgin,” actually means “young maiden” or “young woman.” Isaiah 7:14 is a very controversial passage among Muslims and Christians. Many anti-Christian apologists believe the disciples added the Immaculate Conception into the birth of Jesus Christ. Many anti-Christians (Jews and Muslims included) have criticized Christians for believing the allege hoax of the virgin birth.
In Isaiah 9:6, four names are given to describe Jesus. “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah wrote these four names 700 years before the birth of Jesus. This is another example of Jesus being foreshadowed in the Book of Isaiah. Isaiah 42:1-9 is another scripture that gives reference to Jesus Christ.
Isaiah 42:1-9 is written to the people who had been defeated and were taken captive to Babylon. God is giving a message of comfort and hope. They had failed as a nation to be faithful to God and therefore God had caused the curses of the covenant to come upon his people. Yet God does not give up on them. He is a covenant God and will fulfill his covenant. The only way that can really be fulfilled is that Jesus is the covenant. He is the fulfillment of God’s word to an unfaithful people.
Isaiah 42:1 begins with “Here is my Servant.” God has a special Servant to whom He calls our attention. This servant is God’s chosen one. God takes great delight in Him, and God upholds or supports Him. He will not serve in His own strength. He is supported by God and finds His deepest satisfaction in God. The title Servant is one of honor, not belittlement. This one has the Spirit of God on Him. In the scriptures King David is sometimes called God’s servant. The apostles and other writers of the New Testament called themselves slaves and servants of God. But here in Isaiah 42 this Servant is the One who is fully able to carry his God given ministry of justice because God’s Spirit is upon him. The servant will gain power for his mission from the Holy Spirit.
In Isaiah chapters 49-55, the Israelites believed the promises of God would be manifested through a suffering servant know as Jesus. This individual is called by the Lord and named while he “was in his mother’s womb”; he is “a man of suffering and acquainted with grief”…