Davidic Covenant in
Isaiah 9:6, 2 Samuel 7:8–17, 1 Chronicles 17:11–14
Samuel Lesson #167
April 9, 2019
“Our Father, it’s such a great privilege to come together and to fellowship with one another because our fellowship is with You. As a result of that, we have this fellowship one with another.
“Father, we are so blessed to have Your Word and to be able to learn about Your Word in freedom and to have such a heritage in our personal lives and in our nation for Your Word. We need to be thankful for those blessings every single day and not take these things for granted. A time may soon come when we do not have access to Bible teaching and all that we have is that which we have memorized and that which we have stored in our soul.
“Father, we pray that time may not come but we continue to read and hear about universities such as Yale and other schools of higher learning that truly do persecute the Christians that are there. There are tremendous student groups who oppose the presence of Christians all because Christians believe that certain behaviors are sinful and are not part of Your plan for our lives.
“Father we pray that You would strengthen the organizations that seek to defend Christians in courts and that the First Amendment would continue to be upheld and our rights protected. On a personal level there’s opposition. On businesses there’s opposition to believers who hold views that are not considered politically acceptable or correct today all because of perverted social pressure.
“Father, we pray for believers that they might understand graciously and in an accurate way how to hold these views and to understand Your Word and what they might endure and persevere in the midst of the pressure. We pray all these things in Christ’s name. Amen.”
Open your Bibles with me to Isaiah 7. We’re continuing our study on the Davidic Covenant. In the past weeks we have looked at the text of the Davidic Covenant itself which is given in 2 Samuel 7:12–16 and the parallel passage which is in 1 Chronicles 17:11–14. This is an important covenant that God has made as an extension of the seed promise in the Abrahamic Covenant.
We not only have looked at the Davidic Covenant itself, what was revealed to David out of God’s grace and goodness. It is an everlasting covenant. It is an unconditional covenant like the Abrahamic Covenant, which is its predecessor. It’s also what is termed in the ancient Near East a royal grant.
This is a freely given grant, a freely given covenant. Its purpose is to encourage and strengthen a loyal servant to even greater obedience. There’s nothing conditional about it and God will fulfill it exactly as it has been given.
Tonight we’re going to look at Isaiah 9:6 having looked at Isaiah 7:14 last time. We’re continuing to focus on what the Bible teaches about the Davidic Covenant.
As I have pointed out, the Abrahamic Covenant was given freely to Abraham. It’s summarized in sort of a preview in Genesis 12:1–13. As we examine that passage there are three elements to this covenant that are cut. That’s the biblical term that is actually initiated and inaugurated with Abraham in Genesis 15.
These parts relate to a land. You cannot have a nation without a land, so God is promising them a nation. First He promises land. Then He promises a seed; that is, descendants.
One of the things I want you to pay attention to is the word that is translated seed. It’s a word that has a collective sense but it can also refer to an individual. The English word “offspring” is similar. You can talk about someone’s offspring and that may be many children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren or it might mean just one child.
That’s the way the word “seed” works. So when we look at these passages, what we’ll have to do is examine the pronouns that are part of the context. Sometimes even these are mistranslated. There are examples which we probably won’t get to for a couple of weeks where seed is used in the singular in the Hebrew, which uses a third person singular pronoun like “he”. That tells you that seed in that context should refer to an individual. We find that in a passage such as Genesis 22:18 and its application in Galatians 3:16.
What happens is that some translations like the New King James Version and the New American Standard Version and a number of others will translate that seed and then translate the third person singular which is “he”, “she”, or “it” and that’s singular. The third person plural is “they”.
It will translate a third person singular pronoun with a third person plural pronoun in English, which misses and distorts the whole passage. That’s the confusion that comes because of this collective noun, and many times it is used in this larger sense of descendants [plural] rather than a singular offspring.
The third category has to do with the blessing. The three covenants that expand the Abrahamic Covenant are the land covenant, the Davidic Covenant, and the New Covenant. We’re focusing on that Davidic Covenant. Like the Abrahamic Covenant it has three dimensions to it.
The first is that there’s a promise of an eternal house. Second, there’s the promise of an eternal kingdom, and third there’s the promise of an eternal throne. For someone to have an eternal reign, they themselves must be eternal, so that tells us in a rather ambiguous way that the One who would fulfill the Davidic Covenant as the ultimate Seed of David toward which it looked was One who would be divine.
Because He is spoken of as a descendant of David, he would also be human. Even though that’s not brought out in a big way in the covenant, that’s implicit in the language that is used. As we go through these subsequent prophecies that we find in Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and as well as a few of the minor prophets we’ll look at and we’ll see things that are brought out in addition to just the basic elements that are described in 2 Samuel 7:12–16.
The two terms I introduced in the last two lessons are diachronic which means through time. “DIA” is the Greek preposition for through, “CHRONOS” for time, so that’s studying what is taught in the progression of time. First, as it is revealed to David in 2 Samuel, then as it develops in some of the psalms, and as it develops in the latter prophets, which include both major and minor prophets.
Then intertextual issues describe how there are various illusions and references back to the Davidic Covenant, just a word here or there that tells you that verse is talking about a fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant.
We had this chart up which is a chronology of the latter prophets. In the 9th to 8th centuries BC we primarily are looking at examples from Isaiah. We’ve already looked at Hosea and Amos, and now we are looking at prophecies in Isaiah related to the Davidic Covenant.
Then we’ll move on from here to look at prophecies in Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Zechariah. We’ll end up with a look at what I think is a fascinating study of the relationship between the passage on the Seed of Abraham in Galatians 3:16 and how that connects the Abrahamic Covenant to the Davidic Covenant.
In 2 Samuel 7:12 in the Davidic Covenant there’s this promise to David, “When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers …”
That’s an interesting idiom that I’ve just come to learn in the last year is that what would happen usually in the ancient world is you would take someone who had died and you would put their body into a tomb and let it decompose over the next year. Then you would go in and take the bones and put the bones in what you would call an ossuary. In earlier times they used something else.
Then you would put those bones into the grave with all of your ancestors so you would be literally “gathered to your fathers.” That’s what that idiom means. It has a literal sense that is you’re basically buried with the rest of your family and your ancestors. So resting with your fathers is an idiom that relates to that.
“I will set up your seed after you…” There’s our word, zara, and it is a masculine singular here. It’s a collective noun here, which I pointed out, and it can refer to seed singular or it can refer to plural, which would be descendants. Or if you want to retain that original ambiguity, you could use the English word offspring, which would be singular or plural.
Last time we started into an important section, one of the key sections in Isaiah, known as the Immanuel section. This goes from Isaiah chapter 7 through Isaiah chapter 11. I know there are a lot of folks here when they read through Isaiah get confused. It’s easy to do that. I understand that.
I wanted to put this little chart together. I adapted it from a chart in the Moody Bible Commentary to show what is going on here in the text. You have three high points in these passages. The sign of Immanuel’s birth, the virgin birth, which we studied last time in Isaiah 7:14.
The second high point comes in Isaiah 9:1–7 where you have the various titles that reflect the character of the Messiah who is identified also in that passage as Immanuel, just as He is in Isaiah 7:14. Then the next high point comes in Isaiah 11:1–16 where the Messiah is identified as a Branch from the Root of Jesse.
We’ve introduced that already by looking at the prophecy in Isaiah 4:2, which referred to the Messiah as the Branch, so that’s an important term.
What’s in between here if you’re reading from Isaiah 1 and you’re reading through Isaiah 11 and on into Isaiah 12, which is a blessing which comes at the end of this section. But if you’re reading through that you can’t figure out easily what’s going on in between these Messianic prophecies.
That’s because the prophecies are given in the midst of a horrendous situation in Israel. The kingdom is split into two, the Northern Kingdom and the Southern Kingdom. The Northern Kingdom is about to be taken out under divine discipline. The Assyrian Army will destroy them in 722 BC.
Then the Assyrian Army will seriously threaten the Southern Kingdom but will not destroy it. God will be gracious and the Southern Kingdom will last from 722 BC until 586 BC, a period of about 140 years or so.
In between these signs that are given relating to the Messiah, which is the blessing God will provide in the future, there is an announcement of judgment during that time or soon to come that God will bring on both the Northern Kingdom and the Southern Kingdom of Judah due to their disobedience.
In between the mountain peaks of the blessings of the sign of the Messiah you have the valleys of the judgments. In Isaiah 7:17–8:22 there is a judgment announced on Judah, Damascus, and Samaria. Damascus is the capital of Syria, which the ancient world was called Aram.
Today you can think about what’s going on north of Israel in Syria and this isn’t the first and won’t be the last time that Israel is threatened by military powers that are hostile to them on their northern border.
Then in the section from Isaiah 9:8 which comes after the passage we’ll be looking at tonight there’s another judgment that is announced on the Northern Kingdom and Assyria, which is a kingdom that’s going to come in and destroy the Northern Kingdom of Israel.
In his excellent work called The Messianic Hope: Is the Hebrew Bible Really Messianic?, which is a study of prophecy in the Old Testament, which shows there is genuine, true Messianic prophecy, Michael Rydelnik states, “Rather, the hope of Israel was in the future Davidic king.” That’s what’s happening in these passages, a continued explanation of the promise of God to David to give people hope even though around them their culture was collapsing, not unlike our culture.
There’s a problem with leadership because you have a king at this point named Ahaz who was sacrificing his children on the fiery arms of Moloch and Chemosh. He’s literally murdering his children as sacrifices to these false gods and to these idols.
There’s demonism that is rampant throughout the land as we see in the latter part of Isaiah 8. People are taking their questions to mediums and what we would call today those who are channeling demons, those who were necromancers, those who were going to the dead to contact them to find out about the future. All of these things were going on in their culture.
They were overwhelmed by what we call today the New Age Movement. It’s just another twist to what was going on back then. It’s another form of idolatry. All of this is happening and they’re seeing just an absolute cultural meltdown all around the core of believers who are there who are identified as the remnant.
So the hope for Israel was that God would deliver them through this promise of a future leader who would be a descendant of David. His name is provided here for the first time as Immanuel, which we studied in Isaiah 7:14 last time.
Rydelnik says that He would come as a Servant-King as seen in Isaiah 42:1–9, 49:1–13, and 50:4–11. There are other passages that refer to him as “My servant” as well. He would provide a sacrificial, substitutionary death, a sacrificial atonement for the world and that’s seen in Isaiah 52:13–53:12.
By the way, a few years ago I did a standalone study on that particular section of Isaiah 52–53 so you may want to go back and refresh yourself on that study. Rydelnik continues, “The remnant of Israel, to whom the book is addressed, was to find their comfort and hope, not in Cyrus [who God says is His anointed one to bring them back from captivity] but in a future Messianic king.” He is a literal, physical human descendant of King David but there’s more to it than that.
As we look at this passage, just to give you a little bit of review from what we looked at last time in Isaiah 7:1–16. The key statement is found in verse 14 where we are told three things. First we are told that a virgin would conceive. I pointed out that the word almah that critical scholars say is not a word for a virgin, but it is a word for a young woman of marriageable age and that is assumed that she would not have any relations prior to that and the rabbis would have understood that when they translated the Septuagint into Greek.
That was a translation of the Old Testament into the Greek, which would be known as the Septuagint. Septa, which means 70 and the legend is that 70 rabbis in 70 days translated the Torah from Hebrew into Greek. It took them a little bit longer to get the rest of it.
They understood this and they translated almah as PARTHENOS, meaning a virgin. That was the interpretation until you get into the Middle Ages when you had a couple of rabbis, one of whose names was Rashi [his acronym] and he changes the hermeneutics. As a result of his changes, they were changing the meaning of the word.
That was typical. It took the Jewish community about a thousand years to figure out how to reinterpret many of the Messianic prophecies so they wouldn’t be Messianic anymore. That’s part of the reason why Rydelnik wrote this book, because of that Jewish thought influenced the early Reformers and Protestants so we still have residuals of that in much of evangelicalism.
This is a passage that is clearly identifying that the sign is a virgin. It’s not just any kind of a sign whatsoever, like having a young woman get pregnant and give birth. Remember I said last time that a sign signifies something significant, so this has to stand out.
The second thing is that she would give birth to a son, so this is a normal, human birth process. Third, the name of this son is Immanuel, meaning God with us. So you have a normal, human birth but it’s miraculous in that it’s a miraculous conception and a miraculous birth from a virgin.
The human son that is born is also divine and called Immanuel, God with us.
It’s important that we take more time with it because I hurried through it at the end last time. There is a mention of this child who is born of a virgin and then there is the mention of another child in Isaiah 7:16, “For before the child shall know to refuse the evil and choose the good the land that you dread will be forsaken by both her kings.”
That was actually fulfilled in just two years, so that would indicate to some that the birth of this child took place at the time of Isaiah and so they interpreted the verse in a historical sense. And others say it’s later picked up and just applied to Jesus so there really isn’t predictive prophecy here. Of course, I disagree with that and so does Michael Rydelnik.
As we look at the passage we see that Isaiah is ordered by God in Isaiah 7:3 to take his son, Shear-jashub, with him. Shear-jashub means “a remnant will return”. So the names that are given to these individuals all have meaning and significance. That name is also used in Isaiah 10:21. He is to illustrate the prophet’s message.
What’s important about that is when you get down to verse 16 “before the child” if you have a NKJV, they put child in upper case because they interpreted that to refer to the child who was born of a virgin. This is a lot of detail and a lot of grammar but it’s important to understand this distinction because it affects a number of aspects of our interpretation.
We have the use of these pronouns as I pointed out last time. For example in Isaiah 7:10, “Moreover the Lord spoke again to Ahaz saying, ‘Ask a sign for yourself’ ”. This is a second person masculine singular. In Hebrew you have a feminine singular and you have a masculine singular, so you can tell whom someone is talking to. So this is a singular. God is addressing Ahaz in this passage and He is using a singular pronoun.
When He addresses the house of David He will use a plural pronoun so that indicates there are actually two signs that are given. There’s a sign that’s given to the house of David that they will not be destroyed. If you remember, there’s going to be this confederation or alliance between Pekah, who is the king in the North, and Resin, who is the king of Syria. They want to depose Ahaz, murder him, and put a puppet on the throne that is not a descendant of David.
This is a direct Satanic attack on the Davidic Covenant, God’s promise to David, and an attempt to destroy the house of David. This is not the first time Satan has tried to destroy the house of David.
So God tells Ahaz to ask a sign for himself from the Lord, your God [second person singular] either in the depth or in the height above. But Ahaz, like a self-righteous religious person protests to God saying, “No, no, no God. I’m not going to test You.”
Then God said to him, “Hear now—or listen or behold …” Notice it is now in a second person plural. That means God is talking to the house of David. It’s very clear contextually, “Listen now, O house of David! Is it a small thing for you to weary men?”
It’s not singular. He’s not talking directly to Ahaz or only to Ahaz. He’s talking through Ahaz to what has happened to the house of David and their apostasy. “Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will you weary my God also?”
Then we have the prophetic promise, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you [plural] a sign …” That is you, the house of David, a sign. So the birth of the Son through a virgin is a sign that God is going to bring about His promise in the Davidic Covenant.
“I will give you a sign. Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a son and will call His name Immanuel.” Immanuel means God with us and that’s what is fulfilled in Matthew 1:23.
The fact that this is still a second person plural indicates something of significance.
Again, I pointed out last time that “the” virgin indicates a specific woman and this takes us back to the promise to Eve that between her Seed [the first use of zera‘ in the Messianic context] and the serpent’s seed. God was speaking to the serpent and it refers to one.
How do we know it’s referring to one and not all of her descendants? Because the pronoun that follows it and refers to it is a singular pronoun. “He shall bruise his head—referring to the serpent—and he shall bruise His heel.” (“His” is a second person singular pronoun here.)
It’s important to look at those pronouns, which is why I said it’s important to look at those pronouns because they will tell you whether the word seed is talking about the descendants [plural] or whether it’s talking about a singular descendant.
Skipping ahead we come to an important passage. I flew through this last time and made a point that this is also critical to understanding the interpretation of the passage. In Isaiah 7:15 talking about this child it says, “Curds and honey he shall eat that he may know to refuse the evil and choose the good.”
He’s going to grow up and this is going to be his diet. It’s going to be heavy in dairy as well as in honey. If you take this as being the diet of aristocracy, that this is what would be eaten by aristocrats in a time of prosperity, then you are going in one direction. But as you see, because of the way it is used in Isaiah 7:20 there’s a warning about what will happen when the Assyrians come, “They will shave with a hired razor.”
One of the things they would do in the ancient world, if you were conquered by a foreign power they would shave your head and shave your beard. It was a sign of humiliation. God uses this same imagery, that He’s going to shave the land with a “hired” razor. That means that the fields and the forests are going to be destroyed. That’s a destruction of the nation’s prosperity.
They’re going to come under the oppression of a foreign power. It says the Lord will shave with a hired razor—which goes beyond the river [the River Euphrates] with the King of Assyria—the head and the hair of the legs and will also remove the beard.
Then you skip down to Isaiah 7:21–22 and it says, “In that day—referring to the day when the Assyrian comes in and shaves the land—a man will come along and keep alive a young cow and two sheep.” They will provide milk so that is the basis for having curds.
From the abundance of the milk they give, the child will eat curds. The eating of the curds is in the context of the result of oppression and domination by a foreign power. The fields that would produce grain and barley and wheat have been destroyed. What’s left are some livestock.
Because you have wild flowers now growing up in the empty fields, you have a proliferation of bees and bee hives with honey. So the only things left to eat is going to be the milk and honey because you’re living in this time of oppression.
Jesus, as the Messiah grows up, lives in Israel under the thumb of the Roman Empire, which is a time of oppression when they are being heavily taxed by Rome. Little is left to eat except just the basics. They were not in a time of prosperity, but in a time of adversity.
This phrase is important to understand some of the things coming up. It gives us a real clue and insight into the environment, the political environment, in which the child of the virgin will be born. So this is important to recognize that it’s not talking about the food of royalty, but the food of those under oppression.
Now we come to Isaiah 7:16. We have to fill in the gap. What happens between Isaiah 7:16 and Isaiah 9:6 because all of this fits together? What I want to do is just fly through this and give you a summary. This will be a good summary so that next time that you’re reading through Isaiah and pick out the ideas that are going on here and the movements that are taking place.
Starting with verse 16 there’s a shift again to a second masculine singular. Masculine plural is addressed to whom? The house of David. When it’s masculine singular it’s addressing Ahaz, so now we’ve come back to where God is on the one hand giving comfort to the house of David that they won’t be destroyed or wiped out by this upstart king that the Northern Alliance wants to put on the throne.
Then he’s going to give a personal assurance to Ahaz. Ahaz is feeling threatened because with this alliance they could overrun Judah and destroy it and he will lose his life. Now the Lord says, “For before the child …” That should be lower case “child”. The question is, who is this child in Isaiah 7:16? Is it the child of the virgin, Immanuel, or another child? What other children have been mentioned so far in this passage? In verse 3 God had ordered Isaiah to take his young son, Shear-jashub, with him. If this isn’t referring to Shear-jashub then we have no idea why Isaiah was told to take his son with him.
Since the context makes a clear fact that Isaiah was to take his son down there, then he is to be an object lesson for what is going to take place. At this point God is pointing out that before the child, that is before Shear-jashub, shall know to refuse the evil and choose the good, before he grows up and lives an adult life where he is making moral decisions about his life, it says the land that you dread is coming down. That land is the confederation.
This is a second person singular so it refers to Ahaz, who is dreading it. It says, “The land that you dread will be forsaken by both her kings.” That is actually fulfilled in about two years. The Assyrians are going to come in and they are going to sack Samaria and sack Damascus. Both of these kings will end their reign so that alliance, the confederation between Syria and the Northern Kingdom of Israel, has only two years left to go.
They are truly firebrands that are going out. They’ve had their heyday and now their stumps, their firewood that was described earlier, are about to die out.
Then we get into verse 17 and we get a real negative warning here. “The Lord will bring the king of Assyria upon you.” Oh, great! He just got the good news that the Northern Alliance is going to be wiped out and rendered ineffective within two years, but now we get the bad news.
The bad news is that the Assyrians are coming. The Assyrians were some of the absolutely worst, most violent people that have ever lived on the planet. I’m not going to entertain you with some of the stories that have come down of how they tortured their prisoners, but that’s how they got their joys to see how long they could torture a prisoner and keep them alive and how much pain they could bring into their lives.
This is not unlike some of the stories that go around about the Comanches, the Apaches, the Sioux, or some of the Indian tribes in the Ohio River Valley. I’ve been reading a book lately called The Heart of Everything That is. It is the story of Red Cloud, who was a chief of the Sioux. He was the only Indian leader who defeated the U.S. Army. They lost the war with Red Cloud. It’s a fascinating read, well written, and a few weeks ago in 2 Peter in spiritual warfare I talked about the Fetterman Massacre.
I haven’t gotten there in the book, but it goes into that quite a bit of detail. The author really goes into detail about all of the torture that made the Sioux very happy. You can imagine why the pioneers that first encountered the Indians and were attacked and tortured by them developed the saying that the only good Indian was a dead Indian. This also explains why American soldiers who feared being attacked with their buddies would shoot each other rather than endure the torture that would come their way.
The Assyrians are considered to be much, much worse, so this was bad news for Ahaz. “The Lord will bring the king of Assyria upon you—again, second person masculine singular so he’s telling Ahaz he’s going to face it—and your—second person masculine singular—people and your—second person masculine singular—father’s house—days that have not come since the day that Ephraim—the Northern Kingdom—departed from Judah.”
Three things to give you a little history here: Remember the benchmark date is around 722 BC. We’ll say 721 BC. That is when Assyria destroyed the Northern Kingdom and they go out under the 5th cycle of discipline. That’s your framework. The last time I was gone John taught on Jonah. Jonah is around 750 BC to 760 BC, somewhere in that time period. Then you also have Amos and the earthquake that occurred in the time of Amos, which is dated from around 750 BC to 752 BC, so this gives you that timeframe.
The king of Assyria in 732 BC is Tiglath-pileser and he plunders the Northern Kingdom of Israel. The second big event is that Assyria then comes down and wipes out the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 721 BC and they had a policy of resettlement. So people wouldn’t revolt against them they would round up about 80 or 90 percent of the people and move them to all the four corners of their empire. This would separate them from their friends and family as they are resettled.
Then as other people were conquered, they would take those people and resettle them into the area of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. You had some who were Jewish and they married Jews and they maintained a pure line or mostly pure line in the north, but then you had those who intermarried with the foreigners who were resettled there by the Assyrians and they became the Samaritans. That’s why the Jews had this prejudice, this disgust with the Samaritans because they were half-breeds. They weren’t full genetic descendants of Isaac and Jacob. Jesus treated the Samaritans with great grace and with great love as indicated in the Parable of the Good Samaritan.
The third thing is that Ashurbanipal completes this process some 65 years later in fulfillment of the prophecies that we ran through fairly rapidly in the early part of Isaiah 7. This shows how God was in control of the situation to protect and preserve the line of David and the Kingdom of Judah so that He could, through them, bring the Messiah.
As we then wrap up sort of the last part of Isaiah 7 we run into one other question in verse 16. Let’s hear verse 15, “Curds and honey he shall eat that he may know to refuse the evil and choose the good.” Then it starts with the particle “for”, which usually indicates an explanation of that which comes before. That would indicate that verses 15 and 16 are connected and talking about the same thing.
However, without getting into all the details and the nuances of the grammar, which is debated by a number of people, if you look at the NIV and the early edition of the New Living Translation, it translates this Hebrew phrase as “but before”. This is meaning that a contrast and I believe that fits the context even though you can find a number of Hebrew scholars that will argue against that.
The causal sense there that this is because before the child will know to refuse the evil and choose the good doesn’t make sense unless the eating of curds and honey represents the foods of royalty and something positive. If the eating of curds and honey indicates the child of the virgin will be born in oppression, then verse 16 has to talk about someone else, another individual, or a different child. That makes a lot more sense.
Let’s go on to the next section. We get into chapter 8 and this is again a warning that Syria will invade the land. Another child is introduced here. When I was in seminary it was suggested that the child born of a virgin was Maher-shalal-hash-baz. You always wondered when I would use various names to test you if you knew the difference between Mephibosheth and Maher-shalal-hash-baz.
Well now you’re learning about Maher-shalal-hash-baz. He is Isaiah’s son and he was born to Isaiah’s wife who was not a virgin. She already had a child and that child was Shear-jashub, so that indicates that this is not talking about the fulfillment of the Isaiah 7:14 prophecy.
In Isaiah 8:1 the Lord says to Isaiah, “Take a large scroll and write on it with a pen concerning Maher-shalal-hash-baz …” This is a term that means, “swift is the booty, speedy as the prey” to indicate that soon the Assyrians would be coming.
Then God says that He will take for Himself faithful witnesses to record Uriah the priest and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah. Then Isaiah says he went into the prophetess and conceived and bore a son who he called Maher-shalal-hash-baz. I wonder what they called him for short.
What we have here in Isaiah 8:1–5 is the warning that the Assyrians were coming. Maher-shalal-hash-baz is not the child of the virgin. Where the prophecy is given in Isaiah 8:4 says, “For before the child shall have knowledge to cry ‘my father’ and ‘my mother’, the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria will be taken away before the king of Assyria.”
This tells us that this will be fulfilled pretty quickly. As I pointed out a minute ago, Tiglath-pileser plundered Israel in 732 BC, so this is probably no earlier than 734 BC. That would date this particular prophecy by the birth of this child. This is a warning and it’s also a judgment on Judah because of their apostasy.
We read in the next few verses in Isaiah 8:5–7, “The Lord also spoke to me saying, ‘Inasmuch as these people refused the waters of Shiloah …’ ” What are the waters of Shiloah? They’re also known as the Pool of Siloam in the New Testament where Jesus healed the blind man.
This is where the kings of Israel were anointed. This comes down from the Spring of Gihon. At this time, the water would have come down through the tunnel that Hezekiah had built. Those of you who have been to Israel have had the opportunity to walk through Hezekiah’s Tunnel. This was a significant statement.
The waters of Shiloah flowed from underground springs that originated under the Temple Mount. This is an allusion to Jerusalem and all that it stood for in terms of God’s Holy City. The verse says, “They have refused the waters of Shiloah”—which means they have rejected the grace of God and the provision of God to handle their foreign policy.
Ahaz has sought help from the Egyptians and he went to the Assyrians to help him against the Northern coalition. Verse 7 says, “Now behold the Lord brings up over them—that is, over Judah. Pay attention to this. Watch the imagery—the waters of the River …”
What’s the River? The River is the River Euphrates. What’s on the Euphrates? Nineveh, the capital of Assyria. So the “waters of the River” is an image to talk about the growing power of Assyria, the military power, as their military power is beginning to flood the ancient near east just like a river would flood all of its flood plain.
“The waters of the River, strong and mighty—The king of Assyria and all his glory; He will go up over all his channels and go over all his banks. He will pass through Judah, he will overflow and pass over, and He will reach up to the neck;—He’s not going to completely destroy Judah. He’s only going to make it look like it, right at the edge of complete defeat and that’s what happened. It continues, “will stretch out his wings, O Immanuel.”
Notice that. I translated that for you because while the KJV translates it “O Immanuel”, a lot of English translations say “he will fill the breadth of your land, O God is with us”. That’s the whole point. You have Immanuel in Isaiah 7:14. You have Immanuel’s land in Isaiah 8:8. This is the land of Immanuel, the land of the Messiah, and it will not be completely destroyed by the Assyrians.
There’s a warning here to Judah. In Isaiah 8:9 it says, “… O you peoples will be broken in pieces! Give ear, all you from far countries. Gird yourselves, but be broken in pieces; Gird yourselves, but be broken in pieces. Take counsel together, but it will come to nothing; Speak the word, but it not stand.” Then you have it repeated again, but this time in the NKJV they don’t leave it as Immanuel. They say, “For God is with us.”
So as it comes to the close of this section in verse 10 it’s the emphasis that it’s God who is the One who is in control. He is the One who will protect Judah and He is the One who is going to provide for Ahaz and his descendants to survive this attack from the Assyrians.
Then when we get up to next paragraph it’s more personal and its more directed to Isaiah and he’s encouraging Isaiah to not do one thing but to do something else. He’s told not to succumb to the pressure of the public and not listen to the rumor or what all of the people says it’s a conspiracy. Don’t get caught up with all of that. Don’t be afraid of their threats or be troubled.
Isaiah 8:13 says, “The Lord of hosts, Him you shall hallow”—that means “set apart”, so that’s the solution. On the one hand, don’t be afraid, don’t give in to all the rumors and all of the threats, but on the other hand hallow and sanctify Yahweh.
If you’re going to be afraid of anything, don’t be afraid of the collapse of the stock market. Don’t be afraid of the Moslems and the Jihadis. Don’t be afraid of the “demoncrats” and all their anti-Semitism and everything else that’s going on today.
Instead, be afraid of the Lord. Follow Him. Don’t get caught up in conspiracy theories. There’s only one conspiracy and that’s Satan. You may think there are all kinds of conspiracies. There are all kinds going on by the Devil’s disciples but don’t get caught up in all of that.
I’ve known a lot of people who spend hours and hours and hours reading all about these conspiracy theories. You’d better spend your time reading the Word of God over and over and over again because that’s going to count for eternity, not all this conspiracy garbage. So that’s the warning to Isaiah there.
Then Isaiah 8:14 goes on to say, “He will be as a sanctuary.” He’s the one who protects you, Isaiah. He’s the one who is going to protect the nation but, “He’s going to be a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.” That is applied to Jesus in the New Testament.
That’s because He’ll be rejected to both the houses of Israel as a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. God is a trap and a snare to a lot of people. He is a stumbling block and a rock of offense to a lot of people.
If you don’t know this, just pay attention to what’s going on toward Christians on university campuses around this country. It’s the same people that are doing the same kinds of things to Israelis and to Jews. There is a tremendous hatred toward anyone who reminds them there is an Almighty Creator-God who rules over the affairs of men.
We are coming to a critical mass in this nation where we will governed by people who want to do away with Christians because we remind them of Christ and we remind them of God. We remind them of moral attributes and that they are perverted and that they are following after demonic ideas and they are worshipping demons and all of their false ideas whether they’re atheists or whether they’re in some sophisticated form of idolatry.
That’s exactly what was happening in Isaiah at that time. They were rejecting God’s revelation. The warning to them in Isaiah 8:15 is, “Many of them shall stumble; they shall fall and be broken, be snared and taken.” Eventually they would come under divine discipline and be removed from the land.
Then Isaiah 8:17–18 goes on to say, “I will wait on the Lord …” This is the same word for wait that’s used in Isaiah 40. Waiting on the Lord is something every believer needs to cultivate. It’s basic to the faith-rest drill. We need to wait on the Lord for His timing, following what the Word says, and not give into fear or panic because of all the different conspiracy theories and all things that can cause fear.
We need to “wait on the Lord, Who hides His face from the House of Jacob”. Jacob has rejected God so God is no longer blessing them when He says he’s hiding His face from the House of Jacob—“and I will hope in Him. Here am I and the children whom the Lord has given me! We are for signs and wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts.”
What a tremendous testimony. He and his children, Shear-jashab and Maher-shalal-hazh-baz are signs of divine judgment coming upon Israel. Then we get into Isaiah 8:19–20. Verse 19 is especially one of those central passages related to the dangers of the occult and being involved with any kind of demonic activity from astrology to Ouija boards to any kind of New Age mysticism and the various forms of false religions and New Age thinking.
“When they say to you, ‘Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter’,—what they’re saying to you is don’t find answers in the Bible but go to a fortune teller or go to something who is getting information from necromancy and going through the dead—“should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living?”
See, this is the problem Saul had when he had a complete breakdown at the end. He went for guidance to the Witch of Endor rather than the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He got involved with the Witch of Endor and she is calling forth one of these demons called ov in the Hebrew and ENGOSTHROMUTHOS in the Greek.
What would happen is she would hear what sounded like noise to most people, but she would hear a voice, which was a ventriloquist method of throwing her voice to the ground making it sound like the grave is speaking and then she would interpret that.
That was the gimmick but she got totally surprised that day because Samuel actually showed up. She recognized Saul and Samuel and she knew that her game had been exposed. That’s what people in Isaiah’s time were doing. They’re looking to wizards and fortunetellers to give them hope.
Isaiah says the people should look “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Now that is a great passage to highlight and underline. If somebody is not basing their life on the Law and the testimony, then there’s no light in them.
It is comparable to when the rich man is in Torments and he’s begging Abraham to send Lazarus, the beggar, to give the gospel to his brothers. Abraham says that if they won’t listen to the Law and the prophets, they won’t listen to someone who is raised from the dead.
The issue is negative volition. If they’re not willing to listen to the Law and the testimony, that is the Old Testament—as much as they had at that time—then there’s no light in them.
Now we come to Isaiah 9. It’s going to focus us on what’s positive. It’s pretty simple. I don’t have to spend a lot of time explaining what is going on in Isaiah 9:6, but the lead up continues this whole idea that there is spiritual darkness in the Northern Kingdom during Isaiah’s time.
In fact, this is going to be applied to Galilee in the time of Jesus in Matthew 4:15, “Nevertheless the gloom will not be upon her who is distressed as when he lightly esteemed the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali—that’s up in Galilee and afterwards more heavily oppressed her—by way of the sea—of Galilee, or Gennesarret—beyond the Jordan” where so many Gentiles lived, the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light—this is ultimately applied to the time of Jesus when He goes and teaches among the Gentiles up in the north in Galilee.
Then if you read down you read how God is going to eventually break the yoke in Isaiah 9:4. He’s going to destroy the rod of the oppressor as in the day of Midian—when Gideon defeated the Midianites. Then in verse 5, “For every warrior’s sandal from the noisy battle and garments bathed in blood will be used for the burning fire.”
There’s not going to be any more war so they’re going to take all their weapons and all of their armaments and all their uniforms that are covered in blood, because they won the victory and they’re going to put them into the fire. That happens at the end of the Tribulation period and then the King will come. That’s our passage in Isaiah 9:6, “For a child will be born to us—again, the emphasis on humanity, there’s the birth of a child. It goes on, a son—this is the one who declared the son in Psalm 2, which is a title for the 2nd Person of the Trinity—will be given to us.”
The first line emphasizes humanity and the second line emphasizes deity. “And the government will rest on His shoulders;—He is the coming king as we’ll see in verse 7, that this is the One who fulfills the Davidic Covenant. Then we’re told, “He will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”
There’s debate among Hebrew scholars as to whether wonderful counselor is one word or two. When Steve Ger was here, he took it as two. I have always taken is as one title. The Hebrew word for “wonderful”, sometimes translated as beautiful, is pele’.
We use the English word wonderful to talk about something that is incomprehensible or extraordinary, something beyond human capability for both God and man. We can say God is wonderful. You can say your wife is wonderful. You can say the company you work for is wonderful. It can be applied both to God and man. But the Hebrew word pele’ is only used of God.
So when it talks about this one being called wonderful counselor, the “wonderful” is a word that indicates complete deity. The term “counselor” is connected to it. It’s a wonderful counselor and I’ll tell you what that means in a minute, but the idea of a counselor in our country is talking about a psychotherapist or a social worker or someone who advises. The idea in the Hebrew is someone who guides a nation, someone who has skill in leadership and making a nation great. That’s the idea here and the word “wonderful” stands in relation to it, so it could be translated a wonder of a counselor or a wonder counselor. So the words should be taken together.
The second title is Mighty God, which is also applied to God in Isaiah 10:21. It is applied to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The word for “mighty” can be applied to a warrior but in this sense it’s applied to the Messiah, because as a warrior He comes back and defeats the armies of the antichrist at Armageddon and He defeats all the demonic and human enemies of God and casts the antichrist and the false prophet into the Lake of Fire and will bind Satan for a thousand years.
The next title is Eternal Father and it’s one that confuses people because of the bad translation. How can the Messiah be called the Father? In the Hebrew it should be translated “He is the father of eternity”, indicating that He is the Author and Creator of time. He is the one who Himself is eternal and the father of eternity. It indicates His characteristic of eternality.
The last title is that He is called the Prince of Peace. Peace here is applying to peace in several ways. First it is applied in a spiritual sense because He is the One who provides peace with God through His death on the Cross. He is also the One who will bring in a time of unprecedented world peace in the Millennial Kingdom.
Everybody tries for peace now. The U.N., the League of Nations, all these various entities, have tried to bring in world peace. The only One that can do it is the Son of God, the Kings of kings and the Lord of lords. Otherwise it’s just going to be “whirled peas” and nothing but a mess.
Isaiah 9:7 says, “There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom.” That’s when the Davidic Covenant will be fulfilled. Jesus is not on the throne of David now. He is at the right hand of God the Father.
You get folks like these progressive dispensationalists and amillennialists who come along and say that the right hand of God is the spiritual throne of David. That’s because they no longer believe in the literal meaning of the text and they are absolutely wrong when it comes to interpreting the text.
The kingdom will not come until Israel is brought as a regenerate nation into the land. That occurs at the end of the Tribulation under the authority of the coming of the Davidic King, the Lord Jesus Christ. This is our second passage here. The whole idea of Immanuel here connects the virgin-conceived and virgin-born child in Isaiah 7:14 to this child who is given in Isaiah 9:6.
This is the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant. We’ll come back next time and look at what happens between Isaiah 9:7 and take us on into Isaiah 11 to wrap up this section of Isaiah that’s dealing with the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant in the future.
“Father, thank You for this time we’ve had in Your Word. We’re convinced this is prophecy and it will be fulfilled literally just as the prophet says. Our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, a descendant of David, was born in the city of David. He is called Christ the King and offered His kingdom because He is a descendant of David, the one to whom this promise applied.
“Because of His rejection, Jesus went to be with You in Heaven and He will return at some point to establish His Kingdom. We look forward to that with great joy and we need to be reminded again and again to live today in light of that future reign with Him.
“We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.”