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"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (7) Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this." -Isaiah 9:6-7This chapter has five major objectives. They are as follows:
|1)||To refute Judaism's claim that the subject of Isaiah 9:6 is King Hezekiah, who was one of the kings of Judah who reigned during Isaiah's lifetime.|
|2)||To establish the time period described in this verse. Was Isaiah referring to an event that had already taken place, was he referring to a contemporary event, or was he prophesying of a future event?|
|3)||To prove that the subject of Isaiah 9:6-7 is the Messiah.|
|4)||To address rabbinical Judaism's position that Isaiah 9:6 is properly translated, from Hebrew to English, in the past tense and therefore incorrectly translated by the translators of the Christian Bibles. This theory is used in order to support their incorrect position that Hezekiah is the subject of this passage.|
|5)||To illustrate that the names or characteristics of the child born according to Isaiah 9:6 can only refer to the Messiah30.|
Isaiah 9:6 reads as follows:
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."
The anti-missionaries claim that Isaiah 9:6 was written in order to inspire King Hezekiah. During his reign, the Assyrians came to destroy the cities of Judah and capture Jerusalem. It was a very discouraging time for him as well as the nation of Israel because Assyria was a world empire. Using the Scriptures, it is possible to determine Hezekiah's age when this took place as follows: According to 2 Kings 18:1-2, he was twenty-five years old when he became king. 2 Kings 18:13 reveals that Senacherib king of Assyria came against Judah during the fourteenth year of Hezekiah's reign. Therefore, when this occurred, Hezekiah was 39 years old (25+14). The applicable Scriptures follow:
These verses prove that Hezekiah was 39 years old during the Assyrian invasion. Could the phrase "for unto us a child is born" apply to a person who is 39 years old who had been the king of Judah for 14 years? Even the most zealous anti-missionary should find this extremely difficult to believe! It is not sensible to apply this verse to King Hezekiah. His age at the time this verse was written logically eliminates him as the subject of this passage.
Additionally, Judaism claims that Isaiah 9:7 was written in order to ensure Hezekiah that, through him, the throne of David would remain established forever. This cannot be the case for a number of reasons. First, according to Isaiah chapter 39, the LORD became furious with Hezekiah because he was proud and foolish by opening his home and showing all of its treasures to pagan Babylonians. Isaiah the prophet notified Hezekiah of God's punishment that would fall upon the king's descendents as follows:
According to God's decree, Hezekiah's descendents would be taken away captive by the king of Babylon, and made eunuchs in the king's palace. Eunuchs are castrated men! Naturally, castrated men are incapable of fathering children. Therefore, Hezekiah's genealogy could not continue and he would not be established.
As prophesied, approximately one hundred years later, the children of Israel along with King Jeconiah, also known as Jehoiachin, were taken away captive by the king of Babylon:
Though the Bible does not record the names of Hezekiah's descendents who were taken away to Babylon and castrated, rabbinical Judaism relies on the fact that Jeconiah, who was Hezekiah's descendent according to 1 Chronicles 3:13-17, had children, citing 1 Chronicles 3:17-24. Although this is true, it is also important to realize that since Jeconiah was rebellious against God, the LORD cursed his descendents declaring them ineligible to sit on the throne of David as king. Regarding Jeconiah, also known as Coniah, this is found in Jeremiah 22:30 which reads:
According to 1 Chronicles 3:13-15, Hezekiah had another descendant named Zedekiah. The Scriptures reveal that Zedekiah took Jeconiah's place on the throne and was the last king of Judah, reigning for eleven years. When he rebelled against the king of Babylon, the Chaldean armies pursued him and overtook him. In Jeremiah 52:8-10, the Bible records what befell Zedekiah and his sons shortly after they were captured in the plains of Jericho:
As a result of the LORD's curse on Jeconiah's descendents, Zedekiah's sons slain at Riblah, and the remaining descendents of Hezekiah becoming eunuchs in Babylon, the Hebrew Scriptures do not name anyone who is eligible to continue the throne of David through Hezekiah. Therefore, he could not be the subject of Isaiah 9:7 since the throne of David could not be established through him.
Finally, Isaiah 9:7 indicates that the subject of the passage would bring everlasting peace. With Hezekiah, this was not the case! History records that since his death, two of Israel's temples have been destroyed and its people have been either conquered by or under the authority of many world empires, such as the Babylonians, Persians, Greeks and Romans. Since Hezekiah's death, the children of Jacob have suffered greatly up until this present day. Quite obviously, Hezekiah failed to establish a lasting peace.
Regarding Isaiah 9:7, there is one final matter to consider regarding establishing the earth "with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever." Though Hezekiah never accomplished this, Jeremiah 23:5 teaches that this would be a responsibility for the Messiah:
In summary, the subject of Isaiah 9:7 cannot be Hezekiah. He did not establish judgment and justice, and he failed to establish everlasting peace. Furthermore, his descendents were cut off from the kingly line. It is the Messiah who will completely fulfill this prophecy.
"The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. (3) Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. (4) For thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian. (5) For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire. (6) For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (7) Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this." -Isaiah 9:2-7
The next set of objectives is to uncover the time period being described in this passage and to further support the Messiah as its subject. The following question needs to be answered: Was Isaiah referring to an event or series of events that already taken place, was he referring to Israel's present conditions, or was he prophesying of a future event? After reading this passage in its context, there is only one possible conclusion that can be made: Isaiah 9:2-7 not only portrays an event after Isaiah's time period, circa 700 BC, but describes an event that has yet to be realized in our present day.
This passage foretells of the day when all nations come against Jerusalem, the ultimate defeat of these nations, and the Messiah setting up His kingdom that will last forever. In order to confirm that this is true, let us examine each verse beginning with Isaiah 9:2, which states:
Regarding the prophet Isaiah and this verse, "the people who walked in darkness" have already been identified as Israel. Earlier, when Isaiah was commissioned by God to speak to his people, the LORD told him the following:
The "great light" that Israel will see is revealed in other passages in the Bible. This concept is fully developed in Isaiah 42, the first of Isaiah's Servant Songs. In Isaiah 42:18-20, Israel is the further validated servant who lives in spiritual darkness. Meanwhile, according to Isaiah 42:6-7, the Messiah is referred to as "a light of the Gentiles" who will also become the great source of understanding for Israel:
Isaiah 9:2 describes the beginning of wonderful things for God's chosen people. Though they have walked in darkness, they will see a Great Light. The Messiah's reign is about to commence and Israel will be exalted and glorified.
The entire world will bear witness that the LORD's everlasting covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob has not been forgotten. Though the nations of the world will come against Jerusalem to battle and lay siege against it, they will fail! Almighty God will laugh at them in derision (Psalm 2:1-4). The day of the LORD is about to begin! Judgment Day has arrived!
"Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil." -Isaiah 9:3
The children of Israel have endured tremendous hardships throughout the centuries, and their joy and happiness has been quite negligible. The reason for Israel's sufferings is explained in Deuteronomy 31:16-17: their forefathers had broken the covenant with the God of their fathers and turned to other gods. As a result, the LORD has temporarily forsaken them:
The Bible teaches that there will come a day when the sufferings of Israel will come to an end. In that day, God will no longer hide His face from them. This will happen at the end of the battle of Armageddon when Israel will look upon Him whom they pierced, Zechariah 12:10, and God will pour out His Holy Spirit on the nation. Israel will then be the most blessed and favored nation. This is shown in Zechariah 12:10 and Ezekiel 39:29 which follow:
"For thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian." -Isaiah 9:4
In this verse, the ultimate defeat of the nations of the world is likened to Israel's miraculous victory over the Midianites. This is described in the book of Judges chapters 6 and 7. In Judges 6:6-7, Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites. They cried unto the LORD and were delivered. In like manner, according to Zechariah 14:1, Israel's spoil will be divided by the enemy. Zechariah 13:9 and Joel 2:32 reveal that the children of Israel will then call on the name of the LORD. As a result, there will be deliverance. The Scriptural references follow:
"For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire." -Isaiah 9:5
How will Israel be triumphant? The above passage is clear: victory will be obtained with "burning and fuel of fire. Once again, the reference is in Zechariah chapter 14. According to Zechariah 14:3-4, the LORD Himself will fight for His people. His feet will stand in that day on the mount of Olives. Zechariah 14:12 describes the destruction of the enemy caused by intense heat, with "burning and fuel of fire." The scriptural references follow:
When the LORD stands in that day on the mount of Olives to defeat Israel's enemies, He will obviously be present in Jerusalem. Psalms 97:1-6 states that fire will go before Him and burn up all His enemies. "The hills melt like wax at the presence of the LORD." They will all see His glory:
"Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this." -Isaiah 9:7
According to this verse, after the Messiah establishes judgment and justice in the earth, He will set up His everlasting kingdom of peace. Psalm 2:6-9 and Psalm 110:2 provide the connection. The Messiah, God's begotten Son, will eternally rule as King and Priest over the entire world:
Other passages in the Bible agree! For example, the book of Ezekiel was written approximately four hundred years after King David died. Ezekiel 37:22 describes the day when the children of Israel will have one king. The reference to David in Ezekiel 37:24-25 is made with reference to the Messiah, who is the Son of David. The following passages clearly confirm that the Messiah will be their Shepherd, Prince and King forever:
According to Isaiah 9:7, the Messiah will establish everlasting peace. In the Bible, there are a number of other references that support this position:
The above passages certainly support the Messiah as the subject of Isaiah 9:7. World peace will be accomplished through Him. Hezekiah is disqualified as the subject of the passage for the reasons previously stated.
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." -Isaiah 9:6 KJV
Anti-missionaries teach that this verse should properly be translated in the past tense, not in the present tense. They claim that it should read: "For unto us a child 'has been' born," etc. This claim is made in an attempt to justify that King Hezekiah is the subject of the entire passage and that the child was already born. However, according to the Soncino translation of Isaiah, a highly respected Orthodox translation, Isaiah 9:5, which is the equivalent of Isaiah 9:6 KJV, translates as follows, "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government is upon his shoulder."
According to the Soncino translation, this verse is in the present tense. It agrees with the Christian translations! Additionally, the 1917 Jewish Publication Society Bible's Hebrew-to-English translation agrees with the Soncino, also translating this verse in the present tense as follows, "For a child is born unto us, A son is given unto us….". Therefore, Christianity's response to the anti-missionaries is that their claim is unjustified and without merit, citing their own sources against them.
Regarding this past tense issue, the believer in Jesus as the Messiah should have no problem with Judaism's past tense theory regarding this verse. As we have seen, Isaiah 9:2-7 describes an event that has not yet occurred in our history. "For unto us a child 'has been' born, unto us a son 'has been' given" can certainly refer to the Messiah, who was already born in the past, in the little town of Bethlehem, approximately two thousand years ago (Micah 5:2 KJV, Matthew 2:1).
According to Isaiah 9:6, the names of the child are as follows: Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, The everlasting Father and The Prince of Peace. Wonderful and Counsellor are certainly qualities directly associated with the Messiah. In Isaiah chapter 11, only two chapters later, the prophet Isaiah refers to the rod out of the stem of Jesse, the Messiah, in the following manner:
This passage indicates that the Messiah, called 'the stem of Jesse, and a Branch,' will have the LORD's spirit of counsel. Therefore, He will be a Wonderful Counselor.
The subject of Isaiah 9:6 is also called "the mighty God," in Hebrew el gibbor. This is a title reserved only for the LORD God. Isaiah 10:20-21 states:
In the Hebrew Scriptures, only the LORD is called el gibbor. This illustration clearly establishes the Deity of the child to be born. He would be Almighty God Himself! This is the same child prophesied by Isaiah in Isaiah 7:14 when he referred to Him as Immanuel, meaning 'God with us.' This child would be 'God with us'. He is the Mighty God, the Messiah!
In Isaiah 9:6, the child will also be called "The everlasting Father" (in Hebrew 'abi 'ad). This title further verifies the Messiah's Deity as follows: According to Exodus 4:22, the LORD calls Israel His firstborn son, "And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn."
Exodus 4:22 emphasizes God's Father-son relationship with Israel. Since Isaiah 9:6 indicates that they will call the Messiah "The everlasting Father," He must be the LORD Himself. After all, how many fathers can a son have? Malachi 2:10 states, "Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us?"
According to Malachi, Israel has one father, not two! Isaiah 9:6 indicates that the child to be born will be called "The everlasting Father." Therefore, He must be the LORD!
Finally, according to Isaiah 9:6, the child will also be called, The Prince of Peace. As we have seen, it is the Messiah who will establish everlasting world peace.
In closing, the scriptural evidence that Isaiah 9:2-7 refers to the Messiah is overwhelming. Likewise, the proof that Isaiah 9:2-7 does not refer to King Hezekiah is equally staggering. This passage clearly refers to an event that will take place in the future when all nations come against Jerusalem to battle. These nations will be defeated with burning and fuel of fire (Zechariah 14:12, Psalms 97:3,5) and the Messiah will set up His everlasting kingdom of peace. This kingdom will be established with the awesome Second Coming of Jesus Christ as is written in the book of Revelation:
|30.||John McTernan & Louis Ruggiero in their book: Jesus of Nazareth: King Messiah, chapter 3, pp 40-56 (Oklahoma City, OK: Hearthstone Publishing, 2002).|