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The Prophet Series: Isaiah part 4: Chapter 7 - The Virgin's Son


Isaiah part 4: Chapter 7 - A virgin will be with son.

 

ISA 7:14

“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.”

 

This is a spectacular prophecy, and it will become more spectacular when we understand the condition of history that surrounds the time when it was spoken by the prophet Isaiah.

 

The Syro-Israeltish League.

Both Israel (the Northern Kingdom) and Syria (a.k.a. Aram) understood the growing power of the kingdom of Assyria to the east. Knowing that they were likely to be invaded by Assyria, they decided to join forces and invade Judah to the south. While that may sound a silly thing to do, their reasoning was gaining assurance that there was no enemy to the south who could join forces with the invaders from the west. Not a bad idea, except that the neighbor to the south are the brothers of the invaders from the north, at least in Israel’s case. The ten tribes conclude that it is a wise idea to invade the two tribes in the south. God doesn’t agree.

Part of the plan of the invaders is to remove the House of David from the throne of Jerusalem and install their own king (apparently, they lost the Book of Samuel), a Syrian by the name of Tabeel, whose name ironically means “God is good.” Yet as we will see in this article, irony in the Old Testament is often another term for typology. And, by the way, the God of the Davidic Covenant doesn’t agree with Tabeel being king of Judah either.

 

Typology:

Tabeel means “God is good,” but this name left on its own says nothing of our being able to approach God. We would all agree that “God is good,” but most of us would equally agree that “we are bad,” and conclude that we have no way of approaching a holy God. However, Isaiah is going to give a prophecy to the king of Judah, just before the invaders from the north come with their pretender king, and proclaim the child’s name to be Immanuel. “Immanuel” means “God with us.” Do you see the difference? “God with us” means that He has approached us, is among us, and with us. He does not come for judgment, but for reconciliation. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” “God is good” might scare us away. “God with us” should cause us to bow down and worship Him in gratitude.

 

The war:

Ahaz is king of Judah, and he is quite the evil king. Ahaz gets wind of the invasion and he and the people are very afraid.

 

ISA 7:2

When it was reported to the house of David, saying, "The Arameans have camped in Ephraim," his heart and the hearts of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake with the wind.

 

God sends Isaiah and his son to reassure Ahaz - the invasion will not be completely successful.

 

ISA 7:3-4

Then the Lord said to Isaiah, "Go out now to meet Ahaz, you and your son Shear-jashub, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool, on the highway to the fuller's field, and say to him,' Take care, and be calm, have no fear and do not be fainthearted because of these two stubs of smoldering firebrands, on account of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram, and the son of Remaliah.

 

Rezin is the king of Syria/Aram and Pekah (son of Remaliah) is the king of Israel and together they are described as two firebrands. They are going to be snuffed out by the Lord in His time.

 

The report on Ahaz:

  • Made molten images to Baal.
  • Served Molech (Ammonite god) by sacrificing his son to the demon god.
  • Put an altar of Syrian design right next to the brazen altar in the Temple for pagan sacrifices.
  • Shut up the holy place of the Temple.
  • Called to Assyria for help.

 

Typology:

Ahaz sacrificed his own son to the god Molech. These sacrifices were performed at the junction of the valleys of Hinnom and Kidron on the southwest border of Jerusalem. Hinnom probably means “moaning” and rightly was its name Gehinnom, which came to be known as Gehenna [hell], adopted as that for the place of final suffering. It is one of those “strange coincidences” that the hill which rises on the south side of this spot was that “potter’s field,” the “field of blood,” which was bought with the wages of Judas’ betrayal, and where his own hands executed judgment upon himself.

(It is also one of these “coincidences of history” that when Ahaz became king of Judah that Rome was founded around 750 B.C., who was destined to execute judgment upon apostate Israel.)

When thinking of the evil sacrifice of Ahaz’s son in Gehenna, we can’t help but see that God sacrificed His own Son on a mount outside the city wall to the north, the opposite side of the city. The virgin shall bear a Son, and in Isa 53, He would be pierced through for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities so that we would be saved from Gehenna. Ahaz sacrificed his son in the hope of receiving ultimate blessing from Molech. God sacrificed His Son in the hope of giving ultimate blessing to His enemies.  

 

Back to the war:

Isaiah reassures Ahaz and then offers this evil king a most curious blessing.

 

ISA 7:10-12

Then the Lord spoke again to Ahaz, saying, "Ask a sign for yourself from the Lord your God; make it deep as Sheol or high as heaven." But Ahaz said, "I will not ask, nor will I test the Lord!"

 

Ahaz offers hypocritical humility in response. If he was worried about testing the Lord, he wouldn’t have had molten images of Baal made, nor would he have murdered his child in the valley of moaning. If he hasn’t already, Ahaz is planning to ask the king of Assyria (Tiglath-pileser) for help. In this seemingly humble statement that he doesn’t want to “test the Lord,” he is rejecting the help of the Lord and relying instead on the promise of human strength from an evil nation.

Ahaz refuses the offer to ask for a sign. God volunteers the greatest sign of all.

 

ISA 7:14

“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.”

 

The Gospel of the Garden.

God gives the gospel of the Garden of Eden. “The seed of the woman” (GEN 3:15) is the child from the virgin. He will crush the head of the serpent. Now, everyone else born into this world are the seed of the man, but only one man has ever been the “seed of the woman.”

 

Attack on God’s word.

It should be no surprise to us that this most wonderful of prophecies is attacked by the world. This attack is levied at the word “virgin” (Hebrew: almah). The claim is that the word means “young maiden” and is referring to Isaiah’s wife, who in fact is soon to have a child (ISA 8:3), and so the word of Isaiah does not mean “virgin.”

As with so many attacks against the word of God, this one is also laughable. Yet, its thinness is thick enough to be believed by those who reject the divine authorship, and therefore, the authority of the Word of God. Those who are content with conclusions such as this don’t want to believe, not do they seek God or His truth when they are presented with Him. The fact is that almah does mean “young maiden,” but in that day a young maiden was clearly an unmarried virgin. The word is used exactly as that in several other passages (SOS 6:8; GEN 24:43; PRO 30:19), and MAT 1:23 translates this verse into Greek using the clear word for “virgin.”

Also, Isaiah’s wife could not be in view because they already had a son. We won’t call Mrs. Isaiah an old maid, but she is certainly not a young maiden. And in fact, Isaiah’s son was present with him when he delivered this beautiful prophecy. Having his son present is about the clearest way that the prophet could say, “I’m not referring to my wife.”  

 

Attack on the humanity of Christ.

Docetism is the false doctrine that Christ only appeared to have a human body, and that His human form was an illusion. It is a core doctrine of Gnosticism, which erroneous philosophy of demons attacked the church very early on. Paul dealt with it in Corinth and in Colossae, and John dealt with it as well.

 

1JO 4:2-3

By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; and this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.

 

Notice the continued prophecy from Isaiah:

ISA 7:15

“He will eat curds and honey at the time He knows enough to refuse evil and choose good.”

 

Curds or butter are animal. Honey is vegetable. Butter and honey refer to the fact that the virgin’s son, though supernaturally conceived, would be just as human as the rest of us, yet without sin. He would grow from a child to a man by eating animals and vegetables, Luke 2:40,52.

Added to the attack on the humanity of Christ would be the apocryphal literature that would come out in the second century (and later). The gospel of Thomas claims that as a child Jesus was a mischievous god-child who performed miracles to impress his friends, judged other children as well as his neighbors with death, was insubordinate to his teachers, and was sometimes repentantly nice. Jesus is pictured as a typical pagan god-child. Even a mainstream movie spewing this same nonsense would come out to the world in 2016. One of these apocryphal stories credited to the child Jesus is repeated in the Quran (Sura 5.110).

 

Back to the war:

The Syro-Israelitish league is unsuccessful in capturing Jerusalem, as God said it would be. Ahaz uses gold and silver from the Temple to pay for Assyrian help. The typology points to the thirty pieces of silver that Judas received for his betrayal of Christ. Ahaz looked the great prophet Isaiah in the face and chose rather to pay for protection from the world.

As the Israelites went back north, after failing to capture the city and set up their king, they looted the countryside and took 200,000 Jewish women and children prisoner, marching them all the way back to Samaria (2CH 28:8). This event was truly unprecedented, as it never occurred before. Imagine yourself as a citizen of Samaria looking out over the valley to the south and witnessing 200,000 women and children being driven towards you; weary, dirty, footsore, hungry, and in rags, to be sold as slaves. Would it not evoke some pity, abhorrence, and indignation, even amongst a selfish, worldly people?

A prophet sent by God, Oded, speaks to the leaders and warns them of following through with this evil. Four princes, whose names are forever recorded, take the warning to heart and convince the nation to return the sorry rabble back to their homes in Judah. The Judeans are fed, clothed, well taken care of, and taken back home. And here, there is yet more typology.

 

Typology:

200,000 women and children slaves are released and taken home. The Son of the virgin would do this for our eternal home.

 

ISA 61:1

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,

Because the Lord has anointed me

To bring good news to the afflicted;

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

To proclaim liberty to captives,

And freedom to prisoners;

 

The Son of the virgin would quote this prophecy in His home synagogue and claim it to be fulfilled in Him.

 

Also, Isaiah’s son accompanied him to the meeting with Ahaz.

 

ISA 7:3

Then the Lord said to Isaiah, “Go out now to meet Ahaz, you and your son Shear-jashub,”

 

“Shear-jashub” means “a remnant shall return.”

 

The war’s end:

Tiglath-pileser would conquer all of Israel and make her a vassal state. This was the first stage in her final judgment and destruction. Pekah is killed and an upstarter named Hoshea, backed by the Assyrians, takes his place as king of the now Assyrian province that used to be the ten northern tribes. It has been just over six-hundred years since Joshua conquered that land by the power of the Lord.

Tiglath would also conquer Syria and bring that kingdom to an end. The kingdom of Syria, which brought so much trouble upon Israel for hundreds of years would be no more. God prophesied this in AMO 1:5 and it is fulfilled in 2KI 16:9.

Isa 7 is a testimony of the victory of the Lord over all sin and evil and the boisterous rebellion of man. “The majestic divine calm of these utterances, their lofty defiance of man’s seeming power, their grand certitude, and the withering irony with which what seemed the irresistible might of these two ‘smoking firebrands’ is treated - all find their illustration in the history of this war. Such prophecies warrant us in climbing the heights of faith, from which Isaiah bids us look, to where, in the dim distance, the morning glow of the new Messianic day is seen to fill the sky with glory.” [Edersheim, The Bible History, vol. 7, p. 108]

 

Be of good cheer and good faith my brethren, no matter what may come upon us or befall nations. The Lord is near.

 

To Christ alone be glory and majesty, 

Pastor Joe Sugrue

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