Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 157/260: Isaiah

Read Isaiah 7

The Coming Messiah

King Ahaz was facing opposition from Rezin, king of Syria, and Pekah, the son of Remaliah, king of Israel. Isaiah report to Ahaz that his foes would not defeat hi, and challenged the king to request a sign of God—“ask it either in the depth or in the height above” (Isaiah 7:1). Inspiration tells us, though, that Ahaz “did not do what was right in the sight of the Lord his God” (2 Kings 16:2), so it is little surprise that he declined the divine offer for a sign here.

Isaiah then turns his attention away from the king as an individual and addresses “the house of David” (Isaiah 7:13) as a whole. He announced the sign to be given by God: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).

There is no little controversy over the nature of this prophecy. All faithful Christians recognize the fulfillment in the virgin birth of Christ, as inspiration reveals in Matthew 1:22-23. The question is often asked, however: was this a dual-fulfillment prophecy that was also fulfilled during the days of Isaiah? The answer varies depending on who you ask or which commentary you read; there are sound Biblical scholars on each side of this argument.

If this prophecy was of Christ and Christ alone, what was the significance of that to the people of Isaiah’s day? The late brother Wayne Jackson wrote that the prophet “uses the youth period of Immanuel…as a method, a sort of measuring device, to suggest how long Judah would suffer affliction at the hands of the Syrian/Israel alliance. Before the child would reach an age mature enough to refuse evil and choose good (i.e., accountability), the confederation of Rezin and Pekah would be destroyed (15, 16). Within two or three years after this prophecy was given, these rulers were both dead (cf. 2 Kings 15:30; 16:9).” (Isaiah: God’s Prophet of Doom and Deliverance, 22).

Today, we can look to this prophecy and its fulfillment in the gospel and have great confidence in the abundant power of God to bring about what He has promised. Just as the Messiah came into the world to bring salvation, He will return to take the saved home with Him.

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