Sermon Notes & References

Messiah: He Is God!

Isaiah 9:1-7

December 15, 2019

1.  The Israeli Scene

     a.  The Kingdom of Judah

     b.  The Northern Kingdom Footnote

2.  The Preliminary Promises

     a.  The Northern Light (1-2) Footnote

     b.  The Delivered Nation (3-5) Footnote

     c.  The Coming Messiah (6-7)

          i.   The Crib Footnote

          ii.  The Cross Footnote

          iii.  The Crown Footnote

3.  Messiah Described

     a.  The Names Given

     b.  Wonderful Counsellor Footnote

     c.  Mighty God Footnote

     d.  Eternal Father Footnote

     e.  Prince of Peace Footnote

4.  What a Mighty God We Serve! Footnote

Z Endnote Isaiah 9:1-7. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Messiah: He Is God!


1.  The Israeli Scene

     a.  The Kingdom of Judah

          i.   these were momentous times in the Middle East

                (1) Egypt, though its influence was waning, was still a great power

                (2) Assyria, from its capital of Nineveh, was extending its power and empire in all directions

                (3) the nations between these two,

                     (a) Aram (Syria), Israel, Philistia, Edom, Moab, Ammon & Judah

                     (b) were fighting amongst themselves seeking to gain some power to resist these giant empires

                     (c) at the same time making useless, paper alliances with each

          ii.  the idolatrous worship and practices of these heathen neighbours knew no boundaries and were found prevalent & growing in Judah

                (1) Azariah (a.k.a. Uzziah), Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah were the kings of Judah in the years that Isaiah preached

                (2) generally good kings, except for Ahaz, as we said last week, who though not the worst of Judah’s kings was not far behind

                (3) Ahaz, who sought to buy the loyalty of Assyria against Israel and Aram, instead of trusting in the covenant of God with David

          iii.  so was given the sign of the virgin bearing a son, ultimately fulfilled in the birth of Jesus, son of David, whose kingdom would be eternal


     b.  The Northern Kingdom

          i.   known as Israel, but also as Ephraim and Samaria

                (1) had already for two centuries succumbed fully to idolatry

                (2) and God had begun to punish them

                (3) some years before then we are told, “So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul, king of Assyria, even the spirit of Tilgath-pilneser king of Assyria, and he carried them away into exile, namely the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, and brought them to Halah, Habor, Hara, and to the river of Gozan, to this day.” (1 Chronicles 5:26) – so the tribes on the eastern bank of the Jordan went into captivity.

          ii.  now things looked dark for the tribes around the Sea of Galilee

                (1) the last verse of Isaiah 8 describes them

                (2) “Then they will look to the earth, and behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish; and they will be driven away into darkness.” (Isaiah 8:22) – driven away into the darkness of captivity …

                (3) shortly, or perhaps even as Isaiah is writing, they are being taken into captivity: “In the days of Pekah king of Israel, Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria came and captured Ijon and Abel-beth-maacah and Janoah and Kedesh and Hazor and Gilead and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali; and he carried them captive to Assyria.” (2 Kings 15:29)

                (4) & within 65 years, as Isaiah foretold in Isaiah 7 that we considered last week, Samaria and the rest of Israel would follow suit

          iii.  that is the gloomy picture of the days of Isaiah 9 – but God reminds His people, that though He chastises them He has not forgotten them


2.  The Preliminary Promises

     a.  The Northern Light (1-2) – 1 But there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish; in earlier times He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later on He shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles. 2 The people who walk in darkness Will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, The light will shine on them.”

          i.   Isaiah continues on from chapter 8 on the subject of the gloom of Zebulun, Naptali & Galilee

                (1) saying that earlier God made light … later God will make heavy

                     (a) some interpret this of light punishment & of heavy punishment.

                     (b) but equally made light can mean belittle; and make heavy, enlarge, honour or glorify

                (2) and the latter meaning is more consistent with how this verse is applied in the NT

          ii.  the promise is that though now in darkness, the people living in that region will have the gloom taken away and will see great Light

          iii.  Matthew 4 recounts the fulfilment of this promise    

                (1) for after overcoming Satan’s tempting in the wilderness

                (2) it reads, 12 Now when He heard that John had been taken into custody, He withdrew into Galilee; 13 and leaving Nazareth, He came and settled in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali. 14 This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, … “ (Matthew 4:12-14)

                (3) so Jesus, who is as, we read in John 1:1-14, the light who came into the world, fulfilled this promise by commencing His public ministry in these restored northern tribes.


     b.  The Delivered Nation (3-5) – 3 Thou shalt multiply the nation, Thou shalt increase their gladness; They will be glad in Thy presence As with the gladness of harvest, As men rejoice when they divide the spoil. 4 For Thou shalt break the yoke of their burden and the staff on their shoulders, The rod of their oppressor, as at the battle of Midian. 5 For every boot of the booted warrior in the battle tumult, And cloak rolled in blood, will be for burning, fuel for the fire.”

          i.   about 100 years after Isaiah wrote, Judah, too, went into captivity

                (1) all twelve tribes were in exile

                (2) successively they served the Assyrians, Chaldeans, Medes & Persians, Greeks, Romans

                (3) there was then, like now, war following war

                (4) until in the days of Caesar Augustus there was a quasi-peace in the Roman Empire, so that one could travel from Egypt, through the Middle East and Asia, across Europe to Spain or Britain, all the while being under the protection of Roman Law

          ii.  those were good political days for the Jewish leaders

                (1) they had many privileges and rights under their Roman overlords

                (2) forgetting the past, they would boast to Jesus,”We are Abraham’s offspring, and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You shall become free’?” (John 8:3)

                (3) but these words have yet to be fulfilled in the nation of Israel

                (4) for which we must wait the final coming of Messiah


     c.  The Coming Messiah (6a) Endnote

          i.   The Crib – “For a Child will be born to us …”

                (1) the announcement of the incarnation

                (2) the child is the same as announced in Isaiah 7:14,

                     (a) being born of a virgin

                     (b) being indeed Immanuel – God with us –

                     (c) “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14)

          ii.  The Cross – “… a Son will be given to us; …”

                (1) “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NAS)

                (2) “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:10 NAS)

                (3) these two verses explain God’s gift of the Son on the cross for us

          iii.  The Crown – “… And the government will rest on His shoulders; …”

                (1) after the resurrection and ascension, Peter preached “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.” (Acts 2:36 NAS)

                (2) and Paul taught, 9 Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11 NAS)

                (3) which will be made known to all the world in His final Coming


3.  Messiah Described

     a.  The Names Given (6b) – “… And His name will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”

          i.   The phrase, ‘will be called,’ refers not so much to the name by which the promised child should be known,

                (1) as to the character and nature by which he should be distinguished

                (2) and in this verse, the coming Messiah is described as being God

          ii.  the number of titles found here varies

                (1) if you were from Latin America, you might think seven

                (2) if the Authorized Version is yours, then five

                (3) but today I want to look at them in the four pairs of words that the Hebrew Masoretic accentuation couples together


     b.  Wonderful Counsellor

          i.   the truth of this verse is repeated in Isaiah 28:29: ‘This [wisdom] also comes from the Lord of hosts, Who has made His counsel wonderful and His wisdom great.’ (NAS)

          ii.  actually, the word 'wonderful’ includes being secret or hidden

                (1) it is a word that always describes an act of God, not one of man

                (2) itis the Name that the Angel of the LORD replied to Manoah, the father of Samson in Judges 13:18, 'Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?' showing God was speaking to him

                     (a) what did this mean? 'My name describes what is beyond your comprehension as a mortal'

                     (b) it is the 'name written on Him which no one knows except Himself' of Revelation 19:12

          iii.  here this thought of wonderful is coupled with the word counsellor

                (1) for the Messiah has no need of human advisors

                (2) as promised, “The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.” (Isaiah 11:2)

                (3) He has hidden, secreted in Himself all counsel

                (4) for He was present with the Father and the Spirit in the council of God, planning to bring the earth and mankind into being, and salvation for man when he would fall into sin


     c.  Mighty God

          i.   now, the words Elohim (God or judge) and Adonai (Lord) though usually referring to Deity can also refer to human beings

          ii.  but the word for God here is El, which as Gord Struve pointed out some weeks ago in this form only refers to Deity, such as in

                (1) El Shaddai – God Almighty (who provides for His people)

                (2) El Elyon – most High God, and here in verse 6,

                (3) El Gibbor – God the Mighty One

                (4) and though the Jewish rabbis argued with Christians that these verses did not refer to Messiah, they did not deny this meant God

          iii.  Messiah is thus Deity, he is God in every quality

          iv. Gibbor, mighty one, on the other hand is often used of humans

                (1) but we are not talking here of a ‘god-like hero’ as some would say

                (2) but of God, acting heroically as the Saviour of His people

                (3) and defeating the Enemy so Jesuscould say,

                     (a) I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning.’ (Lk 10:18)

                     (b) Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.’ (John 12:31)


     d.  Eternal Father

          i.   literally, ‘Father of forever’

                (1) It is common in the East to describe any quality of a person by calling him the father of that quality.

                (2) Messiah, though appearing in time at the incarnation, possesses an eternal nature – even as prophsied in Micah 5:2, “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.”

                (3) so Jesus rightfully claimed, “… before Abraham was born, I am.” (John 8:58) – a claim to Deity

          ii.  but there is another aspect to this name: in the middle east it is used of respect to one in authority looking after the interest of another

                (1) in that sense Joseph was the father of Pharaoh

                (2) in that sense Elijah, then Elisha, were father to Israel’s kings

                (3) and in that sense Messiah is father to His people

                     (a) amd as His is an everlasting kingdom, so is His care

                     (b) this is the Divine aspect of His nature

                     (c) so He can promise, ‘Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age,’ (Matthew 28:20b) for he is ‘Jesus’ the Messiah, ‘the same yesterday and today and forever.’ (Hebrews 13:8)


     e.  Prince of Peace

          i.   how much is embodied for us personally in this title, that we can only lightly brush its surface this morning

          ii.  perhaps the best way to do that is use the Bible’s own type of Messiah, Melchizedek, as related in Hebrews 7:1-3 – 1 For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham as he was returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2 to whom also Abraham apportioned a tenth part of all the spoils, was first of all, by the translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then also king of Salem, which is king of peace. 3 Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he abides a priest perpetually.”

                (1) in the last verse we see that Melchizedek had an eternal mystique, but the antitype, Messiah, was indeed eternal

                (2) earlier it says that Melchizedek combined being king both of righteousness and of peace

          iii.  applying this to Messiah

                (1) we would note that the Prince leads His people to victory

                (2) specifically in this instance to peace

                (3) but twice in Isaiah a section of the book closes with these words, “There is no peace unto the wicked” (Isaiah 48:22, 57:21)

                (4) so, like Melchizedek, what needed to be taken care of by this Prince is the matter of providing righteousness to His people

          iv. this He did at the cross, ‘For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fulness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.’ (Colossians 1:19-20)

          v.  and therefore, Jesus our Saviour God had power to make the wonderful bequest: ‘Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.’ (John 14:27)


     f.   His Finished Work (7)

          i.   “There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.”

          ii.  this can be said of no earthly king, past, present or future

          iii.  but only of Jesus, who is “… the King of kings and Lord of lords” (Revelation 17:14); for He is not only man, but God Himself


4.  What a Mighty God We Serve!