Messianic Prophecies: Isaiah 7: 11-16 and 9: 1-7

Saturday, December 3, AD 2011

Something for the weekend.  Lo How a Rose Ere Blooming.  Continuing on with our Advent examination of major Messianic prophecies, we come to Isaiah 7: 11-16:

11 Ask thee a sign of the LORD thy God; ask it either in the  depth, or in the height above.

12 But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the LORD.

13 And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also?

14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

15 Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.

16 For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings.

and Isaiah 1-7:

1Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations.

2The 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.

3Thou 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.

4For 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.

5For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire.

6For 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.

7Of 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.

Saint Cyril of Alexandria commented upon this passage:

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6 Responses to Messianic Prophecies: Isaiah 7: 11-16 and 9: 1-7

  • With all due respect to St. Cyril of Alexandria, is there any reason why this prophecy could not refer BOTH to the birth of Hezekiah and to the birth of Christ?

    The mother of Hezekiah would have been a young unmarried woman — which in that culture was normally synonymous with being a virgin — at the time. Isaiah was saying that by the time the son she would eventually have with King Ahaz had reached the age of reason, “the land that thou abhorrest” (Assyria?) would no longer be a military threat, and the country would enter an era of relative peace and prosperity. Hezekiah would go on to be one of Israel’s greatest and holiest kings, sort of a second coming of David in some ways.

    Even if that was Isaiah’s intended meaning, why could not God have meant it as a foreshadowing of the ultimate salvation to come through His Son? God does sometimes speak through people even when they don’t realize it. For example, when the high priest Caiphas talked about it being better that “one man should die for the people”.

  • Possibly Elaine, although as Saint Cyril points out many portions of the prophecies simply do not apply to Hezekiah. Of course it is not only Christians who have seen these as Messianic prophecies, but also many Jews down through the ages. There is of course an understandable irritation by some Jewish scholars that Christians seek to use Old Testament passages to assert that they foretell Christ, but there is also a strong tradition of Jewish scholarship that sees such passages as foretelling the Messiah, although they reject that Christ was he. Such an expectation was commonplace in the time of Christ as this passage from the Roman historian Suetonius’ Life of Vespasian indicates:

    “There had spread over all the Orient an old and established belief, that it was fated for men coming from Judaea to rule the world. This prediction, referring to the emperor of Rome -as afterwards appeared from the event- the people of Judaea took to themselves”.

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  • Isaiah 9:6 prophesied that the child will be called “God the Mighty.” Why would a newborn baby be called God? Therefore, this prophecy refers to Jesus Christ.

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