Christmas 2019/ Isaiah 7-9: Immanuel
Well, you can turn in your Bibles with me to Isaiah chapter seven, Isaiah chapter seven. So how many of you have sang that come behold the wondrous mystery before. Okay, a handful of you. I was gonna say you did really well with that one. And now sing me the song of Emmanuel. Both of those did really well with especially given their new songs. I wanted to introduce both this Sunday. We’ll sing each one throughout this holiday season. Along with obviously some of the good old Christmas carols come all ye faithful. Some of these other ones, we’ve got the schedule laid out. So as Isaiah chapter seven, the famous verse, maybe the most famous verse for the Christmas story, Isaiah chapter seven, verse 14, therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold the Virgin shall conceive and bear his son and his name. Emmanuel, what if I told you that one of the most famous Christmas verses in the Bible doesn’t refer to Jesus at all? Let’s pray.
Father, would you open our hearts now to understand your word? We’ve got material to get through, help each one of us to be able to wrap our brains around this teaching. But then more importantly, that we had wrap around our hearts around the understanding that Emmanuelle can be both a promise and a threat. I pray that you would set before these people here today. The question of what will we do? Would Jesus in your name we pray, amen. And I forgot to light the first holiday candle. I know it’s a tradition. I, I forget to do it at the beginning of the service. Each time it seems like the first one, each Christmas season we do four of these. The first one normally represents joy. And we kind of work our way through joy, peace, all of these. We’re not going to do that this season actually.
It divides really nicely and neatly this season with the four names or titles that are given to Jesus in Isaiah chapter nine verse six, you’ll note it from Handel’s Messiah. The government will be on his shoulders and his name shall be called. Wonderful. You guys know what I’m talking about. Okay. So I was intending and planning for each one to go through, leading up to our Christmas Eve service, wonderful counselor, mighty God, the everlasting father, the Prince of peace. And then the middle one was going to be a manual. We’re still going to do that. We just going to mess it all up. Okay. So the first one is going to kind of represent wonderful counselor. We’re actually going to combine those two in one of these co, two of them in the coming weeks and then we will come back to a manual Christmas seed. But today I want to look at that word Immanual and I want to say, I want to ask the question, what was Isaiah trying to say?
And I think once we get that, we are going to understand profoundly why that verses quoted in Matthew chapter one of Jesus Christ as well. So a little background on Isaiah. All right? Isaiah probably receives a call to go into prophetic ministry as a child maybe even up to 11, 12 years old. He waited at least 20 years before his first prophetic word was given to him during that time. He is probably a normal guy. He’s probably a teacher. We have a good idea that he has some disciples around him that are referred to in the book of Isaiah as the remnant. And we see these disciples comp in our passage today. One of those disciples was likely the prophet Micah, who quotes fairly heavily from Isaiah actually on, was a contemporary of his. So for 20 years he serves in the temple.
He teaches, he probably is calling Israel back to covenant faithfulness. What is going on in, in, in Jerusalem during this time, while there’s, there’s warfare Israel split during this time, the Northern 10 tribes have split off from the Southern two tribes. The Northern 10 tribes are no different from any other Gentile nation around them. They never have a good King. They never follow after the ways their God, they might as well be considered a Syria as well. The two Southern tribes at times are good, but most of the time they’re bad. They had the, the Capitol summit Samaria the Northern tribes, they’re essentially a Gentile nation. The tensions are really high with the Southern two tribes and the capital of Jerusalem because they are a small insignificant nation, right in the choke point of neighboring large nations. They own plan that would be strategic. They’re right in, in between world powers like Egypt, like the bloodthirsty Assyrians star at this point of Syria, like the rising power within the next couple of centuries of Babylon, the ever present threat of Philistia and then the wealthy sea trade cities of Tyre and Sidon. And then there were some nomadic nations to the East of them that were also powerful in, in, throughout this time period, they’re Kings Jerusalem’s Kings. The Southern Kings were some of the best commended Kings in the Bibles, but that in the Bible, but that’s grading on a curve.
Uzziah and Jotham were the Kings during Isaiah’s childhood and up through his, probably his young thirties, they were good Kings. They were given good commendations, but Uzziah actually went boastfully into the temple himself to offer an incense. And he was not supposed to do that. And immediately leprosy broke out on a set and he had that until the day he died. Jotham was known generally as a good King, but he failed and could not establish righteousness in the land. Jonathon’s son Ahaz was the one of, if not the most wicked Kings to this point in Israel’s history, most of the book of Isaiah was written in Ahaz’s as reign after that. Most of the verses in Isaiah that are calling out the leadership in Jerusalem are about Ahaz.
Ahaz not only encourage the people to break their treaty with God by offering to idols. But he also encouraged a greater and greater taking advantage of the poor and the weak in the society. Both of those things were breaking the covenant with God. A has himself. We have good evidence that he himself offered one of his children to an idol. The nation was spiraling quickly out of control. Neighboring empires knew that if they own Jerusalem, they would own the choke point of the world. So Syria and Northern Israel get together and make a treaty. Syria is located North of Northern Israel and these two nations get it in their mind that if they can make a treaty and come down and conquer Jerusalem, the Southern tribes, they will own this huge segment and will become the dominant power in the area. And that’s what happens leading up. It’s a chapter seven verse one and the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, son of Uzziah, the King of Judah Rezin, the King of Syria and Pekah son of Remaliah, the King of Israel came up to Jerusalem to wage war against it, but could not yet Mount an attack against it. When the house of David was told the house of David is this is tongue in cheek.
Ahaz is the house of David, but he’s not acting like David at all. The house of David was told Syria is in league with Ephraim or Syria with Northern Israel. The heart of a has in the heart of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake before the wind. How about that wind last night. Huh? So what is he going to do? He’s terrified of what’s going to happen. God uses trials in our life so that we depend, learn to depend on him. We waste those trials when we instead choose to depend on ourselves. Choose independence, choose our own way, choose distractions. Ahaz his response. He goes out to check the upper pool on the highway to the washers field. This would be the water supply for them. In the case that Jerusalem was sieged by these two world powers, he’s going to check his water supplies.
He’s trusting himself and Isaiah has given from what we understand from the flow of this book, he’s given his first prophetic word of his life and it’s this verse four be careful. Be quiet. Do not fear. Do not let your heart be think because of these two smoldering stumps of firebrands. Don’t let your heart be faint at the fierce anger of Rezin and Syria and the son of Remaliah because Syria with the freedom and the son of Remaliah has devised evil against you saying, let us go up against Judah and terrify it. Let us conquer it for ourselves and set up son, have to Beale as the King in the midst of it, thus says the Lord God, it shall not stand. It shall not come to pass. Then he goes on there and he encourages the word that’s given to the King.
The word that’s given to Ahaz, it’s not going to happen. You don’t have to worry about them. I know they’re making a treaty. I know that they’re coming to your borders. I know that you think that they’re about to come against Jerusalem. It’s not going to happen. Don’t worry about it. Don’t fear is what the word that’s given. Now, here’s the problem. Isaiah is not yet a validated prophet of the Lord. What do I mean in the old Testament law? How do you know a prophet is actually from the Lord? You read section before. You know if what they say is going to happen actually happens, right? It’s pretty straightforward. If what they say is going to happen actually happens, then they’re a prophet of the Lord. Here’s the problem. Isaiah has not been given any of those yet. So instead God is going to validate Isaiah’s message through a sign.
Again, the Lord spoke day has ask a sign, verse 10 of the Lord your God, let it be as deep as she’ll or as high as heaven. How many of you, if God came to you and said, here’s what I want you to do, don’t be afraid. I’m telling you what’s going to happen. And God said, you know what? I’ll prove it to you. I ask anything. I’ll give you a sign. Whatever you want, I’ll give you that sign. And that’ll be proof that what I said will happen will happen. How many of you would love that? I would make my life a lot easier.
Well, what’s his response? I will not ask. I will not put the Lord to the test. This is fake humility. It’s dripping with sarcasm. This man is a man who was a wicked man and he’s trying to ride the fence between appearing righteous and still relying on himself. And he said here then, Oh, house of David. I love that. I love that he calls him, Oh, house of David, you’re not acting like it right now. You’re acting like the opposite of David here. Then Oh, house of David. Is it too little for you to weary people, men that you weary? My God. Also, everybody is getting tired of you and now God’s getting tired of you. You imagine hearing that from a prophet of God. It’s at that point that we are introduced to verse 14 therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign.
Okay. Do you see that? You see the flow of how this is working? Who is he giving assigned to Ahaz and the immediate listeners? Is he giving assigned to people 700 years later? No, he’s giving, assigned to a [inaudible], which means what this verse is talking about is something that is in the immediate future. He goes on, it’s 7:14-17 to prove and validate Isaiah’s ministry that, that Syria and, and Northern Israel will not come against him. The sign is for that purpose. And it’s as we will read in just a moment to give a timeline for when Assyria will rise power. Tell me more about this child that will be born. Verse 15 he will eat curds and honey when he knows how to refuse evil and choose good. You’re like, I have no idea what’s going on here. You’re just talking about a Virgin conceiving and now we’re talking about cheese curds.
I mean, they’re good and all. We could bring cheese curds in every conversation really, but I don’t know what’s he talking about? He says before the boy, verse 16 knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. The land whose two Kings you dread will be deserted. So there is a, an immediate child that will be born and before that child reaches maybe two, three years old when he knows how to choose good and refuse evil. How old is that? I don’t know. Somewhere in there, right? Somewhere in there before that happens, Syria and the Northern tribes of Israel will be decimated, wiped out, emptied. Their land will be empty. So the sign is given for the immediate moment. Okay. And that day the Lord will whistle for a fly. He goes on, he talks, he actually brings up verse 20 what’s going to happen in that day?
The Lord will shave the razor with a razor that is hired beyond the river with the King of a Syria, the head and the hair, the feet. That’s a weird phrasing. It’s a poetic expression saying that a Syria is going to humiliate Syria and the Northern tribes of Israel. So this is the first promise that a Syria is going to rise to power. At this point, they’re just like all the other nations, they will a little bit, they lose a little bit, but a Syria is going to rise to power in the very near future and they are going to be the ones that wipe out Syria and the Northern [inaudible]. Well this happens in about seven 22 BC.
So it would be safe to assume that the words that are given here are happening probably somewhere around seven 27 BC. There’s a few other verses, poetic expressions of what will happen throughout this section, but then I want you to jump down to chapter eight remember, there are no chapter divisions in the original manuscripts. Remember that. Okay cause otherwise you might think this is a separate idea. It is not. It’s connected. Then the Lord said to me, take a large tablet, not one of the big iPads. He’s not talking about that and write on it and common characters belonging to Maher-shalal-hash-baz. Can you say that? Maher-shalal-hash-baz.
That’s about as good as I can do. Great job and I will get reliable witness. Uriah the priest and Zechariah, the son of Jeberechiah to attest for me what’s going on here. Think about it based off of what we just read in chapter seven Isaiah is writing down on the tablet what’s going to happen and he’s making two reliable witness including one priest sign on the dotted line that Isaiah predicted that these events will happen and he’s going to save that tablet as proof to validate his prophetic ministry. Why? Because if these events occur, occur, then we know the rest of Isaiah will happen as well. That’s why chapter seven eight is so important. Chapter nine comes after chapter seven and eight that chapter nine that says the government will be on his shoulders. His name will be called wonderful counselor, mighty God, the everlasting father, the Prince of peace.
That happens after these events. We know that that will happen because chapter seven and eight happen. That’s what’s going on here. So he says in verse three I want to the prophetess. It’s fascinating. This is fascinating that he calls his wife the prophetess here for a number of reasons that blows the categories of what it means to be a prophet out of the, out of the water. I want into the prophetess and she conceived and bore a son. Do you notice the same language from chapter seven 14 the Virgin shall conceive and bear a son? Do you see that? These are connected. She conceived and bore a son. Then the Lord said to me, call his name, may hear, shall a hash pass. You’re like, Ooh.
Chapter seven verse 14 says, call his name Emmanuel, right, timeout, Maher-shalal-hash-baz or Immanual. Okay, just stay with the reading here as we’re going through. Then we see the same thing before the boy knows how to cry. Father and mother, okay, so again, it’s the same thing when the boy can eat solid foods, when the boy can call father and mother, when the boy knows how to choose good and bad, it’s that same kind of age range, three to five, somewhere in there. I don’t know. The four. That board reaches that age. Then the wealth of Damascus, that’s the capital of Syria and the spoil of Samaria. That’s the capital of the Northern tribes of Israel will be carried away before the King of Assyria and the Lord spoke to me again.
Now here’s where a manual comes in. I want you to see how a manual comes in here because this people has refused the waters of Shilo that flow gently and rejoice over resin. The son of Remaliah. Therefore, behold the Lord is bringing up against them, the waters of the river, mighty and many. What are you talking about? Well, the King of Assyria and all his glory. Okay, so he’s comparing a Syria to waters here because they’ve rejected the gentle stream that flows outside of Jerusalem to give them living waters because they’ve rejected God’s offer of provision, a flood water of a serious going to come against them and it will sweep into Judah. It will flow over and reach even up to the neck and its outspread wings will fill the breadth of your land. Oh, what?
That’s interesting. Be broken new peoples, be shattered. Give ear all you far countries, strap on your armor and be shattered. Strap on your armor and be shattered. Take counsel together, but it will come to nothing. Speak a word for it will not sand. Why? For what Emmanuel? The words of Emmanuelle in chapter seven and eight RF threat. Not a promise. This is like the moment when your mom comes home and you were supposed to do all those chores and you didn’t get them done. Mom’s with us. Oh no, she’s here. I had three hours that I did nothing. That’s this moment. They have rejected God. They’ve disobeyed God. The broken the covenant. Oh Emmanuel to people at God with us, to people who have rejected. God is not a promise. It’s terrifying and God is going to visit the people through the judgment of a Syria.
Isaiah based off of these verses clearly sees Maher-shalal-has-baz connected to Emmanuel, but not in the ways we think. And this is where we have to understand that name can refer to title as well because Jesus wasn’t named an annual either, right? What was his name? What did the angel to say to call him? Not a manual. So if you’re going to say, well no, it has to refer to Jesus. Well, it doesn’t really fulfill Jesus either. So it has to be a title then. And what you see here is that in the birth of the son whose name Maher-shalal-hash-baz means the prey and the spoil speed up. They’re on their way. Serious comment in that name. We learn something about God that he is with them. Now in judgment.
That’s what’s so shocking about these verses. Well verses 11 through 15 Isaiah is still shaking. I think he’s still scared, but he’s at a cross point. Is he going to shake like a has or is he going to trust God? And you can read those verses later. I want to especially point out verse four 14, he will become a sanctuary. That’s the word for the, the, the place of worship. It’s a place of protection. So for some, Emmanuel means a sanctuary. But notice how many other, not nice words. What does a manual mean for others? And manual for others means a stone of offense, a rock of stumbling to both houses, a trap and a snare. And many shall stumble on it and they shall fall and be broken. Many shall be snared and taken. Emmanuelle will mean something else too. It will mean judgment. So what is verse 16? Look at. Verse 16, bind up the testimony. Seal it up, put it in a sealed envelope. I don’t think that’s what he’s saying, but something like that. Put that tablet in a sealed envelope as proof that what I said, what would happen actually happens. Oh, we’ll wait for the Lord who is hiding. This is Isaiah’s response to God’s call in verses 11 through 15 who’s hiding his face from the house of Jacob? I will hope in him, behold I and the children whom the Lord has given me are what?
Okay, I will give you a sign. God says in chapter seven, verse 14. So let’s just for a moment, well let me finish this idea out. So in this moment, God has given the sign a promise and a threat through the child may hear shallow hash bass. Now at that point, then the Jerusalemites have a choice. They can either turn to God or they can in terror and in fear turn to anything else. And you know what they do? They turned to necromancers, they turn to mediums. They turned to idols, they turned to everything else in their moment of need, and they descend further and further and further into darkness. And that’s where find that famous verse in chapter nine, verse two, the people who walked in darkness have seen bye. That’s where we enter the Messiah. So here are nine reasons, eight reasons, eight reasons why chapter seven 14 does not refer to Jesus.
Just hang with me for a minute. Number one, it is a sign to Ahaz and the immediate hearers, not those who would be alive 700 years later. Number two, it is a sign to prove that Syria and Northern Israel’s Alliance against Jerusalem will not last. Number three, it’s a sign that a Syria is coming. Yeah, that’s actually they’re going to be nine reasons. Number four, conceive and bear. A son is clearly used in both places. Same exact words. It’s clear that he has that in mind. Number five, there is connections between before the boy reaches of age, whatever age that is, when he’s of the age deed solid food or to choose good or to talk, whatever that age is. It’s the same relative thing. Number six, in the flow of chapter of the book, chapter six is Isaiah’s called a ministry. Chapter seven is Isaiah’s first prophetic word. Chapter a is the validation of that prophetic word and the rest of the book will be, well, not all of it, but a lot of it will be future promises. How do we know that those promises will come to pass? Does chapter seven and eight happened?
Number seven because eight verses 18 verse 18 shows that Isaiah views his child as the sign from chapter seven verse 14 and finally the eighth reason. Chapter eight uses Emmanuelle just like chapter seven verse 14 refers to, by the way, the word Emmanuel, only ref is used four times in the Bible three times. No, roughly four times three or four times. Chapter seven chapter eight and then one in the new Testament. We’re going to get to that in just a minute. All right, so yeah, still with me. We had to get through all that for me to set the stage for what this means for you here today. All right, Isaiah, however clearly sees the coming Messiah of chapter nine in the same category as his own child in chapter seven and eight you know, it’s pretty clear. For instance, the son is born unto us, a child is born, the son is given. Those are similar words that are used in both passages and we’re in the same thought flow here. So just because one refers to it doesn’t mean the other doesn’t.
The whole point is that chapter nine will also happen because chapter seven and eight have happened. The whole point is that we are still even as Isaiah has may here shall hash Baz right there, the fulfillment of the promise that there was going to be one who is greater then may hear shallow hash Baz that would come whose name will be called or he will reveal about God that in some way the wonderful counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting father, the Prince of peace, of the increase of his government and of peace. There will be no end and on the throne of David and over his kingdom to establish it and uphold it with justice and righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. How do we know this will happen? The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
The promise of the Messiah coming is in the same category he’s given. So when Matthew quotes that exact verse in chapter seven verse 14 when Matthew quotes that verse in Matthew one 23 you can look it up later if you want. Matthew sees Jesus’ birth as in the same category as Isaiah’s son. Why does that matter? Because I want to invite you to compare the two. Okay? This is where you hopefully open your eyes a little bit. We may be missing the meaning of Jesus’ birth if we don’t understand this connection. The child born in both cases was a sign offered.
He was a promise to Isaiah. He was a promise to Isaiah’s family. He was a promise to a Hess and to all those who would listen. But he was also a threat to anyone who would not listen to all those who would trust themselves. The promise of that son was a threat. That is what Emmanuel means. When Jesus is born. It’s the same category. He is a promise of joy and peace and restoration. You guys have decorations that say joy and peace and all that stuff, right? He’s a promise of that. Absolutely. He’s also a threat of judgment.
He’s a promise of chapter eight verse 14 to those who believe, but he is a promise of judgment as well that people will stumble over him what you will, what you do with Jesus will determine whether you have that hope or not. Use a sanctuary for those who trust in Jesus Christ. Jesus himself says, I am with you always even to the end of the age and we also have the hope that revelation 21 three says, I heard a voice from the throne saying, behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them and they shall be his people and God himself will be God with them as their God. That’s a promise to those who trust in Jesus. It’s a promise to those who are faithful and believe his word, but it’s a warning to those who won’t listen because if our, when you reject him, he becomes your downfall. What you did with him becomes that stumbling block. You trip over him, you trip into judgment, you trip into hell.
John picks this idea up. He says, John one 99 I says, the true light which gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world and the world was made through him. Yet the world did not know him. He came to his own in his own people did not receive him, but to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God who were born not of the blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God or later on John three 16 kids. Do you know that verse? Can you say it for gods? So, Hey, we’re talking in tongues today. Good. No great job kids. So that’s what, that’s the verse. You know? What about the next verse? If you believe in him, you’re going to have everlasting life. What about the next verse? For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him, whoever believes in him is not condemned.
But whoever does not believe in him is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the only son of God. This is the judgment. The light has come into the world. The people walking in darkness have seen a great light. The light has come into the world, but people love darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. The whole point of chapter seven and eight yes, is to give you hope. Hope that can be with you. Hope that you have that promise that he will never leave you or forsake you. Have that hope if you are believing in the finished work of Jesus alone. But Emmanuel also means a warning because if God visits and you haven’t believed in him, judgment for you, so the question of what you will do with Jesus matters. So absolutely when you sing, I mean, we’re going to sing all kinds of Christmas songs. I don’t think a single one of my Christmas songs that I’ve picked out for this holiday season are going to include the idea of a manual as judgment, right? Have you ever heard a song that includes that?
Neither have I. They can be a wonderful promise for you and I just keep it in mind as you see the word. What am I doing with Jesus? Am I going to trust in him and his finished work alone? My going to turn to him? Am I gonna rest in him my going to be faithful to him? Or if you are living in, in unrepentant sin, if you’re living in sin today where goddess convicted you of something and you’re just like, nah, I’m not doing that. I’m not dealing with that. I don’t want to. I don’t want to think about it. I don’t want to bother with it. Or you’re arguing in your mind that maybe that’s not that bad after all, you’re living in unrepented sin. When you see the word Emmanuel, be warned.
Caution your heart. Recognize that what you do in your faithfulness to God has and matters. It has an impact. Emmanuel, God is with us. That can be a wonderful promise and a terrifying threat. And what you do with Jesus determines which it is. Just stay with me. Let’s pray. God, thank you so much for your people who listened. I know this was a head of your sermon. Father, I thank you that we were able to get through the material. I pray that you would cause your people here to rest and allow you to be a sanctuary in their life. Find shelter in you, Lord. And if there’s someone here today who is not doing that, who is living in unrepentant sin, I asked that they would be warned and that you would not let them be comfortable until they turn to your grace and forgiveness.
Father, just stirring our hearts during this Christmas season to think rightly on the Christmas promises, weekend week out, Lord, don’t let the business of the holiday season choke out the word [inaudible] assistant, your precious name. And then that is an important thing to mention. Church, family, you’re busy. I know that it’s the holiday season. You’re running around doing stuff. Busy-Ness chokes out the word. That’s the third soil. Type in the parable of the soils. Don’t let that happen this holiday season. Make this a season where you actually are in the word more. That’s what Christmas season should be for. Psalm five, seven says, but I, through the abundance of your steadfast love will enter your house. I will bow down toward your Holy temple in the fear of you. Will you bow to King Jesus during this holiday season.
Nominations are in the in the bulletin the nomination form. That will be something we vote on after the morning service next week. So please plan to be here for that. There is no youth group tonight. If you have any questions you’d like to pray, I’ll be here for a few minutes after this service. Thank you so much for coming today. You were dismissed.