For 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. — Isaiah 9:6
My brother has been fascinated by United States history, particularly our presidents, since he was a child. In a recent family discussion, we debated who is the most powerful person on the planet. One proposition was the U.S. president. Certainly the man governing the greatest superpower in military strength and economic resources in the world is powerful.
There is a certain awe that people often feel toward a person of power and authority. Have you ever heard someone excitedly telling about a time when they actually saw the president, maybe even shook his hand? My brother claims one of his greatest desires is to meet a U.S. president while he is in office. What a thrill it would be to meet such a mighty man!
Far greater than a president of a country, however, is the One who will govern the earth for one thousand years during the reign of peace. Can you comprehend being in the physical presence of such a King? The entire government will rest on His shoulders. He will be the One every person will look to for answers, for wisdom, for security. He will hold and maintain absolute peace — something that has never been seen since sin entered the world.
I recently asked several people who they considered to be their greatest hero. The answers were similar, usually pinpointing one person who had made a difference globally, or had personally impacted that individual’s life. Several people responded that their grandparent was a hero. For another it was a teacher. Then one Christian exclaimed, “Jesus, because He saved me!”
Our Hero dispelled darkness when He came as a gift from Heaven and gave us hope. He took our punishment and stretched out His hand to us when we deserved His wrath. Someday He will come to earth as a Ruler, and He will be the greatest Ruler of all time. He will be called Wonderful by all who dwell on the earth. He will perform these things for us with zeal!
I read that in Washington D.C. a visitor called the church where the President of the United States often attended and asked the secretary, “Is the President going to be in church this Sunday?” The reply was, “No, but God will.”
“The mighty God, The everlasting Father” has stretched out His hand to us and offered us hope. Someday He will be the Ruler of the earth, but more importantly, He can be the Prince of Peace in our hearts today. Respond to Him and He will be your source of hope and your Hero!
In this text, the word “nevertheless” is the turning point of the prophecy begun in chapter 7; at this point, hope is offered. During a time of darkness and gloom would come a Source of eternal light that would pierce the darkness permanently. The text is composed with a contrasting theme of hope and warning. The Messiah was promised, One who would suddenly light up the darkened world, destroy the enemies, and rule the world. His anger would not be turned away at the sin of the world, yet there was hope for the righteous.
Zebulun and Naphtali represent the Northern Kingdom, and it is notable that Jesus’ upbringing and early ministry was in this area, which is near the Sea of Galilee. The prophecy predicted a time of oppression. This prophecy was fulfilled when Syria fell to Tiglath-Pileser III of Assyria in 732 B.C. and Israel followed in 722 B.C. Later the area was called Galilee of the Gentiles.
In a style typical of Hebrew writings, Isaiah used parallelism, which comes through several times poetically in this text. Verse two is an example of this style: The people were in darkness and have seen a great light; the land sees the shadow of death but on it the light has shined.
The “day of Midian” refers to Gideon’s small army defeating the large host of Midianites. Similarly, the Messiah will conquer the mighty hosts of the Antichrist. Furthermore, the next verse states that the destruction of the wicked one will be complete when it says, “this shall be with burning and fuel of fire.”
The crux of hope comes from the promised Messiah. He was to be born a child, “unto us”, meaning the covenant people. Using parallelism again, the writer restated that a Son would be given to the nation of Israel. He would rule over God’s people and finally the world during the Millennial Reign. The figurative language “the government shall be upon his shoulder” refers to His kingly office and the fact that He will govern the nations.
Four descriptive names define His character. The words “Wonderful” and “Counsellor” could be linked together in translation as being “The Wonderful Counselor” or a “Wonder of a Counselor.” “Wonderful” is indicative of that which is miraculously accomplished by God Himself. “Counsellor” indicates that He will be the Authority, and the people will gladly listen to Him. He will have the wisdom to rule justly.
The term “mighty God” is the strongest of titles with reference to deity. Part of the translation literally means “hero.” This child was to be God Himself! “The everlasting Father” is still referring to the Son to be given. Though He was to be a child, yet He will be the Father of all eternity. We can see that the throne of David will indeed be forever because the Ruler Himself is eternal.
“The Prince of Peace” represents the One who will bring and maintain order through the Millennial Reign. This thousand years is to be much later than the first coming of the Son. His rule will manifest peace because He is the embodiment of peace itself.
The second section of this chapter contrasts the first in that it warns the people of their sin and God’s wrath toward it. Israel had the arrogance to say that though they might be destroyed, they would rebuild their cities and make them greater than before. They would use hewn stones, as the bricks in the East usually were sun-dried and dissolved easily by rain. They would use cedar instead of sycamore, which were not as valuable or durable as cedar.
However, the prophet foretold that their former allies (the Syrians and Philistines) would turn against them and devour Israel. The punishment on the land would be dark and oppressive. The nation would seek fulfillment and find themselves unsatisfied. The bricks would fall, as they did by Tiglath-Pileser in 722 B.C. The people would be as the fuel for more suffering.
Nevertheless, the Light was still promised to provide hope in the darkness. Though Israel would still not repent after the punishment, and God would still be angry, His hand would still reach out to give the gift of the promised Messiah.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II. The message of condemnation: the Holy One of Israel provoked, rebuking and judging
B. Prophecies related to Israel
1. The destruction of Israel by Assyria
a. Judah’s promise of deliverance from Israel
(3) Isaiah’s message of Assyria’s invasion
(e) The promise of ultimate Messianic deliverance (9:1-7)
b. Israel’s promised destruction by Assyria (9:8 — 10:4)
(1) Israel’s pride (9:8-12)
(2) Israel’s destruction (9:13 — 10:4)
(a) Because of idolatry (9:13-17)
(b) Because of internal strife (9:18-21)
(c) Because of oppression (10:1-4)
We can have a personal relationship with the mighty God Himself. What a wonder that is! Take advantage of the hope He has provided.