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“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

IN THIS MEMORABLE TEXT, ISAIAH PORTRAYED THE MESSIAH’S DOMINION IN MAJESTIC, SWEEPING LANGUAGE. He would rule as God’s sovereign King (“the government shall be upon his shoulder”), and He would be entitled to the most exalted praise. “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” are epithets that could apply only to a divine ruler, receiving both the love and reverence that are reserved for God.

The words “to us a child is born, to us a son is given” should remind us of the “Immanuel” prophecy in Isaiah 7:14: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Indeed, our text for today in Isaiah 9:6 should be seen within the context of the entire section of chapters 1–12, a section filled with messianic hope. The messianic King who was to come would be no ordinary king. He would be even greater than David: a descendant of David physically, but one who would be miraculously born and nothing less than the Son of God — Immanuel (“God with us”).

The King in Isaiah 9 would rule “from this time forth and forevermore” (v.7). This is exactly what Gabriel the angel told Mary about the Son that she would bear: “You will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:31–33). And when the Child was born and taken by His parents to Jerusalem for the required sacrifices, an aged man named Simeon took Him in his arms and said, “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel” (Luke 2:29–32).

“The point of Isaiah 9:1–7 was to alert the house of David that the virgin-born King for whom they were to look would only come after a long period of darkness. Nevertheless, He would indeed come, possessing a divine nature, to establish a righteous and eternal kingdom” (Michael A. Rydelnik).

Gary Henry — +

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