Isaiah 9:1–7 has been fulfilled in these words of the Son which was given to us by the Father: “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:13–16).
When Jesus was born of the virgin Mary the angel of the Lord said to the Shepherds, as the glory of the Lord shone round about them, “Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:9–11). When the angel of the Lord came to Mary to tell her that she found favor with God, and that she would conceive a Son and his name would be Jesus (Heb, Joshua: for he shall save his people from their sins), the angel spoke of him, saying, “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1:30–33).
Only the Word of God can tell us about Christ, about the Good Shepherd who has come to lay down his life for his sheep. Men may write books about Jesus, some even to ridicule and deny the truth of his being, but none can reveal the glory of him in whom the fullness of the Godhead dwells. For only the Holy Spirit who breathed the words of Scripture through his servants can reveal the majesty of the King of kings and Lord of lords. We have in our new birth seen the glory of our heavenly Father, who has made us acceptable in his beloved Son, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches his grace.”
Our Scripture lesson begins with these words: “Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did not grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations.” The immediate picture that Isaiah paints for us is the darkness of the world brought about by the invading Assyrians. Disobedience had come upon Israel by the hand of the Lord God Almighty.
However, “The 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.” Who can restore light to a people who have loved darkness, who have no hope in their disobedience? Christ Jesus came that this prophecy should be fulfilled: “The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up” (Matt. 4:16). The true meaning of the passage is seen in Christ and His message, “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 4:17).
David speaks the words of the Lord in song, praising God for his marvelous light, “And the afflicted people thou wilt save: but thine eyes are upon the haughty that thou mayest bring them down. For thou art my lamp, O Lord: and the Lord will lighten my darkness” (2 Sam. 22:28–29). Those wrapped in the darkness of sin need the saving grace of the Light of the world. This darkness is “the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron,” (Psalm 107:10–11) brought upon by rebellion against the Lord and his Word. We who have been redeemed by the blood of Christ are to bring forth from our lips and lives “the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:6–10).
The deliverance of Israel from the bondage of Babylon is a glorious picture of the deliverance of God’s people from darkness, of the salvation of their souls. The Bible teaches us that all are dead in sins, unable to save themselves, forever living in the land of the shadow of death. It is the Lord Jesus, the Prophet, Priest, and King, who calls upon the dry bones to rise to life. For the Lord God is our resurrection and the life. As the Lord our God has said, “Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, and shall put my Spirit in you, and you shall live” (Ezekiel 37:12–14).
Isaiah continues to proclaim the glory of God in the salvation of his people, saying to the Lord, “Thou 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.” The KJV rendering of this passage seems to indicate a negative joy because of God’s blessing upon the people. Keil and Delitzsch translated this verse, “Thou multipliest the nation, preparest it great joy; they rejoice before Thee like the joy in harvest, as men rejoice when they share the spoil.” The NKJV reads, “You have multiplied the nation / And increased its joy; / They rejoice before You / According to the joy of harvest, / As men rejoice when they divide the spoil.” The KJV, in light of the blessing and joy of the Lord, should be understood in this spirit, “The Lord has multiplied the nation, therefore, would he not also increase their joy?”
Keil and Delitzsch comments, “It would be a joy over blessing received, as the figure of the harvest indicates; and joy over evil averted, as the figure of dividing the spoil presupposes: for the division of booty is the business of conquerors. This second figure is not merely a figure: the people that are so joyous are really victorious and triumphant” (Prophecies of Isaiah).
The cause of such a joy is explained by Isaiah. He speaks to the Lord, saying, “For 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. For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire. The people of God are to remember the burden and affliction that were theirs in the darkness of the oppressor. It was by the awesome sword of the Lord that the Midianites were conquered in the time of Gideon. By broken pitchers the enemy was driven away, to show the glory of God and his mighty works.
The Lord God Almighty is the sole author of our faith, and therefore the only Savior who can deliver us from our sins. It is in Christ alone that we have life, for “In him was life; and the life was the light of men … the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (John 1:4, 9). Therefore, we come to Christ to drink of the water whereby we shall never thirst again. “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (Jesus, John 4:14).
A royal throne is placed in the midst of God’s people, a throne upon which sits the Father’s anointed and beloved Son. When the risen Lord chose Paul to be his apostle to the Gentiles, he gave him this commission: “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me” (Acts 26:18). With his commission from the King of kings, Paul went about “Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence” (Acts 28:31).
This is the King of whom we speak when we proclaim the gospel of Christ from the hill of Zion, the Church and Body of Jesus Christ. This is the Christ of whom Isaiah speaks: “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, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of peace.”
Not only have the people of God been delivered from the oppressor, but they have been given a new Sovereign. He is a Sovereign who not only saves but who cares and provides for them as a Sovereign should. We have a King who has delivered us from the darkness of hell and from the power of Satan. Our King is also our High Priest, who offered himself as a sacrifice on the Cross for the forgiveness of sins. Our King has also guaranteed an inheritance which is holy and eternal.
The prophet has listed a number of titles by which this Sovereign shall be called. To call Him by these names means that we recognize and pay homage to him as the Sovereign King and Savior of our lives. He is wonderful! As our Counselor, our King advises and admonishes us according to his wisdom and knowledge, which is eternal and not of this world. As our God, it is in his might and strength that we have victory. As our Everlasting God, we have the assurance of an eternal life that he will never let us go, that his work of righteousness endures eternally. As our Father, we acknowledge that in him alone we have life, that in him we are adopted into the Family of God. As our Prince or Great High Priest, we can depend that what he has accomplished upon the cross of Calvary, no one else could. He made peace between us and the Father. Therefore, in the Spirit, we are able to cry out, “Abba, Father.”
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