The people who walked in darkness Have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them a light has shined. Isaiah 9:2
For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 9:6
The Birth and Reign of the Prince of Peace
Isaiah interrupts his portrait of judgment to include one of the brightest and most brilliant of the messianic prophecies. In spite of dark despair, a light will dawn! The great hope is centered on one who is both “born of a child” (a reference to Jesus’ human nature) and “a son” when given (a reference to Jesus’ deity). The names given the child clearly identify him as God. Of note is the phrase “Everlasting Father,” which may be translated “Father of Eternity,” e.g., originator of the ages (cf. Heb. 1:10-12). This child is to be the Messiah, destined to rule forever on David’s throne.
And: “You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. 11 They will perish, but You remain; And they will all grow old like a garment; 12 Like a cloak You will fold them up, And they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not fail.” Heb. 1:10-12
A fulfilled prophecy (9:1-2). Here Isaiah speaks to the most northern of Israel’s tribal groups, who were the first to experience the devastation of Assyrian invasion. He promises that these territories, now “walking in darkness,” will also be the first to see “a great light.” Matthew 4:15-16 sees the ministry of Jesus in Galilee as the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy.
Nevertheless the gloom will not be upon her who is distressed, As when at first He lightly esteemed The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, And afterward more heavily oppressed her, By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, In Galilee of the Gentiles. 2 The people who walked in darkness Have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them a light has shined. Isa 9:1, 2
“The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles: 16 The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned.” Matt. 4:15-16
We often are not able to say just how an OT prophecy will be fulfilled. But when it has been fulfilled, we discover that its fulfillment was literal rather than “spiritual.”
A child, a son (9:6). This reference to Jesus the Messiah is also prophetic, illustrating a literal yet unexpected fulfillment of prophecy. The Messiah is a child born, and yet He is also a Son given. Jesus came into our world as an infant even though He existed from eternity as God the Son.
The Child is the true Prince – the one who has the right to reign and who will usher in peace. The four double names combine aspects of Jesus’ deity and His humanity. Together, these four double ames assert the dual nature of the Savior: He is God become man.
For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isa 9:6
Our choice. Isa. 9:6-7 describes the universal reign of the Messiah. Then the rest of the chapter suddenly shifts to describe the judgment about to be visited on the Northern Kingdom, Israel (vv. 8-21). How are these linked? Jesus’ reign is marked by universal allegiance to God. Israel’s tragic history was marked from the beginning by rebellion against Him. Those who will not submit to the Lord will surely experience not the blessing of messianic times, but the havoc and ruination that crusted Israel.
For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. 9:6-7
9:2-7 This seventh prophecy in the context of the Syro-Ephraimite war is climactic: An ideal monarch will come who will bring an end to war and usher in universal peace. The light that will replace the darkness of Assyrian oppression will be a Child, God incarnate (7:14). His four compounded throne names (v.6) depict His divine-human nature as well as His universal program of salvation.
9:4 These three images of oppression emphasize the suffering of the people during the period of foreign domination. The pronoun his refers to Assyria, which boasted of the heavy yokes it imposed on its captive peoples (10:27). The day of Midian refers to the defeat of Midian (10:26; Judg. 6-8).
For You have broken the yoke of his burden And the staff of his shoulder, The rod of his oppressor, As in the day of Midian. 9:4
9:5 warrior’s sandal: Assyrian armies were marked by the noise of the marching of mary feet. Garments rolled in blood from past battles was a deliberate scare tactic to frighten enemies in an impending battle. All of these emblems of warfare wee to be burned in the coming day of the reign of the divine Child (v.6).
For every warrior’s sandal from the noisy battle, And garments rolled in blood, Will be used for burning and fuel of fire.
9:14 Head and tail is a figure of speech for all leaders.
Therefore the Lord will cut off head and tail from Israel, Palm branch and bulrush in one day.
9:18, 19 The fire of wickedness is matched by the fire of the wrath of the Lord.
For wickedness burns as the fire; It shall devour the briers and thorns, And kindle in the thickets of the forest; They shall mount up like rising smoke. 19 Through the wrath of the Lord of hosts The land is burned up, And the people shall be as fuel for the fire; No man shall spare his brother.