One of the most impressive facts about the Old Testament prophecies about the coming of Christ is that they all show up the darkness of sin and the light of God’s salvation. Isaiah 9 is one such passage, it is set against the backdrop of the nation of Israels’s rebellion against God. There are prophecies of the coming exile, and yet the situation is not hopeless because God has a plan. When we look at the context of this chapter in its surrounding setting we realise even more forcefully the tragedy of sin and the amazing character of the love of God. Earlier in chapter 7 Isaiah has already prophesied that one would come who could be called Immananuel which means God is with us. So we must realise that the prophet is continuing to speak about the promised messiah when he speak thee magnificent words,
9:1 Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan—
2 The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.
3 You have enlarged the nation
and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
as people rejoice at the harvest,
as warriors rejoice
when dividing the plunder.
4 For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,
you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them,
the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor.
5 Every warrior’s boot used in battle
and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
will be fuel for the fire.
6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
will accomplish this. (Is 9:1–7). .
Notice that the prophet describes those who receive Christ as those who have been walking in darkness and living in deep darkness, the Saviour has come to save his people from their sins. Sometimes people ask the question whether God will save a sinner from the worst of sin and the answer must be that no one is beyond the reach of the grace of God in this life. It is therefore important to see that the majestic words of the prophet apply to ourselves, we are those who have seen how great the Lord is in his holy love towards us. It is to rebellious sinful men that the child is given, yet he is also the one who having rescued us from sin becomes our King. the prophet said the government would be upon his shoulders, this one who has come into the darkness to rescue us can do so because he is King of kings and Lord of Lords. It is easy at Christmas time to get taken up with the fact of the human birth of Christ and forget that he too is the creator of the world.
He is the wonderful counsellor the one who can guide us and show his plans so that we might be able to live for his glory, it has been said that this expression could also be translated as wonder-planner.His plans stretch back into eternity past and stretch forward into the eternal future, no wonder he understands what is best for us now.
This child is also Mighty God we need to remember this as we come up to Christmas, this child is different from all others because he is God, however we understand it, it remains a fact the child in the manger is also the ruler of the universe. As mighty God he will accomplish his purposes, even if that involves becoming a man and dying on a cross to save mankind from its sinfulness. The grace of God is shown to be powerful as it delivers people from the bondage of sin.
He is also called, everlasting Father, this does not mean that he is God the Father but rather he shows a fatherly care to his people, another way of looking at this is he is the good Shepherd who cares for his sheep.
He is the Prince of Peace, peace in the Hebrew conception of the word is the place of wholeness and blessing not just the absence of strife. So he will reign eternally as the prince of peace, the one who brings wholeness and healing to broken people.
This passage tells us that Jesus will reign eternally and thus reminds us that we have a living hope for the future. As will celebrate his first coming let us remember that he will come again in glory and then he will complete his work of a new creation. So as we celebrate the coming we do so looking back with thankfulness for what he has done, receiving those blessing for us today, and we look forward with expectation to what he will achieve in the future.