Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Aug 7 2019 - Isaiah 9:1-7 – Unto us a child is born

This passage is often read at the traditional Christmas services of lessons and carols. It contains one of the clearest prophecies concerning the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The previous chapter ended with gloom. God's people have forsaken him and have turned for guidance to "mediums and spiritists" (8:19). Having turned away from God's word, they will "see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom" (8:22). The Lord, however, does not plan to leave his people in gloom and darkness. The light of God's grace and salvation shall shine upon them.

The lands mentioned in 9:1, Zebulun, Naphtali and Galilee were in the northern part of the Promised Land and were the first to suffer God's judgment under the conquering power of the Assyrians. This same region will be the first to see the light of God's salvation:

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. (9:2)

God's salvation will be like a great victory over their enemies. The burden that has oppressed them will be rolled away and they will be free. The nation that had been decimated by captivity will be restored and enlarged. And all of this is going to be accomplished through the birth of a child who will grow up to be a king who will reign on David's throne:

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 Counsellor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
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 for ever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. (vv.6-7)

This child born to be king is given glorious titles. He will be a "Wonderful Counsellor", possessing wisdom greater than that of Solomon. He will be called "Mighty God", for it will be evident that in him God has come in power to save his people. He will be an "Everlasting Father", caring, protecting and providing for his people not just for a few years but for all eternity. He will be the "Prince of Peace", putting an end to the warfare between a holy God and his rebellious people and founding an eternal kingdom characterised by justice, righteousness and peace.

We are in the privileged position of being able to tell the world that this promised king has come:

Joy to the world, the Lord is come
Let earth receive her King

The Lord Jesus is the mighty God come in human flesh to save us. At his birth, angels declared, "Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth." The light of his ministry first shone in Galilee but appeared to be extinguished in Jerusalem when he was crucified. But, by his death, Jesus conquered all the powers of darkness and, by his resurrection he has brought life and immortality to light. Enthroned in heaven, he is now extending his kingdom throughout the earth through the power of his outpoured Spirit. His kingdom will never end.

Father God, we thank you that these words, written several hundred years before the birth of the Lord Jesus, speak so clearly of the great salvation you were to accomplish in him and of the everlasting nature of his kingdom. Use us to tell others of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, that they also may find salvation – light for their darkness and peace for their troubled hearts. May his kingdom be extended through us. 

Peter Misselbrook