We now go on to Isaiah 9:1-8
Note: Isaiah 9:1 is Isaiah 8:23 in the Hebrew Bible. This verse has great Messianic significance. This chapter speaks about a change that was coming to a specific location – a location that was uniquely related to the work of Messiah 2000 years ago.
v1: Gloom: There had been gloom (an absence of light) in this place, but the implication here was that this was going to change.
- Her: Speaking of Israel – specifically the Northern kingdom. This would, however, have implications for all of the descendants of Jacob.
- As…at first: The former time. An earlier period of time before Messiah.
- He: G-d
- Lightly esteemed: This word can mean that G-d thought little of this place and gave no preference to it. It is also a word that could mean ‘cursed’.
- The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali: Zebulun (Jacob’s tenth son, by Leah – Gen 30:20) and Naphtali (Jacob’s sixth son through Bilhah – Gen 30:8). These sons inherited land in the Galilee region (Joshua 19). Zebulun and Naphtali were part of the Northern kingdom (Israel). G-d brought judgment (the curse – Deut 11:26-28) on them, through Assyria, because of their disobedience.
- Afterward: In the latter portion. In the last days. This is not referring to the final seven years of the last days, but is referring to the general days of the end times (the same end time period spoken of by Peter in Acts 2:16-17. This time period can also be referred to as the time of the Gentiles – Luke 21:24, Roms 11:25).
- Heavily oppressed: In the Hebrew this is a word that literally means ‘honour’ – see biblehub.com. This land of Galilee had been a place of gloom and oppression, but a change was coming and G-d was going to honour her.
- The way of the sea (on the side of) the Jordan: The town situated between these two portions of land, which fits these criteria, is called Capernaum – Yeshua’s ministry ‘headquarters’ (Kefer-Nahum – which means ‘village of comfort’ – Matt 4:13-16).
- Galilee of the Gentiles: Galilee is called by this name because it was a portion of land that was highly desired by the nations. Some scholars say it is called by this term as what Messiah brings about (His salvation) is highly desired by the nations.
v2: Walked in darkness: They were devoid of illumination; they did not have the truth of G-d. They were confused and following after falsehood.
- Seen a great light: A change has happened. This light relates to Messiah (John 8:12). The candlestick in the temple was always alight. When the people looked at this light, they were reminded of the fact that the presence of G-d was with them.
- A light has (greatly) shined: This relates to the numerous miracles that Yeshua was going to perform among them. It also relates to the great truth and wisdom that Yeshua was going to share with them.
v3: You: Referring to G-d.
- The nation: When this word is written in the plural it is mainly referring to the nations – the Gentiles. However, when it is written in the singular (as it is here) it is most often referring to the nation of Israel. Abraham was told that he was going to be a great nation (Gen 12:2. Here, ‘nation’ is also written in the singular and is referring to the nation of Israel – Abraham’s natural descendants).
- Increased its joy: When the nation of Israel is made great by Messiah, and is offered up to G-d the Father, there is going to be great joy.
- Harvest: This word has two implications:
1) It can be related to the resurrection – Messiah was considered the first fruit of the harvest (1 Cor 15:23).
2) It could also refer to the fullness of the end time harvest. Once the fullness of the Gentiles has been reached, G-d is going to once again turn His attention toward Israel (Roms 11:11-12, Roms 11:25-27).
* Spoil: The plunder that is gathered up after a victorious battle – Yeshua is going to be the victor – He is going to defeat the antichrist – 2 Thess 2:8 (This plunder is related to the meek inheriting the earth – Matt 5:5).
v4: The yoke of His burden (literally: suffering): Messiah was going to suffer, but the one who brought about that suffering (the enemy – Luke 22:3) was going to be defeated.
- The day of Midian: Judges 7. G-d, through Gideon and a few men, effected an incredible victory against a mighty and numerous enemy. This was a victory that served to strengthen their faith. This phrase reminds us of this victory. It reminds us that we can only find victory through faith. Without faith, the work of Messiah will have no effect in our lives.
v5: Sandal: It is implied that this is a warrior’s boot or sandal, but the word ‘warrior’ is not in the text.
- Noisy: Again, the implication is that this is referring to a noisy battle.
- The garments (that is) rolled (up): Referring to a bandage.
Note: The implication of this verse is that neither boots for war nor bandages will be needed any longer, as a victory has taken place. How does this victory come about? How do we see our enemy defeated? Isaiah 9:6 answers this question for us. Victory comes through Messiah – the One who is born of a virgin – Immanuel.
v6: Child: Written in the masculine. A male child.
- Unto us…is born, unto us…is given: These words are both written in the passive voice. This teaches us that this was not something we could have done for ourselves. It was done for us. It was provided to us.
- Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty G-d, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace: There is a debate as to whether this is four names (as written above) or if it is in fact 8 names (Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty, G-d….etc). Some scholars, wanting to move away from anything that could point to these names as referring to Messiah, say that these are words describing King Hezekiah. This is not an acceptable interpretation, as what we read here is not speaking about a mere man. In Isaiah 9:7 it speaks of this ‘Child’s’ government having no end. King Hezekiah’s government ended a long time ago. Others, who dispute the divinity of Messiah, falsely interpret these names. They say that the first 6 names (if we go with the 8-name interpretation) all refer to G-d who then calls Messiah the Prince of Peace. These false teachers do not ascribe all of these names to Messiah. They do not want Messiah to be “G-d”, or “Father” etc. This verse, and these names, all point to the Son of G-d – to Messiah Yeshua. Although He took on human flesh, He is divine. He is G-d.
v7: Increase: Multiplying. Making great
- Of His government and peace there will be no end: When Yeshua returns to earth (specifically Jerusalem), at His second coming, He will take His throne in the Holy of Holies, as the King of kings and the L-rd of lords and He will rule from Jerusalem – Isaiah 2:2-4. Initially this millennial kingdom will be 1000 years on this earth as we know it. This millennial kingdom will have no end, however, as it turns into the New Jerusalem (Rev 21:1), over which Yeshua continues to rule and reign.
- The throne of David: This is a clear Messianic reference.
- Judgment and justice: The millennial kingdom will be defined or characterised by justice and righteousness.
v8: Note: This verse informs us that this truth or light (in regard to the Messiah) is not going to be received, by and large, by Israel.
- A word: Referring to this word that G-d gave to Isaiah – this Messianic prophecy/revelation as revealed in Isaiah 9:1-7.
- Jacob: Referring to G-d’s Old Covenant people – Israel. The revelation of Messiah was first sent to Jacob, to Israel.
- Has fallen on Israel: This prophetic word, although given to them, was not received by them. This is not going to be the permanent position of Israel. In the last days, a remnant of Israel is going to turn to the L-rd – 2/3rds will be lost, but the entire 1/3rd remnant will be saved (Zech 13:8-9, Roms 11:26-27).