Christmas Prophecy: Immanuel
Today we are continuing our Advent series titled Christmas Prophecies. For the past couple of weeks, we have looked at various O.T. prophecies that point us to the coming Messiah. When I began the series, I mentioned that Jesus is evident throughout the Old Testament. It is chock full of prophecies regarding Him and His future redemption. We see, as far back as the opening chapters of the Bible, God’s prophecies concerning the coming Messiah. I talked about how that throughout Genesis God’s plans revolve around a collective offspring that comes from the line of Abraham: Jesus Christ. Throughout the O.T. we see the hardships, disappointments and challenges the patriarchs faced in barrenness (they could not have children) but through this barrenness God’s divine plan was not thwarted. He helps throughout, “it is God himself . . . who is responsible for the birth of the promised ‘seed.’” This simply means that the problem of making things right was on God’s shoulders, not mans. This Includes the birth of a nation, Israel, but more specifically the birth Jesus Christ the Messiah.
Give Peace a Chance
In 1969 John Lennon and Yoko Ono staged a one week “Bed In” protest in Montreal Canada to protest war and promote peace. When asked by reporters why they were doing this John Lennon spontaneously answered, “Just give peace a chance.” He was essentially saying, “Hey war is not fixing anything, so let’s try peace instead.”
Whether you are a supporter or fan of John Lennon’s message during his “Bed in” I think it is safe to say that true peace is generally preferable to wars and fighting. We want peace and we want to see all wars ended. I personally believe this cannot happen without God as the initiator.
But what do we mean by peace? So many of us view peace as the absence of conflict and fights but the peace we as Christians desire is one that is more than that, it is one that only Jesus Christ can bring and we will look at what true peace is and how Jesus Christ is the one who gives and brings true peace.
The Prophet Isaiah
Before we talk about peace let’s go back to the prophecy of Isaiah regarding the birth of the Messiah. Isaiah was an 8thcentury B.C. prophet whose writings and prophecies often denounced idolatry, disingenuous religious observances, and ceremonies in Judah. He was the one who witnessed the hem of the robe of God as it filled the Temple, and the angels proclaimed Holy, holy, holy…” He responds to the vision by crying out in repentance because he is a man of unclean lips, and one who lives among sinners. In this vision God asks Isaiah who would go forth and proclaim God’s message to Israel and he responds, “Here I am, send me!” (Isaiah 1:13). Isaiah is commissioned to go out and share the prophecies of God’s impending judgment to those who were in idolatrous practices in Judah and how only the faithful to Yahweh would remain. Isaiah also foretold the coming Messiah who would come and save all and is known as the Prince of peace and the Sovereign of God’s Kingdom (Isaiah 9:2 – 7). He prophesies about this ruling Messiah and how He would suffer under the hands of evil men, and He would be known as the suffering servant (Isaiah 53).
Isaiah 9:1 - 7
In today’s passage I would like to focus on verses 6 & 7. It was at this time God was not pleased with Judah as they had embraced idolatry. He speaks of judgments and amid these judgments he speaks about a future hope for the nation and for all.
Vs. 6: “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us…” Verse 6 tells us who this coming child/king is. Isaiah tells us He is a future son who would one day be born, and this child would be the son of God. Isaiah tells us that the government shall rest on his shoulders that will be a just and peaceful ruler.
Some theologians believe this future royal child would be a human king born the line of David and he will be proclaimed the king of Israel and he will eventually lead Israel to a new level of freedom and prosperity. However, the designations given to this child and the description of his kingdom far surpass anything applicable or could be accomplished by a human king. Thus, we can safely conclude that the interpretation of this passage is messianic. We see this simply in his name titles. This child will have titles that denote his character. He will be a wise ruler characterized by wisdom (Wonderful Counselor). He is immortal as he has no beginning or end (Eternal Father). He will be a peaceful ruler (Prince of Peace). He is all powerful ( Almighty God.)
Vs 7: “His government and its peace will never end…” Verse 6 tells us who this coming child/king is and Verse 7 tells us how this coming child/king will govern and rule. He will be a ruler who promotes peace, and it is a never-ending peace. He will be a just and fair king and he will rule for all eternity. There will be no injustices, no corruption, and no inequality. He will rule in fairness and with justice.
“of his ancestor David for all eternity.” The divine King/Messiah will come from the lineage of David.
If you would indulge me and turn to Matthew 1 and note with me the lineage of the Messiah. In this we see the direct relation of Jesus to the throne of David. Thus, the prophecy spoken in Isaiah 9:7 is fulfilled in Matthew 1. Matthew 1:1-16:
Vs 7b: The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!” In this context the Lord’s “zeal” or “commitment” refers to his intense devotion to and love for his people which prompts him to vindicate them and to fulfill his promises to David and the nation.
The Prince of Peace
We have looked at the prophecy of the birth of this coming child/king and we have noted the various titles given to the Messiah, we have seen the kind of ruler/King He will be, and we have observed the lineage from where he descended. Now I want to focus on the one title that gives us hope not only during our Advent season but in our lives in general and that is the title“The Prince of peace.”
Verse 27: Peace (shalom) – The peace Jesus speaks of has a deeper meaning than what we have come to know about peace in modern history. As I stated earlier, we generally think of peace as the absence of conflict, but this is a fragile and temporary peace the world has to offer. Again, those of you who lived in the 60s and early 70s are aware of the temporal and faux peace the world spoke about. The hippy movement spoke of peace, love, and happiness but everything about the peace (and love and happiness for that matter) rallied for was temporary, selfish, and disingenuous.
The shalom/peace spoken of by Jesus is a peace that surpasses all understanding and is rooted in redemption and salvation. This shalom is an inward peace, a peace of mind, and a peace in the security in knowing your future destiny. It’s a peace that comes when you know you have been forgiven of your sins, where you can lean on the promise of the indwelling of the Spirit, you can have security in knowing you are redeemed, you can fully trust that with faith in Jesus you will be restored, and you can have a sense of assurance in knowing whether things are going good or bad, in danger or safety, or in chaos or contentment you are safe in the arms of the Father.
Jesus not only leaves us peace, but he gives us this peace. He tells his disciples (and us) that we are to take comfort in this. He tells the disciples to not let their hearts be troubled or afraid. Yes, tumultuous times were ahead for them and after his death their persecution is going to intensify. So, Jesus says take hold of that peace (that is beyond our comprehension) and let it reign in your hearts.
We have this same promise given to us today. Jesus has left us with and given us his peace that is far greater than the artificial peace of the world. We are still living in tumultuous and uncertain times… With inflation on the rise, the tense political divides before us, and fear of not knowing what the future has in store and this is a reminder of our vulnerability. We are reminded that we do not have complete control over all things… In fact, we have very little control in our lives… Yet we should not allow our hearts to be troubled or afraid. We are to rest in the shalom/peace that Jesus has left and given us. As followers of Jesus, we can know true (shalom) even amid uncertainty, persecution, and turmoil.
Philippians 4:6 – 7: The kind of peace we desire only comes from Jesus and through prayer. The Apostle Paul tells us that Instead of worrying and being anxious about the things that are overwhelming or looming, go to God in prayer. Paul says, “Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” This is another way of saying take your concerns to the foot of the cross and leave them there. Do not let your anxiety and worry consume you. Give it to Jesus and once you do, you will experience peace. Now, I realize it is not a logical peace. It doesn’t make any human sense because the issues that are causing distress are still in front of you, but when you give your worry and anxiety over to the Lord you gain a true and genuine sense of peace that is rooted in Jesus. When we experience this peace, it will guard our hearts and minds. This means that in those times when worry or anxiety pop back into our heads or our hearts we can be protected from worry because we are in Christ Jesus.
As we enter the third week of Advent let us focus our hearts and our minds on the peace that Jesus brings. When we look back at Isaiah, we are reminded that he was speaking to a nation who had turned its back on God, and all seemed hopeless. However, God is not a God of hopelessness, He is a God of hope. We live in a time of seeming hopelessness but let us not forget that all is not lost. We have a savior who is a Wonderful Counselor, Eternal Father, Prince of peace, and Almighty God who leaves peace and gives peace. We have a Savior who gives life. We have a Savior who "though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:6 – 11)
The Lord’s Supper
 Biblical Studies Press. (2005). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press.
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Jeff has been in ministry for well over two decades. He currently serves as Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Baptist Southside Campus in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). Both are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
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