Trial by Fire

Having been commissioned by God to be a prophet to Israel, Isaiah discovered his message was not going to be well received, or even understood. The command was given, “Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed” (Isaiah 6:9-10).

The reason for this divine judgment upon Israel was because the nation was going to be destroyed. The cities would be wasted and left uninhabited. Homes would be destroyed. The land was to be left desolate. Israel was going to be chopped down like a tree. A stump was to be left, but then that stump was to be scorched. And it all came to pass. What God decreed, and what Isaiah foretold, is confirmed in history. Judgment came to Israel, but so did God’s mercy and grace, because Isaiah also declared, that despite God’s harsh judgment on the Jews, a remnant would be spared to form “the holy seed” (Isaiah 6:11-13).

Come the Conquering King: Isaiah 7:1-9

Before the holy seed could spring forth, Israel had to be judged. Going to king Ahaz, a descendant of David and a king of Judah, Isaiah announces that Assyria will come to chop the nation down. However, there is hope, because after the wrath of God has been satiated, a new king will arise named Immanuel.

The Sign of Salvation: Isaiah 7:10 – 25

In order to assure Ahaz that what Isaiah was saying would come to pass, a sign was to be asked for. “Moreover, the Lord spake again unto Ahaz, saying, 11 Ask thee a sign of the Lord thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above” (Isaiah 7:10 – 11).

Normally, seeking for a sign to confirm the Word of God is not encouraged. Jesus said that “A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign” (Matt. 16:4). However, there are occasions when the Lord is pleased to show a sign to people to encourage their hearts, and confirm His own promises. Ahaz was commanded to ask for a sign, which the king refused to do. “But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the Lord” (Isaiah 7:12).

The pious words of Ahaz in refusing to do what God commanded is a reminder that sin can transform itself into an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14). Disobedience has many forms, including religious fraud.

True religion is to honor God. True religion is to obey the known will of the Lord. It is sin which pretends to be humble and pious, when the heart is unbelieving and corrupt. Ahaz cloaked his unbelief and contempt for the prophet and the Word of the Lord in pious terms, which provoked the prophet to admonish him. And Isaiah said to Ahaz as the representative of the nation, “Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel” (Isaiah 7:13-14).

What a beautiful name that is, Emmanuel, meaning “God with us”. Emmanuel is the name of Jesus. Prior to His birth, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream saying, “Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. 21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. 22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (Matt. 1:20-23).

“Emmanuel, Emmanuel,
His name is called Emmanuel.
God with us, revealed in us,
His name is called Emmanuel.”

Is God with you? Do you know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior? Can you call Jesus, Emmanuel?

When Ahaz was given the sign of salvation, God was promising His people that a Savior would come to give freedom to the oppressed, and bring prosperity to the nation. Spiritually, that is what Jesus does. Jesus saves individuals from the power and pollution of sin. Jesus feeds His people with manna from heaven, and promises eternal life, and the hope of heaven. Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” (John 10:27, 28). The hope of heaven is assured. “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:2,3). Deliverance, eternal life, and the hope of heaven, are the gifts of Emmanuel.

A New Branch: Isaiah 11:1 – 10

Isaiah spoke of Emmanuel as a new branch, which was to grow from the old stump of Israel. “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: 2 And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord” (Isaiah 11:1, 2).

Because of His own goodness, wisdom, and understanding, because He is empowered by the Spirit of God, Emmanuel shall rule over a New Jerusalem in righteousness. Emmanuel will bring justice to the poor. All the nations on earth will look to the Messiah for guidance. His kingdom will transform all kingdoms so that they belong to Him, and of His kingdom, there shall be no end (Luke 1:33). “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; 10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb” (Rev. 7:9-10).

An Eternal Reign

Those who limit the rule and reign of Christ over the nations of the earth to a thousand-year millennial reign, fail to understand the far-reaching dimension of the prophesies of Isaiah, the angelic announcement to Joseph, and the fulfillment of Scripture in Christ. Jesus said, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matt. 28:18). The rule and reign of the promised Messiah over the nations of the earth is not a future phenomenon, but a present reality. The kingdom reign of Christ is not for a thousand years, but forever and ever. The nations of the earth are His now. “For He must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet” (1 Cor. 15:25).

This understanding of the Messiah, His kingdom, and His rule and reign, does not negate the Lord’s Second Coming, according to promise (Heb. 9:28), nor does it take away a more visible manifestation of His glory in a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness. “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind” (Isaiah 65:17-25).

Crown Christ with Many Crowns

What is being contended for, is that all the prophesies of Isaiah are fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Therefore, Church, crown Jesus now with many crowns. Do not teach that Jesus is one day going to become a king. No! No! Jesus is even now Prophet, Priest, and King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev. 17:14). So, Crown Him the Lord of life. Crown Him the Lord of love. Crown Him the Lord of years.

“Crown Him with many crowns,
the Lamb upon his throne.
Hark! how the heavenly anthem drowns
all music but its own.
Awake, my soul, and sing
of Him who died for thee,
and hail Him as thy matchless king
through all eternity.

Crown Him the Lord of life,
who triumphed o’er the grave,
and rose victorious in the strife
for those He came to save;
His glories now we sing
who died and rose on high,
who died eternal life to bring,
and lives that death may die.

Crown Him the Lord of love;
behold his hands and side,
rich wounds, yet visible above,
in beauty glorified;
no angels in the sky
can fully bear that sight,
but downward bends their burning eye
at mysteries so bright.

Crown Him the Lord of years,
the potentate of time,
creator of the rolling spheres,
ineffably sublime.
All hail, Redeemer, hail!
for thou hast died for me;
thy praise shall never, never fail
throughout eternity.”

—Matthew Bridges

Leave a Reply