A Sign, and a Messianic Hope, Isaiah 7 (lesson for April 26/May 3,
You'll do best to read all of chapter 7 before trying to answer these
Part 1 - Different kinds of prophecy
As we get into this lesson, we need to think just a bit about different kinds
of Messianic prophecy.
PROPHECIES NOT INVOLVING A SHADOW
There are some prophecies that are explicitly predictions of future events.
That is, someone says, "Such and such is going to happen in the future."
The statement is clearly and exclusively about the Messiah. An example of this
is seen in Micah 5:2.
PROPHECIES INVOLVING A SHADOW
But most prophecies involve a shadow. That is, on one level, most messianic
prophecies speak of something in Old Testament times even as they look forward
to the Messiah.
Sometimes there is no prediction at
all. That is, nothing is said explicitly about a future event. Rather the very
existence of something, someone, or some event is intended to suggest what will
come in the future.
Then again, some predictions that were made about the future were clothed in
language that looked back to an already existing person, place, or thing, or
event, which foreshadowed something about the coming Messiah.
And finally, some predictions first pertained to a coming (future) Old
Testament person, place, event, but ultimately looked beyond that to the
These prophecies that involve a shadow can be
subcategorized into three groups:
- Existence of the shadow
- Prediction in terms of previously existing shadow
- Prediction of future something that will be a shadow
- Which of the above is illustrated by the tabernacle?
- Which of the above is illustrated by the statement in Ezekiel 37:24, "My
servant David will be king over them."
- Which of the above is illustrated by 2 Samuel 7:12-13? (Note both 1 Chron.
22:6ff and Heb. 1:5)
We need to consider the various kinds of prophecy and determine which best
describes the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14ff. We won't get that question fully
resolved this week. But expect to have this all figured out by next week!
Part 2 - Ahaz' difficulty
Review the following questions we discussed in our very first lesson:
|The reign of Ahaz (Read 2
Kings 16, 2 Chronicles 28)
- Who were his enemies according to 2 Chron. 28:5-6 and 2 Kings 16:5-6?
- Summarize events described in 2 Chron. 28:8-15.
- To whom did Ahaz look for help? (2 Kings 16:7-9)
- In Isaiah 7:1-2, we are told that what two kings came up against
- According to verse two, to whom was this reported?
- What is meant by "the house of David"
- What was the reaction on the part of the house of David?
- Based on 2 Kings 16:7, to whom do you suppose Ahaz would turn for help?
- The Lord told Isaiah to go meet Ahaz and to take with him his son named
- What does that name mean?
- Who are the "two stubs of smoldering firebrands" mentioned in Isaiah 7:4?
- What is the point of calling them "stubs of smoldering firebrands"? Does
that suggest they are powerful, or weak?
- According to Isaiah 7:6, what did Pekah and Rezin have in mind, and what
would this mean for Ahaz personally? (Some of supposed their goal was to gain
control of Judah by means of establishing a ruler there who was loyal to them,
and thereby gain access to the resources and armies of Judah for use in their
own war against Assyria.)
- What did God say about the outcome of the efforts of Pekah and Rezin?
- Damascus was the capital of Syria and Samaria was the capital of Israel.
What did God say about the future of Syria and Israel?
Part 3 - The sign that this message was from God and that these things would
- What offer was made to Ahaz? (7:11)
- What was Ahaz' response? (7:12)
- Based on verse 13, do you think Ahaz response was regarded as reverent, or
- THOUGHT QUESTION: Why did Ahaz respond as he did?
- After Ahaz declined to specify a sign he would like to see, God himself
determined the sign he would give to Ahaz. This sign is described in verse
14-16. What was it?
- The message concerning coming events continues on down to the end of
chapter 7. Then in 8:3, we read about a child that a "prophetess" conceives by
Isaiah. What is his name?
- What does that name mean?
- According to verse 4, why is that name given to him?
- There was a verse in chapter 7 that sounds very much like 8:4. What is
- In chapter 8:18, what did Isaiah say about himself and his sons?
Part 4 - Immanuel
- Specifically, it was said the child would be called Immanuel, and yet the
child born in chapter 8 is first called Maher-shalal-hash-baz. What does
- Consider the meaning of the two names: Which one sounds like a warning, and
which one sounds like a message of comfort?
- To understand these two messages of warning and comfort, we need to look at the
rest of what was said to Ahaz in chapter 7. Remember that he had rejected God's
offer for a sign, and remember that he was inclined to put his trust in Assyria
rather than in God. Nonetheless, God had said the threat from Israel and Syria
would come to nothing and that in fact, both of those kingdoms would fall to the
Assyrians. However, God had an ominous message for Ahaz. Who would God bring
against Ahaz? (7:17-18). How is this ironic?
- Who rejoiced in Rezin and the son of Remaliah? Who was Rezin? Who was the son of
- Who would come against those people as a river? (8:7)
- That river would overflow and sweep into what place? (8:8)
- This land is described as whose land? (8:8)
- Nonetheless, these people of Judah (the land of Immanuel) could take heart (even
if the house of Ahaz could not). Why? (8:10)
Part 5 - The Messianic significance
- Isaiah 7:14 is quoted in Mt. 2:23. Quote Matthew's introduction (2:22) of the
- Was Mary a virgin in the sense of having never had sexual relations with a
man up until the birth of Jesus? (Lk. 1:34, Mt. 1:18-20, 24-25).
- Clearly, Isaiah 7:14 is a prophecy of the virgin birth of Jesus. But it also
referred to the birth of the child described in Isaiah 8, and presumably, that
child was not born of a virgin. Often, predictions in the Old Testament that
first refer to Old Testament shadows are realized in a more literal in Christ
than in the Old Testament shadow, and indeed, in a more literal way than might have been imagined. Shadows
arenít identical to the real thing. The reality may make
sharper, crisper, use of the language. J. W. McGarvey saw Mt.
1:23 as belonging to a category of fulfilled prophecy which he described as
follows: "When an event which has been described in language more elevated and
elaborate than it demands is followed by another similar event to which the said
language is more perfectly suited." Consider each of the following Old Testament
prophecies and describe how each one was realized in the Old Testament, and how
each one was more literally realized in Christ, or how the language of the
prophecy "more perfectly" suits the New Testament realization.
Was Jesus literally than Maher-shalal-hash-baz born of a "virgin"?
- Gen. 22:1 "your son, your only son"
- 2 Sam. 7:14 "the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men"
- Ps. 41:9 "who ate my bread"
- Ps. 41:9 "in whom I trusted"
- Ps. 22:16 "pierced my hands and my feet"
- Ps. 22:18 "for my clothing they cast lots"
What does Immanuel mean? What was the significance of Maher-shalal-hash-baz
being called Immanuel? Was Jesus more literally "Immanuel" than was
Of the three types of prophetic shadows outlined at the beginning of this
lesson, in which category does Isaiah 7:14 belong?