Today: [Isaiah 7] Isaiah: A Virgin Shall Conceive! In chapter 7 of Isaiah we find a primary Messianic prediction and one of the first mentions predicting the virgin birth of Christ. This foreknowledge given of the virgin birth is brought by Isaiah at a time when both the southern kingdom and the northern kingdom have forsaken their trust in God and called on their old enemies – the Syrians and the Assyrians to come and protect them from invaders. Syria and Assyria represent the secular and the spirit of Antichrist that John tells us is already working in the world. So beyond giving us ancient history of king Ahaz’ reign, Isaiah is speaking to us today about where do we put our trust and exposing the spirit of anti-Christ in our society that can easily influence the thinking of even the most devout believer.
[Isa 7:1-25 KJV] 1 And it came to pass in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, [that] Rezin the king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up toward Jerusalem to war against it, but could not prevail against it. 2 And it was told the house of David, saying, Syria is confederate with Ephraim. And his heart was moved, and the heart of his people, as the trees of the wood are moved with the wind. 3 Then said the LORD unto Isaiah, Go forth now to meet Ahaz, thou, and Shearjashub thy son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller’s field; 4 And say unto him, Take heed, and be quiet; fear not, neither be fainthearted for the two tails of these smoking firebrands, for the fierce anger of Rezin with Syria, and of the son of Remaliah. 5 Because Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah, have taken evil counsel against thee, saying, 6 Let us go up against Judah, and vex it, and let us make a breach therein for us, and set a king in the midst of it, [even] the son of Tabeal: 7 Thus saith the Lord GOD, It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass.
In chapter 7 of Isaiah we fast forward from the early days of Isaiah’s ministry to after the reign of Jotham to king Ahaz. Uzziah was the first king Isaiah served, a king who presumed on the priest’s office and was struck with leprosy. His son Jotham became regent until his father’s death and then ruled in his place. Ahaz ruled in Jotham’s place but while Jotham was a relatively good king, Ahaz did not follow in his footsteps. Ahaz was 20 years old when he began to reign and he ruled the southern kingdom for 16 years. During his reign Ahaz was so despised and so evil that when he died he was refused burial in the sepulchers of the kings of Judah. An insight into his reign is glimpsed when Ahaz’ son Hezekiah took to the throne he ordered that the doors of the temple be repaired and that the defiled images and pagan desecrations found inside be removed.
Now the inaugural events of Ahaz’ reign are mentioned above dealing with the northern kingdom of Israel. Pekah, king in Samaria feared invasion from the Assyrians and therefore makes a compact with their old enemies the Syrians to protect them from falling to the king of Assyria. Ahaz resists confederating himself with the northern kingdom and Syria and instead calls on the Assyrians themselves to join with him against the remnant of the 10 tribes of Israel in the north. The sin in this results from the fact that now Assyria is confederate with Judah they may attack and overthrow the northern kingdom which they proceed to do. Then as a result Judah becomes a vassal kingdom to Assyria and the sovereignty of the two kingdoms made up of the 12 tribes of Israel is overthrown in the north and compromised in the south. Rather than trusting in the Lord as their deliverer they looked to Syria and Assyria as their stay which Isaiah prophesied against strongly in this chapter.
For us Assyria is seen throughout scriptures as a type of the anti-Christ. Syria by comparison represents secularism. When God’s people fear secular encroachment of their privileges of worship they become tempted to put their trust beyond looking to God and wind up under the influence of the anti-Christ spirit that 1 John 4:3 tells us is already working in the world.
8 For the head of Syria [is] Damascus, and the head of Damascus [is] Rezin; and within threescore and five years shall Ephraim be broken, that it be not a people. 9 And the head of Ephraim [is] Samaria, and the head of Samaria [is] Remaliah’s son. If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established. 10 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. 12 But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the LORD. 13 And he said, 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 Immanuel. 15 Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good. 16 For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings. 17 The LORD shall bring upon thee, and upon thy people, and upon thy father’s house, days that have not come, from the day that Ephraim departed from Judah; [even] the king of Assyria. 18 And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] the LORD shall hiss for the fly that [is] in the uttermost part of the rivers of Egypt, and for the bee that [is] in the land of Assyria.
It is an important thing to realize that the antichrist who is a very specific person who will one day come upon the world scene – is also a spirit at work in the earth:
[1Jo 4:3 KJV] 3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that [spirit] of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
When you hear rulers or even everyday people say they believe Jesus was a good teacher, or a great prophet but nothing more that is the spirit of anti-Christ. When you hear people say that we are all serving the same God – all trying through different religions to reach the same reward in the after-life that is the spirit of anti-Christ. In the days of the early church Christians were arrested an executed not for being Christians but for refusing to acknowledge that it didn’t matter what one believed just so they were sincere. The charges against them was often atheism – because it wasn’t enough to be allowed to believe in the Hebrew God – it was required that they advocate, accept and tolerate the varied pagan beliefs of the people around them. For this multiplied 1000’s of believers were brutally and heartlessly put to death. In today’s world, we call this syncretism. It is the false wisdom that says to each his own in matters of religion for the sake of individual liberty and freedom. Even in our own nation this call to tolerance, not only publically but in matters of individual faith is becoming more and more costly. Christians have lost their businesses, their homes and livelihoods because they will not acknowledge or serve the interests of the LGBT community. They have been hauled into court and forced into “re-education programs” and “sensitivity training” till they forcibly acknowledge the lifestyle choices of those impinging upon their freedoms. This is unthinkable. This is the kind of thing that Communist China and the Soviet Union did under the euphemism “re-education” but in fact were gulags and concentration camps. The cost of our faith is getting higher and may yet get higher still.
19 And they shall come, and shall rest all of them in the desolate valleys, and in the holes of the rocks, and upon all thorns, and upon all bushes. 20 In the same day shall the Lord shave with a razor that is hired, [namely], by them beyond the river, by the king of Assyria, the head, and the hair of the feet: and it shall also consume the beard. 21 And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] a man shall nourish a young cow, and two sheep; 22 And it shall come to pass, for the abundance of milk [that] they shall give he shall eat butter: for butter and honey shall every one eat that is left in the land. 23 And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] every place shall be, where there were a thousand vines at a thousand silverlings, it shall [even] be for briers and thorns. 24 With arrows and with bows shall [men] come thither; because all the land shall become briers and thorns. 25 And [on] all hills that shall be digged with the mattock, there shall not come thither the fear of briers and thorns: but it shall be for the sending forth of oxen, and for the treading of lesser cattle.
When Isaiah warns Ahaz not to make a treaty with the Assyrians – Ahaz in feigned piety (for he was a reprobate who delighted to blaspheme the name of God) – in feigned piety declares that he would not tempted the Lord his God. This was a lie. He had installed statues of many pagan deities in the temple and compelled the people to worship them. Is this not what our children have been taught for decades in our public schools? Even in the military in basic training as a young man we underwent hours of training under the “I’m Ok, Your Ok” program that insisted to each his own, matters of religion and matters of morality were all relative to the tastes and choices of the individual and anything that contradicted this was arcane, backward and parochial and must be rejected. We were taught, and in fact compelled under threat of military justice to abandon our singular faith and accept the cosmopolitan, syncretic philosophies whose origin was in the public policies of ancient Rome that comprised the justification of the martyrdom of 10’s of 1000’s of Christians. It is breathtaking to consider and insidiously deceptive. Isn’t it good to be tolerant? Shouldn’t we all just accept one another? If we believe the scripture and the words of Isaiah the answer is obvious.
In the midst of all this turmoil and contention between Ahaz and Isaiah the prophet breaks out into a millennia spanning Messianic declaration. Speaking far beyond any local border conflict in an ancient kingdom suddenly in verse 14 Isaiah declares with a voice speaking hundreds of years into the future and even reaching down to us:
14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. 15 Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good. 16 For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings.
Isaiah is not just speaking of his own children for they are not virgin born. He is speaking of a son who shall be born – even Jesus the Christ. He will be a ruler under whose government syncretism, secularism and the anti-Christ spirit will be overthrown and completely thrown down. In days such as our when situation ethics and relativism grip our society to the point of cruel disenfranchisement of bible believing Christians – this gives us hope. God is ultimately in control. No matter what happens around us our trust is not in man, or some secular, or political savior – our trust is, (or at least should be) in the Lord.
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