There is an amazing prophecy in the book Isaiah of a child to be born 700 years after it was written.
It tells where this child will be born and that it will be a boy.
Nothing outstanding so far. 50/50 chance it would be a boy, anyway.
His parentage is more complicated. Also, it will be a miraculous birth such as never was before and never will be again.
It even tells us the Baby's name. That's pretty good but hardly unheard of. But in this instance we are told five of His names.
He will be born to common parents, but His birth will be unique.
It tells about His youth. (Pretty fair biography so far.)
His character, the kind of person He would be. (Now that is a little more complicated).
His life's work, what His earthly calling would be.
His degree of popularity. Now that's really going out on a limb, that's a complete intangible, but it is foretold correctly.
He would be arrested one day. That's not at all unusual.
He would be tried twice and found innocent and He would be executed. That is unusual.
He would remain silent at His trials. It's very unusual that an innocent person would remain silent in the face of false accusations.
The nature of His execution and His death are spelled out in detail. He would be buried and not cremated as was the custom with the bodies of criminals where He grew up. The body of a criminal was customarily thrown into the valley where the refuse was burned.
And finally, His eternal destiny is given in detail. That’s what you have in the book of Isaiah. Critics of the Bible don’t like the book of Isaiah. They have all kinds of theories, such as two or even four different authors wrote the book. They try all kinds of ways to explain this book but believers have no difficulty with it. God can foretell the future with complete accuracy.
God has something to say on telling the future in Isaiah 41:21-24. God here refers to the idols the Jews were worshipping. As proof that He alone is the One true God, He tells them that idols of wood, stone or metal can’t predict the future but that He can.
Let me quote this from the NIV. "Present your case," says the LORD. Set forth your arguments, says Jacob's King. Bring in your idols to tell us what is going to happen. Tell us what the former things were so that we may consider them and know their final outcome. Or declare to us the things to come, tell us what the future holds so we may know that you are gods. Do something, whether good or bad, so that we will be dismayed and filled with fear. But you are less than nothing and your works are utterly worthless; he who chooses you is detestable."
Let’s take a more detailed look at Isaiah's portrait of the coming Lord Jesus Christ. Much of it is fulfilled in the New Testament. Many times Isaiah calls Him "the Servant" or the "Servant of the Lord."
First of all is His eternal existence. It didn’t begin with a conception in Nazareth or even in a stable in Bethlehem. He goes back to eternity.
Isaiah 9:6. "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."
"Everlasting Father." Darby translates it "the Father of Eternity." He who died on a cross outside Jerusalem 2000 years ago is the One who originated eternity.
His birth was unique, a virgin birth. Isaiah 7:14. "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." The natural mind stumbles over this. How can a child be born of a virgin? Matthew quoted Isaiah 7:14 on this. Matthew 1:23. "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." Matthew explained that this Child would be God with man. Think of it, this predicted baby would be God with man right here on this earth!
Virgin birth is a problem to man but no problem if you bring God into the scene. There are virgin bees who lay fertile eggs that hatch into live bees. If God can create bees that can give birth as virgins, couldn't God cause a Jewish maiden to have a child without a human father?
Think about that newborn Baby laying in that manger in Bethlehem. Then think of the truth that Paul wrote in Colossians 2:9. "In Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead.”
Here was God, He had come down into this world to be born as a human baby. Can you visualize God in the form of a human baby laying on a bed of straw? I quote, I know not who, “Lo within a manger lie, He who built the starry sky."
It’s wonderful that He would leave heaven to do this for me. When we think of all this we really should worship Him more than we do.
Isaiah 53 gives a wonderfully detailed description of His life and death.
Isaiah 53:2. “He shall grow up as a tender plant and as a root out of a dry ground.” What an apt description. He lived the only perfect life ever lived on this earth. I wonder what it meant to Mary. She had other children, too. This One never sassed her. Perfect obedience. He never said an unkind word. Never hit His little sister or brother. Never came to the end of the day and regretted anything He had said or done, or wished He had done something more.
Coming "out of a dry ground" describes the spiritual condition of the nation Israel at the time of His birth. It seems very unlikely that Someone like Christ the Messiah would come from a nation that was a spiritual desert and at enmity with God. This "Tender Plant" appeared out of a dry spiritual environment. God has miraculous ways of working.
There was a skeptic once who said “It would take a Christ to invent a Christ.” He meant that no one could ever set down with pen and paper or a computer and write the biography of a perfect man. It can't be done apart from inspiration from God. Man would have to think perfectly and man can't do that. But God did it.
Before this One would take His official capacity in the world, He would have a fore-runner. Kings and emperors in those days had a fore-runner. He was and is a King, in fact, King of kings. During His Millennial Reign, many kings will rule including King David. Christ will be King of kings over all.
Isaiah spoke about this in Isaiah 40:3. "The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God."
Isaiah is calling for a roadway to be prepared for the Lord to lead the return of the Jewish captives from Babylon, but this also speaks of the future call by John the Baptist to prepare the hearts of the Children of Israel for the coming Messiah.
This was written about 200 years before the Babylonian captivity and almost another 100 years before the captives would return to Jerusalem. It would be about 700 years before John the Baptist would announce the coming of the Messiah in that same area.
They were to prepare the way by repenting, which means discontinuing their sinful practices, acknowledge their sinfulness, and show their readiness to receive the coming Messiah. Get rid of all obstructions to God in their hearts so He can come in. It's the same today.
700 years before His birth, Isaiah told the degree of Christ's popularity with His nation. Isaiah 53:3. "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not."
Isn't His rejection strange because we’ve had such a good report about Him so far in Isaiah? Wouldn't you expect Someone who is called "God with us" to be honored and adored? He’s called "Wonderful, Councilor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace." Such great names! Now He's called "despised, rejected, a Man of Sorrows, acquainted with grief, rejected of men."
Why should God, manifest in the flesh, meet this kind of rejection from those He created? Why should the Almighty God tolerate this kind of treatment? He was hated without a cause because He was so unlike the people He came to save. Yet, He loved them [and you and I] so much He was willing to die on the cross for our sins.
We live in a very small town of about 60 souls. Not everyone who lives here believes in Jesus. If Jesus came to our town today do you think He would be popular or would people just be afraid of Him? If He went to Israel today, do you think He would be respected and honored? Would He be welcome in San Francisco, our modern day Sodom?
In John 1 it says Jesus "was the true Light which coming into the world enlightens every man.” The Lord Jesus came into the world and brought light into darkness. It showed every one of us what we are. His perfection showed up our imperfection and that's why the world rejected Him. Those who live in sin don’t want someone who is sinless to rule them.
The natural man can’t stand to be examined in the Light of Christ. That's why the unsaved don’t want to talk about the Lord or hear about Him. They'll use every possible way to change the subject. He’s still despised and rejected by many. Those whose profession to believe in Him isn't real have actually rejected Him, no matter how religious they might seem to be.
His calling, or vocation, was to do the will of God. Isaiah 50:4-7. "The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned. 5: The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back. 6 : I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. 7: For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed."
Jesus got His instructions from God the Father. I think you could paraphrase God's words to Him like this: “There’s a world lost in sins and trespasses against Me and they need a Savior. They need a sacrifice of perfect sinless blood to redeem them, and You’re the only One in the universe who can accomplish that.” He was willing to listen to God and do whatever God asked of Him. Hebrews 10:7. "Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God." This is also written in Psalm 40:7-8.
This meant going to the cross and taking all the sins of the world for all history on Himself and bearing the wrath of God during those three hours of darkness on the cross.
Every morning the Lord must have listened to hear instructions from God the Father for the day. The Gospels tell us that when He was on earth He went out early in the morning to pray.
He walked in fellowship with God the Father and did only those things that God told Him to do. God hates sin and would never have told Him to sin. He said, “I can do nothing of myself" that is, nothing of His own self will. Self will is what brought sin into the world. Christ was not going to assert His self will, even when it meant going to the cross.
We should also yield ourselves to God every morning and ask what He would have us do that day. This is what His Son did. Turn our life over to God at the beginning of each day and no matter what happens, accept it as God’s will for that day. It cost Christ His life, but it resulted in salvation for us and God the Father glorified His Son for that act of obedience.
The Messiah was to be anointed and here is His actual anointing.
Isaiah 61:1-2a. "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the poor; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; 2: To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD....."
Here we see the Spirit of God anointing Him for the ministry God had set before Him and that included preaching the good tidings to the poor. All mankind are spiritually poor, actually bankrupt. We will remain spiritually bankrupt unless we personally accept these good tidings that Christ is our Savior.
Sin came into the world by Eve and that caused all this. Do you ever get upset about her? Sin and death are all around us and every day it seems that the world is getting worse. Don't be too hard on the girl. If you or I had been there we may well have sinned just like she did. Adam didn't seem to treat her harshly because I think he realized that under the same circumstances he may have given in to Satan, too.
Our only release as captives of sin comes from the Lord. When we trust Christ, we're freed from the prison of sin that we’re in where Satan controls us.
Isaiah 35:5-6 is a preview of the miracles He would perform. "Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. 6: Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert."
I know this scripture refers to the coming Millennial Reign but these things were also partially fulfilled when Christ came to earth. He also has power over death. Romans 1:4 says “Declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead.”
Verse 7 foretells that He would be silent before His accusers.
Isaiah 53:7. "He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth." How unusual for an innocent person to not protest His innocence.
Verse 8. "He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken." He was denied a fair trial, He was accused of crimes He never committed. He was never given time in prison to prepare his case. He was hurried away from justice so that He couldn’t have a fair trial. He had committed no crime. He was tried and found innocent and executed.
“For the transgressions of My people was He stricken.” He didn’t die for His Own sin, He died for yours and mine. He had none of His Own. He died for the sins of the very ones who put Him to death! He even died with the wicked, even though He was twice judged innocent.
Verse 9. "And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth." He had done no violence, He didn’t lie. His burial was with the rich, not in the valley of Hinnon where criminals' bodies were left to be burned or sometimes eaten by animals and birds.
His eternal destiny was to make a way for every man to be justified before God. This could only be through His sacrifice on the cross. Man is free to accept or refuse this justification.
Verse 10. "Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand." He would be resurrected.
Verses 11-12. "He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 12: Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." His "portion with the Great One," is to sit at the right hand of God.
Isaiah also had a few things to say about us, too. Isaiah 66:18. "For I know their works and their thoughts: it shall come, that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and see my glory."
We have a choice of how we will see that glory, in a redeemed state before Him at the Rapture of the believers, or in condemnation at the Great White Throne Judgment of God. It's our choice. Either way, we will witness His glory.
Isn't it something that it is foretold in detail how the Son of God would come to seek and save us when we were all lost in sin! Isaiah 53:6. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid upon Him the iniquity of us all.” This verse tells us that God has laid on Jesus the iniquity of us all.