Summary: An examination of Isaiah 7:14 is an excellent tool to use in a seeker service to give validity to the power of prophecy regarding the revelation of Jesus Christ as the Messiah
¡§THE POWER OF PROPHECY¡¨
Dr. Larry L. Thompson (2002)
¡§Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.¡¨
Today we continue on with our series, ¡§CROSSPOINTS¡¨ We will look today at the ¡§PROPHECY IN THE PAGEANT!¡¨
Before we look at the fulfillment of this prophecy, let¡¦s look at the characters and circumstances related to this prophecy. What do we know about PROPHECY?
ƒæ What is a prophet? According to the uniform teaching of the Bible the prophet is a speaker of or for God. His words are not the production of his own spirit, but come from the Spirit of God. For he is at the same time, also, a seer, who sees things that do not lie in the domain of natural sight, or who hears things which human ears do not ordinarily receive; Example: 1 Samuel 9:9, where ¡§naw-be¡¨= speaker, and raw-ah "seer," are used as synonymous terms. Essentially, Isaiah saw what we can not see and hear what we can not hear in order to give King Ahaz a promise that could only be from God.
ƒæ What is prophecy intended to accomplish?
o Prophecy was intended to reveal a message from the true God.
o Prophecy was intended to encourage obedience.
o Prophecy was intended to encourage trust in God.
o Prophecy was intended to give hope.
It is very important that we remember these four criteria as we study today¡¦s message.
ƒæ How can we tell if the prophecy is of God or man? Read Deut. 18:21-22: ¡§You may say to yourselves, "How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the Lord?"  If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him.¡¨ How can we tell when people are speaking for the Lord? (1) We can see whether or not their prophecies come true¡Xthe ancient test for judging prophets. (2) We can check their words against the Bible. God never contradicts himself, so if someone says something contrary to the Bible, we can know that this is not God¡¦s word.
I. THE CHARACTERS AFFECTED
Looking at the story in Isaiah 7, we find that the political situation surrounding Jerusalem was becoming volatile. The nearby countries of Syria and Israel had formed an alliance and sought to conquer Jerusalem. So God sent the prophet Isaiah to speak to Ahaz. God¡¦s message: Don¡¦t be afraid. You will not be defeated. And then in rather uncharacteristic fashion, God says to Ahaz through Isaiah (v. 10), ¡§Ahaz, ask me for a sign.¡¨
ƒæ KING AHAZ:
The first person we need to look at in this situation is King Ahaz. Ahaz was called, ¡§a king that did evil in the sight of God!¡¨ Ahaz was the king of Judah. His father and grandfather were righteous men, but Ahaz had turned from God. We learn that Ahaz had desecrated the temple and had even sacrificed his own children. Ahaz had a big problem, the kingdoms of Israel and Aram were getting ready to attack, and as he viewed this war from a personal perspective, without the assistance of God, he was on the short end of the stick.
ƒæ PROPHET ISAIAH:
The second person we need to look at in this passage is Isaiah. Isaiah was "one enlightened prophet." Isaiah¡¦s life had been forever transformed by a personal encounter with the Lord. In God¡¦s presence, Isaiah had been overwhelmed by the unworthiness of his life when held up to the glory of God. God had set Isaiah free from his sin, and had given him a new mission in life. This task was...to be a prophet, God¡¦s mouthpiece, and to confront Ahaz.
II. THE CHALLENGE REJECTED (7:4-12)
ƒæ THE CHALLENGE FROM GOD TO KING AHAZ
¡§ Say to him, ’Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid. Do not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood--because of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and of the son of Remaliah.  Aram, Ephraim and Remaliah’s son have plotted your ruin, saying,  "Let us invade Judah; let us tear it apart and divide it among ourselves, and make the son of Tabeel king over it."  Yet this is what the Sovereign Lord says: ¡§It will not take place, it will not happen,  for the head of Aram is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is only Rezin. Within sixty-five years Ephraim will be too shattered to be a people.  The head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is only Remaliah’s son. If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.¡¨  Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz,  "Ask the Lord your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights."  But Ahaz said, "I will not ask; I will not put the Lord to the test.¡¨