Summary: King Ahaz and Judah were in serious trouble. Isaiah is sent to confirm God’s covenant with Judah with the message to “stand firm.” [7:4] God offered King Ahaz a sign which included four impossible things.
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Isaiah 7:14 – 17
“The sign for a desperate people”
Situation: King Ahaz and Judah were in serious trouble. They were at war with not prospect of even competing let alone winning [7:2]. Isaiah is sent to confirm God’s covenant with Judah with the message to “stand firm.” [7:4] God offered King Ahaz a sign.
I. For things that are impossible:
A. “A virgin.” [7:14]
1. The word is not the same one as “woman,” “girl,” or “bride” – probably a female of marriage age.
2. The language is emphatic. It refers to a specific individual.
3. The implication is that God would chose an individual at a specific time from the house of David.
B. “Will be with child and will give birth to a son.” [7:14]
1. Naturally this is physically impossible. There would need to be a male chromosome (which could only come from a male) to give birth to a son.
2. Mary wondered how this would be possible too: “‘How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’” [Luke 1:34]
3. The implication is that nothing is to hard for God (who BTW created the universe).
C. “Immanuel” [7:14]
1. The Hebrew literally says “the STRONG God with us.”
2. We have always been more comfortable with the “otherness” of God than His “sameness.”
a. With God being “other” we can think that God doesn’t understand or care.
b. With God sharing some of the “same” things as we do, it’s impossible to think that God does not understand or feel.
(Ill.) In the Screwtape letters. Uncle Woodworm, who is training his nephew in the ways of being a devil, states that God has an advantage in the spiritual battle. The reason is because Jesus knows first-hand what it means to be human. Thus, God can understand fully what humans go through in the course of life.
D. “He knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right.” [7:15]
1. Literally the text says “by His knowledge.” Later Isaiah would say this: “After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.” [Isaiah 53:11]
2. Reality check! Humans do not know enough to reject and chose. What we do know is tainted by sin. Naturally we are selfish creatures and reject and chose based on that basis.
***** There is a lot of impossible things happening in this prophecy. These things should point us to:
II. Reasons to believe this is Jesus!
A. Only Jesus was born of a virgin.
1. With science a woman can get pregnant without the male’s involvement but not without the male’s contribution.
2. Jesus birth happened long before anyone dreamed that would be possible. In other words, Jesus birth was supernatural. (Stray thought: the devil, knowing this was to be the case would probably have liked to do this, but unable to create life he wasn’t able... Thus, only one explanation for the virgin birth.)
B. Only Jesus was ever “God with us.”
1. Gabriel announced: “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David,  and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” [Luke 1:32 – 33]
2. Jesus claimed to be God! “I and the Father are one.” [John 10:30]
(Ill.) C. S. Lewis’ “lunatic, liar, or Lord” argument.
C. Only Jesus ever knew “to refuse the evil and choose the good.”
1. Jesus was the only one without sin. The Bible says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin.” [Hebrew 4:15]
2. Jesus refused evil/sin in every way. We, on the other hand, are “sinners” because we choose to sin, we are hard-wired to choose sin, we are “bent.” (C. S. Lewis’ image from the “Space Trilogy.”)
J.B. Phillips translated Romans 3:20 this way “...indeed it is the straight-edge of the Law that show us how cooked we are.”
***** This prophecy should show us...
III. Essential theological truths (necessary for salvation)
A. The “divinity” of Jesus.
1. Jesus is “GOD with us.”
2. This is not just a name. Isaiah was describing who Jesus is.
B. The “humanity” of Jesus.
1. This is evident in terms that are common to humanity, e.g. “Born” and “eat.”
2. Jesus developed in the womb, like everyone else. He needed to eat, like everyone else.
(Ill.) The disturbing trend to refer to Jesus as “half God and half man” is a terrible (if not dangerous) misrepresentation of Jesus.