This prophecy is part of a unit starting from Isaiah 7:1 which continues through to 9:7. Some are able to recognise Messianic prophecy in view, whilst others see the immediate circumstances concerning deliverance from Assyrian invasion and state that this speaks of Hezekiah. The historical context and the promises of the coming Messiah need to be considered here.
The coming Messiah
In the opening statement the humanity and divinity of the coming Messiah is brought to our attention. Why the need to state that a Child is born, and a Son given? The Son was not born, but He was given since as God He was from everlasting yet as a Man, he was born.[i] This is the same Son mentioned in Isaiah 7:14 and although the context related to Syria, Israel and the Assyrian invasion of Judah, the Lord had given the greater sign of Immanuel who would be born of a virgin (c.f. Matthew 1:22-23; Luke 1:26-27).
In John 3:16 we hear more about the Son who was given. ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.’
This is the same Son prophesied in Psalm 2 regarding the Messiah’s triumph and kingdom, which is yet future. Also, in Proverbs 30:4, Agur asked a series of rhetorical questions about the omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence of God, before asking “What is His name, and what is His Son’s name, if you know?”
In the opening verses of Isaiah 9 we discover that although Galilee faced great darkness, they would see a great light which would shine upon them. Who was this great light? None other than Yeshua the Messiah who would reveal Himself as the light of the world (John 8:12). He would do so during the feast of Tabernacles when giant Menorah’s would be lit pointing towards the revelation of Messiah.
Matthew records that Jesus left Nazareth and came and dwelt in Capernaum, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali that it might fulfil that which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet.
“The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles:
16 The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light,
And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death
Light has dawned.” (Matthew 4:15-16; c.f. Isaiah 9:1-2)
The second coming of Messiah
But then the second part of Isaiah 9 verse 6 points towards His second coming.[ii] God came in human flesh and He would also rule. This ‘government’ is speaking of His Messianic kingdom which is still future. The names attributed ‘Wonderful Counsellor’, ‘Mighty God’, ‘Everlasting Father’ and ‘Prince of Peace’ are too far reaching to be designated of Hezekiah.
In Judges 13, Manoah met the Angel of the Lord, the Messiah in preincarnate form and he was amazed at having seen God and survived (Judges 13:22). When Manoah asked His name He replied, “Why do you ask My name, seeing it is wonderful (Judges 13:18 italics added)?”
Isaiah 40:13-15 asks several rhetorical questions regarding who has directed the Spirit of the Lord or been His counsellor, or taught Him justice, knowledge and understanding? The Lord Jesus taught as no one else ever taught and even at the age of twelve he was listening and asking questions in the synagogue at Passover and all were astonished at His understanding and answers (Matthew 4:41-50).
Though Hezekiah does mean ‘strength of God’ and at the time people would have hoped Hezekiah could help deliver them from the Assyrians, concerning the title ‘Mighty God’, this is again speaking of someone greater. In the next chapter in Isaiah 10:21 we read, ‘The remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the Mighty God.’ Does the Brit Hadasha (New Covenant) expressly state that Yeshua is God? Titus 2:13 provides that reassurance ‘looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ’ and equally Romans 9:5 ‘of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.’
Concerning translations, the oldest Jewish translation of Isaiah 9:6-7 (5-6), is the Septuagint which differs from the Aramaic rendering of the Targum.[iii]Whilst the Targum recognises these verses as constituting a Messianic prophecy, it designates all the title names to God and only the last two names to Messiah.[iv]Nonetheless in the whole Bible there is no similar precedent nor a viable explanation for this rendering.[v]
Did Hezekiah exist from all eternity? Micah 5:2 (1), foretold of the coming Ruler of Israel who would be born in Bethlehem whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting. This fits the Messianic interpretation of Yeshua being the Messiah, see Matthew 2:5-6. In the opening verse of John’s Gospel, John speaks of Yeshua’s eternal nature, ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1).’
Prince of Peace
Did the increase of Hezekiah’s government and peace have no end? Messiah is our peace (Ephesians 2:14), but what about the peace described in the texts which speak of a peaceful Messianic Kingdom such as Isaiah 2:1-4; 11:6-16; 65:17-25, Micah 4:1-5 and Hosea 2:16-23? The millennial reign is therefore still future since the conditions described in these verses do not match at all with the details and conditions described.
Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end
In Isaiah 9:7 Messiah’s increase of government and peace will know no end. We see a similar theme in Daniel 2 and Daniel 7. These two accounts are similar and concern the great successive empires. However Daniel 2 with the metallic statue represents man’s perspective and Daniel 7 with the beasts, depicts God’s perspective.
Daniel 2:44 reveals the Messiah’s kingdom which will never be uprooted unlike the other kingdoms.
‘And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall [n]break in pieces and [o]consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.’
Daniel 7:13-14 uncovers the Messiah’s kingdom ruled by the Son of Man and all people, nations and languages will serve Him and similarly His kingdom will not be destroyed.
“I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him. 14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.”
The New Covenant teaches the same in that all peoples will worship Messiah to the glory of God the Father.
‘Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:9-11).’
Upon the throne of David
The increase of government and peace would be upon the throne of David and is also mentioned in the Davidic covenant in 2 Samuel 7:1-17 and 1 Chronicles 17:1-15. With regard to Yeshua’s messianic credentials, in Matthew 1, the genealogy of Yeshua is listed starting from Abraham and in Matthew 1:6, David the King, through to Messiah in verse 16. Even in Matthew 1:1, mention is made of Jesus the Messiah as the Son of David and the Son of Abraham. Regarding His government, David spoke of the rule of Messiah in Psalm 110:1, “The Lord said to my lord, “Sit at my right hand till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” The Lord shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion. Rule in the midst of your enemies!” He will also judge among the nations (Psalm 110:6).
The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform this
Ultimately the Messianic Kingdom will be dependent upon God not upon Israel, and the Lord will fulfil His promises.[vi]The scope and fulfilment of this prophecy is predicated by God and demonstrates His sovereignty and providence. The Lord has preserved the Jewish people and we can be certain that the Messianic kingdom will come to pass at the Lord’s return due to the precise fulfilment of prophecy when Messiah came and dwelt (tabernacled) among us the first time. The reestablishment of Israel as a Nation State on May 14th, 1948 was a major sign in the prophetic calendar prior to the Lord’s return. Though many will try to oppose Israel, the Bible reassures us that the Messiah will return, rule and reign forever in Zion. Blessed are those who trust in Him.
[i] George Williams William’s Complete Bible Commentary (Kregel; 1994; Grand Rapids), p464
[ii] William MacDonald (Thomas Nelson, 1995; Nashville), p947
[iii] Michael Brown Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus Volume 3 (Baker Books, 2003; Grand Rapids), p32
[iv] Ibid, p32
[v] Ibid, p33
[vi] John F. Walvoord & Roy Zuck The Bible Knowledge Commentary Old Testament (Victor, 1985; USA), P1052