by John F. Klem
Lights are a distinctive feature of the Christmas season. They come in all sizes and colors, and when creatively configured they capture our attention with a sense of awe. The names of the coming Davidic King in Isaiah 7—9 illuminate a context of prophetic judgment messages with rays of hope.
The book of Isaiah opens with declarations of judgment pronounced by the Holy One of Israel on His nation who has rebelled against Him (Isaiah 1—12). In the midst of these condemning statements, the Lord features the coming of a special Child. This Child’s introduction is framed as a sign to the fearful King Ahaz, who was facing the powerful Syro-Ephraimite coalition (Isaiah 7:14). The light of hope in this highly stressful historical situation is the Child’s name, Immanuel. The fretting king is reminded, “God is with us.” Unfortunately, the king refused to embrace the Word and promise of the Lord.
Isaiah 8 records the birth of a son to the prophet and his wife. Many think that Maher-shala-hash-baz is the son called Immanuel in chapter 7. However, there is not quite enough textual detail to affirm that connection without any doubt. Instead, the text keeps us looking forward for a greater person to come.
Isaiah 9 is another bright light of hope in this larger context of judgment. In fact, Isaiah writes that the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light (9:2). The light, the joy, the rejoicing are all related to the Child Who would be born (9:6). This coming Child would be called wonderful Counselor, mighty God, everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. He is a Davidic descendant Who fulfills the Davidic Covenant (2 Samuel 7). Without question, the New Testament affirms that this Child is the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:23).
These four names describe the savory character of Christ, His unique nature, and His amazing significance. He is the extraordinary one Who wisely plans and executes His plans in accordance with all His eternal purposes. He is the one distinguished with undefeatable strength. He is the Father Who is eternal. He is the sovereign of peace, securing peace for His kingdom and His people. All four references affirm that the coming Son is the eternal, divine second person of the triune God (Hebrews 1:1, 2).
I trust that the beautiful Christmas lights of this holiday season will be a reminder of a far better light brought to us by our wonderful Counselor, our mighty God, our everlasting Father, and our Prince of Peace.
John F. Klem is director of Regular Baptist Press.
Regular Baptist Press is committed to providing educational resources that point people of all ages to Christ not just at Christmas, but throughout the year. RBP offers a wide range of curriculum, VBS programs, Bible studies, books, and training seminars that are Biblically sound, cover the entirety of Scripture, and designed for spiritual growth.
- Read the entire series of Advent meditations.