103. THE FIRST FULFILMENT
OF PROPHECY IN
(Matt. 1:22, 23. Isa. 7:14).
- Prophecy is the word of Jehovah (2Pet. 1:21) and, as Jehovah
is He Who was, and is, and is to come, prophecy must partake of, and relate
to, the past, present, and future also; and must have this threefold interpretation
or application. The prophecy first quoted by the Holy Spirit in the
New Testament will show us how He uses the prophecy which He had Himself
inspired; and therefore will furnish us with the principles on which we
are to interpret other prophecies.
It will be seen that a prophecy may have (1) a reference to the time
and occasion on which it was first spoken; (2) a reference to a later event
or circumstances (when it is quoted as having been "spoken" or "written");
and (3) a reference to yet a later or future or final event, which exhausts
it (when it is quoted as being "fulfilled"; i.e. filled full).
Hence, instead of speaking "praeterists" and "futurists", we must sometimes
take a larger view and be prepared to see both a past,
and future interpretation.
- The subject of this first quoted prophecy (Isa. 7:14) is
Messiah, Christ the Lord; for "the testimony concerning Jesus is the spirit
of prophecy" (Rev. 19:10).
- Prophecy is always associated with man's failure, from Gen.
3 onward. There was no place for prophecy until man had failed; or
for prophets, until the priests became absorbed in their ritual, and ceased
to be God's spokesman, and the teachers of His word. Hence, God's
true prophets and teachers of His word have always been opposed to the
pretensions of priests.
- This prophecy was originally uttered when AHAZ king of Judah,
in a great crisis, had failed to ask the sign which Jehovah had proffered;
and which He Himself afterward gave to Ahaz. It therefore of necessity
had reference to the then present circumstances. There was evidently
a certain damsel, spoken of as "the" well known damsel (see the note on
"virgin", Isa. 7:14), in connection with whom this prophecy should find
a then speedy accomplishment. And it evidently did so, or it would
have been no "sign" to Ahaz, as nothing would have been signified by it.
But it is equally true that that did not exhaust it, for only a part
of the whole prophecy was then fulfilled.
The prophecy begins at Isa. 7:10 and runs on to Isa. 9:7. It is
clearly wrong, therefore, to take a part and put it for the
for it reaches on to future Millennial times, and is connected with the
glorious coming of Messiah.
The whole prophecy, therefore, is Messianic; and although the
first part had a partial and preliminary fulfillment at the time it was
spoken, it cannot be separated from the last part, which takes in the fact
that the "children" are used as symbolical "signs". For it ends by
declaring that they "are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the Lord
of hosts, which dwelleth in Mount Zion" (Isa. 8:18). The two parts
are connected and linked together by the use of the word "Immanuel" (7:14
and 8:8, 10 R.V. marg.)
1. -- THE PAST.
As to the past; it is clear from the prophecy that Ahaz, greatly
moved at the confederacy of Ephraim (put by Metonymy, Ap. 6, for
Israel) with Syria, was tempted to make a counter-confederacy with the
king of Assyria. A sign was given to him that he need not yield to
the temptation, for the danger would pass away. That "sign" must
have had a signification for Ahaz that would convince him of the truth
of the prophets' words. The sign was that a man child would be born
to some certain and well known maiden (for it is Ha-'Almah - "the
maiden"), which man-child would be called Immanuel;
and, before that child
would know how to distinguish between good and evil, the kings of Ephraim
and Syria would both be removed. No record of this birth is given;
but it must have taken place; as Jehovah gave the sign for that very purpose.
In chap. 8 another "sign" was given to Ahaz. Another child would
be born, this time to the prophetess. He too, would have a fore-determined
name -- Maher-shalal-hash-baz; and, before he should be able to
say "father" or "mother", both Syria and Ephraim should be spoiled by the
king of Assyria.
II. -- THE FUTURE.
In chap. 9:6 there is a third sign, and again it is a child. It
is a sign connected with the future; or rather one that connects
the first sign with this and with the future.
"Unto us a child is born,
Unto us a son is given."
This child is also forenamed, and the name is "Wonderful, Counsellor,
The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace". And
the prophecy closes by declaring that His kingdom shall have no end; and
shall be associated with the throne of David.
There were, altogether, four "children" who were set "for signs and
for wonders in Israel by the LORD of hosts" (8:18). Two were only
"signs", but two were "wonders", and they are given, and placed, in alternate
A | SHEAR-JASHUB, 7:3 (The son of the Prophet), a "sign".
Does not this point to the fact that the child of chap. 7:14 is to be
associated with the child of chap. 9:6? and, though it was a "sign" of
events then transpiring, those events did not and could not
it or the "wonders" to which it pointed.
B. | IMMANUEL, 7:14, a "wonder".
A. | MAHER-SHALAL-HASH-BAZ, 8:1-3 (The son of the Prophet),
B. | "WONDERFUL", &c. 9:6, 7, a "wonder".
The names also of these "children" are signs. The meaning of the
name Isaiah was itself a sign of that salvation of Jehovah of which
- SHEAR-JASHUR (7:3) meant the remnant shall return, i.e. repent,
and stay upon Jehovah, and wait for Him.
- IMMANUEL (7:14) told of the fact that salvation would come to Israel
only when God with us should be true as a blessed and glorious reality.
- MAHER-SHALAL-HASH-BAZ (8:1-3) tells of the Assyrian
to make a prey and spoil of the nation, and reveals the need of the
salvation of Jehovah. That too, was only partially fulfilled.
For there is another who is called "the Assyrian", and in Dan. 9:26 is
called "the prince that shall come" (cp. Isa. 14:25). He will hasten
to make a prey of the nation; but there is yet another -- Emmanuel,
the Prince of the Covenant-- Who will destroy him and bring in, for Israel,
final and eternal salvation. His name is called,
- "WONDERFUL" - "THE PRINCE OF PEACE".
III. -- THE PRESENT.
But what is happening now -- as a present application of this
great prophecy? What else is signified by these "signs"? Jehovah
has been hiding His face from the house of Jacob (8:17). What is
this "stone of stumbling"? What is this "rock of offence to both
the houses of Israel" which causeth the Lord to hide His face? Is
it not the rejection of Messiah as the Immanuel of Isa. 7:14? And
is He not the "Child born" of chap. 9:6, 7?
- In this first use of His own prophecy (Isa. 7:14) in Matt.
1:22, 23 the Holy Spirit takes the words out of their original combinations
to which their first utterance refers.
- The prophecy is then resolved into its elements, and by the same
Spirit Who gave it, the elements are re-combined in accordance with the
- He takes up the threads of the whole prophecy (Isa. 7:10; 9:7),
and shows that the original circumstances did not allow of the complete
fulfillment at the time the words were spoken and written; and finally,
- He connects the names and meanings with prophetic truth, and shows
that even these looked forward to times and scenes far beyond their original
use; so that even the IMMANUEL of 7:14 which was fulfilled in Matt.
1:22, 23 did not exhaust the IMMANUEL of Isa. 8:10, which is yet future
according to Luke 1:31, 33.
Home | About LW | Site Map | LW Publications | Search
Developed by ©
Levend Water All rights reserved