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Isaiah 7:10-16 Virgin Will Conceive a Child

Posted by adventbiblestudy on November 22, 2016


Isaiah 7:10-16 Virgin Will Conceive a Child

Isaiah 7:10-16 NLTse Later, the LORD sent this message to King Ahaz: (11) “Ask the LORD your God for a sign of confirmation, Ahaz. Make it as difficult as you want–as high as heaven or as deep as the place of the dead.” (12) But the king refused. “No,” he said, “I will not test the LORD like that.” (13) Then Isaiah said, “Listen well, you royal family of David! Isn’t it enough to exhaust human patience? Must you exhaust the patience of my God as well? (14) All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’). (15) By the time this child is old enough to choose what is right and reject what is wrong, he will be eating yogurt and honey. (16) For before the child is that old, the lands of the two kings you fear so much will both be deserted.

Once again we have a familiar prophecy to study. This prophecy is quoted by Matthew and referenced by Luke. Since Matthew quoted the scripture, we will limit our study to Matthew’s Gospel. When we look at the actual prophecy we notice God asked Ahaz, Judah’s king to give Him a test. It’s unusual for God to ask for a test, so this must be a special matter. Once we examine the prophecy we see a number of unusual circumstances. Looking back a few verses we see why God offered a sign. God promised to save Ahaz from the invading armies from Israel and Syria. Through Isaiah the prophet, God told Ahaz it would never happen. Ahaz refused to ask for a sign so God decided which sign to give him. All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).

You may be asking yourself why God choose this sign. This obviously points to Jesus who was born generations after Ahaz died. So Ahaz never saw the sign, but God still saved his kingdom. Why would God give Ahaz a sign that wasn’t going to be fulfilled for hundreds of years? In the first place Ahaz said he didn’t need or want a sign. In this case God granted his request and revealed the sign generations later. This leaves one explanation. The fulfillment of the sign God gave Ahaz has spiritual implications that are related to Ahaz’s experience.

It’s becoming obvious we have to begin taking a closer look at symbols used in Isaiah’s prophecies. After all a large portion of Isaiah’s prophecies contain symbols. The next step is of course to compare the fulfillment to the prophecy.

Matthew 1:20-25 NLTse As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. (21) And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (22) All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet: (23) “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.'” (24) When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. (25) But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.

Comparing the prophecy to the fulfillment the first detail we see is the prophecy was delivered by Isaiah a prophet. News of the fulfillment was delivered by an angel. Angels played a large part in this phase of the plan of salvation. An angel personally talked to Mary, Joseph, and Zechariah, John the Baptist’s father. Angels also announced Jesus’ birth. Jesus’ circumcision was also attended by the prophet Simeon and the prophetess Anna. This marked a new phase in the plan of salvation as well as the spiritual battle being fought. There doesn’t appear to be a lot of details to look at. Maybe that’s why Isaiah told Ahaz, “Isn’t it enough to exhaust human patience? Must you exhaust the patience of my God as well?” People look at prophecies will little patience. By doing so they not only test but eventually exhaust God’s patience. Before we get into interpreting symbols, we should compare the introductions and summations. It’s important to know the context before searching for a symbol’s meaning.

Isaiah 7:1-9 NLTse When Ahaz, son of Jotham and grandson of Uzziah, was king of Judah, King Rezin of Syria and Pekah son of Remaliah, the king of Israel, set out to attack Jerusalem. However, they were unable to carry out their plan. (2) The news had come to the royal court of Judah: “Syria is allied with Israel against us!” So the hearts of the king and his people trembled with fear, like trees shaking in a storm. (3) Then the LORD said to Isaiah, “Take your son Shear-jashub and go out to meet King Ahaz. You will find him at the end of the aqueduct that feeds water into the upper pool, near the road leading to the field where cloth is washed. (4) Tell him to stop worrying. Tell him he doesn’t need to fear the fierce anger of those two burned-out embers, King Rezin of Syria and Pekah son of Remaliah. (5) Yes, the kings of Syria and Israel are plotting against him, saying, (6) ‘We will attack Judah and capture it for ourselves. Then we will install the son of Tabeel as Judah’s king.’ (7) But this is what the Sovereign LORD says: “This invasion will never happen; it will never take place; (8) for Syria is no stronger than its capital, Damascus, and Damascus is no stronger than its king, Rezin. As for Israel, within sixty-five years it will be crushed and completely destroyed. (9) Israel is no stronger than its capital, Samaria, and Samaria is no stronger than its king, Pekah son of Remaliah. Unless your faith is firm, I cannot make you stand firm.”

Matthew 2:1-4 NLTse Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, (2) “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” (3) King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. (4) He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?”

Studying Proverbs showed how important it is to understand the culture. As seen in Proverbs, the meaning of a shoreline for fishermen was the same as a crossroad for most people. Since our culture is much different than that of Judah, Israel, and Syria, we have to look to the Bible to find out what God wanted us to know about the culture. The first obvious question should be, why is Israel attacking Judah?

Israel was the name give to Jacob after he wrestled with God. At this particular time in history, Israel was the name of the ten northern tribes. Judah was the name of the two tribes left to David’s line. The split up came after Solomon. So now the LORD said to him, “Since you have not kept my covenant and have disobeyed my decrees, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your servants. But for the sake of your father, David, I will not do this while you are still alive. I will take the kingdom away from your son. And even so, I will not take away the entire kingdom; I will let him be king of one tribe, for the sake of my servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, my chosen city.” (1 Kings 11:11-13 NLTse).

God gave Solomon more than all the wisdom in this world, but Solomon never learned how to use it. He married all kinds of different women thinking some of them would bring safety to his kingdom by forming alliances. By doing that, Solomon took his eyes off God, his real security. How could the wisest man in the world make such a mistake? Come on now, we all do it. Things start going well and we place God on the shelf. We think God is more like a genie we can call up when we’re in trouble then put back in the bottle until a problem comes up. We need to understand Solomon’s mistakes before we can understand Isaiah’s prophecies.

Rehoboam was the best Solomon could come up with to succeed him as king. Of course God already told Solomon the kingdom would be split because of the mistakes Solomon made. There was a chance God would have recognized an honest effort on Rehoboam’s part to bring the kingdom back to God. But when Jeroboam confronted Rehoboam about high taxes, Rehoboam consulted with the elders who of course counseled him to listen to Jeroboam. But Rehoboam didn’t like the answer so he went to the kids he grew up with for advise. Their counsel turned out to be the wrong thing to do. Rehoboam told Jeroboam he was going to put heavier burdens on the people so ten kingdoms decided to recede.

We have to look at what caused this predicament. Solomon married a lot of women who served idols. Think of that for a moment. How does one serve idols made of wood and stone, or silver and gold? Do the statues ask for things? Do stone images ask for food? Do wood carvings ask for ointment? Do silver trinkets demand a warmer room? Do gold idols demand sacrifices? No! They can’t talk. Idols don’t have the ability to write commands, demand traditions, or initiate doctrines. Where do those come from? They come from man’s imagination. Think of it. Any and every man made tradition, doctrine, and sacrifice is a form of idol worship.

Seldom is enough consideration given to the effects of Solomon’s marriages. He married a thousand women who raised thousands of sons and daughters. The idol worship Joshua tried to vanquish found its way back in through Israel’s king. Idol worship spread like a cancer. No one could see the damage until it was too late. Rehoboam was a symbol of what was happening but not a detailed explanation of how far the problem reached.

Jeroboam didn’t do much better with the ten kingdoms he led. He didn’t want to loose people to Judah by going back to the temple in Jerusalem. So Jeroboam build a couple of idols of his own, a few temples, and invented his own religion. Who knows why he choose golden calves like the one Aaron molded after leaving Egypt. Another thing happened. The Levites of course protested. Jeroboam didn’t do much better than Rehoboam when it came to taking advice. Jeroboam took his own advise and began putting down the priests protests any way he could. So in addition to the two tribes in Judah a large number of Levites fled to Jerusalem. This had a number of effects. The cities of refuge where the priests lived were set aside by God as safety zones people could flee to if the accidentally killed someone. Before the break up these should have been some of the safest cites and closest to God. There’s not a lot written about those cities but they may be an interesting study.

Once the Levites left, Jeroboam assigned his own priests, who served in his own temple, and followed the order of worship he invented. It was nothing like the temple or worship in Jerusalem. The temple Solomon built had little in common with the humble Tabernacle Moses built in the wilderness. The Tabernacle still existed, but David took out the ark and moved in to Jerusalem. That is after a failed attempt. God wanted to give David some time to consider his actions. But David was insistent, and eventually God let him move the ark without the Tabernacle. If David would have looked, he would have found a specific order Moses recorded describing how every piece was to be prepared for any move.

David adopted a new form of religion. He looked at the laws Moses recorded as one set for the wilderness and another set of rules for his kingdom. David crossed a dangerous path and was facing the fieriest enemy any would ever face. It was the beginning of Jerusalem’s downfall. Most Christians already heard one account or another about one mistake David made, but I’ve never heard anyone who went back, looked at the actual scripture, and saw how many mistakes David made by separating the ark from the Tabernacle. You can look at those details yourself.

There is a strong spiritual relationship between Israel under Jeroboam and that beast in Revelation 13. Both initiated their own form of service. It’s not by accident Jeroboam left Israel for a time and went to Egypt. Then returned to be Israel’s first king when they split from Rehoboam’s kingdom. He took a lot of out Egypt with him. That’s the easy part to see. But there are spiritual implications that can be seen throughout Israel’s and Judah’s history. As well as mistakes we still see today. Those implications are revealed throughout the Bible all the way through Revelation.

With all those priests who opposed idolatry converging on Jerusalem, you would think the city took a turn for the better. But it seems it had no positive effect. On the other hand Jeroboam had to come up with a new worship system. He initiated his own religion going as far as setting up a new day of worship named after himself. The ten kingdoms in Israel were on a fast downward spiral while Judah was skidding down a slower path. Both were pulling away from God. The message God provided by splitting the kingdom fell on deaf ears.

Jeroboam also needed money to run his kingdom. When he split from Rehoboam, Jeroboam left all the money in Jerusalem. But Rehoboam didn’t grow up with a good example to follow in financial matters. Solomon spend money like water. He numbered and enslaved people to build his kingdom. The main emphasis in the Bible is on Solomon’s temple and palace, but look a little deeper. Solomon built thousands of homes for the one thousand women mentioned in the Bible. Now King Solomon loved many foreign women. Besides Pharaoh’s daughter, he married women from Moab, Ammon, Edom, Sidon, and from among the Hittites. The LORD had clearly instructed the people of Israel, ‘You must not marry them, because they will turn your hearts to their gods.’ Yet Solomon insisted on loving them anyway. He had 700 wives of royal birth and 300 concubines. And in fact, they did turn his heart away from the LORD. (1 Kings 11:1-3 NLTse). He also built countless homes for his kids. We also know Jeroboam built temples, palaces, homes, and cities. That takes money and labor. Jeroboam used the same methods to raise money and labor Solomon and Rehoboam used. The king who lead Israel to a promised freedom gave them the same old oppression under new management.

Judah declared war on Israel in an attempt to reunite the kingdom. This of course increased taxes as well as caused a lot of new problems and grief, but God sent a prophet to Rehoboam. “Say to Rehoboam son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all the people of Judah and Benjamin, and to the rest of the people, ‘This is what the LORD says: Do not fight against your relatives, the Israelites. Go back home, for what has happened is my doing!'” So they obeyed the message of the LORD and went home, as the LORD had commanded. (1 Kings 12:23-24 NLTse). That stopped the war for a while, but God finally let them do what they wanted to do, fight against one another. The war waged on past Ahaz’s reign.

There is one more lesson we see in this study we’ve seen in the previous Bible Study in Isaiah. Instead of looking back and using the introduction in the same chapter, we had to look forward to the next chapter. There may be a number of reasons for this. One is based on the fact Matthew’s introduction in his book recorded Jesus’ birth line. Since the last study in Isaiah showed how we need to look forward, we once again follow that step and compare the introduction for Matthew chapter 2 to Isaiah 7. Looking at them it seems difficult to see the connection. I had to pray about these details for a few days before I finally understood the answer. I don’t like using any book for Bible Study other than the Bible because I see people taking advantage and abusing the use of other books. I also noticed a lot of preachers and teachers fail to provide information on the references they use. I wonder what they are hiding. In this case we need to look at a reliable source to provide some information on history to find out the relationship between Israel, Syria, and Herod. I thought it may have something to do with Herod and where he came from. But as in most cases, when you go with what you think, prepare to be wrong. Here is a bit out of Encyclopedia Britannica and a link to read the rest of the story.

Octavian, who had met Herod in Rome, knew that he was the one man to rule Palestine as Rome wanted it ruled and confirmed him king. He also restored to Herod the land Cleopatra had taken. Herod became the close friend of Augustus’ great minister Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, after whom one of his grandsons and one of his great-grandsons were named. Both the emperor and the minister paid him state visits, and Herod twice again visited Italy. Augustus gave him the oversight of the Cyprus copper mines, with a half share in the profits. He twice increased Herod’s territory, in the years 22 and 2 bc, so that it came to include not only Palestine but parts of what are now the kingdom of Jordan to the east of the river and southern Lebanon and Syria. He had intended to bestow the Nabataean kingdom on Herod as well, but, by the time that throne fell vacant, Herod’s mental and physical deterioration made it impossible. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/263437/Herod

In the prophecy Jerusalem was threatened by Israel and Syria. In the fulfillment Jesus was threatened by Herod the puppet king of both Israel and Syria. After Jesus’ resurrection His disciples and followers were threatened by Rome, the emperor of Israel and Syria. With a little lesson on history we can clearly see the spiritual connection in the introductions. We also find Syria mentioned in the gospels. At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) (Luke 2:1-2 NLTse).

If you search the Internet on articles on Quirinius and the census you’ll find all kinds of conflicting information. After reading a few articles you’ll agree that interpreting prophecies is a lot easier than trying to read and determine which account of history is correct. Don’t forget most of the records were destroyed when one kingdom conquered another. That’s when a lot of history was rewritten from another point of view. So we should never rely on history books and historians as a reliable source. As a matter of fact, this is why I know not to trust any preacher or teacher who does not provide the source of their information. If you search historical records you’ll find conflicting accounts recorded by the same author. Many times history was recorded like news which is supposed to be an unbiased account of an event. That’s why its best to let historians, teachers, and preachers battle over the little details and not get distracted from the more important spiritual details in the lesson.

As a matter of fact, a great deal can be learned about Syria by studying it in the gospels. I took a quick look at Syria in the New Testament and the sequence of texts spells out an important spiritual lesson. I’ll leave that study up to you. All Luke is doing is balancing the gospels with the Old Testament prophecy. The introduction and summation of Isaiah 7 records two powers at work against Jerusalem. Luke points out the fact there are two powers or symbols at work against Jesus at the time, Herod and Rome. Its much more important to concentrate on the meaning of those symbols and how they relate to the lesson than it is to argue individual dates and names. This is why Isaiah told us: Syria is no stronger than its capital, Damascus, and Damascus is no stronger than its king, Rezin. Israel is no stronger than its capital, Samaria, and Samaria is no stronger than its king, Pekah son of Remaliah. We see more spiritual connections in the summations.

Isaiah 7:17-25 NLTse “Then the LORD will bring things on you, your nation, and your family unlike anything since Israel broke away from Judah. He will bring the king of Assyria upon you!” (18) In that day the LORD will whistle for the army of southern Egypt and for the army of Assyria. They will swarm around you like flies and bees. (19) They will come in vast hordes and settle in the fertile areas and also in the desolate valleys, caves, and thorny places. (20) In that day the Lord will hire a “razor” from beyond the Euphrates River–the king of Assyria–and use it to shave off everything: your land, your crops, and your people. (21) In that day a farmer will be fortunate to have a cow and two sheep or goats left. (22) Nevertheless, there will be enough milk for everyone because so few people will be left in the land. They will eat their fill of yogurt and honey. (23) In that day the lush vineyards, now worth 1,000 pieces of silver, will become patches of briers and thorns. (24) The entire land will become a vast expanse of briers and thorns, a hunting ground overrun by wildlife. (25) No one will go to the fertile hillsides where the gardens once grew, for briers and thorns will cover them. Cattle, sheep, and goats will graze there.

Matthew 2:14-23 NLTse That night Joseph left for Egypt with the child and Mary, his mother, (15) and they stayed there until Herod’s death. This fulfilled what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: “I called my Son out of Egypt.” (16) Herod was furious when he realized that the wise men had outwitted him. He sent soldiers to kill all the boys in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under, based on the wise men’s report of the star’s first appearance. (17) Herod’s brutal action fulfilled what God had spoken through the prophet Jeremiah: (18) “A cry was heard in Ramah– weeping and great mourning. Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted, for they are dead.” (19) When Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt. (20) “Get up!” the angel said. “Take the child and his mother back to the land of Israel, because those who were trying to kill the child are dead.” (21) So Joseph got up and returned to the land of Israel with Jesus and his mother. (22) But when he learned that the new ruler of Judea was Herod’s son Archelaus, he was afraid to go there. Then, after being warned in a dream, he left for the region of Galilee. (23) So the family went and lived in a town called Nazareth. This fulfilled what the prophets had said: “He will be called a Nazarene.”

The summations introduce a few new symbols. We know they are symbols because we see Egypt in both chapters. It’s time we looked at some of those symbols in detail. The first to look at would be Egypt. It would make sense to first interpret the symbol repeated between the Old and New Testament. Don’t forget the simple rule, when God repeats Himself, pay attention.

The most obvious place to look at what Egypt represents is at the beginning. And whenever interpreting symbols always remember, the fulfillment is always much greater than the symbol. Egypt is actually explained in a prophecy given to Abraham.

Genesis 15:5-21 NLTse Then the LORD took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!” (6) And Abram believed the LORD, and the LORD counted him as righteous because of his faith. (7) Then the LORD told him, “I am the LORD who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land as your possession.” (8) But Abram replied, “O Sovereign LORD, how can I be sure that I will actually possess it?” (9) The LORD told him, “Bring me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” (10) So Abram presented all these to him and killed them. Then he cut each animal down the middle and laid the halves side by side; he did not, however, cut the birds in half. (11) Some vultures swooped down to eat the carcasses, but Abram chased them away. (12) As the sun was going down, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a terrifying darkness came down over him. (13) Then the LORD said to Abram, “You can be sure that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign land, where they will be oppressed as slaves for 400 years. (14) But I will punish the nation that enslaves them, and in the end they will come away with great wealth. (15) (As for you, you will die in peace and be buried at a ripe old age.) (16) After four generations your descendants will return here to this land, for the sins of the Amorites do not yet warrant their destruction.” (17) After the sun went down and darkness fell, Abram saw a smoking firepot and a flaming torch pass between the halves of the carcasses. (18) So the LORD made a covenant with Abram that day and said, “I have given this land to your descendants, all the way from the border of Egypt to the great Euphrates River– (19) the land now occupied by the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, (20) Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, (21) Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and Jebusites.”

You’ll notice Egypt was not mentioned in this prophecy given to Abram, but is named in the recorded Biblical fulfillment of that prophecy. Additional proof we need to study prophecies with their fulfillment to grasp the proper understanding as well as the spiritual lessons. The people of Israel lived in Egypt for 430 years. In fact, it was on the last day of the 430th year that all the LORD’s forces left the land. On this night the LORD kept his promise to bring his people out of the land of Egypt. So this night belongs to him, and it must be commemorated every year by all the Israelites, from generation to generation. (Exodus 12:40-42 NLTse). No one is sure why the prophecy says 400 years and the fulfillment indicates 430 years to the day. This is a mystery of God’s timing you’ll have to study more on. Instead of arguing dates, we’re here to look at some symbols.

No one is sure why God told Abram; “Bring me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” Instead of trying to decipher each animal it is much easier to first look at the whole story for a meaning. That is a general rule of context and an important study method. Look at the whole story then figure out the relationship between details. What linked them together? Some people look at this prophecy as if God gave Abram animals with zippers so they’d be easy to divide. Well if you look at the prophecy, Abram brought God the animals and killed them. Abram didn’t have a huge butcher band saw. If anything he had a knife and maybe an ax. Abram had to divide the entire animal, organs, bones, skull, and all. This was a gruesome task leaving Abram splattered with blood from head to toe. No wonder he laid down and fell asleep. Abram was exhausted after dividing a cow, goat, and ram.

Now here is where is gets sticky. There are two main verses to Abram’s dream we need to compare and examine for details. As the sun was going down, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a terrifying darkness came down over him. After the sun went down and darkness fell, Abram saw a smoking firepot and a flaming torch pass between the halves of the carcasses.

The first symbol to consider describes a terrifying darkness that came down over Abram. The second details are a smoking firepot and a flaming torch. Most people concentrate on only one, the firepot also translated furnace. Some people like to interpret the firepot or furnace as God based on a few texts such as: All of Mount Sinai was covered with smoke because the LORD had descended on it in the form of fire. The smoke billowed into the sky like smoke from a brick kiln, and the whole mountain shook violently. (Exodus 19:18 NLTse). Other people prefer this text to say the furnace represents Egypt. Remember that the LORD rescued you from the iron-smelting furnace of Egypt in order to make you his very own people and his special possession, which is what you are today. (Deuteronomy 4:20 NLTse). The fact of the matter is, this shows how all the details need to be examined as well as the context. Don’t forget, there were two items passing between the divided animals, a smoking furnace and a flaming torch. They may both be right, but are ignoring important rules of Bible Study.

Let’s take a brief look at the animals. There is a cow followed by a goat then a ram and two birds that are not divided. The value and power of each animal diminishes. People may argue about the value and power of a goat and ram but we can refer to Daniel chapter 8 for an explanation. The goat charged furiously at the ram and struck him, breaking off both his horns. Now the ram was helpless, and the goat knocked him down and trampled him. No one could rescue the ram from the goat’s power. (Daniel 8:7 NLTse). There are other prophecies dealing with decreasing value and power we can compare with the prophecy Abram received. At this point those would distract from the study at hand, identifying some of the spiritual symbols Egypt represents. You can take the time to look at those other prophecies and compare them to Abraham’s promise.

Egypt has quite a history in the Bible. Abram was sent to Egypt during a drought. Isaac also went to Egypt as well as Jacob and his family. Abram’s first born son Ismael came from an Egyptian slave. Egypt enslaved Israel for more than 400 years. Egypt suffered a number of plagues in Exodus as well as having their army wiped out in the Red Sea. Shortly after Israel was divided Egypt came and took all the gold and treasures they lost in the Exodus out of Jerusalem and more. So King Shishak of Egypt came up and attacked Jerusalem. He ransacked the treasuries of the LORD’s Temple and the royal palace; he stole everything, including all the gold shields Solomon had made. (2 Chronicles 12:9 NLTse).

Solomon’s first wife was an Egyptian princess. Solomon made an alliance with Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, and married one of his daughters. He brought her to live in the City of David until he could finish building his palace and the Temple of the LORD and the wall around the city. (1 Kings 3:1 NLTse). We also see Solomon invested in horses and chariots from Egypt instead of trusting in God. Jeroboam fled to Egypt when Solomon was king and returned to face his son Rehoboam. Among other details not mentioned in this short study, Egypt also captured Jerusalem and appointed a new king. The king of Egypt then installed Eliakim, the brother of Jehoahaz, as the next king of Judah and Jerusalem, and he changed Eliakim’s name to Jehoiakim. Then Neco took Jehoahaz to Egypt as a prisoner. (2 Chronicles 36:4 NLTse). Each of these has a spiritual significance at a specific time within a particular context. The main point is to provide the meaning to a symbol, you need to study and compare chapters to make sure the interpretation is proper and don’t ever forget to pray.

Another important point to remember is God’s time line and how He uses it to teach spiritual lessons. Take for instance the animals Abram divided. Think of those animals as a reference point along a time line. At each point the furnace and torch would have a different effect and meaning. We can see Egypt was sometimes a threat, other times an oppression, and at times a sanctuary. To Joseph, Egypt was all three. We have to determine context to see which one applies to an individual situation. We cannot take one interpretation and apply it to every event and text. Each of those symbols used in Isaiah chapter 7 as well as the entire book of Isaiah and the other prophets have more than one meaning. This is why it’s so important to learn context before you even decide to look at any of the symbols and try to determine what they mean. You have to also learn what they mean and when they mean it. You have to understand God’s timing before your qualified to interpret God’s scripture. The previous book in the series explains God’s timing and the time line He uses in some detail. Studies on Psalms contains a number of examples to learn from. Here we still need to review some of the similarities and differences in the summations for Isaiah 7 and Mark 2.

Isaiah introduced another interesting symbol, Assyria. Don’t confuse Assyria with Syria. They are different kingdoms and have a different spiritual significance. Here we’ll only cover one aspect of Assyria, but remember it requires a detailed study of scripture, timing, and context to determine to correct meaning.

I think (this will almost always get you in trouble) one of the most significant aspects about Assyria is the role they played in the over throw of Samaria. Don’t forget Samaria was the capital of Israel. Most people think of 2Kings chapter 18 when Assyria surrounded Jerusalem and king Hezekiah prayed to God about the situation. That night the angel of the LORD went out to the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. When the surviving Assyrians woke up the next morning, they found corpses everywhere. (2 Kings 19:35 NLTse). We learn a lot more about how and why Assyria got to Jerusalem if we look back a few chapters. King Ahaz sent messengers to King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria with this message: “I am your servant and your vassal. Come up and rescue me from the attacking armies of Aram and Israel.” Then Ahaz took the silver and gold from the Temple of the LORD and the palace treasury and sent it as a payment to the Assyrian king. So the king of Assyria attacked the Aramean capital of Damascus and led its population away as captives, resettling them in Kir. He also killed King Rezin. King Ahaz then went to Damascus to meet with King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria. While he was there, he took special note of the altar. Then he sent a model of the altar to Uriah the priest, along with its design in full detail. Uriah followed the king’s instructions and built an altar just like it, and it was ready before the king returned from Damascus. When the king returned, he inspected the altar and made offerings on it. He presented a burnt offering and a grain offering, he poured out a liquid offering, and he sprinkled the blood of peace offerings on the altar. Then King Ahaz removed the old bronze altar from its place in front of the LORD’s Temple, between the entrance and the new altar, and placed it on the north side of the new altar. He told Uriah the priest, “Use the new altar for the morning sacrifices of burnt offering, the evening grain offering, the king’s burnt offering and grain offering, and the burnt offerings of all the people, as well as their grain offerings and liquid offerings. Sprinkle the blood from all the burnt offerings and sacrifices on the new altar. The bronze altar will be for my personal use only.” Uriah the priest did just as King Ahaz commanded him. (2 Kings 16:7-16 NLTse).

We see a familiar name, Ahaz. It seems Ahaz funded the Assyrian army and persuaded them to attack Damascus. See the evil web they weaved? No wonder Syria and Israel joined forces. They had no choice since Judah joined forces with Assyria. We also see another important detail. Ahaz decided to copy a pagan alter in Damascus and have one just like it built to replace the alter in the temple at Jerusalem. Keep in mind Solomon didn’t use the alter from the Tabernacle but had a larger one built. Now that one is replaced by a pagan alter. Looking at the particular prophecy we’re studying here, God gave Ahaz an important sign and promised to save his kingdom.

Ahaz took the gold and silver form the temple and palace to pay Assyria who didn’t stop at Damascus. Then the king of Assyria invaded the entire land, and for three years he besieged the city of Samaria. Finally, in the ninth year of King Hoshea’s reign, Samaria fell, and the people of Israel were exiled to Assyria. They were settled in colonies in Halah, along the banks of the Habor River in Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes. (2 Kings 17:5-6 NLTse). Judah financed the over throw of Samaria, Israel’s capital. So we can see Hezekiah’s dad financed the army sitting outside his gates. Assyria quickly turned from an ally to a threat. So which would you use when trying to decide which interpretation fits the symbol in particular texts? Interpreting symbols is not as easy as some people claim it is.

In his summation Isaiah also repeated the symbols yogurt and honey while adding the related symbol milk. We also see Jesus will be eating yogurt and honey. What else did Jesus eat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and a honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them. And he said unto them, These are the words which I spoke unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, (Luke 24:42-45 KJ2000). Scripture associates honey with opening up the mind and learning about all the scriptures pointing to Jesus. All of the examples here show how important it is to pay attention to the little details. You can’t take the interpretation of a symbol and broaden it out to suit some preconceived idea. The texts clearly show Jesus opened their minds and showed them scripture about Himself. All of those symbols related to honey and milk point to Jesus and the plan of salvation.

Isaiah also repeated briers and thorns three times. When we compare those details to Matthew chapter 2 we can see how Jesus, the promised Messiah has opposing forces all around Him. Not only are those forces trying to kill Jesus, Isaiah helps us see the fact other people are under attack. Some people will see little value in Jesus while others will be fed at a time of spiritual famine. Forces represented by Egypt and Assyria will be hard at work. Its time to look at Egypt as a world power. Egypt is often depicted as the modern day nation we know today which misses the spiritual meaning. In their time as a world power, Egypt extended its reign to all the land around Arabia and much of the Mediterranean sea including parts of Greece. It was a major empire. Assyria shared equal success in their day. The symbols used here were huge empires known as world powers. Rome topped them all by conquering more than 40 modern nations. This is one reason I question many of the modern day interpretations that downscale the symbols. Its easy to see how they downscale the physical attributes of those empires. It takes a lot of study to see how badly those self proclaimed prophets downplay their spiritual significance. All they are trying to do is make themselves look important by trying to make their interpretations look simple. If you pay attention to modern day interpretations you’ll easily see how they use little if any Bible texts. When they do they often use tiny portions of a single text. Most cannot explain the entire chapter of either a prophecy or provide the spiritual explanation of its fulfillment. To think of it, they are like the burning furnace blowing a lot of smoke and making everything more difficult to see.

In addition to the prophecy about God calling His Son out if Egypt, we see another prophecy quoted by Matthew. Our study would not be complete without locating and examining that prophecy and comparing it to its fulfillment.

Jeremiah 31:10-22 NLTse (10) “Listen to this message from the LORD, you nations of the world; proclaim it in distant coastlands: The LORD, who scattered his people, will gather them and watch over them as a shepherd does his flock. (11) For the LORD has redeemed Israel from those too strong for them. (12) They will come home and sing songs of joy on the heights of Jerusalem. They will be radiant because of the LORD’s good gifts– the abundant crops of grain, new wine, and olive oil, and the healthy flocks and herds. Their life will be like a watered garden, and all their sorrows will be gone. (13) The young women will dance for joy, and the men–old and young–will join in the celebration. I will turn their mourning into joy. I will comfort them and exchange their sorrow for rejoicing. (14) The priests will enjoy abundance, and my people will feast on my good gifts. I, the LORD, have spoken!” (15) This is what the LORD says: “A cry is heard in Ramah– deep anguish and bitter weeping. Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted– for her children are gone.” (16) But now this is what the LORD says: “Do not weep any longer, for I will reward you,” says the LORD. “Your children will come back to you from the distant land of the enemy. (17) There is hope for your future,” says the LORD. “Your children will come again to their own land. (18) I have heard Israel saying, ‘You disciplined me severely, like a calf that needs training for the yoke. Turn me again to you and restore me, for you alone are the LORD my God. (19) I turned away from God, but then I was sorry. I kicked myself for my stupidity! I was thoroughly ashamed of all I did in my younger days.’ (20) “Is not Israel still my son, my darling child?” says the LORD. “I often have to punish him, but I still love him. That’s why I long for him and surely will have mercy on him. (21) Set up road signs; put up guideposts. Mark well the path by which you came. Come back again, my virgin Israel; return to your towns here. (22) How long will you wander, my wayward daughter? For the LORD will cause something new to happen– Israel will embrace her God.”

The first thing we notice is Jeremiah begins where Isaiah and Matthew left off, by giving us hope and a promise. The LORD, who scattered his people, will gather them and watch over them as a shepherd does his flock. When we compare this to Matthew, we see how it is referring to Jesus. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. (John 10:11 NLTse). Jeremiah also promises an abundance of physical food and water which relates to the spiritual food and water Jesus provided. In the middle of the prophecy Jeremiah tells about Rachel weeping for her children which is the slaughtering of all the boys Herod ordered. Jeremiah reminds us to stay on the right path. Don’t be stupid. Set up road signs; put up guideposts. “Mark well the path by which you came. How long will you wander, my wayward daughter? For the LORD will cause something new to happen– Israel will embrace her God.” Do you think your on the right path?

In this study we’ve seen interpreting prophecies is not as easy as some people would lead you to believe. I know the world is filled with preachers who base an entire sermon and their personal interpretations on a single verse or two. Is that form of study right and truthful though? Is it correct? Or is it distracting from the truth? This study has shown how the nations mentioned in Isaiah 7 relate to Matthew chapters 1 and 2. Herod was related to both Israel and Syria. Jesus also sought shelter in Egypt. There is a contrast between Jesus and Jeroboam. Both went to Egypt. Jeroboam came out with all kinds of pagan influences including the golden calves he built for Israel to worship. Jesus came out clean, uninfluenced by the population and false worship around Him. As a small boy Jesus as well as Joseph and Mary showed how trusting in God and obeying His instructions will keep you from falling victim to worldly influences. We’ve also seen how the powers in this study appointed their own kings as well as religions and priests. Herod was a king appointed by Rome. His father bought his way into favor with Rome. When we look at the big picture by comparing what those powers had in common, we see they appointed their own kings and priests without consulting God. They set their own standards. God had His way of using those powers when the time was rights. That is one detail to consider when interpreting those spiritual symbols.

Another common theme was taxes. Taxes put Joseph and Mary in Bethlehem at Jesus’ birth. Taxes also put a huge burden on people from all those nations and the nations they conquered. Where did all that treasure the conquering nations stole come from? The people. Kings don’t work or invest their money. They taxed people and collect all that money from them. There has never been a war common people profited from. War always cost the little people big time. Sure the rich and powerful profit from war, but the little people are always the ones who suffer the most, win, loose, or draw.

We see the same problems today. It’s like Solomon said. These are the words of the Teacher, King David’s son, who ruled in Jerusalem. “Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless!” What do people get for all their hard work under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth never changes. Everything is wearisome beyond description. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content. History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new. Sometimes people say, “Here is something new!” But actually it is old; nothing is ever truly new. We don’t remember what happened in the past, and in future generations, no one will remember what we are doing now. (Ecclesiastes 1: 1-4 ,8-11 NLTse). What is new? We still have taxes. We still have wars. We now see some of the worst taxes in modern history. Whatever gave the authority to governments to collect wealth and redistribute it? I don’t think there is a country in this world not collecting taxes to benefit a few rich people. What government doesn’t support major oil companies a few major banks and lending institutions, and a never ending list of others? Sure we see some governments providing aid when we see a major catastrophe. What churches provide in funds is like a drop in the bucket compared to what governments are able to give. Where are the churches? Maybe churches could do better if the people weren’t taxed 30, 40, 50, 60 percent or more. As a matter of fact governments use taxes to control religions. That’s the major reason most religious organizations won’t speak out against corrupt governments. Churches fear loosing their tax free status governments give them. If they lost their tax free status the government would tax the church 30, 40, 50, 60 percent or more on top of taxing the people.

Even here in the United States, a country founded up the concept of fair taxation is standing silent as taxes and corruption increase at an alarming rate. Churches are afraid to speak out about the most severe issues directly effecting a government founded upon religious values, serving a population made up largely of Christians as well as other religions sharing similar values. The United States is quickly exceeding Israel’s decent under Rehoboam. We are experiencing a ceaseless increase in taxes, wars on all fronts, and laws supporting actions that draw people away from God. I wonder when we’ll see a president establishing their own religion, appointing their own priests, and setting up a day to worship him or her. Today it seems as if that’s just around the corner.

How bad were things when Jesus was born? Jerusalem and all of Judah and Israel were under Roman control who appointed puppet rulers. One of them, Herod had no problem trying to kill Jesus and slaughtering hundreds of children. Rome the controlling power cast a blind eye to all of it. The religious leaders also stood against Jesus and plotted to kill Him after He started His public ministry. Finally Rome and Herod stood still and actually authorized Jesus’ execution.

I see a theme in the message here. Jesus came to this world during a major taxation to show He will be here in the end when we see major taxation, corruption, and appointed rulers all over again.

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