It’s that time of year again. For me holiday sermons are the most difficult to write or preach. This pastor will not try to compete with those who preach great topical sermons on great occasions. Like any other Sunday – it’s pick a chapter and deliver it as best you can. This morning we find ourselves in the Prophecy section of the Bible in the Book of Isaiah. Chapter nine is one of the great Messianic chapters of the Old Testament. It is one of many reasons that some theologians regard Isaiah as the fifth Gospel.
To define the word – messianic – from Unger’s Bible Dictionary would take more time than we have this morning so we’ll take Websters definition (he uses the term “Messiah”): (1) “The promised and expected deliverer of the Jewish people.” (2) “Jesus Christ, regarded by Christians as fulfilling this promise and expectation.” The Old Testament taken in its entirety is actually one big Messianic prophecy – the whole enchilada points to Jesus. However all through the Old Testament there are passages that stand out. Verses 1-7 of Chapter 9 is one of them.
This pastor believes that the Old Testament use of “prophecy” differs from that of today. They didn’t have the Bible – we do. In my opinion modern day prophets teach principles that are written in God’s Word – the Bible. When they go beyond – and many have – it becomes mere human speculation. All establishment-cult prophecies concerning end times on a certain date -which has come and gone - obviously never took place. Those dates came and went. So these cults merely removed them from their books as though they were never there in the first place. That is not of God. And if it’s not of God – guess where it came from.
The Honest-to-God Old Testament prophets were a different breed. They carried God’s message – just as the Bible does today. They did not fit into the society of their times any better than they would have in our culture. They were mistreated by the very people they came to -to deliver God’s message from heaven. It’s basically the same message the Bible has today. Pastors who deliver sermons based on Bible scriptures in context and as written are not real popular in our secular society of today. It’s just the way things are.
This morning in the first half of chapter nine we see one these great Messianic passages. Many of you will recognize some of the words which are also quoted in the New Testament. This is one of those areas where the Prophet Isaiah received a flash from God as he was writing his book or at least quoting it to a scribe. It’s sort of like an insert. We see this in many of the Psalms and other Prophets as well. In order to remain true to the scriptures we will go ahead and finish out the chapter which will include some of God’s wrath toward his chosen people - Israel. It has to do with arrogance and pride which are two of Satan’s most effective tools. The arrogance and pride of people we elect to high office have brought US(A) to the edge of destruction as well. So let’s see what Chapter 9 has to offer.