Tuesday, 23 December 2014

For unto us a child is born

These verses from Isaiah 9 are often taken as a prophecy of Jesus' birth.
Isaiah 9:66 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
However, another possibility is that they refer to the birth of King Hezekiah, a child of King Ahaz, and a contemporary of Isaiah. Note the tenses used in this version; the child has already been born when Isaiah is speaking, but has yet to be made king. That cannot be Jesus.

But what of all those titles? How can a mere mortal be called "The mighty God"? These are not titles, but names. Most names have a meaning, and Jewish names are no exception. For example:
  • Joel: Jehovah is God
  • Joseph: God will add
  • Joshua:  Jehovah is generous
Earlier in Isaiah there were two further examples:
Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
In this case, the translators chose to keep the name in Hebrew, so it still looks like a name. They could have gone with:
Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name God is with us.
And in the next chapter we see a further example:
Isaiah 8:1 Then the Lord said to me, "Take for yourself a large tablet and write on it [a]in ordinary letters: [b]Swift is the booty, speedy is the prey. 2 And [c]I will take to Myself faithful witnesses for testimony, Uriah the priest and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah." 3 So I approached the prophetess, and she conceived and gave birth to a son. Then the Lord said to me, "Name him [d]Maher-shalal-hash-baz; 4 for before the boy knows how to cry out ‘My father’ or ‘My mother,’ the wealth of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria will be carried away before the king of Assyria."
Maher-shalal-hash-baz means Swift is the booty, speedy is the prey.

Why not Jesus?


Jesus is not the everlasting Father. His place in the trinity is the son, not the father.These titles are not those of Jesus.

Furthermore, Prince of Peace is another choice of the translator. A better translation of the Hebrew would be Ruler of Peace - but that sounds less like Jesus.

See also

http://www.whatjewsbelieve.org/prooftext6is96.html
http://thirdmill.org/articles/gra_song/OT.Grace_Song_article.pdf