Isaiah 8:1 - 9:7
Dr. S. Lewis Johnson gives exposition on God's promise of the Messiah as told to Isaiah. An explanation of the different types of Messianic prophecies found in Scripture is provided.
[Prayer] Father again we commit our class to Thee with thanksgiving. We thank Thee for Jesus of Nazareth and we thank Thee for his saving work. We thank Thee for the prophets who, not only have given us the word of God, but have lived out its great principles in their lives. And we know that the Scriptures have not to come to us without cause on their part. And so we thank Thee for that which was of Thee in them and for their faithfulness in bringing us the Scriptures. We thank Thee for Isaiah, a truly great follower of the Lamb of God to come. And enable us Lord as we, too, stand in critical days such as he did to exhibit some measure of the faithfulness to Thee which he exhibited in our lives. So direct us and guide us tonight as we study and may we learn things that will help us in our Christian life and our Christian thought. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.
[Message] Now tonight our subject is the second chapter of the Book of Emmanuel, the stone of stumbling and the Mighty God. And I am going to do something that I did not really intend to do but which I now find necessary to do. Next Monday night, the Lord willing, we are going to consider in great detail chapter 9, verses 6 and 7 because these two verses are so important in the prophecy of Isaiah that it is just impossible for us to devote to them the attention that they need in an hour such as this when we have over a chapter to consider. So, we are going to introduce, at this point, another study in Isaiah and study these two verses next time. And I am sure that you are going to find that in these verses are things that you never dreamed were there. So, we are going to try to cover tonight up to that point and we shall then devote our attention to verses 6 and 7, one of the greatest of the Messianic prophecies next time.
“The Stone of Stumbling and the Mighty God.” Now Ahaz, the king of no faith, has received the sign of Immanuel before the basis of hope from God. Remember he has been greatly disturbed by the Assyrian who was coming down from the north but, more than that, he has been concerned about Israel, the Northern kingdom, and Syria who have made a league and have asked him the king of Judah to join them. And he has refused to join them and so Israel and Syria have down to attack King Ahaz in his Judean mountain kingdom. And not having trust in God, he naturally looks off to Assyria, the great nation, which was just becoming the world power that it became and hoping that perhaps from them he might find some deliverance from Israel and from Syria.
Now God had asked Ahaz to request a sign from him in order that he might encourage this king who sat on the Davidic throne and he had replied that he would not asked nor would he test the Lord and then God, I think disturbed over the lack of faith of this king who stood in the Davidic land and should have had that faith, God gave him the great prophecy of the virgin-born son. “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son and shall call his name Immanuel.”
Now that promise of the virgin birth had been preceded by a great axiom, a great spiritual axiom, and that axiom is found in the 9th verse, “If you will not believe, surely you shall not be established.” Now that text my Christian friend is the kind of text that is applicable in every dispensation of God. If you will not believe, surely you shall not be established, and as I have said last time I wish that you could read Hebrew because it is undoubtedly a text which was given Ahaz in a mnemonic way so that he might remember the spiritual truth involved in it. And you can see the play on words. They are the same words. If you will not believe, surely you shall not be established. And Ahaz was given this truth in a way that in which God, by doing it this way, tried to impress it upon his mind so that he would remember. If you do not believe, surely you shall not be established. I suggest that some renderings that had been suggested in order to preserve this play on words, if in God you do not confide, surely in power you shall not abide.
But Ahaz is Mr. King of No Faith. And Ahaz carried a secret in his heart, I said, which meant more to him than the promise of God. And you know what that secret was? It was trust in Assyria. It was trust in the world. It was trust in the power of men and not in the power of God. Now I am persuaded that many Christians carry the same secret around in their hearts too. They are willing to trust what Jesus Christ has done for them on the cross at Calvary. And they can talk of good religious gain thereafter. Just as Ahaz, “Why ask a sign from the Lord? I would not test the Lord!” He quotes Deuteronomy when he does that or refers to it. I would not tempt the Lord. You do not expect me to do that, do you? I am a religious man. I belong to the church. And so a religious man, but down in his heart, an unbelieving man. A man who had deeper trust, than trust in God; trust in Assyria; trust in himself; trust in his own strength; trust in his own scheming.
And Christians are very much like that. They trust in their own schemings, they trust in their own activities. And when it comes to really serving God, they do not serve God, they trust in their activities. They trust in their strength. They seek to do the Lord’s work in man’s power and our churches, they are full of it. There are activities in the local church that do not resemble at all the New Testament pattern. They do not resemble the principles of the New Testament. They will tell us such principles are no longer applicable today.
I always reply, what about the principles of salvation then? Do they no longer apply too? If the principles whereby the church is to keep its testimony and move it forward are not applicable today, then how can I believe the principles regarding personal salvation. By what right do I have to eliminate those principles that God the local church, in its witness and testimony, by what right may I separate those principles from the principles of my eternal salvation. There is no such right. And basically, the reason we do not like to carry in the Lord’s work and the Lord’s way is because we have trust in Azhur, trust in Assyria, in our hearts. We cannot believe that it really could come to pass this way and that he can bless us in this way.
So, Ahaz and his land for he stood as the great Davidic king remember? They must now anticipate the Assyrian invader. Only Judah and she just barely will be able to escape. You will notice the 8th verse of the 8th chapter, “And he shall pass through Judah, he shall overflow and go over, he shall reach even to the neck.” And you can get a picture of the water flooding the land and Judah is just barely able to keep her neck out of water in order to keep from drowning. But Judah, you see, is the tribe from which the King shall come and Judah shall not drown. Judah is preserved, but only a remnant in Judah, because the remnant, ultimately, leads to Jesus Christ. But in the meantime, they must suffer great judgment. God has not cast away his people.
This darkness, Isaiah will point out in the later part of our section, will turn to light in the coming of the child. The coming of the Son who shall seize the reigns of world government and inaugurate lasting peace. Mr. Johnson, you will never be able to bring lasting peace, Poor ol’ LBJ will never be able to do it. Hubert won’t either. Nor would Richard. George probably won’t. Only the Prince of Peace will bring peace. Is this the savior long foretold to usher in the age of gold? Yes, it is Jesus Christ and only Jesus Christ.
But let us look now, first of all, at the sign and the stupidity, 8:1 through 10, remember, Ahaz the king, Tiglath-Pileser, the great Assyrian king, Rezin, the king of Syria, Pekah, the king of Israel. These are the major characters. And there is a struggle going on and Ahaz is involved in that struggle. But he has made his mind up, he is not going to follow the word of God. And so now, God speaks to the prophet and he gives him a sign. And this time, the sign has to do with the coming judgment upon Ahaz and Judah. Let us begin with the 1st verse of chapter 8 and read the first four verses in which we have the sign given us.
“Moreover, the Lord said unto me, “Take a great roll…” (I would say that this, probably, would be the equivalent to a large piece of cardboard paper that we wanted to nail up in a public place to make a public announcement, something like that. ) “Take a great roll and write in it with a man’s pen…” (In other words, make it very intelligible so everybody in Jerusalem can see it and understand it,) “And write on it concerning Maher Shalal Hashbaz.”
Now, what a name. How would you like to be Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz Johnson? That is my name. We had a student at Dallas seminary when I was a student and his name was Zachariah Jeremiah Deal. Some mother had given her poor boy a name. Why you know that fellow had to be a preacher. He could not survive in any other occupation than a preacher. Zachariah Jeremiah Deal. But that name is a lovely name to Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz Isaiah. That was his name. Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz. Do you know what it means? Speed, spoil, hurry, prey. And of course, it was a name that had a message. The Assyrian king is coming and he is coming in a hurry. And he is going to take spoil and there is going to be prey. And you are the object of his prey. So, write concerning Maher Shalal-Hash-Baz.
And you know I think the people of the community, as they walk down the street and they, “I wonder what ol’ Isaiah has on his bulletin board today?” So they walked over to the prophet’s bulletin board, and this is not in the Scriptures by the way, somebody started looking there already, at the bulletin board. It’s not there. They are all ready for the bulletin board. It is not there, but they would go over, “Let’s see what Ol’ Isaiah has to say today.” And they looked up and all they saw in the board that day was concerning “LA” the Hebrew “LA”, concerning Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz. Concerning speed, spoil, hurry, pray. What in the world does that mean? I guessed they said, “Pray? What does that mean?” Just pray. So he did not let them know. He just put that name on the board apparently. Create a lot of curiosity about it. Remember that song about the “thing”? It is something like that, you know. What in the world does this mean, Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz?” What does it mean?
Now we read, “And I went on to the prophetess and she conceived and bore a son”, and the prophetess as I think, is the name given to his wife and apparently, she was a prophetess. Now a prophet was a person who was able to bring revelation from God to men. A prophetess was one who was able to bring revelation from God to men. And there were prophetesses in the Old Testament and there were prophetesses in the New Testament times. Philip had some daughters. Philip, the evangelist who prophesied.
Now, they did not prophesy n the local church, they prophesied in their homes. They prophesied, perhaps on the street. Maybe they had heir own bulletin boards on the outside of Philip the evangelist’s house in Sicilia. So a prophetess is one who prophesies. And Isaiah was a prophet. He apparently was married to a prophetess. Some have suggested that she was just, that is just the way of saying Mrs. Isaiah. He was prophet Isaiah and she was Mrs. Prophetess. But I am rather inclined to think that the other interpretation is best. “So he went unto the prophetess and she conceived and bore a son.” And then the Lord said to Isaiah, “Now Isaiah, call him Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz.” And so he did. Call him Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz, and this is why, the Lord said, “For before the child shall have knowledge to cry, ‘My father and my mother!’, then, the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria shall be taken away from before the king of Assyria.” In other words, before that little boy, Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz, shall be able to say “Mommy. Daddy.” Then the Assyrians are coming and they are going to take the spoil. And so I would presume that this is before a couple of years is up.
And so Isaiah is now given the interpretation of Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz, and so is Israel. They are told that their doom is coming soon. Now he goes on to talk about the stupidity involved in this decision that has been made. He says in the 5th verse, “The Lord spoke also unto me, again, saying, “For as much as these people refuseth the waters of Shiloah that go softly, and rejoice and Rezin and Remaliah’s son.” I think that means rejoice with respect to them. The Judeans rejoiced when the Assyrians and the Israelites were defeated by Tiglath-Pileser. “For as much as these people refuseth the waters of Shiloah, now therefore behold the Lord bringeth upon them the waters of the river, strong and many, even the king of Assyria and all his glory. And he shall come up over all its channels and go over all its banks.”
Now Isaiah is a prophet. And so being a prophet, he speaks in figurative language now and then. He says that these people of Judah have refused the waters of Shiloah that goeth slowly. What does he mean by that? Well he means by “the waters of Shiloah” for the pool of Shalom. And the stream of Shiloah was a stream in Jerusalem. He means by “the waters of Shiloah that go softly” the gentle redemptive message of the Lord God of Israel. They have refused the child that is to be born of the Virgin. Now Jerusalem, of course, was not a very beautiful city. After all, it was just a little squalid place with three valleys and all they had was some little streams that trickle down like the Trinity River, dry most of the year. And they had one little stream, the waters of Shiloah that go softly. And if you look at those waters today even, they do not come with any force at all. They just trickle along. But that is God’s message in the sight of the world. That is the message concerning the child, by the way.
But then, what about Assyria? Why, Assyria is a great land of the river Euphrates. As a matter of fact, it is the empire of the two rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates. But it is the Euphrates that is the great river. And when the snows melt in the mountains to the north of Assyria, why, that river Euphrates floods all over the country, and it becomes a great river and all of the Jewish people, if they had ever, and many of them had, if they had ever seen the Assyrian land, they would have marveled at the vast water resources that they had, were as they were just a little dried-up land. And so God, as an effect said, “You have refused my message concerning the Messianic Son and since you have refused the waters of Shiloah that go softly.
By the way the word “Shiloah” means “sent”. And you remember in the New Testament when our Lord healed the blind man, he had him go to the pool of Shiloah. The pool of Shiloah. The same pool. And you know it means “the sent one.” Shalom. And I do not doubt myself, some of my Bible keeping friends, they lift their eyebrows when I say this. But I do not doubt that there is something typical about it. That he was sent to the pool of Shiloah, or Shiloah, the pool of the sent one, in order that he might be reminded that what he was doing was an example in the physical realm of what Jesus was doing in the spiritual, for he is the “Sent One” of God.
And so they refused the waters of Shiloah, the waters concerning the sent one that moves softly. The world never notices the doctrines of Jesus Christ. So if you refuse those waters, I am going to bring the big one upon you and it is going to come down and it is going to overflow your whole land. And if it were not for the fact that Judah must be preserved, for in Judah is the royal line. The whole land would be inundated by the Assyrian flood. Verse 8, “And he shall past through Judah. He shall over flow and go over. He shall reach even to the neck.” But God shall not cast away his people.
So there is always the remnant. Always the remnant. And I am not trying to complement you. There may be someone in this room who is not part of the remnant. The church of Jesus Christ, the true church is the remnant, too. We are the people of God. And if we have truly believed in Jesus Christ, we are insignificant in the world’s sight, aren’t we? When you walk down Elm and Main street, people do not point you out and say, “Look, there is a child of the King.” They say, “There is a fanatic.” “There is an oddball.” “There is a guy that believes in the Bible.” “Where does he go to church?” “Goes over to that insignificant church over there.” But God will not cast away his people. And so Judah, the remnant, is secure. “And the stretching out of his wing shall fill the breadth of thy land.” And here it comes. “O Immanuel.” And the prophet speaks in a word of aspiration to the One who is the Lord of the land, the Immanuel.
Then he taunts them. You know, the prophets had a gift for sarcasm. “Associate yourselves, O ye peoples, and you shall be broken in pieces; and give ear, all ye of far countries: gird yourselves and ye shall be broken in pieces. Gird yourselves and ye shall be broken in pieces. Take counsel together and it shall come to nought; speak the word and it shall not stand, for God is with us.” Immanuel.
Now, do you know, the practical lesson that comes out of this is very, very significant. Worldly policy desolates the land of God. Judah and Israel must suffer because King Ahaz and the great majority of the Israelites follow worldly policy, not spiritual policy. They do not follow the word of God. Now let me make the application. Worldly policy in the church of Jesus Christ, I am talking about the true church, worldly policy in the church of Jesus Christ desolates the spiritual fruitfulness of the people of God. If you hedge on your message, you can be sure God is not going to bless. You may manufacture a great deal of human enthusiasm, a great deal by way of meetings, you may even impress a great number of people who are in the world, and some of the Christians who are weak, but you can be sure if your message is not the message of the word of God and straight to the point, with all of the power and authority of the word of God under the direction of the Holy Spirit, you are not going to have lasting blessing from God. You can be sure of that.
You may have decisions. You may have outward activity. You may have apparent enthusiasm, but it will not last. It will not last. If you start hedging about sin, if you start hedging about salvation, if you start hedging about the coming of Christ, if you start compromising, concerning the word of God you can be sure that fruitlessness is going to follow ultimately.
You may kid yourself like Ahaz. You may talk in religious language but there will be no fruitfulness and then you may try all kinds of methods. I believe in new methods but if your methods are methods that violate the principles of the word of God, he will not bless them either. You may have great meetings as I say, great numbers of decisions, great additions to the church but if it is not in accordance with the teaching of the word of God and if those methods run contrary to the Scriptures, there will be no blessing from God. The same thing is true with regard to money. If the way that you obtain your money is not in accordance with the Holy Scriptures, you can be sure that God is not going to bless.
There may be a great erection of great buildings. There may be great monuments to the activity and industry of men who say they are Christians, but in final analysis, God does not bless and there will be a great monument which is empty of spiritual power. The fact that God gives you a building does not mean that he blesses you. The fact that he gives you great material possessions as a Christian group does not mean that He has blessed look about you. Look at all of the hundreds and thousands of great monuments erected to the name of religion and Christianity throughout the United States in which there is emptiness and coldness and deadness and indifference to the word of God and let me warn you Christians, that some of the greatest con artists in all the world are those who raise money for Christian organizations. That is an art. That is an art which some have mastered in a tremendous way. Why, if the con men could learn the principles that we have learned, they would really be happy. I hardly ever fail to get some letter from some Christian organization with an envelope in it that does not, with a loud, blatant voice say, “Give me money, give me money.” But you can be sure if we do not follow the principles of the word of God, that we are going to suffer. We will get a lot of money. We will get a lot but God’s blessing will be gone.
Now these are important things, we see Ahaz was not an irreligious man. He was just a man who did not trust God, that is all. He was a man who could not look high. He can only look in front of himself. The higher a man looks, the stronger his faith is. I wish my faith were as strong as it ought to be; it is not. But I think I see in Ahaz a great warning to all of us who are Christians. Now then, the security of confidence in God, “For the Lord spoke thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed that I should not walk in the way of this people saying, ‘Say ye not a confederacy to all them to whom thus people shall say a confederacy, neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid’.”
Now that verse, the 12th verse, is mistranslated and I want to recommend something to you. You are studying Isaiah with me and I would recommend to you if you do not have an American Standard Version, not the Revised Standard Version although that would be a help in reading, but if you have an American Standard Version, you will notice that quite often the text in Isaiah is a good bit different from the AV, the reason being that it is more accurate, as a rule, than our Authorized Version. This is what it says something this, “Call ye not conspiracy all that this people calls a conspiracy. What fear they? Fear ye not.” And so on, and so what Isaiah is told and what he tells them is this, “You who follow me, do not you believe when they say of me that because I disagree with the policy of the king, that I am engaged in a conspiracy against the king. Do not call conspiracy what they call conspiracy. I am not a conspirator. I want you to fear only God.”
Now prophets and preachers have always been exposed to this. You know, if you cannot find anything by which you can criticize a prophet then say he is trying to foment sedition. He is trying to disagree with the policy of the nation and, consequently, he is a conspirator. He is part of a conspiracy. Now, of course, our Lord Jesus is the one with whom this was done in the greatest of ways. They said of him that he wants another king, not Caesar, on the throne because he talked about the king. And so today if a man criticizes his country and he criticizes it from the standpoint of the word of God, there will be some who will say that he is not a patriot. He is really guilty of treason. He is part of a conspiracy to overthrow the government. This is what they were saying of Isaiah.
Now I do not mean, of course, to suggest that all of those who are today criticizing our government are doing it rightly. It is possible to do it wrongly as well but that is what Isaiah means. He says “Do not you call a conspiracy what they are calling a conspiracy” and in the 13th verse he says, “Sanctify the Lord of hosts Himself and let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread”. In other words, set the Lord apart as the Lord and you will discover if you sanctify him, he will be your sanctuary.
You know, Elijah had the experience of criticism. Do you remember what Ahab said to him? Elijah, you see, had criticized Ahab and so finally Ahab run across Elijah, and do you remember what he said? “Art thou he who troubleth Israel”. It was not Elijah who was troubling Israel. It was Ahab who is troubling with his idolatry but when Ahab met Elijah he said, “Art thou he who troubleth Israel?” It is all your fault Elijah; it was not. It was Ahab’s fault. He had departed from the word. But let us move on.
Notice verse 14, “And he should be for a sanctuary and for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel for a trap and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and many among them shall stumble and fall and be broken and be snared and be taken. Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples”. Do you know what he means by that? He means these people do not accept the word of God and so take the testimony and give it to the elect remnant. It will be a strengthening factor to them. You see in Isaiah’s day, the situation was just as it is in our day. There is a remnant that is willing to accept the teaching of the word of God. For the rest, and for those who claim to be Christian, in Christendom, they have already rejected the word of God and, consequently, they payeth no attention at all. So Isaiah with his disciples take the Messianic message to themselves, to comfort themselves, in the light of the judgments that are going to come upon their nation.
Now we come to verses 17 and 18, “And I will wait upon the Lord who hideth his face from the Jacob and I will look for Him.” That is the prophet who is saying this. “Behold I and the children,” and these are, of course, the disciples, “Whom the Lord hath given me. Behold I am the children whom the Lord hath given are four signs and four wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts who dwelleth in Mount Zion. Now this bring me to a question that I said I was going to say something to you about and I have a few moments tonight and so I am going to do it. Now do you have the outline? If you do, I want to put something on the board which will help you to interpret Messianic prophecy because you see what we have come to in verse 17 and verse 18 here is Messianic prophecy.
Now I want you to take your Bibles and turn with me over to Hebrews chapter 2. Hebrews chapter 2. That is in the New Testament, Hebrews chapter 2, and let us read verse 12 and verse 13. Now, while you are finding verse 12 and 13, I will read verse 11. For both, “He that sanctifieth and they who were sanctified are all of one, for which caused He is not ashamed to call them brethren.” Now verse 12 saying, now these are the texts from the Old Testament to show that believers may be called brethren. Saying, “I will declare Thy name unto my brethren in the midst of the church whilst I sing praise unto Thee.” Now that is a text from Psalm 22. Now verse 13, “And again, I will put my trust in him”. Now that is from Isaiah 8:17, “And I will look for Him.” But you can see that the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews has applied this: I will put my trust in Him to the Lord Jesus. In the Old Testament it had to do with the Prophet Isaiah. In the New Testament it has to do with the Lord Jesus. How can he do that? Then notice the rest of the verse. And again, “Behold, I and the children whom God has given me.” In the Old Testament, it refers to Isaiah and his two children who were apparently part of his disciples, Shearjashub and Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz, the two children of Isaiah.
So, in the Old Testament it has to do with Isaiah and his two children. In the New Testament, it is applied by the writer of the Epistle of the Hebrews to the Lord Jesus and those who are attached to him. How can you do that? What right do you have to take a text out of its context, apparently, and apply it to the Messiah? Now this, by the way, is why a lot of people say that Christians, when they see Christ in the Old Testament, do not really see Christ in the Old Testament. They see what they themselves want to see in the Old Testament. So, I want to give you a few hints on how to interpret the Old Testament. Have ever been puzzled by things like this? No, you never bothered to even notice it. All right, OK. Messianic prophecy. This is not a complete study of course, or I have about 5 to 10 minutes to devote to this so I cannot do everything here. I just want to give you a little hint or two. We are going to see how this applies as we go through the Book of Isaiah.
Now, there are three types of Messianic prophecy that I want to refer to: Direct messianic prophecy. By direct messianic prophecy, I mean prophecy that is all together predictive. In other words, the prophet in the Old Testament looks forward to New Testament times and sees by the vision granted him as a prophet, the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Chapter 9, verses 6 and 7 is an illustration of that. Chapter 7 verse 14, a Prophecy of the virgin birth, I think is an illustration of that direct Messianic prophecy.
Now, in the New Testament, the New Testament authors do not distinguish these forms of prophecy; they just say it is all Messianic. We have to distinguish it based on our study. They, of course, did not distinguish it because all of those who read their writings understood these principles and so they did not have to do it. Now, I want to tell you, it took me 10 years of intensive study to learn some of these things. And I learned these things the hard way by having to get down and just wrestle and wrestle and wrestle with the text of the word of God, but finally I realized that it was not long before I think now, I would have felt at home in a meeting of the early church. But for a long time I would not have.
Now, there are passages, then, that are direct messianic passages like 9, 6 and 7. Let us just put that down there because that will give us a new illustration. Then, there are prophecies that are indirect Messianic prophecies. And just for the sake of illustration, we will give you Psalm 102:25-27. Now, we are not going to look at this in detail, but I want to tell you what this is. In the 102nd Psalm, the psalmist writes about the God who has created all things. “And Thou Lord, in the beginning, hast laid the foundation of the earth and the heavens of the works upon hands. They shall perish but Thou remainest. They all shall become old as garment,” and so forth.
Now, if you read that in Psalm 102, you will notice this, that there is no reference to Lord. The writer of the Epistle of the Hebrews has added that word in the 10th verse of the 1st chapter. Furthermore, in the passage in Psalm 102, there is no reference to Jesus Christ, it is just “Lord.” How can you take a passage which in the Old Testament refers to the Lord and refer to it in the New Testament to Jesus Christ? Do you know what modern critics say? They say the apostles just went everywhere in the Old Testament and whenever they found the word, Lord, they referred it to Jesus Christ. And since the people of that day accepted that kind of hermeneutics, then it was a valid argument for them but it is not for us today.
Do you believe that? No, I don’t believe that. I don’t believe that. I don’t care who says it. Do you know why? Because I know it is wrong. Do you know why? Because I happened to have bothered to study it out in some detail and I discovered why they did that. “Do you know why they did?” Well, if you read the 102 Psalm about twenty times, it will finally begin to dawn on you why they did it. Because on a 102nd Psalm it says, “That there is a God who is the Lord who is going to the earth and He is going to establish a kingdom upon the earth.” And it so happened that they knew that God the Father was a person upon whose face they could not look, for if they did they would die. It is stated in the Old Testament more than once.
They learned, the apostles did, that there were three who had a name Jehovah: Jehovah the Father, Jehovah the Son, and Jehovah the Spirit. They learned the doctrine of Trinity, one God who subsists in three persons. And they knew that term Lord could apply to the spirit, the term Lord could apply to the Son, the term Lord could apply to the Father. And they knew that the Lord who came to earth to establish his kingdom was Jehovah, the second person of the Trinity. And so those passages that referred to the activity of the Lord Jesus Christ, which they had learned from the pages of Revelations, those passages in the Old Testament had referred to a coming to the earth to establish a kingdom, they knew they had to refer to Jehovah the Son. And so, when they quoted that in the New Testament they did not hesitate to say, “And Thou Lord, the Christ”, because they had learned that that Psalm has to do with the Son, and you see it was not arbitrary at all. They knew a whole lot more about the Bible and how to interpret it than the modern critics who never bothered to study the text of holy Scriptures in that detail.
And I learned it by the study of the Word myself. I tell you, it will give you a great feeling to discover some of the things of the Word of God. I think I could sit around the table and talk what the apostles about some of these things. In those days, everybody knew these facts. That is why they just said it applies to Christ, but did not go around and explain that. I want you to understand this is direct, Messianic prophecy. I want you to understand this is indirect. I’m sorry; they had more sense then.
Then, there is typical Messianic prophecy. Now you see, by the way, the type means an illustration, illustrative Messianic prophecy. They recognized that one God was controlling the affairs of men, and if one God controlled history and was moving history to a consummation, it was not surprising that in his control of history, he should cause history to take forms in every age that would reflect the fulfillment that was to come. And so they did not have any problem with Moses, an example of Christ, David an example of Christ.
As a matter of fact, God instituted the offices of prophet, priest, and king for that very reason. He did not sit up in heaven and when men decided they were going to have a king, he said: you know that is not such a bad idea after all. I think I will now give a Messianic prophecy that has to do with a king. And when the prophet, a man began to prophesy, you know it is not a bad idea to have prophets. I think I will put my imprint up to my own prophets and priests. When somebody began to exercise the priesthood he did not say, “I think a priesthood is a good idea too, so I will approve that.” He did not do that. He brought all of these things into being because he knew that the prophet, the priest, and the king would represent our Lord Jesus Christ, and he was trying to instruct David. That is what he is trying to do, trying to give him some little lessons that would prepare them for what was to come.
And so the prophets are typical. The priests are typical. The kings are typical. They are examples and so the experiences of the prophets, the experiences of the priest, the experiences of the kings reflect our Lord’s experiences. So we have prophecy that is typically “Messianic,” and we have two classes of that. We have that which is, I am not too happy with this term, you will not be either, historical-typical. How do you like that? Historical-typical, and by that I mean simply an experience in the life of an Old Testament character which is just an example. It has no direct reference to the future, only indirectly, Psalm 8, when the psalmist writes about man, on perfect man, reflects the man to come, Our Lord Jesus, he is the perfect man.
And then historical-prophetical-typical. How do you like that? Historical-prophetical: theological students like this. By this, I have reference to a passage like Psalm 16 or Psalm 45, and Isaiah chapter 8 verses 17 and 18. Now what I mean by this is simply the following: that occasionally, the prophets, the priests, and the kings of the Old Testament, because officially they all are illustrations of the prophet, the priest, the king, occasionally their activities go beyond themselves and look toward the future in a prophetic way. And that I think is why Isaiah in chapter 8 verses 17 and 18 may be called a reference to Our Lord Jesus Christ. It is in this way Isaiah was a prophet, and because he was a prophet he is an example of The Prophet to come, Our Lord Jesus Christ.
And consequently since he had children Shearjashub and Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz, those that were related to him represented those who are related to our Lord Jesus Christ in the future. And so, just as the prophet in the Old Testament is a type of our Lord, so the prophet’s children are illustrations of those who are related to The Prophet to come. And so by reason of the relationship that exists between the Old and the New Testament, the writer of the Epistle of the Hebrews may refer to this and say that this refers to Jesus Christ, typically.
Now listen, what was Isaiah’s name? What did it mean? The salvation of Jehovah. What the Sherijashab’s name mean? A remnant shall return. What does Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz mean? Hasten, spoil, hurry, prey. How do they typify the future? Well, Isaiah, of course, is the salvation of the Lord, that is our Lord Jesus Christ ultimately. He is the salvation of the Lord. And then the two children represent what is going to happen, judgment and the remnant shall return. And so the whole family, in a sense, represents typically the picture of a Messianic community with the Messiah and those who are related to him, and they are signs. And so, in the New Testament, when the writer of the Epistle of the Hebrews contemplates our Lord Jesus and all who have believed in him, he says that we are just like Isaiah in the Old Testament and his children. And those prophecies are fulfilled typically in what exists now.
Now I hope that will help you to understand the Old Testament, we will say some more about it when we come to other messianic prophecy but let us hasten on and try to finish chapter 8, verse 18, “Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me or for signs and for wonders in Israel from the Lord of Hosts who dwelt in Mount Zion, and when they shall say unto you seek until those who are mediums and unto wizards that peep and that mutter.”
Do you know what that refers to? That refers to Jean Dixon’s nonsense. Jean visited town, you know, not long ago. Linda Jones gave me a copy of what appeared in the Times Herald. I do not take the Times Herald; and here it is. Do you know what she said? This is what she said: She foretold that an eternal flame burning in Dallas as a memorial to John F. Kennedy will be established. Now that is a great prophecy! With great spiritual significance. Then she foretold a Russian alliance with the United States, the sooner the better. Now that is a great prophecy. That can be fulfilled in a thousand different ways. Then she foretold that a great man would be in the White House in 1969. She calls that prophecy. I think that one probably has the least fulfillment no matter who is in the White House.
And then she foretold geographical changes throughout the world, where there is land, there is going to be water and where there is water, there is going to be land. That could be fulfilled in a thousand different ways too. You know what she is? She is a witch who peeps and mutters. That is what Isaiah says. Do you know what he means by that? He means, they never give you a clear-cut prophecy. They never give you a clear-cut prophecy. Now, Jean Dixon said the Republicans were going to win this election but I noticed she has modified a little now; just a great man is going to be in the White House. She is hedging. But then she goes on to say, “I see peace coming, not by our works but by divine intervention.” And you know what she is there? She is a plagiarist. Isaiah said it centuries ago.
Now, notice the 20th verse. “To the Law and to the testimony, if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” What a wonderful thing that is. What does the Bible say? That is the final answer. To the Law and to the testimony. Do not go to the witches and to the wizards and to the mediums. Go to the Bible, to the Law and to the testimony. If they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. There is nothing in the word of God that says plainer for Christians that it is what the Bible teaches that is the important thing.
Listen: There is no experience, as I said last time, there is no valid Christian experience that is not wedded to the words of the holy Scripture. Beware of any spiritual experience that is not wedded to the words of the Bible, to the Law, and to the testimony. If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no truth in them. Isaiah closes his chapter with the statement of the judgment that is to come and a pitiful picture of what is to follow for Israel and Judah, the majority of them, but he does not close before he announces that there is light coming. And that is what we are going to talk about next Monday night, Lord willing. Let us close with a prayer.
[Prayer] Father, we thank thee… [Tape ends]