Isaiah 8

Isaiah 8  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 10
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A second child of Isaiah is mentioned in chapter 8. His long name was significant of the approaching conquest by Assyria of the two powers that were at that moment threatening Judah. Like a flood from the river the king of Assyria would overflow even through Judah, though he was not allowed to take Jerusalem in Hezekiah’s time. Assyria did not know then, and the nations have not known since, that the land belongs primarily to Immanuel and only secondarily to the Jew.
Verses 9 and 10 doubtless had an application to the day when Isaiah wrote, but their force abides. Palestine holds a very central position and it is becoming more and more evident that its potential riches are great. The peoples may associate themselves in contending leagues in order to lay hands on it but they will be broken in pieces, “for God is with us”; literally, “for Immanuel”. Christ is God; and when He is manifested in His glory, the nations will be as nothing before Him only “as a drop of a bucket”, as presently Isaiah tells us. Among the nations today the idea of a confederacy is strong but this will be the end of it.
Isaiah, however, was warned against the idea of a confederacy for himself and his people. It would be doubly wrong in their case, inasmuch as they had been given the knowledge of God, and He was to be their trust. This we see in verses 11-18. Ahaz in his day was keen on a confederacy, and in the last days there will be strong confederacy between the man, who will become the willful king and false prophet in Jerusalem, and the predicted head of the revived Roman Empire; and this instead of the fear of the Lord.
The reason of this is revealed in verse 15. Immanuel is truly the sanctuary of His people but He would become “a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offense”, by the fact of His rejection. This is made quite plain in 1 Peter 2:8. This He is to “both the houses of Israel”, though He was rejected mainly at the hands of the house of Judah.
In these striking verses the godly are owned as Immanuel’s “disciples”. Though the mass of the people fall and are broken, as the Lord said in Matthew 21:44, the testimony and the law will not fail, but will be bound up among those who really fear the Lord. Such will wait upon the Lord instead of turning to confederacies with men, and they will look for the appearing of Immanuel. When He appears in His glory those given to Him, and carried through the time of tribulation, will be for a sign and a wonder. This applies also today, as we see by the quotation in Hebrews 2:13. The saints given to Him today will be manifested with Him in glory. And what a sign and wonder it will be when He thus displays the “exceeding riches of His grace” (Eph. 2:7).
Verse 19 returns to what was then taking place in Israel. They were turning to the spiritist practices of the heathen with necromancers and soothsayers, trying to get guidance for the living from those who were dead, when the law and testimony was available for them, in which light from God was shining. If they did not speak according to that, there would be “no light in them”; or, “for them there is no daybreak.” The principle of all this is more abundantly true for us today, inasmuch as the coming of Christ has so greatly amplified the word and testimony of God, enshrined in the New Testament Scriptures. If men turn from that to the illusive sparks generated by man’s wisdom and achievements, there will be no light in them, and no daybreak for them when Christ returns.
Instead of daybreak there will be darkness and gloom, so graphically described in the two verses that close this chapter and the opening verse of chapter 9. There was this darkness in the days of Ahaz. It existed in the day when Christ came, and it will doubtless be very pronounced at the end of the age. The way in which this prophecy is applied to the Lord Jesus and His early ministry, when we turn to Matthew 4:13-16, is very striking. What wonderful spiritual light streamed forth from Him, both in His words and His miracles, for the blessing of those who had been sitting in darkness, whether they had eyes to see it or not.