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When would the sign come to pass?

October 5, 2009

The following response was received from thefaithofabel regarding Isaiah 7, part 1:

To answer your latest post:

1) G-d did not set a deadline about when “Immanuel” would be born.  I do not know what makes you think that the prophecy would be fulfilled within three to five years.  In fact, many prophecies would not occur until after the deaths of the person the prophecies were received by!  (Abraham, for example, was foretold of Israel’s exodus from Egyptian oppression, which did not occur until centuries later.)

In fact, the scripture said that the infant would not “know to refuse evil and choose good” until after “the lands you feared are deserted by both her kings”.  That could even be thousands of years after.

Since Ahaz refused to test G-d, G-d forbid, then wouldn’t it be fitting for him to receive a prophecy that would not be foretold until after his death?  The prophets of Israel wrote about Messiah, and believed in Him, when Messiah was nowhere to be seen!  Such a prophecy requires much greater faith to believe in; faith, for which the believer is much more greatly rewarded.

2)  Of course, the infant’s name, and sex, and diet, are very important details; otherwise they would not have been mentioned.  I do not know why you brush them off as insignificant.

Actually, G-d did set a deadline of sorts as to when “Immanuel” would be born!  What do I mean?

Let’s look at verses 14-17:

(14)  Therefore Hashem Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the young woman shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

(15)  Curds and honey He shall eat, that He may know to refuse the evil and choose the good.

(16)  For before the Child shall know to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land that you dread will be forsaken by both her kings.

(17)  Hashem will bring the king of Assyria upon you and your people and your father’s house—days that have not come since the day that Ephraim departed from Judah.”

The Hebrew for these verses reads:

(14)  לכן יתן אדני הוא לכם אות הנה העלמה הרה וילדת בן וקראת שׁמו עמנו אל׃

(15)  חמאה ודבשׁ יאכל לדעתו מאוס ברע ובחור בטוב׃

(16)  כי בטרם ידע הנער מאס ברע ובחר בטוב תעזב האדמה אשׁר אתה קץ מפני שׁני מלכיה׃

(17)   יביא יהוה עליך ועל־עמך ועל־בית אביך ימים אשׁר לא־באו למיום סור־אפרים מעל יהודה את מלך אשׁור׃


In verse 14, it says that THE young woman (ha-almah) is pregnant and will give birth to a son.  According to the Hebrew grammar, the young woman in question is known to the King, and according to many scholars, was standing in the room at the time.  But more importantly, it says ha-alma hara – this phrase means, “the pregnant woman”.  The most accurate translation for this verse then would be, “behold, the pregnant woman will give birth to a son”.  If it were referring to any pregnant woman, the “ha” would not be in front of the word almah. Therefore, the prophecy must be fulfilled within the lifetime of this woman, but more than that, if she’s already pregnant, the time marker begins within 9 months of the giving of the prophecy.

Secondly, when we look at chapter 8, we see that the prophecy WAS INDEED fulfilled!  Check it out:

(3)  Then I went to the prophetess, and she conceived and bore a son. Then Hashem said to me, “Call his name Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz;

(4)  for before the child shall have knowledge to cry ‘My father’ and ‘My mother,’ the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria will be taken away before the king of Assyria.”

This child who was named Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz by his father and Emmanuel by his mother was not even old enough to speak when the prophecy was fulfilled!  The timeline of the prophecy is given in the scriptures.

This is why it is never okay to quote one verse out of context and build a doctrine on it.  Reading all of Isaiah 7 and 8 solves the riddle.  This is actually the case in most of the “proof-texts” given for Jesus.

Since Ahaz refused to ask for a sign, Isaiah told him that G-d was going to give him a sign anyway – since the sign was for Ahaz, it would have to occur before his death, and in fact, as said in the original post, since it was supposed to help him have faith to endure the next 65 years (spelled out in verse 8), it only makes sense that the sign would occur BEFORE the 65 years.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. October 5, 2009 9:33 pm

    speaking of context…

    Isaiah 8 speaks of the birth of Isaiah’s son. Isaiah 9 says, basically,

    “The soldier´s uniform and combat boots will be burnt in the fire, for unto us a Child is born; unto us a Son is given; and He shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty G-d, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. The government shall be upon his shoulders, and of the peace of His reign shall be no end. He will reign justly on the throne of David forever. The zeal of the LORD will accomplish this.”

    Isaiah’s son, Fast Plunder, was not destined to rule the world for eternity; nor was he worthy of the name “Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty G-d, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”. In fact, the only One worthy of such a name would be G-d Himself.

    So who was Immanuel? Was he the Isaiah 8 child, or was he the Isaiah 9 Child? His name, and His birth from an almah, seem to suggest the latter.

    • Penina permalink
      October 6, 2009 12:17 am

      Yes, Isaiah 8 speaks of the birth of Isaiah’s son, and it tells us that he was the child spoken of in chapter 7 – that it was before this child knew how to say Mother and Father, the prophecy of the two kings had been fulfilled. You can’t get more clear than that.

      • October 6, 2009 1:13 am

        who was the child described in Isaiah 9?

      • Penina permalink
        October 6, 2009 1:19 am

        Since the Isaiah 9 passage is a completely different subject, I promise to address it when I finish Isaiah 7:14, please be patient!

  2. November 7, 2009 10:49 am

    No doubt you are aware that since the finding of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947 a number of “Christian” translations concede your point, that the almah in Isaiah 7:14 was indeed pregnant.

    Therefore if Isaiah spoke of a virginal conception, he is referring to one that took place circa 735BC !

    But of course, he said no such thing.

    You may find these articles on virgin birth of interest and coming from an unusual angle

    and, similarly TheologyWeb:

    Forum — General Theistics 101
    Thread — Does the Bible teach that Mary was a virgin when Jesus was conceived?

    (Best to click on arrow on the right which will take you to the last post. Posts by Antony and Ben Lomond relevant.)

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