These two sentences come from Isaiah 8:17-18. Again, it is a passage that we may not expect. The author of Hebrews says that Jesus speaks these things. But the words were originally Isaiah’s words about his own family. We must study further to discover the connection.
The prophets were the holy men (and a few women) who spoke messages from God. Many prophets had to work alone. But God gave two sons to Isaiah. So Isaiah and his sons stood on behalf of the people in Israel who trusted God. And God gave a special word to Isaiah, as a promise to all those people. It is the word: ‘Immanuel’. It appears in Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 8:8 and Isaiah 8:10. It means ‘God is with us’.
The word ‘Immanuel’ is a special word for Christians too. It appears in Matthew 1:23. Because Jesus was born, God is with us. So ‘Immanuel’ is a title of Jesus.
Isaiah’s sons had a special part in Isaiah’s work as a prophet. Like their father, they too had to declare God’s messages. On one occasion, Isaiah had to take the older boy with him to declare God’s message to the king (Isaiah 7:3). But whenever the boys told people their names, they were speaking God’s messages. That was because the boys had strange names with unusual meanings. And those meanings were messages that God had given to Isaiah (Isaiah 7:3 and Isaiah 8:3).
We too have a special part in Jesus’ work. Like him, we must go to declare God’s message (Matthew 28:18-20). When we call ourselves ‘Christians’, even that name declares the importance of Christ.
But there is another connection between Isaiah’s words about his children and Jesus’ words about the family of God. It is in the manner of their birth. Isaiah 7:14 seems to speak about a child who is born without a human father. Other verses in that passage are clearly about Isaiah’s younger son (Isaiah 7:15-17 and Isaiah 8:3-4). That boy was born in the usual manner; Isaiah was his father (Isaiah 8:3). But that boy was not important because of his human father. He was important because his birth declared God’s message: ‘God is with us!’ (Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 8:8 and Isaiah 8:10).
That birth was a prophecy (a message from God about future events). Christ would be born without a human father (Matthew 1:18-23; Luke 1:34-37). And people must be born into God’s family without a human father (John 1:12-13; John 3:3-6).
So God has become their father. They are brothers and sisters in God’s family. And Christ is the first and most important member of that family.
Next part: Christ became a man (Hebrews 2:14-15)
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© 2014, Keith Simons.