By Hal Lindsey, author of Late Great Planet Earth
“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, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
The prophet Isaiah lived some 500 years before the birth of Christ. When the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, among the rich library of documents discovered to be preserved was the complete book of Isaiah.
What makes this significant is that the book itself was buried by the Essenes in A.D. 70 and remained unseen, untouched (and unedited) for almost 2000 years until it was unearthed in 1947 at Qumran. The Isaiah Scroll itself was dated at 100 B.C., so it was already 170 years old when it was buried.
Comparisons between this ancient document and our modern book of Isaiah show that after all the variations in spelling, dialectical differences, Aramaic environment, etc. are taken into account, the Isaiah Scroll is essentially the same text we read today in our English Bible.
The Prophet Isaiah is the Old Testament’s major messianic prophet. Five hundred years before Christ, Isaiah predicted the Messiah would come as a “son,” born a male human being. Isaiah said that He would be born of a virgin and named Immanuel, meaning, “God with us.” (Isaiah 7:14) Isaiah predicted the “son” born of a virgin would be God in the flesh, both truly God and truly man.
“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 forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” (Isaiah 9:7)
He will be born of the seed of David, but His kingdom will be perfect and will be eternal. Perfection and eternal existence are both attributes possessed only by God.
Isaiah 11:1 says the Messiah will come as “a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of His roots.” Even more amazing, considering Isaiah was a Jewish prophet, was the prediction that the Messiah would become “an ensign to the Gentiles” FIRST, and that AFTER that, God would “assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” (Isaiah 11:10-12)
Isaiah 53 describes the purpose, method and manner of His death with eyewitness precision 500 years in advance.
Purpose: “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)
Isaiah predicted He would be spat upon, beaten and His face “marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men.” (Isaiah 52:14)
The Gospels record that Jesus was beaten, slapped, punched, His beard was plucked from His face by the roots, and he was given 39 strokes with a cat o’ nine-tails.
Isaiah 49:7 says He was hated without cause. Jesus was guiltless of any sin. Pilate himself could find no cause to pronounce judgment. Pilate ordered the crime for which He was condemned posted above His head in the four working languages of the day “Jesus, King of the Jews.”
He was executed for the sins of His people, exactly as Isaiah prophesied.
“He made His grave with the wicked” (He was executed between two thieves) “and with the rich in death.” (Isaiah 53:9)
His body was claimed by the wealthy Joseph of Arimathea and buried in a rich man’s tomb.
I chose the prophecies of Isaiah in part because they were so literally fulfilled in the life of Jesus Christ. But also because the book of Isaiah’s historical perspective is unassailable by the skeptics. It is impossible to argue Isaiah was edited after the fact to conform prophecy to history. The Isaiah Scroll predates Jesus by more than a century.
Every year at Christmas, Christians the world over celebrate the fulfillment of the ancient Isaiah prophecies fulfilled at the First Advent of Christ. It is a good time to remember that the same God who inspired Isaiah’s incredibly accurate prophecies about Christ’s First Coming also inspired Isaiah’s prophecies about His Second Coming.
Which means they will be fulfilled with equal precision and attention to detail. And I believe all the signs are pointing to the fulfillment of those remaining prophecies in the very near future.
As you celebrate the Christmas holiday, remember that keeping “Christ” within “Christmas” is more than just a slogan. It is a reminder that He is alive, His Spirit is still with us, and He will come again.
And that is the greatest Christmas gift of all. Merry Christmas!