This chapter starts off where Chapter 8 ended: a land in darkness. But there are comforting words found herein. This is not as bad as seasons past.
Matthew 4:14-16 points to the start of Christ’s mortal ministry as fulfillment of this prophecy. Yet the wording here seems to suggest a time yet to come beyond Christ’s mortal ministry. Joseph Smith–History details a lot of scriptures that talk about a day of burning before the Lord’s return.
I have reviewed the four entries that I made 11 years ago about this set of scriptures. “The Lord does not forget the execution of his covenants.” There is both personal and global significance to this thought that I penned back then. Yet, as I read afresh the words of Isaiah. There are key insights that I didn’t catch 11 years ago, like the references to Israel in these verses have reference to the kingdom of the north, the kingdom of Israel or ten tribes that had separated itself from Judah and Jerusalem.
The fruit of the gospel as described in these early verses is joy. The nature of this joy is such as is given at the time of harvest, after an extended period of time laboring in the fields. This joy is also described as being like the spoils of battle, which thing is obtained after an extended period of conflict. The recurring motif is this: joy is the result of patience, diligent striving.
It is Conference morning (October 3, 2020), last evening at the end of my work day, I had a moment of profound peace. The thought that came to mind was that I, as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ, was being blessed by the prayers of our leaders as they were gathered to prepare for General Conference. I could see in my mind’s eye, Heavenly Father pouring out an extra measure of his peace upon his children, those who have hearts to feel it, at a time in a world that is swirling in confusion.
Verse 3 of Isaiah 9 states in past tense, “Thou hast multiplied the nation.” What nation? Does this not have reference to Abraham’s covenant promise that he received from the Lord? “And I will make of thee a great nation.” (Abraham 2:9). And do we not gather today, around the globe, as a people large enough to constitute a nation?
The apex of this chapter and perhaps the greatest messianic prophecy ever utter, and still pending fulfillment:
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, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.Verses 6 & 7
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 for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
I have been struggling with some personal doubts and acute feelings of dispair in the last 12 hours or so, but I am now realizing that when I look to Christ, those feelings do not persist, nor can they stand. This is real!
In this reading, I am also impressed by the personal nature of the description of the Savior, “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given!” You and I are given the blessing of this Child. To me and my family is given a the gift of a Son. He is our Redeemer.
And the burden of government shall be his! I don’t imagine a government that is ordered after the order of Christ, or His priesthood, being complicated or unruly. In fact, I see it as something simple, because Christ is simple. It is man unrighteous who causes the government to be complicated.