“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given” (Isa. 9:6, ESV). Isaiah’s words are a good example of Hebrew parallelism. In Hebrew parallelism, the second phrase explains or clarifies the first phrase. Thus, this child who is born is a son who is given. These words are loaded with wonderful meaning for the listeners of Isaiah then and to believers today.
This child is born and this son is given “to us.” Israel shall rejoice. Yahweh has delivered her from the chains of a foreign tyrant. No longer will Israel be ruled by foreign rulers. The prophecy declares the birth of a native ruler of her own race. No longer will Israel be under the dark rule of alien aggressors. A son of David in the Davidic line shall rule Israel. No longer will Israel be ruled in war, but in peace. The son of David shall end all wars.
Isa. 9:5 tells of the burning of the combat boots and bloody clothes of every warring soldier. It pictures a post-war rule in peace, when these things shall be burned “as fuel for fire” (Isa. 9:5, ESV). What will make it happen? It will happen with the birth of a child in Israel and the giving of son of David!
Christmas then speaks of the birth of an Israelite ruler who will rule in peace. It proclaims the birth of a child of Israel, but also, the government of the son of David. In the next breath, the prophet Isaiah says, “And the government shall be upon his shoulder” (Isa. 9:6, ESV).
In Christ’s first coming, a child of Israel’s race was born. A son of David was given. Yet this Christ does not yet rule the whole earth. Our world is still a dark world, ruled by the kings of nations who reject Christ. But when Christ comes again, He shall establish His dominion in Israel and rule over the world in peace.
At Christmas, then, we look back to the birth of a Savior. Yet at Christmas, we also look forward to the coming King.