IMMANUEL and the Dual Prophecy Problem (but it’s no problem for me)

With my post dated 4-3-07 being only two weeks old, I was very surprised to find a post on a message board on the exact same subject questioning the dual fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14.  This is the passage which states that the virgin will conceive and is cited by Matthew as being fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth.  The post is by an honest inquirer, but this poster is posting the view of an unbelieving rabbi.  The rabbi insists that there can be no fulfillment of this prophecy outside the immediate context of the days of Ahaz.  In my previous post, I weighed both a fulfillment in the days of Ahaz against a future fulfillment as well.  The following are the contentions of the rabbi in green, with my comments in ORANGE.
 
> Dear brothers & sisters,
>
> Please find below a very interesting analysis of Isaiah 7:14 by a
rabbi. Your views and comments will be greatly appreciated.
>
> Blessings,
> XXXXX
 
Hello XXXXX-

This is very interesting as I have recently posted on this at my
blog. Read about it here.
I deal with this very issue in the post I made. Here is a short clip.

Let’s head back to Isaiah 7:14 with the prophecy to Ahaz that the
Lord would give him a sign, namely that a virgin would conceive and
bring forth a son. The simple reading in Isaiah with no New Testament
knowledge would lead us to believe that this prophecy was fulfilled
when Maher-shalal-hash-baz was born, Isaiah 8:1. However, there is
language here that strongly suggests that this prophecy was not
completely fulfilled. First off, his name was not called Immanuel.
Whoever this miracle child is will actually be "God with us", which
could only be truly fulfilled if God was with us, and He wasn’t until
the birth of incarnate deity, Jesus Christ, see Matthew 1:20-23, Luke
1:31-32. Thirdly, the thread of prophecy has not yet been broken
when we get to Isaiah 9:6-7 which clearly must be the Messiah.
The
second point (appearing slightly earlier in the text) I will save for
a bit.

On the side of the prophecy being fulfilled, note the immediate
circumstances that will be addressed during his infancy, Isaiah 7:16-
17. The two kings spoken of are obviously Israel (the northern
kingdom known in some places as Ephraim) and Syria. They were Ahaz’s
chief concern in 7:2 and it was the occasion for Isaiah’s visit to
Ahaz, 7:3-9. After Maher-shalal-hash-baz is born the Lord
specifically mentions that Damascus (the capitol of Syria) and
Samaria (the capitol of Israel) will be dealt with by the king of
Assyria; read the fulfillment in II Kings 16:9. So it would seem that
the prophecy which was given as a sign to Ahaz had been fulfilled at
the birth of Maher-shalal-hash-baz.

Basically, this rabbi is either ignorant of the fact that the passage
continues with clear language of the Messiah, or he is aware that the
Messiah appears later in the text and fails to bring this fact up.
Reading my breakdown of the rest of the passage in Isaiah 8 and
especially the beginning of chapter 9 would be quite helpful. Just
to whet your appetite, the writer to the Hebrews quotes Isaiah 8:18
as speaking of the Messiah and the church (his disciples). See
continued answers throughout points in his response.

 
> The troubles created by this explanation are manifold. To begin
with, the proposal of dual prophecy is entirely contrived and has no
basis in the Bible. Nowhere in the seventh chapter of Isaiah does
the text even hint of a second fulfillment.2 The notion of a dual
prophecy is thoroughly unbiblical and was fashioned in order to
explain away a stunning theological problem.

This rabbi is clearly ignorant of his own teachings. The passover
feast shows that the Israelites were delivered from their enemies,
yet each rabbi should know that a future prophet after the likes of
Moses will appear, Deuteronomy 18:15-19, to once again administer
judgement on the nations. There can be no denying that the
prophecies of Cyrus in Isaiah 44:24-45:13 were fulfilled during the
reign of Cyrus the Persian. I doubt the rabbi would dispute this.
But would he also say that Israel has been saved with an everlasting
salvation? See Isaiah 45:17 occurring in the immediate context of
the Cyrus passage. Dual fulfillment in scripture is a reality and I
could cite other examples.

> Moreover, if, as missionaries argue, the word ha’almah means
a "virgin," and, as they insist, Isaiah 7:14 was fulfilled twice, who
was the first virgin to conceive in Ahaz’s time? Were there two
virgin births? That is to say, if these Christians claim that the
virgin birth of Isaiah 7:14 was fulfilled twice, who then was the
first virgin having a baby boy in 732 B.C.E.? Bear in mind that
these missionaries insist that the word ha’almah can only mean
virgin. Are they claiming that Mary was not the first and only
virgin to conceive and give birth to a child?

The context of Isaiah’s day should be examined apart from the context
in Joseph’s day. The virgin birth spoken of in Isaiah was fulfilled
in the birth of Maher-shalal-hash-baz. The terms of fulfillment here
seem to be that the prophetess who was previously a virgin, conceived
after Isaiah went in to her to have relations with her, Isaiah 8:1-
4. The prophecy, as I state on my blog, cannot have been completely
fulfilled because Maher-shalal-hash-baz was not the Messiah who ruled
on the throne of David, Isaiah 9:6-7. The prophecy in the life of
Joseph of the lineage of David was fulfilled by a virgin conceiving
without having relations with a man that the child might be conceived
without Adam’s sin, that He might be sinless.

> Furthermore, if they claim the seventh chapter of Isaiah is a dual
prophecy, how does Isaiah 7:15-16 apply to Jesus when these verses
continue to speak of this lad? Remember, Isaiah 7:14-16 reads,
> Therefore the Lord, of His own, shall give you a
sign, "Behold the young woman is with child, and she shall bear a
son, and she shall call his name Immanuel. Cream and honey he shall
eat when he knows to reject bad and choose good; for, when the lad
does not yet know to reject bad and choose good, the land whose two
kings you dread, shall be abandoned."

It is not. Here we must use plain common sense to see that these
words were fulfilled in the life of Maher-. The rest of the passage
continues with language concerning the One known as God-With-Us
stating things that were not fulfilled until the days of Jesus of
Nazareth who caused both Judea and Samaria to stumble while His light
shined brightly in Galilee. It is not difficult to see the dual
fulfillment if you continue on with the passage. I might ask the
rabbi how the prophecies of Isaiah 8:13-18 were fulfilled during the
days of Ahaz. Any answers for that?

> If Isaiah’s words are the substance of a dual prophecy, at what
age did the baby Jesus mature? Which were the two kingdoms during
Jesus’ lifetime that were abandoned? Who dreaded the Kingdom of
Israel during the first century when there had not been a Kingdom of
Israel in existence since the seventh century B.C.E.? When did Jesus
eat cream and honey? Does any of this make any sense? It doesn’t
because this argument of a dual prophecy was born out of the
desperation of Christian missionaries and essentially makes a mockery
out of the Book of Isaiah.

Clearly not born out of desperation, the apostles whose eyes were
open when the Messiah appeared saw clearly that many hidden
prophecies in Isaiah were fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth, the Meek
and Mild Servant who would give Himself as a covenant for the people
at which time His light would shine to the Gentiles, Isaiah 42:1-7.
Read my post here.

 
It occurred to me after writing this post, that the time during which Jesus of Nazareth ministered was one of the few times in history when Isaiah 9:1-2 could have been fulfilled at all.  During this time period, Judea, Samaria, and Galilee all existed as separate territories.  So for the prophecy in the latter part of Isaiah 8 which states that both Judah and Samaria will stumble at the LORD while Galilee sees a great light must have been fulfilled during that time or it will never be fulfilled, unless Israel suddenly reconfigures itself into three separate territories again as in those days.  The simplest view is the best.  So for Israelites who truly look for a future Messiah to fulfill Isaiah 9:1-2, it’s just not going to happen, because #1- it can’t under present circumstances and #2- it has already been fulfilled.  Continue reading some of this rabbi’s comments.
 
> Best wishes for a happy Chanukah.
> Very truly yours,
> Rabbi Tovia Singer

Happy Chanukah to you as well Rabbi Tovia Singer. May the LORD open
your eyes concerning the truths of Isaiah’s Meek and Mild Servant,
Jesus of Nazareth.

> Footnotes:
> 1. Most modern Christian translators have corrected Matthew’s
mistranslation of Isaiah 7:14 and correctly translate the Hebrew
> word "almah" as a "young woman." (see below)

And yet if Hebrew writers were going to attempt to convey that a
woman was a virgin, this is one of the words that would be used. It
seems that this is the way the word is used in Genesis 24:43. Here
is a note from a Christian Hebrew lexicon.

virgin, young woman
of marriageable age
maid or newly married ++++ There is no instance where it can be
proved that this word designates a young woman who is not a virgin.

> The reason these two kingdoms laid siege to Jerusalem was to
undermine the throne of David (verse six). In II Samuel 7:12-16 the
Almighty had promised King David that the House of David — his
dynasty — would be preserved regardless of the worthiness of the
king. Ahaz was rescued by God in the merit of the House of David not
through his own worthiness. The prophet delivers this message by
addressing Ahaz both as the House of David and in the plural "you."

I hope that we all understand that the LORD will fulfill His word and
preserve the dynasty of King David through the LORD Jesus Christ. He
is King of Kings and LORD of Lords.

Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

-The Orange Mailman

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