Some scholars today are wondering whether the ancient Hebrew Prophets understood that they were writing about the future Messiah? Even more specifically, these scholars question whether the Prophets predicted that the Messiah would be God? If they were to write a song, I suppose they would call it, Isaiah, Did You Know?
Many scholars believe that the ancient Hebrew prophets did foretell the birth of the Messiah, but they question whether the Prophets predicted that the Messiah would be God in the flesh? It’s hard to believe that the Jewish people would expect a divine Messiah. Yet, the prophet Isaiah did indeed reveal that the Messiah would have a mysterious nature and identity. He wrote in Isaiah 9:6, “For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us.” That this child will be born certainly indicates His humanity. And Isaiah goes on to say that “the government will be on His shoulders” revealing that the child would be a royal figure. Most amazing, though, are the titles the child would be called, “Wonderful-Counselor, Mighty God, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace.” All these indicate the Messiah’s deity.
I might call a child “wonderful” and certainly he might grow up to be a counselor. But in Scripture these two words are used specifically of the wondrous acts of God and of God’s divine counsel. In Isaiah 28:29 God Himself is said to be “wonderful in counsel.” But beyond this, I would never have the audacity to name an ordinary child “mighty God,” two words when used together refer exclusively to the Lord God. Moreover, would I name an infant “Father of eternity?” This name identifies Him as the creator of time (which is what Father of eternity means). Nor would I expect an everyday child to be the Prince of Prince, the ruler who would establish peace for all the world. Isaiah 9:6 predicts the birth of a human child who would also be full deity, God in the flesh. Isaiah’s prophecy predicts the birth of the God-Man.
Jesus the Messiah had to be God in the flesh; He had to be fully human. Hebrews 2:17says why: “He had to be like His brothers in every way, so that He could become a merciful and faithful High Priest.” Jesus had to be fully human so He could be our representative before God.
But the Messiah also had to be fully God so he could be a perfect High priest, He not only needed to represent us, He needed to be morally perfect, a characteristic only true of God. Hebrews 4:15 describes Jesus as “One who has been tested in every way, as we are, yet without sin!” Jesus was fully God! That’s what we celebrate every Christmas. It’s not really just about the birth of an ordinary baby–at this season we celebrate the birth of the God-Man; He is the One who sympathizes with our human weaknesses and also presents Himself as a sinless, perfect offering to God. Now through Him, we can be part of God’s family forever.
Dr. Michael Rydelnik