Isaiah Prophecies the Birth of Christ in Chapter 9 / 2 Nephi 19

Join Me In Studying How Isaiah Prophecies of the Birth of Christ

14873
Click here to read the Isaiah Chapters in the Book of Mormon

Isaiah prophesies the birth of Christ; Jesus is the “light of the world.” A Son, the Messiah, will be born and rule with justice forever. Judgments are pronounced against the northern kingdom of Israel 

“This is a continuation of the topic in chapter 8. King Ahaz of Judah ignored the Lord’s counsel and made an alliance with Assyria anyway. The symbolism here can include that Assyria would represent the devil and his evil, prideful ways. King Ahaz could symbolize foolish and wicked people who make alliances with the devil or his evil ways and naively think that they are thus protected from destruction spiritually and often physically.

In this chapter [Isaiah 9 ], Isaiah gives one of the most famous and beautiful of all his messianic prophecies. He prophesies that Christ will come. Handel’s “Messiah” puts some of this chapter to magnificent music.”1

“Unto us a child is born;” his prophetic promise of a “special child who would bring light into a darkened world and be the prince of peace provides comfort to readers of all generations.”2

 THE BOOK OF THE PROPHET
ISAIAH

CHAPTER 9

Isaiah speaks about the Messiah—The people in darkness will see a great Light—Unto us a Child is born—He will be the Prince of Peace and reign on David’s throne—Compare 2 Nephi 19

King James Version

Book of Mormon
2 Nephi 19

Expanded Notes and Commentary

 Joseph Smith Translation (JST) corrections in the Book of Mormon are in RED; commentary and notes are GREEN 

In some Bible translations, the split between Isaiah 8 and 9 occurs one verse earlier, with the last verse of Isaiah 8 becoming the first verse of Isaiah 9. Medieval scribes developed the earliest division of Isaiah’s writings into chapters and verses, and later translators continue with minor adjustments to the numbering.—Terry Ball and Nathan Winn, Making Sense of Isaiah, Deseret Bookshelf

aNevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, bwhen at the first he lightly afflicted the land of cZebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations.x

x

x

aNevertheless, the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at first he lightly afflicted the bland of cZebulun, and the land of dNaphtali, and afterwards did more grievously afflict by the way of the Red Sea beyond Jordan in Galilee of the nations.

x

xxx

[This verse] is somewhat complex and basically prophesies that the Savior will come to earth and prepare a way for people to escape from spiritual darkness and despair. It helps to know that two of the twelve tribes of Israel, the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali, were located in what became known as Galilee in the Savior’s day. Thus, verse 1 says that the humbling of haughty Israel, which took place when the Assyrians swept down upon them, will someday be softened when the Savior walks and teaches there during His mortal mission—Ridges, David J., The Old Testament Made Easier Part 3  Cedar Fort, Inc., Kindle Edition.

Verses 1–7 Isaiah Prophecies the Birth of Christ

As the Assyrians swept down against the alliance of Israel (Ephraim) and the Syrians, they
destroyed Damascus and captured the northern region of Israel, later called the Galilee (see 

2 Kings 15:27–31).
In spite of this invasion and the threat it posed for the rest of Israel and for Judah in the south,
Isaiah prophesied of the coming of the Messiah as the coming of light. The lands inherited by
the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali were in northern Israel, or the Galilee, where Jesus was raised
and spent most of His ministry. The Keil and Delitzsch translation of verse 1 shows more clearly
what is promised: 

“‘For it does not remain dark where there is now distress: in the first time He brought into
disgrace the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and in the last He brings to honour the
road by the sea, the other side of Jordan, the circle of the Gentiles’” (Commentary,7:1:243).

They added this explanation: “The reason assigned for the fact that the unbelieving people of
Judah had fallen into night without morning, is, that there was morning coming, whose light,
however, would not rise upon the land of Judah first, but upon other parts of the land. … The
meaning is, There is not, i.e. there will not remain; state of darkness over the land, … which
is now in state of distress; but those very districts which God has hitherto caused to suffer
deep humiliation He will bring to honour by and by. … The height of the glorification would
correspond to the depth of the disgrace.” (
Commentary, 7:1:243.)

Isaiah Prophesies the Birth of Christ

Matthew saw the fact that the Messiah dwelt in the area of Galilee as the fulfillment of Isaiah’s
prophecy 
(see Matthew 4:12–16)—Old Testament Student Manual (OTSM)

The people that walked in adarkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.

This verse  “likens the Messiah to a ‘great light’ that will shine in the lands of Zebulun and Naphtali, which in the Savior’s time were the areas around Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee”ibid.
x

Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.

The inconsistency of verse 3 is corrected when the purer Book of Mormon text is used. The word not does not appear (see 2 Nephi 19:3).

Thou hast multiplied the nation, and aincreased the joy—they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.x

 

 

x

Isaiah describes a great joy accompanying the arrival of the “great light” (v. 2). He compares the prosperity and gladness of the people to “the joy in harvest” and their rejoicing when dividing the spoil. Anciently, the harvest was a joyful time—a time of receiving abundance from the land. God not only provides abundance in an annual harvest, but He also shares eternal gifts.Victor LudlowUnlocking Isaiah in the Book of Mormon. Deseret Book, p 146
x
4 For thou hast broken the ayoke of his bburden, and the staff of his shoulder, the crod of his oppressor, as din the day of eMidian.  For thou hast broken the yoke of ahis burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his boppressor.
x
The prophecy promises that the Messiah will break the yoke, staff, and rod of the “oppressor” and ultimately reign in power and glory (9:6–8).— Terry Ball and Nathan Winn, Making Sense of Isaiah, Deseret Bookshelf
aFor every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with bburning and fuel of fire.

x
x

 For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but athis shall be with burning and fuel of fire.

 

Isaiah “wrote in this chapter of Christ’s coming as ‘a great light’ (v. 2), His first appearance, and as a ‘burning’ (v. 5), the cleansing and destruction by fire that will accompany His coming in glory—(OTSM)
bThis ‘burning’ is to be the cleansing of the earth by fire prior to the setting up of the Messianic kingdom

6 For unto us a achild is bborn, unto us a cson is given: and the dgovernment shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, eCounsellor, The fmightygGod, The heverlasting Father, The Prince of iPeace. x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

xx

For unto us a achild is born, unto us a son is given; and the bgovernment shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counselor, The cMighty God, The dEverlasting Father, The Prince of ePeace.x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

xx

 

x

Isaiah prophesies the birth of Christ. The angels at the time of the Messiah’s birth declared “peace on earth” with His coming (see Luke 2:14).  President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., discussed this important title and its meaning:

“Heralded centuries before his birth as the ‘Prince of Peace’ (Isaiah 9:6), heavenly angels announced his coming. …

“Modern man sometimes vainly thinks that Jesus’ mission was to wipe out war; and scoffers have cried that since war still curses the earth, Christ’s mission has failed and Christianity is a blight.

“Yet Christ himself sent forth his Twelve, saying:

“‘Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.’ (Matt. 10:34.)“Christ did proclaim a peace—the peace of everlasting righteousness, which is the eternal and mortal enemy of sin. Between righteousness and sin, in whatever form, there can only be unceasing war, whether in one man, among the people, or between nations in armed conflict. This war is the sword of Christ; whatever its form this war cannot end until sin is crushed and Christ brings all flesh under his dominion. Righteousness is peace wherever it abides; sin in itself is war wherever it is found.”(OTSM)

President Joseph Fielding Smith wrote about the Savior’s various titles:

“Isaiah … speaks of Christ as ‘Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.’ (Is. 9:6)

“These titles, and the sayings that Jesus was the Creator and all things were made by him, have proved to be a stumbling block to some who are not well informed. The question arises, ‘How could he, if he had not body and flesh and bones, before he was born of Mary, accomplish these things as a spirit?’ Jesus had no body of flesh and bones until he was born at Bethlehem. This he fully explained to the brother of Jared. The answer to this question is simply that he did these wonderful works because of the glory his Father had given him before he was born(John 17:5–24) and because at that time he was God. In an epistle issued by the First Presidency and Council of Twelve Apostles in 1916, these matters are clearly explained. (see Era, Vol. 19:34.) From this epistle the following is taken:“‘… scriptures that refer to God in any way as the Father of the heavens and in the earth are to be understood as signifying that God is the Maker, the Organizer, the Creator of the heavens and the earth. 

“‘With this meaning, as the context shows in every case, Jehovah, who is Jesus Christ, the Son of Elohim, is called “the Father,” and even “the very eternal Father of heaven and earth.” (See … Mosiah 16:15.) With analogous meaning, Jesus Christ is called “The Everlasting Father,” (Isaiah 9:6; compare 2 Nephi 19:6.) The descriptive titles “Everything” and “eternal” in the foregoing texts are synonymous.

“‘That Jesus Christ who we also know as Jehovah, was the executive of the Father, Elohim, in the work of creation is set forth in the book Jesus the Christ, Chap. 4. Jesus Christ, being the Creator, is constantly called the Father of heaven and earth in the sense explained above; and since his creations are of eternal quality, he is very properly called the Eternal Father of heaven and earth.’” (Church History and Modern Revelation, 1:168).— (OSTM)

7 Of the increase of his agovernment and peace there shall be no bend, upon the throne of cDavid, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with djustice from henceforth even for ever. The ezeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.  Of the increase of agovernment and peace bthere is no end, upon the throne of cDavid, 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.
x

A prophecy of the Savior’s dominion in the Millennium when he will reign personally upon the earth over all nations—Bytheway, John. Isaiah For AirheadsDeseret Book Company. Kindle Edition.

xx

x

x

8 ¶ The Lord sent a word into Jacob, and it hath lighted upon aIsrael.
x
x
x
x
x
The Lord sent his word unto Jacob and it hath lighted upon Israel.
x
x
x
x
x
The Book of Mormon retains the identifying “his word” rather than “a word” in the KJV. This retention broadens the meaning to include the gospel rather than just a single prophecy.—Monte S. Nyman, Horizon, “Great Are the Words of Isaiah,” Cedar Fort, Inc., p 68
9 And all the people shall know, even Ephraim and the inhabitant of Samaria, that say in the apride and stoutness of heart,
x
 And all the people shall know, even Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria, that say in the pride and stoutness of heart: The first evil which is to bring the judgments of God upon Ephraim is the pride of their hearts—Monte S. Nyman, Horizon, “Great Are the Words of Isaiah,” Cedar Fort, Inc., p 68
x
10 The bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones: the sycomores are cut down, but we will change them into cedars.

x

x

10 The bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn astones; the sycamores are cut down, but we will change them into bcedars.
x
x

Isaiah comments on the arrogance and pride of the people when facing the judgments of the Lord. They seem to be saying, “If you knock us down, we’ll show you—we’ll just rebuild with better materials—Bytheway, John. Isaiah For AirheadsDeseret Book Company. Kindle Edition.
x
11 Therefore the Lord shall set up the adversaries of aRezin against him, and join his enemies together;  11 Therefore the Lord shall set up the adversaries of aRezin against him, and join his enemies together; The Syrians from the east and the Philistines from the west will attack the kingdom of Israel.—Bytheway, John. Isaiah For AirheadsDeseret Book Company. Kindle Edition.  
12 The Syrians abefore, and the Philistines bbehind; and they shall devour Israel with open mouth. For all this his canger is not turned away, but his dhand is estretched out still.x
x

x

x

x

x
 12 The Syrians before and the Philistines behind; and they shall adevour Israel with open mouth. For all this his banger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.

x

x

x

x

x

x
a IE on the east.
b IE on the west.
d IE In spite of all, the Lord is available if they will turn to him (also v. 17, 21)
“His hand is stretched out still” (Isa. 9:12). To the rebellious, the Lord’s hand is a hand of chastening justice—to the repentant it is a beckoning hand of tender mercy.”—Christensen, Reg. Unlocking Isaiah, Covenant Communications Inc. Kindle Edition.
The Lord “rebukes them for their pride and warns that Syria and the Philistines will devour them”— Terry Ball and Nathan Winn, Making Sense of Isaiah, Deseret Bookshelf
13 ¶ For the people aturneth not unto him that smiteth them, neither do they bseek the Lord of hosts. 13 For the people turneth not unto ahim that smiteth them, neither do they seek the Lord of Hosts.
x
x
He chastises them for their widespread hypocrisy and evil doings and describes the equally widespread destruction they can expect (9:13–21)— Terry Ball and Nathan Winn, Making Sense of Isaiah, Deseret Bookshelf
14 Therefore the Lord will cut off from Israel head and tail, branch and rush, in one day.xx
x
x
x
x
x
14 Therefore will the Lord cut off from Israel head and tail, branch and rush ain one day.x
xx
x
x
x
x
head [leaders]
tail [false prophets]
branch [palm branch, meaning triumph and victory in Hebrew culture]
rush [reed, meaning people low in social status in the Hebrew culture]
—Ridges, David J., The Old Testament Made Easier Part 3  Cedar Fort, Inc., Kindle Edition. 
15 The aancient and honourable, he is the head; and the bprophet that teacheth lies, he is the tail.
x
x
x
x
x
x
x

15 The aancient, he is the head; and the prophet that teacheth lies, he is the tail.

x
x

x
x
x
x

The phrase “and honourable” is not given in the Book of Mormon as characteristic of the head. Under the government of Israel, the Lord’s prophet was to instruct the king or the government leaders (for example, Isaiah taught Ahaz, as Nathan had taught David), but Israel’s future prophets will cause her to err.—Monte S. Nyman, Horizon, “Great Are the Words of Isaiah,” Cedar Fort, Inc., p 69

16 For the aleaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are bdestroyed.x

x

16 For the aleaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are bled of them are destroyed.

x

Since the leaders cause the people to stray from truth and justice, and since the people choose to follow, both will be destroyed—Parry, Donald W., Understanding IsaiahDeseret Book Company. Kindle Edition
17 Therefore the Lord shall have no joy in their young men, neither shall have mercy on their fatherless and widows: for every one is an ahypocrite and an evildoer, and every mouth bspeaketh folly. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.x
x

17 Therefore the Lord shall have no joy in their young men, neither shall have amercy on their fatherless and bwidows; for cevery one of them is a hypocrite and an devildoer, and every mouth speaketh efolly. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his fhand is stretched out still. x

Verse 17, next, shows us that the entire society was corrupt through and through.—Ridges, David J., The Old Testament Made Easier Part 3  Cedar Fort, Inc., Kindle Edition.

The devastation predicted for Ephraim is disastrous, with no “mercy on their fatherless and widows”
—Joseph Spencer, The Vision of All, p, 197True to His character of mercy and abounding love, “His hand is stretched out still” (Isa. 9:17).—Christensen, Reg. Unlocking Isaiah, Covenant Communications Inc.. Kindle Edition.
18 ¶ For wickedness burneth as the fire: it shall devour the briers and athorns, and shall kindle in the bthickets of the forest, and they shall mount up like the lifting up of smoke.
xx

18For awickedness burneth as the fire; it shall devour the briers and thorns, and shall kindle in the thickets of the forests, and they shall mount up like the lifting up of smoke.
x

wickedness burneth as the fire [wickedness destroys like wildfire]
the briers and thorns [the people of apostate Israel]
the thickets of the forest [destroy the people]—Ridges, David J., The Old Testament Made Easier Part 3  Cedar Fort, Inc., Kindle Edition.
x
19 Through the wrath of the Lord of hosts is the land darkened, and the people shall be as the fuel of the fire: no man shall aspare his bbrother.
x

 19 Through the wrath of the Lord of Hosts is the aland darkened, and the people shall be as the fuel of the fire; bno man shall spare his brother.

Their “briars and thorns” will be burned up, but by their own folly, since their “wickedness burneth as the fire” (v. 18). They themselves will be “the fuel of the fire”—Joseph Spencer, The Vision of All, p, 197
x
20 And he shall snatch on the right hand, and be hungry; and he shall eat on the left hand, and they shall not be satisfied: they shall aeat every man the bflesh of his own arm:x

 20 And he ashall snatch on the right hand and be hungry; and he shall beat on the left hand and they shall not be satisfied; they shall eat every man the flesh of his own arm—x

Wickedness inevitably destroys a society and nation. Verse 20, next, describes the desperate conditions that eventually overtake a wicked people.—Ridges, David J., The Old Testament Made Easier Part 3  Cedar Fort, Inc., Kindle Edition.x
x
x
21 Manasseh, Ephraim; and Ephraim, Manasseh: and they together shall be against Judah. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.

 21 Manasseh, aEphraim; and Ephraim, Manasseh; they together shall be against bJudah. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.

With each rebuke, he assures the people that God’s displeasure will last as long as they persist in iniquity. “For all this, his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still” (9:21). — Terry Ball and Nathan Winn, Making Sense of Isaiah, Deseret Bookshelf

Ridges, David J., The Old Testament Made Easier Part 3  Cedar Fort, Inc., Kindle Edition.
Victor LudlowUnlocking Isaiah in the Book of Mormon, Deseret Book, p 14

 

Don't Miss a Post!

Stay up to date with the latest news, fulfilled prophecies, and study tips

You have Successfully Subscribed!

5 COMMENTS

  1. Vivienne lister

    I have only just found this site. I have spent a mere twenty minutes thus far, reading a little of the first part- I am already a little clearer on some small points, and look forward to really learning about Isiah. Then, instead of being worried about the studying of it, I can look forward to study and clearer understanding. Thank you.

  2. Vivienne we are so happy that you came across our site. We pledge to keep working until all 66 chapters are posted, but for now, we are just working on the Isaiah chapters found in the Book of Mormon. We hope you will keep reading and if you will check back you’ll see that Chapter 10 is up now too.

  3. I second Vivienne’s comment. This website is well-researched and the grid layout convenient and easy to read. I especially appreciate the variety of sources and quotes used and that they are clearly cited for further research. It is very easy to copy and paste the references onto the note section of the LDS scripture app. I do this for scriptures that seem especially cryptic. Understanding historical references unlocks significant and relevant meaning from Isaiah and makes me feel that I am following the Lord’s commandment to search the words of Isaiah. I am very grateful to the scholars and organizers of this website that have made this endeavor all the more reachable. I feel richly blessed. Thank you.

    • Rachel your suggestion is well made: ” It is very easy to copy and paste the references onto the note section of the LDS scripture app. I do this for scriptures that seem especially cryptic.” This is a great suggestion. In the past, I have formatted comments to print on PostIt notes, but this makes much better sense these days. You also wrote:
      “I am very grateful to the scholars and organizers of this website that have made this endeavor all the more reachable. I feel richly blessed. Thank you.” Your kind words are motivating to our team. Thanks for reading and studying with SearchIsaiah

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here