The famous verse of Isaiah 9:6 is circulated and exclaimed in Christmas services worldwide, as many Christians, and likely even non-Christians, know. But what I didn’t know as a former Christian and likely many of my friends/family also don’t know is a few eye-opening truths about this particular “Christmas verse”.
1) Isaiah 9:6 was altered in translation from the Hebrew to English to make it sound like the prophet Isaiah was speaking of a FUTURE person (like 700+ years in the future), which Christianity uses to proclaim Jesus is the Messiah, when in fact the verbs in Hebrew throughout the verse are PAST tense or indicating an unfolding matter. In other words, this verse is not about Jesus, but more accurately a person in Isaiah’s time.
Most Christians don’t have Hebrew Bibles, read Hebrew, or speak it let alone understand the depths of Hebrew like Rabbis do and many Jews do for they are raised early on to read it, speak it, study it. Naturally, the average person reading the translations put much trust in the translator(s). Hence, why I am slowly learning to read Hebrew for myself, though daunting.
2) Many don’t recognize the significance of Hebrew names and that it is common to refer to God or an attribute of His within the Hebrew name while not labeling that person as God Himself for that would be blasphemous and against concepts throughout Torah. So most Christians don’t realize the phrases like “wonderful counselor”, “prince of peace”, “mighty/strength of God”, etc. are the translations of Hebrew name meanings. In general, Judaism believes this verse of Isaiah 9:5/6 is describing Hezekiah, Ahaz’s son, when one reads/studies Hebrew and in context. Apparently, even some Christian commentators agree with Jewish sages on the meaning of this verse being about Hezekiah, not Jesus. Moreover, names throughout the Hebrew can and often do have prophetic, or at the very least, hopeful implications connected to that child and/or his/her descendants. For example, in Isaiah 8:1-4, the chapter before the infamous Christmas verse, Isaiah’s wife gets pregnant and they name the child to capture a hopeful, future event WITHIN that child’s lifetime – according to those verses. What is interesting is in Isaiah 7:10-17, a chapter earlier, King Ahaz reluctantly asks for a sign to help know God’s will, per the LORD’s prompting. The prophet Isaiah informs the skeptical king that a pregnant woman, likely a wife or concubine of King Ahaz’s when you consider he says “Look” indicating the young woman is present and uses present tense verbs stating she “is” with child and about to give birth. The Prophet Isaiah tells King Ahaz that baby or pregnant woman is the sign of hope and direction King Ahaz needs. Was that baby the future King Hezekiah? Highly likely. Hence, the eloquent and lengthy description of what was about to unfold for the Northern Kingdom/House of Israel/Ephraim the Southern Kingdom/House of Judah when Assyria, who God uses as His rod of anger/discipline (Isaiah 10:5) approaches, and the description of King Hezekiah (Ahaz’s son) in Isaiah 9:6 (vs 5 in Jewish Bible). Hezekiah means strength/mighty God. Over a few decades, Assyria invaded Israel, but thanks to King Hezekiah’s leadership as a wonderful counselor, ruler of peace, and strength of God in him, etc.(2 Kings 18-20), Assyria failed to conquer Jerusalem and the House of Judah (the Southern Kingdom), but did take the Northern Kingdom and those 10 tribes of Israel eventually assimilated into the nations, lost. Even more interesting is how God used yet another pregnant woman, being Isaiah’s pregnant wife, their unborn son, as a confirmation to Ahaz’s sign in the following verses of Isaiah 8. Neither of those pregnant women’s unborn babies was God Himself, nor foretell of God “in the flesh”, for that is against God’s own instructions in Torah, but rather, both of those pregnancies conveyed the reassurance that the tribe of Judah/House of Judah/Southern Kingdom need not fear, God is with them. For as the prophet Jeremiah reiterated later during the Babylonian captivity of Judah, God always has (and still has) hope and a future for Jews/Israel (Jeremiah 29:10) even when things look bleak. The prophet Zechariah in Zechariah 8 also predicts, in the end of it all, Gentiles will flock to Jews realizing God indeed is still with them.
Such things among many others I discovered when trying to prove Jesus is the Messiah using only Hebrew Scriptures. Shockingly, while studying and wrestling with God, I discovered the heartbreaking opposite as the “messianic prophecies” allegedly linked to Jesus could rather easily be debunked. Moreover, in addition to discovering I was misled, albeit unintentionally, I, like many Christians, are grossly guilty of reading into the “old” testament (Just labeling it “old” is clever, isn’t it? Implying it is irrelevant and replaceable just like “the church” is allegedly the new and improved Israel) what we want it to mean rather than letting the text interpret itself as well as actually studying the many layers of Hebrew not to mention the numerous wise sages who spent lifetimes studying such things. Even more disturbing was discovering how many pagan gods have a similar storyline as Jesus (i.e. virgin birth, celebrated on Dec 25, or died and was resurrected, etc.) as well as learning the gospels, where we get the largely fictional accounts of Jesus, were written decades after Jesus lived and died by unknown authors- all after Paul mysteriously sees some vision in the sky similar to Emperor Constantine’s vision in the sky who really went and turned faith of Jesus into an entirely antisemitic beast.
Needless to say, 2020 was a very eye-opening year as I discovered much truth and still am learning more! Many tears were shed I will tell you that much, but once I accepted these harsh realities, the truth set me free. I will attach some articles and videos for anyone interested to investigate for themselves. In all sincerity, for the love of God, I pray more take off the Christian glasses we’ve been prescribed for in doing so, much comes into focus. 2020.