jimmyakin.com/wp-content/uploads/dream_of_joseph_champaigne-270x300.jpgThis Sunday the readings include the famous prophecy of Immanuel.
They proclaim God’s supremacy and our call to holiness.
They review the basics of the gospel message.
And they record the birth of Jesus and how it came about.
Here are 10 things to know and share . . .
1) What does the first reading say?
The first reading is Isaiah 7:10-14. (You can read it here.)
In this reading the prophet Isaiah confronts Ahaz, the king of Judea. He demands that Ahaz name a sign to show that the Lord will protect his kingdom. The sign can be as “high as heaven” or “as deep as**sh’ol*” (Hebrew, “the grave,” “the underworld”; pronounced “sh’OL”).
Ahaz, however, refuses to name a sign, saying, “I will not put the Lord to the test.”
Isaiah then declares:
Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also?
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign.
Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.
2) What does this mean?
At the time the prophecy was given, the southern kingdom of Judah was demoralized by news that the northern kingdom of Israel was in league with Syria.
Under God’s inspiration, Isaiah wanted to strengthen the courage of the Judean king, Ahaz. He therefore offered him a sign from God to prove that he would defend the kingdom of Judea.
Ahaz, however, refused to name a sign—on the pretext that one should not “test the Lord” (Deut. 6:16).
While it is true, as a general rule, that one should not put the Lord to the test, this rule is suspended if the Lord himselfinvitesyou to do so.
As a result, Isaiah—an established prophet of the Lord—rebukes Ahaz and declares that he is not only wearing out the patience of men but is also wearing out the patience of God by refusing to name a sign.
He then declares that the Lord himself will name a sign, and gives the famous prophecy of “Immanuel.”
3) What does the prophecy of “Immanuel” mean?