But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined. You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil. For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
The prophet Isaiah, after pronouncing severe judgment against Judah and those within her who disbelief God, carries on here to prophesy about the Messiah who will save Israel from her enemies. He has already prophesied that the Messiah is to come to bring peace to His people, and the sign of the Messiah is that he comes from a virgin (Is. 7:14). Such peace is the true peace which only He can give, and in this passage, we can see Isaiah proclaiming much more regarding this great Messiah who will bring peace to Israel.
In verses 1, we can see the prophecy being proclaimed of the place where the Messiah is to come from (not his birthplace but his place of residence and hometown so to speak). Galilee is situated at the Northeastern region of Israel in the land given to the tribe of Naphtali, and it is from this place where hope would shine forth. God starts off by promising that "there will be no gloom for those who are in anguish", thus showing forth that God is here offering consolation for those who are in deep sorrow over sin and the judgment because of sin. This area has not featured as an important area at all in God's plan previously, and as such is described as being "brought into contempt", yet this will change as God will use this backward area as the hometown for the coming Messiah. Galilee the backward, uncouth and rustic area, the place at the edge of the land of Israel where Gentiles are very much present, will be the place which God decides to honor as the place where the Messiah would grow up and hail from.
Verses 2 to 7 proclaims the exceeding wonders and glories of the coming of the Messiah, of which we can meditate on its fullness just by itself. The Messiah here is the Light that comes into the world (Jn. 1:9; 8:12). To a dark and dreary land full of darkness and hopelessness, He came to give joy (v. 3) and light, as He is the One who can give them peace. The Messiah will come to release His people from bondage from the oppresor (v. 4), though such a delivery was most definitely not what the Jews of Jesus' time expected as they were too carnal to understand true spiritual truths. The garments of war would be burned up and destroyed in the fire at His coming, thus signifying the ceassation of war and the coming of peace as the Kingdom of God breaks into the lives of people as they submit to Christ. Truly, the Messiah would bring peace and joy to His people, which is certainly great news to those who are in the midst of war and/or oppression.
Verse 6 is the mighty proclamation not only of the lofty titles of the Messiah, but also of His identification with Divinity itself! This child the Messiah is born and is given for us, and He shall be the ruler and sovereign over His people, finally shattering the kingdoms of the world when He comes again and takes His rightful Kingship over the whole world. He is called Wonderful Counselor, showing His tender-hearted care of His people and binding up their wounds. He is also the Prince of Peace who will bring peace over our souls and our lives and, when He comes again, over the whole world. And He is called Mighty God and the Everlasting Father, which are titles of divinity and thus identifying the Messiah as being God Himself; God incarnate since He would come in the flesh, being born of a virgin (Is. 7:14), as a child and a son! What an astounding revelation God made to those who have eyes to see and ears to hear this astounding prophecy uttered by the prophet Isaiah, which was canonized in the Old Testament before Christ even came on the scene historically? Yet, the Jews in Jesus' time (including the religious leaders) were so blind to their own scriptues which prophesied about their own Messiah that they think it is blasphemy for Jesus who claim to be the Messiah to claim to be God (Jn. 8:58; 10:30-33)! How tragic!
Verse 7 carries on with the proclamation of the victorious, ever-growing and everlasting nature of the reign, rule and peace of the Messiah's Kingdom, which will be established in perfect justice and righteousness. The Messiah is prophesied to sit on the throne of David and is thus the eternal heir of David's throne. We can see here the phrase that "there will be no end" applied to his kingdom and of peace, thus showing that no mere earthly reality and Kingdom is meant here, nor is this ruling Messiah a mere mortal since all human beings must die and "lose" their kingdoms to either their heirs, usurpers or conquerors (And no, they cannot bring their kingdom to heaven either unless he is God). From this, we can immediately see that the Messiah must be more than human if such a prophecy is to come true, so this should immediately put to rest all Jewish speculations about an earthly Messiah, which sadly it didn't.
This entire prophetic utterance is concluded by the sure word of the Lord promising the fulfilment of this prophecy, because God Himself as it were places His Name and honor on the line for its fulfilment. "For the zeal of the LORD of host will do this", and therefore it will be done, and absolutely nobody can stop it.
Truly, what a powerful Messianic prophecy of encouragement to the remnant during Isaiah's time, and to us too as we look back to the Cross. For God so loved us that He promised and placed His honor on the line to fulfil His promise for our deliverance and hope. Absolutely nothing can stop God from sending the Messiah our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to come and save us from our sins, to liberate us from darkness in the power of sin into His glorious light, and thus bringing us into His Kingdom where he reigns in our hearts and brings peace to our troubled souls. Let us therefore come now and spend some time in awe of this God who has done all this for us, and worship Him who is worthy of all our praises and honor and glory! May the Lamb who was slain receive all glory, honor, power and praise now and forever, world without end, Amen!