Some thoughts on Isaiah 7:
In Isaiah 7:8 a prophecy is recorded. ….within 65 years, Epphraim will be too shattered to be a People. God says that the threat to Jerusalem from Ephraim (modern West Bank) and Aram (modern Syria) will come to naught.
In Isaiah 7:14 a validating sign is given … the Lord Himself will give you (plural) a signn. The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son…Immmanuel (God with us)
Matthew 1:23 informs us that the birth of Jesus is a fulfillment of the sign identified in Isaiah 7:14. Matthew does not go on to explain how this validating sign would be connected with a fulfillment of the actual prophecy connected with it in Isaiah 7:8, although it is likely that the eschatology of the early church was heavily influenced by this anticipation. (references like Jesus being at the doorâ € in Peter, James, and Paul's writings) Deliverance did not arrive within 65 years (around 62 AD, and shortly thereafter the Jewish War commenced leading up to the destruction of the Temple and the nation itself shortly thereafter).
A sign points to something. In Isaiah 7:14 the sign gives proof that deliverance will follow within 65 years. In actual fact this prophecy was fulfilled right on time. The northern kingdom of Ephraim was depopulated by the Assyrians by 670 BC and repopulated by Arabs from the desert whom no man could rule. However, commentators are at a loss to explain the literal fulfillment of the sign in 735 BC. There are feeble attempts to link this to some young maiden in the palace of Ahaz etc. So we have a fulfilled prophecy but no understanding of what the sign actually was some 65 years earlier. Now we fast-forward some 730 years later to the birth of Jesus. Here we have the sign given but no 65-year fulfillment. Rath er Paul speaks of widespread apostasy from the faith (Everyone in Asia has deserted me! Call it the big disappointment.)
Isaiah 8:8 indicates the name of Immanuel applies to Israel itself. Look up the 3 references to Immanuel in a concordance (Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:23 and yes, Isaiah 8:8) But in what sense could Israel be a miracle baby Immanuel (God is with us)? The Jewish rabbis maintain that on May 14, 1948, the creation of the modern state of Israel was a direct fulfillment of Isaiah 66:8,9… €œCan a country be born in a day, a Nation brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion (Jerusalem) in labor than she gives birth to her children. Do I bring to the moment of birth (literally the "crowning of the baby's head") and not give delivery says the Lord? Isaiah 66 goes on to describe in verses 11, 12 a suckling child who is dandled on her knees. The miracle child in this case is…. Israel itself!!
But in what sense is Jerus salem a virgin/maiden mother (i.e. having no earthly husband)? Isaiah 25:5 answers the question about Jerusalem as mother For your Maker (God) is your husband who will father your offspring. Jesus is the miracle child Immanuel as per Matthew 1:23 but so is Israel as per Isaiah 8:8, 66:8,9 and 54:5! God is father of both!
If this analysis is correct then the following flows from it: In our time God Himself has intervened in history to bring to birth in May 1948 a miracle child Israel. It is a sign to all of us that will lead up to a literal fulfillment of deliverance from threats to Jerusalem coming from the area of ancient Ephraim (Arab Palestinian West Bank) and Aram (Syria) within 65 years. Furthermore the so-called Palestinian People will no longer be called a people. Perhaps God will reverse the process that occurred in the 7th century BC when the original titleholders to the Land (Israelites) were removed and replaced by Arab s.
So who is likely to serve as mid-wife for the new Palestinian state? I predict the arrangements setting it up will be imposed on Israel, not willingly negotiated. Some have suggested United Nations involvement, or even the newly emerging Mediterranean Union. Personally, I think it will be a coalition involving NATO. In that case, like Desert Storm, the coalition would be 15/16 American forces unfortunately. We could speculate on why America would want heavy military presence in the area of ancient Ephraim. (West Bank) Some would welcome this security to protect Israel from a terror state like the one that emerged in Gaza. Others might speculate on darker motives involving oil and gas. Sadly this region is the very mountains of Israel that God indicated he would restore to the Jewish people in Ezekiel 36, and then protect against hostile military action in Ezekiel 38 and 39. Read the lengthy Ezekiel 36 thread in archives to get a flavor for that discussion!
Sixty-five solar years from May 1948 is springtime 2013. Thus the window within 65 years would extend from spring 2012 to spring 2013; otherwise it would be within 64 years, etc. However if the biblical prophetic year of 360 days is involved here, the whole process moves ahead .... spring 2011 to spring 2012. This is the very timeline being declared for the formation of a new Arab state in the ancient area of Ephraim, in alliance with Syria/Aram, involving the Palestinian people, and including Jerusalem as its capital. Amazing!!! Who will put a stop to this? …Only the intervention of the other Immanuel- the Lord Messiah HHimself. Thus the second Immanuel saves the first Immanuel. This potentially connects the sign and the fulfillment together for the first time in history. God gave a sign (the birth of Jesus to a virgin maiden) so extraordinary that it constitutes one of the major book ends of creeds of the Christian church .Born of a virgin, suffered under Pontius Pilate… Why would God provide such a dramatic sign in Isaiaah's writing, one that king Ahaz did not even want but God insisted on giving, when no one can figure out what it meant, either as a sign or its connection to the 65 year prophecy, and concerning a third rate war that no one except a historian has even heard of (the Syro-Ephramic War of 735BC)…unless it is meant for our timee. That also means that the Immanuel of Matthew 1:23 MUST be included in this fulfillment, otherwise the sign of Jesus birth itself stands alone and unconnected.
I suspect we will all find out soon how it all turns out.