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The Closed-Womb Prophecy Part I Isa. 7:1-9:7 Print E-mail
Written by Victoria Radin   

“…Therefore the L-rd Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the young maiden shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)

To understand this prophecy and its fullest implications for the future of Israel and indeed, for all mankind, requires some background information. It is important for the reader to be familiar with the situation that existed in Israel at the time the prophecy was given and also to comprehend the way G-d spoke to and through the Hebrew prophets. For instance, in The Closed-Womb Prophecy, G-d deliberately used words that were ambiguous, language filled with irony and metaphor, and dialogue that was enigmatic and abounding in allusions to future fulfillment. Part I, herein, deals specifically with the prophecy as it pertained to the situation in Israel at the time it was spoken.

After King Solomon’s reign, Israel was split into two kingdoms, the Northern Kingdom called Ephraim or Israel with its capital being Samaria and the Southern Kingdom called Judah with its capital Jerusalem. The Ephraimite, Jeroboam, broke away from the Davidic kingdom of Israel and formed a ‘new’ kingdom. Ten of Israel’s tribes went with Jeroboam in rebellion and the land allotted to them became the borders of the new ‘kingdom’. Jeroboam established false places of worship, a false priesthood, and established false festivals, i.e. not according to the Word of G-d. Therefore, “Ephraim” represented an illegitimate kingdom on seized land with a false religion, i.e. a kingdom in rebellion to G-d.

On the other hand, G-d referred to the Southern Kingdom as “Judah”, the House of David, because all the legitimate kings ruled from there, where the Temple stood, the legitimate place of worship, with legitimate priests, practicing legitimate biblical festivals. Judah’s name means “Praise” or “One who praises G-d”.

The prophecy that is discussed herein in Parts I, II, and III, concerns G-d’s word to King Ahaz of the House of David through the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 7:1 through 9:7, sometimes called the Closed-Womb Prophecy. This prophecy is SO important because it is deemed to be the first fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy in the New Testament. My purpose here is to demonstrate that this prophecy will also be the final fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy in the New Testament.

Near Fulfillment (at time prophecy given)  > Fulfillment in Yeshua   > Final Fulfillment (on a broad scale)

 The Prophecy At The Time It Was Spoken to King Ahaz

 Pekah, King of Israel (a/k/a Ephraim) and Rezin, King of Syria had formed an alliance against King Ahaz of the House of David, intending to conquer Judah and appoint their own vassal king. As a result, fear gripped Ahaz and the residents of Jerusalem. G-d told the Prophet Isaiah to go to Ahaz with a word from the L-rd…

“Take heed, and be quiet; do not fear or be fainthearted for these two stubs of smoking firebrands…[Their plan] shall not stand, nor shall it come to pass…in 65 years [1], shall Ephraim be broken, that it be not a people.” (Isaiah 7:4, 7, 8)

 Ahaz did not believe Isaiah, so G-d offered Ahaz to ask for a sign that would confirm the Word of the L-rd to him. But, he refused. G-d was wearied by Ahaz’s unbelief and gave him a sign of His own, a sign that would find an immediate fulfillment in Ahaz’s life, proving that G-d was with the House of David (Kings of Judah) whom G-d called Immanuel (Isaiah 8:8). G-d would protect the House of David from Pekah and Rezin by sending His ‘hired razor’ (7:20), the King of Assyria, to conquer them thus preventing the imminent attack on the Kingdom of Judah.

 This “sign was meant for the entire House of David as it uses a plural ‘you’ (vs. 14).

 Please note that author has inserted all Scripture emphasis and brackets in this article.

“…Hear now, O house of David! Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will you weary my God also? Therefore the L-rd Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the young woman [Heb. almah, translated ‘virgin’[1]] shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel [God is with us]. (Isaiah 7:13-14)

Moreover, G-d said:

“… before the Child shall know to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land that you dread will be forsaken by both her kings [i.e. Pekah and Rezin].” (Isaiah 7:16)

“Be shattered, O you peoples [Pekah/Ephraim], and be broken in pieces! Give ear, all you from far countries [Rezin/Syria].…. Take counsel together, but it will come to nothing; Speak the word, but it will not stand, For G-d is with us [Judah/the House of David].” (Isaiah 8:9, 10)

Within only a few years of G-d’s word to Ahaz, it came to pass. Assyria invaded Syria, killed Rezin and exiled the Syrian people. Many Ephraimites were also exiled at that time. Thus, G-d prevented the attack upon Judah (King Ahaz).

The young maiden [almah/virgin] in the ‘near fulfillment’ of this prophecy is not named, but had to have been a young woman who was known to Ahaz or it would not have been a “sign” to him. Some Jewish sages taught that Hezekiah was the ‘child’ who was supposed to be the awaited Messiah [Immanuel], but it was delayed. However, Hezekiah could not have been the “son” in this prophecy because Hezekiah was born when Ahaz was only twelve years old[3] and Ahaz did not become king until he was twenty (2 Kings 16:1), making Hezekiah already eight years old when the Word was given.

Alternatively, a man who was in line to become the High Priest, Hilkiah, was a contemporary of Ahaz and must have married and fathered his own son Eliakim around that time. According to Law, the High Priest had to marry an Israelite virgin. Therefore, Hilkiah’s wife was an “almah”, a young maiden. Eliakim, whose name means, “raised by G-d” was most likely the “child/son” in this “near fulfillment” of the prophecy. Many likenesses in Eliakim’s life make him a ‘type’ of the Messiah, he being Immanuel to the people of his day.

G-d announced to Shebna[4], the appointed governor of Judah with whom G-d was very displeased, that He would clothe Eliakim with the robe of authority previously worn by him and expel Shebna from this exalted position. The description of G-d’s blessing on Eliakim is identical to that which describes the Messiah in Isaiah 9:6-7 and Revelation 3:7.

“And I will clothe him with your tunic, and tie your sash securely about him, I will entrust him with your authority, and he will become a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. Then I will set the key of the house of David on his shoulder, when he opens no one will shut, when he shuts no one will open. And I will drive him like a peg in a firm place, and he will become a throne of glory to his father’s house.…” (Isaiah 22:21-23)

Just before the planned invasion by Pekah and Rezin, G-d told Isaiah to meet Ahaz, king of Judah “by the conduit of the upper pool on the highway of the fuller’s field” (Isaiah 7:3) with his son whose name means, “A remnant shall return”. This location thereby became associated with a return of the remnant. Years later, when Hezekiah was king and Eliakim was governor[5], Eliakim met the head of the invading Assyrian army in the same place, “by the conduit[6] of the upper pool on the highway of the fuller’s field” (Isaiah 36:2).

G-d’s instruction to Isaiah to meet Ahaz at “the conduit of the upper pool” can have a double meaning in the Hebrew. The Hebrew word for “pool” sounds like the word for “blessing”. And the word for “upper” also means “the most high”. So a second, cryptic meaning would be the place of the “blessing of the Most High”, a “blessing” because G-d promised, by the presence of Isaiah’s son, that a remnant would return.

As a result of that meeting, Eliakim pleaded with Isaiah to pray to G-d on behalf of the remnant (Isaiah 37:4), i.e. those who were left after Syria and Ephraim had ravished much of Judah and Assyria had conquered and exiled much of Ephraim. Eliakim became the intermediary for the remnant to ‘return to G-d’ for help. These Scriptures, (Isaiah 7:3, 7:14 and 36:2), tie Eliakim (the first Immanuel) to G-d’s ongoing deliverance of Israel. This position of intermediary is another way that he can be likened to the Messiah, Yeshua.

It would appear that the Hebrew word, “almah” in The Closed-Womb Prophecy was deliberately chosen due to its ambiguous nature, since it can mean both “young maiden” and “virgin”. In the ‘near fulfillment’ of this prophecy, it was used to describe an obviously pure maiden that was married to a priest, a priest who must have been known to King Ahaz. In the second realization of this prophecy, to which the original prophecy pointed, the Messiah was born to an actual virgin. This leads to Part II of the fulfillment of this prophecy, the fulfillment in the life of Yeshua.

 


[1] According to theologian, E. W. Bullinger, although Assyria captured and exiled many Israelites of the Northern Kingdom in 722 BCE, he calculates that it wasn’t until many years later during King Manasseh’s reign that all the Ephraimites were removed and ceased to exist as a people. In Assyria, Esarhaddon reigned after the death of Sennacherib. It was Esarhaddon's practice to replace the people of captured nations with other peoples of other captured nations in order to assure they would not unite with peoples of the land and rebel. Esarhaddon secured the area of Northern Israel (Ephraim) in 676 BC and sent the people to Babylon as slave labor and brought the Babylonians to Northern Israel during his reign. That is when the people of Ephraim "ceased to be a people" in fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah 7:8. The year 676BC was exactly 65 years after the prophecy was given.

[2] Translated “virgin” by the Septuagint - LXX, a body of 70 Israelite scholars

[3] Ahaz was 20 when he began to reign and reigned 16 years. Therefore he died at 36. Hezekiah was 25 when he began to reign. Therefore, Ahaz was 11 or 12 when Hezekiah was born.

[4] Shebna was a ‘type of Satan who gained authority over mankind in the Garden of Eden because of sin, but Yeshua, typified by Eliakim in this passage, gained the authority back from Satan when He died on the cross for the sins of mankind.

[5] Just as Joseph, a ‘type’ of the Messiah in Egypt, was second only to Pharaoh; in the same way, Eliakim, as governor, was second only to the King. This is a picture of Yeshua being second only to G-d the Father.

[6] This conduit was most probably one connected with Gihon, the present “Virgin's Fountain”, well known as "the upper spring". (2 Chronicles 32:30

 

 
 
 
 
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