The true author of Scripture, not only can accurately predict future events but is also sovereign over the development of language. God knew Isaiah 7:14 would be further fulfilled by Jesus’ birth to a virgin, even though the original sign wasn’t about a virgin, but a young woman giving birth to a son and naming him Immanuel.
Have you ever thought you were so familiar with something, only to find out later you’d been overlooking some important details? This happens to me with songs, books, and movies. I hear, read, or see them so many times, only to be amazed when, out of the blue, I notice something in them I didn’t see before. Sometimes this happens to us with familiar Bible passages too.
Here’s the familiar: Jesus was born of a virgin, and Isaiah 7:14 prophesied about it. Nothing shocking yet. But let’s look at the details surrounding Isaiah’s statement about the virgin birth.
King Ahaz of Judah was having a bad day. Ephraim and Syria were attacking Jerusalem and trying to overthrow the king. So, God sends Isaiah to King Ahaz to tell him these attackers won’t be successful but will be destroyed. Then God tells Ahaz to ask for a sign, but Ahaz refuses. God gives him one anyway. Here it is: “Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel” (Isa. 7:14).
Wait a second. How is the prophecy about Jesus being born of a virgin a sign for Ahaz? Jesus won’t be born for another 700 years. Let’s keep reading.
He will eat curds and honey at the time He knows enough to refuse evil and choose good. For before the boy will know enough to refuse evil and choose good, the land whose two kings you dread will be forsaken. (Isa. 7:15–16)
These verses explain the sign God is giving Ahaz. A baby named Immanuel will be born, and before the kid is very old, the kings attacking Ahaz will be gone. This was fulfilled in Ahaz’s day, and the little boy named Immanuel was an ongoing sign that God delivered Ahaz and Judah. We find in the very next chapter of Isaiah that Immanuel was living during Ahaz’s reign (Isa. 8:8).
The main point of this sign in Isaiah is that a child would shortly be born.