Judaism

The Prophecy Plot

The Prophecy Plot (1) (Naeem Osman Memon) (For nearly 2,000 years evangelical Christianity has furthered the cause of the Church on the basis of several Old Testament prophecies alleged to have been fulfilled with the advent of Jesus the Christ. A thorough examination of these prophecies, with reference to the books of the Hebrew scriptures, not only shocks a reader but also shatters the very premise upon which evangelical Christianity has been based. The candid results of one such critical study of the canonised prophecies is being presented in our present series, The Prophecy Plot.) Birth of Emmanuel “Behold, a virgin shall be with child and shall bring forth a son and they shall call his name Emmanuel.” (Matth:l:23). Isaiah son of Amoz, an 8th century BCE Israelite prophet who lived in Jerusalem between 810 and 698 BCE i is believed to have been a man of exceptional piety and profound wisdom. He began to function as a faithful witness of the Lord Yahweh in around 758 BCE and he prophesied for nearly 60 years after his Divine call. At the end of this exceptionally long and eventful period. Isaiah left behind him, an exhaustive book of oracles containing many prophecies in relation to the future of the Davidite kingdom of Judaea and its northern neighbours, namely, the kingdom of Israel in Samaria and the empires of Syria and Assyria. 1. These dates are mostly based on the National Illustrated Family Bible published by the Howard Press, London and edited by Rev. John Eddie, 0.0., LL.D., Professor of Biblical Literature to the United Presbyterian Church. 8 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS Isaiah’s book of oracles forms an integral part of the Jewish and Christian scriptures. It is held in reverence by the faithful adherents of both Judaism and Christianity and in the midst of its often long and sometimes vivid prophecies, there appears an oracle in relation to the advent of a great Israelite Deliverer, an Emmanuel2 whose birth was expected to signal a sign of untold blessings to the estranged king and kingdom of Davidite Judaea. Announcing the birth of this great Deliverer, the Book of Isaiah declares: “Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name EmmanueI. Butter and honey shall he eat that he may know to refuse evil, and choose the good.,,3 Isaiah’s Prophecy and Gospel of Matthew Some seven centuries after these words were first spoken or recorded by Isaiah, a Christian evangelist, the author of the Gospel of Matthew, quoted the Israelite prophet’s oracle and alleged that the conception of a child by the virgin Mary fulfilled that: “which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying; Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with US.,,4 For nearly 2,000 years, since the author of the Gospel of Matthew recorded Isaiah’s oracle in the first canonical book ofthe Christian scriptures, Christian laymen of most denominations have been led to believe that the prophecy in relation to the great Israelite Deliverer, an Emmanuel, referred to the birth of Jesus, the son of virgin Mary, alleged to have been born at Bethlehem of Judaea in the year 4 BCE. Today, the Christian world not only believes but argues with conviction, its faith that Isaiah’s oracle foretold the birth of the son of Mary. Ironically, a closer reference to the actual oracle in the Hebrew scriptures indicates that the author of Matthew’s gospel has taken exceptional liberty with the text of Isaiah’s original prophecy as the ‘words spoken of the Lord by the prophet’ do not specify that the subject of this prophecy shall be conceived by a “virgin” woman. 2. God is with us. 3. Isaiah 7: 14, 15. 4. Matthew 1:22, 23. THE PROPHECY PLOT 9 Distortion of oracle in Matthew’s Gospel The Hebrew word used in Isaiah’s original oracle is not “bethulah’, a specific term for a “virgin woman” but “al-mah”, a term which has a much wider reference to a young woman of marriageable age,S irrespective of whether she is or is not a virgin. The word “al-mah” has been used elsewhere in the Hebrew scriptures, but, except for one particular instance in which reference has specifically been made to a “virgin”, 6 the use of this term in relation to all the other maidens, 7 damsels8 and young women9 does not have any reference to virginity. In fact, when particular reference is made to a virgin, as in the case of Isaac’s future wife Rebecca, the Hebrew scriptures do not leave any room for speculation: “And the damsel was fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her.” 10 Matthew’s translation of the word “al-mah” as a virgin is hence a distortion of Isaiah’s original oracle as it gives the prophecy a totally different meaning from the one originally intended. Background to Isaiah’s Prophecy The significance or import of any Divine oracle cannot be understood or appreciated except through the realisation of the circumstances in which it has been issued. This particular prophecy in relation to the advent of an Israelite deliver.er Emmanuel, was “spoken of the Lord by prophet Isaiah” during the reign of the 8th century BeE king of Judaea, Ahaz son of Jotham. The young descendant of the great Israelite king, David, had hardly taken over the reigns of power from his deceased father when the king of Israel in Samaria, Pekah son of Remailah and his Syrian ally, Rezin formed a league and conspired against the Davidite kingdom of Judaea. 11 The joint Syrio-Samarian conspiracy against the Davidite kingdom signalled disaster for the dynasty of the great Israelite king, David son of Jesse who established a united Israelite empire which extended beyond the confines of the Hebrew regions after some exceptional feats of valour. His successor Solomon consolidated his father’s empire to such an extent that “he succe.eded all the kings of the earth. ,,12 S. The expression “a1-mah” in the main text ofIsaiah’s oracle is now being translated as a “young woman” by most modem English translations of the Old Testament. Its incorrect translation in the Gospel of Matthew borrows from the Book of Isaiah. 6. Genesis 24:16. 7. Genesis 24:43: Exodus 2:8 and Songs of Solomon 1:3. 8. Psalms 68:25. 9. Songs of Solomon 6:8. 10. Genesis 24: 16. 11. Isaiah 7:1 and Isaiah 7:6. 12. 1 Kings 10:23. 10 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS Ironically, after the death of Solomon, the united Israelite empire of David and Solomon fell in ruins when the 10 tribes of Israel withdrew their support for Solomon’s son Rehoboam. The once great and formidable empire of the Israelites disintegrated into two separate kingdoms, the northern kingdom of Israel in Samaria and the much smaller two tribe southern kingdom of Judaea which remained in the possession of the posterity of David. The secession of the northern kingdom resulted in the Davidites losing territorial contact with the remote regions of Ammon and not much later, a part of the southern kingdom was wrested away from Judaea by the mercenary Libyan king of Egypt, Shishak I. The fortunes of Judaea continued to change thereafter, sometimes for the better but more often for the worse. In the 8th century BeE, the much reduced kingdom of David and Solomon witnessed one of the worst challenges of its history. The powerful king of Israel and his ally from Syria conspired to destroy the dynasty of David and put Judaea under the control of an Aramaean, a certain son of Israel. The news of the joint Syrio-Samarian conspiracy reached the king of Judaea. When Ahaz and the Judaeans learnt that the Aramaeans and the Ephraimites had formed an alliance against the house of David, they were shaken and distressed. But the Lord Yahweh was not about to desert the house of David yet. He commissioned Prophet Isaiah to “go forth to Ahaz and caution him to be on his guard but remain calm and not be frightened or unmanned by the rage of the two smouldering stumps of firewood who had taken evil counsel against him by saying:” “Let us go against Judaea and vex it, and let us make a breach therein for us, and set a king in the midst of it, even the son of Tabael.” Isaiah, the faithful witness of the Lord comforted Ahaz and assured the king of Judaea that the evil counsel of Rezin and Pekah: “shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass, because within three score and five years, Epharim13 shall be broken and shall not be a people.,,14 The Lord’s assurance of security to the king and kingdom of Judaea should have sufficed to put their mind at rest. But Ahaz was a mere suckling when he took over from his father in Judaea. At the tender age of twenty, he was a 13. Reference is made to the ten tribe northern kingdom ofIsrael in Samaria but because the tribe of Ephraim became dominant over the other tribes, the people of Ephraim are being singled out to represent the whole nation. 14. Isaiah 7:2-9. THE PROPHECY PLOT 11 novice and a challenge of such magnitude from two well established armies of the region could have shaken many a mighty king. Inexperience in temporal matters however, was the least of Ahaz’s failings. The young king was a man of feeble faith also. As the Lord’s assurance of security was hardly succint, Ahaz was susceptible to doubt the faithfulness of the Lord but Yahweh invited him to seek a sign which the faithless king declined on the grounds that “he did not wish to tempt the Lord. ” Nevertheless, the Almighty Lord declared a sign, a sign of Emmanuel: “Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son and shall call his name Emmanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat that he may know to refuse the evil and choose the good. For before the child shall know to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings.,,15 After a detailed exposition of some incredible events expected to transpire in the future, Yahweh commanded His faithful witness to take a scroll and record His promise concerning “mahar-shalal-hash-baz”, 16 the promised Emmanuel expected to come “quickly to spoil and hasten the plunder.” Isaiah recorded the prophecy and then “went unto a prophetess” who conceived a child. When the child was finally born, Yahweh commanded Isaiah to name him “Mahar-shalal-hash-baz”: “For, before the child shall have knowledge to cry My father, and my mother, the riches of Damascus and the spoils of Samaria shall be taken away before the king of Assyria.17 The close affinity of the two oracles and the unbroken sequence of the narrative in the book of Isaiah suggests that Isaiah’s son “Mahar-shalal-hash- baz” was the sign of Emmanuel promised to the king and kingdom of Judaea. The extension of Isaiah’s earlier prophecy in much the same terms indicates that the sign of Emmanuel and the birth of Mahar-shalal-hash-baz cannot be divorced from each other as the birth of Emmanuel was expected to signal the destruction ofthe kings of Syria and Israel and the birth of Mahar-shalal-hash- baz was expected to realise the desolation of Rezin and Pekah’s empires. 15. Isaiah 7:9-16. 16. quick, spoil, hasten, plunder. 17. Isaiah 7:17 to Isaiah 8:4. 12 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS Summary of Isaiah’s Prophecy Isaiah’s long prophecy, when summarised and studied without any pre-conceived notions, leads one to the conclusion: (i) That the prophecy was principally addressed to Ahaz, the son of Jotham. (ii) It was an assurance of God’s faithfulness to the king and kingdom of Judaea. (iii) It promised the house of David, safety and security against the evil counsel of its enemies, namely, Pekah of Israel in Samaria and Rezin of Damascus. (iv) The Lord God had decreed against the evil counsel of Judaea’s enemies. (v) The faithfulness of the Lord was expected to be realised through the conception and birth of a child by a young woman of marriageable age. (vi) The significance of the name Emmanuel was a symbolic assurance that “God was with the king and kingdom of Judaea”. (vii) In the immediate infancy of this child who will be recognised as a sign of God’s faithfulness to the king and kingdom of Judaea, the kingdoms of its enemies, Pekah and Rezin shall be destroyed and its wealth taken before the king of Assyria. (viii) Not much later, before the child has the wisdom to choose between good and evil, Israel in Samaria and Syria shall be forsaken of both her kings. 18 (ix) Within 65 years of the initiation of this prophecy, Ephraim shall not be a people any longer. (x) The punishment upon the enemies of Judaea shall be inflicted through an agent of the Lord, namely, him beyond the river, the Lord’s instrument of Divine judgement, the king of Assyria. 19 Jesus and the Prophecy of Isaiah Matthew’s assertion that Isaiah’s prophecy of Emmanuel was realised in the conception and birth of a child by virgin Mary is neither substantiated by the contents of the original oracle or the facts of Judaean history at the time when Jesus was conceived and brought forth by the virgin. Isaiah’s prophecy is principally addressed to the Davidite king and kingdom of Judaea. In the year 4 BeE, when Jesus is alleged to have been born in 18. A child normally learns to cry “my father and my mother” before he acquires the knowledge of good and evil. There is hence a suggestion here that the desolation of Pekah and Rezin’s kingdoms will precede the annihilation of both the kings. 19. Isaiah 7:20. THE PROPHECY PLOT 13 Bethlehem of Judaea, the Davidite empire of Judaea was already a subject of history. It was not being ruled by the posterity of the great Israelite king, David son of Jesse but by the Herodians, a family of Idumean Edomites, planted on the throne of Judaea by the Roman Emperors. The kingdom of Israel in Samaria, one of the principal subjects of Isaiah’s prophecy was also long forgotten in the annals of history. It was an integral part of the Herodian Empire and a vassal kingdom of the great Roman Empire of the Caesars. Syria, the other principal subject of Isaiah’s oracle was also a kingdom long forsaken by the Lord of the hosts. In the year 65 BCE, the great Roman commander Pompey liquidated the Macedonian Empire and reduced Syria into an insignificant province of the greater Roman Empire under the direct control of a Roman governor. Assyria, the instrument of Divine judgement, through whom the Lord had decreed to inflict punishment upon the enemies of Judaea had also perished centuries before the son of Mary made his appearance in the closing years of the first century BCE. Judaea after the Birth of Jesus The subject of Isaiah’s original oracle was expected to usher a new era of relief and security to the king and kingdom of Judaea and the arrival of this great Israelite deliverer, Emmanuel, was required to signal a sign of untold blessings to the estranged posterity of David and its two tribe Davidite kingdom. Ironically, the first century of the Christian era witnessed a reversal in the fortunes of the vassal kingdom of Judaea. Within less than a decade of the birth of Jesus, Judaea was deprived of its independence by the Roman Governor of Syria and put under the direct control of a Roman procurator. The colonisation of Judaea in the year 6 AD was in sharp contrast to the expectations of Isaiah’s prophecy. Whereas the supreme authority of Syria, its king Rezin, was expected to be forsaken after the birth of Emmanuel, the 1st century governor of this “abhorred land” became the instrument of Divine judgement against Judaea. Its status was reduced to a mere province of the heathen empire of the Caesars. Isaiah’s prophecy also suggested that within 65 years, every threat to the king and kingdom of Judaea would be effectively neutralised and the arch enemies of the Davidite Empire, particularly the Ephraimites would cease to exist as an independent people. Ironically, in a little more than “three score and five years” after the appearance of the son of Mary, the people and the land of J udaea fell foul to 14 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS the wrath of the Lord of hosts. In the year 70 AD, the Roman commander Titus marched unto the holy city of the Judaeans. His powerful army managed a breach in the strong defences ofthe fortified city and the Romans defiled the sacredness of the holiest of the holy Hebrew temples. The sacred spoils of the holy temple were later transported to the heathen capital of Rome and exhibited as spoils of war before the heathen emperor Caesar. The Roman expedition against Jerusalem devastated the city and Jerusalem was reduced to mere rubble. Titus massacred 1,100,000 Israelites and the remnant of the seed of J acob was transported to and scattered all over the Roman Empire. The deportation of the Hebrew people signalled not only the destruction of Ephraim or the other nine rebellious tribes of the kingdom of Israel in Samaria but also the two tribes of the kingdom of Judaea, including the posterity of the great Israelite king, David son of Jesse. Isaiah’s Prophecy fulfilled in 8th century BCE The historical books of the Old Testament contain a treasure of evidence which not only suggests but establishes the fact that Isaiah’s oracle in relation to the birth of a great Israelite deliverer, Emmanuel, was fulfilled within the restraints of its prophecied period of “three score and five years” – some 700 years before the conception and birth of the son of virgin Mary. Ahaz, the king of Judaea to whom this prophecy was principally addressed took over the reigns of powerfrom his father Jotham in the year 742 BCE. He had not yet consolidated his own position in the Davidite kingdom of Judaea when he began to hear of the evil designs of Pekah son of Remaliah and the king of Israel in Samaria’s northern ally, Rezin king of Syria. The mobilisation of the joint Syrio-Samarian forces against the house of David distressed the Judaeans. The Lord, however, was not about to desert the house of David yet. In 741 BCE, Yahweh directed Isaiah to meetAhaz at the “end of the conduit of the upper pool in the highway to the Fuller’s Fields” and assure the newly instated king of Judaea that he had nothing to fear from the evil designs of the Ephraimites and the Aramaeans as their counsel would eventually come to naught. 20 Isaiah conveyed the Lord’s message to Ahaz. But the young king of Judaea was a man of feeble faith and the Lord was not unaware of his failings. To strengthen his faith, Yahweh announced the conception and birth of a son by a young woman and declared that this child shall represent a sign of the Lord – a symbol of God’s faithfulness to the king and kingdom of Judaea and an assurance that the Lord of the hosts was with the Davidites. The Almighty Lord also assured Ahaz that within the infancy of this child, the lands which 20. Isaiah 7:2-9. THE PROPHECY PLOT 15 the young and faithless king abhorred would be forsaken of both their kings, Pekah of Israel in Samaria and Rezin, head of Damascus and king of Syria. 21 Isaiah, the faithful witness of the Lord was commanded to take note of the promise that the Lord “God was with the house of David” . 22 The Lord of the hosts also promised that the sign of His faithfulness to the house of David shall come forth “quickly to spoil and hasten the plunder. ,,23 The son of Amoz recorded the prophecy and then “went unto a young woman” and the prophetess conceived the promised child.24 While Ahaz and his subjects awaited the birth of the promised child, the Lord began to send against Judaea, the king ofIsrael in Samaria and the king of Syria. 25 The “two smouldering stumps offirewood” laid seige on Jerusalem but could not prevail against it26 on account of the strength of its walls27 previously fortified by the predecessor of Ahaz, Jotham king of Judaea.28 Rezin, king of Syria, unable to make a breach in the defences of Jerusalem, decided to venture further south. He marched his army towards the gulf of Aqabah in the land of Edam. With the help of the Edomites, he wrested the city of Elath from J udaea. He then banished all the Hebrews from the city and settled a colony of Syrians on the southern flanks of the Judaean Empire. Rezin’s expedition against Judaea was not without rewards. He filled his coffers, enough to sent a tribute demanded of him by the king of Assyria, and carrying away with him a great multitude of Judaean captives, he returned to Damascus.29 When Ahaz, the king of Judaea learnt that the Syrians were returning home, “he supposing himself a match for the king of Israel, drew his army against the son of Remailah. ,,30 But Pekah, not weakened by the untimely desertion ofthe Syrians, “smote Ahaz and slew one hundred and twenty thousand valiant men of Judaea in one day.” Ahaz lost one of his sons Maaseiah and the Ephraimites slew the governor of the royal Judaean household and a close associate of the king of Judaea. The king of Israel in Samaria returned home with two hundred thousand Judaean women and children as captivesY 21. Isaiah 7:10-16. 22. Emmanuel. 23. mahar shalal hash baz. 24. Isaiah 8:1-3. 25. 2 Kings 15:37. 26. 2 Kings 16:5 and Isaiah 7:1. 27. Josephus: Antiquities: Bk Ix/Ch XII/Se I. 28. 2 Chronicles 27:3, 4. 29. 2 Kings 16:5-6 and 2 Chronicles 28:5. 30. Josephus. Antiquities. Bk Ix/Ch XII/Se l. 31. 2 Chronicles 28:5-8. 16 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS The dynasty of David now stood on a dangerous crossroad of destruction and annihilation. Since the disintegration of the united Israelite Empire of David and Solomon, the posterity of David had remained in possession of a much reduced southern kingdom. Rezin’s conquest of Elath reduced its territorial boundary still further. As the Judaean army fared no better Pekah slew one hundred and twenty thousand valiant men of Judaea in one day and this encouraged the other enemies of Judaea. The Judaeans were “smitten” by the Edomites and the Philistines invaded and conquered the “cities of the low country and south of Judaea and all the villages thereof. ,,32 Judaea was now surrounded by its enemies on all its frontiers. A large proportion of its army had been massacred by the forces of Pekah and Rezin and whatever remained was smitten by the Edomites and the Philistine. The morale of the remnant was shattered and the kingdom of Davidite Judaea found itself in a precarious situation. The disintegration of the remnant of David and Solomon’s Empire looked certain and only Divine interference could now save it from total annihilation. Birth of Emmanuel At this precise moment when the Davidite kingdom stood on the pinnacle of certain destruction, Yahweh began to deliver His promise to the house of His annointed, David son of Jesse. In 740 BeE, nearly a year after the prophetess conceived a child, the young woman brought forth a son, the sign of Emmanuel, whom the Lord named Mahar-shalal-hash-baz. On the birth of the promised deliverer, the Lord reinforced His promise to the house of David and announced that in the infancy of Mahar-shalal-hash- baz, the riches of Damascus and the spoils of Samaria shall be taken away before the king of Assyria.33 The fortunes of Judaea now took a turn for the better. Ahaz, fearful of another devastating attack by his enemies, solicited the assistance of the Lord’s “hired razor from beyond the river”, pleading: “I am thy servant and thy son. Come up and save me from the hands of the king of Syria and the king of Israel which rise up against me. ,,34 Tiglath Pileser, the king of Assyria through whom the Lord had decreed to bring relief to the Davidite kingdom of Judaea35 responded to the plea of Ahaz and in 740 BCE,36 the Lord’s instrument of Divine judgement: 32. 2 Chronicles 28:17,18. 33. Isaiah 8:3-4. 34. 2 Kings 16:7. 35. Isaiah 7:20. 36. Maclear, Rev. G. F.: A Classbook Of Old Testament History. THE PROPHECY PLOT “hearkened unto him, for the king of Assyria went against Damascus and took it and carried the people of it captive to Kir and slew Rezin. ,,37 17 The Assyrians “transplanted the people of Damascus into the upper media and brought a colony of Assyrians and planted them in Damascus”.38 The devastation of Syria and the assasination of its king Rezin, effectively fulfllled the Lord’s promise in relation to one of the two “smoking firebrands” who conspired against the house of David. The Lord’s instrument of Divine judgement then ran riot in the kingdom of Israel in Samaria: “In the days of Pekah, king of Israel, came Tiglath plleser, king of Assyria, and took Ijon and Abel Beth Maachah, and Jonoah and Kadesh and Razor, and Gllead and GaIllee and the land of Napthali, and carried them captive to Assyria. ,,39 Assyria’s conquests constituted the greater part of the kingdom of Israel in Samaria. Pekah’s Empire was hence reduced to a tiny fraction of its former possessions which brought resentment against the son of Remailah and in the year 739 BCE: “Rosea, the son of Elah, made a conspiracy against the son of Remallah and smote him and slew him, and reigned in his stead.,,40 The assasination of Pekah fulfilled the Lord’s promise of immediate relief to the king and kingdom of Judaea. And the son ofIsaiah, Mahar-shalal-hash- baz, born in 740 BCE could hardly have been more than a year old. He could not have yet learnt to “cry My father and my mother” and he certainly could not have yet acquired the knowledge of choosing between the good and the bad. But the son of Isaiah, the promised deliverer, an Emmanuel, accomplished the destruction of Samaria and Syria within his infancy and the lands which Ahaz abhorred were forsaken of both their kings, Pekah and Rezin. The threat to the house of the Lord’s beloved, David was hence effectively neutralised and the two smouldering stumps of firewood became a matter of history. 37. 2 Kings 16:9. 38. Josephus. Antiquities. Bk Ix/Ch XII/Se 1. 39. 2 Kings 15:29. 40. 2 Kings 15:30. 18 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS The remnant of the shattered kingdom of Israel in Samaria could not be a threat to Judaea as its army had been effectively crushed and the morale of its people was at the lowest ebb. Its new king, Hosea son of Elath did not dare go against the “servant and son of Tiglath pileser” as he himself ruled the northern kingdom of Israel with the blessings of the king of Assyria. 41 The destruction of Ephraim Hosea’s honeymoon with the king of Assyria was not about to last beyond a decade. He formed an alliance with the king of Egypt and refused to pay the tribute demanded of him by the king of Assyria. He was summoned to Damascus by his masters and he was “shut up and bound in prison.” The king of Assyria then went up to Samaria and laid seige upon it for three years. In 721 BCE, the Assyrian king Shalmaneser finally occupied Samaria. He divided the kingdom of Israel in Samaria into four Assyrian provinces and: “carried Israel away into Assyria and planted them in Halal and Habor by the River Gozan and in the cities of the Medes.42 The captivity of the Israelites brought to an end the legacy of the northern kingdom of Israel in Samaria and its dominant tribe, the Ephraimites. The prophetic vision of the Lord’s faithful witness, Isaiah was hence translated into reality when: “within three score and five years, Ephraim was broken and it was not a people any longer.” HO.SHAI’ AH! Yahweh had saved the posterity of David. The enemies of Judaea had conspired against the house of His annointed but the Lord of the hosts had decreed: “Take counsel together, and it shall come to naught; speak the word, and it shall not stand: for God is with us.” Isaiah:8:10. Isaiah’s oracle was hence translated into reality within the 8th century BCE. The king and the kingdom of Judeae could now sigh with relief because Emmanuel was with them and the Lord of the hosts had proved His faithfulness to the estranged house of David. The birth of the Lord’s sign of 41. 2 Kings 17:3. 42. 2 Kings 17:6. THE PROPHECY PLOT 19 Emmanuel, Isaiah’s son Mahar-shalal-hash-baz had “quickened the spoil and hastened the plunder.” The events of history hence proved the Divine nature ofIsaiah’s own claim: “Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the Lord of the hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion.,,43 Brotherhood through God True brotherhood can be established universally only through firm faith in the Unity of the Creator. That faith alone has the power to make our approach to each fellow being, of whatever race, colour, creed, religion or language, one of eager friendship and devotion. Each one of us must recognize every other as a creature and servant of the Lord of the universe Whom we acknowledge, accept and worship as our Creator and Maker, and to Whom the deepest devotion of our hearts and our truest allegiance are due. Through Him and for His sake, we can readily and truly accept each human being as a comrade and brother, a fellow traveller on the same path, a fellow participant in the same glorious adventure which is the seeking in all things the will and pleasure of our Lord and Creator, Most Gracious, Ever Merciful. This is the only way which the welfare of everyone of our fellow beings can become a matter of as grave concern to us as our own. (Muhammad Zafrulla Khan) 43. Isaiah 8:18.