It’s been somewhat popular for Christians to post Isaiah 8.12 “Do not say ‘A conspiracy concerning all that this people call a conspiracy, nor be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.” I have no doubt it’s well meaning to deter people from believing in conspiracy theories. But that’s NOT what that passage means. There are a couple of reasons this verse shouldn’t be used this way. First, the word translated “conspiracy” isn’t the best translation. It’s better to translate it “treason” or “confederacy“. Second, it rips it out of it’s context which always has to be primary to understanding the verse. Here’s the context:
At this time Israel was divided between the Northern Kingdom (Israel) and the Southern Kingdom (Judah). The Northern Kingdom King Pekah had made a horrible ungodly alliance with Syria’s King Rezin. He did so to defeat the southern Kingdom of Judah in a civil war.
Isaiah, prophet to the southern Kingdom (King Ahaz at the time) spoke these words to him. Ahaz, out of fear was about to make a counter, ungodly alliance with Tiglath-Pileser, King of Assyria. He’s telling him, “don’t make a ‘confederacy‘ it would amount to “treason” against the Lord! In verse 13 Isaiah goes on “The Lord of hosts, Him you shall hallow, let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread.” Whenever that title “Lord of Hosts” is used, it is done so to speak of his Sovereign governance over His own legions of Angels that are at His disposal to fight on behalf of Him and His cause and His people. The whole incident is recorded in 2 Kings 16 and 2 Chronicles 28.
Yes, there are conspiracies, yes it’s ok for a Christian to be suspicious of Worldly leaders who are motivated by greed, power, pride. The scripture says we should be suspicious of our own heart “the heart is desperately wicked, who can know it.” We’re told that Jesus as a human “did not commit himself to men because He knew all men.” In Romans 3 Paul lays out the wickedness and wicked intentions of the human condition without the Holy Spirit residing inside. This Isaiah passage is a different subject matter.
It’s amazing how closely related this is to Christmas and here’s why. This same King Ahaz was further encouraged by the prophet Isaiah that the ultimate solution by God the Father would be in the form of a baby. Not a confederacy, not a war, but a baby. Not just any baby but God’s son, Jesus. In Isaiah 9 Ahaz hears that the baby will come…
“by way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, In galilee of the Gentiles. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined…For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end.”
So when fear comes in, rather than letting that fear motivate us to make an ungodly alliance to build security into our lives in a carnal way, we should trust the Lord Jesus. I believe that was a good word to Ahaz and it certainly is a good word to us today. There is a peace we can experience this Christmas with those thoughts, and it’s God’s desire for His people to rest, He want’s us to rest. Maranatha!