Politics and government. We seem to see them as necessary evils, bringing ceaseless frustration in the present but still giving us hope for the future. Our contradictory attitudes about politics and government are most revealing. We recognize the failure of human solutions, but at the same time we surely know something must be done to fix what’s broken in our nations and the world. What man cannot do; what man could not do; God has done; He’s given the Messiah.
Isaiah 9:6-7 NASB
6 For a Child will be born to us, a Son will be given to us;
And the government will [a]rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace
On the throne of David and over [b]his kingdom,
To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness
From then on and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of armies will accomplish this.
The Word of God for the Children of God. In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
Isaiah 9:6 may be the most familiar Old Testament prophecy about the birth of Christ. Handel included those words in one of the great choruses of his Messiah oratorio. Chances are excellent that sometime during this season of Advent you will either sing it or hear it several times on your radio this Christmas season.
Unfortunately, we only seem to pull this passage out of the box only during the Advent and Christmas season. It’s like one of the ornaments we use to decorate our houses. But have we ever truly thought about the rich truth this single verse teaches concerning the King of kings? Though we still await the full realization of His kingdom, the promised Messiah is the single greatest political ruler ever.
Do we remember that Isaiah wrote this prophecy at least a hundred years before Israel was taken into Babylonian captivity—nearly 600 years before the birth of Immanuel, God with Us, God within us, our Savior! Looking back at a litany of failed monarchs, and sitting in the rubble of Israel’s monarchy, Isaiah looked across the centuries to a time when God would rule on earth through His Son.
“A child will be born to us” underscores the Messiah’s humanity. He had to come to earth as a human being, from the depths of eternity, in the form of a child, so He could endure the temptations men face, yet be without sin (Hebrews 4:15).
“A son will be given to us” implies the Savior’s deity. He existed before His birth as the second Person of the Trinity: “Although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, of literally everything; taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:6-7). He came unto us as the Son of God—God in human flesh—to conquer sin and death forever (John 3:16-17), to live again!
“The government will rest on His shoulders” affirms His absolute lordship. This verse looks to a time still (God knows) somewhere in the future when Christ will reign over a literal, earthly, geopolitical kingdom that encompasses all of the kingdoms and governments of the world (Daniel 2:44; Zechariah 14:9).
In that day, the government of the entire world will rest on His shoulders. But until that time, His kingdom is unseen, an invisible form (Luke 17:20-21). The Messiah’s rule is over those who trust Him and obey Him as Lord. It’s currently an invisible kingdom but will one day become visible and universal as His rule extends even over those who do not acknowledge His lordship in their hearts.
What kind of kingdom is it? What distinguishes the Messiah’s kingdom from the other kingdoms of this world? The names Israel used for Christ each hint at four very distinct characteristics which make the Messiah’s kingdom—in all its manifestations—so welcomingly different from any other earthly government.
Pray and consider this, at this time when the world is weary and despairing of political solutions, when the political future looks bleak, this is welcome news.
No Confusion—He Is a Wonderful Counselor
First, this kingdom is free from confusion, because Christ is characterized as a “Wonderful Counselor.” The King James Version separates “Wonderful” and “Counselor” with a comma, but the words seem to go better together and appear that way in most modern versions and other translations of the Bible.
Every now and then, a politician, political affiliation notwithstanding, comes on the scene who “possesses”, according to some, messiah-like qualities. Whether it’s a reference to speaking their ability, charisma, or wisdom, it is certainly an ego massaging compliment. However, when you compare the greatest social or political leader with Jesus Christ, you will discover there is no comparison at all.
During His incarnation, Christ demonstrated His wisdom as a counselor. While I was writing The Gospel According to Jesus, I studied every major encounter Jesus had with individuals who came to Him for counsel. He always knew what to say, when to reach out to a seeking heart, and when to rebuke an impetuous soul.
Even his enemies testified, “Never did a man speak the way this man speaks” (John 7:45-46 NASB).
45 The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, and they said to them, “Why did you not bring Him?” 46 The officers answered, “Never has a man spoken in this way!”
As God incarnate, Christ is the source of all truth. Jesus said, “I am 1000% the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:1-6). No politician can match that! It is He to whom we must ultimately turn and trust His loving rule of our lives.
Many of our politicians turn everywhere else but God for counsel. They go to one another; they listen to special interests; they have their own psychologists, psychiatrists, analysts, philosophers, spiritual advisors, gurus, astrologers, and other allegedly “highly educated subject matter expert” human counselors. But the King of kings keeps His own counsel. After all, “Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, or as His counselor has informed Him?” (Isaiah 40:12-15 NASB).
12 Who has measured the [a]waters in the hollow of His hand,
And measured the heavens with a [b]span,
And [c]calculated the dust of the earth with a measure,
And weighed the mountains in a balance
And the hills in a pair of scales?
13 Who has [d]directed the Spirit of the Lord,
Or as His counselor has informed Him?
14 With whom did He consult and who gave Him understanding?
And who taught Him in the path of justice and taught Him knowledge,
And informed Him of the way of understanding?
15 Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket,
And are regarded as a speck of dust on the scales;
Behold, He lifts up the [e]islands like fine dust.
The Messiah is the Wonderful Counselor because He is God, the source of truth. When He rules the earth, there will be no uncertainty in his administration. He is the ultimate and only true answer to all manifestations of political confusion.
No Chaos—He Is the Mighty God
Second, the Messiah’s kingdom is singularly free from chaos because He is the Mighty God. He is the One who in creation brought perfect order out of chaos.
Scripture says, “God is not a God of confusion but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33). Chaos is antithetical to who He is. He is a God of order. Christ the King is orderly, and He brings order to the troubled lives of all who surrender to Him. In other words, He not only tells His subjects what to do as a Wonderful Counselor, but since He is the Mighty God, He can also energize them to do it.
Legislation can go only so far; it stops short of providing the power and the will to obey. Because of the sinful nature, people will always strain against law and order (Romans 7:7-13).
Add human fallibility to the inability to make people obey from the heart, and you can see the severe limitations of political and legislative solutions.
But when Jesus Christ comes to rule this earth, He’ll display His divine power by bringing order to the chaos. Those who do not submit to His leadership from the heart, He will subjugate with a rod of iron (Psalm 2:9; Revelation 2:27; 12:5 and 19:15). Those who humble themselves from the heart, bowing to Him as Lord and Savior, will find the power of the Mighty God unleashed in their lives to help them humble themselves in His presence and obey His commandments.
Because Christ is God, He can forgive sin, defeat Satan, liberate people from the power of evil, redeem them, answer their prayers, restore their broken souls, and reign as Lord— “Mighty God”—over their newly ordered lives.
That’s a politician this world has never seen and will never hope to witness to.
No Complexity—He Is the Father of Eternity
In comparison and contrast to human governments, the Messiah’s kingdom is uncomplicated because He is the “Eternal Father.” The phrase literally means, “Father of Eternity.”
That is a clear reference to the biblical truth that Christ is Creator of heaven and earth. In Hebrews 1:10-12 God the Father says to Christ the Son, “You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of Your hands; they will perish, but You remain; and they all will become old like a garment, and like a mantle You will roll them up; like a garment they will also be changed. But You are the same, and Your years will not come to an end.”
Nothing is too complex for the Creator and Sustainer of everything.
Infinity and all its intricacies and nuances are nothing to Him who is the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
Human life is getting more and more complex. Technology has so improved communication and transportation that commerce, culture, and religion have become global in nature. And rather than organizing and making sense of it all, governments of the world seem to exist primarily to make things more virtual, more complicated than it needs to be. We build bureaucracies to deal with the complexities of life—and consequently life only just grows more perplexing.
Messiah’s government, however, is simple and uncomplicated. He is the sole ruler—no bloated bureaucracy—and He knows the end from the beginning because He is the Father of Eternity.
Isaiah, prophesying about the kingdom, wrote of the highway of holiness: “The unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein” (Isaiah 35:8 KJV). His way is so free from the complexities of life that even the greatest of all fools cannot lose their way.
That kind of simplicity characterizes Messiah’s entire government. As the Father of Eternity, He alone comprehends the complexities of time and eternity. He requires no bureaucracy; He shoulders His government by Himself.
No Conflicts—He Is the Prince of Peace
Finally, in the Messiah’s kingdom there are no conflicts because He is the Prince of Peace.
He offers peace from God (Romans 1:7) to all who are the recipients of His grace. He brings peace with God (Romans 5:1) to those who surrender to Him in faith. He brings the peace of God (Philippians 4:7) to all of those who walk with Him.
There never really has been peace on earth in the sense we think of it. Wars and rumors of wars have always characterized these entire two millennia since the announcement at His birth of peace on earth (Luke 2:14).
Did you ever take the time realize that angelic announcement of peace on earth was a two-pronged proclamation? First, it proclaimed that God’s perfect peace is available to men and women and children right now. Read the words of Luke 2:14 much more carefully, diligently, and prudently: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased” (my emphasis added.)
Who are those with whom He is pleased? They are those who have yielded their lives to the authority of His government: “The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy” (Psalm 147:7-11 AKJV).
7 Sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving;
sing praise upon the harp unto our God:
8 who covereth the heaven with clouds,
who prepareth rain for the earth,
who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains.
9 He giveth to the beast his food,
and to the young ravens which cry.
10 He delighteth not in the strength of the horse:
he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man.
11 The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him,
in those that hope in his mercy.
Why should we hope in His mercy? Because we are sinners who need His forgiveness (Romans 3:23). We must recognize that fact first of all if we are to place our lives under His government.
We must understand that He gave His own sinless, guiltless life on our behalf. He died for our sins to save us from God’s righteous wrath (Romans 5:6-9). And we must be willing to turn from our sins and embrace Him by faith, realizing that we can never earn His favor (Ephesians 2:8-10).
But secondly, the angel’s announcement of “peace on earth” declared the arrival of the only One who ultimately can bring everlasting peace on earth.
Jesus Christ will bring lasting peace in the final establishment of His earthly kingdom. As we already mentioned, He will ensure “peace on earth” over the rebellious at heart by wielding a “rod of iron.”
There will be no coup d’état, no insurrection, not even the slightest threat to disturb the peace He brings to the world.
Isaiah 9:7 continues, “There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace.”
In other words, His government and peace will keep expanding and improving.
The hymn “Like a River Glorious” accurately speaks of peace that is “perfect, yet it floweth fuller every day, perfect, yet it groweth deeper all the way.”
How can anything perfect improve?
That’s one of the mysteries of Messiah’s government. It gets better and better, and the perfect peace flows deeper and deeper.
I absolutely look forward to the day when He returns to execute the final political solution which will truly bring world peace.
His is the greatest government because it’s ruled by the greatest ruler—the “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”
He is the only absolute and everlasting hope of mankind.
I also hope the government of your life rests securely and squarely upon His shoulders, that He rules and reigns even now in your heart. Only then will you experience the ever-growing peace that comes only from the Prince of Peace.
In the name of Yahweh, the Father, Yahweh, the Son, Yahweh, the Holy Spirit, let us now come together in an attitude of humility, reverence and prayer.
Thank You, Father, for sending Jesus as the Light of the world to enlighten everyone coming into the world. Thank You in Him is the light of the glorious gospel of grace that can never be quenched by the darkness of this world.
I praise and thank You His Light has come into my life and enlivened my spirit and enlightened my soul. Open my eyes more and more to see Jesus and to grow more like Him. Give me greater understanding of all You have achieved in my life, for without You I would remain in darkness and dead in my sin. Thank You for Your great salvation, to You be glory forever. In the name of Jesus, I pray, Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.