12/26/10

Unto Us

Isaiah 9:1-7.

I missed Christmas last Sunday, but since Christmas was yesterday, I will touch on it today.

Christmas, Christian or pagan is not our lesson today. Rather, we will simply look at this passage in light of remembering Christ's birth.

To me v. 6 is one of the greatest verses in Scripture. The depth of this cannot be fathomed, and it is the bases of the promises of the expansion of the kingdom of God in these seven verses.

Isaiah sees the Messiah born and then growing up in the midst of great darkness, Galilee of the nations (Gentiles).

V. 6, For ties what he is about to say in with the previous statements that the Messiah will come and His kingdom will prevail. The rod of the oppressor will be broken as it was in the day of Gideon's war against Midian.

Remember, Gideon faced the huge forces of Midian with only 300 men, Judges 6.

This section promises that God's nation, Israel, which is the Gospel Church, will increase to boundless proportions. According to Psalms 2, all of the enemy will be crushed and all their efforts to cast His cords and bands away from themselves will be overturned, and even used against them.

All of these unbelievable things will take place. Why? For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given... The promise of the triumph of the Church is beyond human comprehension and a great many Christians refuse to believe it because of the sinful human nature which is so evident in the Believers. But it will take place! Why? For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given...

unto us a son is given. Clearly, Christ was given by the Father. John 3:16, etc. He came into the world completely apart from any human intervention. He was given by the Father as a sacrifice for the sins of His people. He was given by the Father to rule and reign forever and forever over the kingdoms of men, for the Father gives it to whomsoever he will, Dan. 4.

It is also significant that the prophecy mentions the coming of a child, a son to be more specific. This would make this a direct reference to Psalms 2 where every one, especially the rebels of the world who are attempting to overthrow God, are told to kiss the Son. Isaiah is telling of the coming of this Son who is the everlasting King of the whole earth.

The promise seems beyond human comprehension, and they are. This promise of a glorious future was especially astounding to the people who lived at the time of Isaiah. Assyria was about to overrun them and total annihilation appeared imminent. But the glorious promise of Isaiah the Prophet is based in this promise of a child. This child will bring all of these glorious things to pass.

The hope is not in man in anyway, shape or form. The hope is in this Son which is given.

In this passage we also see the mystery of the incarnation revealed. God became man in the body of Jesus Christ. Who else could lead His people to the promised victory of vv. 1-5 other than "God with us"?

The government shall be upon his shoulder... Of the increase of his government... Twice we are told that this child, at maturity, is the King of all. Not only the King of all, but His kingdom will have a limitless expansion. This is contrasted with the imminent destruction of God's people by the world's power in Isaiah's time.

John 17:36 tells us that his kingdom is not of this world. If His kingdom were of this world, the only way that He could rule and expand would be through physical force. But because it is not of this world, but spiritual, He rules and expands by spiritual means.

Now, let's look at Isaiah's names for the Son:

In the Scriptures, a person's name describes the person. When a person changes, his name is also changed. Saul was changed to Paul, Abram's was changed to Abraham, and so on.

Years ago, I saw the movie, "The Karate Kid". I remember that the Oriental man who trained them insisted that their names be changed from a Christian name to an Oriental name.

But this child is so complete that one name cannot describe Him: therefore, He is called by five names. Each name stands alone elsewhere in Scripture, but here they are united in one person.

These names describe the King, the child who was to have (now has) the total government upon His shoulders.

These names make it clear that He is the self-existent one. The amazing thing is that this self-existent one became a child, totally dependent upon His mother, then he became dependent upon His family that He grew up in, then he was dependent upon his friends for support.

After his resurrection, he again became totally self-existent.

The first name is WONDERFUL

1. wonder: extraordinary, hard to be understood, marvel. He came down in a marvelous way. He deals with his people in a marvelous, extraordinary way.

Isaiah 29:14 is excellent. Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, even a marvelous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.

Psalms 119:129 They testimonies are wonderful: therefore doth my soul keep them.

"Anything which is fitted to excite wonder and amazement, from any cause, will correspond with the sense of the Hebrew word. (Barns' Notes)

1. He is God and His method of working is as far above our understanding as are the heavens above the earth. Thus, His ways are secret to man. His ways can only be only revealed by His Spirit and only as much revealed as man can comprehend in his word. Man can only catch a glimpse of these workings, similar to the glimpse he can catch of the heavens.

2. His working is done completely contrary to the wisdom of the wise men of the day. In fact, His workings are hidden from the wise and prudent. 1 Corinthians chapters 1 & 2.

3. Included in this wonder is His law. How does He work through His law-word? All we know is that his law-word shall accomplish that which He pleases, whether it is judgment or blessing.

4. Also included in this wonder is judgment. Even His judgments are beyond the understanding of men.

Remember the context of Isaiah's message here in chapter 9. To the natural eye, it was hopeless. Isaiah now tells them that the workings of the Lord are wonderful, completely beyond human understanding. This is why we must act by faith, because we do not understand how it works. We only have the promise that His word does work.

Let me mention an interesting observation here.

It would not be a cause of amazement for the Almighty King (King Jesus) to rule (and enforce peace) by military might. Military might to rule others is the only thing man knows. However, this King, who has the government upon His shoulder and whose dominion will cover the earth, will bring about his rule in such a way as to bring amazement to all who see His rule. He is wonderful, amazing in His governing of mankind.

This must speak of a spiritual reign in the hearts of men. The natural man cannot understand rule without physical might, so he rejects any idea of Christ's spiritual dominion that is not based in physical might.

His name shall be called Wonderful... This is the number one characteristic of our King. Everything about Him, past, present and future, is Wonderful, amazing and rejected by the natural man because he cannot understand it.

Wonderful includes:

* His creation of the world,
* His total sovereignty over all men and creation as revealed in the Book of Daniel,
* His incarnation as a man and humanity,
* His suffering, death, resurrection and ascension and especially His method of conquering and rule over all the kingdoms of men.

All these things are too "wonderful" for the human mind to comprehend. So man tries to reduce these wonderful things to his own level of understanding. Then he has a god after his own image.

Counselor

The next name here is Counselor, which is also identified with wonderful, and includes adviser:

Proverbs 15:22 Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established.

Everything about this child is wonderful.

Isaiah 1:2 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;

Clearly, Isaiah's King rules with no advice from anyone. He is the Spirit of Counsel, therefore, needs no counsel.

There is no way we can separate these attributes because they are in the same Divine Person, Jesus. He is Wonderful, Diving Counselor, and all of the rest of these names all combined without confusion in this one person.

This Son has the government of all creation upon His shoulder. He rules in the kingdom of men, raising up and putting down whomsoever He will, without advice from anyone.

He also rules in the kingdom of nature, to the point of telling the lightenings and whirlwinds where to strike.

His rule over all creation is complete, and all creation, even the stars in the heaves, do his will.

This Counselor needs no counsel, and his counsel to us through his word is always right, perfect and complete.

He indeed is the Wonderful, Amazing Counselor to His creation. He alone knows the way of life. Though the way seems dark and hidden, He knows the way through the wilderness. His ways are past finding out.

The mighty God

He is given the attribut of God, especially as one who fights for his people. Ps. 24.8.8; Dt. 10.7; Ne 9.32; Is. 10.21; Je. 32.18

As we see, this identifies the Messiah as mighty in battle. The mighty King, named Immanuel (7:14), is the one who will lead His people to victory. Isaiah 10:21 identifies who the people are, they are the remnant of Jacob. Christ fights for His people the church, in the same manner as he fought for his people in the day of Gideon against Midian.

Again, keep in mind that Isaiah is saying this at a time when Assyria is on the verge of overpowering God's people. Isaiah is painting a picture of a glorious future in the face of total destruction.

The natural man wants this God-King to be a terrible king who will in the future spread the blood and guts of his enemies all over the face to the earth. To the natural man, there is no victory apart from military victory.

This prophecy was given in the midst of approaching darkness. Thus, in Christ's day when the darkness of oppressive Rome filled the land, this nation looked for a literal fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy. 19th century Christianity assumed this blood and guts view of King Jesus, and it still holds today.

As a sad side note here. The leader in China, Mayo Ta Sung, saw that physical warfare was not the answer to subduing people. His answer was to write a book, the Thoughts of Mayo Ta Sung. With this little book, he sought to conquer the people. It is sad that it is the ungodly who are the ones who see that the true warfare is for the mind, not the bodies.

Because Christians see King Jesus as a blood and guts king, they have yielded the war for the minds and hearts to the devil's crowd. Because the devil's crowd sees the victory in winning the hearts and minds of the people, they have gone after the education facilities. At this point in time, the devil's crowd is winning that battle for the souls of men.

A good cross reference for the mighty God title here is,

Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Now, follow the context Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

The work of the mighty God here is the purifying of a people unto Himself. We are again reminded of Gideon and Midian. God purified to Himself a man, then a group of men, then the nation. The result was the mighty God overthrew the great Midianite army with an extremely small group of men of war.

The everlasting Father

The everlasting Father is the most amazing of all of these descriptions of Jesus. This name clearly states that Jesus is the God of eternity, past, present and future.

Joseph Parker makes an excellent point that Christianity is a prophetic religion; it deals with the future. "It deals with the science that is to be, with the politics yet to be developed, with the commerce that is yet to be the bread producing action of civilized life."

The law of God is given that we might control the future as it deals with very practical matters.

The implications of The everlasting Father are many.

1. Jesus the is the everlasting God with us in the flesh. He is the Father in a manner that can be comprehended by man.
2. The promises (both good and bad) made by God in His word, will be fulfilled. He not only made them, we will be around to see that they are fulfilled.
3. He is the God of eternity. This means that He, not men nor devils, is in total control.
4. Obviously, the One who controls eternity will not have His plans foiled by men nor devils.
5. The everlasting Father! This demands a view of history that is working the plan of a Sovereign God. Amid all of the turmoil and doubts, His plan is being worked. He not only knows what is going on, He laid the plan before the world began as to what would go on.
6. Jesus is the Sovereign God of eternity, yet while He was here, the Father was in heaven.

These things are far to wonderful to understand. Read the book of Daniel.

Daniel builds on this fact that the kingdom of God is an everlasting kingdom, ruled by an everlasting God, who controls the kingdoms of men according to His sovereign will. This sovereign rule from the heavens extends from the time of in the beginning to when time is no more.

I think there is an interesting principle contained in Daniel 5. Nebuchadnezzar learned the hard way that God alone is the everlasting sovereign, whose will alone controls all events on this earth. His son (grandson) Belshazzar, even though he knew what God did to his father (grandfather), he was lifted up with pride. The generations of our day will learn what Nebuchadnezzar learned. God raised up another kingdom to overthrow Babylon—Darius the Median took the kingdom at the age of 62.

For us: Our generation, like Belshazzar's, has forgotten that God the Father is King, ruling in the Kingdom of Heaven. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and it rules all events of earth to the very minutest detail.

It took a complete collapse of Belshallar's kingdom to teach the lesson of God's kingdom to the pagans, but God taught them, and they gave glory to Him.

What will it take today to teach even the professed Christians about the Kingdom of Heaven and God's ever lasting rule over all things. Many Christians are as convinced of the devil's rule over this earth as are the pagans'. We can be assured that the lesson will be taught, and the harder men resist God's rule, the harder will be the lesson.

The everlasting Father! What a wonderful name for Jesus. A name that is totally beyond our comprehension, the possessor and ruler of eternity.

Prince of Peace

It is significant that this name is given here LAST. This means that his conquering and rule of the world is through peaceful means. His kingdom is established and spreads over the whole earth as an everlasting kingdom, yet it is by peaceful means. God's spirit of peace working in the hearts of his enemies.

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'Peace is the aim; it is offered to all the nations in Christ; but those who reject it. who rise up against His kingdom, He throws down, as the God-Hero, with a powerful hand, and obtains by force peace for His people. But war, far as it takes place, it carried on in a form different from that which existed under the Old dispensation. According to Micah v. 9 (10), ff., the Lord makes His people outwardly defenseless, before they become in Christ world-conquering. According to chap. xi. 4, Christ smiteth the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He slayeth the wicked." Hengsburg. pg. 451, 2.

Notice the thought here. The people of God are made defenseless before their enemies and the enemies of God. This defenseless condition is presented in Ze. 38:11. The forces of evil see their opportunity to move against the people of God and do so. The Lord, as the mighty God, shows Himself strong, as He fights for His people in such a manner that there can be no mistaking who won the victory.

The situation which Isaiah is writing from is the same. The covenant-people are seemingly defenseless. They have a king who claims to be part of them, who has rebelled against God. They have the confederacy of the nations against them, ready to attack at any time. They have the king making the deal with the very ones who will overrun them shortly. All hope is gone for any kind of relief. Those who are trying to remain true to the Lord are defenseless.
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Let me quickly give an overview of v. 7:

Isaiah 9:7 shows:

1. The size of His kingdom -- It has no end, taking in all the nations of the earth. Micah 5:4 (1-4); Zechariah 9:4

2. The result of His government -- Peace.

This is totally contrary to human governments. As human governments increase, so does war, conflict and corruption-WITHOUT EXCEPTION. When this government increases, peace, righteousness and justice increases. His love for His people will not allow this kingdom to be reduced to the level of human government. His rule is from within, the Prince of Peace dwelling within the believer.

Outward rules have never, nor will they ever bring peace. Only the changed heart subdued to the Prince of Peace has ever brought peace.

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Hengstemburg: "How necessary soever, under certain conditions, war may be for the kingdom of God, --as indeed the Saviour also says that (in the first instance) He had not come to send peace but a sword--it is after all only something accidental, and rendered needful by human corruption. The real nature of the kingdom of God is peace. Even in the OT, the Lord of the Church appears as the Prince of Peace, Is. ix. 5. According to Luke ix. 56, the Son of Man is not come to destroy men's lives but to save them. In order to impress upon the mind this view of the nature and aim of the Church, the Temple,-- the symbol of the church-- must not be built by David the man of war, but by Solomon, the peaceful; the man of rest, 1 Chron. xxii. 9." Henstenburg, Christology, pg. 94. (See my notes in Psalms 45 where this is deal with in depth.)

Certainly, war and conflict must proceed peace. It is the strong man armed which assures peace. Christ fought the conflict with the evil one, and won on the cross, Colossians 2:15. The enemy was subdued on the cross, and that conflict will never be fought again. 1 Peter 3:18.

The strong man was defeated and his house spoiled, Luke 11:21, 22. (Notice 23-26, the man set free from the hold of the strong man, the devil, did not replace the sin he was freed from with righteousness. The result was worse than before he was freed. See our message on Gideon #3, 11/18/90.)

Peace results from conflict, but the conflict is not in human terms, nor is it our conflict. The conflict was the spiritual which brought the victory to King Jesus. That victory established the King on His throne above every name that is named. That victory is ours to claim by a living faith (a faith that lives and applies the law of God), 1 Corinthians 15:57, 58.

The Lord ascended to His throne on high at the right hand of the Father. From this throne, His kingdom spread world-wide.

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3. Who's throne it is-- David's.

4. How it will be established -- by judgment and with justice.

5. How it will be supported, continued, or ruled -- by judgment and with justice.

6. When it will start -- from henceforth.

7. How long it will last -- even forever.

We have no choice but to see this as speaking of the Kingdom of God, which is ruled by Christ the King over the people of God upon the throne of David.

8. V. 8 What will accomplish or perform this glorious 'happening'-- the zeal of the LORD of hosts.

CONCLUSION:

All of the above, 1-7, are totally beyond human comprehension and understanding. We are so used to the kingdoms of men and how they are established and kept in power, that we are unable to even think in the terms given here. So how does the Prophet handle this? He tacks on this last statement to explain how this will be done. The zeal of the Lord of host will perform this.

Isaiah 9:6, 7 is the promise that in the most hopeless situations, God is still in total control and the Prince of Peace will prevail in His good time. Those who stand against His kingdom and the Price of Peace will be cast down to the dust, they will be subdued to the Kingdom of God. As mentioned by Hengstenburg, the enemy of the Kingdom of God, the Gospel Church, will be smitten with the rod of iron which proceeds out of the mouth of God.

Daniel 7:44 And in the days of these kings (Rome's) shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.

The wind carries away the dust of men's kingdoms, v. 35.