The Wonder of Christ at Christmas – Part 1

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this (Isaiah 9.6-7).

Isaiah 8 ends with the words, “Then they will look to the earth, and see trouble and darkness, gloom of anguish; and they will be driven into darkness” (Isaiah 8.22).  Nevertheless the gloom or judgment would not oppress forever.  The Lord lightly esteemed or treated with contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali.  But later He would bring blessing upon them.  Verse 1 says that afterward He more heavily oppressed her, but the phrase would be better translated, “He will make it glorious” (heavy weight of glory not oppression as in the NASB) by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan or on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee.  The area occupied by the half tribe of Manasseh will benefit from this specific blessing.  Galilee of the nations or Gentiles will also be blessed.  The phrase Galilee of the Gentiles only occurs here and in Matthew 4.15, which cites this passage.  Galilee is from a word that can mean “circle”.  It seems best to take it to mean the Gentile nations that encircled Israel.

Isaiah 9.2 says that “the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light (better will see; sometimes the perfect tense communicates future events as already having taken place in order to communicate certainty).”  The OT sense of this prophecy portrays God’s people walking in the darkness of sin and rebellion.  The great light would be God’s judgment shining upon them at the hands of the Assyrian army.  But the NT sense of the fulfillment of this prophecy is the great light of the Lord Jesus coming and releasing His people from their captivity of sin and darkness.  He would absorb the judgment of God for us.  We know this because of Matthew 4.15-16.  Jesus is the light that has shined:  “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles: The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned.”

Jesus grew up in Nazareth within the confines of Zebulun in Isaiah’s prophecy.  There was darkness in Nazareth and a great need for spiritual light.  The Lord Jesus is the light that shined in the land of the shadow of death.  Luke tells us how He introduces the light of His fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy:

Luke 4.16 states, “[Jesus] came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.”

Isaiah 9.3 states, “You have multiplied the nation and increased its joy.”  Of course, this refers to the Lord Jesus as well.  They rejoice as in the joy of harvest and dividing the spoil of battle.  There are two ways to look at this:  1) The Lord Jesus multiplied the nation and increased its joy by bringing in the Gentiles under grace; 2) He will multiply the nation and increase its joy when He sits upon the royal throne of David during the Millennium.  I have no problem accepting both interpretations because both are true.

Verses 4-5 clearly refer to the day of Midian, a time when Gideon delivered Israel from the Midianite invasion in Judges 6-8.  I believe that it is abundantly clear that this prophecy has not been fulfilled by the Lord Jesus as of yet.  I think it is a reference to the cleansing of the land after the close of the Great Tribulation period.  The Lord Jesus prepares for His rule in verse 5.  John the apostle writes of this specific time in the Revelation of Jesus Christ (Revelation 19.11-21):

Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, “Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great.” And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.

This Child born is the Son of the virgin mentioned in Isaiah 7.14 (although there is a near fulfillment of this prophecy in Isaiah’s time).  The first two phrases tell us that a Child is born (birth of Christ) and a Son is given (crucifixion of Christ).  Everything following in Isaiah’s prophecy points to Christ’s coming Millennial Kingdom.  Then, the government will be upon His shoulder.  He will be the King reigning.

There are four descriptive phrases of the King (wonderful should modify Counselor in my opinion):  1) Wonderful Counselor; 2) Mighty God; 3) Everlasting Father; 4) Prince of Peace.  First, He has wisdom to govern the people of the world perfectly.  Second, He has the power to carry out His rule with an iron scepter.  Third, He is the everlasting Father in the sense that He is the Father of all those who are redeemed.  Adam is the father of all living beings.  Christ is the last Adam and became a life-giving spirit (1 Corinthians 15.45).  Finally, He is the Prince of Peace.  The 1,000 year reign of Christ will be marked by the absence of war and violence.  It will fulfill the Davidic Covenant and satisfy the promises of God.  It will be a time of great blessing.

Of the increase of Christ’s government and peace there will be no end.  The government of Christ does not increase through war but through peace.  His justice and judgment are characteristic of His reign during the Millennium.  His reign and rule is forever after that initial 1,000 year period to fulfill the Scriptures.  This will be a fulfillment of the promise God made to David in 2 Samuel 7.12-17:

“When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men. But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.”

So our text is all about the Lord Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ is a Child born, a Son given, and the King forever.

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