On the last day of 2015 we completed reading through the Bible with the concluding passage of Revelation 22, verses 20 and 21:
He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.
Reading these words so soon after we celebrated the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day, we were reminded of the words written in Isaiah 9:6-7 where the prophet says:
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.
This passage in Isaiah was read at the Christmas Eve service celebrating the coming of the Child Jesus who was born long after Isaiah made this prophesy. The child born in the manger was the same person the Apostle John wrote about when he penned the words quoted above from Revelation 22:20-21.
John was one of Jesus’ disciples. He knew that Jesus had been crucified and died … he was standing at the cross when Jesus told him to care for Mary, Jesus’ mother. And, even before he wrote the Revelation of Jesus Christ, the last book in our Bible, John also knew that Jesus rose from the dead and had ascended to Heaven, our Savior and King. He also had confidence that Jesus would come again as He had promised. John 14:3.
So, what is Isaiah saying when he said that the government will be upon this Child’s shoulder?
For us, the concept of government does not necessarily carry connotations of security or permanence. Not only do we have elections with the associated change of personnel, there are upheavals in governments all over the world with various groups fighting for control. Indeed, permanence and righteousness in government is hard to find these days. So, what is the Scripture saying here
The Hebrew word translated in Isaiah 9:6 as government is transliterated as misrah which, according to Strong’s Number reference, has a definition in Hebrew of dominion and it comes from a root word which means to rule. Clearly, someone who rules, governs. But when “dominion” is incorporated into the meaning of “rule”, an entirely different picture is created.
The Reformation Study Bible says that these words in Isaiah 9:6-7 mean that “He will carry the burden of rule and authority.”
The Scripture allows for no change … full dominion and authority will be Christ’s. Isaiah does not say that He might rule for some period of time … he says that total dominion will be on His shoulder and his ruling dominion will not end. Whatever needs to be done, will be done. He has absolute supremacy in all things.
What does this mean? Simply put, it means that this ruler can handle whatever is happening in your life, because He is in absolute control.
Who will be doing this ruling? It is the Child for whom sovereignty is just one of His divine attributes. It is the Child who was born to us. It is the Child who has incredibly wonderful, powerful names:
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
The Christian knows the Child by the name of Jesus.
The One who heals the sick. The One who takes our sins and burdens. The One who carried a cross and endured its torture and shame on our behalf. If you don’t know this Child, Jesus Christ, please take time at the beginning of this new year to find Him and respond to His call on your heart.
As we look forward to 2016, may we pray along with Henri J. M. Nouwen:
“Lord Jesus, master of both the light and the darkness, send Your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas. We who have so much to do seek quiet spaces to hear Your voice each day. We who are anxious over many things look forward to Your coming among us. We who are blessed in so many ways long for the complete joy of Your kingdom. We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of Your presence. We are Your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light. To You we say, “Come Lord Jesus!”
Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.