In the Book of Revelation, chapter 22, verses 20 and 21 read as follows:
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 the celebration of Jesus’ birth I am 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 ….
The Child Jesus was born long after Isaiah made this prophesy, yet the Child born in a stable was the same Person Isaiah prophesied would be born. The Child laying 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. In fact, 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 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. On top of that we have numerous allegations of sexual assault leveled at high government officials, with multiple investigations undertaken that seem to overwhelm the news cycle each day. 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 Hebrew definition of “dominion” and it comes from a root word which means “to rule”. We understand that 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 … 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 in the stable and who was wrapped in swaddling cloths. It is the Child who has incredibly wonderful, powerful names:
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
The Christian knows this 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 seek Him and respond to the Holy Spirit’s quickening of your heart — believe in and follow our Lord Jesus Christ.
The concluding verses of Revelation 22 say:
“Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.”
As we look forward to 2018, 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!”
Father, we come to the close of the year 2017 and think back of all that You in your providence gave to us, and we thank You for your presence and support in both the blessings and the difficulties. We look forward to 2018, a year that is as fresh and clean as new fallen snow. While we don’t know what will happen, we can face the unknown with confidence because You are in control, and we know that Jesus will one day come again, but this time it will be in power and glory. Come, Lord Jesus, Come!