The Coming King
Passage: Isaiah 9:6–7
The Coming King - Isaiah 9:6-7
Well good morning OGC we are so glad that you are joining us this morning. Today marks the start of the Advent season, as churches around the world take the next 4 weeks leading up to Christmas to look at the events surrounding his coming 2000 years ago, as well as his second coming in the future. Advent comes from the Latin word adventus meaning arrival or coming. The earliest Advent service we have recorded took place in 4th century A.D. over in Spain with an attempt to combat the heretical teachings of a man named Prescillian who at the time denied who Christ was and what he came to accomplish. Advent helps the church local and global to boldly proclaim that Jesus really did come into our world to save sinners, and he will come back to establish his rule and reign forever and ever.
This ushering in of Christ’s kingdom sets up the direction of the book of Isaiah. Isaiah is a prophet sent by God to the kings of Judah, particularly King Ahaz and Hezekiah during a dark time of national, religious, and social crisis between 6th and 7th century BC. Violence was rampant in the streets, the worship of false gods entering the temple was normative, and Kings Ahaz and Hezekiah of Judah for one reason or another rejected God and served their own interests rather than God himself. This led to God’s eventual judgement upon Israel and Judah with the Assyrian conflict in King Ahaz’s day, and the Babylonian exile in Hezekiah’s day. But despite the sins of Ahaz, Hezekiah, and the judgement upon the people of God, God would not forsake them, but would send Isaiah as God’s mouthpiece to proclaim to Kings Ahaz and Hezekiah the promise of a coming king, the messiah, one who will bring an eternal kingdom filled with righteousness and justice, a kingdom that was not in existence in Isaiah’s time.
We live in a time of crisis ourselves. You don’t have to look far to see division and strife on nearly every level in society. Just turn on the news, scroll on facebook and instagram, read the news. Crisis is around us, even in the church. Isaiah invites us to see today that we are worn down, tired, and in need of Christ’s eternal kingdom. But how will Jesus establish this? And what does this mean for us today? Here are three ways Isaiah shows us how Jesus will establish his eternal for all time.
His birth v6
The first way we see Christ’s eternal kingdom is His birth. Verse 6 tells us that a child is born to us, and to us a son is given. The word child in this context points to that of a human heritage . The word Son in this context however expresses maleness and dignity, particularly that of a royal line. So Isaiah tells us that Jesus is born as a human, yet given to us from God. At this point you may be wondering, how can someone be born a man, yet still be God?
To answer this we need to look back at Isaiah chapter 7 and see Isaiah’s first mentioning of the prophecy to King Ahaz. beginning in verse 14, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Immanuel if you know means “God with us”/ or “God be with us”. The word Immanuel also comes up in chapter 8 speaking of the near future invasion of the Assyrian empire by stating that judgement will happen in “your land, O Immanuel.” Alec Motyer states that the possessive pronoun “your” connecting with Immanuel’s land is not mentioned anywhere else in the OT. What this means is that somehow in God’s providence, Isaiah not only recognized Immanuel’s Lordship over creation, but saw that Immanuel, God the son, was God himself, and that the Son would in Isaiah’s future descend into our world as the final descendent of David, the true heir to David’s throne who was fully human from Mary’s womb, yet fully God.
Two weeks ago we had the privilege of seeing our son born into the world, blowing up our household from a family of 4 to a family of 5. We are not going to sleep for the next 20 years!. I’ve already mourned over this. But when I look at my son’s birth, it's a fundamentally different birth compared to the birth of Christ who is God in flesh, Immanuel, begotten of the Father and conceived by the virgin Mary. Why is this significant?
We have to go all the way back to Genesis in order to get at the heart of this. Genesis 3 brings us into a sad moment in History. As Adam and Eve are tempted to doubt God’s promise for them by eating of the fruth of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, God pronounces judgement on the couple for their disobedience, along with Satan who tempted them, and casts them out of the garden of Eden. But God does not abandon Adam and Eve here. Listen to God’s words to the serpent in Genesis 3:15
“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
What reformed commentators communicate about this verse in Genesis is that there is a clear divide between the seed of Eve (mankind) and the seed of the serpent (Satan), good vs evil. Both descendents will be at odds forever, but the promise to defeat Satan applies only through the sending of one who can crush the serpent’s head as Genesis tells us. So what does this mean? God promised to send His eternal son Jesus, the serpent crusher through History, through the line of David, through the virgin birth to live a sinless life and go to the cross, removing the curse of sin and death for His people, and cement Satan’s destruction when Jesus comes back to make all things new. Jesus was the only one qualified and able to do this, establishing His kingdom reign through his birth, death, and resurrection.
Because Jesus became man for our sake, we must look to Him and live by faith by trusting in God’s promises, even if we can’t see the end result now. We must not be like King Ahaz who lived by sight as he saw the threats of the surrounding countries threatening war and chose to make a deal with the Assyrian empire instead of standing his ground and trusting in God’s protection. Look to Jesus for the spiritual healing you need as you interact with a world screaming for you to bow down to its idols, sucking your life away with its temptations. Jesus has inaugurated his eternal kingdom through his first coming as a baby, and will bring his kingdom to fullness when he comes back to make all things new. Next, Jesus establishes his eternal kingdom through His reign.
His Reign v6-7
Continuing in verse 6 Isaiah gives us 4 names or titles that will describe the reign of Jesus’s eternal kingdom. One commentator writes that often in Israelite times it is common to adopt “throne names” that are descriptive of a king’s rule and reign. So if you remember the rulers in history like Alexander the Great, or on a bad note Bloody Mary, those would be examples of their titles that speak about their reign and what transpired in their kingdom. We’re going to work through what these names actually mean within the context of Christ’s future reign. So first, wonderful counselor. The two possibilities of this word could mean either supernational counselor, or one giving supernatural council. The temple courts in Israel’s history often had someone who was considered the wisest person in their land able to make the best decisions for the sake of the nation. Having wisdom at such a high level of authority was so valuable that even Solomon himself prayed specifically just for this in 1 Kings 3:9. This would be like the president’s chief of staff or the commanding general of an army. King David’s court had Ahithophel who was David’s most trusted royal counselor in Israel. Listen to the words of 2 Samuel 16:23: “Now in those days the counsel that Ahithophel gave was as if one consulted the word of God; so was all the counsel of Ahithophel esteemed, both by David and by Absalom.” But Isaiah points to a better counselor, one that would embody all wisdom and truth, one who would be able to lead God’s people in history through their battle with sin, through their captivity in foreign lands, and into the grace of the Father through the person and work of Jesus. As we see Jesus as wonderful counselor, we also see Jesus as Mighty God.
This is a title given only to God Himself. We see these words used in the next chapter of Isaiah in talking about the preservation of the remnant of Israel. Commentators point out that this is not to be confused with a godlike hero, because just saying “godlike” limits who Jesus actually is. The Messiah is one who would bring liberation to Judah and Israel, destroying her enemies as we see earlier in chapter 9 verses 3-5. But how would this definition compare with how people viewed Jesus during his time on earth? During Jesus’s ministry in the NT, Israel was under the control of Rome. And there were some Israelites who saw Jesus, and remembered Isaiah’s prophecy and thought, John 6:15 tells us that there were people who physically wanted to make Jesus king by force, misinterpreting the passage of Isaiah. And what we see Jesus do as a result is immediately after perceiving these thoughts in the crowd’s minds, he retreated into a place of isolation. Why? Because Jesus’s mission was greater than a national revolution. Jesus came to fight for His people by going to the cross, because if he didn't, we would have no fellowship with God, no hope of salvation, no chance of restoration. He is our Mighty God because only He is able to win the battle, both on the cross and when he comes back to exact justice upon the evil powers of the world once and for all. In doing this Jesus ushers in his eternal kingdom, which leads us to see Jesus as our Everlasting Father.
So Jesus is everlasting, eternal in his nature, co-equal with God, God in flesh, continual in existence without a beginning, and without an end. Just this term alone as one commentator writes puts Jesus outside the created order, because he is not created. He always was, is, and will be. Jesus as King of His eternal kingdom is Father to us. But for us to say that Jesus is Father is for us to unpack a significant amount of understanding as to what that means. We believe that God is three distinct persons, Father, Son, Spirit, yet one nature. It is Jesus that claims in the NT that he is obedient to His Father, that He and the Father are one. There is no hierarchy in this relationship, meaning the Son is not less than the Father or the Spirit. Commentators point out that the idea of Father in the OT is not common as a title of a King. Specifically John Frame writes that we see the word Father used in scripture as a metaphor for civil and military rule. So in Christ’s rule as King, we see a father who is concerned for the helpless, the care and discipline of his people, the obedience we are to exude in mind and heart to God. In short, Jesus is an everlasting Father who will forever shepherd His people, protecting them with His power from our enemies and nourishing us with his presence. So we see Jesus as Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and now Prince of Peace
Prince of Peace
Jesus as Prince of Peace strikes a chord similar to that of someone who administers peace and prosperity. The word peace, or in Hebrew Shalom, is best translated as inner and outer wholeness. So having shalom means you are flourishing within your mind, soul, and body and flourishing out of yourself, with others and with God. How does that fit with the book of Isaiah? As we mentioned earlier Isaiah found himself in a chaotic time in Israel's history. King Ahaz of Judah did what was wrong in the eyes of God. As 2 Kings 16 tells us, Ahaz walked in the way of the kings of Israel, giving themselves over to worshipping other gods, being like the other nations around them. He worshipped foreign gods and made offerings to them. 2 Kings tells us that Ahaz went to great lengths to serve foreign gods that he chose to sacrifice his own son as an offering to a foreign God. If you want a picture of how far idolatry can go, reading 2 kings will humble you! There was no peace in Israel and Judah..
But unlike any government Israel or the world has ever known, this will be a dominion of never ending peace, where its people from every tribe, tongue, and nation will never experience injustice, wars, famine, scarcity of resources, failed marriages, broken homes, the loss of loved ones, abuse, or suffering or pain. All this will be accomplished through the throne of David, leading to the Son.
How can we see the name of Jesus described in the New Testament? The book of Philippians gives us a clear picture of what it means to trust in the name of Jesus rather than the things of this world. Paul states this in Philippians 2:9-10, “9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. God will be glorified through the exaltation, the lifting up of the Son by the power of the Spirit. So we are called to trust in the name of Jesus over any other name, not the name of your money, your prestige or social status, the amount of followers you have on facebook or instagram, your race, intellect or beauty, or whatever hope your politician of choice is promising. Trusting in Jesus doesn’t mean looking at him and believing he’s real, but seeing Jesus and resting your life, your dreams, your hopes, your everything on him. So we’ve seen Jesus and His coming kingdom through His birth and reign. Lastly, we can see Christ’s eternal kingdom through His eternal promise.
His Eternal Promise v7
Verse 7 directs our gaze to see a government so closely related to peace reigning continuously with no end. This government will be given to Jesus, as we see this directly quoted in the New Testament in the gospel of Luke written over 500 years later. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” This kingdom as verse 7 continues will be a kingdom upheld by righteousness and justice. Contrary to Isaiah chapter 1 where lawlessness was in the city of Judah, the eternal reign of Jesus will be filled with the presence of Christ, with worshippers who will worship God in spirit and truth. That is His eternal promise to us, because He Himself is eternal.
And His kingdom has already come in the hearts of those who trust in Jesus, marking the initiation of this eternal kingdom and will be made complete when Christ comes back to destroy Satan and all evil once and for all. What hope can we rest these great promises on? Look with me at the end of verse 7, The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. This zeal is a strong passion from the heart of God, for His people and their Shalom. For example, I long for my kids to experience the Love of God in a way that leads them to trust Jesus over the influence of the world and place everything they have on Him, even if it means social rejection, or where they go on family vacations, or how we choose to spend our evenings with family devotionals. The zeal I have for my family is only a faint picture of God’s passionate zeal for us. The zeal of the Lord is not a jealousy embedded in sin, nor is it codependent, but a passion motivated by the pure, righteous heart of God to rescue His people from their enslavement to sin. God is saying, I will do this. This is the same zeal that I believe the angel encourages Mary with in the gospel of Luke when she responds to the angel. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” The Lord of hosts will do this. For nothing will be impossible with God. He will establish His eternal reign on earth for all time.
Because the coming eternal kingdom will be upheld by righteousness and justice, we must wait on him, and practice these things in our lives unto God and unto others. Unlike the disobedient people during Isaiah’s time, we are not called to manufacture our own kingdoms with their own gods, but rather look to Jesus and act in obedience to His already revealed will on this side of the cross, through His word, through the fellowship of the church, through repenting of our sins and trusting in Christ. Only then can we truly see the coming kingdom of Christ through His birth, through His reign, and through His eternal promise
As we tune our hearts to Christ’s coming kingdom, i’m reminded of a famous man in history who gave freely to those he knew. St Nicholas a real person, except his name was Nicholas. Born in 300 AD in what is now modern day Turkey to wealthy parents who were Christians, Nicholas was deeply impacted by the teachings of Jesus, specifically when Jesus talked about selling what you owned and giving it to the poor. So Nicholas at a young age used his influence to help those around him in need, dedicating his life to serving God. In Nicholas’s time there was a poor man who had 3 daughters of marrying age, and if you wanted your daughters to marry you needed what is called a dowry to give to the family of the groom. If you didn’t have a dowry, then his kids would become slaves. Well mysteriously on 3 different occasions money was placed on the windowsill in sacks of the poor man’s house, allowing his daughters to be married off and escape being slaves the rest of their lives. These sacks are the beginning of what we call stockings that we hang during the Christmas season.
Just like St Nicholas, we have the freedom to trust that the coming of Jesus’s eternal kingdom far outweighs the cares of this life. Because of this, we can put what we’ve learned today to practice by giving to others what has been given to us. Don’t let this Advent season go by without marinating in the promises of God through devotionals or reading the Christmas story. Find somewhere to serve our community just like Saint Nicholas did .Lean into Jesus this Advent season, trusting the Coming of the King through His birth, His reign, and His eternal promise.
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
Church you are sent!
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