December 8, 2013 - AM - Pastor Stan Lightfoot
Download Sermon MP3
Theme: The Ultimate Destiny of the Son of God
* OT Prophecies About Jesus' Birth
The Old Testament is filled with prophecy related to the Lord Jesus. We going to work through one of those this week (Isaiah 9). Isaiah 7 and Micah 5 are two others that are familiar to us directly related to His birth. The detail is amazing. We know from Micah exactly where he would be born. We know from Isaiah 7 that He would be born of a virgin and would be called Emmanuel We know from Isaiah 9 that He would be given the throne of David. We know from Jeremiah that there would be a massacre after His birth. We know from Psalm 72 that He would be worshipped by Wise Men. The Old Testament is full of prophecy related to the Messiah's birth.
* The Child King (Connections between Jesus' 1st and 2nd Advents)
The Old Testament tends to merge the two advents of Jesus. We're going to see that this morning, but this isn't the only place. As far as the Old Testament writers were concerned, the Messiah was coming. He was going to be born. He was going to suffer. He was going to restore Israel. He was going to reign on David's throne. But you won't find any of them talking about a 1st and 2nd advent. It was all one thing, as far as they could see. It's as if they looked toward a range of mountains and saw the first one and another one behind it, but could not see the valley between. To them, it looked like one mountain - one advent. They did not envision the time between. Probably the closest was Daniel with his 69 weeks followed by a 70th week with some kind of break, but even that was vague in Daniel's mind.
* The Focus of Isaiah (Messianic, Future)
Isaiah is an interesting book. It has a strong Messianic focus and a prophetic outlook. Isaiah wrote around 700 BC - shortly after Israel went into captivity and about 100 years before Judah followed. He saw what was coming for Judah and wrote extensively about what God would do to restore Israel to glory. The word "salvation" is key in Isaiah's writings.
This morning, we're going to focus our attention on one of the most important of Isaiah's prophecies - one that spans the centuries and covers both the 1st and 2nd advents of Christ in one breath. It's a familiar prophecy of the Savior's birth and His reign. Open your Bibles to Isaiah 9 again and let's look at this most important Messianic passage.
I. THE KING HAS COME (9:6)
Verse 6 is primarily a reference to the birth of the King. There are hints of the 2nd advent in the verse, but it is first and foremost a focus on the Messiah's initial visit to earth. From Isaiah's vantage point, it was all future - distant future at that. But from our perspective, v. 6 tells us that the King has come.
A. The Birth of Jesus
The first phrase says, "For unto us a Child is born…" How would the Messiah enter the world? Would He come riding down from Heaven on a white horse? Would He simply appear? Isaiah tells us that He would be born. He tells us that He would come into the world as a child in the normal process of birth and human development. But what about the passages that suggest He is coming in majesty - riding in to save Israel and set up His kingdom? That, too, will occur, but the first time He came, He came as a baby. It's noteworthy here that Isaiah mentions birth first and the role of the ruler came second. That is the order in which we would expect things to happen. However, with all the other references to His appearing that don't mention His birth, we might wonder. We are, after all, speaking of the Anointed Messiah sent from God. He could have sent Him any way He chose. He chose to send Him as a baby - the fulfillment of this and other prophecies. What we celebrate at Christmas is the first phrase of v. 6.
B. The Position of Jesus
The birth of Jesus does not identify the position of Jesus. He was not like other babies. He was born into a human family - Mary and Joseph, but He was only physically related to Mary. Joseph was His legal dad, but had no part in the conception of the baby. That was the work of the Holy Spirit. Contrary to what some man-made religions teach, you and I did not exist prior to our conception. We were known of God in the sense that He knew we were coming, but we did not exist in some kind of pre-birth state. Jesus did. He did not become the Son when He was conceived in the womb; He was already the Son - pre-existing from eternity as the Second Person of the Godhead. That's why Isaiah said, "Unto us a Son is given…" Jesus was already the Son when He arrived in Mary's womb. He was already God - had been from eternity past. The "Child" was born, but the "Son" was already in existence and was simply offered as a gift from God the Father to us. It's a fascinating use of language - no doubt influenced by the Holy Spirit to get the message across - Jesus was born, but that was not His beginning. He came as a child, but he was already the Son - given to us for our salvation.
C. The Royalty of Jesus
The next phrase indicates the royalty of Jesus - "…the government will be upon His shoulder." This Child - this Son - would be a King. The "government" of which Isaiah speaks is that which is connected to "the throne of David" - so we're talking about Israel. Jesus will reign on the throne of David over the nation of Israel. That is a reference to His future coming, but don't forget - when Jesus came, He offered Himself as King. Nathaniel referred to Him as "the King of Israel" in John 1. He rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday as Israel's King. The message tacked to the cross said, "The King of the Jews". He came with the offer of Himself as King, but the Jews rejected that. So, He will come again the second time as King, and they will receive Him with open arms.
D. The Titles of Jesus
The end of v. 6 is a list of titles - Isaiah actually said, "His name will be called…" Who is this child? Who is this Son? Four descriptive titles are used to identify the Child of v. 6. We don't have time to dwell on these names. An entire sermon could be developed around each one. But let's touch on them for just a moment.
1. "Wonderful Counselor" - The first description is "Wonderful Counselor". That probably looks like two separate descriptions in your copy of the Scriptures, but it's really just one. He is the wonderful Counselor. That means His counsel is beyond comprehension - unfathomable. No one can match the Lord Jesus in wisdom. Many have tried (Pharisees), none have succeeded.
2. "Mighty God" - The Hebrew here is "El Gibbohr" (same as in 10:21) and means what it says. He is the Mighty God. He is God - not a god, or god-like. The Messiah spoken of here - the one who was born a child and given to us as the Son is, in fact, God. He is the all-powerful One.
3. "Everlasting Father" - the title means, "Father of Eternity". It is not meant to confuse Him with the first Person of the Trinity - God, the Father. It is meant instead to indicate that the Messiah is eternal and in control of all that has, is and will take place. He is the Creator. He is our Savior. He is One who will restore all things. He is Alpha and Omega - the beginning and the end.
4. "Prince of Peace" - Finally, He is the Prince of Peace - the Author of Peace. Men long for peace. However, in their pursuit of peace, they don't want to acknowledge the Prince of Peace. They want to try to find it themselves - in their own way. It's a fool's errand because sinful men will never be able to produce real peace. Jesus, however, died to reconcile us to God - to bring us back into "peace with God" (Rom. 5:1). The peace that comes from a right relationship with God is only possible through Jesus. In addition, He will someday reign on David's throne and His Kingdom will be one of righteousness…and peace. That brings us to v. 7.
II. THE KING IS COMING (9:7)
The King has already come, but He did not assume His throne. Many in the Christian world believe He did. They think Jesus rules and reigns right now in the form of the head of the Christian church. While there is validity in that concept - Jesus does reign in our hearts as Christians - that is not in any way a fulfillment of v. 7 or any of the other Old Testament prophecies related to Jesus sitting on the Throne of David ruling over a 1000 year kingdom on earth. He is coming back someday and He will assume His rightful place on David's Throne in Jerusalem. Any other understanding of v. 7 is faulty and denies that God will keep His promises. So, what does v. 7 say?
A. The Government of Jesus
Isaiah goes on to say, "Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end…" When Jesus comes back to reign, He will sit on the Throne of David (more on that in a minute). But His rule will not be confined to David's borders. He will rule from Jerusalem, but His reign will encompass all of the earth. There will be no end to the Kingdom of Jesus! In addition, Satan will be bound, so there will be no end to the reign of Jesus even beyond the confines of earth. Of the increase of His government there will be no end! Every living being will be under the benevolent rule of Jesus Christ. The Prince of Peace will govern over a worldwide Kingdom characterized by peace for 1000 years.
B. The Throne of Jesus
The throne of Jesus is the honored Throne of David. "Upon the throne of David and over his kingdom…" In fulfillment of the promises to David (II Sam. 7:12-16; I Chron. 17:11-14) , Jesus - who is David's distant descendant - will assume that throne. He will sit in regal splendor on the throne of Israel's greatest OT King to rule over Israel. Ezekiel 47-48 tells us that Israel's borders will extend from "the road to Hethalon" way on the north to "the waters of Meribah by Kadesh" on the south. It is roughly the size of the kingdom of Israel in David's day. As I mentioned just a mount ago, that's not the only land over which Jesus will hold sway. Those are Israel's borders, but Jesus will be the King over all the earth. It's important to notice that "the Throne of David" is a reference to an earthly throne. The promise to David was that his descendants would rule in his place forever. Jesus will rule from a literal throne over a literal kingdom and have dominion over the whole world for 1000 literal years, after which He will sit on the throne of the New Jerusalem for all eternity.
C. The Reign of Jesus
The reign of Jesus will be characterized by four things, according to v. 7.
1. "Order" - Jesus reign will be an organized reign. It won't be haphazard nor will it lack direction. He will sit on David's throne "to order it".
2. "Establish" - He will settle once and for all who is really in charge. A kingdom was not "established" until the king put down all pretenders to the throne. Satan will be banished. Every ruler throughout the world will recognize Him as supreme. He will "establish" his position as King.
3. "Judgment" - This word and the next ("justice") sound similar - and they are, but there is a difference. "Judgment" is a focus on rendering a verdict. It's a judicial term, indicating that Jesus will be not only the King, but the supreme Judge, as well.
4. "Justice" - "Justice" has to do with setting things right, or straight. The world will be a mess at the end of the Tribulation. Jesus will set things straight.
D. The Duration of Jesus' Reign
For how long? "From that time (ie. the time He ascends the throne) forward even forever." We know from Revelation 20 that the Kingdom will last 1000 years. But it says here it will last for eternity. Which is it? Well…both. The Kingdom over which Jesus will reign on this earth will last 1000 years after which there will be a Satan-led rebellion, things will come to an end, and God will create a new heavens and a new earth. Jesus will rule over the New Jerusalem for all eternity.
* The Signature of God
Isaiah says something very interesting at the end of v. 7. I've called it "The Signature of God." How do we know this is going to happen? It sounds kind of far fetched, doesn't it? Jesus is coming back; He's going to set up a Kingdom that will last 1000 years…and forever; He will rule as King and Judge with perfect righteousness (something that has never happened in the history of the world) over the whole earth. Really? Can anybody do that? "The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this." God, - Jehovah - who is over the host says so. There is a warrior-king aspect to this name. He is the leader of the hosts of heaven. Nothing is beyond His ability. He can do whatever He chooses to do, because He is the LORD of hosts!…and He has signed this prophecy with His name. It will happen!
So, what do we do with this? Can we put this into action? Later this month, we will celebrate the 1st advent of the Son of God - Christmas. A Child was born and a Son was given. That's good. We needed Him to come to die in our place - on our behalf. If He had not, we would be dead in our sins and bound for a Christ-less eternity. But the story doesn't end with the 1st advent. He will come again. he will come to set up His kingdom and fulfill all the promises about Him. He will not abandon Israel. He will not abandon us. We are going to be right along side Him forever. So, here are some take aways:
1. We can trust the Son! He said He would do some things (like assume the throne of David) and He will. He has done everything He said He would up to this point, and He will carry though on the rest.
2. Israel is not finished. God has preserved His people through the centuries, and continues to preserve them today. There is one reason for that: He plans to keep His promises. He will fulfill what He said in Isaiah's prophecy.
3. This Christmas, as you celebrate the birth of the Lord Jesus, take the long view. Remember that He came to die…and to reign. He has accomplished the first role; He will accomplish the second role. A Child is born…who will sit on the Throne of David…forever. Praise the Lord!