The Book of Isaiah
AN AGE OF PEACE
Isaiah 9 SCC 4/7/13
Okay so we life in a world teetering on the edge of global conflict, war, hatred, maneuvering and intrigue. A world desperately attempting to stop wars, prevent wars, and manage peace. The wars and rumors of war does engulf so many in the world with gloom and despair every single day while peace negotiations go on all over the world. You can look around the scene and wonder if anyone anywhere really wants peace as we are left with an ever-increasing dangerous and frightening world. Of course, the evil one and evil itself is behind all of it. So how is it that we as believers need not despair? How have believers before been able to bear up and even those today in contested areas of the world find how and not succumb to the fear and terror? Isaiah 9 reveals that against the darkness of gloom and despair in history and today is a prophecy about hope for peace for all of he world through the righteous reign of Jesus Christ, the Messiah.
GLOBAL PEACE WILL COME WITH A CHANGE IN WORLD GOVERNMENT
Verse 1: Here we have an announcement of the change:
First, there will be no more gloom and doom for those in anguish. Imagine that! The reason: a coming age of global peace.
Second, it is true that in the past the Lord humiliated the northern territory treating the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt. The Assyrians had carried these lands into exile previously.
Third, in the future, but later on, God will honor this territory both by the way of the sea and on the other side of the Jordan. This marks out this territory with two international highways—one on the coast and the other in the Transjordan.
Fourth, Galilee of the Gentiles tells us that this territory with all of its international traffic is a melting pot, a home to gentiles as well as Jews. As such, the orthodox Jew always looked it down upon. But this is where the Messiah would first appear; growing up in the region, and most of his ministry would be in that region.
Verse 2: We have an explanation of this honor:
First, is the prospect of an incredible new beginning for the people in the north, people who walk in darkness will see a great light. From adversity, darkness, to prosperity, light. So light will shine on people who were walking in darkness.
NB: Guthrie called yesterday describing a suite mate who, counting him as a friend, turned on him putting him down screaming that Guthrie was no better than they and that he was no worse than Guthrie who had no right to assume that his buddy was not okay with God. In our subsequent conversation, Guthrie made the comment that Christianity is really hated by people because it assumes people are not okay with God and need to be fixed. Well his buddy is okay and Guthrie assuming otherwise is just a hypocrite! The darkness is very dark indeed.
Second, Matthew tells us that the initial beginning of this transformation was Jesus ministry in Galilee by quoting these verses in 4:14-16 and attributing Jesus ministry as a fulfillment of this prophecy. How did he do that? By performing his miracles and proclaiming his teaching, he demonstrated that he was indeed the Messiah.
Verse 3: We have the meaning of the light overpowering the darkness:
First, joy and prosperity will follow. Jesus made it clear he was the Messiah and an age of global peace and abundance would follow yet in the future.
Second, the joy increases and gladness will characterize life in his presence on earth. This joy is the kind associated with the coming at the harvest or the dividing of plunder after a skirmish. Both speak of the long bout of planting and harvesting or battling with reprieve allowing for drinking, eating, and celebrating. That is what this time will be like. A delirious celebration of triumph much like Michigan’s victory this Monday night of he March Madness NCAA tournament as this age of peace is finally ushered in. Remember it does so after the cataclysmic destruction of the Tribulation. Jubilant!
Verse 4-5: We have joy with the cessation of war:
First, The prophet foresees a time when the Lord will break the oppression of the enemy once and for all. He uses an analogy of the time of Israel’s victory over Midian through Gideon when God confused them with only 300 warriors. This tells us that Isaiah saw this as an historical event.
Second, God will break the yoke, the staff, and the rod. In other words, complete he-gemony v 5. The implements of war will all be burned up, every boot of the booted warrior… cloaked rolled in blood will be for burning, fuel for the fire. War will end! There will be no need for military weapons with global peace. But of such peace is to come, one must have the ability to produce and maintain it.
GLOBAL PEACE WILL ONLY COME WITH THE RIGHTEOUS REIGN OF MESSIAH
Verse 6: Here is one who will truly transform from gloom to joy—the Lord will give a child to us:
First, a child will be born, a son will be given. The ‘child born’ points to His humanity. The ‘son given’ refers to His deity. Interesting, that God would defeat Israel’s enemies not with more powerful and larger armies but by means of a child to be born. This would be the ultimate sign that God was with us. Paul said, in the fullness of time, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman… (Gal 4:4).
Second, the first advent of Christ established His identity, it did not begin His reign for he has yet to put down all enemies, and the government will rest on his shoulders. This prophecy will become a complete reality at His second advent. There will be a time when this one will rule as king. Isaiah envisions a time of universal peace and righteousness in this world.
NB: This messiah is characterized by four descriptions each providing an aspect of his nature. What has been hoped for, a wild dream of sorts will become a reality one day. And with this reality and with this ruler global peace will be assured.
1. This global ruler is a wonder of a counselor:
The idea is extraordinary, marvelous, and exemplary. Like David meditating on the knowledge of the Lord in Psa 139 realizing the depth and breadth of God’s knowledge exclaims, such knowledge is too wonderful for me. He is ascribing supernatural ability to this one. Jesus himself testifies that I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me will live, even though he dies (John 11:25). As a counselor his sovereign wisdom to rule is derived. Kings make decisions and give counsel. But instead of being surrounded by counsel, he will be wonderful as one Himself. Jesus knows what is in men and this is what makes him a counsel par excellence.
2. This global ruler is the Mighty God:
He possesses all the power of God. He is a king who will display the power of God in his reign. Jesus himself claimed in His first advent that all power is given to me (John 8:58). The mighty God came in the flesh for sure.
3. This global leader is the Everlasting Father:
This is not the Father in the godhead but a description of Jesus role as a father or sovereign over the new created order in the eternal kingdom as lord of the ages to come. He will be cast in charge of the affairs of eternity’s reign and as such will rule as father of the universe to come. He will have the say and His wisdom and rule and sovereign paternal role will be supreme forever. He will still be Son in the Godhead but father in the role of sovereign ruler of the eternal realm.
4. This global ruler is the Prince of Peace:
This is more than just the absence of war. To Isaiah, peace is a condition in which all things follow their destiny undisturbed. This can only happen when remarkable changes are made in nature. Isaiah’s vision, then, is one that culminates in a new heaven and new earth where an entirely new created order exists. In his first advent Jesus brought peace with God through redemption by his death and resurrection. Eventually, complete and total peace will come through his exalted reign over all the earth. In the meantime, we are, like the disciples, sent out amongst the wolves where people will hate us and drag us into the court of public opinion and before magistrates if possible. So we await the outcome of this kingdom to come.
5. This global leaders reign will be righteous: 7
And of the government there will be no end and he will uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. So it will be eternal in nature. The zeal of the Lord will accomplish this. So long abused, the Lord will have the final say.
1. For Israel, it may seem that God is abandoning them to their enemies to be exterminated. But in spite of the present doom and gloom there is yet a glorious future God holds out for the faithful. So the words of Isaiah hold out hope for his generation.
2. For Christ, that prospect began with the first advent. He laid the foundation for this glorious future on the cross reconciling people to God and bringing with that eternal peace offered to all through the forgiveness of sins. That prospect is yet to be fulfilled when Christ returns.
3. For us, our task to carry out the ministry of the gospel and announce to the world that the only hope is in the Messiah, Jesus Christ. That people find eternal peace with God. As ambassadors of God our King we tirelessly declare this hope of peace in Christ.
We also have resources available to us from our King. (1) As a wonderful counselor we obtain instruction and guidance form the Word of God. (2) As a mighty God we trust him to accomplish great things in and trough us. (3) As the everlasting father we have the stability needed to live knowing he is in charge. (4) As the prince of peace we rest in him knowing all is well between me and God.