Isaiah 9:6 - The Prince of Peace
Isaiah 9:6 - The Prince of Peace
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be upon his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.Isaiah 9:6
History repeats itself, again and again. This is true of history, of people, of Christians.
In the times of the judges the people of Israel turned away from the Lord and served idols. As punishment, God sent other nations to oppress them. When the oppression became too great, they called to God for deliverance and He raised up judges to deliver them. Then they served the Lord, usually only as long as the judge lived. Their record was no better during the period of the kings. Much depended upon the kind of king Israel had. During David's reign, for example, the nation was richly blessed. But even kings like David, one of the best, failed. And he, too, finally died. There is no hope in man, not even with the best leaders.
That was true of Israel. The ten tribes were finally taken captive by Assyria and never returned. Judah fared a little better, but also was finally taken into captivity by the Babylonians. There seemed to be no hope for the nation. By Babel's streams they sat and wept, hanging their harps on the branches of the willow trees. True believers then must have been deeply concerned about the future of the "church" and of their children.
Isaiah 8 and 9 speak to Judah in one of the periods of spiritual decline before the captivity. The prophet Isaiah warned them and king Ahaz about coming judgments. The outlook was bleak. In chapter 9 the prophet brings a different message, a jubilant word of hope. A child is going to be born, a special child, to be given of God. The government will be upon his shoulders. And He will be wonderful, a counselor, mighty God Himself, the everlasting Father and because of all these characteristics and virtues, He will be the Prince of peace.
God will come to the rescue, once and for all. Out of His amazing love and faithfulness will come Christmas, the gift of His Son. Being of the house of David He will establish a kingdom like there had never been before. And it will last forever.
The government will be upon His shoulders. In other words, He will be a king, clothed as it were with a royal robe hanging from His shoulders. Some commentators think that this might refer first of all to king Hezekiah, son of Ahaz. Perhaps it does in some way, but it fully and ultimately speaks of Jesus Christ, the son of David. Only He, as the Son of God, could be the fulfillment of such sublime prophecies.
Several names are given to Him. These are not necessarily titles for the coming king, but surely are descriptions of His person and the work He will do, redeeming His people from a world of sin, the curse, corruption, despair and death. He will be so great in His person and work that one title couldn't possibly describe His kingship and work.
His name will be Wonderful. He will far excel everything that is of man's world and that man can produce. This reminds us of the question of Manoah, the father of Samson. When the angel announced the birth of Samson he asked the angel: "What is your name?" The angel replied: "Why do you ask my name? It is beyond understanding." What a beautiful answer! Don't we see this fulfilled later in the life and teachings of Jesus? The multitudes marveled at Him, His words and works. "Who can perform miracles like this man? Who can speak like He does?" And remember, He is still the exalted King today. With His power and His promises for His people, He is still the King whose name is Wonderful.
He is also called the Counselor. All kings and rulers have counselors. They need advice, help and counsel. But this king doesn't need that kind of help. His wisdom will far exceed anything that any or all men can give.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power.Isaiah 11:2
What a comfort that is for us. Jesus as our exalted Lord rules over us in His infinite wisdom. He assures us again and again, that there is no searching of His understanding. We must trust in Him who directs and controls our lives.
This Baby to be born will also be the mighty God. He will be more than a mighty or god-like hero. He will be God. He will have a divine nature as well as be human. The same thought is later expressed in the name Immanuel, God with us. Connected with the previous description of wisdom, it means that He will be all-wise and have almighty power, as God. He will have power over the devil, death and the grave. Nothing can hinder His work to save His people.
A fourth name is Everlasting Father. Some commentators interpret this to mean that as the everlasting One He will be like a father to the saints. The characteristics of a father are protection, care and love. As king He will have almighty power, but also the love of a father, taking a keen interest in and having a deep personal concern for all of His people in every need they may have. With God the Father working through Him, He will be a Priest who will make payment for their sins on the cross, and will also utter constant, interceding prayers for all His people in all of their needs throughout their lives.
Finally, He will be the Prince of Peace. This is the culminating title. The complete result of His work described in the previous names will be that He will be the Prince of Peace.
He will establish and give peace. The Bible often speaks of peace. Angels sang about it already at the birth of the Savior. Peacemakers are called blessed in the Sermon on the Mount. In the memorable night before His arrest, Jesus, in the upper room, assured the disciples that He would leave them and give them peace. "Peace" was the greeting of the epistles, "Grace, mercy and peace." And Paul speaks of a peace that surpasses all understanding. We can have peace through justification by faith in the work of Jesus (Romans 5:1). Peace with God means that all things are well between God and us. There is harmony, unity and an inner and outward feeling of restfulness. Negatively, it means a life without any fear, and, positively, a full enjoyment of all the spiritual powers and blessing of the Lord, who is the God of peace. Peace with God and our neighbor will finally be a life free from all disharmony, trouble and strife, and, positively, a perfect harmony of love and an inner calmness and enjoyment of rest in Christ, that will surpass all of our present ability to understand.
The government will be upon the shoulders of this child to be born. As such He will be prince who rules. All the work of this wonderful Counselor, mighty God and everlasting Father will culminate in this everlasting kingdom of peace in the new heaven and earth with all the saints of God.
What a Savior He will be, and already is!
This child of whom Isaiah speaks has already been born. He has been here in our world. While on earth He laid the ground-work of the everlasting kingdom of peace. What a blessing this is for believers living in this world where there is so much of the very opposite of peace, fear, war, tears, hatred, enmity, unrest and death. The ground-work has been laid for peace, in the payment for our sins on the cross. Where there is sin there can be no peace with God or with one another. As a result of His payment Jesus has begun establishing the marvelous kingdom of peace through His Spirit and Word.
In the Old Testament the best of men failed. Moses, the meekest man on earth, failed. David, the man after God's heart, failed. No man, even the best saints and leaders in the church could have saved the cause of the Lord. Only Jesus Christ could and would do it.
Do not fail to notice the words: "To us a son is given." He is given to us. No one merits the blessings of the great coming Son. No one makes himself worthy of them. We have deserved to live in a world of sin, strife, hatred and unrest and then to die in our sins. But He is given to us.
Man's work faileth, Christ availeth
He is all our righteousness
He, our Savior has forever
Set us free from dire distress
Through His merit, we inherit
Light and peace and happiness.
Christ, the Prince of Peace, is Lord today. He's coming again. Then His own will be raised into the kingdom of glory and peace, while the wicked will be condemned forever.
May our Christmas be a time when we try to see anew, although we still live in the world of strife, disharmony, hatred and death, that in Him we can find peace, because His name is Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace.
May our Christmas be a time when we see that although in present history men's plans and efforts still fail, in Christ our hopes will be fulfilled.
Let's realize the sin and folly of the massive Christmas commercialization.
May we see, in celebrating Christmas, that all we may have in the coming of the Prince of Peace is the gift of God's free grace. He is the great Christmas present.
May our celebration of Christmas deepen our faith in this Wonderful Savior King. May we be ready to meet Him on His return, which may be soon.
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