When did, ‘no end to the increase of His government or peace’ begin?
This point is a little out of order, but it is in line with our previous topic. This one point, if understood correctly, can transform our view of politics as Americans forever. I’ll give this my best shot because I believe we need to hear it in this season—in this hour.
Two-thousand years ago, according to the Scripture, when our resurrected King sat on His throne and revealed to us that “all authority in heaven and earth” had been given to Him—His kingdom, His rule, His government was on the increase and has never stopped since!
Church, even when things look dark, the Kingdom is not decreasing. Jesus was increasing even when He was hanging on the cross. Even when the sky literally turned black. It didn’t look promising then, but what we see is not always what is.
Pick a dark spot in human history and I will continue to point out that the Kingdom of God never stopped increasing. Which brings us to present day America. As Christians, who is our hope in? Jesus right? Has He established our government? It exists doesn’t it? Is our government resting upon His shoulders? All of them do right? Is His government still increasing? Even when things look bleak? The answer is a resounding yes! So what again are we worrying about?Even when things look dark, the Kingdom is not decreasing. Jesus was increasing even when He was hanging on the cross. Click To Tweet
I’m not saying dark times are not coming. I’m only trying to return our attention to Jesus. Israel, when bitten by serpents in the wilderness, was commanded to look to God. When we are facing trial, we’re to do the same–look to God. This is walking by faith. God said what He said about governments and His own Kingdom. What are we going to believe? God or our circumstances?
In ancient Israel God told the people to look to Him but instead they demanded a king. I’m afraid we do this same thing all the time.
This political component of Advent is true hope when rightly understood and believed. If it’s wrongly understood or rejected we will keep looking at everything through a distorted lens. Searching for peace where it cannot be found.
What about His name…’ Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.’ What does it all mean?
Let’s break each one down. The first is “Wonderful Counselor.”
Isaiah 28:29, “This also comes from the LORD of hosts, Who has made His counsel wonderful and His wisdom great.”
We have an shortsighted view of a counselor as modern readers. We picture a therapist or a guidance counselor but the language of the Bible is legal in nature.
This life is a courtroom drama and God is the judge. Thankfully Jesus also comes to our defense as our legal counsel. As such He provides a counsel that is both wise and miraculous (quite literally as the word wonderful means miracle).
The role of judge and counsellor was a responsibility of Israel’s king so this first title is clearly political in nature.
The second title is “Mighty God.”
Deuteronomy 10:17 says, “For the LORD your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take a bribe.”
Impartiality was required of a good king. But so are faithfulness and lovingkindness. Both of which are connected with the title “Mighty God.”
“Now therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who keeps covenant and lovingkindness,” – Nehemiah 9:32a
“A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God.” – Isaiah 10:21
Third, we have “Eternal Father.” And as complicated as it is to wrap our minds around God is a trinitarian God. As many scholars have said He is “three whos” (Father, Son, and Spirit) in “one what” (God). The Son and the Father are one (John 10:30).
Isaiah 63:16 says, “For You are our Father, though Abraham does not know us And Israel does not recognize us. You, O Lord, are our Father, Our Redeemer from of old is Your name.”
And again Isaiah 64:8, “But now, O Lord, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.”
The titles Jesus ‘receives’ here are the titles of the King of all things. Again this is political—they’re relating to governance.
Finally, “Prince of Peace.”
“The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You…. LORD, You will establish peace for us, Since You have also performed for us all our works.” – Isaiah 26:3, 12
“For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, But My lovingkindness will not be removed from you, And My covenant of peace will not be shaken,” Says the LORD who has compassion on you.” – Isaiah 54:10
“For thus says the LORD, “Behold, I extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream; and you will be nursed, you will be carried on the hip and fondled on the knees.” – Isaiah 66:12
Do you know what all of these are related to? Political peace for God’s people. When we read that God is a God of peace we fall tragically short if we interpret it as God giving us peace when having a less than joyful day. This is far too small an idea!
What does it mean to sit on ‘the throne of David’ and be ‘over His Kingdom?’
Christ’s position on the throne is a fulfillment of a promise (again Jeremiah 33:17), and ruling over the Kingdom has to do with duration. To establish and uphold it with justice and righteousness forever. Because Jesus is King, the Jewish nation (at least those who trust Him) are no longer in the up and down nature of human regimes. And I mean this in an eternal sense. In Jesus, the Kingdom we belong to will never falter, nor will it be run unjustly.
Isaiah 16:5 says, “A throne will even be established in lovingkindness, and a judge will sit on it in faithfulness in the tent of David; Moreover, he will seek justice and be prompt in righteousness.”
How does ‘the Zeal of the Lord of Hosts’ accomplish God’s objectives? What is zeal in this context?
What? The word ‘this’ refers to everything we’ve just read. God is the one who will bring about the child, He will establish and set governments upon Jesus’s shoulders (Matt. 28:18; Romans 13), God will establish the Messiah’s name (Phil. 2:9), God always has and will have a neverending increase (1 Cor. 3:7; Matt. 13:31-32), and God has/will fulfill his promises.
Zeal means jealousy.
The politics of Advent are different from the politics of our world. God is not so concerned with our view of setting things to rights. His ways are higher than ours, even in opinions about freedom. This God ordained peace is what some anticipated. Others, however, misread the signs. Some today expect rightly. Some today still misread the signs.
Advent, understood correctly, should afford us peace in this world. It should show us that God has never abdicated His throne. It should show us that although life grows dark from time to time, Jesus’ Kingdom is ever increasing. The politics of Advent shouldn’t be a thing we shy away from. It should be the subject of our conversations. So much so that it drowns out the foolish talk of modern politics.