WHO IS THIS, SO WEAK AND HELPLESS?

by Bob Wheeler

4.2.7

Fra Angelico: The Annunciation

 

We have seen , then, that “unto us a Child is born, / Unto us a Son is given . . .” (Isa. 9:6; NKJV).  But who or what exactly was this Child?  The text goes on to make it clear that this was no ordinary human being.

“And His name will be called

Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father,

Prince of Peace.”

First of all, He will be called “wonderful Counsellor” (the two words probably go together – cf. NASV, ESV, NIV).  The fate of a nation often hangs on the decisions made by its leader.  But the Messiah will be a “wonderful Counsellor.”  He will decide cases wisely and make plans carefully, and He will do it in a way that is most compelling.

But then He is called “Mighty God.”  What is especially significant about this is that the Child is specifically called “God” – the verse points directly to the deity of Christ.  But He is specifically referred to as “Mighty God” – “El Gibor” in the Hebrew text.  As a noun “gibor” refers to a strong, valiant man, a mighty warrior.  In this context it describes God as One who is fighting for His people. “Who is this King of glory? / The Lord strong and mighty, / The Lord mighty in battle” (Ps. 24:8).

And then the Child is called “Everlasting Father.”  Tragically many younger people today have a hard time relating to a human father.  Too many of them have been neglected or abused by their own fathers.  But God is a father the way fathers should be.  He has a loving concern for His children, protected them and supplying their need.  “As a father pities his children, / So the Lord pities those who fear Him” (Ps. 103:13).  And whereas human fathers eventually die and are no longer a part of our lives, this Child is the “everlasting Father” – He will always be there to take care of our needs.

And finally the Child is called “Prince of Peace.”  He will be the ruler or administrator who will bring about peace.  But “peace” is much more than the mere absence of war or conflict.  The underlying Hebrew word “shalom” signifies a state of rest or tranquility that comes when our needs have been met and we are at peace with our fellow human beings.  It is a state of completeness and fulfillment.  And in a nation it comes when it is ruled wisely.

In short, the Messiah will possess all the attributes of a wise and effective ruler.

Moreover we are told that He will sit

“Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,

To order it and establish it with judgment and justice. . .”

\                                                                                   (Isa. 9:7)

He will be an heir of David and restore David’s kingdom in fulfillment of the promises originally made to David (II Sam. 7:8-16; II Chron. 17:3-14; Ps. 89).  And here again we can see the fulfillment of prophecy in the birth of Jesus.  He was born in the city of David (Bethlehem) and His earthly parents were descendants of David.  He is, in fact, the rightful heir to King David’s throne.

When He comes to set up His kingdom it will be marked by “judgment and justice.”  “Judgment” is the act of judging, of making decisions in cases in a manner that conforms to the law.  “Justice” or “righteousness” as it might better be rendered (NASV, ESV), is conformity with the law – not half-hearted compliance with a set of external regulations.  Thus the reign of Messiah will stand in sharp contrast with current human government, with all of its dishonesty and corruption.  And the passage concludes by saying, “The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this” (v. 7).

And what are the implications for those of us living today?  There is a sense in which the kingdom is already present now among believers.  “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Col. 1:13,14).  But while we are here on earth we live “in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.”  Therefore we are called to be “blameless and harmless, children of God without fault” (Phil. 2:15).

We live in perilous times.  The world is becoming increasing hostile to Christian belief and practice.  But the reign of Messiah becomes a reality in our hearts when we turn from our sins and go to Christ in faith.  And we wait for His return at the end of the age to establish His kingdom upon the earth.  Let us watch and pray accordingly.

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