Isaiah 9: 6,7

Dr Grant C Richison
 
 
Isaiah 9: 6,7
For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
 
This is a prophecy of the coming rule of Jesus on earth. These verses gather into one announcement the predictions of the birth, the deity, his earthly government, his just kingdom, and eternity of Christ.
For unto us a Child is born
The purpose of Christ’s coming was for “us.”
Unto us a Son is given
Jesus did not happen upon earth. From eternity God planned to “give” him. Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus existed eternally as the Son. The word “Son” is used to show the relationship between the Father and Son.
And the government will be upon His shoulder
Jesus will reign as King Jesus King of the world. The government of the entire world is on his shoulders.
And His name will be called Wonderful
When he came he was a wonder. He transcends human understanding. He is unique among human beings. He stands supreme above everyone else. His name is wonderful because he is wonderful.
And His name will be called… Counselor
Jesus reveals the mind of God. He counsels us from God’s perspective. He gives God’s council.
And His name will be called… Mighty God
He is God almighty. In Him dwells all the fullness of the Deity in bodily form (Colossians 2:9).
And His name will be called… Everlasting Father
This is better translated “The Father of eternity.” All the ages meet in him (Hebrews 1:2). The Son is not to be confused with the Father, although the Father and He are one (John 10:30).
And His name will be called… Prince of Peace.
Peace will characterize his reign upon earth.
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
God made a covenant with David many years before the writing of Isaiah that His Son would reign forever. This has not yet been fulfilled. Jesus has not yet been seated upon that throne. There is a day coming when He will reign (Revelation 3:21).
PRINCIPLE: God predicted the coming of Christ. He is sovereign over the affairs of man.
APPLICATION: We can rest confident that God manages the world well.
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43 Responses to “Isaiah 9: 6,7”


  • yeah! God rules very well. Praise God forever and ever!

  • Thanks

    used some of this for a sermon here in Nor Cal
    will be shared 12/20/09
    Thanks again Pastor Kel

  • That is a blessing to me Kel.

  • very good comments except “and his name shall be called everlasting father” – why don’t we just accept what it says; and his name (Jesus) shall be called everlasting father!

  • Boni, consider these remarks from The Bible Knowledge Commentary: This Deliverer will also be called the Everlasting Father. Many people are puzzled by this title because the Messiah, God’s Son, is distinguished in the Trinity from God the Father. How can the Son be the Father? Several things must be noted in this regard. First, the Messiah, being the second Person of the Trinity, is in His essence, God. Therefore He has all the attributes of God including eternality. Since God is One (even though He exists in three Persons), the Messiah is God. Second, the title “Everlasting Father” is an idiom used to describe the Messiah’s relationship to time, not His relationship to the other Members of the Trinity. He is said to be everlasting, just as God (the Father) is called “the Ancient of Days” (Dan. 7:9). The Messiah will be a “fatherly” Ruler. Third, perhaps Isaiah had in mind the promise to David (2 Sam. 7:16) about the “foreverness” of the kingdom which God promised would come through David’s line. The Messiah, a Descendant of David, will fulfill this promise for which the nation had been waiting.
    Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

    This use of Father is “source.” The Messiah will be Father (in the sense of provider) to His people eternally.

  • Thank you for this understanding of Everlasting Father, it really helped me comprehend and put into context this title, and also brought many other verses to mind and it all started connecting!

  • That is a blessing Janie.

  • Wonderful commentary. I was reading James Tabor’s book Tje Jesus Dynasty and in it he eludes to this passage actually referring to some type of relative of King Hezekiah. I spoke with my pastor and he says that it defintely refers to Jesus birth. Could you provide a comment on that.

    Thanks and God Bless

    Rudy Wiebe Winnipeg

  • Thanks for sharing! I’m always grateful for the ones God reveals His word to, and they are willing impart among others. Blessings, Tangela

  • I am studying prophecy and this verses put in perspective what is to come. The final chapter opening a new book for eternity. Praise GOD!

  • That is a blessing Manny.

  • hello Grant, I dont agree that it is an accurate statement " dont get the two confused" the Father and the Son that is, because at the end of the day there is only ONE God, not THREE; deut 6:4 ,my point is in act 5, Peter used God and the HolySpirit interchangeably and there was no problem with that because they are the same person, not on the flipside Jesus thought his deciples to pray to the FATHER in the name of JESUS, and thats all because of order and function of each characteristic;Jesus being in the capacity of the Son died and rose again, and in so doing gained a more excellent NAME yet still being the same God that made all the same claims as the Father being God(see rev 1:8,11), so yes they are the same person and has the same mind. God's richest blessings

  • Willy, there are so many distinctions between the persons of the Trinity that it is difficult to categorize them all. God is indeed one in essence but He is three in person. Here is a summary from Holman's Illustrated Bible Dictionary:

    TRINITY

    Theological term used to define God as an undivided unity expressed in the threefold nature of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. As a distinctive Christian doctrine, the Trinity is considered as a divine mystery beyond human comprehension to be reflected upon only through scriptural revelation. The Trinity is a biblical concept that expresses the dynamic character of God, not a Greek idea pressed into Scripture from philosophical or religious speculation. While the term "trinity" does not appear in Scripture, the trinitarian structure appears throughout the NT to affirm that God Himself is manifested through Jesus Christ by means of the Spirit.

    A proper biblical view of the Trinity balances the concepts of unity and distinctiveness. Two errors that appear in the history of the consideration of the doctrine are tritheism and unitarianism. In tritheism error is made in emphasizing the distinctiveness of the Godhead to the point that the Trinity is seen as three separate Gods, or a Christian polytheism. On the other hand, unitarianism excludes the concept of distinctiveness while focusing solely on the aspect of God the Father. In this way Christ and the Holy Spirit are placed in lower categories and made less than divine. Both errors compromise the effectiveness and contribution of the activity of God in redemptive history.

    The biblical concept of the Trinity developed through progressive revelation. The OT consistently affirms the unity of God through such statements as "Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One" (Deut. 6:4 HCSB). God’s oneness is stressed to caution the Israelites against the polytheism and practical atheism of their heathen neighbors. See Revelation, Book of; Shema.

    The OT does feature implications of the trinitarian idea. This does not mean that the Trinity was fully knowable from the OT, but that a vocabulary was established through the events of God’s nearness and creativity; both receive developed meaning from NT writers. For example, the word of God is recognized as the agent of creation (Ps. 33:6, 9; cp. Prov. 3:19; 8:27), revelation, and salvation (Ps. 107:20). This same vocabulary is given distinct personality in John’s prologue (John 1:1–4) in the person of Jesus Christ. Other vocabulary categories include the wisdom of God (Prov.8) and the Spirit of God (Gen. 1:2; Ps. 104:30; Zech. 4:6).

    A distinguishing feature of the NT is the doctrine of the Trinity. It is remarkable that NT writers present the doctrine in such a manner that it does not violate the OT concept of the oneness of God. In fact, they unanimously affirm the Hebrew monotheistic faith, but they extend it to include the coming of Jesus and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The early Christian church experienced the God of Abraham in a new and dramatic way without abandoning the oneness of God that permeates the OT. As a fresh expression of God, the concept of the Trinity—rooted in the God of the past and consistent with the God of the past—absorbs the idea of the God of the past but goes beyond the God of the past in a more personal encounter.

    The NT does not present a systematic presentation of the Trinity. The scattered segments from various writers that appear throughout the NT reflect a seemingly accepted understanding that exists without a full-length discussion. It is embedded in the framework of the Christian experience and simply assumed as true. The NT writers focus on statements drawn from the obvious existence of the trinitarian experience as opposed to a detailed exposition.

    The NT evidence for the Trinity can be grouped into four types of passages. The first is the trinitarian formula of Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:13/14; 1 Pet. 1:2; Rev. 1:4–6. In each passage a trinitarian formula, repeated in summation fashion, registers a distinctive contribution of each person of the Godhead. Matthew 28:19, for example, follows the triple formula of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit that distinguishes Christian baptism. The risen Lord commissioned the disciples to baptize converts with a trinitarian emphasis that carries the distinctiveness of each person of the Godhead while associating their inner relationship. This passage is the clearest scriptural reference to a systematic presentation of the doctrine of the Trinity.

    Paul, in 2 Cor. 13:13/14, finalized his thoughts to the Corinthian church with a pastoral appeal that is grounded in "the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit." The formulation is designed to have the practical impact of bringing that divided church together through their personal experience of the Trinity in their daily lives. Significantly, in the trinitarian order Christ is mentioned first. This reflects the actual process of Christian salvation, since Christ is the key to opening insight into the work of the Godhead. Paul was calling attention to the trinitarian consciousness, not in the initial work of salvation that has already been accomplished at Corinth, but in the sustaining work that enables divisive Christians to achieve unity.

    In 1 Pet. 1:2 the trinitarian formula is followed with reference to each person of the Godhead. The scattered Christians are reminded through reference to the Trinity that their election (foreknowledge of the Father) and redemption (the sanctifying work of the Spirit) should lead to holy living in obedience to the Son.

    John addressed the readers of the book of Revelation with an expanded trinitarian formula that includes references to the persons of the Godhead (Rev. 1:4–6). The focus on the triumph of Christianity crystallizes the trinitarian greeting into a doxology that acknowledges the accomplished work and the future return of Christ. This elongated presentation serves as an encouragement to churches facing persecution.

    A second type of NT passage is the triadic form. Two passages cast in this structure are Eph. 4:4–6 and 1 Cor. 12:3–6. Both passages refer to the three persons of the Trinity, but not in the definitive formula of the previous passage. Each Scripture balances the unity of the church. Emphasis is placed on the administration of gifts by the Godhead.

    A third category of passages mentions the three persons of the Godhead but without a clear triadic structure. In the accounts of the baptism of Jesus (Matt. 3:13–17; Mark 1:9–11; and Luke 3:21–22), the three Synoptic writers recorded the presence of the Trinity when the Son was baptized, the Spirit descended, and the Father spoke with approval. Paul, in Gal. 4:4–6, outlined the work of the Trinity in the aspect of the sending Father. Other representative passages in this category (2 Thess. 2:13–15; Titus 3:4–6; Jude 20–21) portray each member of the Trinity in relation to a particular redemptive function.

    The fourth category of trinitarian passages includes those presented in the farewell discourse of Jesus to His disciples (John 14:16; 15:26; 16:13–15). In the context of these passages, Jesus expounded the work and ministry of the third person of the Godhead as the Agent of God in the continuing ministry of the Son. The Spirit is a Teacher who facilitates understanding on the disciples’ part and, in being sent from the Father and the Son, is one in nature with the other persons of the Trinity. Jesus said the Spirit takes what is His and declares it to believers (John 16:15). The discourse emphasizes the interrelatedness of the Trinity in equality and operational significance.

    All of these passages are embryonic efforts by the early church to express its awareness of the Trinity. The NT is christological in its approach, but it involves the fullness of God being made available to the individual believer through Jesus and by the Spirit. The consistent trinitarian expression is not a formulation of the doctrine, as such, but reveals an experiencing of God’s persistent self-revelation.

    In the postbiblical era the Christian church tried to express its doctrine in terms that were philosophically acceptable and logically coherent. Greek categories of understanding began to appear in explanation efforts. Discussion shifted from the NT emphasis on the function of the Trinity in redemptive history to an analysis of the unity of essence of the Godhead.

    A major question during those early centuries focused on the oneness of God. The Sabelians described the Godhead in terms of modes that existed only one at a time. This theory upheld the unity of God but excluded His permanent distinctiveness. The Docetists understood Christ as an appearance of God in human form, while Ebonites described Jesus as an ordinary man with God’s power existing within Him at baptism. Arius was also an influential theologian who viewed Jesus as subordinate to God. To Arius, Jesus was a being created by God, higher than man, but less than God. This idea, as well as the others, was challenged by Athanasius at Nicea (a.d. 325), and the council decided for the position of Jesus as "of the exact same substance as the Father."

    Probably the most outstanding thinker of the early centuries was Augustine of Hippo (a.d. 354–430). He began with the idea of God as one substance and sought explanation of the Godhead in psychological analogy: a person exists as one being with three dimensions of memory, understanding, and will; so also the Godhead exists as a unity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. While this explanation is helpful and contains the concept of three persons in one, it does not resolve the complex nature of God.

  • pastor Grant,
                           God keep you in all wisdom,knowledge,understanding and humility in his truth.
     

  • This is a question regarding, "Of the increase of His govt and peace there shall be no end.". The last chapters of Revelation tell us that finally there will be no humans left alive on Planet Earth. All will either be born into the God Family as little brothers of Christ or else burned up in the lake of fire so they are only "ashes". But since we who overcame and will sit with Him in governing will have been humans, how will that government continue to increase forever now that there are no more humans?  
     

  • James, there are a number of different kinds of kingdoms in the Bible. Two of the most major kingdoms are the Millennial Kingdom and the eternal kingdom. The five unconditional covenants of the Old Testament promise an earthly kingdom where Christ will rule in time on earth. Two examples of promises of this kingdom are Gen 12-15 (the Abrahamic Covenant, reiterated in the NT a number of times) where it promises a coming Messiah. The Davidic kingdom presented in 2 Sam 7 is a promise of that the Millennial Kingdom will have an earthly King. Revelation 20 speaks of the Millennial Kingdom and chapters 21-22 speak of the eternal kingdom. 

    At the end of seven years of Tribulation (Rev 6-19) the world will be destroyed except for believers who will be ushered into the Millennial Kingdom which will last for 1000 years (millennial). After the 1000 years Jesus will present the Millennial Kingdom to the Father and that kingdom will be merged with the eternal kingdom. 

  • please correct me if the two sentences are the same: "And His name will be called mighty God" and " And He is the mighty God."

  • what i mean is, how do you differentiate the two sentences:
    1. "His name will be called mighty God," and
    2. "He is the mighty God"

  • Bo,

    Isaiah 9:6 is in a prophetic passage where it refers to the future time when Jesus “is called” the mighty God in His incarnation. The idea is that when Jesus comes people will perceive Him with the epithet "almighty God." Thus, one phrase deals with the prophecy of how people will perceive Him and the other is an absolute state of being verb.

    The absolute state of being assertion of Christ as God is in John 1:1 where we have a predicate nominative, that is, both the subject and the object are the same—“the Word was God.” The Word was constantly in the past (imperfect tense) existing in His absolute state of being as God.

  • Grant,
    You elude to differentiate sentence 1 and sentence 2. There's a big difference comparing those sentences, and beside the verse states "mighty" not "almighty." In referring to John 1:1, James Mofatt and Plumley of Coptic translations has this verse…"the Word was divine." Granting other translations which states…"the Word was God," you give literal meaning to the word "Word." A "word" which is a speech sound or something to be said cannot be a thing or a person, it's tantamount of saying "Time was Gold," or "Time is Gold."

  • Bo,

    I can’t imagine a more uninformed, inaccurate and distorted interpretation you gave to John 1:1. First, there is a Greek word for “divinity” in the Greek and it is not THEOS, “God,” the term which is used in 1:1. The Greek word for divinity is THEIOTJS (the nature or state of being God). The Greek word for “word” is LOGOS which is translated by “word” as the normal customary usage of the Greek term in Scripture. The joining of the word “word” with “God” or THEOS is a predicate nominative (both in the nominative or naming case in the Greek) making the “word” and “God” the same. These words are jointed by the absolute state of being verb “was” or “is” (EIMI). Thus, the “word” was constantly (imperfect linear actionsart) in the eternal state in His absolute state of being God Himself. I am sorry but you have a lack of understanding, if any, of Greek.

  • You are correct Grant, I don't know nothing about Greek, what I'm using is logic thinking. Your interpretation of the word "Word" sounds complicated. It is understood that God is Eternally, Holy and Pure so it is in that way the word "Word" is applied in the phrase …"the Word was God."

  • Bo, you are not using logic. Logic requires such thinking as inductive or deductive logic. You use none of these. Your issue is ability to understand the facts. The meaning I relayed to you was the basic lexical meaning from a Greek lexicon. 

  • Grant, my ability to understand the facts is a simple logical thinking that call for relationship between facts and chains of reasoning that "make sense." Your interpretation of the verse of Isaiah 9:6 and the phrase of John 1:1 is complicated not simple.

  • Bo, if your thinking is logical you have not demonstrated it in this blog. You say my "interpretation" is "complicated." The interpretation is very simple: the Word was constantly in the past God. That is the same as the assertion "The Word is God" except it is in the imperfect tense (constantly remained in His state of being as God). The issue is not the interpretation itself but what is the basis of the interpretation. The basis of the interpretation is based on Greek, not English (which is a very inaccurate language in comparison with the Greek). What you are attempting to do is base your interpretation on very superficial basis such as appealing to inadequate translations and even these translations do not support your case. In interpretation, it is important not to select meanings from non-normative translations (but even with those translations you use, it is possible to come up with different conclusions than you draw). The vast number of translations in the English draw different conclusions than your inferences. Since the Bible was written in English, the Greek is the ultimate basis for interpretation.

  • Grant, your complicated interpretation of Isaiah 9:6 is based clearly in English not in Greek, then you jump your conclusion to a phrase in John 1:1 by shielding it with your Greek lexicon.

  • Bo, my, how you try to confuse the issue. First, Isaiah said that when the Messiah comes people will "call" Him "the mighty God." That is an extant statement and that is all it means. Then I discussed a verse that deals with God asserting the Word was God. Those are two separate issues.

    Secondly, the interpretation of Isaiah was not complicated. The issue is a prophecy that the prophet Isaiah said that the Messiah will be called the mighty God. My sentence "He is God almighty" was based on Isaiah's prophecy that is what people will call him. John calls Him God in John 1:1-3. John also asserts that He is the Creator. In fact, nothing in creation was made without Him.

    Third, John 1:1 is not simply based on a lexical argument but that the word "Word" was the normal translation from lexicons. The main argument was based on the grammar of John 1:1, a predicate nominative.

  • Grant, sir, I am not intending to confuse the issue. Your explanation of the phrases of Isaiah 9:6 is very confusing. Take for example the phrase "His name will be called mighty God" is very different if you say, "He is the almighty God." Having this concept alone will change the whole idea of the phrase. The phrase is very simple, "His name…." it is only his name, and by saying "He is the almighty God," sounds very confusing. Yet the phrase only states "mighty" but you replace it with "almighty," you are not only adding a word but altering the very thought of the simple phrase.

  • Bo, in the Hebrew the name “Mighty God” is el gibbor. El is always used of God and never of man. Gibbor is mighty. Together these words describe God Himself since God is nothing less than almighty. The term for God is El which is a word for God in all Semitic languages. El is a name for God which all Gentile nations could understand.

    Isaiah used this term for “the Lord God of Hosts” in the next chapter (10:21-23). In other words el gibbor is used of the same person in 9:6 and 10:21. The name “Mighty God” is clearly applied to Jehovah in Dt 10:17; Isa 10:21; Je 32:18. No other person in the Bible has God’s name. God is never called Moses, Abram, David or Jeremiah. In other words, this is a special name of God almighty Himself. The divine nature of the Son is clearly expressed in the title “Mighty God.” In 10:21 Isaiah uses el gibbor of Jehovah (10:20) — “the LORD (Jehovah), the Holy One of Israel (10:20).

    Note that the next term (abi.ad) literally means Father of Eternity, that is, He is eternal (there never was a time when He was not). This is an incommunicable attribute (an attribute that cannot be shared with man). By itself the name “mighty God” does not carry the idea of an incommunicable attribute, except that it is implied in the name “God” (el), but with its juxtaposition to “eternal Father” it does because “eternal” carries an incommunicable idea. “Everlasting” is a title that never applies to any human ruler. Only God has incommunicable attributes.

    Thus, to state the point one more time, since Isaiah 9:6 is a prophecy of the coming Messiah -God, the Mighty God, this verse depicts Jesus as God, God Almighty. The context in 9:6 determines the meaning of “mighty.”

  • Please forgive me of what I'm going to say Grant, that as I go over your explanations of the phrases and interpolations in Greek and Hebrew it sounds that you are mystified. 

  • Bo, it is characteristic of cultic thinking to not answer arguments but to sidestep the issue at hand and move into non sequitur arguments. You obviously cannot answer any of the arguments from John 1:1 or Isaiah 9. Anyone who has a semblance of understanding of hermeneutics and biblical interpretation will understand immediately what my arguments were whether they agreed with them or not.

    Please get out of your cultic thinking and a cult if you are in one. Your eternal salvation depends on it. I will pray that the Holy Spirit will bring you to a conviction of the truth of Scriptures.

  • Likewise Grant, I also pray that someday you only preach what was being said in a simple phrase of the Scripture. Deuteronomy 12:32.

  • Thank you Grant for this inciteful interpretation. God richly bless you. Amen.

  • "Jesus has not yet been seated upon that throne."

    So where is Jesus currently seated???

  • So was Jesus the Messiah or nah? of course he was, and just like it was prophesied, he came with a Government on his shoulders. this is not future tense. When asked by the Pharisees, when would the Kingdom come, what was his response Dr.? Did he not preach all throughout the four gospels about this Kingdom? Wasn't that the "Good News" that he came to preach? Wasn't that what everybody was waiting for? Wasn't it common knowledge in that time that when the Messiah appeared he would be bringing with him the Kingdom? Why is this not common knowledge in the Church? Why not only did Jesus preach parables about the Kingdom, but Paul also preached about the Kingdom(Acts 28:30-31)?

  • For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance! (Acts 28:30-31) He taught  about Jesus but he proclaimed the kingdom!

    And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. -Mark 1:15 What is the Good news?

    And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. -Luke 17:20-21 So why are you still waiting like the Pharisees for the Kingdom to come? That was the Government the Messiah came with on his shoulders! 

  • Justin, a simple study of Scripture shows that there are a number of different kinds of kingdoms.

  • You sidestep my question doc.

    "Jesus has not yet been seated upon that throne." – you

    So where is Jesus currently seated???

  • you sidestepped this one also.

     

    So was Jesus the Messiah or no? of course he was, and just like it was prophesied, he came with a Government on his shoulders. this is not future tense. When asked by the Pharisees, when would the Kingdom of God come, what was his response Dr.?

  • you still side stepping….I'mma keep sending the questions your way until you answer one: so let me get this straight, Jesus gave us the keys to a kingdom that we don't even have access to? We acknowledge the presence of the Kingdom of Darkness so why is theology at odds with the presence of the Kingdom of God?

  • Justin, your questions are overly simplistic and show a lack of understanding of the scope of the issue. I have read 350 books on eschatology (doctrine of future things). As I said in my first response to you that the study of the kingdom is a very complicated and the issue involves many doctrines and passages. In fact, eschatology is the biggest subject in the Bible and requires massive study of Scripture.
    For example, God has a universal kingdom. This is God reign over the entire universe represented in such passages as Ps 145:13.
    Then there is the Messianic kingdom predicted in such passages as Isaiah 9 and Revelation 20. This is a visible, earthly, political kingdom promised to Israel, not the church. This kingdom will bring peace and justice for all people and will last 1000 years in time on earth.
    The Bible uses the kingdom in a spiritual sense. This kingdom is called the kingdom of heaven in Mt 13ff and the kingdom of God in Mark 4, Luke 313, et al.  There is great debate among scholars about the difference between these two kingdoms. Sometimes these two terms are used interchangeably.
    Kingdom is also used in a spiritual sense. This is an invisible spiritual reign of God in the hearts of believers beginning with a person comes to Christ (Mt 7:21-22; Jn 3:3-7). The narrow sense of God’s spiritual kingdom is the same as heaven but it is different than the kingdom of God on earth.
    Norman Geisler shows some of the differences of the different ideas of kingdom in the Bible in the following summary (his Systematic Theology).
    Another sense of the kingdom is God’s spiritual reign in the church. Since the kingdom of God is used also of the church some people conclude that the two are identical but this is not a full enough explanation of the term. The church did not exist in the Old Testament or during the time of the gospels. The church was revealed to Paul (Eph 3:3-6; Col 1:26-27). The church began at Pentecost (Ac 2).
    The Messianic kingdom is different from other uses of the kingdom in the Bible. It is visible, earthly, and political.
    Genesis 49:10
    “The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his.” A descendent of Judah will come to rule.
    Exodus 19:6
    When God ratified the Mosaic covenant with His people, He said, “You will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” This records the establishment of a theocracy: Israel accepted the role of being directly ruled by God. They were God’s kingdom on earth, and He was their King.
    Deuteronomy 17:14–20
    Long before Israel had an earthly king, Moses was told that there would later be rulers connected with the unconditional land-promises God gave to Abraham:
    When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you and have taken possession of it and settled in it, and you say, “Let us set a king over us like all the nations around us,” be sure to appoint over you the king the Lord your God chooses.
    He must be from among your own brothers.… He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray. He must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold. When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the priests, who are Levites. It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees.… Then he and his descendants will reign a long time over his kingdom in Israel. (cf. Gen. 35:11)
    Even under Moses the kingdom did have a political dimension, though this would become more apparent in the later monarchy. Furthermore, while rule was to be based on God’s law, it was a political rule nonetheless. Indeed, Israel was promised:
    If only you fully obey the Lord your God and are careful to follow all these commands I am giving you today. For the Lord your God will bless you as he has promised, and you will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. You will rule over many nations but none will rule over you. (Deut. 15:5–6)
    2 Samuel 7:11–12, 16–17
    David desired to build a house for the Lord, but God declared that instead He would build the house of David, a dynasty from which Messiah would come and reign on David’s throne.
    The Lord himself will establish a house for you: When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom.… Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.
    Like the Abrahamic covenant, this Davidic covenant, which was an extension of it, was irrevocable, “everlasting,” based on “the sure mercies of David” (Isa. 55:1–3 NKJV). Israel would sin and need repentance, but God promised,
    I have found David my servant; with my sacred oil I have anointed him. My hand will sustain him; surely my arm will strengthen him.… My faithful love will be with him, and through my name his horn [strength] will be exalted.…
    I will also appoint him my firstborn, the most exalted of the kings of the earth. I will maintain my love to him forever, and my covenant with him will never fail. I will establish his line forever, his throne as long as the heavens endure. If his sons forsake my law and do not follow my statutes, if they violate my decrees and fail to keep my commands, I will punish their sin with the rod, their iniquity with flogging; but I will not take my love from him, nor will I ever betray my faithfulness.
    I will not violate my covenant or alter what my lips have uttered. Once for all, I have sworn by my holiness—and I will not lie to David—that his line will continue forever and his throne endure before me like the sun; it will be established forever like the moon, the faithful witness in the sky. (Ps. 89:20–37)
    God put His name on the line. The Davidic kingdom—a political, religious, moral, visible, earthly kingdom—would be restored and remain forever.
    Isaiah 9:6
    Isaiah wrote of the coming Messiah: “To us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father [Father of eternity], Prince of Peace.” Christ’s deity and political reign are mentioned here. He is not only divine (“Mighty God”) and human (“to us a child is born”), but He will reign as the God-man, for “the government will be on his shoulders.”
    Isaiah 11:11–12
    In order to accomplish this literal political restoration of the Davidic kingdom, God will again bring His people to their land.
    In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the sea.
    He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth.
    Not only is this a literal prediction of a literal return to a literal land, it has been literally fulfilled in part since May 15, 1948, when Israel was declared a nation. Millions of Jews from all over the globe have already returned. If this has been literally fulfilled, why should there be any doubt about the restoration of the messianic political kingdom as well?
    Isaiah 24:23
    Even the center of Messiah’s reign is specified: “The moon will be abashed, the sun ashamed; for the Lord Almighty will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before its elders, gloriously.”
    Zechariah speaks of Messiah’s return to the place He left:
    On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south. (Zech. 14:4)
    Again, when the literal sense makes good sense, seeking other sense results in nonsense. God’s angels at Christ’s ascension presented it literally:
    “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).
    Since they saw Him go visibly, physically, and gloriously, He will return visibly, physically, and gloriously. If the King, joined to and inseparable from His kingdom, will return as such, why should we expect any less of His kingdom?
    Isaiah 32:1
    “A king will reign in righteousness and rulers will rule with justice.” The Old Testament repeatedly reminds us that the messianic kingdom will be monarchial. Messiah will sit on David’s throne (cf. 2 Sam. 7:12ff.), and “the government will be on his shoulders” (Isa. 9:6): “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey” (Zech. 9:9). “I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill” (Ps. 2:6); He is “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Rev. 19:16).
    Jeremiah 31:31–33
    “The time is coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the [Mosaic] covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
    This covenant, the new covenant, contains some significant implications concerning the messianic reign.
    First, the new covenant is new in relation to the time-bound Mosaic covenant, which it replaced, but it gives no implication of annulling the unconditional, timeless Abrahamic and Davidic covenants.
    Second, the New Covenant is a continuation of God’s promises that there would be a moral and spiritual restoration of national Israel, called “the house of Israel” (v. 31). As such, the New Covenant is an implied promise of the restoration of the whole messianic kingdom.
    Third, God’s promise is unconditional and irrevocable:
    “Only if these decrees vanish from my sight,” declares the Lord, “will the descendants of Israel ever cease to be a nation before me.… Only if the heavens above can be measured and the foundations of the earth below be searched out will I reject all the descendants of Israel because of all they have done” (vv. 36–37).
    Ezekiel 11:23
    Tragically, the early kingdom, set up as a vehicle through which Messiah could reign, was destroyed by the Babylonians. Ezekiel records the final moment when God’s glory, the visible symbol of His presence in the kingdom, departed: “The glory of the Lord went up from within the city and stopped above the mountain east of it.” Even the secular Jewish historian Flavius Josephus (c. 37–100) recorded the regal absence (JW, 5.5.5).
    Hosea 3:4
    At this point political supremacy was transferred to the Gentiles. Hosea foretold: “The Israelites will live many days without king or prince,” and from here onward it was a matter of prophesying a coming messianic kingdom.
    Amos 9:11
    God will rebuild in direct continuity with the Davidic kingdom that was defeated: “In that day I will restore David’s fallen tent. I will repair its broken places, restore its ruins, and build it as it used to be.” There is no sense in which a merely spiritual restoration can meaningfully fulfill this prediction.
    Micah 4:7–8
    The restored kingdom will not be only spiritual and moral but also political:
    I will make the lame a remnant, those driven away a strong nation. The Lord will rule over them in Mount Zion [Jerusalem] from that day and forever. As for you, O watchtower of the flock, O stronghold of the Daughter of Zion, the former dominion will be restored to you; kingship will come to the Daughter of Jerusalem.
    Daniel 2:44
    After speaking of four great successive earthly kingdoms—Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome—and ten kings to come after them, Daniel declares that “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.”
    What stands out here is that, given Jesus’ teaching is rooted firmly in the Old Testament (cf. Matt. 5:17–18) and that John and Jesus used a phrase reminiscent of Daniel’s it is difficult to believe there is not within these words an affirmation of an outward, literal, political kingdom. Also, in Matthew 19:28, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Again, the literal sense of a visible, outward political kingdom seems clearly to be in view; this is the common (if not universal) biblical use of terms like tribes and Israel.
    Daniel 4
    The whole point of Nebuchadnezzar’s humiliating experience was for him to realize, as he would eventually confess: “The Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes and sets over them the lowliest of men” (v. 17).
    At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. (v. 34)
    This is obviously said in the context of an earthly political kingdom.
    Daniel 7
    Between the second chapter of Daniel’s references to a political kingdom of God and Daniel 7, which picks up and expands on the same theme, all the references to the word kingdom refer to a literal, earthly, political reign.
    Matthew 26:63–64
    This text is of supreme importance because Christ used it of Himself before the Jewish High Priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus’ forthright answer is absolutely astounding: “Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Given the messianic political context in Daniel, there seems to be no way to consistently utilize historical-grammatical interpretation of Scripture without concluding that this will be a literal messianic kingdom.
    Daniel 9:24–27
    Seventy “sevens” are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy. Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven “sevens,” and sixty-two “sevens.”
    It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. After the sixty-two “sevens,” the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.
    He will confirm a covenant with many for one “seven.” In the middle of the “seven” he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.
    Meditating on the “seventy years” of the Babylonian captivity (v. 2), Daniel was told that there would come seventy “sevens” (of years) relating to Messiah. More specifically, he was informed that after sixty-nine “sevens,” or 483 years, Messiah would die (v. 26), but only after He had made “reconciliation for iniquity” (v. 24 NKJV) and sealed up “vision and prophecy” about His coming (ibid.).
    Then the time interval is specified: Daniel was told there would be sixty-nine “sevens” between “the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem” and the coming of “the Anointed One, the ruler” (v. 25). The first date is generally held to be 445/444 B.C. Given that the 483 years (69 × 7) are probably Jewish lunar years of 360 days (30 days × 12 months), the extra five days for each 365-day Gregorian-calendar year yields a total of about six years (more than 2,400 days) that must be added to the 483. From the year of Cyrus’s decree, 444 B.C. (and the 6+ years for the extra calendar days, yielding roughly 450), minus the 483 years foretold by Daniel, we reach the date of Christ being crucified (the Anointed One being cut off), about A.D. 33.
    We may now summarize some of the salient points from the above texts about the messianic kingdom.
    The Old Testament Foretold That a Literal Messiah Would Come to Reign
    According to The Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy by J. Barton Payne (1922–1979), some one hundred thirteen prophecies of the coming Messiah were fulfilled by Jesus of Nazareth in the New Testament. Many of these are connected to the claims that He will one day set up a messianic government in Jerusalem and reign over the whole earth.
    Jesus Said He Is the Fulfillment of Daniel 7
    As mentioned previously, Jesus cited this messianic passage at His trial before the Jewish high priest (Matt. 26:64).
    Jesus’ Favorite Term for Himself (Son of Man) Is Rooted in This Claim
    It is Christ’s claim to deity in His identity as the Messiah of Daniel 7 (cf. Matt. 26:63–64). Daniel even calls Him “the Ancient of Days” (7:22), which an earlier reference applied to God (vv. 9, 13). Jesus’ insistence that it pointed to Him as “the Son of God” indicates that He knew it as a reference to deity, and the reaction of Caiaphas removed all doubt: “The high priest tore his clothes and said, ‘He has spoken blasphemy!’ ” (Matt. 26:65).
    Daniel 2 Prophesies the Messiah’s Destruction of World Powers
    This literal, visible, political messianic rule will come only after the four kingdoms and the ten kings (v. 44 cf. 7:24) have all been crushed by a great Stone (Christ, v. 45).
    This Future Divine Reign Will Never End
    He [the Messiah to come] was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.… The saints of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever—yes, for ever and ever. (Dan. 7:14, 18; cf. v. 27)
    The Messiah’s Kingdom Is Given to Him by the Father
    In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man [the Messiah], coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days [God the Father] and was led into his presence. He [the son of man] was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. (vv. Dan. 7:13–14)
    All Other Earthly Kingdoms Will Serve Under the Messianic Kingdom
    The sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him. (v. 27)
    Messiah Will Bring Righteousness and Justice to the Earth
    The messianic reign means that Jesus Christ will rule in righteousness and justice forever on David’s throne.
    The Messiah Will Reign With the Saints
    Christ will not rule alone; the “saints of the Most High” will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever … for ever and ever” (v. 18); “the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom” (v. 22).
    The Issue of “Forever”
    Before moving on to the New Testament’s teaching on the coming messianic kingdom, one problem should be addressed. Throughout these texts (above), Messiah’s kingdom is said to last “forever,” whereas there are Old Testament hints that it will not be forever: “In that day the Lord will punish the powers in the heavens above and the kings on the earth below. They will be herded together like prisoners bound in a dungeon; they will be shut up in prison and be punished after many days” (Isa. 24:21–22).
    McClain (GK, 216) believes that the “many days” correspond to the Millennium; whatever the case, the New Testament says that the messianic reign has an actual ending point:
    He [Messiah] must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.… When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all. (1 Cor. 15:25–28)
    John also declares that the messianic reign is temporary, affirming six times that it is a thousand years long (Rev. 20).
    In response, three brief comments are in order.
    First, the Hebrew word (olam) often translated forever can (and sometimes does) mean “a long period of time” rather than “eternal”—the mountains, for example, are called “everlasting” (Micah 6:2). The context determines the meaning.
    Second, even though Christ’s reign is less than literally eternal, the results of it are everlasting. Further, it does continue forever in that it is subsumed under the Father’s direct control. Accordingly, His reign—both directly and indirectly—will be forever.
    Third, it is not uncommon for future events to be initially lumped together, and then for further revelation to show that they are separable. Isaiah 66 (see vv. 22–24) joins Messiah’s reign (a thousand years, Rev. 20) to the eternal state of the New Heaven and New Earth (Rev. 21). The actual result of a literal thousand-year reign will be an unending kingdom.
    Many other Old Testament passages about the messianic reign could be cited: “The Lord of hosts will reign” (Isa. 24:23 NKJV); He “will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth” and who will have Judah saved and “Israel will dwell safely” in the land (Jer. 23:4–6 NKJV); He will judge all nations and establish permanent peace (Micah 4:1–7) with a universal dominion from Jerusalem (Zech. 9:9–10). As we’ll discover, this picture of the coming Messiah, seen through the historical-grammatical (literal) hermeneutic, is the same one presented in the New Testament as being yet future in the time of John the Baptist, Jesus, Peter, Paul, and John.

  • Grant, you should let your readers know that you are rather dishonest in saying "El is always used of God, never of men". We do find El being used NOT of God (Deut 3:24, 32:12..etc.). We also find El being used of men in verses such as (Gen 31:29 with a Lamed prefix, it doesn't change the definition, the Lamed is used in the sense of "IN" power or "TO" power.  Also we find El in this form in Dan 11:36 not used of God and its plural Elim "of gods". Gesenius' Lexicon discredits your claim and mine affirmed. With the term "El-gibhor", we have an opportunity to take the LXX's take on it "the angel/messenger". We need to note that the Septuagint in its day was authoritative and we find quotes from it all over the NT. We also have the opportunity to look at the Great Isaiah scroll from the Qumran caves where we find that the text has Elgibhor (one word) and the Masoretic text (two words). Both in the Masoretic text and the Isaiah scroll we are seeing this in the construct state, meaning that Gibhor carries the definition of warrior and El must carry its alternate definition of mighty. The reason why, is that adjectives do not come before nouns in Hebrew. The translations could be worded several ways, like that of the reformer and orthodox trinitarian, Luther "Kraft-held" = "Strength-Hero" (If you know a bit of German). Luther did not tell his audience that Christ was God in this verse, but rather as he explains "it is NOT of the person of Christ, but to his work" (or something like that if my quote is off….memory).

    After reading several of your rebuttals, am I to take that you believe Jesus is the person of Yahweh on the flesh literally?

  • John, thanks for the correction. I should have said that el is only used of God in Isaiah. For example, “the mighty God” is used of God Himself in Isaiah 10:21. A principle of hermeneutics is the use of a term is most important by a given author, Isaiah uses the term “mighty God” of God Himself. The Son is therefore identified with God who is “the LORD,” “the Holy One of Israel” (10:20). In Isaiah el gibbor is the strongest of the titles with reference to deity. Again, in Isaiah, el is always used of God and never refers to man.

    “No other person ever has God’s name and God is never called Moses, Abram, David, or Jeremiah, so there must be something very special about this son that causes him to have God’s name.”[1]

    The syntactical parallelism of this verse also shows that “mighty God” is part of other parallel names for God in this verse putting the Messiah categorically the same as God. 

     


    [1] Smith, G. V. (2007). Isaiah 1–39. (E. R. Clendenen, Ed.) (p. 241). Nashville: B & H Publishing Group.

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