The Mighty God

Isaiah 9:6. “. . .The Mighty God. . .”

To be mighty is to be powerful, strong, invincible.

Through the ages, the forces of evil have done their best to destroy Christianity. They crucified Jesus, but that didn’t work.  They persecuted early believers, but that didn’t work. They burned the Book, but that didn’t work. They made laws against the practice of Christianity, but that didn’t work. They tried to forbid prayer in public places, but that didn’t work. They’ve tried to close down God’s church, but that didn’t work. They’re still trying all these things today, and such thinking is even infecting America.  It won’t work.

It may seem as if there is victory, but God is The Mighty God. He will not be defeated. He will conquer every foe who rises against Him, in His own time. He will rule the earth. He will rule eternity.

He is Wonderful, Counsellor, the Might God.

Amen.

Wonderful, Counsellor

Isaiah 9:6. “For unto  us a Child is born, unto us  a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His Name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

I wonder if they’re singing this glorious piece of music in heaven.

Verse 5 left us with a dire scene, one of battle, noise, blood, fire, and defeat.  But then Isaiah jumps ahead, and describes the time when Messiah will return to earth and finally assume His rightful position in Jerusalem, on the throne of David, and as ruler of the whole earth. This is the the Child Who was born in a lowly stable in the little town of Bethlehem, Who suffered and died an ignominious and incredibly painful death in our behalf; but Who then rose victorious over sin and death so that we, too, could have eternal life.

Here are some other references that deal with the coming of Messiah and the establishment of His kingdom:

Jer. 23:30, 33; Dan. 2:44; 7:13-14; Zech. 14; Luke :33; Rev. 20.

Over the next few days, we’re going to spend time looking at all the names mentioned in this verse. Today, Wonderful, Counsellor.

Some believe there should be no comma between these first two names. He is the Wonderful Counsellor. Either way, He is wonderful–full of wonder. No king in history has ever been like Him before. No ruler has ever, in spite of his best efforts, been able to bring complete peace to the entire world. Not even Antichrist could do that, and it will appear for a while that he has done so. But he is soon revealed as the fraud that he is, and Jesus Christ becomes King of Kings, Lord of Lords. There will be those who will try to rise up in rebellion, but they will be quickly revealed and punished for their sin.

Jesus will be a wonderful Counselor. This one truly intrigues me, because in my own bumbling way, this is what I do for a living. I give counsel.  I offer advice, encouragement, a better way to think; a biblical way to think. What I do, however, and all of those others who share my profession, will be like nothing compared to the incredible, perfect, wise counsel the world will receive from Jesus Christ. Every word that comes out of His mouth will be full of grace and truth, with no deceit at all. He alone can truly, always, speak the truth in love. How wonderful it will be to have a world ruler Who never lies, never deceives, is never unjust, and Who never abuses His power.

 

Sunday Morning Coffee: A Little More on Politics

Once I get this off my chest, I think I can promise you I won’t be posting much more about this past election cycle. None of what I’m about to say is brand new; it’s just that I need to say it. So here goes:

The Electoral College:  It is NOT outdated. It works much like our House and Senate, a system that was a compromise worked out among the first 13 or so states so that there was some semblance of equality for the less-populated states.  Think about it this way:  If you are a member of a family in which everyone over 18 has a vote, and 2/3 of the family is over 18, and you were only 12, guess who wins every single time?  Not you! In fact, even if you were to  palaver with every family member and managed to persuade one or two to vote your way,  this is a pure democracy where the majority always rules. You lose. ALL the time. The Electoral College is made in each state according to population.  One elector per 100,000 people. Each state’s rules are pretty much the same, barring some differences about whether or not the votes are bound by the way each state votes in its primary. What this system does is make for parity among the populous and less-populous states. In other words, New York and California do not get to make all the rules for all the rest of us all the time. This is a good thing.(By the way, pure democracy, historically, has always led to anarchy.  America is NOT a pure democracy, was never intended to be so.  It is a democracy IN A REPUBLIC–and that means representative lawmaking.)

Trump is not a real President:  I have to scratch my head about this one.  Maybe what people mean by that is that he’s not a real politician. I won’t argue with you there.  As far as being a legitimate President, though, he jumped through all the hoops; and the map of Red vs. Blue from his recent election is overwhelmingly Red.Major exceptions include New York and California. Are you seeing a pattern here yet?

Are you a Trump supporter, Linda?  If you’re asking me if I voted for him, that’s not really any of your business. I don’t have a lot of respect for him in the way he’s lived his life. Three wives isn’t a particularly positive thing. I don’t know much about how he’s run his businesses.  I do know that a lot of the people (big money people, especially) who are now crying “Foul!”  used to be on his party list, and he was on theirs. That would include the Clintons, by the way, who now refer to him in extremely vulgar terms. Honestly, I wish there had been a candidate whose moral character I could admire, like Ben Carson or Ted Cruz.  I am a “Trump supporter” now only in the sense that he IS my legally-elected President. Time will tell if he can overcome great resistance in his own party to accomplish what he has promised.

Protests: Sure, everyone has the right to peaceful assembly to protest something they see as completely wrong. Remember how the Conservatives demonstrated when Clinton was elected?  Obama?  Remember how they smashed windows, set fires, looted stores, and just generally created chaos?  NO? You don’t remember that?  Right. It didn’t happen. The Party of Tolerance hasn’t been very tolerant.  I’m not impressed.

Hillary: She came off like a little sweetheart when she wasn’t pitching a temper fit, but from everything I’ve read, the temper tantrum is more her usual style. I don’t think we need a cursing, screaming lamp-thrower in the White House. And we certainly don’t need Slick Willy back there, cruising for interns. But putting that all aside, my problems with Hillary are that she stands AGAINST everything I stand FOR. Here is just one example, which you can listen to if you have a strong stomach.  If not, you’ll get the kernel of her position on abortion in the accompanying copy:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2015/04/28/hillary-cling-religion-god-policy-column/26462609/

So if people like me MUST change their convictions and beliefs, my question is:  Or what?  What if I don’t?Are you going to start sacrificing Bible-believing Christians to the god of Sex Without Consequences? Throw us in jail and feed us bread and water until we change our minds? Are you going to make it illegal for Christians to  talk about what they believe?  Everyone else can, but not us?

How is that okay?  She says she will never stop believing in our government.  I think she stopped believing in it long ago. She’s on a radical, feminist train that is pulled by the engine of socialist, godless philosophy where only the duly brainwashed liberal is allowed to make any decisions about where all the rest of us go. And she has never hesitated to lie, cheat, and possibly be complicit in murder to accomplish her goals. I’m wondering if the body count will continue to grow, or if she’ll just give up now that she’s lost. Again. And I have to ask, don’t you Hillary supporters get it, that she did this to herself?  And you, with your sniffy “We know what’s best, Hollywood is the cornerstone of American society” attitude?  You helped defeat her. You really did.

The best thing I can say about her, and Obama too, is that they both seemed to behave themselves with decorum and grace at the inauguration. It can’t have been easy for either of them. I’m pretty sure it was a bitter pill for some so-called Republicans, too.

Burning and Fuel of Fire

Isaiah 9:5. “For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire.”

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The battle mentioned in versed 4 , “in the day of Midian,” is a reference to the time of Gideon’s victory (Judges 6 and 7). God saved the nation, but it was not by great military power. He used a small company, and the power of His own strength.

So it will be in the coming day.  The nation will be completely outnumbered as the entire world circles around Israel like vultures waiting for the kill so they can swoop down and feast on the carrion.God says that when we are weak, then we are strong (2 Cor. 12:10).  In 2 Chron. 28:21 we read that his own self-efforts “helped him not.”

The battle is the Lord’s!

Verse 5 points directly to the Battle of Armageddon, That climax will see “all the armour of the armed man in the tumult” (Joel 3:9-14; Zech. 14:13), “the garments rolled in blood” (Isa. 63:3; Rev. 14:20). “burning.” and “fuel of fire” (Isa. 66:15,16; Joel 2:30).

But all that depends on one overarching event.

A Time of Great Joy

Isaiah 9:3-4. “Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before Thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. For Thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian.”

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From Verse 3 through verse 7,  the prophecy stretches across another interval.  It passes to the overthrow of Antichrist and to the establishment of the Millenial Kingdom of peace and righteousness.

All three of my sources agree that, in verse three, the word not does not belong.  I am very careful about accepting critiques of this nature when it comes to my KJV, which is  under such heavy fire since all the different versions and translation that have arisen since I was a child have proliferated. But I have to agree that the word not in this context doesn’t help clarify anything.  I wonder why the KJV translators put it there. If you are a scholar of such things, you are welcome to comment.  Briefly.

The important thing in this passage and through verse 7 is that there will come a day when God will gather all His people together; the Antichrist will suffer ignominious defeat, and Jesus Christ will rule and reign from Jerusalem over the entire earth. This is a time often referred to as the Peaceable Kingdom, and indeed it will be. Those who rise up in rebellion during this period will be quickly dealt with. It will be a time of no more war, no fear nor danger, because Jesus will be King.

In these two verses, if you substitute Jesus for all the pronouns I have capitalized, you’ll get a very clear picture.

Someone asked me once why I do that–capitalize any noun or pronoun referring to God. Two reasons:  It honors His Name; and it clarifies who is who in all the pronouns among which it is very easy to get tangled.  It’s a rule of modern grammar that I taught every student I ever had.  I hope they’re still following that rule.

A Great Light

Isaiah 9:2. “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.”

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This verse is a prophetic reference to the first coming of Jesus Christ as a baby in Bethlehem. The verb tense is prophetic present. It would be more correctly translated, “The people that walk in darkness see a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death,upon them a light shines.” The fulfillment of this prophecy is described in Matt. 4:12 -25 and John 2:1-11.

Surely, the time of Jesus’ birth, life, death and resurrection was one of the darkest times in Israel’s history. They had, once again, turned away from Jehovah. The religious rulers were far more concerned with their own wealth and in holding everyone else to the letter of their law than they were about the people living in dire poverty, disease, and despair. The yoke of Roman control was heavy indeed, requiring taxes from people who had no money to pay. Imprisonment, torture, and crucifixion were common. It was not a good time to be alive in Israel. The scene was set perfectly for the coming of Jesus Christ, as it will be again when He returns to rule. His timing is always perfect.

Did the people of Jesus’ time know that they were seeing “a great Light”?  I believe some of them did, but many others’ eyes were blinded.  Many more understood after His resurrection.

Zebulon and Naphtali

Isaiah 9:1. “Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first He lightly afflicted the land of Zebulon and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the the nations.”

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The “Nevertheless” is a connective word with the close of Chapter 8, and a contrast to the judicial darkness that is described there. God had and would provide a light if the rebellious nation would open its eyes to receive that light.

Here again, the prophecy passes from the immediate invasion of Assyria to the shining light of the Incarnate Christ amidst the people, and especially to Galilee.

The district of Zebulon and Naphtali would suffer greatly from the invasion by Syria, and then again by Assyria It would be through the lands of these two tribes that the sweep of the conquering nations would come.Related image  It would seem that God treated that area with contempt. Yet, by contrast, those regions would be greatly blessed by the promise in the next verse.