Each Christmas Season we are frequently confronted with Christmas cards featuring 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.
The phrases “a Child is born,” and “a Son is given,” appear to us as a classic case of Hebraic parallelism which characterizes much of Hebrew writing. However, as a specialist in the information sciences, I have also become convinced that, in reality, there really are no true synonyms: two words can be synonymous in that they appear to mean almost the same thing.
But watch out for that “almost”: it often contains a relevant discovery!
Unto Us a Child Is Born
In this case, the “Child is born” occurred, as prophesied, in Bethlehem;1 and we generally celebrate this during our Christmas Season.
(The linkage of Bethlehem to the line of David occurs as a result of the romance recorded in the Book of Ruth. Many fail to recognize that the celebrated shepherds that are visited by the angels were abiding in the fields that once belonged to Boaz and Ruth as result of that romance.2)
The “child” was born in Bethlehem, but the “Son” was “from everlasting.”3 And the incarnation of our Messiah is, indeed, the appropriate wonder of our lifetimes. That the Creator Him-self chose to enter His creation to undertake a mission on our behalf strains the imagination of thoughtful men. Staggering indeed!
Unto Us a Son Is Given
However, the “Son is given” occurred at Golgotha, in fulfillment of the promise given in Eden4 and formulated before the foundation of the Earth.5 The very peak of the ceremonial year for the Christian is the celebration of the Empty Tomb that validated the adequacy of our Redeemer’s enterprise on our behalf!6 Wow. But there’s more. The same Isaiah passage continues:
Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
But did Jesus ever actually sit on David’s throne? He couldn’t have. It didn’t exist at that time. Jeconaiah was the last of David’s line to sit on the throne. (Remember, the blood curse on his line.7) Herod, appointed by the Romans, was an Edomite (“Idumean”). He wasn’t even Jewish.
At the moment, Jesus is sitting on His Father’s Throne. The question is, will He ever sit on David’s throne? It is astonishing that so few fully recognize that this is still yet to unfold.
The Throne of David
The specific promise of the “Throne of David” was confirmed to Mary by the Angel Gabriel at the Annunciation.8 Again, this throne did not exist at the time of ministry of the Messiah: Rome ruled that part of the world at that time. Every time we pray the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy Kingdom come,” we are petitioning the completion of this very specification! Nothing is more certain that this ultimate event.
Jesus confirmed this subsequent event at the Ascension.9 At the pivotal confrontation during the Council of Jerusalem, James himself, quoting from the Old Testament,10 referenced the inevitability of the “Throne of David.”11 This very “Kingdom” is listed as the fifth in the list of five in the fabled dream of Nebuchadnezzar summarizing all of subsequent history from that ancient time.12
A Kingdom Perspective
It is disturbing to recognize that many Christians do not recognize this reality which will emerge on our near horizon. It is most provocative to discover that the Chinese Christians believe that they are currently living in what they call the “Kingdom of Preparation.” What we call the Millennium, they call the “Kingdom of Inheritance.” They believe that their responsibilities and authorities in that Kingdom will derive from their faithfulness and obedience in this one.
They are broadly influenced by the foundational writings of Dr. Timothy Lin, and many regard our recent book, The Kingdom, Power, and Glory,13 as an English paraphrase of Dr. Lin’s teachings, emphasizing a “Kingdom Perspective.” As we embrace the joys of this Christmas Sea-son, we all should reflect on the challenges of the coming New Year, and seriously resolve to have our own “Kingdom Perspective” prioritize each day.
Is there any factor more critical to our own future and well-being?
Praise His Name, Indeed!