Scott S. Finley
In his epistle to the Ephesians, Paul extols the glorious church of our Lord (5:27). The church was planned by God from eternity past (3:11) for the redemption of mankind (5:23), and the glory of God (3:21). By its existence and purpose the church reveals the manifold wisdom of God to the universe He created (3:10). The church had its beginning on the day of Pentecost about fifty days following the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus (Acts 2). It was established then and exists today as a result of divine planning, the fulfillment of divine promises, and the execution of divine power.
The Ephesian letter also makes it clear (over thirty times) that the church exists, and God's purposes are accomplished through Jesus Christ. In Christ are "all spiritual blessings" enjoyed (1:3). By him we become acceptable to God (1:6). It is in him that "we have redemption through his blood" (1:7). God has placed "all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all" (1:22-23). He is savior and husband to the church, his glorious bride for which he "gave himself" on the cross (5:25). Clearly, all of the above was God's plan (Eph. 3:10-11). In keeping with His eternal purpose, God promised to send the Messiah.
The promise was first made after Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit. Before pronouncing punishment upon the couple, God said to the Serpent, And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. The seed of woman, Christ, would receive a minor injury (bruised heel) from Satan by his death on the cross. But, Christs victory over death in his resurrection delivered a fatal blow to Satans head: an injury from which he could never recover.
The Messianic promise was made to Abraham when God called him out of Ur of the Chaldees: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed (Gen. 12:3). Because of Abrahams faith and character, God chose to bring the Messiah into the world through him. The promise was confirmed to Abraham many years later, And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice" (Gen. 22:18). In his letter to the Galatians, Paul identifies the "seed" of Abraham to be Christ (3:16).
About 900 years later, king David received the Messianic promise from Nathan: And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee,...and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son...But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul whom I put away before thee. And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for every before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever."
This prophecy contained a two-fold application. An initial fulfillment would be seen in Solomon who would inherit his fathers throne with the promise that the royal line would never depart from his house. Too, Solomon would have the privilege of building the house of God at Jerusalem. The second application is in the Messiah: Christ Jesus would descend from David to build Gods spiritual house and rule over spiritual Israel forever (cf. Matt. 1:1; Eph. 2:19-22; Col. 1:13; Lk. 1:31-33; John 18:36). This spiritual house and kingdom is Christs glorious church.
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, Counselor, The mighty God, the everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 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 judgement and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
The Messianic promise was so sure that Isaiah spoke of the future as if already fulfilled. His birth signaled the advent of his kingdom. The angel told Mary of the child she would bear: He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end (Lk. 1:32-33). To this very day the Messiah rules, having all authority...in heaven and in earth (Matt. 28:18).
Isaiah states that the Messiahs reign would be upheld or sustained by judgment and justice (justice and righteousness, ASV). These qualities are the rock upon which Gods throne forever rests: Righteousness and justice are the foundation of thy throne: Lovingkindness and truth go before thy face (Ps. 89:14).
Regarding the names for Messiah listed in Isaiah 9:6, Homer Hailey wrote, The real glory of the one to be born and His relationship to deity are revealed in the names by which He will be called. In the ancient world ones name was viewed as a reflection of all that one was, including qualities of character, whether good or bad, strong or weak (A Commentary on Isaiah, p. 102). The following designations are true descriptions of Christs nature and character.
Jesus identity as the Son of God, being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person (Heb. 1:3); Savior of the world, victor over sin and death, embodiment of all moral and spiritual truth, makes him the wonder of all ages. The kings and nations of the earth would be smitten with awe over his person and work (Isa. 52:13-15).
To the Colossians, Paul wrote of Jesus, In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (2:3). A counselor is one who gives wisdom and provides guidance in time of need. Morally and spiritually man desperately needs counsel. The answers will not come from within ourselves (Jer. 10;23), but from heaven itself in the person of Jesus (cf. John 8:32, 36).
The name Mighty God identifies the Messiah as a person in the Godhead. He possesses all qualities, characteristics, and attributes of deity. The author of Hebrews makes direct reference to the Godhood of Jesus, But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom (1:8; cf. Col. 1:15-19).
The designation Everlasting Father shows the eternity of Messiahs existence. He is not a created being, he is creator. The reference to Jesus as Father is not to equate him with the Father -- he is not! Does it sound reasonable to you that Jesus would pray to himself (Jn. 17:17)? Jesus was a Father in the sense of provision and protection. In Christ every need is supplied; in him we bask in the sunshine of spiritual security. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him (Ps. 103:13).
Prince of Peace
By means of forgiveness sin is purged from our lives, and peace is made with God. Forgiveness is granted by God on the basis of ones obedience to the gospel of peace (Rom. 10:13-17). Peter told sinners how to make peace with God when he said, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:38). The Messiahs shed blood makes this cleansing possible, for when one is baptized, he is baptized into his death (Rom. 6:3-4). The Prince of Peace does not conquer with carnal weapons, but through the gospel of peace appeals to the minds of men to submit to God. The gospel alone is Gods mighty power to save (Rom. 1:16). By this means we live at peace with God, one another (Col. 3:13), and our own conscience (1 Pet. 3:21).
We have noticed that the Messiah was promised, and how God faithfully kept His word. Jesus came and was everything the prophets said he would be. He did all they said he would do (Jn. 19:28). God has also promised that Jesus will come again, at which time the dead will be raised, all will be judged, the earth will be destroyed, and either heaven or hell will be our eternal home (cf. Matt. 25:31-46; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; Rev. 20:11-15; 2 Pet. 3:7-14). Do you believe the promise?
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