For Unto Us the Prince of Peace
Text: Isaiah 9:6
Proposition: Peace is the aching longing of every soul because it is absent in a sinful world, it is a longing designed to point us to the Prince of Peace, Jesus.
Introduction: "Perpetual peace is no empty idea, but a practical thing which, through its gradual solution, is coming always nearer its final realization.” That’s a quote from a man named Immanuel Kant, a philosopher from the 1800’s. When you do a basic search on the level of conflicts in the world today you soon discover that there are over 161 countries in the world today involved in some form of conflict. Immanuel Kant seemed to think that we would move closer and closer to world peace because it was in the common interests of all people to do so. What he didn’t factor in was the way that governments often act outside of the interests of their own people and how banks direct those governments and how sin directs those bankers and ultimately how the spiritual forces of wickedness direct the influence of sin especially at the highest levels of decision making. Peace is the aching longing of every soul because it is absent in a sinful world. It is a longing put within us, designed to point us to the only means for this very peace that comes not from the schemes of the power brokers of the world, it comes from the One who is called, ‘The Prince of Peace’, Jesus Christ.
It was about 750BC, the Assyrian Empire was about to invade the northern confederation of Israel, it was a ‘No contest’ conflict. Into this time frame God inserts a prophet by the name of Isaiah who is used to proclaim one of the most well known prophecies even to this day. It’s what I want to speak with you on this morning because it’s a prophecy all about the longing for this very thing that resides within each of us called Peace. Have a look at Isaiah 9:1-6.
I. God Sees His Timing and Action As Complete.
In Isaiah chapter 8 he had warned that Israel would be invaded and conquered. Then verse 1 of chapter 9 begins with, “Nevertheless” , in other words the story does not end there. In the next 5 verses the people of Naphtali and Zebulun are referred to, the two northern tribes of Israel situated west of the Sea of Galilee that would experience the full brutality of the Assyrian invasion. They are now said to be rejoicing. Just look at the language that is used, “The people who walk in darkness HAVE seen a great light…upon them a light HAS shined…You HAVE multiplied the nation…You HAVE broken the yoke… all these are what is called ‘Perfect Tense’ verbs, meaning they describe actions that are in the present tense, right now, right here. So Isaiah is speaking in 740 BC just prior to the Assyrian’s taking Israel captive and he sees past this point in time to a time when the Messiah comes, that great light that has shined, when there is joy and Israel is restored. It doesn’t stop there, in verse 9 the Perfect Tense continues, “For unto us a Child IS BORN, Unto us a Son IS GIVEN”. Then Isaiah sees past that place to a place where there is no more war, to a time when the government of the world rests upon the shoulders of this Child, this Son that has been given to us. It is seen as a completed sequence, not a possibility but a completed action, a certainty, a stated fact. That’s what the present tense does in our language, it describes something that is. What’s the take away for us on this, what significance does it have for us today? Well if the promises of God are built upon Perfect Tense actions and if we can see those actually becoming true in the historical record then we can know, with a present tense certainty, that all this prophecy has in God’s economy of time, already happened. This is what that old hymn, ‘Blesssed Assurance’ had in mind, it’s the foretaste of glory divine. It’s that foretaste that we savor here this morning, it’s what fuels hope, it’s what Peace, Perfect Peace rests on.
II. God Has Given Us What We Need the Most, the Perfect Peace of Christ.
I like what David Guzick once said, “…our problem is not our humanity, but our fallenness. To say "I'm only human" is wrong, because Jesus was fully human yet perfect. It is more accurate to say, "I'm only fallen." Our core problem is not our humanity that somehow must keep changing in values in order to become good, our core problem is our sinful state, we have a nature that is attracted to sin. So what was God’s solution to man’s deeply marred nature, it was to give us a Child, to give us a Son. The perfection of Who Jesus is existed in eternity past before the world or mankind ever were created. God chose to combine to that perfect deity, a perfect humanity. The Messiah could have been an angel or could have been God without any humanity or God could even have just created a man like He did with Adam, a fully grown and sinless man. Yet what the Perfect Tense of Scripture says is, “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given.” Jesus was born as we all have been, carried in womb, birthed into the world, raised as a completely dependent infant, nurtured as a child. Jesus came as a Child because it addresses our greatest need. Our greatest need is to have sin forgiven, to be reconciled to God, to be redeemed to a place of right standing with God. The Child that was given unto us came to take our place and thus had to be exactly like us in all things except without sin. The Son that is given to us speaks about the superiority of the first born son, it speaks about the identity of the King, it speaks about the preeminence of Christ above all things as the Son of God. So God gave us what we need the most, perfect humanity in the Child and perfect deity in the Son together incarnating into a fallen world to give us what we need the most, the peace of God that can only come from peace with God. Jesus is our Perfect Peace.
III. The Kingdom of God Has a Heaven and Earth King, The Prince of Peace.
Isaiah tells us in verse 6 that, “…the government will be upon His shoulder”. The scope or scale of this government isn’t stated here but what is referred to is more than just the governance of Israel. In Psalm 72 David wrote about the extent of this kingdom in verses 8 and 11, “He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, And from the River to the ends of the earth…Yes, all kings shall fall down before Him; All nations shall serve Him.” The government will rest upon His shoulders is a referred t in Daniel 7:13, 14, in Zechariah 2:10,11 and, in numerous Psalms as well other parts of Isaiah. About twenty passages deal with the subject of the Second Coming in the New Testament and reference the kingdom and King of Isaiah 9. (Matt. 19:28; 23:39; 24:3-25:46; Mark 13:24-37; Luke 12:35-48; 17:22-37; 18:8; 21:25-28; Acts 1:10-11; 15:16-18; Rom. 11:25-27; 1 Cor. 11:26; 2 Thess. 1:7-10; 2 Peter 3:3-4; Jude 14-15; Rev. 1:7-8; 2:25-28; 16:15; 19:11-21; 22:20). What these describe is a political rule of a real King, a perfect King. The characteristic trademark of the kingdom of Christ is that it is ruled by righteousness and for that the peoples of this kingdom love Him. This kingdom begins with what we call the Millennial rule of Christ just after the Tribulation period ends but it continues on into what we call eternity. It is what we picture when we think of heaven.
So look at how this King is described by Isaiah… “And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” These names speak about Who He is, the name refers to the traits and character of the King so let’s look at what our King is characterized by.
Wonderful – this refers to more than what he does or what He looks like, it refers to the depths of Who He is. Mark Altrogge wrote a song that in part went, “You are beautiful beyond description, too marvelous for words, too wonderful for comprehension, like nothing ever seen or heard…”. That’s getting closer to what ‘Wonderful’ means.
Counselor – this describes the way that Wisdom has it’s source in Him.
Mighty God – the word Mighty and Almighty are synonymous, both are used to describe Jesus and the Father.
Everlasting Father – the ‘everlasting’ part we get, it is a reference to His eternal nature and eternal rule. The term ‘Father’ can be confusing because we distinguish between the Personhood of Jesus and the personhood of God the Father, they are two separate and distinct persons. The term ‘Father’ here has reference to Jesus as the Creator or father of all that is created. Colossians 1:16 says it clearly, “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.” In this sense Jesus id the Everlasting Father of all creation, it was done by Him, for Him and through Him.
Prince of Peace – Jesus is the champion of Peace, in that sense He is your Champion since the longing for peace resides in you, an eternity put into your heart that you would quest after the Lord God Almighty.
If we need an epilogue for this it’s found in verse 7. This is the Kingdom and this is your King, Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace!