Sunday, June 25, 2017

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By : Lonnie Branam [ Sermon Unto Us A Son Is Born(Isaiah 9:6) ]

“UNTO US A CHILD IS BORN” (Isaiah 9:6)
Lonnie Branam

Isaiah 9:6,7 says, “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be on His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, 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 judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” That the Child and Son concerning whom this declaration was made, is the Lord Jesus Christ is the conviction of the New Testament church; it is the foundation of the Christian religion, and this fact is verified by the 27 books of the New Testament. This remarkable prophecy, uttered 750 years B.C., presents a biographical sketch of the life of Christ in less than 100 words. It begins with His birth of the virgin Mary, passes quickly over His earthly ministry and culminates in His enthronement in heaven, seated on David's throne. This prophecy concentrates on the great honors which heaven has bestowed on Him and the exalted nature of His complex personality. Five names are given to Him by Isaiah, in addition to the name Immanuel given Him in chapter 7:14 which says, “Behold the virgin will conceive and bear a Son and shall call His name Immanuel.” The apostle Mathew said this Hebrew word means, “God with us.”
Before listing the five names, titles and characteristics of His divine nature, Isaiah speaks of a government that God would place on the shoulder of this Child and Son, when He would arrive at adulthood. God placed the government on His shoulder 2,000 years ago, fifty days after He raised His only begotten Son from the dead. This government was His church-kingdom that He built on the truth that He was God's divine Son. His government is also called the church of God, the church of Christ, the kingdom of Christ, and the kingdom of heaven. The government over which He rules is not like earthly kindgoms. Jesus said unless people are born again, they cannot even see His kingdom, and unless a person is born of the water and Spirit he cannot enter His kingdom. For the past 20 centuries Jesus Christ has been the most commanding force and person in human history. He rules over His church, rules for His church, and rules in His church. He alone is its King and Lawgiver. The church is never for one moment to assume the power of legislation. This government placed on His shoulder is the same kingdom mentioned in I Corinthians 15:24-28 that declares at the second coming of Christ, the world will end, and He will deliver up His kingdom to God the Father. In this same verse we have a constellation of divine titles and superhuman names He would wear that would command the reverence and obedience of the church and amaze the whole world.
The very first declaration of the prophet was that His name would be called wonderful. This name fitly prepares us for all that is to follow and teaches us to expect something beyond the ordinary works of God. Wonderful was He in his birth. No one was ever born like Jesus. . No other birth in the world has been so glorious. A host of angels hastened down to Bethlehem, and welcomed Him into this world with these magnificent words of praise, “Glory to God in highest and on earth peace, goodwill to men.”. Wise men from distant Gentile lands were miraculously guided by a light, called a star, to the little town of Bethlehem.”They brought expensive gifts and worshiped Him. Angels appeared to shepherds of Bethlehem that night caring for their sheep, and informed them that this very day there has been born to them a Savior who is Christ the Lord. But more wonderful than all of this is what happened in that stable that night. Conceived by the Holy Spirit, Mary had became pregnant by a miracle performed by the third person in the Godhead. In the birth itself, the second person of the Godhead became flesh and dwelled among us by uniting with the body of Jesus of Nazareth. Thus Jesus was part human and part Divine. All this is taught in John 1:1-14 and teaches that a Divine Being who existed with God in the beginning, who created the universe and all things in it, became flesh and dwelled among us. That divine Human being was the second person in the Godhead., and this miracle made Jesus Christ, during His 33 years on earth, the second person of the Godhead. He had the mind of the second person; he had the miraculous power of the second person; He had the wisdom and knowledge of the second person. Because of His wonderful birth, He was an incarnate Deity. This is a a chief doctrine of the Christian religion, and all true Christians believe it. He was God in the flesh.
Secondly, during His wonderful life on earth, he was to be called Counselor. A counselor is one who gives advice, one who is possessed with knowledge, wisdom and understanding. Scripture states of Him, “God who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son.” In the Christian Age of the world, the one true God speaks to the human race through Jesus Christ. He is the divinely appointed Counselor for the entire human race. When we receive His counsel, we receive the counsel of Jehovah God. The Bible says that in Christ, “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Some of the Fathers of the second and third centuries identified Christ with the “Wisdom” in the book of Proverbs of whom it is said, “I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge and discretion...Counsel is mine and sound wisdom. I am
understanding. The Lord possessed me at the beginning of His way, before His works of old. I have been established from everlasting, from the beginnng before there was ever an earth”(Proverbs 8:12-30). The well instructed Christian seeks counsel from Christ in all things. He is the light that lights every man who comes into the world. He is the Word, the truth, the way and the life. Do we need counsel on any special matter? Let us take it to Him, and He will show us the wisest and best course. None will ever seek His counsel in vain, much less be sorry for following it.
Thirdly, His name shall be called “Mighty God.” This is another way of saying “Almighty God.” Many unbelieving Jewish scholars have used various devices and explanations to escape from the force and truthfulness of this statement. However, after a discussion of this passage prolongued through centuries, it is conceded by foremost Hebrew and Christian scholars that whether we accept or reject this statement, Isaiah's declaration is that the Person concerning whom he wrote should be called “Mighty God” or “The Mighty God.” Furthermore, that the person concerning whom this declaration was made is the Lord Jesus Christ is the conviction of the whole New Testament church. It is a fundamental doctrine of the Christian religion and fully verified in the 27 books of the New Testament. Isaiah was not calling a mere man “Mighty God,” but he recognized that the Jewish Messiah would be more than just a man and would in some way become a partaker of the Divine nature. Isaiah is predicting that the Messiah of Jews would be an incarnate Deity. We should keep in mind that the Old Testament prophets were not aware of the doctrine of the Trinity. They did not know there were three distinct persons in the Godhead. The doctrine of the Trinity is primarily a New Testament revelation. All the apostles believed and taught it. But Isaiah could conceive of an incarnation of God. He speaks of a child born to us and a Son given us by God who would in some way have a Divine nature. Being both human and Divine, it would be quite fitting to refer to Him as “Mighty God.” Isaiah revealed to the Jewish nation and to the whole world that the Messiah of Israel should have looked for an incarnate Deity, being both both God and man. This explains the statement in the Bible, “God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself.”
Fourthly, His name shall be called, “Everlasting Father.” How complex is the nature of the Lord Jesus Christ!. Almost in the same breath the prophet calls Him a child, Son, a counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Fatehr and Prince of Peace. There is no contradiction in these declarations, but it is a mighty marvel that He who was once an infant should at the same time be Divine, be a member of the Divine Trinity and even correctly called, “Everlasting Father. Let us understand that the Messiah here is not called “Father” by way of any confusion with Him who is called “The Father.” The Lord's proper name, so far as the Godhead is concerned, is not the Father, but the Son. The Son is not the Father; neither is the Father the Son. The New Testament clearly reveals there are three persons in the Godhead: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Isaiah did not know about the Trinity. So Isaiah could not clearly explain the relationship the Divine-Human Messiah would have to God the Father. But one thing we know is that Jesus Christ had all the attributes of a Divine Being or Deity. Scripture says that in Christ, “dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily”(Colossians 2:9). Another version renders it, “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.” Godhead is another word for Deity or Divinity. The word Godhead means all that is in a Being that makes Him God. The meaning is that all that makes a being God or Deity existed in the body of Christ when He was on the earth. I would suggest that because Jesus had similar attributes as the Father had that it was fitting to call him Everlasting Father. He had the creative power of the Father, the wisdom of the Father, and the love of the Father. The apostles clearly revealed that Jesus was the Creator of the universe, the human race, and animal creatures (John 1:3). It can be said that Jesus Christ is the father of the universe, the father of mankind in general, and He is the father of that part of the human race composed of Christians. He so loved the human race that He was willing to leave heaven and the glory He had there to become a human being. We believe that wonderful Being who existed in the beginning with God, whose name was the Word, who created all things, who emptied Himself of the divine glory He had in heaven, who was rich when He was in heaven, but became poor that we on earth might become rich, who came to earth to become like us in all things except sin, and who became flesh and dwelled in the body of Jesus Christ, that person was none other than the second person of the Godhead. It is my understanding that Jesus Christ was the second person of the Godhead. If there is some other explanation it has not been revealed. The mystery of it all is the incarnation, the Divine-human birth at Behtlehem. That birth in Bethlehem was God's greatest miracle.
The fifth name given to the Messiah was Prince of Peace. There has never been much peace on this earth among nations. War has been the number one business of the human race from its earliest existence. So long as there is evil, there must be war between good and evil. The Messiah Messsiah was to be called “Prince of Peace,” especially because He came to convert the world, to turn men from darkness to light, and from te power of Satan unto God. This name first of all belongs to Him because He came to make peace between God and the entire human race. By dying on the cross as a sacrifice, and suffering in body and mind as our substitute, He made it possible for the entire human race to be reconciled to God, make their peace with God, and even possibly go to heaven and enjoy an endless life. As a Prince of peace, His kingdom is a peaceful kingdom; and He does not allow His servants to advance His kingdom by violence. Consequently, He has not annihilated evil and has not swept all the wicked from the world. And so the fight; goes on; evil men still stir up wars, and good men are forced to resist them. Nevertheless the name Prince of peace appropriately belongs to Him because of the large portion of mankind that He has reconciled to God, and who are enabled to live their lives in the peace of God that passes all understanding. Being justified by faith and obedience, all Christians enjoy peace with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. We see the works of the Prince of Peace in the peace He introduces into the hearts of people who love Him, in the peace found wherever the spirit of Christ prevails, in pious households, in the assemblies of devoted Christians, and in the comparative peace that prevails in nations that respect the teachings of Christ.
Taken together these five names would seem to teach: 1. the myteriousness of Christ's nature, which lies at the very basis of the Christian relgion, and upon which all else is built; 2. the wisdom of His teaching, which makes Him our only safe “Counselor;” 3. the power which He has as “Mighty God” to accomplish all His designs in His own good time; 4. the love which leads Him to exert His power continually in the protection of His church; and 5. the peaceful condition to which He will in the end bring His church, when its probation is accomplished, and He returns to take His church to heaven.
Isaiah closes this prophetic passage by saying, “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. We have already identified His government as His church-kingdom established in 33 A.D. in Jerusalem and which will last till the second coming of Christ. We are not to take the throne of David literally in this passage. The literal throne of David came to an end in 586 B.C. when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians, and most of the nation was taken away into Babylonian captivity. Israel has not had a king on the throne of David since that time. The throne of David has been moved to heaven, and Christ sat down on that throne when He ascended to heaven. The Christian religion has restored to the nation of Israel the glory they once had in the days of David. This fact is revealed by James, the Lord's brother in Acts 15:14 when he said to the assembled Church of Christ in Jerusalem, “Simon has declared how God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name. And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written: ‘After this I will return and will rebuild the tabernacle of David which has fallen down. I will rebuild its ruins, and I will set it up so that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, even all the Gentiles who are called by My name, says the Lord who does all these things'(Amos 9:11,12). Christ now has a world wide kingdom and the name King of Kings and Lord of Lords has been given to Him. Isaiah clearly predicted that the Messiah of Israel was not to be an ordinary man but a Divine-human Ruler whose kingdom would extend to both Jews and Gentiles world wide. Christ continues to sit on the throne of David in heaven in the 21st century, and His kingdom continues to advance.

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