For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us, and; the government will rest on His shoulder; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6, ESV).
Most of us know this description of Jesus in Isaiah 9:6. Typically, we focus on the descriptives of Jesus as Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, and Prince of Peace.
But the precursor to these titles is the phrase the government will rest on His shoulder.
The word “shoulder” in Hebrew means “responsibility.” The prophet Isaiah predicts that Jesus will bear the responsibility of government. He will be a prophetic leader who is Wonderful, Mighty, Eternal, and the Prince of Peace.
(I hope Jesus is on the ballot in 2024 because I’m voting for Him!)
But is the kingdom of Jesus on the earth?
Jesus says some interesting things about His kingdom. First, He tells us to repent, for His kingdom is at hand (Matthew 4:17). Then Jesus says that His kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36).
These two verses indicate a now and not-yet aspect of the kingdom of God. We can enter His kingdom now through faith, but it will be ultimately revealed in eternity.
The Bible also teaches a millennial reign of Jesus when He will reign on the earth for 1,000 years. As I’ve studied the topic of the kingdom through the years, some aspects of the prophetic government of Jesus do not fit in the scenario of the “waiting” on earth kingdom with Jesus in heaven, and then an “eternal” kingdom with all of us in heaven with Jesus.
When Gabriel appeared to Mary, he described the mission of Jesus …
The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end (Luke 1:32-33, NIV).
The prophet Jeremiah says …
“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord, “When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; And He will reign as king and act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land” (Jeremiah 23:5).
The prophet Daniel says …
In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever (Daniel 2:44, ESV).
All the prophecies throughout the Bible don’t sync into just a “waiting now and then eternal” scenario. I believe the best explanation is that Jesus will reign on this earth.
The Apostle John says …
Those who had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years (Revelation 20:4).
The kingdom of Heaven in scripture is predicted as “now,” “on earth” for 1,000 years, and finally, “in heaven” for eternity.
In the book of Acts, before His ascension, the apostles asked Jesus when He would establish His kingdom. As you read the passage below, note that Jesus didn’t rebuke them for mentioning a literal kingdom on earth.
When they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority (Acts 1:6-7).
Instead of a rebuke, Jesus told them that it was not for them to know the timing!
The best form of government is one with a perfect and all-powerful ruler. We find that in Jesus as our Lord and Savior! He will come back to establish His kingdom – a government that is wonderful and filled with peace.
As we celebrate Christmas and the birth of Jesus, all of us should say, “Come quickly, Lord Jesus – the second time!”