The gift that keeps on giving
Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end…
Isaiah 9:7 (ESV)
Way back in 1929, astronomer Edwin Hubble made one of science’s greatest discoveries: the universe is expanding. By carefully observing and measuring distant stars, he showed that the galaxies are receding away from each other. The further away the galaxy, the faster it is receding.
The phenomenon described by Hubble’s law is uncannily reminiscent of this week’s lectionary reading where Isaiah 9:7 tells us that the increase of Jesus’ government will have no end. Christ’s perfect government will continue forever and without end, a thought echoed in Luke 1:33, Revelation 5:13 and many other places. The composer Handel also wrote of this in his magnum opus, The Messiah: ‘and he shall reign forever and ever’.
But for me it is verse 7 that really boggles the mind. It tells us that Christ’s kingdom is not just a kingdom of permanent continuance, it’s also one of perpetual growth. We are left to speculate in wonder what that means. Growing bigger forever? It hardly seems possible to our human minds. It’s an idea that beggars belief. Yet, as the Passion translation of Isaiah 9:7 puts it: ‘Great and vast is his dominion. He will bring immeasurable peace and prosperity.’
Here in this chapter, Isaiah gives the Messiah a new name: Prince of Peace – in Hebrew, sar shalom. When you look at the literal translation of that phrase, it tells us that the Kingdom of Jesus Christ is and will be an eternity of universal flourishing, wholeness and delight.
We may not fully understand it, but we should be greatly encouraged by it.
Heavenly Father, ‘crowns and thrones may perish, kingdoms rise and wane, but the throne of Jesus constant will remain’.1 “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 2
Thank you, in Jesus’ name for the sure and certain hope of his return in glory to usher in your kingdom.
Study by Peter Mill
1 Onward Christian Soldiers, Sabine Baring-Gould/Arthur Sullivan
2 1 Corinthians 2:9 (NKJV)
About the writer:
Peter Mill is a Minister in Grace Communion International
and Regional Pastor for Scotland, Ireland and Northern England
Gilmerton New Church
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