The Government Upon His Shoulders
“God’s merciful purpose for the government of the world when the times are ripe for it … restoring the whole creation to find its one Head in Christ; yes … to find their one Head in Him” (Ephesians 1:9-10 Weymouth).
by Jerry Wesol
The Holy Scriptures tell us that from the foundation of the earth, God foreknew that a ransom for mankind would be necessary. Therefore, He put a plan in place that would rescue His human creation and give honor to His son. Jesus, as “a lamb unblemished and spotless … he was foreknown before the foundation of the world” (1 Peter 1:19-20 NASB).
To ensure that His plan for man’s salvation would be a success, God would need one in charge that was in total accord with Him. This individual would need to understand the conflict between the Creator and His human creation and be willing to follow God’s will to resolve it. David writes of this individual, “Then said I, ‘Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart’” (Psalms 40:7-8).
God established laws and earthly arrangements so that His son Jesus would have preeminence above every name and be given the sole right to rule (Colossians 1:18, Romans 14:11). But first, this present evil world, both
the heavens and earth, have to be shaken and ultimately removed (Galatians 1:4, 2 Peter 3:7-13), to bring the people to their knees and cause them to desire both a righteous rule and a righteous ruler (Haggai 2:7).
The Government Upon His Shoulders
In Isaiah 9:6, the phrase “The Government” is translated “the dominion” by Rotherham. This makes sense. God originally gave man dominion over the earth, but through disobedience and sin, man lost that authority (Genesis 1:28, Hebrews 2:8). The phrase “upon his shoulders” indicates that the responsibility, burden, and dominion were offered to Jesus and he accepted it. The Hebrew idiom uses “shoulders” in a similar way as in English
— to indicate acceptance of this responsibility.
Isaiah’s phrase also refers to kingly leadership. It reminds us of the words: “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; Called of God a high priest [and king] after the order of Melchisedec” (Hebrews 5:8-10).
But before the son of God could take authority, certain conditions had to be met to qualify Jesus for this dominion and authority. He had to (1) provide a ransom, the price to redeem mankind from the condemnation of sin
and death, and (2) he had to prove his obedience even unto death. Jesus’ willingness to do this is recorded in Hebrews 10:5,7 (NASB): “‘Sacrifice and offering you have not desired, but a body you have prepared for me’ … Then I said, ‘behold, I have come (in the scroll of the book it is written of me) to do your will, O God.’”
“Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; He hath put him to grief: when Thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand” (Isaiah 53:10). God did not take pleasure in the sufferings of his Son. Rather, He foresaw the glorious results, both to Jesus and to mankind. The bruising and suffering allowed Jesus to experience the pain and sorrow of the human family. “We have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). God permitted Jesus to demonstrate his loyalty and faith even unto death so that God might abundantly reward him and develop him into the righteous ruler man needed (Reprint 3591, 5878).
“It is a great mistake of some, however, to suppose that ‘the man Christ Jesus’ was the Second Adam. Oh no! As the Apostle declares (1 Corinthians 15:47), ‘The second Adam is the Lord from Heaven’ — the Lord who will come from heaven and at his second advent assume the office and duties of a father to the race of Adam, which he redeemed with his own precious blood at Calvary. The purchase of the race of Adam from under the sentence of Justice was necessary before it would be possible for our Lord Jesus to be the Life-giver or Father of the race: and this great work alone was accomplished by our Lord at his first advent” (The Atonement Between God and Man, Page 137).
Tidings of Great Joy to Israel
To Israel, the prophecy of Isaiah 9:6-7 should have been tidings of great joy as proclaimed by the angel at the birth of Jesus (Luke 2:10). However, their spiritual leaders only looked for prophecies that foretold of Messiah’s great accomplishments and rulership. They ignored or did not properly discern, the prophecies that told of his great suffering and death as an important part of God’s plan. Instead of being led by the Law as a schoolmaster to Christ (Galatians 3:24), they sought to kill him for fear of losing the status they then held under the Roman yoke.
God had promised Israel that they would be a nation of kings and priests
if they obeyed His voice and kept His covenant (Exodus 19:5,6). The Heavenly Father also promised King David that his progeny would be on the throne of Israel forever. How did Israel’s disobedience affect the fulfillment of these two promises?
Lacking the holy Spirit, Israel did not grasp how through God’s plan of redemption the dominion of the earth would be restored to mankind. Though Israel would be a blesser nation toward all the families of the earth, the special honor of being spiritual kings and priests would pass to the Jewish and Gentile believers in Jesus due to Israel’s unbelief (Romans 11:7, 8).
Additionally, how could the promise that David’s son would sit upon the throne of Israel forever be fulfilled? This promise would require supernatural intervention. When reasoning with the scribes, Jesus quoted from Psalms 110:1. “How say the scribes that Christ is the Son of David? For David himself said by the holy Spirit, ‘The LORD said to my Lord, Sit
thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool.’ David therefore himself calleth him Lord; and whence is he then his son?” (Mark 12:35-37).
Jesus was not trying to trick the scribes. Instead, he used the scriptures that spoke of the promised Messiah as a king from David’s line. “The Lord hath sworn in truth unto David; he will not turn from it: Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne. If thy children will keep my covenant, and my testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon thy throne forevermore” (Psalm 132:1112). Jesus’ lineage can be traced back to David through Joseph, his earthly stepfather, by
way of Solomon’s line, and through his mother Mary by way of David’s son, Nathan.
Due to infidelity, God intervened to overthrow the Kingdom of Israel at the time of Zedekiah (Ezekiel 21:26-27). Still, Israel’s failure did not affect God’s promise to David to have one of David’s descendants sit on his throne forever. Messiah would come later and claim the royal scepter, and thus fulfill God’s commitment to King David.
God’s Oath for a King and Priest to Fulfill His Promises
The Heavenly Father will fulfill His promises to have (1) a righteous ruler through David’s line and (2) to raise up a priest and king like
Melchizedek. “The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek” (Psalms 110:4). Melchizedek was not only the King of Salem (or Jerusalem, meaning city of peace) but also
a priest. Paul explains this in Hebrews 7:1-4. “Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham … and blessed him … abideth a priest continually.” Melchizedek, as a type, showed the coming Messiah would be both priest and king and would fulfill the promises God made to Abraham.
Jesus, by his willing and obedient sacrifice, qualified for the office of Messiah (anointed one) and to be the king and priest forever, and thus bless all the people. “Such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he
did once, when he offered up himself” (Hebrews 7:26-28).
Faithful followers of Jesus, both Jews and Gentiles, will be part of the seed of blessing as Paul writes in Galatians 3:29: “If ye be Christ’s,
then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Christ, head and body, will not be sacrificing priests like the Aaronic order. Instead, having already sacrificed themselves, they will be priestly kings, blessing and ruling as pictured by Melchizedek. They will be in a position of authority, disposing of all the enemies of truth and righteousness. They will restore order to the earth and prepare mankind to have the dominion of the earth once again.
A Righteous, Sympathetic Ruler to Turn Mankind from Sin
Fulfilling God’s plan of salvation was Jesus’ desire. He came to earth, suffered and died, so that he could both provide a ransom for Adam and learn how to assist mankind to overcome their sinful ways. Jesus was made perfect or complete as a high priest by what he suffered, and thus became the author of eternal salvation to all who would obey him (Hebrews 2:10,
5:9,10). Having experienced pain, suffering, and death for 6,000 years, mankind has learned evil and promulgated sin under Satan the usurper. It will take a righteous ruler and a sympathetic high priest to turn them from sin to righteousness so that they can gain everlasting life in God’s Kingdom. The faithful members of the Bride class, the church, will be joined to her lord and have the added blessing of being saviors, as part of the Melchizedek Priesthood in this great plan of redemption (Obadiah
1:21, Revelation 1:5-6).
The Heavenly Father has placed on Jesus the dignity and responsibility of being the great king. As the Father’s representative, he will reign over mankind as the glorified Mediator for a thousand years. His reign will restore order in the world, put down all insubordination, destroy every enemy of righteousness and truth, and exalt to everlasting life everyone who is a friend of these divine principles (Psalms 2:1-6).
“But when that which is perfect shall have been attained for mankind, by the Mediatorial Kingdom, they will be all kings as was Adam before he sinned. And to these kings, unitedly, will be delivered the post-Millennial Kingdom of God; and all shall reign harmoniously under the law of Love, and their President will serve and represent them. O Lord, we pray, Thy Kingdom Come! for thy present saints’ sake and for the world’s sake” (The Battle of Armageddon, page 646).