No End to the Increase
“Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom” (Isaiah 9:7).
by Richard Doctor
To understand Isaiah’s words we need to look back at a long night well over
three thousand years ago when Jacob wrestled with the angel until he was blessed. Jacob was renamed “Israel.” The Hebrew Isra means “a prince with power.”
The word “government” in Isaiah 9:7 derives from the same Hebrew word. It is clear that more than what we would consider being a “government” is implied. We need to recognize Messiah as a “Prince with Power,” a prince worthy of commendation, obedience, and respect by his people. A prince who will hold God’s law as a sacred trust, have a genuine love for the people he serves, a heart that is open to their problems, and a willingness to assist in resolving the problems at hand. His ear will ever be open to their cry.
The Kingdom of Messiah will be a worthy successor to the throne of David in every respect. It will be far more glorious than anything that could have been conceived by the faithful Israelites of Isaiah’s day. More than this, the Kingdom of Messiah is a Melchizedek kingship; hence, it is of an even higher order than the throne of David. It is the office that combines both king and priest. While a king like David needs to focus on civil issues, have the heart to resolve them, and work for the material wellbeing of his people, the purpose of a priest is conveyed in Nehemiah 8:7-8. There “the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place. So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.”
The priesthood aspect of this government (the prince with power) provides wise instruction for the soul that can be understood by the people. This instruction addresses every aspect of the law, the treatment of fellow citizens, the treatment of the poor and weak, foreigners, cattle, crops, land use, proper diet, the Sabbath years, and the Jubilees, and indeed, all aspects of life. The priests instruct the people on both the sober and the joyous holidays that build a collective community.
The Sins of Sodom
By way of contrast, the sins of Sodom — the sins of bad government — are set out in Ezekiel 16:49,50: “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination.”
The good rule of Messiah will undo every one of Sodom’s sins. It will convey a sense of self-worth, but not one that leads to pride and arrogance. The kingdom will be a time of prosperity for those who come into accord with its righteous principles — but then, fullness of bread will not lead to idleness. The unsettled human condition that seeks for unholy and wasteful uses of its free time will be a thing of the past.
A good prince will provide bread to his hungry people in the short-term. A Melchizedek prince goes beyond this. He will work on land and agrarian reform to address the needs of people in the long-term. The “poor and needy” will have land placed in their care as a sacred trust — forever
— and “they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree” (Micah 4:4). There will be assistance to self-sufficiency for the poor and
needy that will “strengthen their hands.”
“And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin” (Isaiah 1:25). While “dross” represents gross sins, “tin” may refer to false systems of belief and action that have the appearance of silver. Pride in the heart can be hidden from fellow man, but not from God. Sooner or later, pride leads to a “haughty” outward exhibition. But this will not be the case in Messiah’s kingdom. Every immoral and abominable practice will be set aside and as the hearts of man reform, they will learn that acting in accord with righteousness and helping others will improve their physical well-being. In doing good to their fellow man, the Rotherham translation of Isaiah 58:8 reads, “then shall … thy new flesh [for the healing of wounds] grow.”
Will Holiness, Love, or Creativity End?
The Kingdom of Christ Head and Body will spread or increase, in its various divisions and offices, as do earthly governments, until it
becomes “a great mountain [Kingdom]” and fills the whole earth (Daniel 2:35). Nothing in the way of improvement will escape the attention of this government. It will provide a feast of fat things, and remove all stones out of man’s way. No evil influences will be allowed, and none will hurt nor destroy in all God’s holy mountain. One of the keys to this government’s success is that through its watch, control, power, and peace no one will escape its teaching nor bring harm to his neighbor. It will do this without violating man’s free moral agency.
This kingdom will always be the Kingdom of the Father, which rules over all (Matthew 13:43, 26:29). However, the Father has placed the dominion of earth for a thousand years under the full charge of the Christ, Jesus and his Bride, exalted to the divine nature and majesty. They will destroy evil and lift up all who come into full harmony with the Father under the gracious conditions of the New Covenant. The special features of Christ’s Mediatorial Kingdom with its provisions of mercy, under the New Covenant, will make provision for the weaknesses of sinners.
In close association with the Bride of Christ will be “the virgins her companions that follow her” (Psalms 45:14). This Great Company (“great multitude”) of Revelation 7:9 will be the able, direct assistants of the church in the spiritual realm. The earthly ministers of Messiah’s kingdom will also be recognized as “princes,” the Ancient Worthies, who will be
Messiah’s visible representatives among men (Isaiah 32:1).
Through the Mediator, mankind, including the Ancient Worthies, will obtain eternal life. The process of uplifting and correcting the world will go on until the end of the Millennium. While the nations will be dashed to pieces with a rod of iron (Psalm 2:8, 9, Revelation 2:26,27), coming into allegiance with the rule of Messiah will be voluntary. As people hear
of the loving, just, and wise reign of Messiah based in Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:3), the nations will earnestly desire to join. “Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, ‘We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you’” (Zechariah 8:23).
All will be welcomed who are willing to walk the Highway of Holiness and render their loyal submission and devotion — both Jews and Gentiles. The Kingdom will grow to include all subjects who obey its laws, while any others will eventually be destroyed (Acts 3:23, Revelation 11:18).
Only the Willing Shall Inherit the Kingdom
The Prophet Isaiah described the consequences for those unwilling to make any progress: “The sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed [cut off].” Dying at that age, the sinner would be but a child because, by even outward obedience to the reasonable and just arrangements of the Kingdom, he might live at least to the end of the Millennium (Isaiah 65:20, Acts 3:23).
While the rules of the mediator will be strict and bring peace — a conquered and enforced peace and obedience — they will provide the
blessings and advantages of a righteous and equitable government. Yet, this is far from God’s ideal! God’s ideal Kingdom is one in which each individual freely chooses to conform to the divine standard — loving righteousness and hating iniquity. This standard will ultimately prevail throughout the universe and will be introduced to mankind during the Millennial Kingdom.
Revelation 20:7-10 shows us that at the close of the Millennial age there will be a “harvest” time, for sifting and separating among the billions of mankind then living, each of whom will have enjoyed a full opportunity of attaining perfection. While the results of the Jewish and Gospel “harvests” show only a little flock gathered, and the great masses unworthy because Satan deceives and blinds the masses of mankind, the results of the Millennial age “harvest” will show reversed results — the masses being loyal “sheep” to be ushered into life-everlasting, and a comparative minority of “goats” to be destroyed.
Ultimately it is not numbers but quality, that is the Lord’s test. His guarantee is that sin and sinners and those who sympathize with evil shall not be granted eternal life to endanger the happiness, peace, and blessedness of eternity beyond — where “there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:4).
God’s Will Done on Earth
Thus shall God’s Kingdom come, and His will be done on earth as it is done in heaven. Thus shall Christ reign as the Father’s “arm” (Isaiah 40:10, 11, 51:5) until he shall have put down all antagonistic authority and power, and caused every knee to bow and every tongue to confess the wisdom, justice, love, and power of God the Father. Finally, having manifested by the last crucial test at the close of the Millennium all who have sympathy for sin, they shall be destroyed from among the people (Revelation 20:9). Then Messiah shall surrender the Kingdom to the Father.
This Will Not be the End of His Government!
Beyond the Millennium, the principles guiding the administration of earth will have been written in men’s hearts. This blessed condition will only be attained as a result of Christ’s reign. All men will not only be perfect but additionally, they will have a knowledge of the goodness of righteousness and understand the exceeding sinfulness and injurious nature of sin. They will have successfully passed their trial and demonstrated that they have fully formed characters in harmony with, and likeness to, the divine character.
The Kingdom of God will then be among men as it is now in heaven among the angels. There shall be no end to the increase of this government. Every good impulse, service, and opportunity to enhance beauty, knowledge, and
holiness will mark this age. Gone will be the dreadful horses of the Apocalypse. Rather, “In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD” (Zechariah 14:20).
Categories: 2020 Issues, 2020-November/December, Richard Doctor