Editorial: The Government on His Shoulders

Good government. For many, this is something we can only imagine rather than observe. The best of earthly administrations are stamped with varying degrees of failure as leaders buckle under government’s heavy weight. To be clear, God’s Word informs us that “the powers that be are ordained of God” (Rom 13:1) and, therefore, deserve our respect and need our prayers (1Ti 2:2). But we long for something better, Someone better. That Someone is coming.

The prophet Isaiah served at a time when “good government” was an oxymoron within the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Historically, the people of the 10 tribes never had a good king, and their persistent wickedness brought the Lord’s judgment. The dreaded Assyrians, “the rod of his anger” (Isa 10:5), would march southward and conquer God’s wayward people. Yet in the midst of such a dark prophecy, Isaiah foretold that Someone was coming – “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder” (9:6 KJV). A comparison of Isaiah 9:1-2 with Matthew 4:13-16 makes it clear that the Lord Jesus Christ was that promised Someone. Although He did not establish His earthly kingdom on His first arrival, the cross being necessary before the crown, Isaiah announced that His reign is guaranteed – “the government shall be upon his shoulder.” And He will not falter under its weight. He will succeed where all others have failed.

Although there is a spiritual aspect to Christ’s kingdom, what Isaiah foretold was an earthly kingdom. “He will rule on David’s throne and over David’s kingdom” (v7 NET). Christ’s earthly reign will fulfill the promises to David (2Sa 7; Luk 1:32-33). As He is the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace, it is quite evident that good government is on the way.

Christ’s will be an equitable kingdom, “promoting justice and fairness” (v7 NET). With the government of the entire world resting upon His shoulders, laws will be fair and justice will always win the day.

Isaiah tells us that Christ’s will be an expanding kingdom – “Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end” (v7 KJV). His literal return will be in the land of Israel (Zec 14:4), but His kingdom will expand until “he shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth” (Psa 72:8 KJV). There is not a place on earth that will not be under His perfect rule.

A further encouragement from Isaiah comes with the promise that Christ’s will be an eternal kingdom, established “from this time forward and forevermore” (v7 NET). Revelation 20 describes His earthly reign as 1,000 years in duration. Revelation 11:15 states that “he shall reign for ever and ever.” Both are true. And just in case there’s any doubt about the coming of a kingdom that will last forever, Isaiah prophesies that “the zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this” (v7 KJV). God’s zeal for the glory of His Son will make this happen, and no power on earth or under the earth can stop it.

Perhaps the greatest wonder of it all is that we will share in that reign with Him (1Co 6:2; 2Ti 2:12), both observing and participating in perfect government. Rather than simply imagining it, let us fervently pray for its arrival – “Thy kingdom come!”