Merry Christmas! This is my Christmas edition of the Wednesday Word. Normally, as a staunch, stick in the mud Presbyterian who only believes in the 52-holy days of the year (that being the LORD’s Day), I have done all I can to ignore Christmas Day. Part of that is a desire to be honoring to God. He has only given us 52 holy days. He has not instructed us to celebrate Christmas.
But given that so many people do, and that it does point to the birth of Christ, it is an opportunity to share the truth about the God who set aside His glory, became one of us, in order to redeem some, and bring about a new Kingdom.
What has also helped is that in the last three weeks, Heidi and I have been able to attend two churches where they purposely follow the Christian calendar by focusing on Christmas, both in music and sermons. And in both, the pastors we heard referred to Isaiah 9:6 AND 7. I emphasized the conjunction for a reason. Most people ignore verse 7. They will recite verse 6 for the entire advent season, but ignore verse 7. Here is verse 6:
“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.“
That verse is packed full of wonderful truths about Christ, the Messiah. A pastor could easily preach that verse for several Sunday’s in a row, just to begin to explain it all. But it’s verse 7 that gave me another one of my Aha! moments.
These Aha! moments are moments I have had since my end-times theology changed from an amorphous acceptance that there is an end, to one of definite victory by Christ over all things. The position I now have is one of hope, instead of uncertain gloom. It is one that is supported throughout Scripture, and I keep finding verses where this is readily evident.
It’s like the FedEx logo. I had a friend point out to me that the words FedEx on the side of the truck, had an arrow in them. Up to that point, I had never seen the arrow. Now I can’t look at the logo without seeing the arrow.
Once my position changed, I’m seeing the logos of the hopeful eschatology (study of end times), every where.
And that brings us to verse 7.
“Of the increase of His government and peace, there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”
In other words, the kingdom that Christ brought in His earthly ministry and after His ascension will continue to grow until it covers the entire earth, and all His enemies have been made a footstool. Verse 7 clearly points to the postmillennial position (the position I have been describing). Christ will be victorious over all His enemies, including death. This prophecy in Isaiah 9 assures us of this reality, and even Paul gets in on the act in 1 Corinthians 15:25-26 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.
Christ is reigning now in heaven. He is still the King of kings, and presidents, and prime ministers, and pot-bellied dictators… He rules over all of them.
Yes, it does seem like there are times that the church is failing, that the gospel if falling on deaf ears. But even in this current waning (from our perspective) of the gospel, the gospel is still going forth. Here are few things to think about:
- There are more Christians now than there ever have been in history. Not bad for a religion that started with 11 scared disciples.
- There are more copies of the Bible than ever. Remember, that for much of Church history, the copies of the Bible were rare. But we have them in plenty in our day.
- There are more ways to hear the gospel than ever, after all, you’re getting a dose of it on a blog.
- And since we don’t know when Christ will return, and He will, we may actually be in the early age of the church. Christ may tarry on His second coming for another 1,000 years and perhaps even 10,000 years. Only God knows.
The point is that we have much to be hopeful for. Yes, the wicked are more evident now than they were 50 years ago. But wicked still fall under Christ’s rule. He is still their King, and they will still have to answer to Him on judgment day.
Let us rejoice at the season that points us to the good news of Christ and call people to their King. Merry Christmas!
All photos are copyright © Timothy J. Hammons 2021.