“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of His government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.” – The Prophet Isaiah 9:6-7 NIV
God Himself was given to us as a son, born in the weakness and fragility of human flesh. The Kingdom of David rests upon His shoulders. The man Jesus will now for all of eternity be a very real, human Jewish man. He is truly fully God and fully man. The kingdom of heaven will forever go through the throne of David of earthly Jerusalem, and when the heavenly Jerusalem is joined together with the earthly Jerusalem at the return of Jesus, the greatness and increase of Jesus’ government and peace will know no end.
As we celebrate Christmas, let us remember that we are no different from the prophetess Anna, no different than the Pharisees, no different than the wise men from the east, no different than any of those who dwelt in darkness longing for a great light to dawn. Though we now see the light of Christ, we yet dwell in the tension of our times, longing for the fullness of the promise of the Son whom was given to us. Broken humanity is still broken, lost, and dying. The earth itself is still unredeemed and unrestored. There is still a war between the angels of God and the rebellious host. Heaven has not yet been redeemed and restored. All of creation is waiting and groaning. Do you hear the groan?
The coming of the Son means we will dwell here for a long time. His going away to heaven means we will dwell here a long time. His coming back to earth from heaven means we will be here a long time.
The plan has always been and will always be the restoration of the natural earth. When you look around, don’t long to escape. The Bible makes no promises to take us away from this earth. You may say, “The rapture”, or you may say, “My home is not this earth. My home is in heaven.” Yes, there is a rapture, and yes our eternal home is heaven. But we must understand that even those who dwell in heaven weep beneath God’s altar longing for the redemption of the body and the joining together of heaven and earth.
When the heavens and the earth are redeemed in Messiah Jesus of Nazareth, heaven and earth will eventually become one realm and one new creation in Christ. Your rapture into heaven is but a brief “pit stop” before you return to earth to witness the judgment of Satan. Your home may be heaven, but heaven and earth will one day become one unified reality. Do not forsake the inheritance of the meek who will reap a blessing from the dust of the earth for all eternity.
Look around you at the natural earth, its soil, its flowers, its cultures, races, and families. Look at the cities and the mountains. Consider the valleys and the fields. Regard the animals and the youth of every species. God will not forever contend against those who destroy that which He made and saw that “it is good.” Regard your fellow mankind, who are locked away in chains of darkness if they have not yet received the marvelous light of Christ. Have you not been called to the ministry that frees them from the dominion of darkness?
At Christmas, let us consider the zeal of the Lord, who will redeem the heavens and earth through His own Son by establishing His rule and government in earthly Jerusalem. The salvation of Israel is the epicenter of Jesus’ earthly ministry. The apostle Paul equated the salvation with Israel with the timing of the resurrection of the dead, so we should as well. It is when, and only when Jesus is ruling from earthly Jerusalem that the curse will be broken, and the nations blessed through the Jewish Messiah’s rule over the nations of the earth.
At Christmas, let us consider that the Son of God being given to us as a baby was merely a foretaste of a much greater promise that we still get to look forward to and get to participate in affecting upon the heavens and the earth. Consider your invitation to active participation into this plan and purpose of God. Jesus refuses to finish the race to Jerusalem’s throne without the participation of the body of Messiah in Israel and throughout the nations. Now, God is certainly able to do it without us. He can accomplish anything He pleases. Nevertheless, He refuses to finish the redemptive work over creation without His covenant partner at His side. You are called to co-heir together with all of His people for the redemption of both the spiritual world and the natural world. Sometimes, it takes just as much spiritual regeneration to save a soul from damnation as it takes to plant a garden. Friends, Eden is not a myth or metaphor. It is our future.
All of creation is groaning and waiting for sons of God to be revealed. We can’t make the resurrection of the dead happen tomorrow, but today we can start living in the knowledge that we have a Holy Spirit dwelling within us to accomplish redeeming, healing, and sanctifying supernatural works. We’ve been given the “first fruits” of a glory far greater than the glory shone upon Moses’ face. We have a great Holy Spirit who is intimate and infinite in power. He not only longs to release that power through all who are in covenant with Jesus for the sake of the lost, but He also longs to release that power in you to draw you into greater intimacy with God.
I absolutely love Christmas, but sometimes I fear our yearly December holiday has memorialized an immature and neutered gospel. I don’t sing God’s praises only because of a baby in a manger. I sing God’s praises because of who this baby has become, and what He will yet accomplish. I sing God’s praises because only He can turn a crying and naked human baby into the author of eternal salvation by death on a cross. I sing God’s praises because only He can resurrect the corpse of a bruised, pierced, and rejected Messiah, making Him the firstborn over all creation of an eternal resurrection that is yet to come. I praise God because He will yet establish justice and peace on the earth and in the heavens.
Oh, what child is this? This is Christ the King!
– J. S. Marek