Wednesday, 23 December 2015

The Sobering Joy of Advent

No End To the Increase of His Government

As we commence the celebration of Advent we acknowledge our rejoicing will take place amidst sound and fury, amidst tumult and the clashing of armies on darkling plains, and amidst injustice, oppression, death, and sickness unto death in the earth.

In this season, we always read the following prophetic declaration of the coming of our Lord:

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
    and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
    there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
    to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
    from this time forth and for evermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
[Isaiah 9:6-7]

We Christians believe that the coming of Christ, born in Bethlehem, born of the virgin Mary, was the beginning of the end of sin and evil, along with all its consequences.
 Whilst He was born in a low condition, Messiah was and is the King of all kings.  All the government of this world, indeed the universe, is upon His shoulders.  At Advent, we Christians celebrate not just His coming, but His coming realm.  The prophet tell us that His government will increase.  It will be established and upheld.

In our modern world the great issues of the day have not so much to do with life and death, with demons and devils, with good and evil.  The great issues of our day turn around rule and government.  Who is the boss? The West is engaged in a relentless march to secure and assert the Age of Men.  The fruits of this "take it or suffer the consequences" madness grow by the day.  What, then, we ask of the promise of His coming, of the promise of His kingdom which shall see justice and righteousness grow upon the earth?  Where is He, in these days?

Psalm 2 provides the answer.  Where is He?  He is in heaven, enthroned at the right hand of God, wearing the diadem of absolute power.

Why do the nations rage
    and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
    and the rulers take counsel together,
    against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart
    and cast away their cords from us.”

He who sits in the heavens laughs;
    the Lord holds them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
    and terrify them in his fury, saying,
“As for me, I have set my King
    on Zion, my holy hill.”

I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;
    today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
    and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron
    and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.”

Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
    be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear,
    and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son,
    lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
    for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

Putative rebellions against the Son of God, King of all kings, occur from time to time.  They may even last for a generation or so.  But they will not last.  They cannot endure.  Because they will be broken with a rod of iron; smashed into pieces like a potter's vessel.

Today we are invited to express our allegiance to Jesus Christ, the Lord's Anointed by the act of kissing His feet.  We are commanded to serve Him with fear, to rejoice before Him with trembling.

He is a babe in a manger no longer.  He who was crucified for the sins of all His people has risen from the dead.  He is the King of the earth, sitting upon the heavenly throne.  How blessed is everyone who takes refuge in Him.

These are the realities that His Advent has produced.  Here is the reason for the joy and merry laughter of the season.


Anonymous said...

Dear John
We have appreciated your post and your clear understanding of the scriptures and have been encouraged by your ability not to be taken in by the spirit of the day.
By the look of the 600,000 plus views we are not alone.
Keep up the good work oh faithful servant.
And like you, we look to the furthering of His kingdom.
Merry Christmas to you.

John Tertullian and Contra Celsum said...

Thank you for your encouragements. May the Lord lift up the light of His countenance upon you.