The following is an article from the ‘Lamp and Light’ magazine of the Society for Distributing Hebrew Scriptures (September/October 2009). It is used with permission of the editor. The article gives some important teaching on the understanding of Scriptural truth.

R. John Wheeler 

 “Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, …
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this” Isaiah 9:7

We are thinking in this edition of the expression, ‘The zeal of the LORD of hosts’. The prophecy of verses 6-7 has been partly fulfilled in that the Child was born and the Son was given. Our LORD and Saviour, Jesus Christ fulfilled that completely as He will fulfil the rest of what is prophesied in these verses and all else that has been foretold of Him. We await it with eager anticipation.

Notice the change of tense from present to future: ‘For unto us a Child IS born, unto us a Son IS given: and the government SHALL be upon His shoulder..’ from the first future tense all the others are the same. What does it mean? Surely it is speaking of the initial rejection of the LORD Jesus. From the fulfilment of the Child born and the Son given, lies a long period of time, including the present day, until the rest is fulfilled. ‘For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the LORD… Behold this Child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel and for a sign that shall be spoken against’ Luke 2:11 and 34. We know the Child was born, we know the Son was given, but His rejection by the nation of Israel has delayed the fulfilment of the rest of the prophecies. That this was foreseen in the original transmission is evident from the change of tenses. Between that change lie all the years from it’s fulfilment, till the present day and on until the fulfilment of the rest if the prophecy.

We are told that the first manifestation of His authority is ‘The government shall be upon His shoulder’ and although it appears to be limited to Israel, his ultimate authority will be universal. The word translated ‘government’, misrah is only found here in verses 6-7 and it means ‘rule’ or ‘dominion’. It’s root, sarah also only occurs twice but each occurrence is very telling. Both are connected with Jacob, the first in Genesis 32:28, ‘And He said, thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.’ The second is Hosea 12:3, ‘He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength he had power with God.’ So we conclude the reference is in connection initially with the government of Israel, but leading to universal application we believe. ‘And He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His Kingdom there shall be no end.’ Luke 1:33.

Following on we are given a list of those remarkable names that are His now but will be known by the whole world when He reigns (Isaiah). The first two names are sadly mistranslated in some modern versions, from ‘Wonderful, Counsellor’ to

 ‘Wonderful Counsellor’. You might think we are splitting hairs here, but not so. Anything that reduces or lessens the place of the LORD Jesus is to be resisted. The Hebrew peleh is clearly a noun and means ‘Wonderful’ which accords with Judges 13:18 ‘And the angel of the LORD said unto him (Manoah), “Why asketh thou thus after My name, seeing it is secret (Wonderful)?”’ But on the most spurious of references some modern versions have turned the noun into an adjective, thus ‘Wonderful Counsellor’ and the inevitable lessening of the place of the LORD Jesus.

The other titles are all encompassing and will surely be known to every person on earth at that time. ‘The mighty GOD, the everlasting Father, the prince of Peace.’ The mighty GOD with unlimited power and authority, from Whom nothing can be hid and against Whom nothing can prevail. The everlasting Father, unlimited in His love, in His mercy and in His forgiveness. Father of the fatherless, Carer of the rejected, Lover of the unloved. The Prince of peace is already the only source of peace, but when He comes to reign, peace will ensue and spread world-wide and usher in a time before unknown but only hoped for.

We say the titles will be known universally, indeed they will but that does not mean the LORD Jesus will have universal acceptance as we read in Revelation 20:8 after the thousand years of the Millennium when Satan is released from his prison, ‘And he shall go out and deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.’ The wickedness of man is almost unbounded even in the most ideal of circumstances.

Nevertheless we read in Isaiah 9:7 of that Millennial period when the LORD Jesus returns, ‘Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom to order it, and to establish with judgement and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.’ We will see the establishment of world peace, a perfect worldwide justice system and government free from corruption, all quite beyond our imagination today! However the LORD Himself has promised this so we know beyond any shadow of a doubt it will most certainly come to pass.

But let us not have any doubt about the magnitude of the task, even today everywhere, structures are being put in place to obstruct Him and to make it as difficult as possible. That it will certainly not be easy is revealed in the expression, ‘The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.’ It will not come instantly, the might of the LORD of the heavens and the earth will be engaged to bring about what man has never known, has largely never dreamed of and whose leaders will probably oppose for fear of losing their own positions.

The root meaning of ‘zeal’ is kanah which means to be zealous and to have an impassioned desire for something. The use of this word indicates the tremendous desire and determination of the LORD to accomplish what has been prophesied of Him and He will do it! When He returns in power and glory as prophesied in Acts 1:11, the world will be in a terrible state, far worse, we believe, than it is now, but the LORD of hosts will exert His powers to bring about an immense world-wide change that will enable man to live in peace for the first time ever. The hosts mentioned in our title as those of Romans 9:29, as ‘The LORD of Sabaoth’, a quotation from Isaiah 1:9 ‘Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.’ Sabaoth is the plural of the Hebrew tsaba – that which goes forth, an army of the LORD’S angelic hosts to carry out His instructions. These great forces are as yet largely unseen, there have been occasions in the Bible when they have been partly revealed, such as 2 Kings 6:8-19 and Luke 2: 8-15, but their work and ministry will truly come into focus when the LORD Himself shall appear. Although the impression given is the absolute resolve of the LORD to achieve the prophetic vision, it’s implementation brings to mind the creation acts of Genesis 1.

In verse 7 we have ‘And God MADE the firmament and divided the waters…’ This is the Hebrew word asah to make, fashion, accomplish, work, and is used seven times in Genesis 1 showing the creative power of the LORD which will come into play in the millennial period to bring the world into what was originally intended. Exactly the same Hebrew word and it’s form is used as the word translated ‘perform’ in Isaiah 9:7. This wonderful and all encompassing prophesy spans the ages from its utterance through Isaiah to ‘…unto us a Child is born unto us a Son is given:’ and beyond to That Day of Isaiah 2 when the LORD will reign ‘…and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.’ This is the realisation and fulfilment of Isaiah 9:7.