When Isaiah speaks to us in 9:6 of the ‘child’ who is born, the ‘son’ who is given, we are not really prepared for his next words ‘and the government will be on his shoulders’. We are thinking in terms of a baby – weakness, dependence, vulnerability. We are not thinking in terms of power and authority.

But had we taken notice of the little word ‘for’ we would perhaps have been prepared. This word ‘for’ connects this child, this son, to what Isaiah has already told us in this chapter:

That into the gloom, distress and darkness of our human world a ‘great light’ has come [9:1-2].
That our human despair has been replaced with exultant joy [9:3].
That God has shattered all that held us bound and captive [9:4].
That God has brought war and fighting to an end [9:5].

All of this has happened ‘for’ [meaning because] ‘to us a child is born, to us a son is given’. It is this child, this son, through whom all of this reversal of the human condition has occurred. All of this light, this joy, this release, this peace, happens because this child, this son, has ‘the government on his shoulders’.

Of this government that is ‘on the shoulders’ of Jesus Christ the New Testament teaches us:

That even the wind and the waves obey him [Mark 4:41].
That evil spirits obey him [Mark 1:27].
That all authority in heaven and on earth is given to him [Matthew 28:18].
That all judgement has been entrusted to him by his Father [John 5:22,27].
That the authority of life and death is in his hands [John 5:21,26].
That he holds the keys of death and Hades [Revelation 1:18].
That 'having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them' [Colossians 2:15].
That God has placed all things under his feet and appointed him head over everything [Ephesians 1:22].
That God has exalted him to the highest place and that at his name every knee in heaven, on earth and under the earth should bow [Philippians 2:9,10].
That he is the King of kings, and Lord of lords [Revelation 19:16].
That he is ‘God over all’ [Romans 9:5].


Isaiah tells us that ‘Of the increase 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’ [9:7]. Because of the reference to ‘David’s throne’ we are tempted to think that Isaiah is limiting the authority and reign of Jesus Christ to Israel, but, as we have seen previously, such an interpretation is not valid. Isaiah understands that all nations are involved in the redemption and rule established by Jesus Christ [see, for example, Isaiah 2:2; 25:7; 49:6; 52:10]. His rule, his kingdom, is without political, national, geographic or temporal limitation. His rule, his kingdom is one of which there is no limit – no end, no boundary. It is not entered because of national heritage, but by personal allegiance to the King. It commenced when he was ‘given’ to us, that is with the first coming of Jesus Christ, and it remains ‘from that time on and forever’.

For this reason the Lord Jesus Christ said:

‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near’ [Matthew 4:17].

‘I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven’ [Matthew 8:11].

‘… unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven’ [Matthew 18:3].

‘The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it’ [Luke 16:16].

‘… no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and of the Spirit’ [John 3:7].

‘My kingdom is not of this world … my kingdom is from another place’ [John 18:36].

All who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ belong to this spiritual and eternal kingdom, and this kingdom belongs to them:

‘… the kingdom of God is within you’ [Luke 17:21].

‘(God) … has brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves’ [Colossians 1:13].

‘John, your companion in the suffering and kingdom … that are ours in Jesus’ [Revelation 1:9].

It is those who have seen and acknowledged Jesus, the Light of the world, who have escaped from the darkness and despair of ignorance of God [John 8:12].

It is those who have acknowledged Jesus, the King, who rejoice with indescribable joy [1Peter 1:8].

It is those who have acknowledged Jesus, the Saviour, the Redeemer, who know that they have been delivered for ever from the dark bondage in which Satan, sin and death held them captive [Romans 8:2; Hebrews 2:14,15].

It is those who approach God in the name of Jesus who rest in perfect peace in the presence of God [Matthew 11:29; Romans 5:1; Colossians 1:20-22; Hebrews 3 and 4]

 © Rosemary Bardsley 2014