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Written by Jim Jordal   
Tuesday, 13 December 2016

ADVENT FOR THE NATIONS

By Jim Jordal

 For to us a child is born. To us a son is given; and the government will be on his shoulders. His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there shall be no end, on the throne of David, and on his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from that time on, even forever.                             Isa. 9:6-7a WEB.

These well-known words of Advent herald the coming of a child sent to earth by his Father to establish and eventually rule over an everlasting kingdom of justice and righteousness. This earthly kingdom is the centerpiece of creation and the subject of a vast amount of Scripture. To pay for and guarantee this kingdom is, according to Jesus’ own words, why he came to earth and why he was sacrificed at Calvary. 

This kingdom of righteousness, justice, and peace often seems far away when we ponder the chaos of most world systems and the consequent suffering of various vulnerable groups like prisoners, slaves, immigrants, debtors, the poor, and the sick. But the kingdom of Christ is real and is on this earth as the culmination of thousands of years of human history.

To comprehend the full meaning of the various Advent scriptures is beyond our limited human abilities. But there are keys to developing at least a partial understanding. One of these is to separate between biblical teachings regarding individual persons living in small groups like the family or church and those having  a much wider scope dealing with nations.

Notice that the above account relates that the child Jesus will eventually carry the government upon his shoulders. This is a much more serious challenge than dealing only with individuals and their spiritual growth. Jesus as king will rule over nations in a new World Order designed in heaven and explained to us in Scripture. One result of his reign will be world peace under the Prince of Peace as he establishes his government with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.

The world today seeks peace through international organizations, non-aggression treaties, increasing trade, religious prescriptions, human betterment programs, and judicial decisions. But none of it seems to work as intended. Crisis follows crisis as humans cannot seems to understand or apply the old adage that without justice there can be no peace.

In his first sermon (Luke 4) Jesus explained exactly what his Advent, or coming into this world, was all about. He said he was sent to bring gospel (good news) to the poor, heal the brokenhearted, offer liberty to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, deliverance to the oppressed, and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord’s favor, or the year of Jubilee. Jesus brought all the blessings of Jubilee to the immediate attention of his hearers with his closing statement that “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

His promises of Jubilee deliverance were at that time adapted mainly by individuals and small groups of believers who formed the early church. At the time of his Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem some followers thought the time for an earthly kingdom strong enough to oppose Rome was here. But no, formal military and political power was not yet what God wanted: He wanted to build communities of love and faith that would carry the word and the way down through over 2,000 years of contempt and arrogance by the world toward the things of God.

Many Christian look expectantly for the new Advent, or the Second Coming of Christ, this time to accept his kingdom in the power and joy of the incipient Kingdom of God on Earth, ruled over by Christ and his saints. When God’s timing is right, this blessed event will occur amid great rejoicing by his followers, and severe consternation by those who do not wish Christ to reign over them.

It’s as Revelation 11:15 promises: “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” That’s Advent for the nations.