For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,
On the throne of David and over his kingdom,
To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness
From then on and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.
— Isaiah 9:6-7 NASB (emphasis added)
Christmas brings a season of hope—beyond this world. A hope that God initiated in the gift of His Son. A hope that will be realized when the Messiah returns, just as He promised. Christ is returning to establish a government of justice and righteousness that will last forever.
We look at the world today and see injustice and unrighteousness everywhere. Tyrannical governments hinder religious freedom through brutal persecution. Military dictatorships destroy their countries and their neighbours for selfish ambition. Western governments oppress their people through their mismanagement of public finances and overwhelming debts. Radical Islamists destroy freedoms in pursuit of absolute control for the benefit of a privileged few.
Beyond governments, we see injustice in violence against innocent children by deranged individuals. Tragedies like the recent school shootings in Newtown, CT, USA receive much press, and rightly so. Other more pervasive horrors like human trafficking receive little publicity but remain rampant across the globe. Organized crime around the world causes entire cities, states, and countries to live in fear.
In such a world, we may think like the Psalmist:
[The wicked] say, “How would God know?
Does the Most High know anything?”
This is what the wicked are like—
always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.
— Psalm 73:11-12 (NIV)
If our only hope was in the ability of human governments to make things right, we would despair. Indeed, many who have no hope beyond the here and now do feel hopeless as they look at the state of the world.
Believers in the Christ of Christmas trust in His promise to completely fulfill Isaiah 9 in His second coming. He is coming, and when He comes, He will establish a kingdom of justice and peace. It won’t be the kind of fragile peace that comes from quickly broken back-room deals, but the lasting peace founded on the power and authority of the Maker of the Universe.
The new government that Christ will lead is characterized by justice and righteousness. What is the nature of that justice? We have a Bible filled with examples of what justice is like. A huge part of that justice is that evildoers will be punished rightly, according to their deeds, and then will permanently cease to exist. Jesus speaks of His second coming in this promise: “For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds.” (Matthew 16:27 NASB)
It is a wonderful hope that there will be no evil in Christ’s new government. In the end, God will completely destroy the unrepentant evildoer. Those who get away with evil in this world will not be there in the next. Peter’s second letter describes this clearly:
The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment … these, like unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed, reviling where they have no knowledge, will in the destruction of those creatures also be destroyed. — 2 Peter 2:9,12 NASB (emphasis added)
I’ve written more on the justice of God as described in the Bible in these articles. If you’re interested in more details of God’s justice you may continue your study there.
The relevant message for us to consider two millennia after the birth of Christ is this: as God sent His Son in fulfilment of many promises, He will send Jesus again to complete those that remain unfulfilled. Isaiah 9 was not fully satisfied in the first advent. This may be why many Jewish leaders didn’t see Jesus as Messiah after He died on a Roman cross. Their interpretation of Scripture didn’t allow for a Messiah who came first to die instead of to conquer.
Be confident: the risen Christ will come again, and establish a just and righteous government where all of the evil in the world will be completely destroyed. It is my hope and prayer that many who do not currently know this hope will be drawn to the message of the Scriptures and seek to know the One who came to die for them, and who is coming again to bring truly lasting peace. Come, quickly, Lord Jesus!