Introduction: Discipleship and Foundational Teachings
Apostolic Ministry and Discipleship
Discipleship: God’s Governing Order and Hidden Plan
Before starting today’s topic, let’s mention a few things related to a current state and mindset of man, even religious man and what he has called discipleship or a godly life. This will give us a better perspective for today’s teaching. With this teaching, we will lay out a biblical context for Discipleship and through this context we will be able to clearly see that discipleship was always God’s plan or way for man. This “way” has ever been overlooked or missed by man’s religious, prideful and selfish ways.
Today, the so-called modern christianity with its old and “new” traditions and norms, in many ways, are heading towards a great turn, or even a dead end. Evidently, this is the plan of God as revealed ages ago through diverse biblical prophecies concerning our time. From many corners of the earth over the past few generations, prophetic voices have been trumpeting out an imminent and greatly anticipated change. This change is not to be along the lines of former revivalism or evangelism, not mention man’s traditions of intellectualism and religiosity, which have sapped the vitality of the Gospel and caused much stagnation among God’s people. Rather, it will be a genuine recovery and restoration of the powerful living reality of God’s life and His Kingdom. This eternal reality sovereignly governs and facilitates the purposes of God above those of humanity which drift around and batter the souls of men like the waves of the seashore. This living and eternal reality will claim a remnant of God’s people who will revive His ways and purposes and reintroduce the power and wisdom of God’s love to mankind. This will be done through the discipleship that the Lord has given us, not like the many variations of discipleship that have been presented by man which are full of the mixture of man’s ways, not mention those that entertain the false visions and passions of unenlightened minds and hearts.
By now we should know that when we mention discipleship, we are not talking about a man made method of relaying knowledge about spiritual things. Rather it is a divine process by which we are raised up as sons of God and citizens of His Kingdom, learning His ways and His order.
Up until this point in time, we have been presented with two extremes in terms of discipleship.
In one extreme, we see some of the institutional churches claiming to be the representation of God on earth, explicitly or implicitly, but they are so full of corruption that they are like a stinking tomb, full of death. They uphold doctrines and practices that shamelessly appeal to man’s desperation, blindness, intellectual appetite, goodwill, and even his false ambitions and passions, all for the “betterment of man”. Truly it is idolatry to the core. Unto such, God has become a dead idol and has been reduced to a remote philosophy. High ideals like “world peace”, “the brotherhood of mankind”, charity and fulfilling human needs have become a whitewash applied to what is only a tomb, full of dead bones. It is like the picture of Babylon the Prostitute in the Book of Revelation. Its vices and foolishness are on full display before our very eyes. These institutions are, generally speaking, founded on the power of human reasoning, goodwill and self endeavor.
In the other extreme, some of us, with mixed feelings, have witnessed or been part of a trickle and rapid flow of a work of awakening and restoring of God’s spiritual reality and Kingdom power. Spiritual gifts, intimacy with God through personal devotion, spontaneous displays of God’s healing power, prophecy and His presence in worship, even the so-called “Five-Fold Ministry” are things that have filled up the gallery of modern christianity. Recently, heavenly visitations and heavenly revelations are more and more becoming the forefront and the major emphasis of some prophetic streams. At the same time, after tearing away from traditional practices, home groups and ministries began to foster a renewed quest for a sense of order and guidance. However, after what may have been too much “spontaneity”, “revelation”,“manifestation”, these very things have become a form of spiritual lawlessness in the absence of genuine God-given leadership.
But many of us, who in secluded chambers have wept and waited with great longing, have heard with our own ears and seen with our own eyes, that a new day is coming when God’s divine order and ways will yet again be established in the midst of His remnant people. Then we will be able to seek out and offer help freely being enabled by His grace and power to practice Godly love as the many members or families of God’s household, enjoying and sharing His wisdom and blessings with others. This will be so that the people in this world, trapped in a gloomy spiritual darkness and desperation, can turn to such a people for answers and solutions. In this way, they will come to the House of God and worship Him in His ways.
This work of restoration will be done through genuine discipleship, a new wineskin that will be more than able to contain the new grace that God is pouring out from heaven unto us as a generation, it will be like a mighty river that will flow out to all nations and to all the corners of the earth.
This is our topic for this session. Discipleship: God’s governing order and Hidden Plan.
In past few sessions, we learned that the pattern of the Tabernacle and the Temple in the Old Testament time was a copy of an angelic order from heaven that was revealed to Moses and Aaron, David and Solomon and others. It is also embodied in the Law and the Prophets. God established the priests and kings for the Israelites, so that through them, He could teach the people His ways and His heart; and not just the Israelites, but all the peoples of the earth, so that that He can rule them as their King and teach and care for them as their Father. In essence, this pattern is a prophetic picture of the Government of God in His Kingdom. So when our Lord Jesus came to the earth as a man, just as with Moses and David, the Father taught and established Him in a ministry or mission as the Apostle of the work of reconciliation. The Father wanted to reconcile all creation back to Himself through the Kingdom of His Son.
This was God’s Plan from the beginning for His son and His disciples. Yet He meant for it to remain a great mystery, until He sent Jesus to us, who began to teach us these things. Today, let’s take a look at this from the prophecies in the Old Testament. In the coming sessions, we will discuss more about the practical context of apostolic ministry.
Isa. 8:9-22 NIV
9 Raise the war cry, you nations, and be shattered! Listen, all you distant lands. Prepare for battle, and be shattered! Prepare for battle, and be shattered!
10 Devise your strategy, but it will be thwarted; propose your plan, but it will not stand, for God is with us.
11 The Lord spoke to me with his strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people. He said:
12 “Do not call conspiracy everything that these people call conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. 13 The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread, 14 and he will be a sanctuary; but for both houses of Israel he will be a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall. And for the people of Jerusalem he will be a trap and a snare. 15 Many of them will stumble; they will fall and be broken, they will be snared and captured.” 16 Bind up the testimony and seal up the law among my disciples.
17 I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob. I will put my trust in him. 18 Here am I, and the children the Lord has given me. We are signs and symbols in Israel from the Lord Almighty, who dwells on Mount Zion.
19 When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living? 20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn. 21 Distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land; when they are famished, they will become enraged and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God. 22 Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness.
9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 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. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.
8 The Lord has sent a message against Jacob; it will fall on Israel. 9 All the people will know it— Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria— who say with pride and arrogance of heart, 10 “The bricks have fallen down, but we will rebuild with dressed stone; the fig trees have been felled, but we will replace them with cedars.” 11 But the Lord has strengthened Rezin’s foes against them and has spurred their enemies on.
Let’s look at this in detail:
In Isaiah 8:10, The phrase “God is with us”, is actually a paraphrase of the Hebrew word “Immanuel”.
It speaks of God’s governing order for His People, or the order and rule of His Kingdom. The word indicates the kind of oneness that God desires to have with His people, that “they will be His people and He will be their God”. That is He will dwell in their midst according to the order He prescribed and instituted through His Teachings or the Law of Eternal Life. The perfect image of this was the Feast of Tabernacles, when all God’s people would gather around the Ark of His Presence to worship Him and be a reflection of the divine order that comes down from above. Indeed this ruling order or governing ordinance is the sign of Immanuel. “God is with us”, that is, God is with His own chosen people from everlasting to everlasting, as prophesied in Isa. 2:2-5, 11:7-11, 66:18-24, Jer. 31, Micah 4:1-8, Zech. 8, 14:16-21, Mal. 3:16-4:6, Rev. 21, Psm 68, etc. That’s why Jesus would teach His disciples to pray this way: “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.” How so? Because His heavenly City or Temple is and continues to increase amongst His called out or chosen ones, and will eventually come down from above to disclose and institute a new creation with the government He will institute and administer.
This is what God promised to the Israelites when He set them free from slavery in Egypt. He called them out not merely to possess an earthly promise land, but a spiritual one, governed and blessed by Himself. His heart was that they would all become His sons, taught by Him, so that they can live together as His Family with love and understanding. Let’s look at this:
Exod. 19:3-6 NIV
3 Then Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain and said, “This is what you are to say to the house of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: 4 ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. 5 Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, 6 you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”
Duet. 8 NIV
1 Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the Lord promised on oath to your forefathers. 2 Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. 4 Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. 5 Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you.
6 Observe the commands of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and revering him. 7 For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills; 8 a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; 9 a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills.
10 When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. 11 Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. 12 Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, 13 and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, 14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 15 He led you through the vast and dreadful desert, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. 16 He gave you manna to eat in the desert, something your fathers had never known, to humble and to test you so that in the end it might go well with you. 17 You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” 18 But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.
19 If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed. 20 Like the nations the Lord destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the Lord your God.
In essence, God wanted them to become His sons and be blessed as His people. So that His household and His Kingdom could find a visible expression in creation. How? Through receiving and living out the teaching of His governing order and the way of His life. This was to be done by and through His Spirit in their hearts, not by any human endeavor or according to the written code. As we know, the foundation of God’s Kingdom is righteousness and justice; the substance of God’s life is love and wisdom.
Verse 12: “Do not call conspiracy everything that these people call conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it.”
The word “conspiracy” can also be translated as “confederacy”, or “treason”. That is, to form an alliance or devise a plan together against a common adversary. If we look at the full context here, it is the kind of accusation that can only be given to a people who are coming together against an established governmental order. Now, who is the one who accuses? The religious order of the day based on the false understanding of God’s Law and Testimony. In essence, those who are supposed to be upholding a governing order in the midst of God’s people are blind to the true plan of God and the teachings of His Law. In Jesus time, the enlightened ones, the Lord Jesus and His disciples, were a threat to the religious teachers and were accused by them as those who conspired against the order of the day. This is exactly what happen to Jesus and His disciples, and it has been the case for His remnant across the ages, especially in this day and this hour, which we would call the end time. (Acts. 4:23-31)
This is what John saw in Revelation 12 when speaking of the son company rising up (or being snatched up) to exercise God’s given authority in the Heavenlies. With the help of Michael and his angelic forces, they will chase out the Accuser of the “brothers” from Heaven and cast him down to earth. Notice, the word “brothers” here actually means members of the same family or friends. Paul called these “co-heirs with Christ” in God the Father. As we mentioned before, at the appointed time, the sons of God will rise up to take their place in heaven and be installed into and serve under the governmental order of the Kingdom of Christ.
Verse 14: and he will be a sanctuary; but for both houses of Israel he will be a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall. And for the people of Jerusalem he will be a trap and a snare.
Here, through Isaiah, God is speaking of the great mystery that He will be the dwelling place (sanctuary) of His people. They will be included and established in His House as “sons who serve Him”. (Mal. 3:17)) In what capacity? As a kingdom of Priests. In other words, they will rule with Him. How are they to rule? By discipling or teaching others His ways and His heart.
This “Gospel” was preached to the Israelites in the wilderness, and here again by Isaiah. But, as it was explicitly stated by Moses and Isaiah, the Israelites would reject it because they hardened their hearts toward this calling and understanding. It became a stumbling block to them. If you have time, read Isaiah 6 and compare it with Matthew 13 to see this more clearly.
This is the Gospel that the Lord shared and taught to His disciples. Let us again take a look at how He taught Peter in this:
Matt 16:13-20 NASB95
13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
17 And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. 19 “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”
20 Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ.
We see that the Rock is the restoration of the Father-Son relationship back to mankind. To be built upon this Rock is to be discipled by the Lord with His life and His ministry-the service, work or business the Father gave to Him. It is then evident that the Church, the called out ones, here mentioned by the Lord, are those who are taught and established by the Father. In other words, just like the Lord Jesus Himself, they are the spiritual sons of God, sons that are called out of the world to be discipled or taught by Him in His Kingdom and are anointed as His priests. The Lord also put this into the context of a heavenly conflict between His Kingdom and the kingdom of the Devil. Certainly the keys of the Kingdom of God imply spiritual authority and power given to His disciples to undo the work of the Devil, and to fulfill the work of God, which is to restore or reconcile man, even all creation, back to God the Father. The very work Jesus had been doing and would teach Peter and others to engage in.
Explaining this, Peter himself later said:
1 Pet 2:4-9 NIV
4 As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
6 For in Scripture it says:
“See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”7 Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone,” 8 and, “A stone that causes men to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall.”
They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for. 9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
This Rock, rejected by man, will become the cornerstone and capstone of God’s work of building up His Spiritual House with His sons and daughters. As Daniel and others saw in their spirit, it will grow into the greatest mountain and draw all men unto it, with the Banner of Christ, the cross, set on its top.
Verse 17 Bind up the testimony and seal up the law among my disciples.
Now we know that the spiritual House God is building is not an earthly one, it exists in Heaven and extends its service or work unto mankind and all creation. It is a governing order as well as a service or ministry, which is the order of Melchizedek. God, through His angels, gave the Law or the Old Testament to Moses, but He never intended for the Israelites to be satisfied by and take pride in a mere earthly pattern and only producing an earthly order. He meant for them to learn of Him and His heavenly order, and thus become His spiritual people. But the Israelites, weighed down by their flesh, veiled by their carnal desires, never fully comprehended His heart and His plan. Blinded with their foolish religious pursuits and passions, they began to take pride in the unique place God gave to them through their forefathers. Eventually they turned their hearts away from God totally. Later Isaiah used the city of David to impersonate such a hard hearted people, in contrast to Zion, or the Heavenly Jerusalem, that comes down from above – the true Bride for His Son, the real chosen people of God. Speaking of their spiritual blindness, he said:
Isa 29:9-24 NIV
9 Be stunned and amazed, blind yourselves and be sightless; be drunk, but not from wine, stagger, but not from beer. 10 The Lord has brought over you a deep sleep: He has sealed your eyes (the prophets); he has covered your heads (the seers).
11 For you this whole vision is nothing but words sealed in a scroll. And if you give the scroll to someone who can read, and say to him, “Read this, please,” he will answer, “I can’t; it is sealed.” 12 Or if you give the scroll to someone who cannot read, and say, “Read this, please,” he will answer, “I don’t know how to read.”
13 The Lord says:
“These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.14 Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.”
15 Woe to those who go to great depths to hide their plans from the Lord, who do their work in darkness and think, “Who sees us? Who will know?”
16 You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, “He did not make me”? Can the pot say of the potter, “He knows nothing”?
17 In a very short time, will not Lebanon be turned into a fertile field and the fertile field seem like a forest? 18 In that day the deaf will hear the words of the scroll, and out of gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see. 19 Once more the humble will rejoice in the Lord; the needy will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. 20 The ruthless will vanish, the mockers will disappear, and all who have an eye for evil will be cut down— 21 those who with a word make a man out to be guilty, who ensnare the defender in court and with false testimony deprive the innocent of justice.
22 Therefore this is what the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, says to the house of Jacob: “No longer will Jacob be ashamed; no longer will their faces grow pale. 23 When they see among them their children, the work of my hands, they will keep my name holy; they will acknowledge the holiness of the Holy One of Jacob, and will stand in awe of the God of Israel. 24 Those who are wayward in spirit will gain understanding; those who complain will accept instruction.”
What a release to know that God would not leave His chosen people in total dismay, rather, He had promised them a revolutionary change to their spiritual understanding.
Verse 18: “Here am I, and the children the Lord has given me. We are signs and symbols in Israel from the Lord Almighty, who dwells on Mount Zion. “
This is what happened when the disciples of the Lord were finally enlightened with the divine plan and governing order of God’s work. They fulfilled what is described in Verse 18. The children or “little ones” should give us a reminder of the way the Lord will call His disciples.
Matt 10:40-42 NIV
40 “He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me. 41 Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward. 42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.”
His disciples are those who are the harvest or fruit of His sacrificial life. Jesus laid down His life for them, so that they could be born into the Kingdom of God as His “children” or offspring.
There are other prophecies that speak of these disciples that shed light on God’s purpose and calling for such a people, the sons of God in Christ Jesus.
Let us just mention a few here:
Psm 16:2-6 NIV
2 I said to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing.”
3 As for the saints who are in the land,
they are the glorious ones in whom is all my delight.
4 The sorrows of those will increase
who run after other gods.
I will not pour out their libations of blood
or take up their names on my lips.
5 Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup;
you have made my lot secure.
6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
This is Messianic Psalm is speaking of a people who are redeemed by the life of Christ and will overcome death themselves, as those who will walk in “the land of the living.” (Psm 27:13, Psm 116:9) Jesus later spoke of them as a people or a generation who would not taste death. As Paul said, in and by the spirit, their faith enabled them to die with Christ in His death, but also to be raised with Him into His life. Their bodies will not be corrupted by death, but are raised up into the Heavenlies and into His spiritual Kingdom, waiting for the time of glorification. So, in their mortal body, dwells the resurrection power of the Lord. We will discuss this more later.
Psm 24:3-6 NIV
3 Who may ascend the hill of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?
4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to an idol
or swear by what is false.
5 He will receive blessing from the Lord
and vindication from God his Savior.
6 Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek your face, O God of Jacob. Selah
The word “generation” here seems to relate to a time frame or age of people. But when we truly grasp the meaning of the Hebrew word “dor”, we will have an understanding different than its English connotation. It actually means linage or offspring, the life span of a man, an age of things existing, or a dwelling place, habitation or a tent. So here it speaks of the eternal life the sons of God are promised within the everlasting dwelling place of God. The Word of eternal life becomes flesh and dwells in those who are taught by God. Transversely, they become the dwelling place of God as their natural bodies are and will be glorified into spiritual bodies.
Zech 9:12-17 NIV
12 Return to your fortress, O prisoners of hope;
even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.
13 I will bend Judah as I bend my bow
and fill it with Ephraim.
I will rouse your sons, O Zion,
against your sons, O Greece,
and make you like a warrior’s sword.
14 Then the Lord will appear over them;
his arrow will flash like lightning.
The Sovereign Lord will sound the trumpet;
he will march in the storms of the south,
15 and the Lord Almighty will shield them.
They will destroy
and overcome with slingstones.
They will drink and roar as with wine;
they will be full like a bowl
used for sprinkling the corners of the altar.
16 The Lord their God will save them on that day
as the flock of his people.
They will sparkle in his land
like jewels in a crown.
17 How attractive and beautiful they will be!
Grain will make the young men thrive,
and new wine the young women.
The sons of Zion are those who are taught by God’s wisdom through His way of discipleship. The sons of Greece are symbolic of those who are taught by man’s wisdom, which embodied itself in the Hellenistic thoughts of the Greeks in Jesus time. Today, it can certainly be recognized as the product of humanistic philosophies that are based on the speculative ways and the reasoning power of man. These have permeated the doctrines and teachings in Christianity and spread across the world. Like mighty warriors, the sons of God will confront the sons of Greece. This indicates that just like Jesus and His disciples would change the culture of their day, so it will be in our day, the sons of God, who are taught by God Himself will again begin to disciple others with the Wisdom from above.
Daniel saw this in his vision. Speaking of Jesus and His disciples, the angel disclosed to Him that the Lord will break the seal of God’s vision and prophecy or the book of life. Then a new kind of teaching of God will be issued forth.
Dan 11:33-35 NIV
33 “Those who are wise will instruct many, though for a time they will fall by the sword or be burned or captured or plundered. 34 When they fall, they will receive a little help, and many who are not sincere will join them. 35 Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time.
Now when the end time comes, the archangel Michael, as also revealed in Rev 12, will finally arise and the day of judgment will begin and the sons of God will also be revealed:
Dan 12:3 NIV
3 Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.
“Those who are wise” here is speaking of those who are truly discipled by the Lord with the wisdom and understanding of God’s plan and ways. Jesus used the parable of the tares and wheat to illustrate this and explained it this way:
Matt 13:43 NIV
43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.
Here, Jesus is speaking of those who are to be taught by Him and would become, like He was, sons of God. Paul said of such sons, that they are those have died with Him, and they will also reign with Him. This is exactly what was foreseen by Isaiah when he prophesied about the government of the Son of God.
Now, let’s turn back to it.
Isaiah 8:20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn.
Here God was proclaiming the true essence of the law and the testimony that He had given to His people through Moses and marking a clear line between the teachings of His heart and purpose, from those that are not. Evidently, in the time of Isaiah, like in the time of Jesus and His disciples, the religious leadership, the so-called teachers, prophets and priests, who appeared to have knowledge and understanding of the things of God, were actually in spiritual darkness and had taught God’s people in a wrong way. The blind leading the blind.
Isaiah continued to speak of the first coming of the Lord saying that He would appear like the dawning sunlight shining forth in the region of Galilee, a place that many, in that time, regarded as a spiritual wilderness. Even so, it was exactly where the Lord Jesus called and began to teach Peter and others. The last will be the first, indeed!
Let’s get down to Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.
In the last session, we explained that the word “son” here is speaking of more than just the Lord Himself, but also those who are in Him and who are to become one with Him. Together they become one man; Jesus Christ as the head and the many members as His Body, or the Church. These called out ones are the first-fruits of God’s work, and have matured into the full stature of Christ, and thus have overcome anything that hinders them and are installed as priests of God under the order of Melchizedek, as mentioned in Heb 12:22-24.
The word “government” here speaks of the position or place of rulership or kingship, it actually means dominion. The word “rest” means “to be instituted, established, arise, or abide and remain”. Like the Ark of the Lord’s Presence rested on the shoulders of the priests who carried it, so shall God dwell in and remain with His chosen ones. When He commanded the Levites to rise and lead the Israelites to possess the Promised land, He went before them and chased their enemies out. During the Feast of the Tabernacles, the Ark of the Lord was disclosed after the day of Atonement, everyone who had gathered and settled around it would be blessed with the portion from the sacrifice on His altar. Now the priests do not need to move anymore, they have a permanent place in the dwelling of God as God has settled His presence in their midst. This is what John saw in Revelation 11-12. Only this time, these things are not of the earthly land or temple anymore, they are of the angelic realm in the heavenlies.
Here is a brief review of this session: By expounding the prophecy in Isaiah 8 and 9, we can see God’s hidden plan for Christ Jesus in the ministry of His discipleship. He will build up the people of God through this discipleship into a spiritual dwelling place for Himself, so that the sign of Immanuel (God with Us) can be truly fulfilled. He will establish them as sons who serve Him in His Temple and will reign with Him in His Kingdom.
This is the kind of discipleship the Lord passed onto us, which is His Kingly wisdom and Priestly wisdom, built upon the very foundation of His life. By possessing this Promised Land, we are indeed becoming a kingdom of priests, and upon our shoulders His Government will rest and remain, and He will rise with us to conquer all the darkness that covers the face (spiritual dominions) of the earth.
Father in Heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Feed us with Your heavenly wisdom, so we can understand Your plan and Your heart and be equipped as laborers in the field of Your Harvest, even Your sons and daughters. In Jesus’ name, Amen.