Posted by: William | December 13, 2007

The Government on His Shoulders

The perfect authority of Christ. If I could submit to it actively, rather than just passively. If only I could question, every moment, the actions and motions of my heart and hands and inquire of my perfect ruler whether they be good or not. I was thinking of this today as I was reading from Isaiah, chapter 9. Most specifically verse 6:


 “For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;

and the government shall be upon his shoulder
and his name shall be called…”


This prophecy concerning the coming of Christ has always kind of perplexed me. For one, I’m not sure that I know of any “government” that rests on Christ’s shoulders at least not in any kind of really overt sense. I mean, I suppose that if the authority on earth is chosen by God, then that would certainly include our various governments as well and in that sense the government would rest on his shoulders. But that doesn’t really seem to speak clearly enough; earthly authority has always been selected by God, even before Christ’s incarnation. It just makes this prophecy seem somewhat erroneous if that’s all it’s talking about.

I also considered the government of the church; the Catholic Church, the various denominations of protestant churches, the just very basic structural hierarchy of non-denominational church leaders. That seems to make sense also, but it just seems too plastic. What about false prophets who wield authority within the church, what about the places and times when the church has clearly not leaned on or built itself upon Christ’s shoulders (i.e., the crusades)? I mean, certainly in some sense, authority in the church must be passed down by God, but what does it mean for the “government” of the church to be on his shoulder?

I think on some level these things are all true; authority in the world and in the church comes from Christ. But I think John Gill said it well when writing of the government of Christ:


“not only of the world in general, but of the church in particular; this child is born to royal dignity; he is King of saints; his government consists in ruling in the hearts of his people, in enacting laws for them, and causing them to submit unto them, in subduing their enemies, in protecting them, their persons and properties, rights and liberties, and in supplying them with everything necessary; and this government is delegated to him from his Father, is devolved upon him by him, is not of this world, but is spiritual; it is righteously administered, is peaceable, and will continue for ever…


Christ is the ruler of our hearts specifically. The government rests on his shoulders in our hearts. We are to purpose first and foremost to Him and his ruling; and actively. Every moment, choosing to submit to Him and what He will say we ought to do or make mention.



  1. I think that a huge part of this is the eternal government. When He comes back to literally rule and reign as King of the earth in the new Jerusalem.

  2. Yeah, I think that’s definitely a good possibility as well. I’d want to see some more scripture too.

  3. We have to remember that Jesus is King of Kings. He came as King of the Jews, was and He is coming back to rule and reign.

    Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!”

    Revelation 11:15

    this has spurred me on…I think I’ll go write a blog about it instead of blowing up your comments.

  4. sorry…that was supposed to read….

    We have to remember that Jesus is King of Kings. He came as King of the Jews, was rejected, and He is coming back to rule and reign.

  5. Yeah, that’s good. But I’m not sure that it definitively responds to that prophecy in Isaiah. I mean, I definitely think it’s working on multiple levels and that being one of them, but contextually speaking it doesn’t really look to me like the verse in Isaiah hints at his second coming; although there is one. I think it makes more sense to me, in terms of the original verse, that his government would be spiritual.

  6. hmm…I disagree. I think the “from that time forward, even forever” hints towards that.

    For unto us a Child is born,
    Unto us a Son is given;
    And the government will be upon His shoulder.
    And His name will be called
    Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
    Of the increase of His government and peace
    There will be no end,
    Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
    To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
    From that time forward, even forever.
    The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

    Isaiah 9:6-7

    It says here that upon the throne of David and over (capital H) His kingdom, to order and establish it with judgement and justice. I also would read Isaiah 11 with this….

    ah…just let me write my blog.

  7. hmm..very interesting…on the general topics /discussion forum of I was writing today about this very thing…imagine my suprise to see you were ‘on the same page’ and true to our different styles,coming from a different angle! It’s never dull when you walk with God!

  8. Glad to see your thoughts on this subject. I happened across this blog entry this evening after penning some thoughts earlier today on this passage from Isaiah 9. Of particular interest to me is some of the terminology chosen by Isaiah (in the Hebrew) and what implications that terminology may have.

    May we all be busy expanding his government!

  9. Love catching fragments of internet debate!

    The government shall be upon his shoulders.

    In the Old Testament God preferred direct rulership but consented to the insistance for a king. This was all reconciled through the coming of Christ, as preordained.
    State, church, nation and family seem in the same way to point to some synergism of ideals that can only be perfected by recieving our King a second time.

    The Holy Spirit is at work within us so that God’s rulership may be in all and through all, and fully anticipating the reigning return of Christ, a sort of consummation.
    It is this frustration in our experience that drives us to call ‘Come Lord Jesus’.

    If Christ showed us God at the center, family and relations to middle and all others welcome in the outer (God forgive me if I speculate wildly) then perhaps that of the temple will become that of every person’s experience and this when perfected will have such an eternal character shaping purpose that we will be thoroughly prepared for the coming rule.

    This seems to lead to rather revolutionary ideas as to the nature of life on earth as we currently experience it. When we appreciate how much opportunity there is to express our submission to this new government or experience the cross in this life because of it, how much more a part of this government are we.

  10. A short response would be that, this is two prophecies in one breath. The way God revealed himself to the prophets was interesting. See, God is not bound by time. We are. So, if you take time away from his speech you can see a clearer picture, and that picture in this prophecy was clarified through the birth and prophecies Christ spoke of in regards to his return.

    When looking at prophecy it’s often like viewing two mountain peeks in the distance. From afar you may perceive just one mountain. Though, as you get closer you notice that there is actually two peeks separated by some distance. This is similar to how prophets saw their visions of prophecy. We have one prophecy of the birth of Christ, and the latter end of that same verse moves right into a prophecy of his second coming. If you look it at, with God’s timeless nature in mind, you notice that it all adds up that way. Both prophecies, one came to pass and one still in the works, yet adheres to all the criteria to make it fit into end times prophecy.

    I don’t know if I wrote that too clearly but, I hope you get my meaning.

    God bless

  11. Myles
    I agree with you in more ways than one. Indeed the prophesy here points to the final rulership of Christ in the new earth that will be co-reigned with the Kings(thats the saints). Recalling the original mandate that was given man upon his placement in the Garden of Eden-Adam was comanded to rule over the earth and subdue it. However at the fall of man the rulership was taken away and handed to the fallen angel, the earth became cursed and yileded thorns and thistles.

    The Lord is Good

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