Isaiah 9: 6 – 7
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
I’d like to look at a theme that has been burning in my heart for months about the theme of ‘Sonship’. Preaching from the above text, at the beginning of this year the Lord clearly spoke to me concerning this theme, and in regard to something He wanted me to embrace more than ever. Also, I believe that this is a key theme for the Church at large to embrace, as it will be essential in the future move of God.
In the above Scripture, we see the nature of ‘sonship’ in the Son – Jesus. It foretells of His becoming a child, though He is in fact, eternally a Son. (‘A child is born… A son is given…’) And the text clearly shows that because Sonship is something Jesus ultimately manifest in His life, through becoming a child and submitting to the Father, He inherited authority and power. His ‘Sonship’ was set for us to follow, as sons. His Sonship was not only His ‘status’ by name only, but was also experienced. He did not need to enter into the ‘experience’ of sonship (becoming a child) on the one hand, yet did so because He was a Son! Jesus even said in His teaching, that unless we become as a child, we cannot receive or enter the Kingdom.
So as in the natural, sons submit to a father, then later on they receive an inheritance, so it is a type of what is actual in the Kingdom. We are declared to be sons upon being Born-again – if you like a ‘status‘ is given. But then we must enter into the experience of sonship for a greater manifestation of power, and a full inheritance, because we are sons. This is evidenced with Christ in Luke 3 & 4, where Sonship was decreed by the Father at Jesus’ baptism, but then Sonship was experienced through the submission in the wilderness testing / temptation, and the subsequent inheritance of power with God in advancing the Kingdom. Here, Christ came out in the ‘power of the Spirit…’ and He ‘proclaimed the Kingdom…’ But please note: the Spirit compelled Jesus into the wilderness! We have also received the Spirit of Sonship. And by God’s grace we should not reject the dealings of God. They are for our destiny to be realized.
In the above Isaiah passage, this ‘son’ also inherits ‘government… upon His shoulders…’ and He inherits names: ‘Wonderful Counsellor (Supernatural in counsel) Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace…’ etc. So though a son eternally (given) He comes to a place of being just a child (born). This is one of the great mysteries of all time. He in His Sonship becomes nothing, then inherits the Kingdom and subsequent authority!
One more thing of note in the Isaiah passage is that Jesus the Son is called ‘Father’. In Israel the King’s heir when inheriting the throne became a father to the people, not according to age or stature but according to God’s choosing & dealing with the man, and in turn, man’s response to God’s workings. True sonship produces true fathers; true fathers manifest authority in a fatherly way. They in turn raise up and release new sons. This is both seen in the natural and this is how it ought to be in the Kingdom of God.
What then do ‘true sons’ inherit by coming under the Father’s dealings and authority?
1. Sons inherit governmental authority.
A hireling does not understand the dynamics or heart of the Father, nor His house, neither His desire for it. A son however, does, and as a result will actually ‘give himself’ for that fulfilment.
Isaiah 22: 15 – 24 speaks of a situation in which a man by the name of Shebna is steward of over the nation of Israel. The steward was basically a prime minister, under the headship of the King. Isaiah describes a number of assaults on the nation, and always brings a word from God looking for steadfast and faithful leaders to respond to what God is saying. Shebna in this account fails to fulfil the duty of his office, and instead accepts the death of the nation, and only seeks his own memorial to be fixed, rather than caring for the future life of the people. Thus God disposes him from his position and function, and replaces him with a man called Eliakim son of Hilkiah. Look at what the Lord says to Eliakim:
“On that day I will summon my servant, Eliakim son of Hilkiah. I will clothe him with your robe and fasten your sash around him and hand your authority over to him. He will be a father to those who live in Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I will drive him like a peg into a firm place; he will be a seat of honour for the house of his father. All the glory of his family will hang on him: its offspring and offshoots—all its lesser vessels, from the bowls to all the jars.”
Note the following:
· The terms ‘my servant’ and ‘son of’.
· How God makes him a ‘father’ to the people.
· The keys of the Kingdom (of David) are given to him. Keys to open, permanently, and shut permanently. (Authority and power)
· This Scripture while historical is also prophetic of Jesus Christ, and is linked in with Revelation 3: 7 – 13. Here the Philadelphian believers may have been excommunicated from the local synagogue, however in their becoming outcasts for His name’s sake, Christ comes to reassure them that they have a place of access and authority in His Kingdom. The day will come when their persecutors will acknowledge what God has done for them and granted to them. As over-comers they can take their place in the Temple of God. Christ in having the keys to the royal household, has given them a place with Him, not those who presume authority.
In other words: Kingdom authority is realised when God’s servants not only enjoy the status of sons, but because they are such, they ‘enter into’ Spiritual sonship. It may be God’s dealings through suffering; it may be a wilderness experience, or it may be demonic attack. Those that learn in those times to come under the shadow of God, experience what it is rely solely upon the Father. He then enlarges their capacity. They then inherit authority in the Kingdom, which is spiritually exercised in a paternal / fatherly way. This is how God expresses Himself.
This is often why when we look around the world those that are persecuted for the faith often carry spiritual riches beyond those in the west. Or those who have done great exploits in the West, have often gone through great wilderness experiences. It is God’s way to bring us into the likeness of the His Son. The Good Father wants His sons to inherit! But He also wants His sons to have His Son’s heart and not take the glory for themselves when endued with such authority in the Lord.
2. Sons are released into Kingdom power.
There is nothing more precious in the sight of God than when a person having gone through the wilderness, comes out in the power of the Spirit, and makes a telling impact in their generation for the Lord.
Moses came into his role as deliverer for Israel after ‘tending sheep’ in the backside of the desert. Previously, he had tried to bring matters into his own hands and bring a ‘judgment’ regarding an issue between two of the people of Israel, and ahead of God’s timing. But upon that mistake, he is thrust into the wilderness where God taught him solitude, brokenness and to see the Divine in the midst of the meaningless. Moses came out with a rod of power that literally delivered an entire people, brought God’s power and subdued an enemy nation.
Paul, previously Saul after his conversion is moved into a similar forgotten place for a season. We don’t need to talk about how God used that man. Sure enough, God’s government and power flowed through him, even when in prison.
3. Sons manifest ‘The Son’.
Just as sons inherit government and power because of submitting to the Father, they likewise begin to manifest the ministries of Jesus: Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers are the five-fold governmental functions or ministries of Christ in the Church. They serve as headship ministry to the rest of the Body, and cause the Body at large to become as Jesus is. They also manifest something of who He is to a dark world.
I remember a word brought from a brother in the UK once about some mighty men God used at the turn of the 1900s. He said by the Spirit, that they were as they were because they had been ‘Born in the FIRE!’
The fires of revival? For sure. But also the Fires of testing. The greats of yester-year were not just particularly favored, but they experienced ‘sonship’. They went through the wilderness… they humbled themselves as children. As a result they inherited as much as they could this side of heaven. They through suffering and hardship carried a deposit of the Kingdom. God’s government rested on their shoulders! They saw the Kingdom expressed in the power of the Spirit. All because they went the Jesus way of ‘sonship.’
May this be a year when true sons begin to emerge to a place of expression of God’s rule, and become fathers to a new generation of saints expressing the glory of God in the earth.
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