What have we learned in our 4 messages in this series as we have considered how the OT develops this theme of the Deliverer.
1.) We have learned he is of the seed of the woman
2.) We have learned that he is a man of violence
3.) We have learned that he will be a descendant of Abraham
4.) We have learned that he will bless the nations
5.) We have learned that he will come from the tribe of Judah
6.) We have learned that he he will come from the family of David
7.) We have learned that he will be a King occupying David’s throne
8.) We have learned that he will be a Prophet
9.)We have learned that he will be a Priest
And the uniqueness of one person holding all three offices of Prophet, Priest, and King.
10.) We have learned that he will be born of a virgin
11.) We have learned that he will be born in the least of all cities of Judah
12.) We have learned that this virgin born child will be very God of very God
Along the way we mentioned that one implication of all this is a postmillennial optimitic eschatology. The Deliverer will be a blessing to the nations. This theme is articulated repeatedly in Isaiah;
Isaiah 19:24 In that day Israel will be one of three with Egypt and Assyria—a blessing in the midst of the land, 25 whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, “Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance.”
Isaiah is looking to forward to the day of the Deliverer … the Messiah and he sees that day as one where former enemies are gathered with Israel and characterized as His people.. the work of His hands. Isaiah screams this truth in the book by his name.
“I, the LORD, have called you for a righteous purpose, and I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and appoint you to be a covenant for the people and a light to the nations,
Sing to the LORD a new song, His praise from the ends of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it, you islands, and all who dwell there.
Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.
“It is too small a thing for you to be my servant
to restore the tribes of Jacob
and bring back those of Israel I have kept.
I will also make you a light for the Gentiles,
that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”
Loud and clear with resonance and timber Isaiah along with the rest of the Scriptures proclaim Messiah will be the Deliverer of the Nations. He is a great Liege Lord known for the vast numbers and nations that are caught up in His victory train.
Micah 4 picks up this theme of the great Deliverer gathering the nations,
1 Now it shall come to pass in the latter days
That the mountain of the Lord’s house
Shall be established on the top of the mountains,
And shall be exalted above the hills;
And peoples shall flow to it.
2 Many nations shall come and say,
“Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
He will teach us His ways,
And we shall walk in His paths.”
For out of Zion the law shall go forth,
And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
This great King who will never be more of a King then He is right now will gather the Nations. And just as His great and awful humiliation occurred in space and time history so His great exaltation will occur in space and time. The Deliverer will make His blessings flow far as the curse is found. The sons of Allah will sue for clemency from our great Messiah. The Talmudic Jews will beg and find mercy from Jesus the Christ who they cursed. The Atheist will cry out in that day, “I believe, forgive my former stubborn unbelief.” That Nations will, in space and time History taste and see that the Lord is good thus demonstrating the greatness of our Great High King.
This truth from the Scriptures has been neglected and opposed for too long. Let us no longer deny the Deliverer’s coming glory. This optimistic eschatology was characteristic of Reformed theology until the center of Reformed theology shifted as Westminster was established as the main training center. We need to return to the eschatology of Edwards, the Hodges, Thornwell Boettner, Warfield, Kik, and Rushdoony. It seems a reasonable thing to do given that is the eschatology of the Bible.
Well, what else do we learn from this prophet about the coming Deliverer?
Isaiah puts emphasis on the fact that the Deliverer will be empowered by the Spirit of the living God. Is. 11:2
The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.
Here is My Servant, whom I uphold, My Chosen One, in whom My soul delights. I will put My Spirit on Him, and He will bring justice to the nations.
Come near to Me and listen to this: “From the beginning I have not spoken in secret; from the time it took place, I was there.” And now the Lord GOD has sent me, accompanied by His Spirit.
“As for Me, this is My covenant with them,” says the LORD. “My Spirit who is on you, and My words that I have put in your mouth, will not depart from your mouth, from the mouths of your children, or from the mouths of your children’s children, from now on and forevermore,” says the LORD.
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is on Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release from darkness to the prisoners,
The careful readers of the Gospel then realize that it is not for no reason that the writers of the Gospel go out of their way to mention how Jesus the Christ was anointed with the Spirit. Spirit empowerment was a sin-qua-non of the Deliverer and so we are told that,
As soon as Jesus was baptized, He went up out of the water. Suddenly the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and resting on Him.
Luke 4:16 He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. 17 And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me [i]to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are [j]oppressed;
19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
20 Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
We remember also it was the Spirit that drove the Deliverer into the Wilderness to be tempted
All of this has implications for the Trinity that time does not allow us to delve into.
It was necessary for the Holy Spirit to inspire the authors of the Gospel to record the intimate relationship between the work of the Deliverer and the presence of the Spirit at every step.
Now we turn to the Spirit inspired prophet to see what he has to say about the Deliverer in His humiliation. Of course we refer to those chapters that cause the religious Jews to gnash their teeth and that is Isaiah 52-53. Here the humiliation of the Deliverer comes singing through and we are reminded in that first gospel of Gen. 3:15 that the Messiah would not complete His work without being wounded in His own right. Yes, the Deliverer would crush the serpent’s head but not without having his own heel struck. This is a metaphor for the reality that the head crushing would not be done without suffering and injury.
And Oh what injury.
He is despised and [d]rejected by men,
A Man of [e]sorrows and acquainted with [f]grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
4 Surely He has borne our [g]griefs
And carried our [h]sorrows;
Yet we [i]esteemed Him stricken,
[j]Smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But He was wounded[k] for our transgressions,
He was [l]bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes[m] we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord [n]has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.
8 He was taken from [o]prison and from judgment,
And who will declare His generation?
For He was cut off from the land of the living;
For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.
9 And [p]they made His grave with the wicked—
But with the rich at His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was any deceit in His mouth.
10 Yet it pleased the Lord to [q]bruise Him;
He has put Him to grief.
When You make His soul an offering for sin,
He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days,
And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.
11 [r]He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied.
By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many,
For He shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great,
And He shall divide the [s]spoil with the strong,
Because He poured out His soul unto death,
And He was numbered with the transgressors,
And He bore the sin of many,
And made intercession for the transgressors.
Here we learn there is not theology of glory without their first being a theology of the Cross. No victory without suffering. No triumph apart from a prior wilderness. No shout of joy apart from a prior tear of agony.
The exalted King will suffer humiliation. This is where the Jews stumbled. They could not fathom an exalted King who would also be characterized by the deepest humiliation. And yet this is what our Deliverer knew and that as from the Father’s hand.
And why? Why this humiliation?
Because as man sinned so man must pay for that sin. The problem here is that no mere man could withstand the just payment for sin that God’s law required. And so, God added the human nature in the coming of the 2nd person of the trinity in order to be one who could both make the just payment for sin that God’s law required as the Divine nature supported His human nature in the Divine bruising and yet have within Himself because of His divine nature the ability to live again.
The Deliverer would be a bloody warrior and the blood of this warrior would be His own – His own spilled that those He came to rescue would have no need to have their own blood spilled in what at best would be vain and silly attempts at self-salvation.
Here is the Gospel… narrowly considered. Here are the themes of redemption and ransom. Here are the themes of reconciliation and adoption. Here we learn that the great High Priest is offering up Himself as the only sacrifice that the Father finds eternally pleasing. Here is propitiation, expiation, objective justification, passive obedience, and substitution. All those themes that can instantly reduce both the least and most sanctified believer to tears. All those themes that the poets and hymn writers have exhausted themselves trying to capture.
And as the OT record unfolds these are just some of leitmotifs that express themselves. These motifs are wrapped up in the Deliverer for which they were looking. Well, now we might understand better the aged Anna and Simeon exultations about the privilege of laying their eyes on Messiah. Why Herod had such concern that he would slaughter the innocent in order to get this one challenger to the throne.
Let us give just two observations in closing by way of implication.
The Scripture of the Old Covenant were unmistakably reliable. Line upon line and precept upon precept they paint a portrait of the coming deliverer and in every verbal stroke of the paint brush what they painted is the completed portrait we find in the New Testament. What this tells us is that God’s Word is reliable. As such we should seek to live our lives in light of its truth from Genesis to Revelation. We should live not only in terms of a continuing return to the Gospel but also in terms of a proper estimation of the third use of the Law. We should return to the Scriptures constantly to have answered again for us two questions
1.) Where can I find a merciful God?
2.) How shall we then live?
Secondly, when we read the Scriptures we are to read them Christologically and Christocentrically.