AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH July 31, 2011
A Presbyterian Church following the Bible without Qualification
and the Lord Jesus Christ without Compromise by Faith
The CONSUMMATION from The CALAMITOUS TRIUMPH
IN THE PSALMS especially Psalm 22
THE FAMILY OF GOD Continued
We have been pondering the end of Psalm 22, and in doing so, have looked at the appalling beauty and horrid wonder of In Isaiah 52:14-15, at the prediction concerning the Christ, and so at His marring beyond the form of man.
For the students of language, the construction here in Isaiah 52 is intriguing. It appears that we have first (verse 14) what in essence in an adverbial clause of degree followed by one of result (verse 15), both dependent on the one verb, named "were astonished." What does this mean ? In other words, we are first told how much His visage was marred, giving ground for the astonishment, and then the result of these things, both what happened and the degree of it, its extreme thrust of evil and suffering, being balanced by the extent and intensity of the application. That is, as the evil, so much greater the good; as the suffering was intensive, so the result was explosive into the world.
Thus there is a "so" in each of the two dependent clauses, in accord with the "just as" introduction to "were surprised", and this is an added formal feature; but the force of it is that such was the degree of disfigurement that astonishment was acute if not proportionate, and such was the staggering character of the episode as such, that a proportionately staggering result will accrue. Intensity (in His suffering) is matched both by the intensity of the emotion of many surveying the scene, and the extensiveness in the scope of His effectual redemption by this means, extending over nations in the times to come.
As the scene unfolds in Isaiah 53, we find that indeed,
the supernatural focus is transcendent, this being no ordinary
but the sacrificial and unique mortification to bring life, the only possible blemish-free human sacrifice for sinners,
to meet the requirements of purity,
the human realities in the God-man in His astonishing work, are
so profound as almost to be disruptive of thought!
How COULD He do it, how vast are the implications, how astonishing the explanation, how complete the expiation!
Yet it is no intellectual difficulty, but what moves the heart is an astonishment
of a ferment to the imagination, a barb to the guilt of sin in the soul
and a task-force for truth, opening the eyes to the profundity of both the power and the patience, the wonder and the depth of the love of God toward man (cf. Titus 2-3).
Returning now, and having realised the collation of Isaiah 52 and Psalm 22 regarding the basis of the family of God in Christ, we look again at the sin-salvation procedure. When YOU make of His soul an offering for sin, then HE will see His seed.
II THE LIFE OFFERED AS SACRIFICE FROM ISAIAH TO THE PRESENT
Last time, we found that nowhere else in these 4 Chapters of Isaiah, 52-55 does 'you' or the second person refer without qualification, to God. Even here, there is a momentary flash of the 'you' of concerned intimacy, before the resumption twice in the same sentence of the third person, "His" as if to set this apart from variation despite the flash of sudden inwardness. Moreover, even here, it is to the SON, not to the Father, that the term 'You' is here used, and where the emphasis lies. Indeed, over 50 times the second person, reflexive, personal or adjectival in form, is used and used of man or his affairs in these four closely linked chapters on salvation and its effects. There is no doubt at all in clarity of the disposition of the perspective.
In 53:10, there, we are not treated to a confusion, but a precision. When YOU, the sinner concerned as in Leviticus 4 for example, make of His soul a sacrifice for sin (for this is unlike all other sacrifices and involves more than meat and its attendant life, but the personality is profound and a procurement element), THEN, at that very moment, and in this very way, He will see His seed. He will at once have someone to be listed as part of His generation, those who following Him, succeed Him in His line, in this case, then, the redeemed!
That is, when YOU, a singular person, so receive Him in His power and purity, His sacrifice and in His yielding of Himself personally for your sin by faith, THEN the missing generation will be found in you. HOW will it so be found ? It is in this, when thus you act, that His being a redeemed people, reconstituted from sin, regenerated from alienation, in concourse with Himself, blessed with His communion, YOU in so receiving Him, then become and are ONE of them. Having been without covenant and without hope in the world, you are in one step, a person sacrificially delivered. Through the breeding power of His resurrection, you have been made into a close relative, yes a child of faith in His own domain. He has now... children indeed! It is cause and effect, it is coming TO Him and becoming His by regeneration, a specific and specialised mode or generation. Thus He has now a generation which can be cited after Him, and you in spreading the word (Psalm 22:31), are involved in addition to it, in any generation till the relevant Age itself is over!
It is not when God makes of His soul a sacrifice for sin that He sees His generation, for this is the outgoing of life, not its income, and wholly contrary to the grammatical usage in the passage as noted. Indeed, the tense is present, for the offering: it declares not When you have made, but When you make His soul an offering. Thus, it is when this is USED for salvation that the income comes, the breeding proceeds and the new generation has a new member, as in I Peter 2:4-10. It is this to which Isaiah 53:10 refers, and it is here that the stated result occurs.
This, Peter indicates of those being saved, is a matter of definition (colour added):
"You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises
of Him who called you out of darkness into the marvellous light,
who once were not a people, but are now the people of God,
who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy."
It is to Him as having borne sins, that they come, that through
having died to sin they might live to righteousness (I Peter 2:24 cf. Titus 3:4-7), and it is then that
"He shall see of the labour of His soul and be satisfied," (Isaiah 53:10-11).
The sequence is this: Who will declare His generation (v.8) ? He bore sin, made His grave with the wicked BECAUSE He did not use violence or lie. It pleased the Father to bruise Him, this the plan of salvation for the lost. All is negative for His possible descendants. YET there is a change. WHEN you make His sacrifice yours, then His children arrive, and then will He "see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied," prolonging His days by these means (53:10-11). We have already heard of His sin-bearing in 53:6 in the mounting tragedy; this is not new. It is when YOU make of this, His soul an atonement for sin that things change, His descendants, precisely then, appear and His satisfaction replaces grief!
THE CALLED AND CHOSEN GENERATION
As in Psalm 22:26, these will praise the Lord. They are not only 'a generation' but 'the generation' and you see, in this passage of I Peter, the passing from the former to the latter. They pass through the regeneration of faith to the generation of the Lord! They were NOT A PEOPLE, but now are THE PEOPLE OF GOD. What a generation is this!
This is that posterity, which Peter in part here is expounding and in part moved to develop in concept with further parallels, all interpreting what was first put, in essence in Psalm 22. Indeed, in part, it is almost an exposition of that passage in that Psalm, so great is its intimacy in thought and concept with it.
The same Hebrew term is used in say, Genesis 15:16 in reference to the fourth generation, in Isaiah 53:8, Who shall declare His generation ? and Psalm 22, It will be accounted of the Lord for the generation. The term is also metaphorically used in Psalm 14 and 24, to speak of "the generation that seek Your face," and "the generation of the righteous," as qualitative designations.
Here then is the
MISSING generation, the
EVANGELICAL generation (for they will "declare His righteousness to people who will be born, that He has done this" - Psalm 22:31), the
SPIRITUAL generation for they are born in spirit (cf. Jeremiah 31:31), a
RACIAL generation since they form a people or a race of an evangelical kind.
They are also the GENERATION
OF THE GAP, for WHO could declare it: it was missing, but now it is found!
Moreover, it is the
DECLARATIVE generation since it will DECLARE to a people to be born that He has done this! namely, that Christ, the Messiah has come into flesh, has been crucified for sin and is bodily risen as shown in the sudden change in the Psalm (in 22:21-23) and in the thrust of Psalm 16, where that very body which was so slain is not going to be permitted to rot!
What more then ? It is the
SERVICE generation (Psalm 22:30), for they will serve Him (as in Matthew 20:26-28, Romans 12:1-2), as living sacrifices.
It is the
APPOSITE generation, in this, that it is HIS, after all, and the
OPPOSITE generation to what had been that in Israel, which slew Him; for this gives unlimited praise (cf. Matthew 23:34-36); and it is opposite indeed. Christ wept for that rebellious generation, one which as a spiritual type has been a standard bearer to many more (for the term there used can mean breed or race), whether of Jew or Gentile (cf. Romans 11:18-23): for the same principles have the same application in spirit.
Again, it is the
generation, since in Isaiah 62:1-3, we find that the people of the Lord are
going to be named with a new name (MESSIAH-ans, or Christians in terms of the be
all and end all whose they are, the eternal WORD of God made incarnate in
association with the Trinity as always). Alas for Israel in the flesh, the
nation! for Isaiah 65:13-15 not only distinguishes between the new name of the
servants of the Lord, and Israel of old, but contrasts them. The
one is marked with blessing, the other with cursing, and this through their own prophet, Isaiah,
who however was faithful with his ministration. Indeed, then, THIS generation is
THE generation, the essential, the final, that co-ordinate with Christ as body matching Head: it is the finale, and the thrust of the Messianic must, the children of God.
A word of clarification is needed here. The loss of the spiritual standard-bearer role for Israel, detailed as above in Isaiah 65, is not the loss of the authenticity of the word of God, of its reliability or of His promises, which are premisses of His own mind, by no means to be defiled by dither, indifference or mutancy. God is not like that. Thus in Ezekiel 36:22 we find that despite all that Israel in the flesh, as a nation that is, has done, God is NOT, repeat not going to profane HIS name even though THEY have profaned it among the nations. Indeed, He states that He is going to have PITY on His name (Ezekiel 36:21). He will respect it.
Instead, therefore, of any abandonment of Israel the nation, one that had been so intimate, so close (Deuteronomy 7) to Himself, despite their breach of the covenant (Zechariah 11), despite the extremities to which they went, including their assault on His own Person when able to do so because of the wonder of His compassionate incarnation, there is a result intractable, a truth undismissible.
He will HONOUR the relationship in terms of unqualified promises such as those in Genesis 17:7-8. He WILL bring them back to their land. Indeed He had often said as much (cf. Hosea 1-3, Micah 7, Isaiah 42, 49, 65-66), of the 'blind', a people misled to that point, that this would be so. Would He forfeit the implications of Deuteronomy 32, where on their return, when their own weakness left them exposed, and His act of power would deliver them, the Gentiles are going to join in praise for His act! The two remnants as in Romans 11, then unite as in one with one Head and one salvation and one Messiah, and no difference in their status as children of God. Would He ignore this ? cancel that strain ?
Hardly. The inalienable will be the eventual, although it will be in terms of the NEW name, that of the Messiah, that they will have their renewed spiritual place, along with the Gentile saved (as in Isaiah 66, Ezekiel 37, Romans 11, Gal. 3). As to the land, they will be brought back securely for David (Ezekiel 37:5) in his line at human level, will be their King, the promised Messiah; and the second stage, evangelisation, will occur after the return physically as noted so clearly and dramatically in Ezekiel 37:14. This is shown in the parable of the scattered bones, restored to their land.
It is there that we see the second command from God through the prophet, one giving to these regathered bones, now back in their land, the most precious gift. It is the gift of life! Indeed it is as naked skeletons they stand, waiting on return to the land, for the command for life (Ezekiel 37:7-9) to vitalise them. In the preceding Chapter (Ezekiel 36:25), after return, they have the sprinkling of baptism (Ezekiel 36:25), there showing the consummation of their entire restoration, signifying a spiritual change correlative to reception of Christ in spirit! They were to come; they came. Now this awaits.
However, for all that, it is in the EVANGELICAL GENERATION which is the children of God; and as in Revelation 7, we find that the vast swathe of converts in Israel is to form a notable part of this total. Indeed, with Romans 11:25ff., there is to be a sudden, divinely timed act when their eyes, blinded by misleading passion, are at last opened and they are then back in spirit also. And so the Lord will rule in Zion as in Micah 4 and Isaiah 2. Indeed, as in Isaiah 11 and Psalm. 72, the whole earth will He rule (Psalm 22:27-29, Ps. 86:9, 96:13, 98:9). Then what was internal becomes external (Isaiah 11:9, Habakkuk 2:14), and the Eternal God completes the passage from the prelude to the perfection.
All the families of the earth will worship before this God of pity, power and love, as in Psalm 22:27-28. Bless the day!