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Berlin TV, December 21, 2000
is about to Come!
but first let us think:
It is time to consider:
and the SLIM LINE that is not being FOUND by the LOST
CHILD AND THE COVENANT
THE KINGDOM AND THE WAY
and worse! it is all available
Time is moving and it is time to move...
ISAIAH 9: 6-7 -
THE SURROUNDS, TEXTUALLY, CONTEXTUALLY AND THEMATICALLY IN THE BIBLE
In Isaiah 8 we see devastation, destruction and judgment. Even the prophet's child is named to predict it: Speed, speed the spoil, hasten the booty; and then we learn that the threatening powers of Ephraim and Syria will be doomed: there will be judgment on them, from the mighty Empire of Assyria. Thus a deliverance (Isaiah 7), one almost says 'threatened' for Israel, since under Ahaz there had just been rejected the 'chance of a lifetime', but more accurately, the liberal offer of a nation's rescue, from the prophet Isaiah. In that forsaken opportunity, the sky was the limit, and beyond. ASK what they would, ASK to heaven and the heights, to the depths.
Such was Isaiah's offer to the king, from the Lord.
Ahaz however, equivocated, engaged in verbal evasion, pretended it was NOT LACK OF FAITH but lack of presumption to FAIL TO ASK. In that way, we learn in Isaiah 7, he gained the scorn of the Lord, and with all the other sins of the nation, it led on to the onset by Assyria for the North of the divided land, namely Israel, yes but later to destruction for Judah. This however was postponed, for it was not until there had been a massive deliverance for Judah under faithful Hezekiah (cf. Isaiah 36). The Lord honoured him and his massive mercies and goodness thrust, for reform and faith, and it was not until after him that the thrust of judgment came on that, the Southern sector of the divided nation, also.
This then is the background.
Now in Isaiah 9, moving on from the end of 8, we find that a scene of great darkness, dimness of anguish is to be followed by a great light. Affliction is to precede delight. Obviously the promise of Isaiah 7, which was that the Messiah was to come, 'God with us', from a babe to be born, in a way as startling as the movement back of the sun-dial under Hezekiah. This was to be in a framework of wonder and the extraordinary (cf. SMR pp. 770ff.). Born of a maiden, a young girl, this astonishing reality would CONSTITUTE A SIGN of the most noble character. However, since there had been the reneging and hypocrisy of Ahaz (who was actually mad enough to ASK FOR HELP from the very King specified for their destruction, that of Assyria), this would not bring relief till its appointed period (specified quite precisely in Daniel 9:24-27, as shown in SMR pp. 886ff.), namely around 30 A.D. and the years leading up to it.
Isaiah 9 takes up this drama and deliverance period. The joy and triumph is to have significant realisation in Galilee (Isaiah 9:1). It would appear as sharp and transforming insertion into history, via a babe as announced in Isaiah 7, 'God with us', Immanuel, as light in darkness.
Joy would grow with a peace offer and manifestation so profound that it would show a way which makes blood wars look stale and old-fashioned (cf. Isaiah 9:4-5).
Yes, (Isaiah 9:6-7), a child was predicted to come to the nation, of the seed of David as formally promised to him, by God (II Samuel 7:17ff., Psalm 72 showing the extent of His eventual rule and power). His, this child's, would in due time be a power so profound that His very word can devastate and His eyes behold precisely what is right without erring (Isaiah 11). Indeed, His personal felicity and loveliness would be so radiantly glorious that in Him even the Gentiles would find their resting-place (Isaiah 11:10). In Him MUST all TRUST (Psalm 2), though to trust in man as such is expressly forbidden, and is one mode of asking for profound trouble because of its light-headedness, ingratitude and unrealism. GOD IS THERE, and when man is preferred, God is slighted, and His work aborted, as far as may be (Jeremiah 17). Yet this child, this seed (Genesis 12), this Messiah, trust in HIM was both a delight and a duty (Psalm 2).
This ONE in whom all must
trust is, as Psalm 2 predicts, is the SON, the Messiah; and this with an
utter devotion to Him is the pass-word (Psalm 2:11-12, Luke 14:28-33).
His judgment will be final (as in Matthew 7:15-21) and absolute (cf. John
5:19ff.). His will be a kingdom of kindliness and control both (Psalm 72,
Isaiah 61:1-3), in which a certain transforming power and pardon will be
dominant, rest for the redeemed and no respite for the refusniks (Isaiah
We now find the actual fare which is such a treat and treatment for Christmas as indeed for other seasons, but this is a sort of remembrance season, let the world abuse it as it may.
The Bible DOES say to be all things to all men, and to adapt using the opportunities (I Cor. 9:19ff.). Thus detestation of the Christmas period which so characterises some appears vastly over-wrought, NOT because the commercialism is not present, NOT because the world is good at Christmas, but because there is here an OPPORTUNITY which can make conversation easier, access more unguarded and the time to strike is not when one chooses, or might prefer, but when the Lord opens the way.
After all, one of my own relatives regularly telephones me from a distance at this season, and equally regularly gets a vigorous word concerning Christ and salvation which in any other time, it would be most difficult to ... insert (not impossible: but then some things are expedient, and battle does not scorn the dull day for air strikes or the bright one for scouting).
We return then to ISAIAH 9:6-7.
We find that the sort of transformation to be effected through this now much focussed CHILD is to be characterisable by relief from oppression of heart, light for the soul, stimulus to the mind, the occasion of immense, intense rejoicing. In Isaiah 61, we find it is to involve "beauty for ashes" and deliverance from "prison", but in its rejection, destruction. It is to be like the Jewish JUBILEE period (cf. Leviticus 25), only spiritually, for then debtors could be loosed, but now spiritual indebtedness to God is covered, pardon is presented to faith through redemption (as in Isaiah 52-53), and it is FREE (Isaiah 55), without price or money.
The reason for this is noted in Isaiah 9:6. It is a concern of a CHILD BEING BORN. It is a matter of a spiritual scion, indeed God with us, as in Psalm 45, where the throne concerned is statedly the very throne of God (cf. Hebrews 1:8). THIS is the nature of this CHILD. Small wonder it is to be born in spectacular disregard of ordinary nature from a virgin, a simple girl, for the Father is none other than GOD.
Thus we find that there is immense focus on the NAME of this child. In the Old Testament, names indeed tend to do something modern science does: provide a CHARACTERISATION of that to which they refer. They can act almost as if definitive tags.
The name then, as for the case of the prophet's own child which we noticed, is of signal importance. We have seen the name of judgment to come, so what of this one ?
First, it is apparent that it is a regal personage, for "the government shall be upon His shoulder". No cabinet is involved; the power and the right is HIS OWN.
What then will be the name by which He is to be called ?
With due reference and respect to the miraculously announced birth to come of Samson, it is the very word which was used by the angel of the Lord when he spoke of Samson's miraculous power and amazing conception, to Manoah (Judges 13). What is YOUR NAME ? asked Manoah of the angel. Why ask, since it is WONDERFUL ? replied the angel.
This then is a designation for the Lord, as implied likewise in Psalm 72:18, which is the very psalm (Messianic) in which the redemption BY the promised descendant of David, and His mercy, kindness and compassion, combined with regal rule, is displayed as on a screen!
name shall endure for ever,
His name shall continue as long as the sun,
and men shall be blessed in Him" (as in the promise to Abraham, of Genesis 12).
His shall be "dominion also from sea to sea", "yes, all kings shall fall down before Him;
All nations shall serve Him."
This then is the ONE.
His name shall be called WONDERFUL, but also COUNSELLOR.
This is astonishing, since the Lord has heavily rejected ALL attempts to play the counsellor with advice not from Himself, all efforts to find in anyone but Himself the necessary and profound counsel which is essential to human life; and this, in a cursed earth, yet one still bulging with a beauty. Alas, that is gradually being removed by the insistent, persistent and calamitous follies of man, against his own soul, mind and body, his own earth and future and hope (cf. Romans 1:17ff.).
Thus in Isaiah 40:13--23), we see the Lord on earth as the Shepherd, the One of whom the messengers are to say: "Behold your God!" (cf. Ezekiel 34, where the Lord promised to come personally as the Good Shepherd, cf. John 10).
Though man spoils the world, by contrast, the counsel of the Lord is to be focussed, featured and dispensed categorically through this CHILD. Thus in Isaiah 11, in its Messianic profile, we find this:
"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...
He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes,
Nor decide by the hearing of His ears,
But with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
And decide with equity for the meek of the earth."
Indeed, "He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth," just as the Lord invoked the world into existence by His mouth, His speech, His word in the first place (as in Genesis 1), a fact so abundantly verified in the intense use of conceptual symbols and commands in creation, to an enormous extent (cf. SMR Ch. 2, That Magnificent Rock Ch.1.
In fact (as in Isaiah 10:21 where the Mighty God is shown to be the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY*1), He is to be named likewise "the Mighty God". This is not surprising in the least, in view of Zechariah 12:10, where His death is accounted by the Lord as a death of Himself in human form, and Psalm 45, where His throne is that of deity; as of the fact that the birth via a virgin is to be so extraordinary a thing, while the name "God with us" already implies the cause of this phenomenon. Thus was God the Creator, bypassing the human mode of reproduction, directly causing His Son to be made from and in the maid (as in Luke 1:35, Matthew 1:20-23). Yes, as the angel told Mary, it was a case of this, "He shall save His people from their sins."
A look at Isaiah 52-53, that great repository of the Gospel some 700 years before the coming of the King, the Counsellor, the Prince of Peace (another of His titles in Isaiah 9), shows that this is precisely what He is to do. NONE among those of Israel could BEGIN to supply this need (as in Isaiah 41:26-29). Yet by brilliant and total contrast, the One to be effectual for the underlying and basic needs of His people would be not merely the adequate; not only would He DO, while none other would or could as Isaiah pronounces it so long ago: HIS life would be the one in whom the Father DELIGHTED; and HE would constitute HIS CHOSEN vessel, who would bring forth justice to victory, bearing with the slow, the infirm, the inadequate with masterly grace, patience and profound spiritual power (Isaiah 42:1ff.).
The "everlasting Father" is the next name accorded to Him in Isaiah 9. Since the throne of God is His, this is not new. However it IS singular to have the SON called the Father! It is less so when you realise that biologically speaking, there is no gender in heaven (Matthew 22:22-33). Hence precisely as announced in Luke 1:35, this son would be CALLED the Son of God BECAUSE of the overshadowing, generative work of the Holy Spirit. Always going forth with and from His Father (as the One whom He expresses with definitive perfection, spiritually - as in Hebrews 1, Micah 5:1-3), always that wisdom of God (as in Proverbs 8, I Corinthians 1:30 cf. Barbs, Arrows and Balms 28), the One sent AS God by GOD (Isaiah 48:16), it is He who can say (as He did), "He who has seen Me has seen the Father."
THAT would have been virtually insane blasphemy if He had
1) any sin 2) been less than deity 3) been other than the Word of God, His precise and definitive expression in the format of flesh, as a man to man (Hebrews 1, John 16:28, 8:42, 6:62, 3:13).
Thus, as of the status and stature of God (as in Philippians 2 where His form WAS that of God, which naturally no non-infinite being could comprehend, far less BE, so that equality with God was not something to be regarded as a gain), His lens to the Father qualifies HIM as able to bear such a title. Thus there is little so monumentally plain, in telling us humans NOT to imagine there is any barrier between us and God, when we belong to Christ the Lord and Saviour; for in Him, we are ALREADY THERE!
His name ? It has also this staccato exultation: "the Prince of peace". Not ANY prince of peace is He, but for peace, HE IS THE PRINCE. It is His and at His donation, it comes and stays (John 14:27).
this stage we find that the "government shall
be upon His shoulder" ( Isaiah 9:6), is paralleled
by this, that "Of the increase of His government
and peace, there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His
kingdom" 9:7), and indeed, that this will
be "to order it and to establish it with judgment
As befits an eternal Person, there is no terminus, for it is to be: "From that time forward, even forever", and God commits Himself to this display, doctrine and rule, in this way: "The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this."
Ahazes could finally defer it, no Manassehs defile. God Himself (as in
Ezekiel 34's explicit promise) would do it, even Himself, even to the death
(Hosea 13:14). His determination is absolutely stressed in all this. For
such a thing as to bear the sins which He abhors, in the Person He loved,
for the sake of sinners, it is little wonder... The wonder is that He did
it! That is ONE of the reasons why He is called, Wonderful.
ASSAULT ON THE VERSES,
CO-ORDINATE WITH THAT ON CHRIST IN ISAIAH 53
This Son is not only wonderful, as the Lord. He is intensely rejected by many, and no small abhorrence was it predicted to be, which gripped the nation (Isaiah 49:7). ABHOR is not too strong a word from the divine vocabulary. They killed Him (as in Psalm 22 also).
This rejection is a syndrome more prominent than any other disease on earth (cf. SMR Index,
Hence we find that this verse is attacked with a special relish. Efforts are made to demolish it, like an enemy division!
One such effort would have us take it to read,
"For to us a Child is born, a
Son is given:
And the government shall be upon His shoulder,
And His name shall be called 'A wonderful thing is counselling the Mighty God, the everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government....' and so on. That of course is a ridiculously dysfunctional name, called by one commentator sesquipedalian, that is, like one and a half beats instead of just one.
This, like the crucifixion, cannot stick. Let us resurrect the fact. Let us look at the text, actually!
WHO is to have the government upon His shoulder ? The CHILD. WHOSE is to be the increase of government without end ? The CHILD. As WHAT is He to have such an increase ? As the PRINCE OF PEACE, so using His shoulder. What then is the meaning of the last of the titles in its end context ? This: 'Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government'. In other words, the context forces us to use the last of the NAMES with the succeeding context. This is for a Davidic Messiah on the throne as promised from II Samuel on, and manifested in detail in Psalm 72, Isaiah 11.
Thus the last name is that of a Person who is to fulfil the Messianic role, and have an eternal rule over the hearts and lives of His people (Isaiah 9:7). It is however impossible, going backwards, towards verse 6 above, to remove from this train, the preceding names. If it is the Prince of Peace who has this property and propriety, then it is true no less of the Everlasting Father, the Mighty God. These things are His cognomens, His characterisation. They cannot be removed.
This would leave, in terms of this assault, this time not on the body of the Lord but on the body of the book, the following: "And His name will be called a Wonderful Thing is Counselling the Mighty God, the everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government ... upon the throne of David."
We then have, if this were accepted, a mangled imagery and a collision of concepts.
1) We are being asked to ignore the well-known names of God which are being piled on the CHILD, in marked contrast with His apparent weakness, in astonishing profusion, but in perfect parallel with the prodigious OFFER to Ahaz, who turned it down, to ASK for ANYTHING, to the heavens going upward, to the depths going downward. We were in the realm, in other words, of the absolute, the greatest possible provision.
2) We are being shown a suggestion which has NO grammatical basis. Certainly you can assume ellipsis, that is various parts of the sentence left out for artistic effect, such as the word "is". You can allow for the well-known WONDERFUL quality and name for God, but it is in the REALM and CONTEXT of NAMING this prodigious child. Names are the topic, this is a famous one of the Lord used in the birth announcement for Samson, but of the ANGEL of the Lord, not of Samson is the name wonderful used..
3) In this mistranslation, likewise, we are given a 'name' which is NOT revelatory of the CHILD. It merely indicates, not a manifestation and a happening at all, but that there is a counsel afoot. This is in total contrariety to the context, so that it is like giving a wrapping for Christmas, with much excitement, to be told that really, one has plans for giving at Christmas. THIS, however, this CHILD is the gift, and the focus on Him is total as revelatory (as in Isaiah 61, 11, 32, 42, 49, 52-53) and in HIMSELF, the Saviour.
4) By this same mistranslation, we are provided with a name so long as to be virtually unusable, a sentence of languid length, as changed.
5) All this however is RELATIVELY small compared with total collision of concepts involved.
Thus we would have someone giving COUNSELLING, or advising us of PLANS He has afoot, in Isaiah 9:6. This would normally be taken, of course, to be the LORD (cf. Isaiah 40:28-42:2, 44:25, 40:13, Lamentations 3:25-38, Amos 3:5, Isaiah 14:27, 43:13, 46:11, 23:9, Ezekiel 21:9-17, Jeremiah 51:20-24), without whose counsel NOTHING can happen, we read. Indeed, as He declares, it is He who turns into foolishness the counsels of those who fall from Him, ordering events by His word.
This someone, this Counsellor in whose wonderful powers we are to rejoice in Isaiah 9:6, would therefore confidently be expected to be the LORD from heaven (Psalm 89:7), telling of His events in store on earth. This or that one would be sent here or there, this army, that prophet and so on (cf. Jeremiah 25, and 1:9-10). However, in this mistranslation, we find that at the minimum, we have this: the PRINCE of PEACE is counselling that the PRINCE OF PEACE will have an
endless government. Thus this is ONE of the names of the being giving the counselling, in fact the last one, and it is THE name of the Prince who is to rule in the Davidic promise and covenant, on the earth, a descendant of David, and hence a man. Thus IN HEAVEN the LORD, who is this PRINCE on earth, on this eccentric basis, is telling us that this prince, that is the Lord in heaven, will in due time rule on earth. If this is not mixed, what is a vitamiser for, and that is precisely what this ungainly misuse and abuse of the text has done!
It is ALWAYS the Lord in heaven who sends the Messiah to earth: true as in Isaiah 48:16, the one sent is also there the Lord, but there is a distinction between the one sending and the one sent, Father and Son, God the sender and God the sent. In Psalm 40, we do indeed see or better, hear the Messiah musing about His delight to do the will of His Father, who is providing a body for Him, with which He is to fulfil His sacred mission; but this is EMINENTLY in the context of BEING SENT, BEING PREPARED, BEING DISPOSED to go as sent. The Messiah does not simply come of Himself (as indeed is express in John 8:42), but comes as SENT. Thus the meaning in this translation would be in effect this, to personalise it:
I am counselling a great thing, I God Almighty, the everlasting Father, who am also that Prince of Peace who as the descendant of David is to rule in the format of a man on earth.
That of course simply brings us right back to where we were, but indirectly. The CHILD is GOD, and is talking as God, even when being PICTURED AS A CHILD. This is a mangle of imagery. It is ludicrous, an intrusion of eisegesis extraordinary, to render simplicity obscurity, contextual felicity contextual folly.
This however is not all. There is also a collision of concepts. To CALL the CHILD 'the everlasting Father' immediately and without introduction is almost comic. Instead of being arresting to learn that the one who is WONDERFUL, and COUNSELLOR, thus introducing the concepts so piled elsewhere on the Messiah, first: in this mis-rendering, they are eaten up in the imaginary addition from an imaginary ellipsis. Instead of gradual ascent to wonderful, counsellor, Mighty God, everlasting Father, to bring the concept of CHILD into the whole domain of deity in quiet and beautifully proportioned steps as occurs in the text, we are being asked to move from CHILD to Mighty God to everlasting Father.
We are moreover seeing GOD IN HEAVEN counselling away, and at ONCE He is involved AS man on earth, as the ONE counselling, but seen now on earth. Thus His divine and heavenly counsel, as imagined to be in this translation, is now made integral at once with the MAN who is to reign in the DISTANT FUTURE, when MATURE, as King!
What then a wonderful thing this child is counselling who IS SPEAKING with the NAME of a man on earth, even while indicating that this man will come. Rather previous ? A trifle proleptic ? Idiotic perhaps, to have the HEAVENLY counsel ABOUT a man to reign on earth, WHEN He eventually comes first as a child, AS the One coming FROM that person. How is this ? It is by virtue of the NAME of the person BEING that of the ONE SPEAKING IN HEAVEN.
This is a rupture of reality and a collision of concepts, doing violence even to common sense. In fact, a man is in the future, in this prophetic context, to come, first as a child, and in His time He is, when mature, to govern on the earth with wonderful power and eternity. To have this man involved in the SPEAKING of the counsel (as the Prince of Peace), when He is the result of it in His emplacement on earth, is mere to disorganise the organised, and to bring to life what is future, for present performance.
No greater collision of concepts, ontologically, could well be conceived.
6) Professor E. J. Young in his three volume work, "The Prophecy of Isaiah", on p. 332, notes that this suggested translation is the work of one, Luzzatto. An "unparalleled monstrosity" is the rejection notice on this Luzzatto effort, by Dillmann, whereas it is Delitzsch who calls it "sesquipedalian", ludicrously elongated name. Why asks Young, should there be a pile of names to establish (what in fact is already established) the wonders of God, when the task is to show what is to be made of the CHILD! It is an irrelevance as well as implying a collision of concepts and mangled imagery, ontological confusion and forcing an ellipsis to be discovered.
After all, if one wanted to make a sentence to say this, would it not have been a good idea, just to state it, instead of relying on a somewhat rarefied grammatical option, in order to frustrate the obvious purpose and purport, that the CHILD is the focus, here as before, and repeatedly with emphasis and revelation, in Isaiah 2, 4, 7, 9, 11, 22, 32, 35, 40, 42, 49, 51-55, 61 and so on.
But there is a second attack which deserves a brief reference. Jewish commentators, perhaps distressed by the result of rejecting the ONLY SAVIOUR (Isaiah 43:10-11), who is God and who is THIS CHILD (Isaiah 52-53), who by His knowledge shall justify many, and who shall bear their iniquities, have in effect acted as if to secure another invasion of the text. It is, if possible, one even more ephemeral and manipulative and what is actually written. What is WRITTEN in Hebrew order, is this:
FOR A CHILD IS BORN TO US, A SON IS GIVEN TO US, AND WILL BE THE GOVERNMENT UPON HIS SHOULDER, AND IS CALLED HIS NAME WONDERFUL, COUNSELLOR ETC..
How people under pressure can be ... pressurised into unwisdom! Thus the Targum supplies a translation suggestion from which there has arisen this:
"The God who is called and who is Wonder, Counsellor, the mighty God, the eternal Father, calls his name the Prince of Peace..." (Delitzsch, on Isaiah, p. 248 cf. Young loc.cit.).
As to the actual text (red print above), there is nothing unusual in principle about specifying the verb and then putting the all important word NAME right next to what the name in fact is, as you can see in the red print is what is in fact done in Isaiah. Nor is it unusual for emphasis to put the verb "will be" before the thing about to be revealed. We also can use inversion for emphasis.
Why this rendering should add "the God" is a marvel. To put in the subject from its absence is importation to a marvel, and re-written to the last degree.
Indeed, why they should transpose to the distance, "His name" way off to "PRINCE OF PEACE" when in fact it is next to "WONDERFUL", and so transpose what is statedly the 'name', put right next to the same, so that this irrelevant, intrusive, unwritten reference to the Father is forced in, like a carrot mark with text above, in defiance of the textual order and array, is a very interesting question! Indeed, to separate the term 'name' from the name by this extraordinary insertion is like making a textual alteration on the spot!
THAT it is wholly impossible, and not merely richly implausible follows from the simple fact that the word of God has to be taken as it comes, not where it is placed (Proverbs 30:6). That is precisely the work of tradition, as so perilous in Romanism, so that what is given is not what is gained! (cf. Mark 7:7). As the profoundly scholarly Delitzsch justly remarks of this particular effort by some Jews, "this rendering evidently tears asunder things that are closely connected”.
IN THE END, when the text states clearly that this Messianic event is a prodigious coming, a transforming work of revelatory magnificence, is light in pitch darkness, joy in anguish, then the name being announced has portent, there are logical results. We expect to find what IT IS, with some expectation and excitement just after it is stated that "IS CALLED HIS NAME". To suppress the name in view of this impelling and obvious feature is mere obscurantism. It also leads to dispersion, disruption, collision and mangle, absurdity.
But that, it is precisely what happens when the Lord Jesus Christ, God Himself (as in Psalm 45, Zechariah 12:10, Psalm 2, Isaiah 43:10-11, 52-53, Micah 5:1-3, Isaiah 48:16, Zechariah 6:14, 3:9, 2:8, Isaiah 52-53 with 43:10-11, Psalm 72 with its redemption and with Hosea 13:14) comes into sight. He is nearly dropped over a cliff in Nazareth, His sweet place of youth, and dropped on a cross into the soil, perhaps jolted in the process, as a combined reaction and feed-back from the Jews of priestly dimensions and from the Romans, in the Governor. The Messiah (until His return shortly, Luke 21:24), is always heavily ABUSED, REJECTED (cf. Isaiah 49:7, 53:3-4, John 16:2, Matthew 10:24-25, John 15:20), and many of those who seem to receive Him, deceive themselves, following Rome or New Age or other name changes which merely disperse and disrupt, precisely the treatment accorded the text (cf. SMR pp. 864ff.).
In THIS case however, though the option is as brutal to the words as His assassins were to His body, it does not stand. It is error demonstrable, eisegetical and intrusive.
does however have the marvellous power of being turned to account.
TURNING THINGS TO ACCOUNT
You realise, reader, do you not, that the crucifixion was not not cruci-fiction for the very good reason that He endured it. It was part of a plan that HE DID, expressly, CHOOSE to endure it (as in Hebrews 5:7, Matthew 26:41ff., 52ff. - cf. SMR Appendix C), because it led to the RANSOM price demanded by justice (Romans 3:23ff.), being paid once and for all for all time for all people who would avail themselves of it (as in Romans 8:32, Matthew 26:28). This was the price desired by mercy and instituted by lovingkindness (this is really a BEAUTIFULLY comprehensive translation of the Hebrew at this point, and well worth retaining therefore in the language - there is overtone of tenderness, mercy and love).
IF the devil and his associates (Devil Enterprises Inc. is listed on the Hock Exchange, and many are those hocked by this, needlessly cf. Hebrews 2:14ff., I Peter 5:7) did not understand (I Cor. 2:8), what then ? There is such a thing as a spiritually congenital INCAPACITY to understand which one meets from time to time! and it is not in the end so uncommon - cf. Ephesians 4:17-19, 2:1-10), and so went ahead, using Judas (cf. John 13:18-20, 27) as a catspaw. If then the devil did not understand, there is a special dulness of misused brilliance!
Otherwise, they might have sought to AVOID the cross of Christ (as in I Corinthians 2:8), that elegant mode of triumph which sounded the depths, in order to raise many from them.
we are seeing the JUST WONDER of the WONDER OF THE JUST, Jesus Christ the
righteous (Acts 3:13-15), "the Prince of Life",
that what He is leaves nothing behind of Deity.
There is ONE GOD, as we insist and demonstrate (as in SMR Ch. 1--2, 10). This of course requires that John 1:1 is referring to the ONLY ONE available when it states that the WORD which was with God, also was God (as stated independently in John 8:58, 10:30ff.);
and this is He (John 1:14).
This CHILD was wonderful!
We not often find in some child, some youth, some young person the HOPE that THIS TIME it will be better, more noble, more clean, more beautiful in spirit, chaste in disposition, courageous in heart, sympathetic in disposition, crucified with Christ in the gloaming of the day, filled with colour and pregnant with peace, that someone will somehow do MUCH BETTER! But the ONLY ONE who has really done MUCH BETTER is Christ (Hebrews 8:6-13, 6:17-20).
He has done it better in miracles, in healing, in word, in deed, in raising the dead, and above all, in being personally raised AFTER ALL PERSONAL PARTICIPATION IN THE FLESH WAS EXTINCT, His body being dead (as in Revelation 1:18-19). This He broke it, bore the penalty for those who will receive this blessed act, and liberated what was His, eternal life for all who come to Him in faith, as the fountain of cleanliness and the source of creation, the ONLY SAVIOUR for all the world (Zechariah 13:1, Revelation 1:5-6,15-18).
THIS is the SON who is GIVEN. This is the inexpressibly thrilling billing, the thought into form, the person into perfection, the only way being the incarnation so that God sent forth His personal expression, His word to BECOME flesh. THIS is the thing which Ahaz in Isaiah 7 is seen to miss. THIS is the ASK UPWARDS TO HEAVEN, DOWNWARDS TO THE DEPTHS provision of God (Isaiah 7:11). This is the LIGHT which evacuates darkness, the source of sight which removes spiritual blindness, the power which makes the feeble strong, the purity which rejoices the heart, the wonder who blesses the eyes. Here is the paragon, here is perfection, BEHOLD THE MAN! GOD AS MAN, God manifest in the flesh, the prince of Peace, the very image of His Father, so that His NAME is even this, the EVERLASTING FATHER. Here is site of harmony, expression of love so intense and commanding, between Himself and His Father, that it exposes to the spiritual optic nerve, the verve and delight of life!
Love is of God, and God is love (I John 4:7ff., 5:1ff.), and by His word He shows it, in His living word He has fulfilled it.
It is Christmas now. It is not the season but the reason for the season that counts. It is Christ who counts; and it is priceless to be ABLE to reflect, not sodden with counter-culture, or infected with intellectual viruses, that the CHILD came and grew, that childhood CAN be noble, that youth CAN be sacrificial and loving, that manhood and womanhood CAN be beautiful, that LIFE can be found in its place and placed where it should be found, in the very heart and life of God the Maker, through faith by grace. In His in coming at all, His in being willing to die, His in being ready to bear the awful estrangements of sin (Isaiah 59:1ff. shows the incredible seeming dislocation when HE suffered THAT), and then to rise and populate the earth with SPIRITUAL CHILDREN, there is love, willing love,sacrificial love, mercy proffering redemption.
you are not one of them, hurry and come (as in Isaiah 53:10, Romans 3:23ff.,
John 1, 3, Romans 5, 7-8), and having come, live as in Romans 6, with sin
not in sovereignty, the disease stayed and the Saviour your spiritual blessedness
and presidential, residential reality that makes life a noble, beautiful,
yes even a HOLY, and spectacularly INTERESTING thing. It is when you are
with God, and as to Him, GOD WITH US is your experience of Him (cf. John
14:21-23), then you come to realise that ABUNDANT LIVING and abundant loving,
abundant obedience and abundant fruit is the loveliness of the garden,
and that the gardener is He who was dead, but is alive for ever, undimmed,
undiminished, unchanged, candid, light into darkness, dismissive of all
the powers of evil, so that with Him, NOTHING shall be called impossible.
THE AGENDA OF GOD
He came. He is coming. He did it in suffering, He is to do it in sovereignty, not only over sin, as now, but over the earth. It is coming.
As this writer types away, he hears the sound of hammering as not seldom. Houses are being extended, new houses by the THOUSAND, even in this comparatively modest city of one million, appear on hillsides; while construction is at a rate, this year, astounding in the face of the slim proportions of this place. Building is proceeding notably as predicted for this Phase of the Age (Luke 17:28-37). One even finds in South Australia that a new electricity power house seems to be built not far above sea level, of all things when the waters are more and more confidently predicted to be going to rise, to the point some Pacific Islands are expected to be covered! This watery dynamic, this too is part of the Agenda of the Lord, as specified in the Time Architecture for this Period of the Last Days (see on this, Luke 21:25, which specifies "the sea and the waves roaring"). This whole scenario is covered, for example, in Answers to Questions Ch. 5).
Thus, people are building for space, for this earth, for inventions, for housing, for impressive and portentous housing of this, that and the other. It is not diminished. Floods require it, storms insist, expansion in population to the 6 billion and beyond, demands it. Despite the evil predicted, these results were also predicted. It was thousands of years ago, when death by decimation and discouragement was an option; but it was not to be. That sort of loss is sudden and spectacular, near the end itself (Revelation 9:15). Meanwhile, buoyant self-confidence and building and marriage would not wait. As in the pre-deluge days, so now. So it is paralleled by Christ (Matthew 24:37ff.). It goes on pell-mell as it has to do. It is also a symptom of that other side of the mood swing of much of mankind: desolation, disaster, on the one side; profit, performance, effort, on the other, then war and famine, all of it in multiplying confusion and profusion. So it was to be; so it is.
The falling away of our atmosphere, so much a focus in this past week in the European Conference featuring DESERTIFICATION, which means the aridifying of once verdant or portentous places such as those near the Mediterranean coast in Spain, for example, as well as elsewhere, in South America, and as the Chairman indicated, all over the world: this also is moving on apace.
The Greenhouse Effect, also mentioned by the same Chairman in TV interviews, is not the least cause of this. Heat is coming and good things are going. War is booming, never such a plethora, and it of course is destructive, and not what could be called the modest living our environment clamours to find. Energy invents itself increasingly into our meteorological systems, clad with carbon dioxide casing if you will; and water is increasing in volume as Arctic wastes become liquefied, and long standing areas, depart in watery haste.
But it is not only in things terrestrial that the wheel is turning, the road is leading to the predicted furore of faithless turmoil; it is likewise in things spiritual. There the desertification is measurable; here immeasurable. It is present notoriously in politics, in education, in literature, in fallen ideologies, in broken dreams, in dreamy dopings, in laceration of the soul, incarceration of the mind, rotting of spirit; and indeed, a whole wave of disastrous immersings in the arsenic of cynicism and power, greed and blinded aspirations better left dead, proceeds below, that the dust storms of results above are mounting on every phase of the life of the race. Deliverance lies in one place; but this is not desired by many. All this is as predicted (cf. I Timothy 3, Matthew 24:10-14, 24:21-24, I Timothy 4:1ff.).
The conditions of AIDS are laying waste to Africa, where famine and other disease and racial hatred does not manage to do so; drugs, there and elsewhere, are laying waste to many who become wasters, ruining their physiological systems as though the wealth needed to run down so, were simply for fun. Irresponsibility is becoming an independent disease, so that whether it is in Italy or Japan, in South America or even Germany, in war or in peace, this or that figure is subject of investigation, resigns, with fraud or misuse of funds the core trouble; this or that nation is piling corpses, hacking bodies, satisfying lusts unspeakable, reaping what is sown, and then sowing the seed once again.
As the world rushes to its touch-down on the return of Christ, when it suddenly will come to realise the pure and unimaginative folly which sin has been permitted to induce, there is abundant notice. The DIVINE AGENDA is working like the ticking of a clock. It is not catastrophe as such, though this is promised as such (Matthew 24:21-22), to the point of making life virtually impossible in a little, in this world; it is the coming of Christ which is more to the point. It is not the wail of the police car which is the ultimate abasement of the criminal, but the prison. Before, there is judgment.
How people in this world with these ways can doubt judgment and not leave reason altogether, is a question the answer to which is a compliment, express and bountiful, to the powers of rationalisation which our exalted beginning, in the image of God, has made possible. In this, even the wrath of God praises Him, for it is turned to account. But how foolish!
Come and let us return to the Lord, says the prophet Hosea, with just that overtone of tenderness and compassion, realism and sensitivity for which the Lord is justly so prodigiously renowned:
"Come, and let us return to the LORD:
For He has torn, but He will heal us;
He has stricken, but He will bind us up.
After two days, He will revive us:
On the third day He will raise us up
(cf. Isaiah 26:19, "my dead body will they arise"),
That we may live in His sight.
Let us know,
Let us pursue the knowledge of the LORD.
His going forth is established as the morning: He will come to us like the rain,
Like the latter and former rain to the earth."
May we at World Wide Web Witness Inc.
wish you all the happiness
in substance and spirit which nothing can dim,
found only in the Messiah of God, the Prince of Peace, the Prince of Life,
through repentance of sin, ransom by His blood
and the power of His resurrection which raised the corpse from the dead,
and made for all mankind, the gift and bounty of the calling to this,
His blessed release and redemption.
Christmas speaks of His coming, but if you have not come, it is time to be going, for He is coming.
To be a child of God IS WONDERFUL!
I loved my parents,
but this one even more!
There is quite truly, none like Him, inimitable, stern as needed,
authoritative without oppression, liberal beyond belief, insisting on goodness and supplying it like a fountain, friendly but holy,
delightsome (how can one bypass such a word when such a Person is in view) and even inclined to require the difficult (I Timothy 2:21, 2:3ff.), but then, not to meet the difficult, what is that, but to refund life! In the midst of it all, in confidence and quietness, there is rest (Matthew 11:27ff., Isaiah 30:15).
from Jew to Gentile,
God to Man, Heaven to Earth
*1 There is here a quite fascinating and enormously instructive perspective.
IMMANUEL is introduced in Isaiah 7. This is that pervasive but personal presentation to come with, by, in and through the CHILD who is to be born of the virgin in such a spectacular and - if not earth-shattering, then instructive coruscation of wonder to this watching globe.
In Isaiah 9, we see first the WONDER of the WONDERFUL, which is introduced in the contrast from Ch. 8's ending to the startling and impactive start of Ch. 9, where not merely is there to be a transmutation of darkness to light, but of anguish to delight, all through the CHILD to be born.
By the time we reach the naming of the CHILD, in verse 6, it is apparent that something of staggering immensity and unparalleled power for any man, is to be forthcoming. Indeed it is scarcely surprising, more like a coping stone to an arch which has every other stone in place and is being built before our admiring eyes, to find that the FIRST element in the NAME is "WONDERFUL". This is almost like taking out a cake from the oven, after rave notices about it, and finding the smell fits the publicity. Here the name fits the works.
It proceeds to Counsellor. In view of the government being His, the personal and intimate manner of it - upon His shoulder - and the forthcoming words in v. 7 about the expansion, and eternal continuity of His rule, and the impregnation of peace, this too is of small surprise. If anyone could be COUNSELLOR, surely such a sovereign as this has all that could possibly be asked. Indeed, in Isaiah 8, we find that the whole LAND is now termed HIS, Immanuel's; it is in fact designated as "your land, O Immanuel".
This is in the context of the coming invasion by Assyria, precipitated by the blatant equivocation and latent simple unbelief of King Ahaz, in his daring defiance of the grace, peace and mercy of the LORD, in giving a rationalisation of the first order of deviousness, instead of simply accepting the prodigious divine offer made through the prophet Isaiah (7:1ff.). Such a humiliation and spoliation is to follow unbelief, and the enormities so long practised in the land. It is ONE thing to sin; it is quite ANOTHER to rebuff mercy and to waste grace, considering loss of face or place, and forgetting God!
Thus the land to which the olive branch had just been extended, is now to face the consequences BEFORE the time for the MESSIAH. What prodigies of divine mercy might have met it, this is not revealed to our eyes. THAT they are now in abeyance pending discipline, yes and judgment, is clear. Thus there is a devastation of the very land where IMMANUEL, the child so focussed and to grow into such a wonder of manhood that the whole earth is to bow to Him, in His time, is to come. Indeed, GOD WITH US is His very name! Already before His coming, it is HIS. There is no need for God to 'shove over', before such majesty and such language. It is of GOD that the speech is made; it is of God COMING in the flesh that the commotion is soaring to the skies in response. It is divinity in humanity, unloaded in its fabric, the divine imprimatur set and the result from very birth, yes from inception, a miracle.
Hence in Isaiah 8, however, it is with PATHOS, with SUCH a blessing in store and SUCH rebellion in process, that this very land where HE is to come with such unbounded and rightful authority, and unfluctuating efficacy, is so subjected, subjugated and spoiled.
Already, the land is seen subject to Him, indeed His. This, then, is to be expected in this, that IMMANUEL is, as Psalm 45 so clearly shows, GOD in human form. It is for this reason that HE can be called "the mighty God". To be called less would suggest idolatry in the motion and commotion, the trust and the allegiance demanded: total and triumphantly inspired as in Psalm 2.
In Isaiah 11, we see indeed, further, the necessity of the reality which the name COUNSELLOR provides. Here is the COUNSEL itself, in this descendant of David and inscription of deity. His very word the ultimate, He speaks and it HAPPENS; but His judgment is pure beyond sin, and His knowledge knows no fluctuation with inadequacy. What is, is what He sees; the heart is what He knows, and nothing will obliterate or qualify this knowledge. NOT as the eyes see, does He discern; but with judgment.
This of course is one of the prerogatives of God, or name tags at all times. it is one of the identity specifications of deity (cf. Jeremiah 17). The heart is desperately wicked, WHO can know it ? asks the prophet Jeremiah. The he records the divine response to this question: I KNOW, says the Lord.
Accordingly, THIS CHILD is to know, and this child is being revealed as form and figure in a sculpture as it is hammered into exposure of the vision: He is made manifest as God in human form, to be trusted by faith, though no man MUST have this place, as specified and indeed dramatically REQUIRED, in Psalm 2. In fact, the prerogatives of God are in fashion here. It is not one or two. It is the array which displays itself in the man to be, the child to be full grown. The rainbow of breadth is in this delicate format. What is forbidden for man as such, is now commanded for this UNIQUE SOVEREIGN: for the case is infinitely different when the infinite God becomes man. Then what is NOT suitable to man, becomes obligatory; and what IS the limit for man becomes dispersed in the attitudes of His people, and the actions of His grace.
Thus when, in Isaiah 10:21 we find that a remnant, those who have the grace to believe, are eventually to return from all the immediate troubles in store, it is to THE MIGHTY GOD that they come. It is to the very ONE who as a child is exposed in Isaiah 7 and 9, and as a man in Isaiah 11. "The destruction decreed will overflow with righteousness". There is to be a realised result so splendid, a provision so noble, that the very enormity of the destruction to rage on a disgraced nation (as in Isaiah 30:8-11) will be surpassed by the sheer WONDER of what is yet in store, all focussed, featured and provided through the child. It will however be a quietened and meek people who will receive Him (as in Zephaniah 3:12). Thus the land is that of the God of Israel and it is that of Immanuel; for the One is the other and the other is the One, implanted in virgin, manifest as man, the ONLY Saviour, just as God is the ONLY Saviour.
It is thus a double understanding. NO Saviour of the spirit of man is available but deity. Christ is the Saviour. Thus there is coincidence, not rebellion in the revelation. The one is the other. That is the first point. But there is NO other Saviour but Christ. It is HE who is be believed, not someone else (as in Isaiah 53:1, with 4-6). It is there that the iniquity is to land from its long flight in the darkness of sin. It is not in another place. It is not in the Nation, or even the United Nations, in the EU or in the psyche of man in any way whatsoever, and foolish is he, is she deceived by ruminations in the ruined spirit of man, cocky with confusion, dynamic in delusion, ever greedy for greatness, never finding any, a mere residue from reinforcement, cut off in iniquity, awful in autonomy, miscreant in muddle, wondering at the sense of the impending, but nevertheless not bending.
There is no such way: it is whey before the steel, obliterative in destiny, inane in aspiration.
There is no escape and there is no need; for it is here, and those who do not accept it where it is to be found, in Him (as in Deuteronomy 18:17ff.), the LORD will require it of them. in HIM is rest (as is the Lord, Isaiah 30:15-17). In HIM is the shelter and the refreshing, the shade and the support (as in Isaiah 4:6 with 32:1ff.). HE replaces the very temple with His realities, which that had merely symbolised. In view of HIS action (Isaiah 52-53), sacrifice of animals is a grotesque cruelty (Isaiah 66:3).
This is not contest, but a provision; it is no double and blurred vision, but accurate sight. It is FROM God that the provision is made; it is OF God that the miracle has come; it is GOD that the gift comprises, and it is come in flesh, as one among many brethren. He is the LORD and the LORD is He. It is not one or the other, but the other as the one, and the one as the other. Height has come to depth, to cover the need of man; depth has arisen to height, to behold the gift. God is manifest in the flesh, as man; and this, it is the work wrought in the virgin, found in the child, whose names are so portentous, so totally eclipsing anything before or to come, shining with the very intensity of deity, declaring to mankind in its own form, the love and wonder, counsel and might of God. It is not a deputation; it is a declaration; it is not suggestion; it is sovereignty. It is not help; it is presence. It is GOD WITH US, and how else, since He who is with us, is God. As such He is exposed, revealed and manifest.
HE is the light (Isaiah 49:6), EVEN to the Gentiles, as exposed here in Isaiah 11:10. From Him is met all the yearning and intimate need, spiritual call for resource and recourse, of mankind
Small wonder then that the names provide a fitting specification base for the actions and the works to be performed. SO quickly into Isaiah 11 we come to see it all exposed in sequential form, the Davidic descendance, the measureless wisdom, the impervious imperative, by which He is not duped or deceived, but KNOWS and does what is good, the power which by mere word is effectual as in Genesis 1, the transformation of Nature, its curse upanchored (11:6), while the power and majesty will protect the land, just as in Isaiah 8, in the discipline for unbelief phase, there was a wantonry of destruction which brought sorrow in its profundities and poignancy.
Not only so. There is, Chapter 11 instructs us, to be an overflowing of this specifically divine blessing to the point that the very land of Israel is not enough (as in Isaiah 49:6): the GENTILES will find His resting place delightful. It will be universal, globe grabbing, delicious, heart enthralling, but deep and strong and long, divinely beautiful, the very focus of the things which ONLY GOD can provide, released from this CHILD grown to manhood, with all the sovereign majesty and soul satisfying completeness which is the prerogative of God to bestow.
WONDERFUL, COUNSELLOR, MIGHTY GOD, yes, this is to specify in names what is envisioned in works, spirit and power.
More: in Isaiah 48:16 we find that the speaker being the LORD (Isaiah 48:12ff.) who speaks to Israel is identified, and says, "I am He, I am the First, I am also the Last" as in Revelation 2:8, where He speaks as the Messiah who has come to earth in the way we have been studying. Now in Isaiah 48:16, He makes a further preliminary announcement, just as He does in Psalm 40 (Heb.10:5-7). Come, He says,
Here is God-the-sent speaking in terms of God-the-Sender, and specifying particularly His Spirit as well, in considerable parallel to John 15:26. The TRINITY is being identified; and with what consistent intimacy God reveals Himself throughout the Old Testament, and then throughout the whole Holy Bible! But the next point is most fascinating, instructive and coherent with what we have been seeing elsewhere in Isaiah concerning the Messiah, the sent One.
identified specifically the Speaker, as God the sent, whom John in 1:1
identifies as the Word who was God and was with God, the word of God continues
He proceeds with the tenderness of the Good Shepherd (as which He promised to come in person, in Ezekiel 34), exposing just that solicitude which Christ exhibited as seen for example in Luke 19:42ff..
Thus we find the Redeemer specifically appearing as God the Sent One, and of course this is made most clear and signally apparent in Isaiah 52-53, where the MANNER and method of His redemption through His own blood, bearing the iniquities of those who receive and believe in Him in reality, on HIMSELF! This ? It is just as He indicated in principle He would do, when God spoke of HIMSELF in Hosea 13:14:
we meet the expression of this categorical revelation of Isaiah 48:16-17
with all its specialised characteristics, in Isaiah 41:14, including the
tender and Israel-bent solicitude:
THE CONTEMPORARY APPLICATION ?
Just as Ahaz was presented by the prophet Isaiah, in God's name, with an offer most solemn, most majestic, dominating the very light of day, and yet rationalised himself deviously away from its reception, as if to be an angel of darkness and a professor of dimness, so now there is a hideous parallel.
Just as Ahaz did, so now the contemporary Gentile for whom this CHILD grown to maturity, is the LIGHT (Isaiah 49:6) can release the opportunity, relinquish the wonder and the counsel, turn as if to obliterate the light, speak as if to extinguish the hope, and in thoughtless wander, replace the wonder with the whole spectrum of violets, indigos and blacks which so characterise our generation, in so much and so far, setting God aside, the child to no account, the Messiah to no use, and so growing experienced in a darkness that is more than denying the sun. Sunken like those poor Russian sailors, not rescued from their Arctic submarine, earlier in this non-glorious earth-year, expressed in divine terminology, A.D. 2000, they are stricken, self-imprisoned, in submergence.
Yet in this illustration, those sailors are like saints by comparison. For there was delay in their rescue, in their disastrous enclosure of maritime circumstances and broken ship; and this they did not cause. But here, there is a delay self-imposed, by those who act as if the depths were their native land, and disaster their preference, dimness their delight and doom their inheritance of choice. It is of course quite possible to PREFER DARKNESS as we read the case in John 3:18-19. "This," says the apostle in the word of God given, "is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil."
It is NOT because they are sinners, in the end, that the fateful and fatal condemnation comes (as seen also in John 15:21ff.). It is in the rejection of remedy that it lies; it is in the preference that this implies, in the very face of the divine willingness (as in I Timothy 2:1-6). GOD is not mocked; but when people mock themselves in the presence of the CHILD, this CHRIST, this MESSIAH, this One who stooped in such humility, that we might share from His nobility, and find redemption in His obedience, even to the Cross, in His ransom, in His redemption, in His gift of eternal life: then there is a tragedy which makes the Arctic submarine situation seem by comparison, a small thing.
was to a doom of time; but with the CHILD who came into our midst to perform
the works no man could do, since He was as He is now, the glorious and
glorified Messiah in His time, GOD with us, it is different. When He is
rejected, it is to doom beyond time. THAT death, that destruction, that
contempt, it is eternal.