AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH
JANUARY 2, 2005
Great Shall be Their Peace
I THE GATES OF
FOUNDATIONS OF SAPPHIRES
After Christmas, what ? After Isaiah 53, what ? After all, although Isaiah 53 is the kernel of prophecy concerning the substitutionary atonement of Christ for all who ever come to Him by faith, it is far more. He is to “divide the spoil with the strong.” There is a reign to come which unbelief tries to make seem illusory, just as the Nazis tried to prevent the D-Day invasion of Europe seem impossible. But it came! Truth comes out in the end, and when God saw fit to occupy in Christ the place of sacrifice, it was not His sovereignty which He sacrificed, for then only the wisdom of oxen would rule, creation would be paranoid and none would provide.
Christ is coming, and the song of Isaiah 54-55 is concerning the sure and steadfast spiritual victory of His saints, the world-surging scene of His gospel’s invasion of this darkened globe, which of course has abundantly happened, and the endless mercy which stretches out like jewels on a crown, for His people. All this you see in Isaiah 54. The deliverance from those who seek to squash the spirituality of the saints is marked clearly in Isaiah 54:17. It is even an individual matter.
“ ‘No weapon that is formed
against you shall prosper,
And every tongue which rises against you in judgment
You shall condemn.
This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD,
and their righteousness is from Me,’says the LORD.’ ”
Indeed, mountains may be removed, but not the mercy of the Lord from His children (54:10).
ii all their children shall be taught of the lord
Affliction will arise, tempests, even spiritual tsunamis will ravage the seascapes of the soul; but even these will not prevail. In 54:11, we see this, that tossed with tempest, afflicted as they are who serve Him in this world, and He not only knows it, but has His spiritual medicines, and His tireless strength to support, to uphold, to bless. The very walls will be covered with precious stones (cf. Isaiah 60:18), the walls of salvation in which are the lights and perfections, the burning purity and the beautiful blessing of the living God. What is it like ? It is like a scalpel having thought it was a tin-opener, finding in the Lord’s hands that it is not only sharp, an instrument of specialty, but is blessed to heal: and there is much joy in working with Him in peace, as a son with his own father.
In 54:13, we have this wonderful promise. Those who are indeed the Lord’s will have the Lord’s own provision, as He brings teachers and prophets to APPLY and SHOW meaning of the scriptures. Indeed, as new generations arise, these will have this divine provision. Righteousness will establish His people, however many may be the evil slanders which assail them, and whatever the devilish wiles which address them (54:14).
People will seek to control and squash Christians, but the Lord will overthrow their intrigues and His body, seen here as the saints, will be aroused to life, and sustained till He comes (54:15), when they join Him in their own resurrection (Isaiah 26:19):
“My dead body shall they arise.”
Now we come to basic ingredients of the Gospel.
iii tHE FREE WATER, CALLING OF NATIONS,
CALLING ON THE LORD
In the Bible, as in many other works, the author makes clear His current topic in its own context. Thus here there is an envisagement of Israel, a new Israel by a new name, the Church inclusive of Jew and Gentile alike, a spiritual Israel, the Israel of God, and how tenderly has the Lord addressed her in Isaiah 54. In Isaiah 55, there is emphasis on the entire freedom of the life-changing, washing and enlivening gift of God (55:2-3) as He calls His servants by a new name (cf. Isaiah 62:1ff.). A new land, a new love, a new foundation, the fulfilment of the old, is now available; and its call is for citizens, fearless, faithful and fervent in faith.
In liberty do their spirits move, for from nothing in mankind, though from much given by the Lord as Isaiah 53 showed, comes this contract, this covenant (Isaiah 55:3-4), centred in the Messiah. In this vitality, in His name, with His Gospel, nations not even known to those first called would come to Him through the continuing testimony; and His own power and presence will enable it (cf. Matthew 28:18-20).
Their treasure is truth, and this not in some formula of man, but in the form of a servant, of a king, conceived into mankind through the line of David, and for His people: HE HIMSELF will be leader, commander and witness. God as man having brought man back to God, the Lamb is the glorious Lord, in the sublime affinity of the Trinity.
His Spirit will surge into the hearts of those who seek Him, based on that foundation of His mercy and salvation, and His pouring His soul out to death on the Cross; His commands will arouse the heart, His leading will satiate the spirit. His resurrection, basic to all, will become the prototype and way of life for all. As Europe fell to the Allies in 1945, so do
“the kingdoms of this world” becomes “the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ” (Revelation 11:15), “and He shall reign for ever and ever.”
This time, it is not human Allies but the Divine Christ who destroys the rebellion; and His rule comes as the Sun in the dawning, for the Cold War is no more. Such is what is NEXT: Birth, death, resurrection, return and rule!
Therefore let us be diligent in grace, constant in mercy, not loitering in this world’s play-pens, but led of the Lord, not harried, not harassed in spirit, but holy in divine favour, established in principle, sent in service.