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SECTION 1 . . . (EN#)

Reception and Midwifery

In the Old Testament pre-coverage of the Messiah, we find various elements which are about to be set forth in point form. However, the identity, status and work of the Messiah will be given attention in the following parts of this area, where credentials will be subjected to special care. (We do not want the babies to be mixed !)

A. Paralleling Predictions

Here then in the pointers to Christ, we find data which may be simply matched with New Testament fulfilment at the end of each one. We find the following elements.

l) That God Himself will come to earth in human Form - God the Sent, from God the Sender: and that He will do so in boundless solicitude for man, alas seduced from His Maker in spirit.

In looking at these prophecies we will use two 'lines', the E-line, which is the actual prediction, the 'envisagement in advance', the entry; and, of course, the D-line, the discharge line, which is the fulfilment or exit part of the proceeding.

Here then, initially we note in the E-line these scriptures: Isaiah 9:6, 11:1-5, 32:1-2, 4:4-6, 61:1 ff..

In this, we learn there is to be a creching as it were of a a child whose very birth is amazing (Isaiah 7 gives this event in terms of a sign without equal, of events to come, as a sort of anchor), whose names are extraordinary (Isaiah 9:6 ff.), redolent with the criteria of deity, linked with eternal powers and peace. We meet in this prediction, one whose wisdom will be prodigious, whose care and security will be complete and who (Isaiah 4 and 32) will be a sanctuary in His own person, a sanctuary both religious and personal.

His is the right and the due and the power and the glory (as Ezekiel confirms - 21:26-7), and David expounds (Psalm 45:1-7). In this last noted psalm, His throne is explicitly God's own; and if there is one thing God stresses clearly, it must include this, that Creator and creature do not confuse their bounds. HE is God and we are men (cf. Isaiah 2:22, 40:25-6,12-14, 42:8).

This predicted prodigy of wisdom in human form is in fact addressed in Psalm 45 as 'God' in simple straightforward language, duly picked up in Hebrews 1. He is quite apart from all men, though a man - Isaiah 41:28-42:1-2. ALL are ultimately worthless as counsellors to the condition of man, we there find, but NOT this one! Precisely the same point is made in Isaiah 51:18, with 52:10,13. Man fails but Myservant, God declares, will be tender, merciful, effective in justice. Moreover, He will Himself constitute a covenant from God in His own Person (Isaiah 42:1-6).

Now the D-line (discharge) of fulfilment. We consider John 1:1-3 (the Bible has but one God, though ironies occur - cf. Ezekiel 28:9), John 3:13-16, 4:14, 5:19-23, Mark 2:7-11, Matthew 11:25-30, Luke 2:30,14, Matthew 1:20-23... and so on, and on, it is all there. The record is impregnated with the feeling and the facts, the biology, the theology, the impact.

To fulfil all this requires the co-operation of people from many walks of life over many years, and is subject to debunking by any failure to conform to the deity specifications. Try it yourself some time, if you have a heart to ...

Here were the specifications to be met. This constituted part of the identikit for that particular descendant of David who (see Daniel File), at the right date set himself to equal God, on earth: this almighty God. No problem, for deity of course, to be it.

2) That God is One, but not without a concourse of personalities. He is expressed as one being, who has three personalities in harmony, and with one nature. This is given great stress by Christ in the areas above, and it is predictively shown in Isaiah 48:16, for example, where God the Sender is seen in conjunction with God the Sent.

Come near, He says, speaking in the full warrant of deity, and listen. Now the Lord God and His Spirit have sent Me. Match this Isaiah declaration with Zechariah 12:10 where the Lord as speaker is to be 'pierced' and mourned. (Cf. Zechariah 11:4-12, God-as-man is sold!) See also Isaiah 11:2-4, Genesis 18:1-2,16-33, Zechariah 12:10, Isaiah 42:1, 44:3-6, 32:15-18, 24:1,3-16, 61:1, 34:16, Zechariah 2:8-9, 3:8-9, 4:6, 6:12-15, Joel 2:11, Psalm 22:12-31, 104:30, 51:11, Haggai 2:5; p. 535 supra.)

3) That this God-as-man will come and act as a shepherd without equal, blemish or sin. This may have been noticed from the above, but let us specify: Isaiah 53:10 is just one of the many such references. As a sacrifice, He had to be without blemish, and sin is surely a blemish! Consult Leviticus 22:20-21,25. In Psalm 49, David shows the perfect impossibility of man being a sacrifice for man, simply as man, because of his SIN (v.7); which leaves only God able to redeem, to pay, to be the sacrifice for sin - 49:15: GOD WILL REDEEM MY SOUL FROM THE POWER OF THE GRAVE.

You cannot redeem sin with sin, for sin has its own account to pay: Ezekiel 18:4.

Thus the Messiah is to die because (Isaiah 53:9) He is without violence and without deceit. Righteous, He is to bear the iniquities of others (53:11), and to make prayer for those who have sinned (53:12). God as Shepherd is sold (Zechariah 11:4-12).

Thus we see the D-line of fulfilment in I Peter 2:21-25 and John 8:46. If His companions and enemies alike could see no sin, the first for reassurance and the second for attack, and if the claim is to be God, then that is a performance miraculous indeed! I have no doubt that in 3 minutes I could show sin in any non-authentic one who made such claims, even without such motivation as these had! This prediction is fulfilled with a liberality fitting to the need for verification.

It is as shepherd (Isaiah 40:10, Ezekiel 34:5-11), Christ is seen and shown not only in the whole mode of His life but in His words: John 10:14-28.

4) That He will be offered to the world as a witness to the peoples, as a leader for the wandering and as a commander to man. (E-line Isaiah 55:3-4, 9:6 ff., Psalm 2, 110; D-line, John 13:13,32, 15:7, Matthew 10:16-33 11:25-30, Luke 14:26-33.)

5) That nevertheless, His shepherding of His human flock will be characterised by a tenderness, meekness and delicacy of a transcendent order. E-line: Ezekiel 34:11-22, Isaiah 53:2,4, 11-12, 52:15, 42:3, Psalm 102:16-21, 72:8-15, 22:16-31. D-line: Matthew 11:27-28, Luke 22:61, Matthew 23:37, Luke 19:1-10, 15:1-32, 10:41-42,21, Mark 7:21-31.

6) That despite this liberality, in which joy, peace and the beauty of holiness replace sin, burden and bane (Isaiah 61:1-3) in His own power and character, the general response to this virtuous victim, this predicted paragon, this everlastingly righteous king without condition (Psalm 45:4-7), this incarnation of justice and rule from its eternal setting (Micah 5:2-4) will not be positive. He will not prove acceptable to His people, to the bulk of His potential clientele. Acceptable ? We put it too lightly. The reception given Him will be mean, contemptuous, murderous (Isaiah 49:7,8-11, 53:10); and indeed His own people will reject Him, even Israel itself - the Jews nationally will abhor Him. (D-line: Matthew 27:25.)

Overall D-line: Mark 12:1-11, John 8:28-30,40,45,55, 19:15, l:11.

7) Amazing as this is, a Jewish series of prophets predicting the greatest gift conceivable for their race, but one resulting in rejection, worse follows. Not merely is there murder, but it is to be inflicted in agony (Psalm 22:12-18) with a contemptuous - and contemptible - cruelty. (D-line: John 19, Luke 23.)

8) He will be given sophisticated violence, even though He would provide spiritual healing of the highest order, generating joy and delight. (E-line: Isaiah 35:4-10. D-line: Mark 5:15-20, 6:25-34,39-43, Matthew 8:16, 13:54, 15:21-28, 14:36, Luke 4:36.)

9) Though He is God in human form, yet that fleshly format is to be given plain death by His 'friends': Zechariah 12:11, 13:6, Psalm 22, Isaiah 53:10-12, John 13:1-3, Acts 2:29-36. You even get, predictively, the note of ironic 'surprise', addressed as a moral thrust at those who killed Him. While noting the death of the Shepherd (13:7), Zechariah in this Messiah-saturated book echoes this question on His behalf:

And someone will say to Him: "What are these wounds in your hands ?" Then He will answer: "Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends."

D-line: John 19:20-24, 13:2-3, Matthew 21:9-11.

10 a) ... That God who in His wisdom had it all planned (Isaiah 53:10), predictively pronouncing it, saw to it that this His Messiah, His Son would appear as a sinless sin-offering (Isaiah 9:6-7, 53:10-11:5, Psalm 2:2,7,12). D-line: Acts 2:22-24, cf. Matthew 23:34-5; Matthew 26:31-33,52-56, 16:21, 12:39-42, 17:11, Luke 13:33-35.

b) ... That it is for faith announced as a grand celestial news bulletin (Isaiah 41:27, 52:7, 7:1-9, 53:1, 9:1-6, 28:9-21, 29:13-20 cf. Nahum 2:15). Whereas no one creature, sinner on earth (Isaiah 41:27-29, 51:17-20, Psalm 49:7,15) was available to redeem, restore, God announces the overwhelming surprise: fulminating in splendour from heaven, fostered in lowly flesh on earth (Isaiah 42:1-4,9:1-7, 28:16, 48:16, 52:1-2, Micah 5:1-3, Zechariah 2:8-9, 12:10, Psalm 45:1-7, Ezekiel 34:10-12) - is Himself in a body to be sacrificed on earth (Isaiah 53:4-12, 50:4-9). It is to remove the blockage on the entry to God (Isaiah 59:1-2, 53:10-12), providing grounds and access alike. Divine irruption and ascent clear a channel (Psalm 2:1-6, 72:11-17; Hosea 13:9-14, Ezekiel 34:22-31, Isaiah 59:1 with 61:1-7). D-Line: I Corinthians 1:18-31, 2:8-10, Matthew 26:54-56, 16:28, 28:9 ff., I Timothy 3:16.

CARTOON DIALOGUE

THE CONVERSATIONS WITH CONSCIENCE FOR
THE WHIRL OF PROPHECY IN THE WORLD

Voice of conscience: Well why don't you believe in God who speaks the truth in the Bible? He says it and then He does it.

Dream Voice of Technocrat: What do you take me for ?

V.C.: A man of great love of truth.

D.V.T.: That's a point, I suppose you could say that.

V.C.: So then you believe Him.

D.V.T.: Be sensible! How could I believe in machinery like that - why the very idea of a 'predestination control unit'!

V.C.: That, as you should know, is just your dream ... or is it to be a
nightmare ? That will depend on how you treat it.

D.V.T.: Well I couldn't actually believe in God, could I ?

V.C.: Do you believe in yourself ?

D.V.T.: What else have I got to believe in!

V.C.: That's just the point. God has all the evidence, but as for yourself, you couldn't even define what you are, far less give grounds for believing
yourself.

D.V.T.: Well how define God ?

V.C.: Immortal, invisible, omnipotent, omniscient spirit on whom all processive things depend for creation and maintenance.

D.V.T.: What then am I ?

V.C.: Derivative, dependent, created, sinful, limited piece of bustling
braggadocio... ?

D.V.T.: That's belittling.

V.C.: That wouldn't be necessary if you saw yourself in scale.

D.V.T.: I never manage to predestinate anything...

V.C.: That's one of you characteristics. The question is whether love of truth is
another!

D.V.T.: I'll drink if you don't go away.

V.C.: The fostering of illusions is not the highway to reality. Why not
acknowledge you're a sinner, seek the Saviour and co-operate with the
God who gave you the freedom to make this a delight, instead of drudgery ?

D.V.T.: Will that get rid of this nightmare ?

V.C.: Guaranteed!




11) That this sin-offering would further be exceptional, in that men would throw lots for His garments, pierce both hands and feet and gape at Him (Psalm 22:16-18, Zechariah 12:10); and in that, moreover, this done, He would declare "Thy name tomy brethren", be delivered from both death and disaster, inspire the meek and be a testimony to the world (Psalm 22:22-27), in a future generation (v.31). In that generation, many would be moved to turn to God, worshipping and bowing to this Messiah in whom the power of life is found. In this future generation, He will be served and declared 'righteous', the performer of deliverance for His people (Psalm 22:29-31, cf. Isaiah 53:8 with 53:10, Psalm 2, Proverbs 30:4). Being great, to Him will great things be given. D-line: Acts 2:25-39, 3:13-26, 13:26-41, Matthew 28:18-20, John 20:27-31, with Matthew 27:26-37, 28:9-10, John 20:17.

12) That men would and should trust in this One (Psalm 2:12), receiving His sin offering of Himself (Isaiah 53:10, Zechariah 3:8-10) - and believe God through Him and in Him: Cursed is he who trusts in man but blessed he who trusts in the Lord, says Jeremiah 17:5-7. This Christ is to be treated as God, for so He is (Micah 5:1-3). Hence trust in Him is not only right, but required. D-line: John 20:27-29, Acts 13:39, John 6:53-57 - in which last case the sacrificial language is employed cf. Exodus 12:5-8, John 4:14, Galatians 3:10-13, 5:1-6.

13) That whilst, as Daniel has it (9:26) "there is not to Him" - He is slandered as well as slaughtered (Isaiah 53:4, Psalm 69:6,19-21), yet His word is final, its rejection is fatal (Deuteronomy 18:18-19, Daniel 9:13-14, Psalm 2:10-12). D-line: Matthew 21:21-22,42-44, John 3:18-19, 5:36-46, 10:25-6, 7:38, Matthew 7:21-22, John 5:21-22.

As this scene is set through Daniel, so its time is given. See pp. 889-899 infra for the predicted historical time given by the prophet (Daniel 9:24-27), for the prepared and predestinated death of the Lord's Christ.

14) That just as death can in no way corrupt Him in flesh or spirit (Psalms 2, 16, 22, Isaiah 53), so will He be judge in all things: those who reject Him, reject truth and will receive justice minus the mercy that Christ embodies, being everlastingly taken from the presence of God (cf. Isaiah 66:24, Deuteronomy 18:19, Isaiah 63:4-6, 61:2). D-line: John 5:40-7, 5:25-29, 3:36, 12:48-50, Matthew 22:8-14, Acts 2:30-32.

15) That not only will death not hold Him, but life will be under Him, God valuing Him at a price higher than did man... more that is, than 30 pieces of silver. (Zechariah 11:4-l2), a sublime insult to the Creator of man, to be priced as if a slave. D-line: Matthew 26:14 ff., 27:3-14.

16) That the Jews who rejected Him would be rejected and in the crux, removed from their country, given by Him (Zechariah 11:4-6, Leviticus 26:27-39, Isaiah 65:2-16). D-line: Matthew 23:37-39, Luke 19:42-44 - together with the events our history-related eyes have beheld since A.D. 70. Trumpeting fulfilment is the Jewish dispersion associated with that Roman destruction of their capital city, (and following it as it long lay vacant, then was occupied by enemies). For it, the U.N. still has ambitions (flaring wildly in its resolution of March, 1994) other than as a Jewish Capital. For the Jews however it has been declared their eternal and inalienable city.

17) That the Jews would be despised and rejected (just as they so treated Him who would deliver them - their Messiah); they would be mocked and long without their temple and sacrifice, for which there was no more need. In this way, they would be exposed because of rebellion against the only Lamb that clears: their own Messiah. This would be a long time of horror. This we see in: Leviticus 26, Deuteronomy 4:25-40, 32:5-25, where they forsake their ROCK (v.18), so that "the Lord saw it, and spurned them... and... said:''I will hide my face from them.'' (Cf. p. 778 infra.)

"I will heap disasters on them," He declared; and death ? it would be massive. "I will spend mine arrows on them." He predicted the "day of their calamity" before their final deliverance. (Cf. the fulfilled divine predictions both 1) of overturning of rulers till Christ reigns; and 2) of the international mockery of the Jews1, subject to protracted scattering among the nations, for their national rebellion and their sins: Ezekiel 21:26-27; 22:4,14-16; 36:4-38, (esp. 15); 34 - and see pp. 445 ff. supra; and 1079, cf. 784 infra.)

We see the Temple loss in Hosea, where the removal of sacrifices and priestly operation is predicted. The Temple was prescribed for Jerusalem - the loss of the city meant the loss of its Temple, their required Temple! showing indeed that the Almighty by no means authorised the continuation of animal sacrifices when Christ was offered, in that the very place to do it was removed for an indefinite period.

After this*1, as Hosea 3:5 shows, they would come to the famous Messiah, long having rejected Him and at length mourning over their folly (Zechariah 12:10-12). D-line: All the ingredients have been or are being poured in, in precise proportions, according to the predicted plan. The rest is done; this awaits fulfilment.

18) That He, the Messiah, would covenant on His New Covenant terms with many Gentiles, numbers receiving Him gladly, joy and worship being a cardinal feature (Isaiah 42:6-13, 65:1-16). D-line: Acts 13:41-46 and the testimony of history where church after church has formed in the Gentile nations. See also: Matthew 26:28. The New Covenant would be offered to Jews also (Jeremiah 31:31, cf. Ezekiel 11:19), though for a time, nationally they would reject it (Zechariah 11:10, 2:11, Isaiah 49:7, 53:3-4, 42:1-7,16-19).

19) That this New Covenant (or New Testament) would spread throughout the earth though not at all in the dimensions of political control (Daniel 7 and 9 shows a very different situation with the saints persecuted as has happened in history also), pending His return in glory to judge a rebellious earth (Daniel 7:8-14).

D-line: Is it not so ? The New Testament grasps the globe, pours in its millions into nations, is thrust out by other nations, is taken by missionaries, smuggled by couriers, printed in languages multitudinous, remorselessly, ceaselessly continuing the fulfilment of prophecy, whilst millions of preachers have forwarded the oral testimony to the same, often giving their lives in hostile political systems.

20) That He would also return His Jewish people in large numbers to Himself, in terms of the New Covenant, after their dispersions were finished and their ruin became imminent (Ezekiel 36-37) - to which we will look more particularly in our Migrant Information, clearly already heavily implicated in this section. There are ties... of blood! In other words, their amazing return, power-assisted and Gentile-assisted, to their homeland is a preliminary given detailed prediction, currently being performed in a startling and prodigious fashion, not least from a perestroika-ised Russia. We will look at this staggering fulfilment separately. Already many Jews have come as Paul indicates in Romans 11 - to which we shall also refer; but the mass movement inspirit is predicted for a future stage, although it will be shown that the preliminaries are according to the announced, predictive plan. (Cf. Appendix A infra: for those in need of a decontamination unit.)

21) That the terms of pardon would be liberal and munificent and involve cleansing of the heart as well as forgiveness; and that His spirit would be poured out, whilst personalities themselves - whether Jew or Gentile - who received Him, would be re-constituted. This would be done by His healing sovereign power through His spirit, that penetrates even to the heart. For this, consult Zechariah 12:10-12, Jeremiah 31:31 ff., Isaiah 35:8 ff., 44:3-6, 32:15-18, 61:1-3,10, 24:13-16, 55:7, 12:1-3.

D-line: the strength of New Testament witness in countries like our own; the missions to the isles; the preparation of the scene that reflects well as a preliminary to the scriptural scenario for the spiritual coming of the Jews in a large mass, to the Lord Jesus Christ. This is done and conspicuous, in the setting of nations current, as we shall see in the Migrant Information Centre to follow. Similarly generations of missionary and evangelistic work in multitudes of nations have left seemingly endless accounts of change of heart, access of joy, renewal of life with a liberality and wonder, that challenges description.

Curing of chronically failed lives is as much part of the account of New Testament propagation as is the helping of health, where food hits famine.

22) That He would in His time remove the stage of the heavens and the earth (Isaiah 51:6 ff.), creating new ones for the redeemed, uncursed.

D-line: Obviously, we cannot find fulfilled the removal of this earth, yet! What we can find is that Christ duly confirmed this prediction (Matthew 24:35), and that Einstein and co. have greatly forwarded the ease with which the modern mind can conceive of such a thing! Peter extends the point (II Peter 3:10-13). What he says might have been written tomorrow...

That the sense of flow may be felt, although this to come has not yet happened, let us here add elements beyond this. The very dead are to rise in resurrection, whether to condemnation or acclamation, in terms of this same Christ (Daniel 12:1 ff., Psalm 22 as above, Isaiah 26:19, 53:13, 25:8, Hosea 13:14, Daniel 7:13-14). Christ echoes this in John 5:25 ff. and confirms it in a practical fashion, in the testimony given of His raising the dead (John 11, Luke 7:11-17), and directing His disciples to do the same when sent on mission, in terms of His command and power (Matthew 10:8). His own resurrection is the candid attestation of His own authenticity before God, as man, and is treated extensively in Chapter 6 (supra), and elsewhere (see Index).

At the consummation of all these events, those raised in glory are to be in God's presence, in the presence of His Christ with unmarred munificence of magnificence, a surpassing splendour rendered visible, that focusses in prospect on His Person (Isaiah 61:10), and at last in a felicity where sin and violence are the ultimate evacuees from everlasting light (Isaiah 60:19-20, 61:7, 51:6). Such things are confirmed in Revelation 5:6, 21:3 ff., 21:22 ff., Job 19:25 ff., 1 Corinthians 13:11-13, 15:42-58.

We have then shown the tremendous verificatory force of the Old and New Testament Scriptures and what they attest, and what our ears and eyes attest, and what whole libraries attest, and what naked history is even now attesting - of which we are to see more. In the process, we have filled out the matters, some still to come, showing their preliminaries in order to depict the trend, as these more ultimate episodes are the more intimately indicted by the torrent of preliminaries, currently visible. Also shown are some of the spiritual preliminaries in particular, where lives already confirm just what the prophets said they would, relative to the knowledge of the presence Lord in the New Testament relationship.

The dynamism of spiritual transformation is nothing less than that forecast. It has been moving, for the time primarily in the Gentiles, just as the prophets also foretold, the nation of the Jews, still rejecting the claims of Christ, just as predicted, still not finding the consummation in Jesus Christ in the New Testament relationship, still surrounded with enemies, as predicted, still menaced; but for all that, graciously and internationally returned to their land. Tableau! It is all to the greatest theme, and the minutest detail, in place, as predicted, even to the "singing for the majesty of the Lord", and "lifting up up their voice... crying aloud from the sea", as happens in Australia, for example, and has long done so. Yes, as Isaiah 24:14 predicted, in the coverage of the later times of the earth's history (cf. 24:16; Zechariah 13:6):

From the uttermost part of the earth have we heard songs, even glory to the Righteous! (Cf. Revelation 5:9,12-13; Zech. 3:9, 12:10, 11:12-13.)
Before we pass to migrant information, we should extend a little one point: the way in which the gospel we preach is precisely predicted in the Old Testament. For this we move from midwifery and reception to the adjoining: publicity department.

B. THE PREDICTED GOSPEL

God has spoken in preliminaries before He sent Christ, and in fulfilments on sending Him. In all these things, however, whether earlier or later, the one God has dealt with the one human race by the singular series: sin, sacrifice, judgment, righteousness, pardon, covenant, power, re-union, victory; together with the implements of priest and presentation.

In the latter phase, the New Testament epoch, there has been a (predicted) culmination of the depictions of these things, as we have shown in passing. The sacrifice became one Man, Christ the Saviour, God manifest in the flesh: and the priest, the high priest became that same one Man: He offered Himself as a sacrifice, freely laying down His life for the people... as so lovingly exhibited at length in Hebrews 8-10. In so doing, He "became sin for us" - that is, constituted a sin offering (Isaiah 53:6,10-11, II Corinthians 5:19-21) on behalf of those who by faith would receive it: for, being God, He had no sin. In Himself, He thus became the covenant for man (Isaiah 49:8, 53:6-13, I Peter 2:24; Hebrews 5:9, 8:6, 9:12, Colossians 2:9-10, Ezekiel 34, Zechariah 12:10, 11:12, Psalm 2:7-12).

Now this culmination in Christ of the covenantal content was, as seen, persistently predicted. Applied to man and his need, this consummation in Christ is called the gospel, or good news, as surveyed in advance in Isaiah 61:1-3 and depicted especially in 52:13-53:12.

This gospel was to be presented to the Jews, yet rejected by them as a race, as we found in the prophecies associated with it, in the Old Testament; Messiah in His claims, as we saw Isaiah show, would be denied by the Jewish people as a nation. This would happen; and as we know, it did.

For them as a race there was no acceptance of Christ-the-covenant, as so appealingly portrayed for example in Isaiah 49:7-8, 53:3-4,10. By the Gentiles however, it was to be received, this Gospel, by many, and lovingly tabernacled in the Church or community of believers (designated for example in proto-form, in Isaiah 65:15 - in context 65:13-16,cf.Isaiah 42:16-21, 49:6-9, 52:15 et al.). Many Gentiles thus embracing it, would be embraced by it, just as Jews would suffer forfeit, at the national level with dire results. They would become, said the prophecy, a people dispossessed by their own choice of their King; and without their choice, as we saw, of their country!

But notice the fulness of the gospel. Thus it is predicted in Isaiah 32:17 that in a future epoch, in Isaiah normatively messianic, when "the Spirit is poured out upon us from on high" (32:15), that "the work of righteousness shall be peace", and "the effect of righteousness shall be quietness and assurance for ever" - 32:17. And this ? it is in the Messianic Isaiah 32, in which as we expound elsewhere, it is a MAN who, in fulfilment of the depiction of the TEMPLE in Isaiah 4:6, acts as a "hiding place from the wind, a covert from the tempest, like rivers of water in a dry place, like the shadow of a great rock in a weary land", at which time "the eyes of those who see shall not be dim, and the ears of those who hear shall hearken, the heart also of the rash  shall understand knowledge, and the tongue of the stammerers shall be ready to speak plainly" - 32:2-4. And that ? It is  when the King shall reign in righteousness (cf. Psalm 72). It is here that the "work of righteousness shall be peace" (32:15), just as Israel, looking ahead to the foundation stone which is to be laid (cf. Psalm 118 - and rejected, as in Isaiah 49:7), is advised strenuously on the way.

The counsel is this:

"Or let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me;
and he shall make peace with me" - 27:5.

And how ? Why as in Isaiah 53, where
"on Him is laid the iniquity of us all",
as in 53:6, and
"with His stripes we are healed",
so that
"By His knowledge shall My righteous servant justify many" ?

And HOW is this His strength conferred ? "for He shall near their iniquities" (53:11), so that eternal life and peace are alike conferred through this, the Strength of the Lord by whom is Peace.


Exactly so is Isaiah 51:6, where we learn that though the universe physically is to end, yet the righteousness and salvation of the Lord are unamendable, and indispensable, will never be abolished. Indeed, this is the message from Psalm 32, when the blessedness of the man to whom the Lord will not impute iniquity is gloried in, just as in Psalm 72, we find the King is also the one who will REDEEM His people and have international and endless peace and glory.  Indeed, in 51:11 it is everlasting joy which is upon the heads of the redeemed, whereas in 61:10, the "bride of the Lord" (cf. Matthew 25) is found "clothed", and how ? "with the garments of salvation", and covered - how ? with His "robe of righteousnesss",   (cf. II Corinthians 5:19-21). Observe clearly how the ROBE is that of the LORD who as a bridegroom covers the redeemed soul with His robe. The recipient is the redeemed, the giver is the Lord, and the robe is His. It is this righteousness which covers, hides and protects (cf. Isaiah 4:6, 32:1-3). So in Isaiah 33:6, following the Messianic Ch.32, we find "Wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation; the fear of the Lord is his treasure."

Thus, we find most explicit and conferred as a PRINCIPLE, this everlasting, redemption-by-Saviour life, by and through the MESSIAH and His sacrificial splendour. Thus in focus is His sin-bearing salvation, His death-breaking power (as in Isaiah 26:19, "Thy dead shall live, " and "My dead body shall they arise"), where the methods of the foundation stone to be laid (28:16) are seen. So in many directions does this Gospel of salvation flow.

We discover for example in Isaiah 45:24-25, in terms of this same salvation (and 43:11 tells us that besides the LORD, there IS no Saviour), that one shall say,

which follows on from the Servant delighted in by the Lord, when all human counsellors fail (41:28-29), who is to BE the covenant (42:6), in His own Person, being likewise sacrificial lamb (52-53) and so redeemer. As Saviour, when there is for Saviour NONE BUT GOD, He is God-the-sent (as in Isaiah 48:16, Zechariah 12:10, 2:8 and Psalm 45, Micah 5:3), and in John 3:16, 8:58.

So in texture, form and function, basics and outcome is the Gospel predicted in the Old Covenant, the Old Testament. It is presented predictively in bud; it is culminated historically in bloom; the Old is the forecast and the foretaste alike; the New is the day of its occurrence, when fulfilled, its basis and basics are deployed like a battle which, long planned, had been seen in the vision of its planners, in the hearts of its coming participants and in the life of the Commander, touching all His words and in all His thoughts.
 

Whilst in all this we cannot fail to touch again on material already considered, it is in order that we might see that in this, the gospel itself is a fulfilled item of predictive prophecy. What was to be said in this gospel - and I am frequently saying it - is said. It is said where it was to be said - in the distant coasts - there I am saying it, with many more. Those who were to reject it, did so. Those who were, in part, selectively to receive it to the widest range of the earth's surface, these have done so. The thrust of the Gospel has been evidenced in millions of feet, in excursions, adventures, in missions formal and informal, in highland and in jungle, in island and continent to the uttermost. Currently, with the electronic revolution, using satellites, the reaching of vast new areas is assured with greater simplicity.

It is also predicted that such a world-wide coverage must happen before Christ returns (Matthew 24:24) so that these personal works, of sacrifice and technical facilities alike, are part of the fulfilment of this prediction.

Whoever heard of a prediction of a vast new (but not novel,) area of understanding being made in an earlier epoch: its recipients carefully categorised in advance, its geographic attainments forwardly surveyed, as though in a directors' report after the event; its content so explicit that I for one could happily preach for months on the Old Testament predicted form alone. Meanwhile, the emotions and spiritual elements to be associated with it, these were delineated as if on direct line to the future.

So it was done; so it is found. This part of the predictions pointing to Christ, the Gospel of Christ, must be realised in all its wonder. The affair is so large and the time of the predictions so long before; and the series of national and personal events in which all this is enshrined were so complex, so precise and so splendid in predicted sequence that it is at last, like watching a waterfall, the Niagara Falls. We had heard of it, but now we have seen! THAT is what verification is all about...

Few generations have ever seen as much as we have, in such sequence, flow and force, fulfilled before their very eyes, in a staggeringly beautiful, yet incandescently brilliant virtuosity of the pure heart and mind... of God. Not to love Him and believe Him in the face of such provisions and performances for our need, is itself, also, a virtuosity... of another kind. The exorbitant wonder of it is this, moreover: that no one need forfeit this, Jew or Gentile, except he prefers otherwise. No laments in this time; the door is always opened if you knock on it (Matthew 7:7, Jeremiah 29:12, John 10:9). What masterful provision that anyone can come if he will, and none can if he will not (John 3:17-19); how unanswerable on the one hand, how prodigal on the other.

And it all centres on Christ, born in Bethlehem as predicted (Micah 5:1-3), and of the tribe of Judah as predicted (Genesis 49:10), at whom indeed the kings of the earth in their piles, and loads, over history have been astonished (as predicted: Isaiah 52:12-15); for who, after all, is used to hearing of a regal service of this order, in which not merely a king, but a celestial king becomes crucified for His people. And then, this: that He neither forces them to accept even this, nor meanly withholds it, but graciously invites ALL, even giving instructions about going under the hedges when the perfect people despise it, to find those who will not!

Matthew 22:2-13 sets this tone, and notice the garmentless man, who thought he was 'good enough' without the appropriate covering!... verses 12-13. It is not a parade of perfect people, but a covey of covered people, clad in Christ's righteousness: and that is the predicted gospel! (Isaiah 52-53; 61:1-10 - note verse 10; Isaiah 44:4-6, 54:17, 32:15-17, Jeremiah 9:23, 23:6, Isaiah 1:18, 55:1-6.) That, D-line, is precisely the gospel preached for thousands of years and encoded in creed after creed.

C. THE PREDICTED PERSON

Our studies in Psalm 45, Isaiah 9, 11, 40, 49, 52-53, 61, as well as 4, 42 and 32, with Psalm 49, 22, 2, and Daniel 7, 12, Job and Zechariah 12, not forgetting Micah 5 have already given ample indications of a Being equal with God but divesting that instantly omnipotent form for the sake of a human life, as a sacrifice of sinless kind. The prerogatives of God sufficiently are exposed, to prevent confusion: on a careful survey of the evidence of this coming descendant of David, as He then was, in whom men were to trust! (Psalm 2; 45; 89). In this last case, the Psalmist makes it clear that God covenanted with David for a descendant to rule who would endure everlastingly as king (Psalm 89:36-37,29,4 with Psalm 72:1-14,17).

In Psalm 72, we see not merely the 'firstborn' status He would have (Psalm 89), but that He would in fact 'redeem' the lives of His people (verse 14, cf. Isaiah 44:6). He was to be an international basis of blessing for all peoples, kind, compassionate and deeply involved with the individual (vv. 12-13), while providing and promoting peace in tenderness and power (vv. 5-6).

Again, as already noted for Isaiah 52-3, redemption is not possible for a mere man to perform for his brothers (Psalm 49) so that this child is to be called "the mighty God", with everlasting government, to range undimmed even into the very realms of eternity (Isaiah 9).

His title in the astonishingly vast and celestially conceived introduction in Isaiah 9, includes the term 'prince of peace', He the light shining on those who sat in darkness, living in the shadow of death (9:1). His fame in this everlasting role, prince of peace (9-6-7) is supremely  associated with the preceding trumpetings of announcement of what His name shall be called - as Isaiah 9:7 goes on to express what 9:6 has impressed. The works for the name follow it like a glowing comet's trail. Associated inextricably with this title is that other, 'the mighty God', of which there is merely one (Isaiah 44:6, 45;12), that same God who in Isaiah 10:21 is shown as Him to whom Israel, or a remnant of it, is to return:

"And such as are escaped of the house of Jacob,
Will never again depend on him who defeated them,
But will depend on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.
The remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob,
To the Mighty God" (Isaiah 10:20-21).

His eternal origin is clear, His eternal future as Redeemer is clear, His role in the flesh is clear; but where is the entrance to it? and how shall it be performed? Small wonder therefore that this sign, this signal in Isaiah 7 is expressed in language which decisively moves in its scope from heaven above to hell beneath. There is a roving thrust that indicates the realm with which we are dealing is celestial in the heights and significant beyond anything which might be compared from all creation.

Growing therefore from gestation to manhood through God's prodigious work in a simple girl (Isaiah 7), He is through this instillation and installation, to be freed from the taint of sin. How ? NOT by being a descendant of mere humans, for as Solomon and Jeremiah so clearly state, all have sinned. Indeed, as we saw, the human heart in its own estate is 'desperately wicked' (Jeremiah 17:9). Sent from God (Isaiah 48:16, Psalm 45 and so on), He comes as God's own expression, like a waterfall from a lake.

In Zechariah, as we saw, it is Himself, the God who speaks... who is to be pierced in human form, the origin of which datum is as traced, in such scriptures as those in the preceding paragraphs and pages. However, not only do we read of this in Zechariah 12:10 for example, but in chapter 6 of this prophet.
 

He is meanwhile to act (as we see also in Isaiah 55:4 in very similar language), as a focus of meaning, an object of seeking and a source of a rest so profound as to be called glorious. (We are of course reminded of Matthew 11:28-29, and indeed of the preceding verse -27 - on the topic of Christ's total monopoly on human destiny, and of His original and dispensing power relative to the knowledge of God: it is His by right, by power, shared by grace.)

As it is to God alone that all shall bow (Isaiah 45:22-24), and He alone will be acknowledged by those foolish enough to have disputed it (Isaiah 45:24, 21), it follows with simple necessity that this son of David is to be God in human form. (Cf. Philippians 2:9-10.) God and His graces, privileges, prerogatives, distinctives and glory is not cast about among finitudes, as if a teaspoon should contain an ocean; indeed, over and again in Isaiah (e.g. 42:8, 48:11), He stresses: He will not share His glory with another. But with this Messiah, sharing is the very character of the relationship, intimate sharing of glory and name and function.

The Messiah must be human as Isaiah 55, 52, 49... show, with indeed so many Messianic depictions of His reign and treatment on earth, as son of David (Psalm 110). Since human He must become, He requires a mother. This is shown, for example in the staggering and at first almost paradoxical seeming Isaiah 7 prophecy. Here, after summoning Ahaz to seek for events to heaven or to hell in depth and height, and being given a temporising response, God proceeds to tell the nation therefore to hear, and outlines the virgin-with-child event, so well analysed (*2) by E. J. Young in his Studies in Isaiah (Chapters 6 and 7), and so extensively treated by Machen in his Virgin Birth of Christ.

In this prophecy, language is used notoriously and obstructively like that applied to Hagar and to the mother of Samson when they were pregnant in the normal way, yet designating it with an astonishingly bold, high impact, in the very way that culturally might apply to those to be married. This is done as if to heighten the novelty of it, when applying it to one actually with child and yet a damsel; for the Lord declares of this virgin, qua virgin, the production of a child to be fundamental to the nation's peace.

As with Jeremiah 31:22 where the new thing is that a woman shall compass a man, so here in Isaiah 7, we are brought into the realm of nature surpassed, a sign, to use the divine word chosen! As in Isaiah 9:6, we see that this is the very word of God in human form, a prince of peace who is yet the Mighty God, indeed can bear the name of the "everlasting Father", the very telescope to glory, the face of the Almighty protoplasmically translated from unseeable-in-glory, to arresting reality to the eyes of man - when his eyes are opened (Matthew 11:27-28).

Naturally, the event is in context, in Isaiah 7, treated as engendering the highest astonishment possible in the whole scope of heaven and earth. God however, as Psalm 89 also indicates, is to make Him His "firstborn" (verse 27) on earth, the very express representation of Himself, eternally ruling. God calls Him God (Psalm 45:6, Isaiah 48:16, cf. Psalm 89:29,36-37, as in Psalm 45:3,5... in creation set as a man, He who was God indeed becomes for creation, the 'first born').

What however does Zechariah say of this branch (now well documented) ? "After the glory has He sent Me," says "the Lord of hosts" ! It is God who will act in the Person of His Son, in the format of servant. And He ? He will bear the glory of both priest and prince, allowable only to God, confusion of which led to leprosy as a penalty for the pride of King Uzziah! (II Chronicles 26:16ff., Zechariah 6:13). THAT glory is the joint totality that the Lord did not assign to man! He even 'sits' while He bears it, for it is consigned.

God indicates that He will assign to this servant-on-earth, the deeply penetrating sins of the believers of a people, with such potent and just effect as to remove them from His sight (Zechariah 3:8-9). Again we remind ourselves of Psalm 49 and the parallel requirements of sinlessness; for the sacrifice, to be effective, cannot possibly already have lost all virtue by deserving to die for its own sins! It must meaningfully bear those of others as indeed the picture of the scapegoat so dramatically showed (Leviticus 16:8-22).

A goat is to make a 'covering' or atonement (verse 16), and another goat is to be made a picture of a recipient of transmitted and transferred guilt (verse 21), and the goat is said to "bear on itself all the iniquities'' (verse 22).

This picture is of course a pictorial pledge, dressed in symbol, of the meaning of salvation to be wrought by the Redeemer, whom we have now several times met as David's descendant (though not wholly and solely his), in predictive prophecy. Off goes the goat, into the wilderness it goes, sent with its swag of sin. So here too, on goes the sin, inscribed in pictorial form on a stone. What is this ? We see it in the equally predictive prophecy of Psalm 118 where we read the words Christ referred to Himself:
 


And who is predicted as the chief, the one on whom the whole godly building to be composed of the redeemed, is to rest ? It should not now be hard to know. It is David's descendant, who is fairer than the sons of men, whose righteousness is the delight of God Himself (Psalm 45:6-7, Isaiah 42:1).

In this latter Isaiah case, it is most emphatic: almost in the very breath (verse 8) in which He refuses to have any glory sharing, God assigns the entire process of securing justice in the earth, delivering the afflicted, being "a light to the Gentiles'' and indeed being "a covenant'' in His own person (42:6), to someone else ? Impossible! A flat contradiction in the very same breath ?

No, of course not. It is God the sent, whom we met in Isaiah 48:16, Psalm 45 and elsewhere. He is the redeemer, hence deity incarnate; and hence God's salvation to the end of the earth (Isaiah 49:6). Yet besides God there is no Saviour.

Thus it is "the LORD GOD" who will come with strong hand  and "He shall feed His flock" (Isaiah 40:11), just as, despairing of false and spurious 'shepherds' (Ezekiel 34), God announces that He, in Person, will feed and be a faithful and good shepherd to His sheep, that "I shall save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle" - Ezekiel 34:22.
 


It is GOD HIMSELF who will redeem, and who only CAN redeem (Psalm 49:7,15, Isaiah 44:6); and it is as Messiah He does this (Isaiah 53:5-6,11, Psalm 72:14, Job 19). Moreover, this is done through the Davidic descendant so often detailed, described and  foretold as prepared for despatch. It is HE who qualifies when all men fail (41:28-29 with 42:1; 51:20 with 52:13). When the boss indicates to all his staff that he will do it himself, the case is clear. When God indicates the same, it is infinitely clear, since He is infinitely better than all.

Thus David, "he shall be the shepherd" - David long gone and past history on this earth for the time, is one, but  in his illustrious descendant, the Messiah (Psalm 110), who is also his Lord, as Christ pointed out, shall he rule, as God, for this SON (Isaiah 9:6) who is to have endless peace (9:7), the last of whose names is "The Prince of Peace", in staccato series with "the everlasting Father", SO represents the Father that as Christ put it (John 14), "He who has seen Me has seen the Father".  Thus in his international terrestrial rule, He the Son is named (9:6), and his name is "the mighty God", as attributed to God Himself in Isaiah 10:21. How Christ duly asked, is he called David's 'Lord' who is his descendant ?

The elevation comes from His heavenly base, from which He came; for if there is one thing the Bible makes clear, more than most things, it is this: that GOD IS ONE and does not ARISE and is EVERLASTING, the CREATOR of all that comes and goes (Deuteronomy 16-18,39; Isaiah 44:6 - the ONLY Redeemer is God Himself; 45:5-7, 45:12, 18-19; 45:22-24, where it is ONLY on account of God Himself, specifically contradistinct from all others,  that any justification can occur). Whatever is this God, always has been; and whichever persons are this God, always have been; and if God is in expressive and expressed persons, that is His prerogative: He needs not advice.

Salvation of course is His, the Messiah's, for He buys it (Isaiah 53:11) and is INTRINSICALLY Saviour therefore, and Redeemer; whereas the Redeemer of Israel, and the ONLY ONE who is that, is "The LORD, the King of Israel" - Isaiah 44:6. Indeed, it is THE REDEEMER, who arises to save Zion as seen in Isaiah 59:21, just as in Psalm 72 we see His just ways in operation, AS Redeemer (72:12-14) and descendant of David on earth: deity incarnate therefore. Moreover, salvation is THE UNIQUE PREROGATIVE OF GOD AS GOD, THE ONLY GOD, IN DISJUNCTION FROM ALL AND ANY! (Isaiah 43:11). The Redeemer, Saviour has come but once! His word of invitation stands these two millenia. It has been foreseen in decisive terms these 3.5 millenia, and presaged before that.

It is of course, as Job exclaimed, his Redeemer who is to STAND at the latter days upon the earth (Job 19). With his own eyes, THEREFORE, will he, Job, see God. As HE is the exalted and final court of appeal for whom Job sought for so long during his trial, SO HE is to be personal, available, upon the earth! (cf. John 5:19-22). It is He who is to BE a light to the Gentiles, a covenant to the people (Isaiah 49), and specifically, as if in case the reader with closed eyes had not noticed, the point and nature of the exercise includes just this, that "YET SHALL I BE GLORIOUS IN THE EYES OF THE LORD". So does the divine ambassador reflect the glory of the divine sender, and so is the Father well pleased, even delighted in "My servant" !

It is as in Psalm 45, the case that HIS throne IS the throne of God, and that, though without glamour (Isaiah 53), He is fairer than the sons of men. It is as GOD that HE is addressed (Psalm 45:6) in what is incontestably written! Anyone occupying indeed, the throne of God, a metonymy, has the prerogatives of God, and only one has those: God Himself, as is constantly, emphatically and with the utmost confrontation of folly, affirmed.

This specialised and specific sharing of the glory of God, having attributed to Him the zealously and acutely exclusive attributes of God (cf. Isaiah 42:8) which is not merely an occasional thing, but thematic and constant, makes His place as My salvation to the ends of the earth so striking; for we are specifically NOT dealing with abstractions, but with a PERSON who as such, is to be glorious, and whose glory not only touches but is intrinsically correlative with that of the Lord. Thus we see that trinity which is so clear in Isaiah 48:16, when God sends God, God the sender sends God the sent, God the Speaker sends God the Word.

He repeats this personal intervention with vigour in Isaiah 40-45, 48. In 40, we see that God will come, feed His flock, take in arms His lambs, is to be declared in these terms to the cities of Judah: He was, is and is to be... God! trust in this Messiah, says Psalm 2; do not put your trust in man, says the word of God continually (e.g. Jeremiah 17:5-9, Psalm 146:3). This Messiah is to be trusted for refuge and salvation, is salvation, acquires it, confers salvation, bears sin. GOD ONLY has this office (Isaiah 43:11). As the highest possible element, He is it! Hence He is Himself God, and this explains the use of language imputing to Him quite explicitly the name, the glory of which God will not share with another. Here again you see the fascinating reality that the very NAME of GOD in Hebrew is PLURAL though the verb which is to agree with it is in the singular!

It is fascinating; but it is inescapable. God has done it His own way. He draws all glory to Himself in prescribed divine attributes. By their very nature, they are inimitable, unduplicable: you cannot start having lived from eternity for example...! Their allocation to another would merely be a lie. God does not do it; nor is this surprising in the least. But with His Son, God the sent, the illimitable empathy and the intimate correlation is constantly not merely allowed to appear, but declared. God then indicates emphatically the glory which is exclusive to Himself, and then heaps these divine attributes on someone else - someone yet not another. This person, onto whom He pours this glory, is seen as Himself poured in expressive mode into the form of a man, right from conception.

Man is made in His image; and then He takes that image and expresses Himself in it. It is eminently logical; and was deemed necessary for the redemption with justice, of men by a man. How else but by entire incarnation, God Himself becoming man, could we gain One great enough to cover all who come to Him, and sinless in entirety so as to escape disqualification absolutely, at the outset, as a sacrifice for sin. It fits like a key in a lock. This then is that stone to be so fatally and fatefully engraved, as shown in the prediction of Zechariah 3. He has a priest arrayed in a ceremony in this connection (Zechariah 3:3-8), figured as such, showing by this device that the 'stone', free of metaphor, is to be an effective and final executive of that priestly office - that of offering sacrifice. It is not a nuance, a myth, an effluence of some divine notion, a part, a touch, but God Himself, God as man. The brightness of His glory shows His glory in its brightness, but veiled to enable sight, in flesh (Hebrews 1:3,8, John 1:18).

He, the Branch, the son of David, the son of God, will be that sacrifice Himself, and hence offer Himself, needing no other sacrifice as would normally be the case for a priest (Psalm 40:1-3).

With Isaiah 52-53, then, Zechariah is showing the ultimate priest, God in human form as a sacrifice. Zechariah in chapter 9 refers to this same King "having salvation" - you recall, "besides Me, there is no Saviour" (Isaiah 43:11). We are reminded of Acts 4:11 and John 6:53-54: Jesus Christ made it clear salvation resided in Him. It involved the participation in His sacrifice, as individually as eating; and the very reality of Himself as crucified was to be set to our accounts, who believe; for He ransomed us (Isaiah 53:10-12, Matthew 20:28).

The arrival on the colt of an ass was merely one more of the enactments, both symbolic and actual, which Christ effected; and He was understood in so doing (Matthew 21:5-9), by the fickle crowd as well as by some who believed.

Trust Me, said Jesus through Thomas to us all (John 20:29), as not merely resurrected but resurrected because God-in-action and operative as Saviour; and again, He declares, He who believes in Me has everlasting life (John 6:47,62,64). We saw earlier the exclusive character of this trust which the Son requires in Himself, to be the very intimate prerogative of God. As such, this requirement both identifies the Son and specifies the salvation.

With all this identikit, God marked out His Son for the coming generation (Psalm 22 above, cf. 22:31), and He was not hard to recognise, though sin made the task more demanding. There was never His like before, nor has there been afterwards... and the Jews and the Gentiles, as we have seen, like pirouetting puppets, have followed precisely, relative to this Son, the course God predicted they would.

That is prediction; and that is verification. Was there ever any verification so intense, so clear, so extensive, so vulnerable to discounter, so soaring in significance, requiring such power, forecast for so long, achieved in the face of such maximal motivation to thwart it, so serenely illimitable in its fulfilment, so often attacked, so endlessly irrepressible, as this one!

The certain impossibility of the task of imitating God Almighty before discerning foes, made the identity the more obvious; the events of futile confrontation by the priests and scribes and Pharisees and Sadducees, made it the more dramatic, the more delightful to an enthralled people (some perhaps liking the show, some the Person). It also served to make the only way out, for a power hungry and envious priesthood, quite clear (cf. John 11:49-53).

They would have to kill Him. The more He was exposed, the better He seemed to perform. There was no stopping Him with logic, fear, hate, cleverness; and His power, unspeakable horror... was self-attesting! Acts 4:14-20 shows that the attitude of impotent hostility even continued to the exercise of the same power in His name, after His crucifixion (cf. John 14:21, Luke 24:49, Acts 2-4). How similar is the speech of the murdering priests, before and after crucifixion, for this remarkable man, whom death could not in the least tame or silence (cf. John 11:45-50, 8:37)! How unarrestable in any dynamic reality, was this presence (as illustrated in John 7:45-47 and attested in church history)! and accordingly, they met His power, both before and after death with blood, His rather than their own, that of His servants as the desired issuance.

However, it is not possible, as Peter pointed out in Acts 2, for death to hold God, and thus the ultimate 'penalty' proved merely the ultimate judgment, self-judgment on rejecters implicated. Such were the priests who sought to stop Peter and John from attesting it, since nothing but military and priestly power could have hope, when the evidence was overpowering. God said it would be; and none could prevent the testimony, although forewarned, and heavily involved with evil vested interest.

As the MAN who was GOD had to be suppressed, if it were possible, so the resurrection must not be expressed! So it became the resurrection now (Acts 4:2). THIS was the new topic for suppression. THIS must not be attested: as duly became the case in the Presbyterian Church of N.Z. upon its apostasy, which I for one had to confront. So does the world, whether the world in the church, or in itself, act. "No one has ever come back to tell us!", they tell one in insupportable elision of the factual testimony. This or that church may sink; yet the church of Christ continues whatever naval vessels, changing flags, may be sunk. It grows and does not capitulate to Inquisition of papacy or communist, or any other; to slander  or to libel, to gross caricature or 'control' where by 'registration', attempt is made to suppress through change of direction instead of more immediate destruction.

China, Russia and Yugoslavia in the Nazi era are amongst those who have carried on the infamous assault on His people in political paths (see Stepinac in Index to SMR). Albania was as if insane with looting the saints of any freedom, and if need be, of life. Our current focus, however,  is the Lord Himself when on earth, and His verification then, though this extension to later times is most relevant (cf. John 16:2), simply because such action was predicted, and predicted in principle: for as the Messiah stated, "the servant is not greater than his lord" (John 13:16,15:20,  and "If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you" (15:20).

Scientific method would only hasten His acceptance. Christ's appeal was to the eyes and ears, to the performance characteristics of this Son of David (Mark 2:10-11). Rebellion against what God had provided was both severe and mortal, and predicted (Psalm 2). In fact, in advance God brought out the reflection on such an attitude, which could only be futile:

Why do the heathen rage and the people imagine a vain thing (or "plot") ... the rulers take counsel together against the Lord, and against His anointed ('Messiah' i.e. 'Christ' in
Greek) , saying,
'Let us break their bonds in pieces and cast away their cords from us!' ...

He who sits in the heavens shall laugh ... 'Yet I have set my King on my holy hill of Zion' ... Kiss the Son lest He be angry and you perish in the way ... Blessed are those who trust in Him. (Italics added.)

Divine satire, scorn and perseverance in the presentation of His irresistible Son who, despite deadly plots, would endure: this is shown here in prediction, just as it appears in Acts later. This is like a TV interview printed before the match... nearly 3000 years before the match.Certainly, divine and at that unique level, in its categorical kindness, acuity and grace, impressive...


Footnotes:

1. How poignantly and acidly fulfilled is this prediction, and with what recent severity, in the liberty accorded Hitler! (cf. also Ezekiel 5:13-17, 34:8).

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