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WHEN GOD is the “Servant”
Small Wonder the World Boggles
In Blighted Theories of Evanescent Dream
Jeremiah applies till the Time Comes … to Go!
John applies in heaven and on earth
Isaiah 9:1ff. has already happened
John 9:4 becomes applicable,
as Christ’s day of returning approaches
MORE ON ISAIAH
The Sheer Unity in the Trinity
The Splendour of the Messianic
We have in the past (cf. Heart and Soul, Mind and Strength) looked at the Messiah in the profound and practical prophecies of Isaiah 2, 4, 7, 8, 9, 12, 22, 28-29, 32, 35, 40, 41:27-42:6, 48-55, 61-63, 65-66 and so on, but today it is our privilege to inspect some of the precision work in the promulgations chiefly of 48-55.
Many want lordly dictators, macho men, fighting cocks in human form, sly bears with only two feet, dominant domineering devotees of rule, social conformity as king, biological extinction as an easy way of securing allegiance to something that the dead ones prefer not to have in their fealty listings; but God, as Christ shows us, and as Isaiah in particular emphasises, likes servants in humility, performers with patience, grandeur in the area of gentleness, and with courage, conviction and concentration operative together without disorientation, SOLUTION and RESOLUTION of the problems of man, where the action is needed.
Aggravation of the symptoms, the great duplicity preached by evolutionism, and intensification of the provocation against God, as found not only here, but in all the luridly debased ethical systems of “please yourself and that will be for the best” such as hedonism, and much New Age religion, where YOU are what counts and YOUR fulfilment is what the universe is all about, this is not the way to alleviate, far less to cure, the woes of man. You might as well try a fatty diet when you are corpulent.
It is not at all that God does not care for man’s happiness; but that pleasure and power are not the same as happiness, and secondly, that the autonomous pursuit of happiness is not the same as finding the way to its accord! Further, seeking for yourself first is right, perhaps, if you ARE first; otherwise, it is a distortion. However when Christ who WAS first, became a man, and endured death by DESIGN in order to rescue man from his plight, SERVICE BY Him, not FOR Him, was a criterion of His passion.
Failure to appreciate the ludicrous in man’s common aspirations, and the grandeur of nobility in Christ’s schedule, which He followed in fact effectually, which also man is given in principle (cf. Matthew 20:28) and in spirit: this is one chief ground of man’s losing his ground, and soon his earth also. Why ? the furtherance of such spiritual squalor is neither workable in principle, true in fact nor in accord with what man needs, often seeks or even seeks to impose, but fails to exemplify, namely the love of God.
The body works with the programmatic application of ‘love’, an intense mutuality of components; and the spirit of man will find no more life than cancer devotes to his body, either in pretending he has no design, or perverting his design for power pushes, putsches or programs, to subdue his neighbour, or to delete God. God is simply non-deletable (cf. SMR Ch. 1 and Acme, Alpha and Omega Ch. 8), and man has already done his utmost towards such an end, being abased the more, and hence inheriting the less. God even told him how he would try to do it, and fail, from the days of massacring Herod to the crucifixion of Christ, and why; and USED this episode, as He also predicted, to provide IN LOVE, the way for restoration and relief (Acts 2:22ff., cf. Joyful Jottings 22, 25).
That is precisely why He is CALLED a SERVANT in Isaiah 42:1, 49:3, 52:13, in view of His work, motive and purpose; though He is, no less, called “Witness, Leader and Commander” in 55:4, a King in 32:1ff., and “A Banner to the People” in 11:10, the One to whom the Gentiles shall seek, His RESTING PLACE, retreat of restoration, being “glorious”. In Isaiah 53:12, you see the acme of humiliation, the axiom of lovingkindness in compassion and intercession and the grandeur all in one place, together.
Not in the intoxication of pure power, but in the requisition for righteous suffering to redeem the believers (Isaiah 53:1, 4-6), does He serve. Not in self-display as an obsessive reminder of personal greatness, but rather in the hiding of His power (cf. Mark 1:40-45, 3:10-12, 5:43), and revelation only as it accomplishes His great service for man, does He come, this Messiah, this King, this Commander, this … Servant! (as in Matthew 17, where the transfiguration is a confirmation for the disciples, especially when the heavenly voice confirmed the splendour (17:5-9). Yet, even here He urged the disciples not to TELL ANYONE UNTIL He had risen from the dead.
Posthumous honours do not raise the personality stakes; but when it is a resurrection on the power of which is the entire opportunity and demonstration of man’s triumph (only IF and WHEN in Christ) over death, then the proclamation is of the SERVICE available; and the focus is changed in this, that there is no way it could be rationally misunderstood!
Jesus of course stressed these very things as seen in Matthew 20:20-28!
So far then, we have seen the prophetic thrust, both in the matrix of prophecy, and in the mouth of Jesus at the level of SERVICE with which humility and sincerity are linked, as well as limitless power; and the emphasis of this as the correct path for man, once he is based in truth, in Christ Himself (Matthew 17:5 cf. John 14:21-23). It is parallel in Isaiah and in the Gospels, pronounced in the prophet, performed in Christ. The SAME PERSON is on the one hand glorious in grace, relished as rest and commander over men; suffering vicariously in the service procuring PARDON, and active victoriously in the service providing PEACE (Isaiah 9:7).
It is comprehensive in space, when Christ DID IT, and in time, when it was forecast. It knows neither limit of divulgement in advance, nor defeat in the field. It is said, it is done; just like the creation itself (Genesis 1). With God, that is the way it is.
SYMPHONY ON THE MESSIAH
IN ISAIAH 48-55
1) The GREAT Introduction
“I am He. I am the First, I am also the last, indeed, My hand has laid the foundation of the earth” (48:12). Further, it is divulged (48:16),
Ø “I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, I am there, and now the Lord God and His Spirit has sent Me.”
The first ? Indeed, “I have declared the former things from the beginning. They went forth from My mouth, and I caused them to hear it. Suddenly I did them, and they came to pass.”
Why did God so early say this ? With good reason in view of the liberal luxuriant and prolonged though futile efforts towards dissolution of truth, as if they were telling the sun not to shine, from somewhere in mid-space! Why then ?
Ø “Lest you should say, ‘My idol has done them, and my carved image and my moulded image have commanded them.’ ” (48:5).
God makes His record clear, well in advance foretelling what He has in mind, calls them to witness, and produces His unique and necessarily unique proclamation of the future, intertwined with judgment and compassion, appeal and entreaty. There will be no opportunity for even the most devious to pretend that some idol produced these words, and performed these self-identifying feats which the Lord, in love to man, did in order to help him realise with whom he was dealing.
As to God, then, He who speaks, and who shall prevent it (43:13) ?
Ø “I work, and who shall reverse it!”
There neither is nor could be any counterpart. Limitless knowledge and power cannot be duplicated in another. The mere duplication would limit both.
What then are we finding in this part of Isaiah’s prophecy, which like all prophecies is fulfilled to such a degree as to astonish the ignorant and confirm the believer to the uttermost.
It is this. The ONE GOD who detests ALL IDOLS and has ALL POWER is declaring in the midst of an ultimate perversity (cf. Isaiah 30), the ONE TRUTH; there is no other. He is SENT – yes GOD is sent from the Lord God, and His Spirit (the trinity in express focus), as we have seen before (cf. *3 below). Today we are to correlate a number of these areas, in which the SECOND Person of the trinity is focussed, and speaks in a way so entirely analogous to the words of the Lord Jesus Christ, that it is awesome, but like so much with the Lord, whether the minute beauty of desert flowers (there whether you see them or not, but there TO BE SEEN IF YOU LOOK), it is exposed to the seeker.
Is it not so with great art ? A thousand tongues declare this and that; but to the eye of the man of art, in whom the power of beauty lies like thousands of acres of Swiss wild flowers, MUCH is seen, because this is his realm, and when it is there, it opens its own flowers in his soul, and he thrills to the composure of a myriad of nuances and lovelinesses, exposed like fraud to the judge, but here in the opposite but still apposite sense of the doings of holiness, witty with wonder, actuating a thunderous waterfall of applause.
If then you look, with all your heart (for much in spiritual things comes, as in other love, from the disposed heart!), what a marvel is to be seen in Isaiah 48-55, not only such as has been recorded before (especially in Heart and Soul, Mind and Strength, as likewise in references from that work), but in this present exposure of the wonder of the Word, the Second Person, the pre-incarnate Witness, who as Jesus Christ brought salvation to man. There it sits in Isaiah, all these centuries, spreading its perfume to all who look intensively, and with open eyes.
Let us then resume at Isaiah 48:16. No sooner is the living WORD of God, the Second Person, seen in this Trinitarian fashion, than we trace further His words in 48:18-19 (esp. as in the italicised portion, added below), in that compassionate lament, that charming delight that even where it is denied, LOVES: it is just as it is in Luke 19:42ff., when it was from the incarnate lips of Christ Himself.
Ø “Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer,
The Holy One of
‘I am the Lord your God,
Who teaches you to profit,
Who leads you by the way you should go.
‘Oh, that you had heeded My commandments!
Then your peace would have been like a river,
And your righteousness
like the waves of the sea.
“Your descendants also would have been like the sand,
And the offspring of your body like the grains of sand;
His name would not have been cut off
Nor destroyed from before Me.’ ”
See then Luke next to this:
Ø “Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying,
“If you had known, even you, especially in this your day,
the things that make for your peace!
But now they are hidden from your eyes.
”For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you,
surround you and close you in on every side, and level you,
and your children within you, to the ground;
and they will not leave in you one stone upon another,
because you did not know the time of your visitation.”
Ø “Then He went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in it, saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house is a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ”
There is in each passage the same denunciation, exhortation, tenderness of solicitude, evocation of disaster and excoriating exposure, whether from the mouth of the prophet who spoke of the Messiah, and in this case, through whom the Messiah to come spoke in the first person, and the words of the incarnate Jesus Christ.
It comes almost in itself, a divine signature, where power and justice, love and compassion, solicitude and sovereignty have an incomparable texture of their own, expressed through the very Word of God Himself. Here the heart of God lies manifest, but it does not lie dead, but active, the Prince and Field Marshall bound in one, who has come from counsel (cf. Jeremiah 23:21-22), bearing authority, but also having in Himself, and exposed the grief of heart that does not remove the purity of truth, or the mind of majesty.
IF you had known, ESPECIALLY in this your day … there lay the lament of Christ, willing to die for them, laying down His life for them, but perceiving how many would never utilise this gift, or activate this power.
What day then was this “your day”, which they did not realise to be present, so reaping judgment and not food ?
It was the day in which the very KEY to the Door which opens into the kingdom of God, was available, but they threw it into the river of contempt; for how much nearer can you come, than to the hand which is incarnate, once and for all, God as man performing in His own infinite resource, the works that save! (John 15:21-23 holds more of this magnificence of compassion and power, like wrought iron, in incomparable beauty, not as a mere exhibit, but as an expression of what is to be, to come, according to truth.
Isaiah 48:20 reminds us of that word to Peter, YOU follow Me (John 21), and of the challenge to the rich young ruler (Mark 10:17), who also was called by Christ, but instead of responding (though he came to him running! went grieving, allured by the temporal, tempted by the shimmering of glamour in this world, to be empty in the next.
“Go forth from
It is the holocaust, not of bodies only, but of souls, which
afflicts the world. It is so, not just in the Jewish case, where this poor
nation has suffered from the arrogance that denies Christ in being made the
butt of murders innumerable, even to this day, of slaughter from bodies both secular
and religious as such forces riot in infestation of this world with the
domineering ways that Christ so condemned (Matthew 20:25ff.). Not here alone is
there this burial in multitudinous array; it is in the heart and mind of
Gentile peoples who inter in their lives, and bury in their thoughts, any
allegiance to Christ, confirming the act of
There is a generic of unbelief, in whatever way it manifests itself, and it is this which was the occasion both for the compassion and the charge, to FOLLOW HIM! (Mark 10:21), made by Christ to the young ruler, one moment running in ardour to find eternal life, the next separating in sorrow because MEANS became more important than ENDS, so ending the way to truth.
Indeed, so imperative is this challenge that it is formulated in terms of a principle in Luke 14:27ff.. “UNLESS you forsake ALL that you have, you cannot be My disciple…”
2) THE GREAT PREPARATION
Let us proceed now to Isaiah 49:2. Here, the WORD, the second Person of the Trinity comes naturally into the “I” address, just as it is He who has been speaking in 48:16ff.. “The LORD has called Me from the womb, from the matrix of My mother, He has made mention of My name,” He continues.
We recall Isaiah 9:1-6, where the great and grievous
darkness of the land, as in
Isaiah 49:2 proceeds with this discourse from the living Word, God the sent as from 48:16: “In the shadow of His hand He has hidden Me, and made Me a polished shaft: in His quiver He has hidden Me.” Here is the sense of preparation against contingency, which of course to God is not such, so rather the purpose to cover the foreseen emergency for man (cf. Ephesians 1:4), yes “from the time that it was” (as in Isaiah 48:16), He is there, always ready, even “before the day was” – 43:13. Men make grand plans for military campaigns, with ordinance and troops in view, rates of supply and availability for training and the like; God has made the preparations for our excursion, TIME, from eternity. This is just one chapter. WE are in it!
Here too He is speaking as the Redeemer (Isaiah 43:14, as in 48:16-17). Time is His invention, and in the work of the trinity, He manufactured it and implemented it, setting the world of events arising, into the realm of actuality.
It is here that we find that not only is the Second Person SENT,
but He is sent as a SERVANT (49:3). Obviously, the translation which E.J. Young
presented to us in Class at Westminster Theological Seminary in 1956-7 is
correct. “You are My servant, an
Hence He and He only can be, could be, will be and
has been the Saviour sent. He is sent indeed to be abhorred by the people
(49:7), but to BE the salvation of God to the end of the earth (49:6), the
personal focus, the shaft hidden and delivered as SENT. Thus also as in 42:6, He
IS the covenant ("this is My blood of the New
Covenant" - Matthew 26:28, reflects this unchanging fact). He of whom the
Covenant speaks, IS the covenant for is He not the priest who offers, the
sacrifice offered, and is it not in Him that it is made, with this vast
difference, that HIS flesh was not to be eaten in bodily form, nor would it rot.
This was the sacrificial donation of a body wrought from heaven, intended for
the Cross, to end all such sacrifices (as in Isaiah 66:2-4, Hebrews 7-10).
He is sent indeed to be abhorred by the people (49:7), but to BE the salvation of God to the end of the earth (49:6), the personal focus, the shaft hidden and delivered as SENT. Thus also as in 42:6, He IS the covenant ("this is My blood of the New Covenant" - Matthew 26:28, reflects this unchanging fact). He of whom the Covenant speaks, IS the covenant for is He not the priest who offers, the sacrifice offered, and is it not in Him that it is made, with this vast difference, that HIS flesh was not to be eaten in bodily form, nor would it rot. This was the sacrificial donation of a body wrought from heaven, intended for the Cross, to end all such sacrifices (as in Isaiah 66:2-4, Hebrews 7-10).
It was therefore a replacement exercise, THE Israel of God,
that prevailing prince sent from heaven,
in place of nation,
v Since it is to God the Word that God the Father is Speaking, and
Israel is not he, nor any of Israel, yes not one we find explicitly from the
word of God in Isaiah (41:28-42:3, 51:18-20), nor is there in that nation to be found what is
triumphant in the task, and for the task, in part, or in whole, in nature or in
power, in the total sacrificial purity required or the flawless performance
hence this is the countervailing
v the effectual one, the One who HAD to be sent;
is the Prince who acts the part in full, and to the uttermost: and why ?
v it was because there was no other who could do it (as in Isaiah 41:27ff., and 51:18-20, Ezekiel 34, Hosea ), in power, in coverage, in perfection or in purity. Ours is a fallen race. Have a look at the test marks, even in our imperfect eyes! Have a look at Israel the nation in the eyes of God (Isaiah 1, 30), and not that the condition is NOT remedied ever or at all, in Isaiah 30, except in the Redeemer, the release of Remedy, who sets the prisoners free (Isaiah 61:1-3), as Christ at Nazareth cited from Isaiah, of Himself.
God, we read in the prophets of the Old Testament (as in Hosea 13:14, Ezekiel 34, Isaiah 40, Psalm 2), God is going to do it, like a Prince of Seed Royal, entering the army to ensure victory, on behalf of his troops; but this, it is not royalty, but deity. That however is the kind of royal nobility which the affliction and perdition of sin requires for this errant and erratic race. In body, built to superb specifications (a renowned Scottish medical specialist in Creation magazine, current in December 2002, is noted in his marveling at the superb structural engineering of the human spine*1, its famous curve a fortress of strength enabling quite disproportionate strength to that of ape, marvellous equipment for man, and even its lumbar disks equipped with a parallel to radial tyre construction, while as we have also seen, his eyes are a prodigy of finesse*2), yet man has not operated where a blessedness in his OWN designs can occur.
And that ? It is in the region of his spirit!
Ø “For thus says the High and Lofty One
Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
‘I dwell in the high and holy place,
With him who has a contrite and humble spirit,
To revive the spirit of the humble,
And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
“For I will not contend forever,
Nor will I always be angry;
For the spirit would fail before Me,
And the souls which I have made.’ ”
Thus we find that the Father, sending into Flesh that One who would thereby be called the Son of God (Luke ). The “therefore” relays the point that there is no gender in Heaven, as Christ indicated, so that it is in the incarnation of the Word of God, or Son non-biologically conceived*2A, that THIS conception produces the title, Son of God, in the milieu of mankind.
As conceived from heaven and wrought into the womb on earth, He is God as man (cf. I Timothy 3:16, Titus 2:13, Revelation 1:17, 2:8 with Isaiah 44:6, 41:4, 48:12, Psalm 45, Zechariah 12:10).
Accordingly, we read in Isaiah 49:3 of the sharp sword
prepared and hidden ready, in the counsel of God, and find that HE is an
The reference then, to the launching of this “arrow” of 49:3, is in Isaiah 49:5. It is sent via womb! Hence it is that in 49:4 we find Him as if labouring in vain, for as SIN SMOTE HIM, He cried, as David predicted in Psalm 22:1, would be done (cf. Joyful Jottings 25),
Ø “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me!”.
Let us review these things here a little.
The reality of the agony did not diminish because it was
predicted, any more than the reality of landing at
Thus, being sent on SUCH a mission, we hear these words to Him from the Father, the Sender: “You (shall) be My salvation to the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 49:6), so keeping that magnificent clarity and cohesion as in all scripture, for ONLY GOD would be Saviour (43:10-11), and ONLY GOD is this being here portrayed. Thus God is sent by God (48:16 cf. Zechariah 2:8, ). It is as if a celestial artery of love and concern, wisdom and might, is opened: and to make it more effectual than intent, that man it is who is wrought in the womb from the Father in heaven, and has His blood exuded per the kind courtesies of the Jewish and Gentile team involved in the business.
3) The GREAT TRIUMPH
Great is the exaltation which arises from this divine, this celestial sally when it is triumphantly performed, God putting Himself, if you will, into the test tube of trial, to exhibit the authenticity and reality of His “Servant”, who thus portrayed Him in truth, as is His mission, which in truth led to the cancellation procedure for sin, for those who receive the adoption papers from God, to God, through this Son. He WAS exalted as God before He came (Isaiah 52:12-13, Philippians 2), and as triumphant in His service, after it was finished, as it is (Isaiah 53:12, 55:3, 49:4, Phil. 2).
Among those were to abhor Him, however, to despise the salvation of God, is to be found the nation of Israel, as in its authorities it so acted (Isaiah 49:7), in this passage the Lord speaking from heaven to His Word on earth.
In Isaiah 49:8 we find that that resurrection which Isaiah portrays in 26:19 (literally, “Your dead shall live, My dead body shall they arise”) rescues the stricken, smitten Saviour, for in His being sent as “a covenant to the people”, and hence as the Lamb of God, sacrifice, is inherent and basic. The Old Covenant teems with it; the New is made through it (Isaiah 53:6-12); the Old continues in it, the New covers it and completes it in one action (Zechariah 3:9, Isaiah 53:10-12), so that the work is done “in one day.” Crucial to the task is His power insurgency after triumph, and He arises in power, “that You may say to the prisoners, ‘Go forth,’ to those who are in darkness, ‘Show yourselves’.”
Indeed, Isaiah 49:9-10 is parallel to 40:10, both showing the divine tenderness to His own, His adopted, those who believe in the Messiah so sent, so scheduled and so effective in salvation (Isaiah 53:1). He shall gather the lambs in His arms, He will lead them and
“they shall feed along the road… they shall neither hunger nor thirst…” (49:10).
Who ? Why the One who speaks. And who is He ? It is "your God" (40:1), and it is the
"Lord GOD" who
"shall come with a strong hand ... Behold His reward is with Him, and His work before Him. He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young."
Who ? It is He
"who has measured the wars in the hollow of His hand", and did all as He will for "who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, or as His counsellor has taught Him ?"
(cf. Isaiah 40:12-13).
It is good so to be introduced to God the Sender, the Redeemer, the salvation of God, the covenant of God, sent and to see the Spirit of God so involved as in 48:16 and here in 40:14.
The sad and sallow cheeks of sin are hollow like those of a cadaver, for it has spent all to remove the Redeemer, and the very act of removal merely supplied the eternally effective sacrifice, which constitutes everlasting redemption (Hebrews 9:12), wrought not often, as if He should often suffer, but NOW ONCE (Hebrews 9:25ff.).
We have noted the ready transition as Isaiah 48 turns to 49, as the Redeemer declares, quietly unannounced, since that is all done in 48:16: “The LORD has called Me from the womb” (49:5), and this unobtrusive continuance of the Speaker is paralleled in Isaiah 50:3 as it moves to 50:4.
There, GOD is speaking to
§ “Why, when I came, was there no man …?”, and again,
§ “I clothe the heavens with sackcloth”,
§ and then there is this voice,
§ “The LORD God has given Me the tongue of the learned,
that I should speak a word in season to him who is weary …
The LORD God has opened My ear, and I was not
I gave My back to those who struck Me, and My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard;
I did not hide My face from shame and spitting” (as in Psalm 22 cf. Joyful Jottings 25).
God once more is speaking and it is at one point as the Sender, at another as the Sent; on the one hand as God quite simply, and on the other IN THIS NAME and in this direct context, as the Messiah, as the Redeemer, both in name and in action as in this Ch. 50, where "I gave My back to the smiters" and "I did not hide My face from shame and spitting"; for He was hidden like an arrow, but now being sent, He suffers. That suffering reaches its final sacrificial intent as substitutionary for all who are His, as in 52-53, with its free gift nature in 55 and its eternal results in 54.
So vast is the self-humbling (as in Philippians 2) that in the midst of this sin-bearing mission, we hear more from Him, who speaks saying:
“He is near who justifies Me,” He continues in Isaiah 50:8; and so we proceed to 51:18 where again we find NO ONE can do the necessary work, so that as in 41:27 moving to 42:1, we find “MY SERVANT … in whom My soul delights” – the LORD God moving from one extreme of dissatisfaction to the other of superlative and profound content. This of course is mirrored in the baptismal and transfigurative events in Matthew’s record (Matthew and 17:5). Again in 51:5 you have the parallel in persistence, with 40:10 and 42:6, 49:6.
Very soon, then, as you move from 51:18ff., to 52:13, you come to the next phase of the revelation of the Second Person of the Trinity, and the events of Isaiah 50 are amplified into those of 52:13-15, where He is so denatured as man as to be unrecognizable through the abuse and rampant assaults, lethally delivered in persistent malice and disdain, from His enemies.
(For some treatment of Isaiah 52-55 see Heart and Soul, Mind and Strength and references therein.)
So is man exposed; and so in the process is the very heart of God exposed in His triune majesty, humility and specifications for salvation to be wrought in person; and the latter is the way out for the former; for it is the Former and Founder of heaven and earth, yes and of man (Isaiah 48:12ff.) who, in terms of objective labour, is thus to become manifest as the Author and Finisher of our Faith. SO it was to be; so it was. Never again is there such an opportunity for the Adversary and his minions to obliterate what God provides for His people. To be sure, he can assault the church, but of these there are millions; this was one, and the only One! (cf. Revelation 12.)
Heaven and earth (as in Matthew 24:35) will pass away: that is the real vulnerability for man, and for those who make these things their stay and support, their guide and their desire, like choristers so attached to their seats, that they forget to sing! These things go, and those who cling to them, become obscured in grief in the end, with them; but such is not the way for the salvation of God, nor is it therefore the way for this being who as God, became man that man might have access guaranteed and the pathway paid for, to God (Isaiah 51:5-6). That is done. HE is risen. HE returns (Isaiah 26:19, Acts 1:7ff.). The earth in a little, will go and will not return (Isaiah 51:6, Matthew 24:35).
Indeed, and further, much further, in 51:16*3, we find something vast in the way of celestial plan. It is this: that there is in this EFFECTIVE Israel, this DELIGHTFUL Servant, this HONOURABLE and REMORSELESSLY DILIGENT ARROW, One who finds the target for man, and pays for man’s misfirings, even for all who receive Him (53:1,4-6 – those who are healed being those whose sins He bears, and those who are healed being those who believe the report, cf. Isaiah 27:5 with 32:17, where “quietness and assurance” being posited, find their place in Him).
What is this revelation concerning the celestial plan ? We shall see. Meanwhile, the Redeemer is evoked again in the sequence 51:18-23 with 52:7ff., just as in 41:27ff., with the relief and contrast in 42:1ff.. NOTHING and NO ONE else will do; HE ONLY does it.
Thus the old order goes, the new comes; the old covenant goes and the new, fulfilling much, continues until all is done in the forecasts of God (Matthew -20). These things HAD to come and be completed, in order to fulfil the whole plan of God when He created in the first place! That is what we are about to find, that is the dominant message in Isaiah 51:16 as it moves on to pointing out that all men fail, but the Arrow of God is to come, and being broken, find its target!
The new order is not some regime as such, not some mere plan, for it is a Person, the Redeemer Himself, active as we have seen, evoked, invoked and declarative in His own name repeatedly.
What then is to be said of THIS, the transformatively
triumphant Prince of God, THAT
It is this:
“And I have put My words in Your mouth” –
as in Isaiah 49:2 for the Messiah, precisely.
But what is the purpose of this having this “arrow” so pregnant with program, so versed in word, so hidden in readiness ? It is this.
The Lord has done this, and in addition,
v “I have covered You with the shadow of My hand,
v that I may plant the heavens,
v lay the foundations of the earth,
and say to
THAT is why He has so hidden Him, so that it would be not an earth without program, without solution, without ground in purpose and reason, spiritual knowledge and coverage, jutting jauntily at first, then in tired and dispirited displeasure descending into its worn out frame: it would not be this, that would be made. Better NONE AT ALL than that! Do you not agree ?
No, the Lord had the Messiah in mind*4, and the words and plan (John -50) ready, before there was or COULD BE ANY question of founding, establishing this earth. It would have been a pointless, an unspiritual exercise in travesty, a dream of the professor-class, a tittilation for the savant. Not thus did Almighty God who KNOWS the end from the BEGINNING and declares it (Isaiah 46:10), not thus did HE proceed! From the first as in Genesis , in the protevangelion (cf. Barbs, Arrows and Balms 17), He had known it and declared that from woman would come that seed which, unlike the fallen man in general, would for the general body of mankind, make available the solution.
If any of the generality of mankind prefers the establishment of the devil, so be it (John ). He will be crushed anyway (Revelation 19). It is all planned, and continues triumphantly to occur, step by step. So does liberty’s vast plan, and love’s enormous enterprise enter into its splendid and awesome way, and in all this, do you not see it, predestination is the guarantee that there will be NO omissions and all being called, none will be damned for being unaware! (cf. Colossians 1:19ff.) or for any other reason in the face of the DESIRE of the Almighty that having made peace through the blood of the Cross, He might – He might through the Son, yes the Son, the Second Person of the Trinity might – “reconcile ALL things to Himself …”
Most will not come (Matthew ), but ALL are invited (cf. Matthew 25:1-10).
Man is so wayward that he even seeks to obliterate the word of God, the predictions of God, the Messiah of God, the salvation of God, the world of God in his endless and futile wars. He seeks to overcome the truth without truth being so much as admitted, and hence bereft of it while orating concerning it, ludicrously seeks to prove it overcome in its absence by its presence; and altogether he acts in his secular or false prophetic style, in such a vanity of nonsense that it is ONLY because sin blinds that so distinguished a creation could be involved in such deprivation, with such gusto, like inebriated youngsters, newly gaining their P-plates, zooming to early admission to wheel-chairs, through the furore of their licence, their inebriated liberty, their folly their mentor.
Freedom, like a licence, is licence to death as well as invitation to life. It is not an invitation either to be God, or to ignore Him.
With febrile minds, and fantasising thoughts, with errant theories, like literary Don Quixotes tilting at wind-mills, man in this century is so intoxicated with teeming pretences, repeated quite incessantly in TV shows, in the newspapers, magazines, on film, in national parks, that it is not surprising that his actions are now so like that forecast in Revelation 6, that one might be forgiven for thinking that he was actually TRYING to fulfil that blood lust and folly, for some reason. Man, the man of this world is an inveterate preacher, proclaiming a nonsense so depraved from the truth, so loudly, that his very echoes seem to hypnotise him, while he flies ever faster, vertically downwards. The altitude however is not unlimited, and the destruction is not without bounds. There is an end; just as there has been a beginning (cf. The Biblical Workman Ch. 7).
Such is the profusion of confusion, the distortion and the contortion, the weakness and the rampant roving, that poor man has no rest.
Yet, the Messiah, as you see in Isaiah , and in the hearts of thousands, HE has a resting place that is glorious (cf. Matthew -30). It is NOT, either literally or metaphorically, in the upside-down seat of an overturned car, with the wheels still busily spinning, awaiting the Law!
A WORD ON DESIGN
The dorsal specialist, Dr Richard Porter, was for long Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, before becoming DIrector of Education and Training of the Royal College of Surgeons in the same city. In the article noted, he is intense in his emphasis that correct perspective enables relevant questions which forwards effective research, and attests that design is the command schedule that explains, directs thought profitably and is verified.
This is a substantial parallel to the thought of Professor Søren Løvtrup of the University of
Umea, Sweden, whose disgust at the barren requirements of Darwinianism in
particular, for research grants (in practice!) knows scarcely any bounds! (cf.
Ever new variants of this ludicrous theory (cf. Naturalism, index) continue - like the frantic efforts of life-guards to revive a dead man by mouth to mouth resuscitation, always hoping, never checking the pulse - to foul the air of research, the minds of the young and the understanding of life (cf. Life, What it is, in A Spiritual Potpourri Ch. 6, and TMR Ch. 6).
See on design, also:
v Gracious Goodness and This World in Disorder! Chs. 1-5,
v Deliverance from Disorientation Ch. 8,
v Spiritual Refreshings Ch. 13,
v Earth Spasm… Chs. 1, 2, 7
v Christ Jesus: the Wisdom and the Power of God Ch. 7,
v Wake Up World! … Chs. 4-7,
v Calibrating Myths… Ch. 1,
No Thanks for Angst…
v Repent or Perish Ch. 7 (for a constitutive myriad of design)
v and Index SMR on this topic.
As noted in Ch. 5 of No Thanks for Angst, relative to the presentations of eye specialist, Dr Peter Guerney,
Ø “The brain is a very useful instrument, as are the eyes, the eminently obvious design of which, in the armies of interactive components, muscles, messages, programs, devices (cf. Technical Journal, Creation, Volume 16 (3), pp. 111ff., and its precursor by the same medical specialist ….), is magnificent in operation, like some advanced space craft: but it is far beyond this.” (See also SMR pp. 311-312.)
The correlative finesse, the artful contrivances, the specialised provisions, the symphony of thought expressed in cognisable components, acting in the manner of oversight, without its presence except in program, the unification of all to one synthetic purpose, the subordination of that purpose continually, to yet higher purposes, for the brain, for the mind, for the intention, for the aims, for the objectives of the person, and so on: this constitutes a heavens of its own, proclaiming concept, expounding technology, containing the most diverse elements of the physical, the mental and making room for the application of the physical, and failing not at all in this outcome.
Dying does not create.
Power and knowledge create. Dying makes way for destruction, not construction. The massed army of diverse and separately designable dynamics, all with routes and road maps of their own, with the master plan in place in the genome, and the whole aimable this way or that by the spirit of a man, like a massive invasion of Iraq, magnified billions of times in strategy and the programmed correlatives of overall purpose: this is not found on the sands, whether of time or Saudi Arabia. Being coy about facts, recalcitrant about reality, insistent on dreams, oblivious of procedural foci, this has nothing to do with science, or scientific method. Cf. SMR pp. 112ff., 128ff., 140ff., 262ff..
As to life, you can TAKE the book of nature, you can SHAKE the book of nature, with X-rays and intrusions of your own script, you can to some extent, BREAK the book of nature by exposure of its DNA code to destructive forces, but you to not MAKE the book of nature, let alone in your absence.
This message to mankind is received in general, with as much facility as would a dog receive a sonnet of Shakespeare; but here, you have only to read the facts. They do not move. All that moves is the incredible vanity of the non-empirical, ineffectual theories which go on parade, like so many rejected models, with their furs on their shoulders, their price to logic too ludicrously high!
Here see Of the Earth, Earthy or Celestial in Christ, Ch. 6, for contemplation of the wonder of these things in their harmony and depth.
This traces the meaning and depth which here can readily be found. It is like a lake: when it is sufficiently deep, then there is a whole host of beauties of stillness, of atmospheric effects, of lighting and verdure which results. It is not only that you see it as a thing, but experience it in multiply dimensions as a wonder.
Of course, Israel the nation, the other referent, is involved to this extent, that OUT OF IT (cf. Micah 5:1-3) was to come, and indeed has come the Messiah, the remedial Power, the revelation of reality, the express image of the person of God the Father (Hebrews 1), the Judge of Israel, the eternal God as man, to be smitten on the cheek (Micah 5:1-3). In pith and substance, in Person and in full, He has come, just as likewise (cf. Romans 9:1-5) has come the scripture, that glorious, God-glorifying, God-inspired deposit and declaration of Almighty God to mankind, without parallel: just as is Christ who endorsed it without parallel (Ephesians 1:10, Matthew 5:17-20), without admixture.
This Christ did, just as He Himself is without admixture of sin and failure (cf. I Peter 2:22ff., Isaiah 42:1-4); and from this revelation of God, just because it IS from God, comes history, right up to this present moment! (cf. SMR Ch. 9 and see Indexes).
HOW CAN the believer worry ? It is all manifestly in hand.
HOW CAN NOT the unbeliever
worry ? he is altogether and manifestly out of God’s hands, being in the waste deposit receptacle, except he repent. And why ? why ignore the diagnosis, the dire results of impenitence and avoid the truth ? The truly blessed feature is this: the sovereign is so massively loving, that He suffered that we might find Him. Love never forces.
That is why God so very often in the scriptures is found exhorting, appealing, lamenting, deploring. Yet He DOES know His own (II Timothy 2:15), and NO ONE need ever have ANY fear at all, that he or she will be overlooked, made incapable, for God’s love is immeasurable, devoted to the Cross, and His wisdom nothing outwits. As He came, so He seeks those who stray; but SEEK THE LORD WHILE HE MAY be found. He is not a toy; nor are you; and life is more important than any financial transaction.