Dr. S. Lewis Johnson begins his exposition on the explicit Messianic prophecies of Isaiah.
[Prayer] All right, let’s begin with a word of the prayer. Father, we thank Thee again for the word of God, we thank Thee for this opportunity to look into the great Prophecy of Isaiah and we pray that as we ponder the things that the prophet wrote so many hundreds of years ago, that our hearts may be opened to the Spirit’s teaching and that we may prophet spiritually and they are in our lives, manifest, the prophet that we derive in our hearts and in our heads. So, we commit this hour to Thee for Thy blessing upon us in Jesus’ name, Amen.
[Message] Isaiah chapter 49 and those of you who have been with me all along, we have come a long way through 48 chapters of this great prophecy. Some of them we have dealt with in some detail, others we have not dealt with in great detail. But we are in the greatest part of that book now. When we come to chapter 49 and continue on through 66. So, if you’ve survived to this point, I assure you that the rest is better than that over which we have gone.
Now listen as I read chapter 49 from living Psalms and Proverbs, which the major prophets paraphrased,
“Listen unto me, all of you in far off lands! The Lord called me before my birth; from within the womb he called me by my name. God will make my words of judgment sharp as sword. He has hidden me in the quiver of his hand, I am like a sharp arrow in his quiver. He said to me, You are my servant, a prince of power with God. (Now that is an attempt to render, Israel.) A prince of power with God and you shall bring me glory.
I replied, But my work for them seems all in vain. I have spent my strength for them without response. Yet, I leave it all with God for my reward.’ And now said the Lord, the Lord who formed me from my mother’s womb to serve him, who commissioned me to restore to him his people Israel, who has given me the strength to perform this task and honored me for doing it, ‘You shall do more than restore Israel to me, I will make you a light to the nations of the world to bring my salvation to them too.’ The Lord, the Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel says to the one who is despised, rejected by mankind, and kept beneath the heel of earthly rulers, ‘Kings shall stand at attention when you pass by, Princes shall bow low because the Lord has chosen you. He, the faithful Lord, the Holy One of Israel chooses you.’ The Lord says, ‘Your request has come at a favorable time, I will keep you from premature harm, and give you as a token and pledge to Israel proof that I will reestablish the Land of Israel and reassign it to it’s own people again.
‘Through you, I am saying to the prisoners of darkness, ‘Come Out! I am giving you your freedom. They will be my sheep grazing in green pastures and on the grassy hills. They shall neither hunger nor thirst, the searing sun and scorching desert winds will not reach them anymore for the Lord in his mercy will lead them beside the cool waters. And I will make my mountains into level paths for them, the highways shall be raised above the valleys. See, my people shall return from far away, from North and West and South.’ Sing for joy, O heavens! Shout, O earth! Break forth with song, O mountains, for the Lord has comforted his people and will have compassion upon them in their sorrow. Yet they say, ‘My Lord deserted us, he has forgotten us.’ Never, can a mother forget her little child and not have love for her own son? ‘Yet even if that should be, I will not forget you. See, I have tattooed your name upon my palm and ever before me is a picture of Jerusalem’s walls in ruins.’
By the way I just noticed this, I did not read this all the way through and I noticed that expression, “I have tattooed your name upon my palm” and I had intended when I came to that section to point out the fact that, we could speak of God as our tattooed God, the reason being that the expression that is used is a reflection of ancient Oriental custom. They like to tattoo in their hands various things that they like, just as our sailors, like the tattoo, various things on their bodies and arms and others too. And it in a reference to that custom and of course, the idea is that God tattoos us upon his hands. And so, we could speak of him as our tattooed God. To use that terminology, I noticed that he has picked it up and then used it in the translation. Verse 17,
“Soon your rebuilders shall come and chase away all those destroyed you. Look and see for the Lord has vowed that all your enemies shall come and be your slaves. They will as jewels to display as bridal ornaments. Even the most desolate parts of your abandoned land shall soon be crowded with your people and your enemies who enslaved you shall be far away. The generations born in exile shall return and say we need more room, it’s crowded here.’ Then you will think to yourself. Who has given me all these? For most of my children were killed and the rest were carried away into exile leaving me here alone, who bore these, who raised them for me? The Lord God says, ‘See I will give a signal to the Gentiles and they shall carry your little sons back to you in their arms and your daughters on their shoulders. Kings and queens shall serve you. They shall care for all you needs, they shall bow to the earth before you and lick the dust from off your feet. Then you shall know that I am the Lord. Those you wait for me shall never be ashamed.’ Who shall snatch the prey from the hands of a mighty man? Who can demand that a tyrant let his captives go? But the Lord says, ‘Even the captives of the most mighty and most terrible shall all be free for I will fight those who fight you and I will save your children. I will feed your enemies with their own flesh and they shall be drunk with rivers of their own blood. All the world shall know that I am the Lord and your savior and redeemer, the mighty one of Israel.”
Our subject for tonight is the glorious success of the discouraged servant of Jehovah. We turn again to the prophesies of the evangelical prophet, for that is the name that has been given to Isaiah, the Evangelical Prophet. The prophet who though writing hundreds of years before the time of Christ, reflects in his message the Gospel of the Lord Jesus, his place among the greatest writers that humanity has produced is unchallenged. If we were to select a list of the greatest authors in any language, Isaiah would surely be among that list.
By tradition, Isaiah remember, was of royal blood. Those who have ever studied Isaiah in Hebrew suspect that he not only was of royal blood and knew the Hebrew language real well, but was the William Buckley of his day, for his vocabulary was just positively astounding. And one of the great problems that you have in reading the Prophecy of Isaiah is coping with the breath of Isaiah’s vocabulary. He name means Jehovah is Salvation. Isaiah, Jehovah is Salvation.
The critics have called him the great unnamed, because they are still debating the question of the integrity of this book. If you read Sunday School Literature, which reflects contemporary and modern theology, and particularly critical studies in the Old Testament, you will discover that frequently Isaiah is referred to as Deutero-Isaiah. If the last part of the book from 40 to 66 is referred to and it’s also referred to almost all ways in modern studies, it will be referred as Deutero-Isaiah because it is the conviction of some of the credits that the first part of the book was not written by the man who wrote the latter part of the book. And so, Deutero-Isaiah is supposed to be the author of chapters 40 through 66, whereas Isaiah and Isaiah is supposed to be the author of the first 39 chapters of the book.
But now, we are not going to get into that problem suffice to say, it is my own personal conviction that there is really nothing in the Book of Isaiah to cause us the doubt the authorship of this book by one man. And so, I personally feel that the man whom we know as Isaiah from tradition and from the Old Testament and the man who is referred to in the New Testament as Isaiah, that these men are the same man and that he is responsible for all 66 chapters of the Prophecy of Isaiah. And so, while he is called the great unnamed because some modern critics feel we do not know who really wrote sections of that book, I still think he was Isaiah and that his name means Jehovah is Salvation and that name of his is designed to instruct us. It is designed to tell us that in this prophet’s ministry, in his writing particularly, we find a revelation of the salvation of Jehovah.
And when you read this book under the teaching of the Holy Spirit, I’m sure that you’ve come to that conviction, too. This book, remember we divided it into three parts. We said that the first 35 chapters were prophetic. There are chapters in which the key word is probably condemnation because they are prophecies of judgment. Then in chapter 36 through 39, we have a historic section in which references were made to Hezekiah and the Assyrian threat and it has been said by Psalm that the key word for this section is confiscation. Now that’s not important, you don’t have to put that down. Condemnation, confiscation and then the last 27 chapters from 40 to 66 are Messianic. Now, this does not mean there are no Messianic sections in the earlier parts of the book. We have already seen that there are Messianic sections in chapters 1 through 35, some of the great Messianic sections are there. But there are more Messianic sections in this last part of the book and also those that occur in 40 through 66 are the greatest Messianic sections. So, the book is divided into three sections prophetic, historic, and Messianic. We should also point out that the fact that we call it Messianic does not mean that they are not prophetic, because of course, they are, but here we have stress upon the prophecies of judgment, here the prophecies of consolation.
And so we have 1 through 35 prophetic condemnation, 36 through 39 historic confiscation, 40 through 66 Messianic consolation. Though in a sense you could say that the Prophecy of Isaiah is really composed of two parts if you wished, 1 through 39 because 36 through 39 is more related to the first 35 chapters than the following, and that, rest of the book is from 40 to 66, or 39 chapters plus 27 chapters. What is 39 and what is 27? Right, the Old Testament books are 39 in number and the New Testament books are 27 in number. So, you can kind of remember those chapters if you like in that way. So, Isaiah then is divided into these three sections.
Now we are in the latter part of course, beginning with chapter 40 and going through chapter 66, 27 chapters. Now these chapters as we have pointed out before to you, these chapters 27 of them, they’d be divided into three parts each containing nine chapters, because nine times three is 27. You thought I’d hesitate because I didn’t know that, didn’t you? Well, I practiced that this afternoon just to be sure I wouldn’t miss that out, 40 through 48. Now Gardner, would you read the last verse of chapter 48 for me so I won’t have to go over to that pulpit and read it. The last verse of chapter 48. Would you read it? Read it out loud so everybody can hear?
[Scripture reading inaudible]
All right. Now would you turn over and read the last verse of chapter 57? No, I mean 57. You read 48 again, didn’t you? All right, it’s the same thing isn’t it? Now will over to chapter 66? Now you won’t find the precise word here, but you will find the same expression in thought. “And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh. There is no peace, said my God to the wicked.” So, the three chapters then are divided equally. The three sections are divided equally, nine chapters reaching a climax with the last verse: 49 through 57 the next nine, ending the same way 58 through 66.
Now these three chapters are chapters that have these themes, chapter 40 through 48 has as its theme the deliverance, and the reference is to the deliverance that God is going to accomplish or the remnant of the children of Israel in the last days primarily. The first part of the book is written against the background of the Assyrian invasion. The last part of the book is a look into the future remember in which the prophet is carried by the Holy Spirit into the age when Israel shall be in the Babylonian captivity and against the background of the deliverance from the Babylonian captivity, the prophet is carried on into the ultimate future, future from our standpoint, when Israel shall be brought back into the land and to all of the blessings, which have been promised to Abraham and to his seed.
So, the deliverance in verses 40 in chapters 40 through 48 is the deliverance of the children of Israel into their Messianic promises. In those chapters remember, God is compared with the gods, and Israel and Babylon are compared. Then in chapters 49 through 57, it is the deliverer who is stressed and these chapters particularly point out the saving ministry of the Messiah of Israel, the Lord Jesus Christ, the suffering servant of Jehovah. And finally, in chapters 58 through 66, the stress rests not upon the deliverance or the deliverer, but upon the delivered, that is upon Israel itself, the remnant that shall be saved. So, the faithful and the faithless are compared and their ends are compared.
Now the mid-point, you’ll notice that these three sections 40 through 48, 49 through 57, 58 through 66, 27 chapters, the mid-point of this entire prophecy is Isaiah chapter 53 verses 5 and 6. Isn’t that striking? Gardner, would you read those two verses for us because this is the central point of the last section of the Book of Isaiah. Isaiah chapter 53, verses 5 and 6. 53 the mid-chapter, this is the mid-point of the mid-section of the last part of this book. What does it say?
You see it says, “If the Holy Spirit has centered our attention upon that great ministry of the suffering servant of Jehovah as the core of the entire message of this last half of the Book of Isaiah, the consolation that God has for Israel and for the Gentiles is the ministry of the suffering servant of Jehovah.” What a beautifully constructed book is the Prophecy of Isaiah. You know the Bible is a book that could challenge the greatest that is in man, for study for the rest of his life. It has upon itself the stamp of divine inspiration.
Now then, let’s look at 49 and Roman 1 in our outline Messiah’s call and qualifications, and remember, he’s writing against the Babylonian background, but he’s going far beyond Babylon, far beyond Cyrus, and he’s going into the future, Babylon and Cyrus fade into the mists of the background. And we’re going to look at the servant who is to bring the remnant out from the places to which they have been scattered to the four corners of the earth, he’s going to bring them back into the land in the future.
Notice the first verse, Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.” Now the prophet is not speaking of himself, he’s not speaking of Israel. He’s speaking of the servant of Jehovah that is evident as you read through this passage, “Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.” Now this is a reference to the servant of Jehovah. He is called Israel in a moment but then of course, he’s the one who delivers Israel, and so he’s not the nation as a whole he’s the one who is in himself the Israelite Jesus of Nazareth. Now notice that expression “called me from the womb.”
Have you ever noticed in the Bible, that in the Old Testament when the Messiah is referred to, nothing is said about his human father. Have you ever noticed that? Now, let me read you a few passages, why don’t you turn to them with me. Let’s turn to Psalm 22, one of the great Messianic sections. It’s the Psalm remember, that Jesus quoted when he was on the cross “My God, My God why has Thou forsaken me?” That’s the way the Psalm begins. David under the inspiration of Spirit speaking of Messiah now verse 9. “But Thou art he that took me out of the womb: Thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother’s breasts. I was cast upon Thee from the womb: Thou art my God from my mother’s belly.” Notice, the Messiah has a mother, but the Scriptures are silent with regard to his father.
Let’s take a look at Micah, chapter 5. Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, is that the way it goes? Micah, chapter 5. This is a great section, another great Messianic prophecy. Micah chapter 5, page 948, in the Old Scofield edition of the King James Version, I’ve lost my new one. I just got tired of reading those editions that they made in the text and I got a little peeved at them. Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in Ashkelon lest the editors hear me, but I’m using my old one now, until I get over it. Verse 1,
“Now gather Thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek. But Thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though Thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of Thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”
What a magnificent prophecy that is. That is a prophecy of the ruler who is going to come into Israel from Bethlehem, but whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting, the divine human nature of our Lord Jesus Christ. Now notice the third verse. “Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which have travaileth it hath brought forth. She which travaileth hath brought forth.” And again, the mother of Messiah referred to but not the father.
And then, do you remember Genesis chapter 3 and verse 15, and in that passage remember God speaking to Satan, and to the woman said that — what did he say? Genesis chapter 3 and verse 15. Now you know that occasion is really historic, that’s the first time I have ever forgotten the verse of Scripture. Genesis chapter 3, remember God said,
“And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because Thou hast done this, Thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon Thy belly shalt Thou go, and dust shalt Thou eat all the days of Thy life. I will put enmity between Thee and the woman, and between Thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise Thy head, and Thou shalt bruise his heel. But it is enmity between Thee and the woman.”
Isn’t that interesting? The Old Testament in referring to Messiah does not hesitate to say something about his mother but says nothing about a human father. And of course, that accords with the New Testament for Joseph was our Lord’s legal father. It was tremendously important that Joseph be his father because Joseph was the one who had legal title to the throne of David. If he had been born to any other person he would not have had legal title to the throne. But he could not be of Joseph for God had placed a curse upon that land and said that no one from that land should sit upon the throne of David, if he was really physically from that land.
Well, then how could anyone sit on the throne of David? If he must have the legal title from Joseph, but nevertheless not be of Joseph’s loins, that could only happen by virtue of a virgin birth. That is why our Lord is born of a virgin, not just to startle us, not just simply to surprise us, not simply to give us a miracle, but in order that he may be a legal Son of Joseph and thus legal heir to the throne, but not come under the curse upon Joseph’s part of the Davidic line and thus disqualified from being King according to the prophecies given to David. And so, we has reference to the Lord’s mother, nothing to his human father because he had no human father in the normal sense though he could say to Joseph that he was his father legally. So, I think it’s very interesting here that it in Isaiah chapter 49, the Lord Jesus speaking through the prophet says, “The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.”
And then the second verse reads – oh, by the way, I should have mentioned something about that, he hath made mention of my name. Sometimes in conversation with Jewish people who are not yet persuaded that Jesus is the Messiah, you will find that they will ask this question, for it has often been asked. If Jesus really is the Messiah, then why was not his name mentioned in the Old Testament? If really Jesus is the fulfillment of the prophecies, why wasn’t his name mentioned in the Old Testament?
Well, I have sometimes answered that in two ways. There are passages in which God speaks of his salvation coming and of course, our Lord’s name is Jesus, which is Jehovah’s Salvation. And so when Jehovah says that his salvation is coming or Jehovah’s salvation comes, he is saying Jesus is coming. And so, in the text of the Old Testament there is a reference to the fact that our Lord would come as the salvation of Jehovah and when he was named Jesus, it was as if it should be expected. But there is another sense in which the Old Testament leads us to expect that his name would not be known until the time of his birth. This text says, “From the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.”
And isn’t it striking that in the New Testament we open up the Book of Matthew, which is written to Jews to convince them that Jesus is the Messiah? And we read that the angel came and announced the birth to Joseph in this way, “Joseph, Mary shall conceive and you shall call his name Jesus for he shall save his people from their sins.” His name was made known from the time of his mother’s womb just as the text says, “From the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.” And so as a matter of fact, my dear Jewish friend, the Old Testament may also be interpreted as saying that we should not know his name until the time that he is to be born, when he is by the Holy Spirit’s conceiving work in the womb of his mother. So, from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name and not before then we might say.
Now he says, “He hath made my mouth like a sharp sword.” Then I think it’s probably a reference to the fact that when our Lord comes he is going to execute judgment. Now of course, in his first coming he did not execute judgment, he came to die. But there is a sense in which as you study the ministry of our Lord, you surely would come to the conclusion that our Lord’s mouth was like a sharp sword.
Let me give you one illustration that I was thinking of today as I was thinking about speaking on this passage tonight. You remember when the Pharisees heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they came to our Lord and one of them, which was a lawyer asked him a question and Matthew says “to tempt him.” They said “Master, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said unto him, “Thou shalt love the Lord Thy God with all Thy heart, and with all Thy soul, and with all Thy mind.” This is the first and great commandment and the second is like onto it, “Thou shalt love Thy neighbor as thyself.” On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. And there has never been a more amazing interpretation of the Old Testament than that.
For in a sense he gathered together all of the Bible into this perceptive answer to that question. But Jesus did not stop then. They were standing by and he said to them. He said, “I’ve got a little conundrum for you. “What think ye of Messiah? Whose son is he?” They speak up quickly. “The Son of David.” You know we often say he is getting me out on a limb so he can chop it off. And that goes right back to our Lord because they say the Son of David and then he says, “How then doth David in spirit call him Lord?” If he is David’s Son, why Lord. He goes on to say “the Lord said unto my Lord, sit Thou on my right hand till I make Thy enemies Thy footstool.” If David then call him Lord, how is he his Son. And the text of Matthew says, “And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth asked him any more questions.”
Because you see if he is only David’s son, how does David call him Lord? But if David calls him Lord, then he is more than just a son. And if he is David’s son as well as David’s Lord then he must be not only a man, but he must be greater than a man. And if he is not only David’s son, but greater than a man, and not an angel, for he is here among men, he must be both God and man. And if he is God and man, what better candidate for David’s son and David’s Lord is there than the one who stands before you right now. And if that’s true then you don’t tempt him, you worship him.
So, I think he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword as its application to our Lord’s earthly ministry tool. “In the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and he made me a polished shaft in his quiver hath he hid me and he said onto me, Thou are my servant, Oh Israel.” Now I think that our Lord is called Israel here because He is the Prince of God. Remember Israel is a term that means Prince with God or Prince of God. And when Jacob was given this name for the first time, it was an indication that God was going to make Jacob, the subplanter a Prince. But there is one who is the Prince with God, the one who is responsible for all of the blessings given to us.
You know we are sons of God only because our Lord by His saving work has removed our sin and has made it possible for us to enter into that position. We could never be sons of God, if Jesus Christ had not died for our sin, if he had not by his saving work made it possible for our sin to be removed and thus freed God to give us this relationship of sonship. So, when we speak of son of God, we are sons because he is the son and has died for us. Jacob is a Prince with God or a Prince of God because there is coming someone one day who will be the Prince of God and who will die for Jacob, and make it possible for God to bless Jacob. So, here the servant is called “O, Israel because he is the kernel of all of Israel, responsible for them.” The fourth verse states, “Then I said I have labored in vain.”
Now this is I, the one of whom God has been speaking. I, the son, the servant, then I said I have labored in vain. I have spent my strength for not and in vain. Yet surely my judgment is with the Lord and my work with my God. What does he mean here, “I have labored in vain?” What does he mean when he says, “I have spent my strength for nothing?” Well, he expresses the feeling of discouragement that would naturally come to someone who experienced the life that Jesus did, for he came to redeem his people.
But what kind of response did he get? He came onto his own and his own received him not. He was despised and rejected of men and yet he was the Son of God. Was it not only natural that he should be burdened with the fact that Israel and the Gentiles rejected him, but did he sin? Discouragement you know, is a real sin. Having often been discouraged in the Lord’s work, I realize how sinful it is to be discouraged. You know, if you are really in the Lord’s will and if you have done what God wished you to do, and not a person in all the world responded to the message, humanly speaking you might be very discouraged, but form the divine standpoint, you should never be discouraged, because you have seen and you have done God’s will. The fruit depends upon him. If I should speak the gospel to 100 people and not one responded, if I knew that there was nothing that was hindering my testimony, then I should not be discouraged.
As a matter of fact, if I am discouraged, then it becomes a thing of the flesh, a thing of self. And a preacher particularly, you know can be discouraged when there is no response and sometimes his motivation can be not really that he wishes that his audience should respond to his message that they might be related to God, but that they might be related to him. You see it is possible for a man to desire to speak to thousands instead of fifty. And if he speaks to only fifty, Sunday after Sunday, he can become discouraged. What is discouragement becomes the selfish discouragement.
Now the text says that the servant has expressed the thought “I have labored in vain, I has spent my strength for nothing.” If I were to single out some place in our Lord’s life that this might apply to, I would think perhaps of the passage in Matthew chapter 23 when Jesus as he comes to the city of Jerusalem speaks about how he had longed over Jerusalem. “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered Thee under my wings as I hand off her little chicks and he would not!” And he wept over Jerusalem. Discouragement. Yes, discouragement in some sense, in the sense that he was burdened and broken hearted over the fact that they would not respond but in the selfish sense, oh no. As a matter of fact, the text right here tells us that, it says “I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and in vain, yet surely my judgment is with all. And although where it’s the ultimate end of all of this ministry is with the Lord. What He is doing is committing his affairs to the Lord and in his expression of discouragement, there is the trust of the perfect servant of God. Now, if you are a good student of the Bible, you will be thinking of another place in the New Testament.
In 1 Peter chapter 2, Peter speaking about the Lord says, “Who did no sin, neither was guile was found in his mouth.” In verse 23 of I Peter 2, he says, “Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously. My judgment is with the Lord.” And so my dear friends, if I were the man of God that I should be as I preach to you and teach you the word of God, I should not be disturbed if some of you do not respond. If I am in the will of God, and what I am trying to do, and my judgment is with the Lord. So, he is a discouraged servant, but a discouraged servant who commits his judgment to the Lord. Discouraged in the sense that he was burdened for Israel.
Now the prophet continues, he says and he said verse 6, “It is a light thing that Thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give Thee for a light to the Gentiles, that Thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.” And so the promise from the Father to the servant is that not only as he going to be the means of salvation to Jews, but also to Gentiles.
And finally in verse 7, “Thus saith the Lord” — well I should point to Roman 2 Messiah’s Passion in Christ, verse 7 and verse 8. Now here you can see the Father speaks, “Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth.” What does that reminds you of? To him whom man despiseth. Well, over in Isaiah chapter 53, we read “He has despised and rejected of men.” This is a reference to the servant of Jehovah.
“Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and He shall choose thee. (And so we have a reference to our Lord’s passion, but then in verse 8, to the reward) “In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages.”
I think the most amazing statement in these two verses is the statement that the Messiah is to be a servant of rulers. Did you notice that? A servant of rulers. I think of those passages in which our Lord in the New Testament acknowledged for example that a man must render tribute not only — that he should render tribute to Caesar. Then he should render to God that which is God’s. But he should also render to Caesar that which is Caesar’s. In other words, he put himself under Roman law. I would say that Jesus was a believer in law and order.
Now it is often said today that Jesus was a revolutionary. You often hear that statement. I challenge anyone to find that in the Bible. If you say, he was a revolutionary in the sense that he believed in things that produce a spiritual revolution that’s a different matter. He has never been a more revolutionary spiritual individual than Jesus of Nazareth. But if you are speaking about a revolutionary in the sense of a political revolutionary, there is not a word in Scripture to support that. Not a word in Scripture to support it. He was a servant of rulers and willingly a servant of rulers.
For example he stood before Pilate. He said, “Pilate, you couldn’t do a thing to me, if it were not given to you.” And he the great judge of all stood before that human puppet and yet acknowledged before God his right to judge him. That was wrong and our Lord made it very evident that his judgment was wrong, but nevertheless he acknowledged his right. He was a servant of rulers. Of course, I think that when it says him whom the nation abhorreth, there is a reference to the attitude of Israel to him that explains the things that have happened to our Lord down through the years.
We Christians often sing aloud the Jews and say the Jews crucified Christ, as you know of course, the Gentiles had their hand in it also. Men crucified Christ. But Jews then crucified Christ and so did Gentiles. And it is true that Gentiles have abhorred our Lord down through the years and it is true that Jews have abhorred our Lord. You read Jewish literature, and you will find that Jesus is name, which was Yeshua is called Yeshu, which is an acrostic in Hebrew for words that mean let his name be blotted out and so he is referred to as Yeshu. Let his name be blotted out. He is called Ben-Stada and Ben-Pandera, which means bastard in their literature. He is one whom the nation abhorreth. But God promises him his price.
Now roman III and I am just going to say something about this and then we are going to stop tonight. Roman III, Jehovah’s presence and provisions. Now here we have a picture of the remnant of the future led back and led in the land by the Great Shepherd,
“That Thou mayst say to the prisoners, go forth; to them that are in darkness, show yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places. They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them. And I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways shall be exalted. Behold, these shall come from far: and, lo, these from the North and from the West; and these from the land of Sinim (which of course, is a reference probably to China. And finally he says in the 13 Verse) Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted.”
What a beautiful picture this is of the saved of Israel in the future, brought back from the countries to whether they have been scattered. And brought into the land by the Great Shepherd of the sheep and there kept by him as a shepherd over sheep and provided for in every way. And then verse 13 is the hallelujah course of creation in which they all sing the praises of him who is going to do so much for Israel. Well, our time is going to have to stop. We have to pick up here next time. Let’s bow in prayer.
[Prayer] Father, we thank Thee for the opportunity, for the study of the word. We thank Thee for these great prophecies, which look forward to the ministry of our Lord Jesus and help us as we study Isaiah to see the relationship that exists between the prophecies and the fulfillment in the person of our Lord.
And may the practical outlook of these Scriptures be exhibited in our lives. We commit each one to Thee for Thy blessing as we part, in Jesus’ name. Amen.