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Christ in Isaiah
When Isaiah saw Christ in this chapter he saw Him in His Second Advent glory. Peter, in the Spirit, wrote of how the Prophets foretold the sufferings of Christ, and the glory which should follow.
In this 2d chapter, Isaiah is given a foregleam of that wonderful hour which yet awaits the earth. He speaks of Christ upon the earth, but not upon the earth to suffer and to die, but the rather to rule and to reign.
Let us examine some of the things which Isaiah saw: 1. He saw the mountain of the Lord's House established on top of the mountain and exalted above the hills. This is a marvelous symbolical language. We remember in the Book of Daniel, of a stone that was cut out from the mountain side, without hands. Daniel saw until that stone fell upon the great image of Nebuchadnezzar's dream, and smote the image on its feet, and brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the silver, and the gold.
Isaiah saw a similar vision. In Isaiah 2:12 , Isaiah 2:14-15 he explains the meaning of what he saw. All of this is in line with many other visions in the Scriptures relative to Christ's Return. In the Book of Revelation, chapter 6, we read much the same as in Isaiah 2:19 . Here are the words in Isaiah, "And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of His Majesty, when He ariseth to shake terribly the earth."
2. He saw all nations flow unto the mountain of the Lord's House. In explanation of this part of the vision we read, "And many people shall go up and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the House of the God of Jacob." There is much in Isaiah relative to the Gentiles going up to Jerusalem.
Before Isaiah's vision closes we are told, "The Gentiles shall come to Thy light, and kings to the brightness of Thy rising." Again, we read, "For the nation and kingdom that will not serve Thee shall perish."
Isaiah also said, "The Gentiles shall see Thy righteousness, and all kings Thy glory."
3. He saw the Lord ruling among the nations. This is the third step of his vision. "Out of Zion shall go forth the Law, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people."
4. He saw the earth at peace. Thus he spake. "They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."
Thus have we set before you a great theocracy with Jesus Christ, King of kings, and Lord of lords. The Lord is to be crowned with all authority and with all power, as He reigns on David's throne.
I. SEEING CHRIST IN BIRTH (Isaiah 7:14 )
In another sermon we spoke upon this Scripture and upon other Scriptures in Isaiah, relative to the birth of Christ, Just now we wish to emphasize this one thing: Isaiah saw in the birth of Jesus Christ, God incarnate. He announced that the Babe, should be called "Immanuel." He also said in Isaiah 9:6 that His Name should be "The Everlasting Father," and, "The Mighty God."
In a manger on the hay,
There, incarnate God, once lay:
From the Father's throne He came
To a world all sunk in shame.
"God with us." Were ever words more expressive of the deeper meaning of the birth of Christ. God incarnate! God manifested in the flesh! God with us! In John's Gospel we read, "(And we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father)." It seems almost beyond human conceptions that the eternal Son; the Word which was forever with God and was God, should be found in fashion as a man, and should become obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross.
How great is the magnificat of a multitude of angels as they ascribe praise unto the God-child saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!"
II. SEEING CHRIST AS GOD (Isaiah 43:3 )
We have just seen how Isaiah in the Spirit saw Christ the Babe, as God. We now wish to turn our attention to a further wonderful thing Isaiah prophesied that Israel would, one day, acknowledge Christ as God.
In the chapter in which we find our key verse, the Lord is saying unto Israel: "Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the East, and gather thee from the West; I will say to the North, Give up; and to the South, Keep not back: bring My sons from far, and My daughters from the ends of the earth." At that time the Lord will say to Israel, "Ye are My witnesses, saith the Lord, and My servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He: before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me."
We bless God in the anticipation of the day when Israel shall acknowledge the Deity of Jesus Christ. Not only will they acknowledge it, but the sure Word says, "Ye are My witnesses, saith the Lord, that I am God."
We can almost see the Prophet Isaiah filled with the Holy Ghost, as, in Christ's stead, he calls to Israel saying, "Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all ye ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else."
Would that the Church of today were faithful in acclaiming the Deity of Jesus Christ. How we bow our heads in shame as we hear men blaspheming the Holy Name of God the Son, and Son of God. For our part, we worship Him, and crown Him the Lord of All.
III. SEEING THE DEATH OF CHRIST (Isaiah 53:3 )
The 53d chapter of Isaiah carries God's report of the rejected incarnate God. He is called the "Man of Sorrows, and acquainted with grief." Isaiah, therefore, saw not only a vision of God in the flesh but of God taking upon Him a body in order that He might die and suffer the Just for the unjust.
Isaiah's vision of the death of Christ, is the vision of a substitutionary sacrifice. Eleven times in this 53d chapter of Isaiah we read the word "our" and "us" and expressions linking His anguish, as an anguish in our stead.
"He was wounded for our transgressions." "With His stripes we are healed." He made "His soul an offering for sin." "The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all." These are among the words in which God revealed to Isaiah the Saviour's death for His people. We need to remember His suffering and as we see Him on the Cross. We should also remember that in His sighs our songs were born; in His death we have our life.
We think of Him there, our sins He did bear,
He suffered in anguish alone;
He bowed down His head, expired in our stead,
He died to claim us as His own,
The Cross will ever stand before us as a substitutionary sacrifice. Isaiah 53:1-12 , will ever remain the great Old Testament Calvary chapter. We ponder its message; we bend the knee; we bow the head; we are standing on holy ground!
IV. SEEING THE SALVATION OF CHRIST (Isaiah 45:22 )
Some may be surprised to find a message of the how of salvation in the Book of Isaiah. Sinners, however, needed salvation then, even as now. Our key text says: "Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all ye ends of the earth: for I am God." We are reminded of how Peter said in connection with the healing of the lame man, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other Name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
When the crowd left Christ, because of His redemptive message on the bread of life, He turned to His disciples and said: "Will ye also go away?" Peter answered, "To whom shall we go? Thou hast the Words of eternal life."
Thus, we stand with Isaiah and his testimony. We hear Him say, "Look unto Me, and be ye saved." Once more the Prophet sounds forth the salvation note when he says: "With joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation" (Isaiah 12:3 ).
Our minds now go to the Lord Jesus as He speaks to the woman of Samaria. He said: "Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up. into everlasting life."
Once more the Prophet Isaiah says: "I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions" (Isaiah 44:22 ). This again is in line with the New Testament statement, "The Blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin." Believers do not need to worry about their sins for the Lord has blotted them out. They are forever gone.
V. SEEING CHRIST'S FAITHFULNESS (Isaiah 49:15 )
The story before us is that of a mother. The Prophet says: "Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb?" The Prophet also suggests that the maid may forget her ornaments, the bride may forget her attire, but there is One who never forgets, and who never forsakes, that One is God.
Our Lord carries our names engraven upon the palms of His hands. In the New Testament we read: "God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of His Son."
The Book of Isaiah does not fail to record God's faithfulness to a rebellious people. Isaiah tells us that for a little while, He seems to have forsaken them, but in loving kindness will He finally gather them. When He comes adown the sky, His Name will be called, "Faithful and True." He will be faithful to every promise He has made. Isaiah says, "He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of His people shall He take away from off all the earth." All day long has the Lord held forth His hands to a disobedient people. Yet, He has kept them during all the years as the apple of His eye.
VI. SEEING THE BLESSED HOPE OF CHRIST'S RETURN (Isaiah 59:19-20 )
The Prophet Isaiah sees the dark days that shall mark the end time. He describes the enemy as coming in like a flood. However, the Spirit does not leave the Prophet in doubt as to Israel's final destiny. He says: "When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him. And the Redeemer shall come to Zion."
Isaiah, the seer cried: "Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night?" The watchman said: "The morning cometh, and also the night." These are the words of Isaiah, as he catches the vision of God's new day.
In the Prophet's earlier days he saw the king Uzziah who had reigned so long and so successfully fall under the wrath of God. It was in the same year that King Uzziah died, that Isaiah "saw also the Lord * * high and lifted up."
Sometimes, we grow weary with our watching and our waiting for Christ's Return. The world seems hopelessly engulfed in sorrow. Depression is on every hand. Men's hearts are trembling with fear at the possibility of earth's tomorrow. The Jewish people are still nationally scattered among the nations. We cry, therefore, Oh, Lord, how long! how long! We can almost catch the answer, "Behold, I come quickly."
VII. SEEING CHRIST ON DAVID'S THRONE (Isaiah 9:6-7 )
The Book of Isaiah, along with the other Prophets, gives a very definite testimony to the reestablishment of the throne of David, and to the restitution of the twelve tribes under one king.
There are some who would deny that Christ will sit upon David's throne and rule over the House of Jacob. To deny this is to deny the Word of the Lord by the Prophet. Jesus said concerning His first coming and His death, "That all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the Law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning Me." The Apostle Paul said: "Believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets."
Shall we then step aside from the faith of Christ, and of Paul, and reject Isaiah's prophecy? Let those who do reject it remember how it is written: "And they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew Him not, nor yet the voices of the Prophets which were read every Sabbath Day, they have fulfilled them in condemning Him."
When Isaiah speaks of the Christ being born, and of the Son being given, He quickly adds, "And the government shall be upon His shoulder." Then he asserts, "Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His Kingdom to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever." Then the Spirit, through the Prophet, adds: "The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform this."
How wonderful to consider the names which the Spirit in our text announced that Jesus should bear, as He takes the government. "His Name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."
How marvelously does Isaiah peal forth the glories of Christ. A poor Italian youth, ambitious to make a set of bells unequalled in the world for beauty, labored hard and long in his own country to bring them to perfection. They were hung in a monastery in Italy, and the whole countryside was charmed by their sweet melody. The successful artist purchased a house in the district and for years spent his evenings listening to the sweet music of his bells. War came; the bells were stolen and carried away, he knew not where. Old and poor, he bade good-bye to his native Italy, and set forth in search of the music he loved so well. His tired feet touched the shores of many lands; at last he came to Ireland.
One evening, just as the sun was going down, he was sailing up the river that runs close by Limerick, when, borne on the evening's zephyr, there came stealing into his ears the sweet chimes of melodious bells. He sat enraptured; he knew that he was not mistaken, and that the entrancing melody was the music of his own long lost and cherished bells. He set his face, now wet with tears, toward the tower whence the enchanting strains were coming; and as the vessel sailed into port, his wanderings were over. The light had faded from his eyes, his fingers had loosened their hold, and his soul was wafted away to the sweet music of his own bells.
Oh, child of God, have you lost the music that once delighted your soul? Has the world stolen from you the joy bells of your old-time faith and devotion? You need not wander the world about nor wait till death to find the music. The bells are in your soul, and Jesus is able to touch them into "music so sweet the angels will stoop to listen." If those bells have ceased to ring, there is a reason, which God knows and you know. Let the Son of God forgive you and restore the music to your soul. W. E. Biederwolf.
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Isaiah 2". "Living Water". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 12 / Ordinary 17