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In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Four blessings from the Messiah

In Isaiah 9:1-5, there is a prophecy of the coming of the Messiah and the benefits he would bring to us after he came. He would provide recovery of light, growth, great joy through liberation from bondage and the experience of peace. 

First, he will give recovery of light; that is knowledge. The situation in which the people were was one of darkness, spiritual darkness, because of their sins. They lived in realm where the Sun of Righteousness did not shine. What they needed was to see the Light of the World who would reveal to them what God was like. And that is what Jesus did and does.

The second blessing is that of growth: ‘You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy.’ This was said initially to a people going into captivity, whose numbers were going to decrease. Of course, the prophet is using the limits of geographical Israel to illustrate this consequence of the coming of Jesus. He is saying that in the land that was about to be depopulated, there would yet be a population explosion. This is what Jesus has given, is giving and will give to his church.

The third blessing is that of joy through deliverance from slavery: ‘they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil.’ The people that Isaiah preached about had gone to a place where there was no joy; instead they were in captivity. Here we have a vivid picture of the ones who Jesus came to rescue, those who were in captivity to sin and subsequent punishment. They would receive from him the joy of forgiveness and the assurance of being in heaven eventually in order to enjoy total freedom.

The fourth blessing is that of peace, described in 9:5 by the removal of enemy power: ‘For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire.’ Those conquering armies who seemed so powerful to the inhabitants of Galilee picture the spiritual enemies we face. When Jesus came, he defeated the spiritual powers that opposed his people and can now give unto them great peace. This is what he has been doing for almost twenty centuries and will continue to do so.

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