The Wisdom of Seeking the Messiah
This art print, "And Wise Men Came Bearing Gifts" by Tom duBois is provided courtesy of Christ-Centered Art" ---New Window.
"But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find Him, if thou seek Him with all thy heart and with all thy soul"
by Tom Stewart
hroughout the ages men have sought for a Messiah to teach them, as a man would teach a man. "15 The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me [Moses]; unto Him ye shall hearken... 17 And the LORD said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken. 18 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put My words in His mouth; and He shall speak unto them all that I shall command Him" (Deuteronomy 18:15, 16-18). Messiah would impart understanding, but His enlightenment would result in personal and collective deliverance. "In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee" (Isaiah 54:14). So much has the concept of deliverance been engrained that the Name Messiah has come to be synonymous with Deliverer. "Save us, O God of our Salvation, and gather us together, and deliver us from the heathen, that we may give thanks to Thy Holy Name, and glory in Thy praise" (1Chronicles 16:35).
"23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. 25 The woman saith unto Him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when He is come, He will tell us all things. 26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am He" (John 4:23-26).
The Almighty has progressively revealed Himself to man in small bites so that we can understand that the Messiah is not merely a man, but Divine. "6 Thy Throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of Thy Kingdom is a right sceptre. 7 Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, Thy God, hath anointed [Hebrew, mashach] Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows" (Psalm 45:6-7). The Psalmist David appropriately was inspired by the LORD God to divulge the Divine Nature of the Coming Messiah. "The LORD [God the Father] said unto my LORD [God the Son], Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool" (110:1). Names and titles ascribed to the Messiah by the prophets require the recipient of the Scriptures to view the Messiah as Divine. "6 For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His Name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7 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. The zeal of the LORD of Hosts will perform this" (Isaiah 9:6-7).
"Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I Am" (John 8:58). "42 Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose Son is He? They say unto Him, The Son of David. 43 He saith unto them, How then doth David in Spirit call Him LORD, saying, 44 The LORD [God the Father] said unto my LORD [God the Son], Sit Thou on My right hand, till I make Thine enemies Thy footstool? 45 If David then call Him LORD, how is He his Son? 46 And no man was able to answer Him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask Him any more questions" (Matthew 22:42-46). "9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip? he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? 10 Believest thou not that I Am in the Father, and the Father in Me? the Words that I speak unto you I speak not of Myself: but the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works. 11 Believe Me that I Am in the Father, and the Father in Me: or else believe Me for the very works' sake" (John 14:9-11).
The Second Psalm is the most concise revelation of the Person and Nature of the Messiah in the Psalms. It begins with a prophecy of the opposition of both Gentile and Jew against the LORD and His Messiah, and manifests Jehovah's wrathful displeasure in their rebellion. "1 Why do the heathen [i.e., the Gentiles] rage, and the people [i.e., Israel, God's peculiar people] imagine a vain thing? 2 The kings of the Earth [i.e., Rome's Pontius Pilate] set themselves, and the rulers [i.e., Israel's Herod Antipas] take counsel together, against the LORD, and against His Anointed [Hebrew, mashiyach, meaning Messiah], saying, 3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us [i.e., both Gentile and Jew assert their intention to break God's Law and live in open rebellion of Jehovah's restraint]. 4 He that sitteth in the Heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision. 5 Then shall He speak unto them in His wrath, and vex them in His sore displeasure" (2:1-5). The Almighty establishes the Kingdom of the Messiah; and accordingly, the Messiah declares Himself to be the Son of God and royally decrees His Own Universal Dominion. "6 Yet have I set My King upon My holy hill of Zion. 7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto Me, Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten Thee. 8 Ask of Me, and I shall give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the Earth for Thy possession. 9 Thou shalt break them with a Rod of Iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel" (2:6-9). Wisdom is to submit to God; and, the Salvation of rebellious man resides in making peace with the Messiah, placing their confidence in the beneficence of the Messiah, Who will ultimately set in Judgment over the whole Earth. "10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the Earth. 11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and ye perish from the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him" (2:10-12).
"24 And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, LORD, Thou art God, which hast made Heaven, and Earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: 25 Who by the mouth of Thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? 26 The kings of the Earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the LORD, and against His Christ. 27 For of a truth against Thy Holy Child Jesus, Whom Thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, 28 for to do whatsoever Thy hand and Thy Counsel determined before to be done" (Acts 4:24-28).
A unique feature of the office of the Messiah is His prophesied role of preaching the Good News of comfort to the meek, succor to the helpless, and fearful warning to the defiant. "1 The Spirit of the LORD GOD is upon Me; because the LORD hath anointed Me to preach Good Tidings unto the meek; He hath sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; 2 to proclaim the Acceptable Year of the LORD, and the Day of Vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn" (Isaiah 61:1-2). The unexpected role of a kingly Messiah that serves His people from His Limitless Strength, surprises but rejoices His subjects. "9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: He is just, and having Salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. 10 And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and He shall speak peace unto the heathen: and His dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the Earth" (Zechariah 9:9-10).
"18 The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 to preach the Acceptable Year of the LORD. 20 And He [Jesus] closed the Book, and He gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on Him. 21 And He began to say unto them, This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears" (Luke 4:18-21). "9 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the LORD; Hosanna in the highest. 10 And when He was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? 11 And the multitude said, This is Jesus the Prophet of Nazareth of Galilee" (Matthew 21:9-11).
Daniel prophesied of two advents of the Messiah directly into the day-to-day affairs of man. Messiah's Second Advent is described first with the finality of Messiah the Judge's ruling, i.e., "finish", "make an end", "seal up". Messiah the Prince will "be cut off, but not for Himself", indicating that He will die a sacrificial death on behalf of others. "24 Seventy weeks are determined upon Thy people and upon Thy Holy City, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in Everlasting Righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy [i.e., Messiah's Second Advent]. 25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. 26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself [i.e., Messiah's First Advent]: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined" (Daniel 9:24-26). (Please read "Antichrist Shall Come" ---New Window)
This art print, "Behold, I Bring You Good Tidings of Great Joy" by Tom duBois is provided courtesy of Christ-Centered Art" ---New Window.
Messiah's First Advent: "1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. 2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5 to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with Child. 6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. 8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the LORD came upon them, and the glory of the LORD shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you Good Tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the LORD. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth peace, good will toward men" (Luke 2:1-14).
Messiah's Second Advent: "11 And I saw Heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war. 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a Name written, that no man knew, but He Himself. 13 And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in Blood: and His Name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which were in Heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 And out of His mouth goeth a Sharp Sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a Rod of Iron: and He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a Name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS" (Revelation 19:11-16).
In conclusion, the Scriptures attest to the Wisdom of seeking the Messiah. "Seek ye the LORD while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near" (Isaiah 55:6). The blessedness of finding the Messiah is promised to all wholehearted seekers of God. "But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find Him, if thou seek Him with all thy heart and with all thy soul" (Deuteronomy 4:29). The question remains whether our quest for the Messiah places us in the category of Rejecters of the Messiah... "9 And He said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. 10 Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed" (Isaiah 6:9-10). Or, will we be Receivers of the Messiah? "But Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an Everlasting Salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end" (45:17).
"Therefore the LORD Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His Name Immanuel"
"And she shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His Name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins"
"But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ [literally, the Anointed], the Son of God; and that believing ye might have Life through His Name"
Amen, and Amen.
Salvation is of the Jews ---New Window
Or, Pray for the Conversion of Israel
by Tom Stewart
"Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for Salvation is of the Jews"
We, the Church, are bondservants of the LORD Jesus Christ, "Who gave Himself a ransom for all" (1Timothy 2:6), and we owe the Gospel to all men-- "to the Jew first, and also to the Greek" (Romans 1:16). But, especially do we owe the Gospel to Israel, for they transmitted to us Jehovah's "Covenants of Promise" (Ephesians 2:12)-- "unto them were committed the Oracles of God [the Scriptures]" (Romans 3:2)-- that pointed us to Jesus Christ. Israel will soon be converted to Jesus the Messiah, Who is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem" (Psalm 122:6). Pray that the LORD will fulfill His Word that Israel will again know Him, i.e., "thou shalt know that I am the LORD" (Isaiah 49:23).
The Amazing Humanity of Jesus Christ ---New Window
Or, The Benefit of Christ's Birth
by Tom Stewart
"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only Begotten of the Father,) full of Grace and Truth"
The Old Testament of the Scriptures is replete with clues of God's purpose to redeem and govern mankind through the human advent of the Divine Son of God. "6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7 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. The zeal of the LORD of Hosts will perform this" (Isaiah 9:6-7). What astounds us is that the Son of God condescended to become a man-- to suffer all the difficulties of the flesh and the human condition, "yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:15). Heaven will surely be filled with the Saints' praise and admiration for so bold an act of love that the Son of Man would become human flesh and then "lay down His life for His friends" (John 15:13). "Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you" (15:14).
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