Translations: Chinese GB Big5

Messiah - God's Hidden Weapon

Isaiah 49:1-3
Listen to me, you islands; hear this, you distant nations: Before I was born the LORD called me; from my birth he has made mention of my name. He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver.  He said to me, "You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendor."


Comment

Here in Isaiah 49 we see some prophetic introduction of the Messiah. It's important to understand that what God was doing in history with Israel was allegorical of something greater and something global; namely the coming of the Messiah, our LORD Jesus Christ. The passages of the Messiah seem at times awkwardly inserted in the text, unless we see that deeper meaning of what was happening with Israel was intimately tied to the coming the Messiah. In fact here and a number of places in Isaiah the Messiah is referred to as "my servant, Israel". Notice how the New Testament interprets prophecies concerning the messiah such as in Matt 2:15 "And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: 'Out of Egypt I called my son.'", where Israel's departure from Egypt is allegorized to apply to the Messiah.

Now consider the characteristics of the Messiah described here. His mouth is like a sharpened sword.

Revelation 1:16  In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.

Revelation 2:16  Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

Revelation 19:15  Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.

The sword is, of course, his own words. For the sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. This is not a gentle view of the Messiah. This metaphor implies confrontation, judgment and hostility.

Notice also the metaphor of hiding in his quiver and in the shadow of his hand. The Messiah's first coming will be in humility and obscurity, but launch out from there to have a global and eternal impact.

It's important for Christians to grasp characteristics of the Messiah, for "because in this world we are like him." 1John 4:17 And "whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did." 1 John 2:6 Therefore we must take up the sword of the Spirit and confront people with the Word of God, but doing so from a position of humility rather than fanfare. Notice also it speaks twice of God making him into the kind of vessel suitable for the task. We are not alone. God makes us into the kind of vessels fit for the master's use.

"if anyone (departs from iniquity), he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work." 2Tim 2:21

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