December 8, 2011

8. 12 Days to Christmas - Messiah’s Promise


8. Messiah's Promise

Isaiah 54:1-17

God fulfills every promise He has made!

You may recall back on Day 4 in Isaiah 52, Isaiah started talking about a great homecoming for all those who believed. Then on our Day 5, Isaiah gave a picture regarding the sacrificial suffering of the Messiah Servant. Now in Isaiah 54, we see the reason for the suffering. We see that because of this coming Messah's suffering and subsequent exultation and vindication, that God will make a New Covenant with all the peoples of the world!

God has always kept the promises He made with people! Promises to Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses and David were also kept by God! God is ever faithful and always true to His word! And here God reminds them through Isaiah of three promises or covenants He has made: Abraham, Moses and Noah.

Past - Covenant with Abraham!

Here in Isaiah 54:1-3 God reminds the people through Isaiah, that God has always kept His promises to His people! If they looked back at the covenant promises made to Abraham, they would see this (Genesis 12:1-3)! When they go into exile, keep hold of the promises of God and be obedient to Him! God is always faithful and wants their total obedience to Him!

How are these verses of Isaiah 54:1-3, are meant to be a reminder of the covenant with Abraham? The mention of the barren woman (1), tent (2) and descendants (3) would all bring to mind God's promises to Abraham... The barren woman, would be a reminder that Abraham and Sarah were aged and childless. The tent would act as a reminder that Abraham was a tent-dweller in an alien land. The descendants would remember that they themselves are descendants from Abraham! And God has promised in 54:3 that they will return to the land of Abraham and populate there once more.

The Abrahamic covenant is a link to all of God's activities and programs until the end of time, when Jesus returns to gather His people to Himself. That is how important it was, particularly to Israel! The covenant had aspects for Abraham personally, as well as aspects that applied to all nations.

Past - Covenant with Moses

Now in Isiaah 54:4-8, God moves to the covenant He made with Moses (Exodus 19v5-8). When as a young nation, Israel was in exile and slavery in Egypt - it was an embarrassment to her. Now as a nation she was like an aged widow, she was due to be in exile again, but in Babylon this time. But just as God made the covenant with Israel on Mount Sinai after escaping from Egypt, so too would God restore her to Himself once again and be her husband and Redeemer.

The covenant with Moses begins with a stipulation "Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to me." (Exodus 19v5). This covenant was to Israel in order that those who believed God's promise to Abraham would know how to live righteously and obediently.

Past - Covenant with Noah!

Next God talks about his promise to Noah (Genesis 9v1-19)! Now instead of just a covenant with Israel, this is a covenant with the whole world! After the flood, Noah and his descendants spread throughout the world, bringing new life and God's blessing to all parts. The flood is symbolic of the coming period that Israel will spend in exile, and all of the people of Israel are likened to the family of Noah and their descendants. God will protect them in exile, just as He did Noah and his family through the flood.

God has always kept his promises to Israel! But Israel has not always been faithful!

Future - Promised New City

Now the Lord talks about the future - the now but not yet. A great city is built to house all those who are God's people as a reward for their obedient faithfulness despite trials, sufferings and persecution! Here Isaiah links also to the coming Messiah! Remember the Messiah was also a Disciple taught by God (Isaiah 50:4), then so were they (54:13)! Just has He had suffered (Isaiah 53:4), so have they (Isaiah 54:11)! Just as He was justified (Isaiah 50:8), so would they be (Isaiah 54:17). Those who serve God Almighty with faithful obedience will share in the sufferings of the Messiah King but also participate in His glory, because they are His children. Because of the Messiah Servant's sacrificial suffering they will be able to live in the city of God forever! God is going to make a new Covenant with people - and He can be trusted to keep His promises!

How is Jesus this Messiah?

Both the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel talk about the promise of this New Covenant that God will have with all of humanity. What is this New Covenant that God is making?

Four features of this covenant are:

  • Regeneration -God will write His law on the hearts of people. (Jeremiah 31v33)
  • Restoration - God will be their God, and they will be God's people. (Jeremiah 31v33)
  • Promised Holy Spirit - God will indwell people and they will be led by Him (Jeremiah 31v 34)
  • Justification - Sins will be forgiven and removed eternally (Jeremiah 31v34)

What does all this have to do with Jesus? This New Covenant is sealed only through the perfect sacrifice of the God-Man Jesus on the cross as spoken of in Isaiah 53:1-12. His blood ensures the truth of this New Covenant. His death pays the penalty for the sins of all people who say yes to God and His New Covenant. This New Covenant is contrasted with the Old Covenant or the Mosaic covenant (Jeremiah 31v32; Hebrews 8v6-13) because this New Covenant finalizes what the Mosaic Covenant could only point to: the follower of God living in a righteous life conforming to God's holy character. In this way, Jesus is also the redeemer of the Church and the redeemer mentioned in Isaiah 54:5 & Isaiah 54:7! He is the redeemer spoken about by Job (Job 19:25)!


Jesus Christ is the head of the church! The church is married to Jesus Christ and is frequently described as a bride! Just as the people of Israel were in Isaiah 54! How are the church linked to Jesus Christ?

The Church is the Body of Christ - it is a living organism and not merely an organization (Ephesians 1v22, 23; 4v15-16). We are all baptized into one body (1 Corinthians 12v13) and this body is made up of many parts or believers. Each believer has a vitally necessary and important function (Ephesians 4v15; 1 Corinthians 12v13).

The Church is the Bride of Christ - which suggests the purity, holiness and faithfulness of God's people. Furthermore it suggests the great love that Jesus Christ has for His Church, the Bride (Ephesians 5v25-32; 2 Corinthians 11v2; Rev 19v7.22v17)

The Church is the Temple of Christ - Christ is building a spiritual temple with Himself as the Cornerstone or foundation. As Christian Disciples we are living stones and God dwells within the temple, filling it with all His fullness (Ephesians 2v22; 1 Peter 2v5)

God keeps His promises - Jesus is proof of that!

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