THIS remarkable verse, at the conclusion of the rnuch loved Advent verses, is not, unfortunately, remembered and quoted as often as its predecessors:
'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. 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 judgement and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform this'. (Isa. 9:6-7)
It should be noted here Dr Scofield made clear that 'the Throne of David' is a phrase as definite, historically, as 'Throne of Caesars', and as little admits to 'spiritualizing'. He cites the Davidic Covenant of 2 Samuel 7: 8-17. Thus as Throne and Kingdom are mentioned, and as both refer to the context of the Throne over Israel, the 'Increase' must also be within the compass of His servant people.
But what happened? 'The Lord sent a word unto Jacob, and it hath lighted upon Israel'.
But what part of Israel? Not to the Jacob represented in Jewry, for John's gospel makes it clear that the Word, the True Light, 'came unto His own, and His own received him not'. It was Caiaphas who made this rejection official and very clear when he said, 'We will not have this man to rule over us'.
If not to the Jacob in Israel-Jewry, to whom? Surely the opening verses of this chapter provide the context when they mention Zebulon and the land of Naphtali 'by way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the Nations'. These are the 'people who walked in darkness' who 'hath seen a great light; they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined'. This is the Israel involved; this is the Galilee of the nations, this is Benjamin territory and Benjamin was the 'light-bearing tribe' (1 Kings 11:35-36).
It is well known that all the Disciples (save Judas) came from Galilee. They were the ones, in particular, who saw and 'accepted the great light' - our Lord Himself. And there is abundant evidence that they faithfully witnessed to that light long after His ascension in fulfilment of the great Commission to go into all the world.
Our Lord Himself is the Word Incarnate. He is the Word made flesh Who was in the beginning with God and was God. And He was sent, as He Himself declared, 'to the lost sheep of the House of Israel', He 'visited and redeemed His people'. According to Mark's Gospel: 'Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God'. Matthew makes it even more clear:
'And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt at Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, The land of Zabulon and the land of Nephthalim by way of the sea, beyond Jordan. Galilee of the Gentiles (Note how translators have altered the word 'nations' into 'gentiles' wrongly!) The people which sat in darkness saw a great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up'. (Matt. 4:13-16)
The Scriptures themselves declare this prophecy fulfilled. The Lord is the Light and the geographical territory of the Light's recipients is clearly defined. His words and His ministry. He visited and redeemed His people, but it seemed that only the Galilean-Benjaminites fully accepted Him to the point of following.
It is the word 'sent' which is so important. The Lord 'sent' demands our attention. Here the word for Lord is Adonai, not Jehova, and doesn't often appear. It means 'the god of the earth,' a wider revelation than Jehovah, usually associated with kingship and the presencing of Himself within the nation. Thus it was the Godhead of Elohim that sent the Second Person of the Tri-unity, the Eternal Son, to redeem Creation and 'His people'. The Word lighted upon Israel when 'He visited and redeemed'. He said He was not sent but unto the House of Israel and also charged His disciples with a similar mission.
Also to 'whosoever believeth on him'. In Acts 13:26 we read 'Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham AND WHOSOEVER AMONG YOU FEARETH GOD, to you is the word of this salvation sent'. John 3:16 is an invitation to all - to 'whosoever' believeth on Him - to have 'everlasting life'.
Jesus, like John the Baptist, was 'Sent from God'. Paul tells us, as he did the Galatians (4:4)
'But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law. To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons'.
The 'time' that was come would refer to the Messianic prophecy in the seventieth week period of His coming unto His own, and which Daniel gives so clearly in the ninth chapter. He came, and His ministry began 'on time' at the end of the 69th week of this prophecy and he was 'cut off' in the midst of the 70th week. Or, as Paul writes to Titus about 'the great God and our Saviour', 'Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works'. (2:13-14)
'God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved' (John 3:17). He came to do the will of Him that sent him. He came to reveal the Father, for He said, 'he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father', and 'I and the Father are one'. Yet in this great Advent description He is 'the Mighty God, the everlasting father'! Truly great is the mystery of Godliness and the Godhead!
Our Lord added the great truth that 'he that believeth on Me, believeth not on Me, but on Hirn that sent Me, and he that seeth Me seeth Him that sent Me'. (John 12:44-45)
So God sent Himself into the world. God sent Himself, in the Word, into Jacob. God Himself, in Christ, lighteth upon Israel! He is the true light in Israel's darkness and He commissioned those of the lightbearing Tribe to reveal that Light. He is the light to lighten the Gentiles (ethnos - nations) and the glory of His people Israel.
How wonderful that those who walked in darkness saw, AND RECEIVED this great light - these Galilean-Benjaminites, the first of the true disciples.
In that most sacred prophetic Psalm (80), its theme repeated in Isaiah (ch. 5) and Matthew (ch. 21), there is a reference to a branch that He madest strong. Our Lord is the Branch of course. But there is also reference in the same context to 'the man at thy right hand'. Was not Benjamin called 'the son of my right hand' by Jacob? This beloved of Rachel, named by her on her death-bed as Benoni, - son of my sorrow? How significant that the call in this Psalm is to Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh the Birthright Tribes as sons of Joseph, and the light bearing tribe of Benjamin.
0 that the last verse could be realized by our present generation!
'Quicken us, and we will call upon thy name. Turn us again. 0 Lord God of Hosts, cause thy face to shine: and we shall be saved.'
'Saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us - that we might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness' (Luke 1:71, 74-5).
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