Friday, February 28, 2014

Pastoral Pings (Plus) ~ Piercing Prophecies of Peace

“But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.”[1]

          As I continue to meditate on the connection between prophecies fulfilled and those awaiting fulfillment, I am in one of the richest, most wonderfully detailed descriptions of the Messiah’s ministry. I am left wondering at the fact that, with such clear descriptions of what to expect, no one saw him coming. However, I am also filled with reverence and awe that such Scriptures as Isaiah 53 affirm that Jesus of Nazareth is the only one who fits the prophetic descriptions of the Savior of the world.

          While there was no one in Jesus’ day who seemed to understand that the Messiah would be pierced, crushed, chastised, and wounded, the prophet had made these facts clear centuries in advance. This did not work as a signpost to tell people that, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”[2]

          Even though there was such a clear prophecy about the Messiah, it wasn’t something that people grabbed hold of when they looked at what was happening to Jesus. The disciples were thoroughly disillusioned and grieved by what they witnessed. This was not only because they were traumatized by what people were doing to him, but that they were shocked because things were not turning out the way they expected.

          This is not to prove that we will not recognize certain aspects of Jesus’ second coming in advance. It is simply to show that one chief characteristic of prophecy was to confirm the first coming of Christ after it happened. The events of Jesus’ first coming were confirmed by Scripture. And, those early prophecies are still proving that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah that God promised.

          So, while no one took this verse as something that would prepare them for the Messiah, it shows how clearly God spoke in advance of what would happen, and how precisely Jesus fulfilled what was written. The testimony of him being pierced by the crown of thorns that was pressed onto his head, and the nails that pierced his arms and legs to secure him to the cross, gave people ample evidence that this was the Messiah Isaiah spoke about, but no one understood what had been written.

          Jesus was crushed under the weight of the cross he had to carry on his torn and bleeding back, and he was crushed under the weight of our sin, judgment, and condemnation, as he bore our sins on his body on that tree.[3] Jesus was chastised with the scourge that was laid across his back by his enemies, while accomplishing peace in such a way that enemies could become the sons of God. And Jesus was clearly wounded for our healing. He was wounded in our place. Four gospel writers tell us what he experienced, confirming the truthfulness of the prophecies.

          The message is clear, that all the prophecies regarding the second coming of Jesus Christ will be fulfilled in like manner as the prophecies regarding the first coming. However, we cannot think that we will see things coming together with such clarity that we can say that Jesus will come in our lifetime, or at a certain time, or in a particular season. The Scriptures tell us what will happen, but not in direct language that would give us the right to say that a particular earthquake is the last one before Jesus comes, or a particular uniting of people around the world is the ultimate antichrist, or a particular government is whichever particular beast.

          Instead, the whole panoramic view of prophecy surrounding the first coming of Christ proves that everything God has revealed about the second coming of Christ will also be fulfilled in like precision no matter how much or little we can pin down to times, or seasons, or circumstances of any kind whatsoever.

          The prophecies are deliberately symbolic so that we have no authority to identify exactly who is going to fulfill what is written. The sevens of Revelation tell us that each thing will be complete in God’s eyes. There is the beast, and the mark of the beast, which indicates something thoroughly man-centered, never in control, never able to carry out that which it desires. The red dragon and his emissaries are all cast into the lake of fire. End of story. Literally!

          Now, there is one prophecy that we can be absolutely certain is being fulfilled in our lives today. It is this: And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.[4] No matter how much our circumstances resemble beasts, antichrists, false prophets, natural disasters, and sin going from bad to worse, the one who sits on the throne is working it all for good in the lives of all his children, wherever they are, and whatever they are going through. Blessed are those who persevere until the end!

          From my heart,


© 2014 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.) 

[1] Isaiah 53:5
[2] Mark 15:39
[3] I Peter 2:24
[4] Romans 8:28

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