CHRIST UNVEILED AS IMMANUEL
In Isaiah Christ is unveiled first as the Shoot of Jehovah (4:2a) and then as the Fruit of the earth (4:2b), as a canopy to cover all the interests of God in the whole universe (4:5), and as a tabernacle overshadowing God’s chosen people (4:6). Eventually, this Christ becomes the center of an all-inclusive sign—the sign of a virgin conceiving and bearing a son.
The real fulfillment of this sign was the Lord’s incarnation (Matt. 1:20-23). When Christ came, He was Immanuel, which means God with us (Matt. 1:23). Christ is God with us. This is revealed not only in Matthew 1 but also in Matthew 28, where the Lord Jesus says, "Behold, I am with you all the days until the consummation of the age" (v. 20). Actually, the entire New Testament is an Immanuel, and we are now a part of this great Immanuel that will consummate in the New Jerusalem in the new heaven and new earth for eternity.
Immanuel Being Our Sanctuary
Christ as Immanuel, as the Son born of a virgin, is our sanctuary. This sanctuary is the place where we may live, dwell, and worship God. We are God’s priests, His worshippers, and the sanctuary is the place where we dwell with God. When Christ was incarnated, He became a tabernacle (John 1:14). Tabernacle is a general term used to denote the sanctuary. For us today, the sanctuary is the innermost part of the temple where we as God’s priests worship God, serve God, and dwell with God.
To the Opposers Christ Being a Smiting Stone,
a Rock of Stumbling, a Trap, and a Snare
Christ has many opposers, including the Gentile nations who have invaded His land. These nations compose the image in Daniel 2. To them, Christ will be the smiting stone. According to Daniel 2:34 and 35, He will be the stone that smashes the image into pieces.
In the four Gospels we can see that when Christ was on earth, He was opposed by another category of people. Those in this category included the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Herodians, the scribes, the elders, and certain of the priests. To those in this category Christ was a rock of stumbling (Isa. 8:14b). The ones who fell upon this rock were broken to pieces.
Furthermore, many of those who opposed Christ were cunning and subtle, and in their subtlety they tried to trap or to snare the Lord Jesus. During the Lord’s last visit to Jerusalem, the Pharisees, Sadducees, Herodians, scribes, and others tried over a period of four days to trap Him, to snare Him. Instead, they were eventually trapped and snared by Him. To them, Christ was a trap and a snare (Isa. 8:14c).
We thank the Lord that to us who believe in Him, He, as Immanuel, is our sanctuary. In Him we have God’s presence, and God’s presence is our dwelling, the place where we worship God and serve Him.
(Life-Study of Isaiah, Chapter 8, by Witness Lee)