III. THE EXALTED CHRIST
Thus far in Isaiah 51 and 52 we have seen both Israel’s return and Israel’s restoration. After their return and their restoration, Israel still needs to know Christ further. Thus far the redeemed, returned, and restored people of God know Christ only as the arm of Jehovah and as the reigning God. This knowledge is very good, but it is not sufficient. God’s people still need to know Christ in the New Testament sense.
The section of the word in the Old Testament from Isaiah 52:13 through Isaiah 53 is a portion that is absolutely in the New Testament sense with the New Testament tone. From my youth, every time I read Isaiah 53 I had the sense that this was a New Testament chapter. The returned and restored Israel still has not come to know Christ in the New Testament sense. They still do not know how Christ died an all-inclusive and vicarious death and then was resurrected. Isaiah 53 gives us a full record of Christ’s death, including a description of the environment of Christ’s death. It tells us how God put all our sins upon Him (v. 6), how He was brought like a lamb to the slaughter (v. 7), and how after His death He was buried (v. 9) and then resurrected (v. 10b). All these things are in the New Testament, but the Old Testament elect did not know these things, and even the Jewish people today do not know these things. They know Jehovah, they know the power of Jehovah, they know the strength of Jehovah, and they know the arm of Jehovah. In their praises to God for the exodus, they did not speak much about the blood. They praised God mainly for His power; very rarely did they praise God for the blood. This means that the Jews know God in His power, they know God in His arm, but they do not know God in His New Testament redemption. They do not know that God became a man, that He died and resurrected, and that He has now become a life-giving Spirit to enter into His elect and dwell in them as the indwelling Spirit. Thus, there is the need of another portion in Isaiah to reveal to them the New Testament Christ.
A. He Will Act Wisely and Will Prosper
Isaiah 52:13a says that Jesus will act wisely and will prosper. After His ascension to the heavens, Jesus has been acting prudently and wisely on this earth, and in whatever He has done He has prospered. Although many attacks have come upon Him, none of these attacks has frustrated Him. Communism tried to frustrate Christ for seventy years, but it was not successful. A recent newspaper article reported that in the parliament of Soviet Russia an announcement was made that Russia no longer wanted atheism. Now, the emptied Russians want the Bible, God, and Christ. When I left Communist China forty-two years ago, there were at the most approximately four million Chinese Christians, including Catholics. Today in China there are more than fifty million believers. The more they are oppressed, the more Christians rise up. Christ acts wisely and prosperously. Who can frustrate Him?
Actually, the book of Acts is not a record of the acts of the apostles. It is a record of the acts of Christ in the heavens through the apostles in their spirit. The acts of the apostle Paul were the acts of Christ, and they were carried out wisely and prosperously. Today no one can defeat Jesus Christ.
(Life-Study of Isaiah, Chapter 48, by Witness Lee)