Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm20010613.htm
CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS BY ISAIAH'S PROPHECIES
Part V: Christ Predicted In His Current Heavenly Ministry
(Isaiah 53:12; 49:5-6)
Lesson: Jesus of Nazareth is God's Messiah and God though He has not lived in visible form on the earth since His resurrection: (1) His heavenly intercession is backed by Scripture and (2) testified by believers, and (3) God has fulfilled Isaiah 49:5-6 in making this rejected Messiah a light to the world!
- The credibility of our Christian faith falls or rises on the credibility of Jesus Christ.
- That being so, the Christian faith bears the responsibility of explaining how its Founder, Jesus of Nazareth could be God if He lived so many years ago and hasn't been seen since His alleged death and resurrection.
- Isaiah 53:12 and 49:5-6 predicts what Messiah and God would do following His passion, and reveals the credibility of Jesus of Nazareth as being the Messiah and God in light of present realities (as follows):
- Christ Predicted In His Current Heavenly Ministry, Isaiah 53:12; 49:5-6.
- The Isaiah scroll of the Dead Sea Scrolls consists of all 66 chapters of Isaiah's prophecy, and is written as a single literary unit credited to Isaiah. It is dated by paleontologists around 150 B. C., or approximately 146 years before Christ's birth, Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, vol. 3, page 320.
- This scroll predicts Messiah would have a certain spiritual ministry following His death and resurrection, a ministry with a worldwide affect we can document from history as follows:
- Isaiah 53:8-10 predicted Messiah would be cut off and die as a sacrifice for the sins of others, be buried with the wealthy only to have His days prolonged by an implied resurrection because He was sinless. After this passion, He would intercede for the sins of transgressors according to Isaiah 53:12c. Well, Hebrews 9:24 with 4:14-16 and 1 John 2:1-2 recount how Jesus passed into heaven after His passion to intercede for the sins of believers, cf. The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Old Testament, p. 1109.
- Isaiah 49:5-6 predicts Messiah would not see Israel gathered unto God in righteousness after His initial appearance to the nation. In view of this challenge, God would then cause His Messiah to be a light to the Gentiles as a salvation "unto the end of the earth," Isaiah 49:6. We can reveal not only in Scripture, but also in history as noted by secular historians how this has come true following Jesus' earthly life:
- The book of Acts recounts how the Early Church witness spread from Jerusalem's humble beginnings to make deep inroads into the Roman Empire: (a) The key verse of Acts 1:8 describes how the disciples would be witnessed in Jerusalem, then in Judaea, followed by ministry in Samaria and concluded with an outreach to the ends of the earth. (b) Acts 1:1-8:3 records how the Early Church ministered first in Jerusalem, where (c) Acts 8:4-12:25 relates how it reached out to all of Palestine and Syria. (d) Acts 13:1-28:21 details how the faith make inroads unto the ends of the earth, cf. Ryrie Study Bible: King James Version, p. 1537-1538.
- Even secular historians note the tremendous growth of Christianity from its obscure origins: Edward McNall Burns in his book, Western Civilizations, noted that Christianity's founder, "Jesus of Nazareth was born in a small town of Judea some time near the beginning of the Christian era. Judea was then under Roman rule . . . the atmosphere of the country was charged with religious emotionalism and political discontent . . ." Then, after speaking of the development of the Christian faith, he noted: "By the beginning of the Middle Ages the triumph of Christianity over all its rivals was almost complete. The emperor Galerius' edict of toleration in 311 was already an admission that the religion was too strong to be stamped out by persecution. By a series of decrees between 380 and 392 Christianity was recognized as the only lawful faith of the Roman Empire. How is this triumph to be explained?" He then supplies his own secularized ideas of this tremendous growth. In reality, God did it in fulfillment of His pledge to the rejected Messiah, Jesus, cf. Isaiah 49:6!
Application: We can rely on (1) New Testament Scripture testimony and (2) personal testimonies of Christ's work in their lives plus (3) a growth of the faith from obscurity to dominate even the Roman Empire, a growth secular historians note as immense, for evidences that Jesus is Messiah and God.