Summary: Several 100 of years before the first Christmas, God promised the redeemer would come.
Several 100 of years before the first Christmas, God promised the redeemer would come.
God declares through His prophet Isaiah a promise to a people who say they are God's chosen yet they have turned away from the Living God.
Let us read Isaiah 59:20 “The Redeemer will come to Zion (Jerusalem), And to those who turn from transgression in Jacob,” Says the Lord.
So I ask a question of the text. What is a redeemer?
In the culture of the time of the promise a redeemer was a man, a close relative of the same tribe, who buys back or pays the cost of what had been taken or lost from that relative. In verse 20 the prophet Isaiah is saying the redeemer will come to Zion or Jerusalem. This is not only a physical place on this earth where the redeemer will walk, but also represents a spiritual condition. In the original language of the Bible the word translated Zion or Jerusalem also means parched, or a dry place. Which physically we know Jerusalem is, but is also referring to spiritually.
Humanity at the time of this promise had turned their back on the living God, the creator of heaven and earth and all things good. God's own people had turned their back on their creator. Let us discover the situation in their hearts, which is confessed through their own mouths.
Isaiah 59:12-13 “For our transgressions are multiplied before You, And our sins testify against us; For our transgressions are with us, And as for our iniquities, we know them: In transgressing and lying against the Lord, And departing from our God, Speaking oppression and revolt, Conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood."
This is a people who were called by God to be a servant, a light to the nations of the world, to reveal God's glory in humanity, so that the world may know Him.
God's own people are saying, we knowingly have rebelled, and turned from you God and knowing lied against you God. We knowingly choose to live our life away from you God. We knowingly choose to be unfair and oppress others. In fact we carefully planed our deceitful lies.
Let's read Isaiah 59:14 to see the result of life without God. 'Justice is turned back, And righteousness stands afar off; For truth is fallen in the street, And equity cannot enter.'
God's own people have become one with evil, their hearts full of selfish desires, not only full of selfish desires but choose to be one with evil. Truth is gone. Justice is gone. Honesty is forbidden. Anyone who does not call evil good is oppressed and persecuted.
The very thing humanity attempted to control has became the controlling force over humanity.
Their thoughts and hearts are controlled by selfish desires. God's own people are living without Him. The culture of humanity without God - becomes spiritually dry, living in conflict, darkness and evil, becoming one with conflict, darkness and evil. Conflict is unequal relationships of oppression and abuse. Darkness is life without God, a darkness so dark it can be felt. It is spiritual, mental and physical. Evil is death, destruction and everything wrong with this world.
That is the situation into which God gave His promise. God not only promises the redeemer will come, but also what the redeemer will do. The redeemer will pay the price, the cost, for all the offences ever done by humanity against each other and against God. The redeemer will restore what humanity gave to evil and as a result what evil has taken from humanity. The redeemer will heal the broken hearted, break the chains of oppression, give freedom to the captives, establish God's kingdom of justice and equality, defeat evil and ultimately totally eliminate it. Evil will has no power and no place in God's kingdom.
In God's promise that the redeemer will come, God Himself comes. God makes Himself makes personal, intimate and relational. God Himself will become human.
Let us read more of Isaiah 59 and verse 21 “As for Me,” says the Lord, “this is My covenant with them: My Spirit who is upon you and My words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your descendants, nor from the mouth of your descendants’ descendants,” says the Lord, “from this time and forevermore.”
So when the redeemer comes God will pour out His Spirit. In this context when God says the redeemer will come and this is my covenant it is more than a promise, it means an alliance, it means a deep personal, intimate bond and relationship identifying with each other, bound by the promise. The God who created heaven and earth and all things good makes His promise not only for one tribe, but also to all humanity, to the tribe of humanity.