Saturday, December 5, 2009

His Coming Brings Increase and Joy

You have multiplied the nation;
You have increased its joy;
They rejoice before you
As with joy at the harvest,
As they are glad when they divide the spoil.
(Isaiah 9:3 ESV)
The prophet Isaiah has slipped into prophetic poetry (beginning in verse 2; see His Coming Brings Light). It was not the song the people in his own day were singing but one that would arise in the northern and southern territory of Galilee. It is cast in a prophetic tense, and that he sings it as though it were already accomplished demonstrates the surety that it would come to pass.

The Hebrew word for “multiplied” means increase, abundance, expansion, enlargement, to become great and many. Israel, the people of the promise given to Abraham, would multiply and increase, in number and influence, because of the light that would dawn in Galilee. But there would also be an increase in joy, like that of harvest time. The time of sowing in tears past; the time of reaping and gathering begun. A festival time. And gladness, like that of dividing the spoils. Ecstatic joy! The Hebrew word for “gladness” here literally means to turn about or spin around. Why? Because the enemy has been broken and what was stolen has been restored, with plenty more besides. See how the prophet sings in verses 4-5:
For the yoke of his burden,
And the staff for his shoulder,
The rod of his oppressor,
You have broken as on the day of Midian.
For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult
And every garment rolled in blood
Will be burned as fuel for the fire.
(ESV)
The lifting of the burden, the breaking of the yoke, deliverance from the oppressor — this is the work of the anointing (see Isaiah 10:27; the KJV particularly brings out that this is anointing). It is the work of the Anointed One — Messiah! It is fulfilled in the coming of King Jesus, who took the text of Isaiah 61as the charter of His ministry. Standing in the synagogue to read, as He began His ministry, He unfolded the scroll of Isaiah to that place and began:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.
Then sitting down to teach, He announced, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:17-22). It was the kingdom of God breaking into the world. Not all at once and in all its fullness, but as a seed that has been growing and expanding ever since.

All this the prophet foretold would begin in Galilee, in the circle of the nations. For as Isaiah 9:6-7 will go on to show, it is not only for Israel’s, but for all the nations of the earth (see His Coming Brings Divine Dominion).

The coming of King Jesus the Messiah into the world brings abundance of blessing and ecstatic joy.



Let Earth Receive Her King
Let Earth Receive Her King
Advent, Christmas and the Kingdom of God
by Jeff Doles

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Available in paperback and Kindle (Amazon), epub (Google and iTunes) and PDF.