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Even the birthplace of the Messiah was foretold: “Thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He come forth unto Me that is to be Ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”
The work that the Saviour was to do on the earth had been fully outlined: “The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; and shall make Him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord.” The One thus anointed was “to preach good tidings unto the meek; ... to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.”
“Behold My servant, whom I uphold; Mine elect, in whom My soul delighteth; I have put My Spirit upon Him: He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause His voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not quench: He shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till He have set ? Micah 5:2.
$ Isa. 11:2, 3; 61:1-3.
judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for His law."
With convincing power Paul reasoned from the Old Testament Scriptures that “Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead.” Had not Micah prophesied, “They shall smite the Judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek”?" And had not the Promised One, through Isaiah, prophesied of Himself, “I gave My back to the smiters, and My cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not My face from shame and spitting”?" Through the psalmist Christ had foretold the treatment that He should receive from men: “I am ... a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All they that see Me laugh Me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the Lord that He would deliver Him: let Him deliver Him, seeing He delighted in Him.” “I may tell all My bones: they look and stare upon Me. They part My garments among them, and cast lots upon My vesture.' “I am become a stranger unto My brethren, and an alien unto My mother's children. For the zeal of Thine house hath eaten Me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached Thee are fallen upon Me." “Reproach hath broken My heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found
How unmistakably plain were Isaiah's prophecies of Christ's sufferings and death! “Who hath believed our report?” the prophet inquires, “and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed ? For He shall
11 Isa. 50:6.
9 Micah 5:1.
grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.
“Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare His generation? for He was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was He stricken.” 13
Even the manner of His death had been shadowed forth. As the brazen serpent had been uplifted in the wilderness, so was the coming Redeemer to be lifted up, “that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." "
“One shall say unto IIim, What are these wounds in Thine hands? Then He shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of My friends."' 15 13 Isa. 53:1-8. 14 John 3:16.
15 Zech. 13:6.
"He made His grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death; because He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in His mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief.” ""
But He who was to suffer death at the hands of evil men, was to rise again as a conqueror over sin and the grave.
Under the inspiration of the Almighty, the sweet singer of Israel had testified of the glories of the resurrection morn. “My flesh also,” he joyously proclaimed, “shall rest in hope. For Thou wilt not leave My soul in hell [the grave]; neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption."
Paul showed how closely God had linked the sacrificial service with the prophecies relating to the One who was to be “brought as a lamb to the slaughter." The Messiah was to give His life as “an offering for sin.” Looking down through the centuries to the scenes of the Saviour's atonement, the prophet Isaiah had testified that the Lamb of God “poured out His soul unto death: and He was numbered with the transgressors; and “He bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
The Saviour of prophecy was to come, not as a temporal king, to deliver the Jewish nation from earthly oppressors, but as a man among men, to live a life of poverty and humility, and at last to be despised, rejected, and slain. The Saviour foretold in the Old Testament Scriptures was to offer Himself as a sacrifice in behalf of the fallen race, thus fulfilling every requirement of the broken law. In Him 16 Isa. 53:9, 10.
17 Ps. 16:9, 10. IS Isa. 53: 7, 10, 12.
the sacrificial types were to meet their antitype, and His death on the cross was to lend significance to the entire Jewish economy.
Paul told the Thessalonian Jews of his former zeal for the ceremonial law, and of his wonderful experience at the gate of Damascus. Before his conversion he had been confident in a hereditary piety, a false hope. His faith had not been anchored in Christ; he had trusted instead in forms and ceremonies. His zeal for the law had been disconnected from faith in Christ, and was of no avail. While boasting that he was blameless in the performance of the deeds of the law, he had refused the One who made the law of value.
But at the time of his conversion, all had been changed. Jesus of Nazareth, whom he had been persecuting in the person of His saints, appeared before him as the promised Messiah. The persecutor saw Him as the Son of God, the one who had come to the earth in fulfilment of the prophecies, and who in His life had met every specification of the Sacred Writings.
As with holy boldness Paul proclaimed the gospel in the synagogue at Thessalonica, a flood of light was thrown upon the true meaning of the rites and ceremonies connected with the tabernacle service. He carried the minds of his hearers beyond the earthly service and the ministry of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary, to the time when, having completed His mediatorial work, Christ would come again in power and great glory, and establish His kingdom on the earth. Paul was a believer in the second coming of Christ; so clearly and forcibly did he present