Ichabod explores the Age of Apostasy, predicted in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, with an emphasis on UOJ, Church Growth, and Emergent Church heresies. The antidote to these poisons is trusting the efficacious Word in the Means of Grace. John 16:8. Most readers are WELS, LCMS, ELS, or ELCA. This blog also covers the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, and the mainline denominations.
The Glory Has Departed
Lutheran book boxes sent to three African seminaries -
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4
52:13 Behold, My Servant shall deal prudently; He shall be exalted and extolled and be very high. 14 Just as many were astonished at you, So His visage was marred more than any man, And His form more than the sons of men; 15 So shall He sprinkle[b] many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths at Him; For what had not been told them they shall see, And what they had not heard they shall consider.
53 Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? 2 For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him. 3 He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
4 Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth. 8 He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken. 9 And theymade His grave with the wicked— But with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth.
10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. 11 He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many,And made intercession for the transgressors.
Jesus the Savior Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. This reading is often called the Gospel of the Old Testament, because the verses spell out the work of the Redeemer and His purpose as our Savior. This is difficult for the apostates to comprehend, because they do not like the idea of sins forgiven, making them sinful, and they do not need a Savior. That is, many think this way until various circumstances come together with the Word of God, they become contrite for their sins, and they hear the Gospel. The existence of this passage in the Old Testament shows us how God was teaching the work of Christ to His people long before the Incarnation. Why did the Gospel take root among the Jewish people so fast and spread like a fire? As also did the persecutions? Because this preparation was so thorough the Jesus fulfilled so many Messianic prophesies. Of course, He fulfilled all of them, but many were so clear that they could not be denied as a group of verses all in agreement with what Jesus and suffered. Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; To be our Savior, He endured the pain, agony, and rejection of the Redeemer, paying once and for all for our sins. Perhaps not when busy and caught up in many things, but eventually everyone wants peace. There are false concepts of peace, based on material desires, but the greatest pain and disturbance comes from within so the greatest castle and the largest piles of gold will do no good for the person tormented by sins. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. This is the clearest possible statement of Jesus as the Savior. This happened for a reason. Hebrew verse often repeats the same idea in different words, which we see here - four statements, all parallel, each one using different words. There are those who howl that we should not have so many Means of Grace. They said, as if they were God's counselors, God does not need that many means. But man does. Applying that reasoning to this section, we could say that four parallel statements are too much. But they are not. It is beautiful and comforting language, and ends with - we are healed. "Your faith has saved you" is the same as "Your faith has healed you." Those who do not like being saved would gladly be healed in a hospital. These terms merge together because forgiveness is healing and salvation. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. In many ways, the double-minded person does not like the pain and suffering of the crucifixion, so it is explained away or simply denied. God is not like that, they say. But this shows us that God's thoughts are not our thoughts, and His ways are not our ways. Our logic runs counter to the divine Will. God was pleased to make this offering for our sin. The Son will suffer but be glorified above all in Creation for His work for us. And His work will prosper. He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities. There is no way to soften the meaning, the torture and the violence of the crucifixion. Worst of all Jesus was all but abandoned and cried out to God, quoting the Psalm - Why have You abandoned Me? But by these means, by the cross and suffering, Jesus the Righteous Servant declares many (not all) forgiven by believing in Him. His righteousness becomes ours through faith. The Gospel itself plants and nurtures this faith, as we experience when we hear these words again. That way we can say, as Luther taught. "Those are my sins on the cross. He suffered for Me, so that I might have that peace that passes all human understanding.