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Basic Bible: A King Comes Forth

Isaiah 9:6-7, John 12:12-16

The words of Isaiah 9:6 and 9:7 need to be read with care. Some would claim that the things of which the prophet wrote more than 2,700 years ago have never happened and they would be partially correct. The first part of verse 6 is separated from the second part of verse 6 by more than 2,000 years. The literal reign of Jesus Christ from the throne of David has not happened. Isaiah 9:6 employs both verbs of the present tense and the future tense. The promised child and son is of one time and His reign of another. A literal reading of Isaiah 9:6 and 9:7 requires the promised one to rule from the throne of David in a time different from his birth.

The names: Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, and The Prince of Peace, are names by which the child shall be known when the government is upon His shoulder. The throne of David ceased to exist less than 150 years after Isaiah recorded these words. The throne of David did not physically exist when the promised child was born. The Herods who sat upon the throne in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus’ birth were puppets of Rome, not sons of David. The promise of verse 7 will be literally realized during the one thousand years following the Lord’s return.

New Testament believers know our Lord and Savior to be the promised child because we enjoy a personal relationship with Him. When He ascended to sit at the right-hand of the Father, He sent the Comforter (the Holy Spirit) to bring into remembrance all things which He said and to teach us all things (John 14:26). It is through and by the Holy Spirit that we know Jesus as Wonderful, as Counselor, as one with God the Father, and as the Prince of Peace. Believers realize now (present tense) that which will be known to all when Christ Jesus reigns from the throne of David.

While the rule of our Lord and Savior from the throne of David in Jerusalem is yet future, the proclamation of Jesus as the promised king is two thousand years past. All four gospels record His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. John 12:13 is a record of the words which the people proclaimed, “Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.”

The word “Hosanna” means save now. It is a call to the Lord God to deliver Israel from her enemies. It is the same call of praise that is recorded in Psalm 118:25-26. In Psalm 118, the call for the Lord to save Israel is preceded by the acclamation, “The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.” New Testament believers know that we are “saved now” by believing upon the stone which the builders rejected. We know our Lord and Savior to be the one of whom Isaiah spoke saying, “He is despised and rejected of men” (Isa. 53:3). Our King is Jesus who was despised and rejected. Our King is the one of whom the prophets spoke.

Those who hailed Jesus with Hosannas believed that He would save them now from Roman oppression. Jesus revealed the manner in which He should reign through His actions. Jesus was not a king who would deliver the people from Roman rule. He came riding upon the back of a young donkey (v. 14). He showed Himself to be the one of whom Zechariah spoke saying, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass” (Zech. 9:9). Jesus did not come to deliver the Jews from Roman rule. He came to bring salvation to all who would believe.

The salvation which Jesus brought is that which Peter described as that which “the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come” (I Pet. 1:10). Jesus is the promised grace.

Peter and the other disciples did not understand these things at the first (v. 16). Peter and John and the other disciples witnessed the people cast branches of palm trees before the Lord. They heard the multitude sing out the praises of Psalm 118. They saw Jesus ride into Jerusalem in the manner which Zechariah prophesied. They had been with Jesus for three years. They had witnessed His miracles. They had heard His public sermons and teachings. Jesus had given the private explanations of parables which He had declared publicly. Despite all this, they did not understand at the first. They did not understand until Jesus was glorified. They did not understand until they beheld the resurrected Christ and saw Him ascend to heaven to sit at the right-hand of God the Father. They did not understand until the Comforter caused them to remember all things that the prophets had written of the grace that was to come.

The Holy Spirit has delivered to New Testament believers that which the prophets sought. It is though the foolishness of preaching that God chose to save all that believe (I Cor. 1:21). Let us go, teach and baptize in the name of Him whom we know.

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