Old Testament Quotations in the New Testament, Part 70

“But though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him; that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke, ‘Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?’ ” John 12:37-38 (NAS)

Twice this quote from the book of Isaiah is cited by apostles of Jesus Christ. 

Here in the gospel of John and  in part by the apostle Paul in his letter to the Roman church in chapter ten, verse sixteen: “However, they did not all heed the glad tidings; for Isaiah says, ‘ Lord, who has believed our report?’ ” (NAS). The passage is from one of the best known and oft quoted messianic chapters of the Old Testament, Isaiah fifty-three. “Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?” (Isa. 53:1) This inspired statement by the prophet follows the call for Zion to awake, loosen the chains of bondage and clothe herself in beautiful garments (of salvation) because she would hear the good news and declaration she will be redeemed, saved and restored through the sight of the LORD’s holy arm being bared via His servant . (Isaiah 52) As has been well stated previously by many, the term “arm of the LORD” is symbolic of the power of God. When we see this term in Old Testament passages it should spark our spiritual understanding to recognize these often refer prophetically to Jesus Christ. The heavenly verdict regarding this message of Jesus Christ, the bared arm of the LORD revealed by Isaiah and that which God had given all the Old Testament “prophets in many portions and many ways” (Heb. 1:1) would not only be misunderstood, but outright rejected by many, as the prophet laments, “who has believed our report?” The closest description we have to Jesus in the flesh is Isaiah’s utterances in verse two of chapter fifty-three and only then it is a general reference to the lack of a “stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.” Brethren, this is a key principle the LORD is revealing to those who would be “looking” for the Christ. It would have nothing to do with the physical form or power but rather the spiritual character, power and nature of the person of the Servant. Thus the lack of information in the Scripture concerning what Jesus looked like. The power of the Messiah was not only in signs and miracles, but in fulfilling all the prophetic utterances regarding His ministry, and His offering of Himself for the sins of all people. However, the real power of the Arm of the LORD resided in His ability to rise from the dead, ascend to true holy of Holies in heaven and offer His spiritual blood to rescue sinners from the power of death. No offering of the blood, no forgiveness of sins, right? As Isaiah was moved to say, “Behold, My servant will prosper, He will be high and lifted up, and greatly exalted.” (Isa. 52:13) Did Jesus prosper while He was on earth? The answer is an obvious no. This means His being “high and lifted up and greatly exalted” has to do with His position in glory. This, according to the word of God, is the problem among the spiritually blind as the context surrounding John’s citation of this passage makes clear when he goes on to note, “For this cause they could not believe, for Isaiah said again, ‘He has blinded their eyes, and He hardened their heart; lest they see with their eyes, and perceive with their heart, and be converted, and I heal them.’ These things Isaiah said, because he saw His glory, and he spoke of Him.” (John 12:39-41) John, referencing Isaiah six, states clearly that who Isaiah saw was Jesus in glory. Isaiah six says the prophet saw Jehovah God sitting on His throne. Therefore, Jesus is Jehovah, the mighty Arm of the LORD revealed according to prophesy! The question now is, “Do you personally believe this report? Do you know Jesus, as revealed in the Scripture? Do you know who you are in Jesus, O Zion?” To be clothed in the beautiful garment of Christ, to be loosed from captivity, redeemed and awakened from a spiritual stupor is predicated upon understanding O Zion, (the church, per Heb. 12:22-24) “Your God reigns!” (Isa. 52:7b)  The real power in the church fulfilling her purpose is understanding “The LORD has bared His holy arm in the sight of all the nations, that all the ends of the earth may see the salvation of our God.” (Isa. 52:10) Go open their eyes with the good news He’s been revealed in glory. He reigns! Amen.


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