The Secret of Israel (12) – Immanuel

editor - 22 March 2019

That the coming saviour and king of the end time would come from Israel was quite clear. In the Prophets God repeatedly indicated His loyalty towards the house of king David, the man after His own heart.

Ezekiel spoke about God’s Shepherd who would gather all Israel and would graze the people in God’s ways. “My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd.” (Ezekiel 37:24). And thus Jeremiah had prophesied too: “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.” (Jeremiah 23:5).

Another great prophet, Isaiah, wrote his songs about God’s Servant (Isaiah 40-53). With them he pointed at the calling of Israel and the irrevocability of God’s covenant with his people, but every now and then the light fell on one Jew, one person in the midst of his people who was called by God as the Messiah (Isaiah 49 and 53). But that God would come so close as in the person of Jesus of Nazareth no one had really expected.

When the angel tells Joseph that Mary’s son will be named Immanuel, we must pronounce that name where it was heard firstly, in Israel. Only then we understand the secret of the embodiment, the Incarnation. God himself descended in his Son to His people. To see Jesus only as God-man is incorrect, much to general, much to universal.

Jesus is the Son of God, unmistakably: It is the Holy Spirit who loves and overshadows Mary. But Mary “joins in” as well. She is no surrogate mother for nine months, she gives her egg-cell, her genes. The one who is going to be born as the Lord’s Anointed is truly God’s son and truly Jew from the Jews. God’s firstborn Son, Israel (Exodus 4:23) and God’s one and only Son are very close.

In Jesus we meet God, but in Jesus we also meet Israel. He is as it were the personification, the heart of God’s chosen people. In Him God himself bends down under the sins of His people, in Him God will rule as King over Israel and from there over the entire earth. But in Jesus Israel is also capable to fulfil her calling, to be a light for the world. Jesus is not only God’s greatest gift to His people, He is also the greatest gift of Israel to the nations of the world.

It will not be long before Israel will no longer recognize Jesus as her Messiah. She will dismiss Jesus as a dreamer, someone who has failed to live up to the expectations God foretold in the Prophets. It will not be long as well or the Church from the nations will no longer recognize Jesus as a Jew. She will avow Him as the universal God-man. She will venerate, worship and passionately love Him, but no longer as the One in Whom God came intensely close to Israel.

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