Messiah Is Coming

The prophet Isaiah declared, "'The Redeemer will come to Zion, and to those who turn from transgression in Jacob,' says the LORD." (59:20)

"The Redeemer" is a link to the deliverance of the children of Israel from Egypt. At that time, the people of Israel were enslaved and harshly treated. They needed redemption.

"I am the LORD; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgements." (Exodus 6:6)

Redemption is a transaction between three parties – the redeemer, the redeemed, and the one who holds the redeemed. In this case, God was the Redeemer, the children of Israel the redeemed, and the Egyptians were the ones who held the redeemed.

Usually, the party who holds the redeemed is suitably compensated in the transaction. The Egyptians, however, had no intention of releasing the children of Israel, and so, their compensation came in the negative form. The Egyptians didn't receive billions of dollars. Nor were they promised years of funding and capital investment. Instead, they were pummelled and humiliated for their attitude toward God and treatment of His people. Thus the LORD redeemed them "with an outstretched arm and with great judgements."

It is no surprise then that the laws concerning redemption were included in the Torah. The law of redemption allowed a person who had been forced to sell himself into slavery, or to sell a portion of his land, in order to survive, to be bought back. A close relative of the one who was in slavery, and who had sufficient means to buy back his relative, or the portion of land, could fulfil the requirements of redemption. The purpose of redemption was to restore that which had been lost. Therefore, redemption sets the captive free, and restores land to its original owner.

Moreover, if there was not a close relative, or someone who could redeem, then redemption would come in the Jubilee Year. According to the Law, in the fiftieth year, (the Year of Jubilee) at the sounding of the shofar, the one who had been sold into slavery would be set free and all land that had been previously sold would revert to its original owner. Consequently the law of redemption prevented the amassing of wealth by a few, while safeguarding the community from the perpetual hopelessness of poverty. We understand, therefore, that the power of one over another is at most temporary, in that the one whose right has been lost will eventually be restored.

Israel 's redemption from Egypt was the first of several. History records how the people of Israel have survived despite oppressive empires and evil rulers who have attempted to annihilate them.

The prophet Micah foretold, "Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in birth pangs. For now you shall go forth from the city, you shall dwell in the field, and to Babylon you shall go. There you shall be delivered; there the LORD will redeem you from the hand of your enemies." (Micah 4:10)

And it is not without significance that when the Redeemer comes in the future, the people of Israel will again be in great distress.

"Ask now, and see whether a man is ever in labour with his hands on his loins like a woman in labour, and all faces turned pale?

"Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it; and it is the time of Jacob's trouble, but he shall be saved out of it." (Jeremiah 30:6-7)

In the coming days, the nations will gather against the children of Israel, to dominate and rule over them. "Now also many nations have gathered against you, who say, 'Let her be defiled, and let our eye look upon Zion.'" (Micah 4:11)

As in times past when the great empires were humiliated, so too, in the future will the nations. "But they do not know the thoughts of the LORD, nor do they understand His counsel; for he will gather them like sheaves to the threshing floor." (Micah 4:12)

Likewise, the prophet Hosea declared, "I will ransom them from death. O Death, I will be your plagues! O Grave, I will be your destruction! Pity is hidden from my eyes." (Hosea 13:14)

In the same way, the LORD redeemed His people from Egypt–with an outstretched arm and with great judgements– so too, in the future when the Redeemer comes he will plague Death and destroy the Grave. He will show no pity.

A common picture seen throughout Scripture is "The Redeemer" and the children of Israel. He has repeatedly saved them from the brink of total destruction. The more obvious occasions have been when there was no other help in view.

As the Psalmist cries, "'If it had not been the LORD who was on our side,' let Israel now say–'If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, when men rose up against us, then we would have been swallowed alive . . . '" (Psalm 124:1-2)

And again, "'Many a time they have afflicted me from my youth,' let Israel now say–'Many a time they have afflicted me from my youth; yet they have not prevailed against me. The plowers plowed on my back; they made their furrows long.'

"The LORD is righteous; he has cut in pieces the cords of the wicked. Let all those who hate Zion be put to shame and turned back.'" (Psalm 129:1-5)

All too often we find the people of God in the grip of an evil tyrant or in a battle struggling to survive, while the nations stand idly-by, or worse complicating the situation. Thankfully, the people of Israel have survived. Indeed, Israel lives today because their Redeemer lives.

"Thus says the LORD of hosts: 'The children of Israel were oppressed, along with the children of Judah; all who took them captive have held them fast; they have refused to let them go.

"Their Redeemer is strong; the LORD of hosts is his name. He will thoroughly plead their case, that he may give them rest to the land, and disquiet the inhabitants of Babylon.'" (Jeremiah 50:33-34)

Significantly, in the coming days when the children of Israel are in great distress, "'The Redeemer will come to Zion, and to those who turn from transgression in Jacob,' says the LORD.

"'As for me,' says the LORD, 'this is my covenant with them: my Spirit who is upon you, and my words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your descendants, nor from the mouth of your descendants' descendants,' says the LORD, 'from this time and forevermore.'" (Isaiah 59:20-21)

In the past, after He had redeemed His people with signs and great wonders, the LORD has returned to His place. There is a time coming, however, when "The Redeemer will come to Zion . . . " and remain. At which time, He will complete Israel's glorious hope and final redemption. Therefore, Israel will no longer require redemption, as in the past, because they shall be redeemed "from this time and forevermore" .

Regarding this event, the prophet Zechariah declared, "And in that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, from east to west, making a very large valley; half of the mountain shall move toward the north and half of it toward the south." (Zechariah 14:4-5)

Another Jewish prophet described the same event, thus. "Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And he who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.

"His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except himself.

"He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and his name is called The Word of God.

"And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed him on white horses.

"Now out of his mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it he should strike the nations. And he himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

"And he has on his robe and on his thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS." (Revelation 19:11-16)

He is the promised Messiah, the Redeemer and Hope of Israel. He will come " . . . to Zion, and to those who turn from transgression in Jacob" . This promise is pertinent to the people of Israel, the Land and the city of Zion, Jerusalem.

Again, the LORD promised, "'For I will restore health to you and heal you of your wounds,' says the LORD, 'Because they called you an outcast saying: "This is Zion; no one seeks her."'" (Jeremiah 30:17)

The Messiah is coming to redeem Israel from the oppressor, to restore them to their rightful place. And His redemption will be for all who turn from transgression in Jacob.

It has been said that all who will turn from transgression are in Jacob, and all who are in Jacob will turn from transgression. Thus, the Scripture will be fulfilled "so all Israel will be saved." (Romans 11:26)

May we be blessed to see that day.