A Voice in the
Wilderness

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" Messiah: God Comes to Humanity "

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    "Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God; speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem; and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned." (Is40:1-2)
When God makes an appearance on earth how does He do it? Back in the 70s there was a (rock) "christmas" musical addressing the birth of Jesus Christ, and it had lyrics something on the order of "God invaded our planet 2000 years ago" Today there are various entities, including the Vatican, speaking of god-like ones appearing on earth via the transport of UFOs and stargates; aliens with glowing eyes and deep dark voices.

What is "invasion"? To enter by force in order to conquer or pillage. To enter and permeate, especially harmfully. In other words, to come along with superior forces to annihilate and do harm.

No, God did -not- "invade" our planet!

But notice that when God comes He has 'peaceful' intentions. He does not come along marching in (left, right, left, right), leaving everybody quaking in fear at His arrival. He comes speaking "comfort". Where there's been adversity and animosity, the warfare has ended. As a result of His arrival whatever iniquity is "pardoned".

It is not God's intention or desire to come other than peacefully and in righeousness. That's all God ever wanted with man ever since the beginning at the creation. Those who view God as being vindictive, vengeful and full of wrath don't know God.

And so the Great God comes with the announcement of His messenger:

    "The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness (John the immerser), Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God." (Is40:3)
God is coming. He is awesome. Who can measure up? How is it to be determined who is worthy to receive Him? Not just anybody can receive such grandeur. In what manner does He appear on the scene? When He appeared on Mt.Sinai it was with thunder, lightning, thick cloud, sound of the shofar such that the people were afraid and stood at a distance. (Ex20:18) As a nation Israel was just about to receive the Law, and thus theoretically (judicially) they hadn't yet sinned. After all, "where there is no law, neither is there transgression" (Ro4:15)

But now (since then: and Adam and Eve) there -has- been sin. Certainly, God is offering terms of "peace" and "comfort" and of "pardon". But how does God come to mankind within the context of trespasses?

    "Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill made low; the crooked straight, and the rough places plain. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it, (Is40:4-5)
God must establish just -WHO- HE IS. As He proclaims that He is the one who "created all things" (Eph3:9, Re4:11), He also shows His power by 'rearranging' that which He made. Raise the valleys, lower the hills, straightens what is crooked and smooths out what is rough. What is the goal and purpose to this exercise? To determine...
    "Who may abide the day of His coming, and who shall stand when He appeareth?"

    "Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, Yet once a little while and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, the sea, and the dry land; and I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come.

    "The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in; Behold, He shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts. (Hag 2:6-7, Mal 3:1-2)

Who is the "messenger of the covenant"? Jesus would say, "This is the covenant in My blood" (Mt26:28, 1Co11:25) Typically we think of a "messenger" as making communication "on behalf of" somebody else. But as we progress we are going to see that 1) God is the Creator, 2) God issues the invitation, 3) Jesus of the Covenant -is- very God (as Jesus would say, "I and the Father are one" (Jn10:30) 4) Jesus is God, the Messenger on behalf of Himself. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (Jn1:1)

And so, as God comes, some house cleaning must be done. God is holy and does not countenance sin.

    "For He is like a refiner's fire. And He shall purify the sons of Levi, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. (Mal3:3)
Why the "sons of Levi"?
    "Woe to the shepherds (the sons of Levi) who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture! says Jehovah. Therefore thus says Jehovah the God of Israel, against the shepherds who feed My people, You have scattered My flock, and have driven them away, and have not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for the evil of your doings, says Jehovah. And I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all the lands where I have driven them, and will bring them back to their folds. And they shall be fruitful and multiply. And I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them. And they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed; nor shall they be lacking, says Jehovah. Behold, the days are coming, says Jehovah, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King who shall reign and act prudently, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the earth." (Jer23:1-5)
Why the sons of Levi? As God was dispensing judgement, He put a mark on those who had cried (in sorrow) over Israel's sin, to preserve them, and then as the death angel was let loose on those without the mark God tells him to go and "kill...do not have pity" and says, "and begin at My sanctuary" (Ezk9:5-6) The Levites were those who knew (better than anybody else) -what- God's Holy Law was, and they were leading Israel astray. Maybe "all we like sheep have gone astray" (Is53:6), but it was the Levites who -led- them astray. Today, that would be the -pastors-.

God offers (and desires) peace. But He is also holy and just, and there is a day of reckoning; to determine what has been done, "whether good or bad". (2Co5:10)

This sets the stage. If man has sinned is there an equitable way to be atoned? By what means? By whose agency?

God is offering "peace" in the context of "pardon". In other words, things are not 'perfect' and 'sinless' like at the beginning of Eden. But neither is God ram-charging onto the scene, guns blazing, judgment and mayhem with no opportunity to make a plea. God -knows- who is at fault. He knows that satan is the usurper who "led them astray" (Re20:10) As the old hymn says, "For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe...his craft and power are great...and armed with cruel hate" but God our "Mighty Fortress" must win the battle. God has not left us dangling. He has provided us with Salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.

    "But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1Co15:57)
This is the background. The prophecy, history and doctrine of this follows.

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Note:
The accompanying recording is an 'oratorio': Handel's "Messiah". If you don't like opera you may not care for this (the two are very similar). Played non-stop the whole thing is about 2.5 hours long. But for the next five months the 'articles' take this work, divided up into sections, presenting the Scriptures and running 'commentary' which can be read by itself without the music. The entire history of Jesus on this earth is presented: From when He was first promised to Eve in Eden, crucifixion and resurrection, clear through to His glory in Heaven where He has judged sinners and is reigning with God in Eternal Life.

The oratorio itself is word-for-word from the KJV. God's Word set to music. If you just read the words it might seem a bit sparse at times. The performance may not be as 'puristically' "Baroque" as some musicians might prefer, but I believe it captures the 'spirit' of the work about as well as I've heard. And, sorry about the recorded quality: it both comes from LPs pressed in the 60s, and the MP3 format is the lowest quality for 'space' considerations.

The on-screen text is in three parts, corresponding to how the Messiah was originally published. Hopefully it will be obvious 'why' I have divided it up into the five sections as I did.


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