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Redemption, Interrupted.
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Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Wendy Wippel

God's word tells us that the Scriptures came to be as God spoke through men as they were carried away by the Holy Spirit, that God literally breathed them out to the men that wrote the Scriptures down. And there's nothing more fascinating that seeing hints of that divine breath hidden throughout your Bible.

Exhibit A: the existence of "divine parentheses", with thousands of years between them.

Take the story of Jesus teaching in the synagogue in Nazareth (Luke 4).  Jesus teaches out of Isaiah 61:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” (Luke 4:18-20 NKJV)

Then, we are told; Jesus closed the scroll, sat down and said,

“Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:21)

This, as you may remember, didn't go over well. The day ended with His audience trying to throw Him off a cliff. Tough crowd.

But the really interesting part of this escapes us if we don't go back to the source, which, as noted, is Isaiah 61. The passage in Isaiah reads:

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, And the day of vengeance of our God." (Isaiah 61:1-2a)

(Minor differences in wording reflect slightly different shades of meaning in Hebrew and Greek translations.)

One major difference should stick out. That difference is this: Jesus, teaching in Nazareth, basically stops right smack dab in the middle of the verse. He says that He was sent to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and stopped there. 

He leaves off the last part of the sentence in Isaiah 61. The part that also says that the Messiah came to proclaim the day of God's vengeance. And that begs an obvious question: Why? Why would Jesus just stop in the middle of that sentence?

There's a 2000-year-old parenthesis written into the passage by its real author, God.  A 2000 year old parenthesis and counting, because God knew that Jesus' upcoming rejection by His people would usher in the a long period of time in which the Gentiles were offered mercy (the church age), and it would be many, many years before Jesus  would, in fact, return to proclaim the vengeance of God.

A 2000 year old parenthesis recorded by Luke because God breathed it out to him.

Skeptical?  We could sweep this one under the rug except God does it again in Matthew 26, with Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. Jesus makes a prediction to His disciples that they would fall away that very evening, quoting Zechariah:

Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep of the flock will be scattered." (Matthew 26:31)

Check out the passage in Zechariah and it says this:

“Strike the Shepherd, And the sheep will be scattered; Then I will turn My hand against the little ones." (Zechariah 13:7)

Same thing again. Jesus stops abruptly halfway through the thought. The only rational explanation? Another 2000 year old parenthesis, this time breathed out into Matthew.

Two different men, but one supernatural author, God. The same God that proclaimed in Isaiah that;

"I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done." (Isaiah 46:9-10)

The same God that challenges the imposters to do the same:

Present your case," says the LORD. "Set forth your arguments," says Jacob's King. "Bring in your idols to tell us what is going to happen. Tell us what the former things were, so that we may consider them and know their final outcome. Or declare to us the things to come, tell us what the future holds, so we may know that you are gods. (Isaiah 41:21-23a)

Jesus went from Gethsemane to the cross and into that long parenthesis God breathed out, speaking prophetically in Hosea:

I will return again to My place till they acknowledge their offense. Then they will seek My face; In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me. (Hosea 5:15)

God filled in a little more of the parenthesis prophesied for them, also in Hosea:

"For the children of Israel shall abide many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, without ephod or teraphim." (Hosea 3:4)

Israel, set aside. But only in order to offer mercy to the nations. A conversation recorded prophetically in Isaiah 49:

"And now the Lord says, Who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, To bring Jacob back to Him, So that Israel is gathered to Him … Indeed He says, It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob, And to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, That You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.”. (Isaiah 49:5-6) 

That was God's plan: to bring in the Gentiles. But not plan B. God said that this was His plan from the beginning, breathed out through the Apostle Paul:

"To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Ephesians 3:8-11)

God's eternal purpose was to bring the unsearchable riches of Christ to the Gentiles.  And thus the parenthesis we find ourselves living in today.

Grafted in, praise God!

A parenthesis hidden all throughout the scriptures if you pay attention. (And it's so much fun to look.)

Wippel" href="http://www.omegaletter.com/content/?Bio_Wendy_page">About Wendy Wippel

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