Tag Archives: Christ

When Our Lord Comes!

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“After these things the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.” (Genesis 15:1)

This is the first of the great “I am’s” of Scripture, and it was given to Father Abraham at a time of both great victory and great despondence. The Lord had enabled Abraham’s little army to vanquish a much larger Amorite host, but then, still childless, he was suddenly overwhelmed by his loneliness and vulnerability in an alien land.

Then Jesus came! When Christ much later affirmed His eternal self-existence to the Pharisees (“I am,” He had said), He claimed that Abraham had seen His day and rejoiced (John 8:56). This experience, recorded early in Genesis, was, no doubt, that great occasion. As the living Word (John 1:1) by whom all things were made (v. 3), He assured Abram that He, Himself, would provide all needed protection (“thy shield”) and all needed blessing (“exceeding great reward”). And then it was that “he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness” (Genesis 15:6).

The Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal existing Creator and Redeemer of all things, is no less able today than then to be our protection—and our provision, as well.

Note also that it was the Word of the Lord which came to Abram in a vision. This is the first use of the Hebrew word dabar in Scripture to mean “word,” and here it is the Word of God personified. This still further identifies the vision with the pre-incarnate Christ, who would eventually become God’s incarnate Word (John 1:1, 14).

Thus, as to Abram, God says, “Fear not!” Adam, indeed, was justifiably afraid when he heard the voice of the Lord (Genesis 3:10), for he had only a fig leaf for a covering. But, like Abram, we have a strong shield, which is none other than the Lord Himself. HMM

The Branch of the Lord

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“In that day shall the branch of the LORD be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel.” (Isaiah 4:2)

One of the fascinating titles of the promised Messiah is that of “the Branch.” Here He is called “the branch of the LORD,” along with “the fruit of the earth.” As the first, He is “beautiful and glorious.” As the second, He is “excellent and comely.” “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem [or ‘stump’] of Jesse [that is, the father of King David], and a Branch shall grow out of his roots” (Isaiah 11:1).

In addition to the two references in Isaiah, there are two in Jeremiah and two in Zechariah. In both Jeremiah passages, He is a Branch of David. “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch” (Jeremiah 23:5). See also Jeremiah 33:15.

In Zechariah’s prophecy, He is called God’s servant and God’s man. “For, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH” (Zechariah 3:8). “Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD” (Zechariah 6:12).

This fourfold presentation of the Branch of David, the Branch as a servant, the man who is the Branch, and the Branch of the Lord beautifully corresponds to the fourfold gospel depiction of Christ as King (Matthew), Servant (Mark), Perfect Man (Luke), and Son of God (John).

Just as a branch when it first begins to shoot forth appears small and fragile and easily broken, so would the Messiah first appear to be inconspicuous and unattractive. “For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground” (Isaiah 53:2). Yet this same fragile branch will one day become a great vine with innumerable branches (John 15:5) that will spread its excellent fruit throughout all the earth. HMM

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