V.F.2 “Behold, My Servant Shall Deal Prudently”

PART  V   –  ASSOCIATIONAL ASPECTS OF THE LAMP-STAND MODEL

SUBPART  F  –  THE TABERNACLES / WITNESS OF BLOOD COROLLARY 

Article 2 – “Behold, My Servant Shall Deal Prudently”

a.  The Redemption/Witness Corollary of Tabernacles & Blood

b.  Suffering as a Mark of Gospel Stewardship

c.  The Prudent Servant Shall Prosper & be Extolled

d.  Meaning of the Lifting-Up of Christ

e.  Glorification Follows Blood-Witness

f.  Vesting of the Gospel in the Blood Witness 

Article 2 – “Behold, My Servant Shall Deal Prudently”

a.  The Redemption/Witness Corollary of Tabernacles & Blood

This article relates to the associational-relationship that exists between the redemptive type in the Feast of Tabernacles and its witness-corollary – the Witness of Blood.  This section relates particularly to the meaning of the Witness of Blood as the final movement of the Earth’s Witness that is expressed in I John 5:8 (KJV).  As shown in Subpart A, Tabernacles stands in type for the perfection of the body of Christ in unity with its Head.  The Witness of the Blood (expressed in John’s epistle) is peculiarly a witness of God’s glory becoming manifested in the saints while yet in their earthly bodies.  Therefore the redemptive principle of manhood or perfection as an attainment into the mind of Christ has as its corollary the laying down of that life at the behest of God.  This a redemptive/witness principle that was inaugurated by the Lord at Calvary and stands yet as a principle to be shared in by the church.

b.  Suffering as a Mark of Gospel Stewardship

We find allusion to this principle of the blood witness in the prophecy of Isaiah which reads:

Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled and be very high.                                                        Is 52:13

Before commencing upon an expository of this verse in prophecy, it may be helpful to draw a distinction between two sorts of suffering, ie. the distinction between “suffering/tribulation as a means in the process of our sanctification and suffering/tribulation as a means of fulfilling the gospel ministry to the body of Christ.   There does appear to be basis for distinction, and for the gospel-evangel and minister, there certainly would appear to be a need to understand the duty they undertake to Christ and His body when they assume Christ’s prophetic mantle to share in His sufferings for the church.  These sufferings are expressed by Paul when he writes:

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, & in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body (which is the church) in filling up that which is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.                                                                                      Col. 1:24

This ministry that Paul was fulfilling is the witness of blood identified at I John 5:8 (KJV) and is a doctrine that has been substantially missing from the church historically.  For instance, when we look at the NASV, we find that it quite strains the text in order to change Paul’s meaning in the following verse (v.25) by adding significant italicized phraseology not present in the Greek text.  For instance, consider the New American Standard Version, which profoundly misconstrues Paul’s words!  It reads:

Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit,  that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God.                                                                                      Col. 1:25

Paul is not saying he is a minister of “this church”, and neither is he saying that his call is to carry out the preaching of the word of God”.  While these things may (or may not) be true, that is simply  a mis-characterization of what he actually writes.  Once we remove the surplus phraseology that is added by the translators we find that the ministry Paul was given, was not to be a minister of the church, but to be (pursuant the context) a minister of Christ’s afflictions.  Paul was called to suffer with Christ!   Furthermore, the object of this suffering is also revealed to us as being for; “the word of God”.  The NASV is misleading when it indicates the object of Paul’s sufferings to be for “the preaching of the word of God”.  Preaching does not even appear in the Greek text.  Paul could have preached the gospel, suffering-or-no-suffering, but he could not have fulfilled; “the word of God” without suffering.

This profound mistranslation of Paul’s words betrays a modern-resistance to the concept of suffering as a part of the Gospel-doctrine.  In Paul’s case, he had a stewardship that he was accountable to fulfill before God.  That stewardship required faithfulness in the call to suffer for the purposes of God in Christ.[1]  This was a purpose that was foretold by the prophets hundreds of years beforehand.

c.  The Prudent Servant Shall Prosper & be Extolled

Isaiah’s prophecy begins with the exhortation that we “Behold”.  This is never without significance!  When we see this word preceding a prophetic declaration, we see an exhortation that we “see”, (ie. perceive) something very necessary and profound.  How are we to “behold”?  Behold with your heart!  As what is about to be said requires an awakened heart to be understood.

This is followed by the statement; “my servant shall deal prudently”.  The Hebrew-word translated “prudently”[2] (KJV) and “prosper” (NASV) is commonly used in Scripture in reference having; “understanding”.  It is used throughout the KJV as meaning; to be “wise”, “knowledgeable”, or to have “understanding”, and is sometimes translated to; “prosper”.  In determining which is the bettering rendering, it is helpful to consider the context.  For the statement that follows is; “he shall be exalted and extolled and be very high”.”  While either meaning would fit the context, it appears that “prosper” would best fit the context as the indicated-result is that God’s servant shall be “extolled and be very high”.

Again, we are told “Behold, My servant”.  On the first occasion,[3] it was an exhortation for the eyes of faith to perceive Jesus Christ with our heart.  And so it is in this second instance.  God tells us to “Behold, that His “servant shall prosper”, or alternatively, that His servant shall conduct Himself wisely.

How it is that He will “prosper” or “conduct Himself wisely”?  We may gain insight through the following phrase.  To those the Holy Sprit exhorts “Behold” (ie. to see with the eyes of their heart) He adds that having conducted Himself wisely:

. . . he shall be exalted and extolled and be very high.         Is 52:13

The Hebrew-word translated; “extolled”[4] (KJV) and “lifted up” (NASV) means to “lift”, “bear”, or to “carry”.  Because of this it is sometimes translated “exalted”.

d.  Meaning of the Lifting-Up of Christ

What did it mean for Jesus to be “lifted up”?  While the prophecy implies this to be a positive-allusion, it is not so good in the eyes of the world.  For when we pursue the meaning of Christ being “lifted up”, we find it a clear reference to the Lord’s bodily-crucifixion.  On at least three occasions Jesus referred to His death on the cross as His being “lifted up”.[5]  On one occasion, He said:

“When you have lifted up the Son of Man then shall you know that I am He, & that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father has taught Me, I speak these things.”                                                                                     John 8:28

 What did the Lord mean by “lifted up”?  Again, the Lord refers to Himself as “lifted up”:

“& if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.”  But He was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which He was to die.                   John 12:32-33

This is a much clearer reference in that John expressly declares its meaning!  Nicodemas as well, was told what would be the consequence of God’s servant dealing wisely:

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up.”                                                         John 3:14

 Jesus was lifted up as an object of scorn and derision.  He “became sin” for humanity, and because He did, the Father loved Him.[6]

 “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.”                                                                          John 10:17 

e.  Glorification Follows Blood-Witness

Therefore Christ’s exalting came via the ordeal of His being lifted up upon the cross.  His Father thereinafter vested in Him “all things” through this final submission and act of obedience.  Paul expresses this principle alluded to at Isaiah 52:13 in his letter to the Philippians when he writes:

. . who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bondservant, and being made in the likeness of men.   And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,  even death on a cross.   Therefore also God highly exalted Him, & bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.               Phil 2:6-11

 Consider that it was this very concept expressed in Isaiah 52:13-14 by the Lord when He explained to James, John, and their mother the consequence of what they were asking of Him when they requested exaltation with Him in His glory.  His response to them was:

“You do not know what you are asking for.  Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?”                                  Matt. 20:22

James and John obviously had some sense of the glory that was in store for the Lord.  They had some awareness of the magnificence of the reward for the performance of God’s will towards the redemption of humanity, ie. being a glory not conferred by men, but rather a glory endowed by the Creator.  This was a glory far beyond anything that can be called “glory” in this age.  However, the Lord made it clear to them that such glory was not conferred upon men by mere edict, but by the express call of God and participation in the sufferings of Christ.    For the sufferings constituted an express and fundamental aspect of the testimony of Christ as well as the prerequisite for His being “greatly exalted”.

 . . . who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, & has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.                 Heb. 12:2

The Lord submitted Himself to the degradation inflicted upon His humanity by humanity as suffering that had been ordained by God.  And although His days in the flesh were cut short, His very “dust” became something favored of God.  The Spirit of Christ speaks as follows in the 102nd Psalm:

For I have eaten ashes like bread, & mingled my drink with weeping.   Because of thine indignation and thy wrath: for thou hast lifted me up and cast me down.   My days are like a shadow that declineth; & I am withered like grass.   But Thou, O Lord, shall endure forever; & Thy remembrance unto all generations.  Thou shalt arise & have mercy on Zion;  for the time to favor her, yea, the set time is come.  For Thy servants take pleasure in her stones, & favor the dust thereof.      Ps. 102:9-14

We glean from this that the Lord’s sufferings were not limited to the cross.  For the cross had been “set before Him” in no less manner than had the “joy”.  But the joy was to come, while the cross was now, and the Lord was certainly conscientious of the sufferings that lay ahead!

This Psalm ends with an allusion to eternal life:

They shall perish, but Thou shalt endure;  Yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment;  as a vesture shalt thou change them, & they shall be changed.   But Thou art the same, & Thy years shall have no end.   The children of Thy servants shall continue, & their seed shall be established before Thee.           Ps. 102:26-28

Eternal life is inextricably wrapped within the concept of doing God’s will.[7]  Therefore the prophecy of Isaiah exhorts us to “Behold, My servant!”  For He “will prosper”.  No, not in this life, and no, not as readily apparent to one’s natural eyes or reasoning.  Yet, He will  “prosper” in some way known to God, manifested also to Himself, and recognized by the heart with faith.

f.  Vesting of the Gospel in the Blood Witness

At some point during His discipleship of the twelve, Jesus began to stress upon them a different theme.  This began to occur once His disciples received the revelation that He was, in fact, the Christ.[8]  For Matthew’s gospel tells us that:

From that time Jesus Christ began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, & suffer many things from the elders & chief priests & scribes, & be killed, & be raised up on the 3rd day.              Matt. 16:21

We see here then, a profound association between the revelation of the Lord’s personage as the “Christ”, and the knowledge of His providence in suffering for the purposes of God.    His disciples were now privy to a new understanding concerning the workings of God in Christ.  Why was this necessary?  Consider that they themselves would follow Christ in His sufferings for the sake of the redemption to come.  Just as God revealed to Peter:

Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God.   & when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me!”                                                                                       John 21:19

 . . . and just as he revealed also to His apostle Paul.  Recall that Christ spoke concerning Paul:

“. . .  I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.”                                                                                     Acts 9:16

 Paul carried out this witness wherein his own life was forfeit for the purposes of Christ:

But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry,  which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.          Acts 20:24

Therefore, just as Jesus Christ was “high and lifted up” by means of the cross as a means of suffering for the eternal purposes of God, so do His disciples follow a predestined course for the redemptive purposes of God.  As Paul writes:

But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort & salvation;  or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same suffering which we also suffer;              II Cor. 1:6

Paul is intimating that something mysterious is at work in his sufferings for the sake of the body of Christ!  His afflictions are translating to their “comfort & salvation”.  Because he is suffering for the sake of the gospel he preached to the Corinthians, the divine seal of the work of Christ is upon Paul’s gospel.  Paul expresses the same principle to the Colossian-assembly:

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake& in my flesh I do my share on behalf of the body (which is the church) in filling up that which is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.                                                                                     Col. 1:24

Paul was suffering “Christ’s afflictions”.  Paul was a partaker in the sufferings that had been prepared for those sharing in the mystery communicated through the 102nd Psalm.  In so doing, his own words and preaching were vested with the power of God in the Spirit of Christ, allowing many others to find salvation in Christ, therefore, not only is Jesus Christ “lifted up”, but so are the gates and doors of Jerusalem.  Therefore David prophesies:

Lift up your heads, O ye gates; & be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors; & the king of glory shall come in.              Ps. 24:7

 Jesus Christ is our “head” whom we “lift up”.  Recall that Paul’s words to the Corinthians came with particular power.  This is because Paul was very simple and direct concerning the foundation of their faith.  For Paul writes to them:

For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.                                                                                     I Cor. 2:2

Therefore, the “king of glory” (ie. He that was crucified for their sakes) was able to come unto them with great power and effect to the great consternation of the powers of this present age who had formerly been ignorant of the testimony of God concerning Christ, as Paul writes:

Which none of the princes of this world knew:   for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.          I Cor. 2:8

 Therefore Paul did “lift up His head” (ie. his “head” being the crucified king of glory), and even himself was “lifted up” as a living door through the grace God had given him to become a vehicle of His Spirit, even as Paul tells the Philippians:

Christ shall even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.                                                               Phil. 1:20

That such a profound part of the gospel should have been lost in church doctrine is remarkable!  That those called to preach the gospel are to enter into the sufferings of Christ as a seal of their testimony.  But this is the example set by John the Baptist as the forerunner and prototype for the church.

. . . according to my gospelfor which I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal;  but the word of God is not imprisoned.   For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosenthat they may obtain the  salvation which is in Christ Jesus & with it eternal glory.                                                                                         II Tim. 2:8-10

We understand that Paul suffered for the sake of the gospel he had preached.  What we have neglected to understand is that his suffering was itself the seal that empowered his testimony concerning Christ.  His suffering was actually a necessary component of having assumed the mantle of the gospel-preacher.  The power and efficacy of his message as the spoken word of God required it be so.  Therefore Paul relates that while he himself is in prison, God’s word is not imprisoned.  Rather God’s word is released to work its power in the hearts of those that had received the word from Paul.  Therefore the assumption of the duties of a gospel evangel is not an office to lightly undertake!  The implication from Paul is that we are appointed to the office, and once appointed, we have a sacred duty to Christ.

. . . through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher & an apostle, & a teacher.   For this reason I also suffer these things . . .                               II Tim. 1:10-12

 


[1] Recall that coincident with Paul’s calling, the one appointed to minister unto Paul (Ananias) was informed by Christ as follows; (Acts 9:16)  “. . for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.”

[2] H7919   saw-kal’  A primitive root; to be (causeatively make or act) circumspect and hence intelligent: – consider, expert, instruct, prosper, (deal) prudent (-ly), (give) skill (-ful), have good success, teach, (have, make to) understand (-ing), wisdom, (be, behave self, consider, make) wise (-ly), guide wittingly.

[3] Isaiah 42:1

[4] H5375  nâśâ’  nâsâh  naw-saw’, naw-saw’  A primitive root; to lift, in a great variety of applications, literally and figuratively, absolutely and relatively: – accept, advance, arise, (able to, [armour], suffer to) bear (-er, up), bring (forth), burn, carry (away), cast, contain, desire, ease, exact, exalt (self), extol, fetch, forgive, furnish, further, give, go on, help, high, hold up, honourable (+ man), lade, lay, lift (self) up, lofty, marry, magnify, X needs, obtain, pardon, raise (up), receive, regard, respect, set (up), spare, stir up, + swear, take (away, up), X utterly, wear, yield.

[5] John 3:14, 8:28, 12:32

[6] John 10:17  “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.”

[7] This principle redemption being tied with the doing of God’s will is dealt with in the subpart on Quakerism at I.B.1.

[8] Matthew 16:15-17

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About Lamp-Stand

I was converted to the faith of Jesus Christ in 1982 at which time I received water baptism and Spirit baptism. In the Spring of 2008 I was led of the Spirit through a process of repentance upon which I had an encounter with Christ that worked a profound change upon my inner being. I became aware that I had been forgiven a great debt of sin. I soon felt the Lord's direction that I close my office that my energies not be divided from the study of doctrine.
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