Then All Will Know.
Isaiah 49-50, Revelation 8
Then all flesh shall know that I am the Lord your Savior; and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob. – Isaiah 49:26 ESV
One of the reasons God chose Israel was to reveal Himself through them. They were to have been a living example of what it looks like when men walk in a right relationship with God. They had received His law, which was intended to provide them with a code of conduct, unlike any other on earth. He had given them the sacrificial system in order to atone for their inevitable sins and to receive forgiveness so that they might continue to enjoy His presence among them. God had chosen Israel in order to reveal His presence and power among men. He had placed His name on them so that they might reveal to the world around them what it looks like when men serve God faithfully. Their lives should have been lights shining in the darkness around them. But they had failed. And God had known all along that they would do so. He was not surprised, shocked, or caught off guard. The sending of His Son was not plan B. The incarnation was not a knee-jerk reaction to Israel’s failure to live up to God’s expectations. The Messiah had been the plan all along. God had known that mankind was incapable of living up to His holy, righteous standards. They could not keep His law. They could not obey His commands. And the sacrificial system had always been a temporary and incomplete solution to their ongoing sin problem. It was never intended to absolve them of their guilt permanently or completely. Which is why they had to keep offering sacrifices year after year. It was a foreshadowing of a greater sacrifice to come.
What does this passage reveal about God?
The goal of God has always been for men to worship Him and Him alone. All of creation was intended to bring glory to God. “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork” (Psalm 19:1 ESV). “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God” (Romans 1:20 NLT). Throughout history, God has made Himself known to man. He revealed Himself to Abraham. He appeared to Moses in a burning bush. He manifested His glory to the people of israel through thunder and lightning on Mount Sinai. He appeared before them as a pillar of fire and a pillar of smoke. He spoke through His prophets. His presence appeared in the Holy of Holies above the Mercy Seat. God was always making Himself known. But men either failed to acknowledge Him or refused to obey Him. Israel, as a nation, never fully lived in obedience and faithfulness to Him. And yet God would use the nation of Israel as the means by which He would make Himself known to the world. He would see to it that His Son, the Messiah, would be born a Jew. “But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children” (Galatians 4:4-5 NLT). God’s greatest revelation of Himself to mankind would be through His own Son. “Christ is the visible image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15 NLT). The apostle Paul refers to Jesus as “the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4). He became God in the flesh – God incarnate.
What does this passage reveal about man?
But even Jesus, “who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:6-7 ESV), was eventually rejected by men. He became “obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8 ESV). God predicted the rejection of His own Son through His prophet Isaiah. “I gave my back to those who strike, and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard; I hid not my face from disgrace and spitting” (Isaiah 50:6 ESV). In chapters 49-50 of Isaiah, God makes it clear that the day was coming when He would send His servant to redeem Israel, not from captivity in Babylon, but from captivity to sin. He would bring salvation of a kind they had never known. And as a result, they would know God. “Then you will know that I am the Lord; those who wait for me shall not be put to shame” (Isaiah 49:23 ESV). The Jews collectively rejected the Messiah when He came the first time. “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him” (John 1:11 ESV). But at His second coming, Christ will come in power and glory and might. He will come as a conquering warrior and as the King of kings and Lord of lords. “Then all flesh shall know that I am the Lord your Savior; and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob” (Isaiah 49:26 ESV). At His second coming there will be no discussion or debate as to who He is. There will be no one living who will be able to reject the reality of His nature as God or the essence of His role as King.
How would I apply what I’ve read to my own life?
The return of Jesus will be accompanied with great judgment. He will not come as an innocent, helpless baby, but as a conquering King and righteous Judge over all the earth. The book of Revelation makes it painfully clear that judgment is a non-negotiable part of His return. Chapter eight records four of the seven trumpets that will bring judgment upon the earth during the days of the Great Tribulation. There will be cataclysmic, worldwide destruction that will impact every living person on earth at that time. God will reveal Himself in devastating, non-debatable reality. And it will all culminate with the return of His Son. Men have only two options: They can choose to recognize the glory of God revealed through the gift of His Son Jesus Christ, making possible salvation and a restored relationship with Him. Or they can wait and face God’s glory as revealed in His coming judgment. The writer of Hebrews reminds us, “it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27 ESV). When Christ returns, no one will be able to debate His deity or reject His sovereignty. Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that He is the Lord. They will worship Him whether they want to or not. How much more should we who have been redeemed by His blood worship Him now? We who have been made right with God through the finished work of Christ on the cross have been witness to God’s glory. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14 ESV). We have seen Him. Now we must reveal Him to all those around us. We have been transformed by the Light of the world, so that we might shine like lights in the world. God is making Himself known through us. But one day He will make Himself known to all men through the return of His Son to earth. Then all flesh shall know.
Father, You want to be known by men. But You also want to be worshiped by men. You designed us for worship. You created us to have a relationship with You. But sin interfered and marred that relationship. It created a barrier over which we could not climb. It placed before a chasm we could not cross. But You sent Your Son to do for us what we could not do for ourselves. And one day You are sending Him again to do for the world what it cannot do for itself. You will redeem Your creation, restore the people of Israel, and bring an end to sin and death once and for all – so that all will know that You alone are God. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men