Because Yahweh has Anointed Me: Isaiah 61:1b

“Because Yahweh has anointed me…”

Isaiah 61:1b

 

Oh, what an amazing statement this is in itself, that this Messiah is not one anointed by man, but by the covenantal God, Yahweh, himself!  How much more significant this becomes when you realize that this construction is only ever used three times in the Old Testament.  It is used first in 1 Samuel 10:1 of God’s anointing of Saul, it is used secondly here, of the Messiah, in Isaiah, and thirdly, it is used of Jehu, who destroyed the house of Ahaz (2 Chronicles 22:7).  There are many instances where God asks a prophet or a priest to anoint someone as he did with Samuel’s anointing of David—but these are the only instances where Yahweh is said to have anointed.

There are several things that we can learn from this.  In each case, this was a kingly anointing.  Saul was the very first human king over Israel—Jesus was the last.  Saul was rejected by God because he did not execute God’s judgment upon Agag, the king of the Amalekites—one of the great persecutor of Israel.  In contrast to Saul, Jehu was anointed king for the express purpose of executing God’s judgment upon the house of Ahaz (Ahaziah) in Judah and upon the house of Ahab in Israel—both kings which promoted pagan idolatry.  Of course, Jehu’s downfall is that he did not go far enough in the purging of Israel of its idolatry and wickedness.  Christ is the greater fulfillment of that which both Saul and Jehu failed to complete.  Jesus is the greater king that not only redeems his people, but also promises complete and final judgment upon God’s enemies—upon all those who would devote themselves to idolatry. 

The second thing that we can learn from this is the very nature of the Kingship of the Messiah.  The verb, “to anoint” in Hebrew is the word xv;m’ (mashach) and is the very word from which we get the word “Messiah,” literally meaning, “the anointed one.”  Not only then, is Isaiah pointing toward the very reality that this promised Messiah will be God himself, but also that he will fulfill the promise that God gave to David, in that a king will be raised up from his household who would have an eternal kingdom (2 Samuel 7:12-13). 

Thirdly, it is an ever-present reminder of the nature of Jesus’ Kingship.  Jesus himself said that he did not come to peace but division (Luke 12:51).  John the Baptist describes Jesus as one who comes as with a winnowing fork to separate the wheat from the tares (Matthew 3:12).  And what is the purpose of all this division?  It is salvation (John 12:47).  How is it that both can be true?  The wrath of God being poured out upon his enemies is the means by which God saves the world for he brings her to purity only after he has separated the distillates out of her in the refining process.  Refinement is done with fire, thus fire is brought by Christ to both redeem and destroy—both go hand in hand.  In the case of Saul and Jehu—the destruction of God’s enemies ended their idolatrous influence (at least for a time).  In the case of Jesus, the destruction of God’s enemies means a promise of the eternal end to the idolatrous influence of the world upon our lives—oh praise be to God that our Lord would come in this way!

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