Isaiah 61:5-6, The Day of Salvation

Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, And the sons of the foreigner shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers.  But you shall be named the priests of the LORD.

//I’ve often pointed out that the Old Testament dream of a coming Messiah was a political, this-worldly ambition, not at all the type of “Christ” that Jesus presented. Jews could hardly be blamed, then or now, for rejecting Jesus as the Messiah. He simply didn’t fulfill the promise of political redemption.

Consider 2nd Isaiah’s vision of the coming Kingdom. The day of salvation, according to this prophet, would lift Israel above the nations, who would become physical laborers, plowing Israeli fields and dressing Israeli vineyards. Israel would instead be a nation of priests … like the Levites, who held no such responsibilities.

Jesus, however, appears to have disdained that political picture and encouraged his followers to lift their eyes above mundane oppression to a higher kingdom. God held little interest in freeing the Jews from Rome, holding instead much higher ambitions, for even Romans were welcome in the Kingdom!

It is only when we fully jettison the messianic dreams of the Old Testament that we can see and appreciate the radicalness of the New Testament Messiah. On this topic, I’m getting excited about my upcoming publication date for John’s Gospel: The Way It Happened.


  1. Well, sort of. There are several messianic ideas on the OT, such as the suffering servant” in Isaiah and the apocalyptic messiah in Daniel and other places. Certainly the one described must be discarded.

  2. :) Yes, point taken!

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