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A Prophetic Paradox

A “paradox” is something which seems to be a contradiction, but upon investigation is found to be true. According to prophecy, the Jewish Messiah (the Lord Jesus Christ) would have a ministry of mercy as Savior, but also a ministry of judgment as the coming King. This, at first sight, would seem to be a prophetic paradox, a contradiction. How could Christ be both a merciful Savior and a King who executes judgment? Both of these are prophesied in Isaiah 61:1-2. Most of these two verses speak of Christ’s work as Savior, but the phrase “the day of vengeance of our God” refers to Christ’s work as judge.

In Luke 4:17-21 the Lord Jesus, while speaking in the synagogue at Capernaum, applies these words of the Prophet Isaiah (61:1-2) to Himself. The really interesting thing is that Christ stopped reading with the words “To preach the acceptable year of the Lord”. Christ did not continue with “and the day of vengeance of our God”. Why?

In their attempt to understand these prophecies about the Messiah, ancient Jewish rabbis wondered if there must be two Messiahs, one who would come as a merciful Savior and one who would come as King and Judge. The rabbis did not understand there is only one Messiah, the Lord Jesus, who would come to this earth twice–the first time as a merciful Savior (this took place about 2,000 years ago), and the second time as King of Kings and Lord of Lords (yet future).

In I Peter1:10-11 the Apostle Peter refers to the prophecies concerning “the sufferings of Christ” (at his first coming), and “the glory that should follow”(at his second coming).

The gospels record that Jesus came and died on the cross of Calvary to save us from our sins (John 3:16-17; Luke 9:56; Luke 19:10). The Bible also makes it clear that Christ will return again to execute judgment upon all that are ungodly (Jude 14-15; Revelation 19:11-21; II Thessalonians 1:7-10).

As we observe current events in our world we know that the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ is imminent. It could be today. Are you ready for His coming?

Dr. Russell Harpur

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