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The Consolation of Israel
The phrase “the consolation of Israel” was recorded in the book of Luke. After the birth of Jesus, Mary and Joseph went to the temple in Jerusalem to fulfill the requirements of the law of Moses. There, they met Simeon, a man who “was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ” (Luke 2:25, 26).
“The consolation of Israel” was the coming of the Messiah “the Lord’s Anointed” (Matthew 1:1). This phrase was part of a familiar Jewish prayer formula: “May I see the consolation of Israel,” meaning, “May I live to see the Messiah.” This was the dream of every child of God.
The expression “the consolation of Israel” reflects various Old Testament Messianic prophecies that speak of the “comfort” of the Messianic hope (Isaiah 12:1; 40:1; 49:13; 51:3; 61:2; 66:13; etc.). Isaiah prophesied: “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for” (Isaiah 40:1–2).
The prophet foresaw a time when Israel’s “warfare” would be over and God would send a message of consolation to her. Punishment has been meted out because of her sins, and now pardon and restoration are offered. The prophet predicts a time when God will be merciful to His people and will give them the eternal blessings of righteousness. This will be seen in the final restoration of earth to Edenic peace and beauty.
Although Jesus admitted before Pilate that He was indeed a “king” (John 18:33–37); in fact, this was His purpose in coming into this world (John 18:37), He explained that His “kingdom” was “not of this world” (John 18:36). Christ made it clear that the kingdom He established at His first advent was not the kingdom of earthly glory (Matthew 4:17; Mark 1:15).
In this life, believers, who hope for the consolation of Israel, should make God’s kingdom supreme in their love and the great aim of life (John 6:33). The Israelites hoped for a worldly king that would give them victory over their hated enemies (John 6:15; Luke 19:11). But the consolation of Israel that Jesus came to impart was a spiritual one which is victory over sin and Satan.
The heavenly kingdom will be ushered, “when the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him” (Matthew 25:31). The kingdom He came to establish “does not come with observation” but abides in the hearts of those who believe in Him and become the sons of God (Luke 17:20, 21; John 1:12).
Believing in Christ means a daily connection with Him through the study of Scriptures, prayer and witnessing. Jesus said, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me” (John 15:4).
To abide in Christ means also to live His life (Galatians 2:20). The secret of a victorious Christian life is Christ living within and acting out in us the same perfect life that He lived here on earth. When the Christian have this experience, the love of Christ will constrain him (2 Corinthians 5:14), and the righteousness of Christ becomes a reality in his life (Romans 8:3, 4).
Jesus spoke of this new life as a more abundant life (John 10:10). This includes the believers physical, intellectual, and spiritual aspects of his life. In a nutshell, the believer will be restored to the state of perfection that man originally was created in (Genesis 1:31).
In His service,