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By Dr. Paul M. Elliott

Careful study of Scripture – all of it, not just our pet passages or books – is the great safeguard against false teaching concerning the holiness of Christ.

We have seen that the holiness of Jesus Christ is displayed clearly in the Old Testament in the Hebrew names used to identify the coming Messiah. We see this further as we consider three key Messianic prophecies.

The Seed of the Woman

God’s earliest revelation of His plan of redemption appears immediately after the fall of man, in Genesis 3. God explained at the outset of human sinfulness that in His predetermined counsels, before the foundation of the world, He had made provision for a Holy One to be born, who would redeem a people for Himself. God said that the promised Savior would come through the seed of the woman (3:15). The main purpose of the genealogies found throughout the Old Testament is to trace the seed of the woman, from that first promise in Genesis through many centuries to the birth of Christ.

In this connection, Isaiah prophesied many centuries later that “a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and you shall call his name Immanuel” meaning “God with us” (7:14).

Seven centuries after Isaiah’s prophecy, the angel Gabriel appeared to tell the virgin Mary that she was to be the earthly mother of Immanuel. When Mary asked how this could be, since she was still a virgin, the angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35) Christ’s sinless birth is in direct contrast with the state of all of us who are born through Adam. As David says in Psalm 51:5, “I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” But not Christ.

David’s Great Prophecy

As we have already noted, another key prophecy of the person and work of the Holy One is found in Psalm 16 – a prophecy of the resurrection and exaltation of Christ after His death on the Cross:

Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices;
My flesh also will rest in hope.
For You will not leave my soul in Sheol,
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Psalm 16:9-11

This psalm is a prophecy of Jesus and His sinlessness. Notice that in verse 10, David wrote prophetically, “For You [God the Father] will not leave My soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.” As we come to the New Testament, we shall find both Peter and Paul, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit quoting this passage as proof of Christ’s sinless perfection.

The Holy One in Isaiah

The book of Isaiah is a major source of prophetic material concerning the Messiah, and it contains more than half the uses of the title “Holy One of Israel” in Scripture. The uses of the title in Isaiah fall into two main categories – prophecies against the iniquity of Israel and Judah, and the promise of a Redeemer from their sins. In Isaiah 43 we read, “I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior” (verse 3), and “Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel” (verse 14). Identical words are used in Isaiah 48:17. In chapter 49 verse 7 he is again identified: “Thus says the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, their Holy One.” In chapter 54 verse 5: “And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.”

The frequent use of the title “Holy One” for the coming Redeemer set the stage for His recognition, in the Gospels, by those to whom the Holy Spirit gave eyes to see.

The Lesson for Believers Today

What is the lesson for us today? A primary lesson we must draw is this: The careful study of Scripture – all of it, not just our pet passages or books – is the great safeguard against false teaching. Any regenerated person who studies the Old Testament Scriptures with the illumination of the indwelling Holy Spirit will soon understand the truth about the Holy One of Israel, Jesus Christ.

Clearly, the Holy One of Israel is not what today’s false teachers says He is. He is not “a man just like us.” He is not someone who would “take on man’s sin nature.” He is not someone who would disobey God the Father, and thus open Himself to the Father’s wrath for His own sin.

Blasphemy and damnable heresy – all of it! And the great antidote to such things is the careful study of the Scriptures from cover to cover by God’s people, so that they may, as the Bereans did even with the words of the Apostle Paul “search the Scriptures daily [to determine] whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).

Next: The Holy One in the Gospels

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