Isaiah 2:12,17, “For YHWH of hosts has a day against all that is proud and lofty, against all that is lifted up–and it shall be brought low…and YHWH alone will be exalted in that day.”
The idea for this picture actually came from my reading in 1 Corinthians this morning. As I was reading through that initial chapter it was impressed upon me in a fresh way how God has so intentionally torn down the human-exalting wisdom of the world by making Himself savingly known only in the proclamation of Christ crucified (1 Cor. 1:21). God will not be known, and the human soul will not be saved, until the crucified Christ is received as the wisdom of God, the power of God (1 Cor:1:23), and the glory of God (2 Cor.4:6). And to receive this–to receive the crucified and risen one as Lord and God, savior and life–is for human pride, human self-reliance, human boasting to be shattered, and for God alone to be exalted. This is an example of how the theology of Paul and John sings in harmony–the lifting up of the Son in the “folly” of crucifixion IS the exaltation of God in the making known of His Name (John 13:31-32, 17:1-5, 26, etc).
But it’s not just Paul and John, we see this same theme in Isaiah as well (as in all the rest of scripture). In fact, it seems that Isaiah’s use of “lifted up / exalted” language for both YHWH and the Suffering Servant (Is.6:1 and 52:13 for example), is what gave John the exegetical insight to understand Christ’s being lifted up on the cross as His simultaneously exaltation in glory….the same Greek word can mean lifted up or exalted, and there is similar overlap among the Hebrew words….
So, as I tried to put together a picture for this morning, I was reminded of Isaiah 2:12-19 where we read some very 1 Corinthians 1 sort of language. Here we read of a day when YHWH will tear down all the lofty pride of the nations, a day when human haughtiness will be laid low and “YHWH alone will be exalted.” Sure enough, the word for “exalted” there in the LXX (Greek OT) is the same that John uses for the crucifixion of Jesus (John 3:14 as one example).
Certainly I believe that Isaiah 2:17ff has an eschatalogical fulfillment yet to come, one that will be seen at Christ’s return. But that doesn’t diminish the fact that these words have very truly been fulfilled in Christ even now…It seems to me that 1 Corinthians 1:18ff is simply unfolding the Christological truths bound up here in Isaiah 2….the day on which YHWH shattered the pride of the nations, the day on which He “destroyed the wisdom of the wise” (1 Cor.1:19), the day on which He savingly declared Himself to all who have ears to hear, was the day on which He alone was exalted in the “folly” of divine wisdom on the cross of Jesus Christ.
Hallowed be His Name!