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White Horse Inn: Conversational Theology

He Shall Sprinkle Many Nations

In verse 15 of Isaiah 52, we’re told that the suffering servant “will sprinkle many nations.” What’s interesting is that this word “sprinkle” is the same one we find in Leviticus 16:14 which speaks of sacrificial blood being “sprinkled” on the mercy seat. In other words, Isaiah is saying that the coming Messiah will be for his people both priest and victim. But this coming sacrifice won’t be for Israel alone, since we’re told that his blood will sprinkle many nations. Join us as the hosts continue their exploration of Isaiah’s prophecy of The Suffering Servant.


“You get to Jesus’ temptation in Matthew 3 and he’s recapitulating Israel. There, the 40 days and 40 nights, recapitulating Israel’s 40 years of wandering and Israel was wandering, never entering the Promised Land because they demanded the food they craved. Well here, the true Israel, faithful Israel is saying men shall not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. I mean it’s such an amazing point that is clear in Isaiah. The servant is Yahweh.”

Michael Horton


“Active Obedience of Christ”

Christ as Mediator entered the federal relation in which Adam stood in the state of integrity, in order to merit eternal life for the sinner. This constitutes the active obedience of Christ, consisting in all that Christ did to observe the law in its federal aspect, as the condition for obtaining eternal life…. Christ merits more for sinners than the forgiveness of sins. According to Gal. 4:4, 5 they are through Christ set free from the law as the condition of life, are adopted to be sons of God, and as sons are also heirs of eternal life, Gal. 4:7. All this is conditioned primarily on the active obedience of Christ. Through Christ the righteousness of faith is substituted for the righteousness of the law (Rom. 10:3, 4).

[I]f Christ suffered only the penalty imposed on man, those who shared in the fruits of His work would have been left exactly where Adam was before he fell… still confronted with the task of obtaining eternal life in the way of obedience.

(Adapted from Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology, pp. 380–81)

More from this Series: The Suffering Servant

  1. The Suffering Servant Listen Now ›
  2. He Shall Sprinkle Many Nations Listen Now ›
  3. He Was Pierced for Our Transgressions Listen Now ›
  4. He Shall Justify Many & Bear Their Iniquities Listen Now ›