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What must those ancient Hebrews have thought of Isaiah’s words about the shoot from the branch of Jesse? In Him would be unified, Isaiah promised, all three traditional divisions of Hebrew thought: law, which presented God’s claims on human action; prophecy, which proclaimed God’s judgment upon human actions; and wisdom, which encompassed human understanding of God’s revelation. Did they, like we, inwardly scoff at the naivete of anyone who would actually believe that such a person of completed potential could exist?


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