This is a study on the restoration of Israel from both Major and Minor Prophets. Every Restoration passage is being covered, and I hope none has been missed. The series began with the book of Isaiah, and this is PART 3 of the series.
Isaiah 26:1 – “In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: ‘We have a strong city. He sets up walls and ramparts for security. Isa 26:2 Open the gates that the righteous nation may enter, the one that remains faithful. Isa 26:3 The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You. Isa 26:4 Trust in the LORD forever, for in GOD the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock.”
Again, there is the tell-tale “In that day” to begin the section. It places it in those early days of the Millennium. Restored Israel will sing of the glory of their Jerusalem. Then the command is given to open the gates that the righteous nation may enter (Israel), and the beautiful thing is that from then onwards the restored ones will ever remain faithful, the very matter none of their fathers could do for 3,400 years. Verse 3 is probably known best in the KJV – “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” This is the national “constitution” of restored Israel, because all their minds will be steadfast towards God. The grand thoughts of what is to come causes Isaiah to exclaim to all generations, “Trust in the LORD forever, for in GOD the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock.”
Isaiah 27:1 – “In that day the LORD will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent with His fierce and great and mighty sword, even Leviathan the twisted serpent and He will kill the dragon who lives in the sea. Isa 27:2 In that day, ‘A vineyard of wine,’ sing of it! Isa 27:3 I, the LORD, am its keeper. I water it every moment. Lest anyone damage it, I guard it night and day. Isa 27:4 I have no wrath. Should someone give Me briars and thorns in battle, then I would step on them. I would burn them completely. Isa 27:5 Or let him rely on My protection. Let him make peace with Me, let him make peace with Me.” Isa 27:6 In the days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will blossom and sprout, and they will fill the whole world with fruit.”
At first glance this may not look like a restoration passage. What happens here is that God is placing before us His revealing strategy for Israel, then what ends with the maturation of that. The key phrase is used to open verse 1. There is little doubt that the full description in verse 1 is the reference to Satan, this twisted serpent, and Satan’s defeat. Rev 20:2 and 12:9 confirm this – “and He laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.” AND “The great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world. He was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”
Satan’s ultimate demise is in the lake of fire (Rev 20:10). In verse 1 it is said Satan (dragon) lives in the sea. One well-known group tries using this term “leviathan” as proof that we have dinosaurs on earth but they are wrong! In prophecy the word “sea” can refer to Gentile nations, and Satan holds sway over the earth (Gentile nations), without doubt. See Rev 13 where the coming world leader/Antichrist, arises from the sea, that is, from among the Gentiles, whereas the False Prophet arises from the land, probably suggesting he will be Jewish.
Verses 2-5 are almost like the Lord is singing of the care for His people Israel. The vineyard (v2) is Israel. The Lord sings for His people. Verse 3 is stating the Lord is the Keeper of His people; the keeper of His vineyard, which would take us back to the illustration in Isaiah 5, while verses 4 and 5 are His protection for the Jewish saints and will even continue after the Tribulation. In verse 6 we come upon the results of the Lord’s leading, and protection and care for His chosen nation. That results in the blessing being taken to the whole world in fruitfulness.
Going back to chapter 5 we have this – Isa 5:3 “Now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge between Me and My vineyard. Isa 5:4 What more was there to do for My vineyard that I have not done in it? Why, when I expected it to produce good grapes, did it produce worthless ones? Isa 5:5 Now let Me tell you what I am going to do to My vineyard. I will remove its hedge and it will be consumed. I will break down its wall and it will become trampled ground, Isa 5:6 and I will lay it waste. It will not be pruned or hoed but briars and thorns will come up. I will also charge the clouds to rain no rain on it.’ Isa 5:7 The vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel and the men of Judah His delightful plant. Thus He looked for justice but behold, bloodshed; for righteousness, but behold, a cry of distress.”
There is pictured the fruitlessness of the sin of the nation. God cared for them and did all for them but they threw it all in His face. Israel went into desolation. However, that delightful vine will produce and overflow to the earth. All those wasted years; all those centuries of shame and nothingness will become this – Jacob will take root, Israel will blossom and sprout, and they will fill the whole world with fruit.
Isaiah 27:12 – “It will come about in that day that the LORD will start His threshing from the flowing stream of the Euphrates to the brook of Egypt and you will be gathered up one by one, O sons of Israel. Isa 27:13 It will come about also in that day that a great trumpet will be blown and those who were perishing in the land of Assyria and who were scattered in the land of Egypt will come and worship the LORD in the holy mountain at Jerusalem.”
Threshing is associated with harvest, and the Lord’s harvest at the Second Coming will be His own people who will be gathered from all over the world, one aspect of the fruit of His sacrificial work on the cross. The cross work of Christ was efficacious for both the Church and for Restored Israel. Only one aspect is detailed here that embraces the region from Egypt to the Euphrates, but it starts there and must spread worldwide. Can’t you see the tender care in the expression “one by one,” each redeemed son of Abraham individually gathered? We have a great God – the God of the singular person! It says the start of this calling (threshing) is the flowing stream of the Euphrates, and that was the same region where God did His first calling. He called Abraham from Ur of the Chaldees and brought him to the promised land. So too, the Lord will begin His calling there when he calls and brings the redeemed to the promised land.
In verse 13, the “holy mountain” again is “Kingdom.”. They will be included in the Millennial Kingdom, these who struggled under the evil of the Tribulation persecution against God’s own holy people, but they will respond to the trumpet summoning them to the nation’s restoration and will come to the Kingdom’s capital of Jerusalem.
Isaiah 28:5 – “In that day the LORD of hosts will become a beautiful crown and a glorious diadem to the remnant of His people, Isa 28:6 a spirit of justice for him who sits in judgment, a strength to those who repel the onslaught at the gate.”
The remnant are those brought through tribulation and suffering as the redeemed saints, and for them, the Lord of Hosts is glorious – the crown and diadem suggesting they will honour Him as the King of the Jews. Verse 26 highlights justice and a strength given to those who are opposing what I think may be the rush of evil. It is a bit uncertain.
Isaiah 30:23 – “Then He will give you rain for the seed which you will sow in the ground and bread from the yield of the ground, and it will be rich and plenteous. On that day your livestock will graze in a roomy pasture. Isa 30:24 The oxen and the donkeys also which work the ground will eat salted fodder which has been winnowed with shovel and fork, Isa 30:25 and on every lofty mountain and on every high hill there will be streams running with water on the day of the great slaughter when the towers fall. Isa 30:26 The light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be seven times brighter like the light of seven days, on the day the LORD binds up the fracture of His people and heals the bruise He has inflicted.”
Verses 23-24. Israel’s blessing is ALWAYS in the land as God’s earthly people. It was spelled out in Moses’ time that the land would be blessed when the nation followed the Lord, but the land would be cursed when they entered idolatry. That principle was raised over and over in the Prophets. Rain would fall as the early and latter rains (Spring and Autumn), crops would be abundant, and the people would rejoice. When the nation is restored at the Second Coming, the land will produce as it has never done before. It is the exact sense that is here – Amos 9:13 “Behold, days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when the plowman will overtake the reaper and the treader of grapes him who sows seed; when the mountains will drip sweet wine, and all the hills will be dissolved.” The livestock will have roomy pasture.
There is one mystery in our minds I cannot understand. The cattle graze in roomy pasture; the remnant from all over the earth return to Israel; so much will be happening in Jerusalem… where is all that going to fit? As I said, “in our minds.” God’s wisdom and plans are way beyond ours.
Verses 25-26. The verses spell out changes in the natural world and this will be in the Millennium. Zechariah deals with this also in chapter 14. It is impossible for us to try to understand the earthly and cosmic changes, but the key here is “on the day the LORD binds up the fracture of His people and heals the bruise He has inflicted.” The binding up of fractured Israel is their restoration at the Second Coming. Do not miss the “He has inflicted.” All Israel’s troubles have come from the Lord (His directive will) or been allowed by the Lord (His permissive will). The Lord inflicted their wounds, but now that there is national repentance, then the Lord will bind up the wounds, heal them, bless them and make rejoicing their portion for all eternity.
Isaiah 32:13 – “for the land of my people in which thorns and briars shall come up; yea, for all the joyful houses, and for the jubilant city. Isa 32:14 Because the palace has been abandoned, the populated city forsaken. Hill and watch-tower have become caves forever, a delight for wild donkeys, a pasture for flocks Isa 32:15 until the Spirit is poured out upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fertile field and the fertile field is considered as a forest. Isa 32:16 Then justice will dwell in the wilderness and righteousness will abide in the fertile field. Isa 32:17 The work of righteousness will be peace, and the service of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever. Isa 32:18 Then my people will live in a peaceful habitation and in secure dwellings and in undisturbed resting places.”
This section is contained within a passage dealing with distress on the land because of sin. As I said earlier, Israel’s blessings are in the land, and departure from God results in a scourge on the land. I have left two verses at the beginning that is part of this cursing of the land because of sin. Then in verse 15, there is the full reverse. Note the “UNTIL.” Remember, that in prophetic writings the timeframe can bounce all over the place – now, future, now, past, future….
Verses 13-14. These are the two verses of judgment on the land through sin. Thorns and briars, forsaken, the palace and city forsaken, and wild donkeys – all signs of God’s disfavor. This was not only the situation in the past but in essence it has been that way for over 2,000 years with some slight change in our times. In spiritual terms, Israel is still a barren desert with donkeys of unbelief roaming there.
Verse 15. This is the pivot, the dramatic change leading to everlasting blessing, and it is signified by the word, “UNTIL.” Once God’s Holy Spirit is poured out on the nation as part of their restoration, from that point onwards, things change. In this verse the expansion is covered – wilderness to a fertile field, and the fertile field to a forest. This is what happens under Messiah’s rule, and several Old Testament passages parallel this. Nothing happens in blessings until the Spirit is poured out on them, then blessings flow from above. A fuller treatment is done on this when we do Joel.
Verses 16-18. Now the prophet writes of the blessings that flow from the giving of the Spirit when the Lord returns to His people. The first ones are justice and righteousness. Israel has always struggled with these two qualities but after this time, no longer. Justice and righteousness will be the attributes in His Kingdom, but those two will spill out wider as we have in 17 – The work of righteousness will be peace, and the service of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever. Verse 18 is the habitation of restoration in the Lord’s Kingdom. It will all be marvelous. The conversion work of God turns a wicked soul into a saved soul. He changes our unrighteousness into His righteousness, and that brings peace to the soul. Righteousness brings peace. Then as saved people we serve in righteousness because the foundations have been secured in faith. Serving works in quietness and confidence.
Isaiah 34:16 – “Seek from the book of the LORD and read: Not one of these will be missing; none will lack its mate for His mouth has commanded, and His Spirit has gathered them. Isa 34:17 He has cast the lot for them and His hand has divided it to them by line. They shall possess it forever, from generation to generation they shall dwell in it.”
We have already looked at the highway that will go from Egypt to Assyria but here we have the Highway of Holiness that could be the same one. Verse 9 proves there were lions there in Isaiah’s time (and bears too) but there are none now. It just means there will be nothing there to hurt or rob or hijack or any other bad thing. How can it be anything but peace when the Lord rules!
Chapter 34 is all about judgment and the destructive conditions on the land, and then immediately in the common prophetic timeframe, we move over about 2,600 years and into verse 16.
Verses 16-17. The previous verses were speaking of all the creatures in the land – Isa 34:14 “The desert creatures shall meet with the wolves; the hairy goat also shall cry to its kind. Yes, the night monster shall settle there and shall find herself a resting place. Isa 34:15 The tree snake shall make its nest and lay eggs there and it will hatch and gather them under its protection. Yes, the hawks shall be gathered there, every one with its kind.” Then in the next two verses, God moves from the creatures to His own people. Of course, in the Millennium, these conditions apply also to all creatures, because all creation groans for its redemption (Rom 8). None of His Jewish redeemed will be missing, for the Spirit has gathered them and they will be restored to their land and blessed forever. Praise God!
Isaiah 35:1 – “The wilderness and the desert will be glad and the Arabah will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus Isa 35:2 it will blossom profusely and rejoice with rejoicing and shout of joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They will see the glory of the LORD, the majesty of our God. Isa 35:3 Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble. Isa 35:4 Say to those with anxious heart, ‘Take courage, fear not. Behold, your God will come with vengeance. The recompense of God will come, but He will save you.’ Isa 35:5 Then the eyes of the blind will be opened and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. Isa 35:6 Then the lame will leap like a deer and the tongue of the dumb will shout for joy for waters will break forth in the wilderness and streams in the Arabah. Isa 35:7 The scorched land will become a pool and the thirsty ground springs of water. In the haunt of jackals, its resting place, grass becomes reeds and rushes.
Isa 35:8 A highway will be there, a roadway, and it will be called The Highway of Holiness. The unclean will not travel on it but it will be for him who walks that way, and fools will not wander on it. Isa 35:9 No lion will be there nor will any vicious beast go up on it. These will not be found there but the redeemed will walk there, Isa 35:10 and the ransomed of the LORD will return and come with joyful shouting to Zion, with everlasting joy upon their heads. They will find gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.”
Chapter 35 Verses 1-10 – This spectacular passage shares with us what are some conditions in the Millennium. All this follows on from Israel’s restoration and their settlement in the land forever, as the righteous redeemed of the Messiah. I will not write at length on it, but only select a number of points.
The wilderness and the whole of Israel, in fact, will become luxurious with flowers and forests, such as Lebanon was in the prophet’s time. Verses 3 and 4 take a look just before the return of the Lord at those who are struggling. God’s vengeance is Armageddon. The Lord’s coming will mend physical imperfections (5 and 6). There could be some application here to spiritual blemishes also. Remember, Israel was under siege from the armies of the Antichrist and Gog and Magog and the kings of the east, so the land was a mess and ravished. The Lord will miraculously fix all that. It will NEVER again be scorched.
Verse 10 is such a beautiful verse of restoration “and the ransomed of the LORD will return and come with joyful shouting to Zion, with everlasting joy upon their heads. They will find gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.” These are the redeemed Jews, the Jewish Tribulation saints journeying from all over the world, the remnant who survived the terrible time of terror. They will go along with shouting because of their joy, and that joy will be everlasting. Nevermore will they know sorrow; never more will be uttered a sign of despair or disbelief or doubt. These are the redeemed children of Abraham entering into the blessing promised so long ago. There is a song sung in Christian circles based on this verse but it does not apply to Christians, so I don’t think it should be sung because nearly all those singing it have no idea of the context, which is the Jewish redeemed. See 51:10 also.
Isaiah 40:1 – “Comfort, O comfort My people,” says your God. Isa 40:2 Speak kindly to Jerusalem and call out to her that her warfare has ended, that her iniquity has been removed, that she has received of the LORD’s hand double for all her sins. Isa 40:3 A voice is calling, ‘Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness. Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God. Isa 40:4 Let every valley be lifted up and every mountain and hill be made low, and let the rough ground become a plain and the rugged terrain a broad valley. Isa 40:5 Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
We move now to a whole new section of Isaiah as the Holy Spirit focuses his writing on the coming of Messiah, and more intently on the restoration of Israel, and this occupies the remainder of the prophecy. Many wonderful thoughts will come our way. We begin.
Verses 1-2. “Comfort, O comfort My people,” cries the prophet as God speaks through him. What a deeply affectionate way to begin this section. These verses overflow with love, grace and forgiveness as God moves to comfort the redeemed of Israel, that blessed remnant now entering the Lord’s restoration. Jerusalem’s warfare has ended; the terror of the Tribulation is no more, placing this at the start of the Millennium. Also, all her sins will be removed, and not only removed, but God will restore to the Jews double what her sins had done (the sins took away). This has grace written all over it. God speaks kindly to that nation that He loves and embraces now in eternal fellowship. So compassionate is God that He wants to heal them, and us also, and makes all giants in the faith. These people of the Millennium will be so blessed in their land.
Verses 3-5. These words are attributed to John the Baptist, but I do wonder if it also goes beyond him to the message preached in the Tribulation that could be part of the Gospel of the Kingdom preached by the 144,000. Then again, these words were used of John the Baptist, so I wonder if they might also connect with Elijah and Enoch, forerunners also of the Messiah’s Coming. The preparation for the Messiah at the Second Coming is like leveling the whole area for Him to come in smoothly. It is not literal but preparation for the glorious Coming with no obstacle blocking the way.
Verse 5 is most interesting. It says “all flesh will see it together,” speaking of the glory of the Lord revealed at His coming. Every eye will see Him, and they see it together! Why will it happen this way? It is because the mouth of the Lord has spoken it. These words were penned about 2,700 years ago, but the happenings are just around the corner! In the Rapture, only the saved Christians will see the Lord, but at His Second Coming, the whole earth will see it, softened up already by the cosmic signs of His coming.
Isaiah 40:9 – “Get yourself up on a high mountain, O Zion, bearer of good news. Lift up your voice mightily, O Jerusalem, bearer of good news. Lift it up; do not fear. Say to the cities of Judah, ‘Here is your God!’ Isa 40:10 Behold, the Lord GOD will come with might, with His arm ruling for Him. Behold, His reward is with Him, and His recompense before Him. Isa 40:11 Like a shepherd He will tend His flock. In His arm He will gather the lambs and carry them in His bosom. He will gently lead the nursing ewes.”
Verses 9-11 – What an intimate and loving passage this is! The description is of Him who is the Great Shepherd of the Sheep of Israel. The parable of the lost sheep showed the tender shepherd’s care, and the lost sheep this time is Israel. Say to the cities of Judah, “Here is your God!” Messiah is their God in their midst, a loving example of deity. God has protected the nation, redeemed it, led it, forgiven it, comforts it, extends to it His grace and comfort. How wonderful is our God!
TO BE CONTINUED IN PART 4