THE BOOK OF ISAIAH – PART 4
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 4 of the series.
Isaiah 43:5 – “Do not fear for I am with you. I will bring your offspring from the east and gather you from the west. Isa 43:6 I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring My sons from afar and My daughters from the ends of the earth, Isa 43:7 everyone who is called by My name and whom I have created for My glory, whom I have formed, even whom I have made.”
This lovely passage is one of gentleness. “Do not fear,” the Lord assures His precious ones whom He is calling from all corners of the earth. Check back to Isa 11:11-12 for the same event. The intimate family relationship is there in verse 7 with His own sons and daughters. What a legacy stretching from Abraham! The Bible never wastes words, so when it uses three synonyms in verse 7, “created, formed, made,” then it means to emphasise that fact very strongly. These ones created in the image of God were created the children of Abraham, but recreated through faith during the Tribulation to enter the land as restored children of Messiah’s Kingdom.
Isaiah 44:1 – “But now listen, O Jacob, My servant and Israel whom I have chosen: Isa 44:2 Thus says the LORD who made you and formed you from the womb, who will help you: Do not fear, O Jacob My servant, and you Jeshurun whom I have chosen, Isa 44:3 for I will pour out water on the thirsty land and streams on the dry ground. I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring and My blessing on your descendants Isa 44:4 and they will spring up among the grass like poplars by streams of water. Isa 44:5 This one will say, ‘I am the LORD’s,’ and that one will call on the name of Jacob and another will write on his hand, ‘Belonging to the LORD,’ and will name Israel’s name with honour. Isa 44:6 Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘I am the first and I am the last, and there is no God besides Me.”
This remarkable passage, like so many, waits in the wings for its blessed fulfilment. The key to these verses is verse 3, for without the Spirit’s regeneration and sealing, there is no work of God. This verse speaks of water being poured out on dry, thirsty ground, “water” being a symbol of the Holy Spirit. In the Tribulation the land of Israel will be not only dry and devastated, but His own people struggle through that horrific time. When the moment is right, God will heal the land in Millennial restoration, and the people with the “gift” of the Holy Spirit. That then will enliven the redeemed. Leading up to all this is verse 2, a parallel to the passage examined before this one. Jeshurun means uprightness and a term of affection for Israel, the “upright nation.” It is used 4 times in the Old Testament.
Verses 4-5. Development and productivity is the key here. Just as the land in the Millennial Kingdom will sprout forth, so too shall its people, standing tall for their Lord. It is joy that promotes the witness in verse 5. The people are honored; the land is honored, but above all, it the Lord of the land and of the people who will be honored throughout the earth. We can only read verses like this with expectant appreciation, but when all falls in place, what a time of joy it is for Israel.
Verse 6. This powerful verse sets God apart and has shades of Revelation chapter 1, where God is heightened by His glorious names. It is so packed with glorious promises for the Jewish saints in God’s flock of the future, but the words are applicable to all the redeemed of God. What this verse declares is “God is the LORD = Jehovah”; “Messiah is King of Israel = King of the Jews”; “Israel’s Redeemer”; “He is the LORD of hosts = YHWH saboath [Jehovah of Hosts] = Commander of the angelic armies of heaven”; “The First and the Last = The Ancient of Days; the Eternal God; Alpha and Omega”; “No God beside Me = In the beginning was the Word.” God is Majestic over all His creation, yet this God loves His earthly people.
Isaiah 45:21 – “Declare and set forth your case. Indeed, let them consult together. Who has announced this from of old? Who has long since declared it? Is it not I, the LORD? And there is no other God besides Me, a righteous God and a Saviour. There is none except Me. Isa 45:22 Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth, for I am God and there is no other. Isa 45:23 I have sworn by Myself – the word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness and will not turn back, that to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance. Isa 45:24 They will say of Me, ‘Only in the LORD are righteousness and strength.’ Men will come to Him and all who were angry at Him shall be put to shame. Isa 45:25 In the LORD all the offspring of Israel will be justified and will glory.”
The initial thoughts about this passage are that it is a general plea from God to the world, and as such, it is not connected with Israel’s restoration. However, that is not the case because, through Israel, blessing has come to the whole world. Paul argues that case in Romans where Israel’s fall means the salvation for the world, but once Israel turns to Messiah, then it will move into its special blessing. From verses 21 to half 24, it is the Lord speaking; and in verse 24 (2nd half) and 25, the prophet speaks. It is that last verse that is for Israel.
For most of these verses, it is the Lord who is putting His case – He is solely God; God without rival; but He is a righteous God. The gods of the nations, and we know the Greek and Roman gods, they were vengeful and full of corrupt morals and actions. God invites the whole world to turn to Him (repent) and be saved. Every knee will bow to Jesus and every tongue confess. This is New Testament as well, but is a great example of deity because it is Jehovah who is speaking (“God” in 22 and “LORD” in 24), and compare with Phil 2 v 10-11. Jesus is Jehovah. Righteousness and strength belong only in God, the fact that the Jews learn in the Tribulation so that “in the LORD all the offspring of Israel will be justified and will glory.” That is their restoration.
Isaiah 49:8 – “Thus says the LORD, ‘In a favourable time I have answered You, and in a day of salvation I have helped You. I will keep You and give You for a covenant of the people, to restore the land, to make them inherit the desolate heritages Isa 49:9 saying to those who are bound, ‘Go forth,’ to those who are in darkness, ‘Show yourselves.’ Along the roads they will feed, and their pasture will be on all bare heights. Isa 49:10 They will not hunger or thirst. Neither will the scorching heat or sun strike them down, for He who has compassion on them will lead them, and will guide them to springs of water. Isa 49:11 I will make all My mountains a road and My highways will be raised up. Isa 49:12 Behold, these shall come from afar, and lo, these will come from the north and from the west and these from the land of Sinim. Isa 49:13 Shout for joy, O heavens, and rejoice, O earth! Break forth into joyful shouting, O mountains for the LORD has comforted His people, and will have compassion on His afflicted.'”
This is a full restoration passage.
Verses 8-9. “In a favourable time,” yes, after the Church has been called home; that is the time of Israel’s calling. It does say that God has answered them, and that means they have been calling and pleading with God to hear them. That is what the Tribulation will do for Israel. The discipline will turn them back to their Messiah. Verse 8 speaks of a covenant, but I will leave that one until the Minor Prophets, but that leads to restoration of the land – the people, then their land, in that order. They will make their way to Israel, some from hiding (darkness), and as they go, God will provide for them.
Verses 10-11. This is an expansion of God’s provision as they homeward go, for the Lord will lead them. God makes the path easy, for the mountains/highlands will not be a problem, and the road will be made easy. Incidentally, this is one case where “mountain” in prophecy is not “nation, kingdom.”
Verses 12-13. These Tribulation saints will come from all over as the earth, and the universe is told to shout in rejoicing and with joy because God will then be comforting His afflicted people. The Lord gathers them all in. They are restored.
Isaiah 49:22 – “Thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Behold, I will lift up My hand to the nations and set up My standard to the peoples, and they will bring your sons in their bosom, and your daughters will be carried on their shoulders, Isa 49:23 and kings will be your guardians, and their princesses your nurses. They will bow down to you with their faces to the earth and lick the dust of your feet, and you will know that I am the LORD. Those who hopefully wait for Me will not be put to shame.'”
How interesting is this. Today the nations of the world either hate Israel or are becoming anti-Semitic, but in the restoration of Israel, those nations and people who survive after the Battle of Armageddon, and after the sifting of the sheep and goat nations, these righteous nations will have such compassion on the returning Jewish believers. That is indicated by “bosom” and “shoulders.” The kings (I think ‘rulers and heads of nations’) will provide all that is necessary with the whole leadership lending a hand. Princesses mean the national care from the ones enabled, and by the honored of the nations. By “bowing down” and “licking the dust of the feet” of these redeemed Jews, it is not humiliation; it is the acknowledgement of God’s great salvation and mercy. Verse 23, at the end of the verse, is from the NASB, and a clearer thought is, “Those who wait for Me in hope, will not be put to shame.” That applies to Israel at the beginning of the Millennium. However, the Church would well be advised also to “wait for the Rapture in hope” so that we will not be ashamed at His coming in the air.
Isaiah 51:1 – “Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness, who seek the LORD: Look to the rock from which you were hewn and to the quarry from which you were dug: Isa 51:2 Look to Abraham your father and to Sarah who gave birth to you in pain. When he was one I called him, then I blessed him and multiplied him.’ Isa 51:3 Indeed, the LORD will comfort Zion. He will comfort all her waste places and her wilderness He will make like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and sound of a melody.”
Verse 3 is Israel in its restoration with all the glorious blessing, but verses 1 and 2 provide the pathway to that. Those who are saved in the Tribulation have pursued the path of righteousness through the response to the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom, but the remainder of verse 1 and verse 2 would indicate that the Jews must be aware of their heritage, that their nation is/was based on the faith of Abraham. It was to Abraham the promises were given, these ones which still await fulfilment. I am sure when the Lord again takes up his people, there will be great awareness of Israel’s earthly blessings that come in their Kingdom. The Lord will comfort His people; they have been through great trial and persecution, but at rest in Messiah’s Kingdom they will know comfort from all distress. That reference to, “when he was one” in verse 2 means when Abraham was but one man, and now many descendants; also when he was alone, one faithful man in all that generation (like Noah).
The big question that sometimes occupies my mind is this one: There must be millions of people who are Jews in the sense they have descended through Abraham, or, if you like, from Jacob, but they do not know their ancestry, for it has been lost over the last 2,700 years beginning with the dispersion from Samaria, the so-called matter of the 10 tribes. Will the Lord take these descendants of Abraham into account also in the future dealings with the Jews? I think it might be the case.
Isaiah 51:10 – “Was it not You who dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep, Who made the depths of the sea a pathway for the redeemed to cross over? Isa 51:11 so, the ransomed of the LORD will return and come with joyful shouting to Zion and everlasting joy will be on their heads. They will obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.”
See Isa 35 and verse 10. I suppose verse 11 is quite well known because of the Scripture in Song chorus, but this is what I think about it (MYSELF – my view, so don’t attack). Because it speaks of the returning Jewish saints at the start of the Millennium who are returning to Israel from all over the world, it therefore has no application whatever to the Church age. For that reason, I think we should not sing it. It is my thought that its appeal lies in the catchy, syncopated off-beat tune associated with it. Moving on…
The purpose of verse 10 is to lay before the people how powerful and great God is, who can dry up the sea. If He can do that miracle, what is it then that He can bring home all the redeemed Jews after the Second Coming? Verse 11 outlines the joy and banishment of sorrow for all those Jews who enter the Millennium. God is mighty! Jehovah loves His people.
Isaiah 52:4 – “Thus says the Lord GOD, ‘My people went down at the first into Egypt to reside there, then the Assyrian oppressed them without cause. Isa 52:5 Now therefore, what do I have here,’ declares the LORD, ‘seeing that My people have been taken away without cause?’ Again the LORD declares, ‘Those who rule over them howl, and My name is continually blasphemed all day long. Isa 52:6 Therefore My people shall know My name. Therefore in that day I am the one who is speaking, ‘Here I am.'”
Verses 4-5. These two verses outline the oppression of God’s people, the Jews, by the Gentile nations. This was true from Egypt to the present day. The Jews have been the most continually-oppressed people in all history. Jewish persecution is on the increase right now, seen in the United Nations and here in Australia, and in almost every western country. The use of the word “Assyrian,” speaking about the conquest of Assyria over Samaria, has given rise to a few using “The Assyrian” as a term for the coming world leader/Antichrist. Isaiah lived not too long after the defeat of the Northern Kingdom, so Assyria was fresh in his mind and Nebuchadnezzar was still some 200 years away.
Verse 6. This is such a lovely verse. Jesus stands in the midst of Israel, His people, and announces, “Here I am,” prefaced by that key phrase, “in that day.” Messiah will not be aloof like most current-day executives and authority figures. He is in the midst. It is said in verse 6 that His people will know His Name. That last word is singular, but we know from all of scripture that “in that day” of Israel’s restoration, the Lord will be known by many names. Every one of those names has its own special meaning for His precious, redeemed people.
Isaiah 52:7 – “How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation and says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’ Isa 52:8 Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices. They shout joyfully together, for they will see with their own eyes when the LORD restores Zion. Isa 52:9 Break forth, shout joyfully together, you waste places of Jerusalem, for the LORD has comforted His people. He has redeemed Jerusalem. Isa 52:10 The LORD has bared His holy arm In the sight of all the nations that all the ends of the earth may see the salvation of our God.”
Verses 7-10 – The passage before us here is one of great hope and comfort for the Jews. Verse 7 begins with wonderful news. What is this news? It can be none other than Israel’s great restoration, but God will not restore unrepentant and disbelieving people. The good news comes to Israel, and looked at in two ways. The first is the ministry of the 144,000 who will preach this good news of the Gospel of the Kingdom, God’s coming earthly kingdom ruled by Messiah, mighty preachers proclaiming the coming Kingdom to be restored to Israel. See Rev chapter 7 and Matt 24:14, “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come.” Three aspects are given that will underlie conditions in this Kingdom – peace, good news of happiness, and salvation. Your God reigns! Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, will reign over “YOUR” people, for this is being spoken to the Jews. Another touch of deity is here because it says, “Your God,” but we know that is Jesus the Messiah. Jesus is God.
I suppose in a broad sense, these words could refer to the announcement BY Messiah, but I am not inclined that way. I would say of the verse what I did about 51 verse 7. It does not refer to the Church age, and I would choose not to sing it. “Your God reigns” has been changed to “Our God reigns,” taking away its exact meaning and application to the Jews. It is only a guess, but if you asked those in meetings where this chorus might be sung, “What do the words mean?” then I think 95% would have no idea of the context but would make it “Christian.” Sing what we know, not what is popular or promoted or is catchy in melody. A certain range of what is sung is incorrect.
Verse 8 pictures the watchmen seeing the restoration come, and they too announce it. Restoration for Zion! Verse 9 is all about comfort and redemption, and joyous singing heralds Israel’s salvation. What was barren is now productive, and the Lord comforts His people. Verse 10 speaks about the Lord baring His holy arm in the sight of all nations. This is a reference to the deliverance of the Jews at Armageddon when God’s mighty power is revealed from heaven by the King of Kings coming on the white horse of Rev 19. He comes to deliver, then to reign. The world that is left, the sheep nations, will recognize the great deliverance at Armageddon.
Isaiah 54:1 – “Shout for joy, O barren one, you who have borne no child. Break forth into joyful shouting and cry aloud, you who have not travailed, for the sons of the desolate one will be more numerous than the sons of the married woman,’ says the LORD. Isa 54:2 ‘Enlarge the place of your tent. Stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, spare not. Lengthen your cords and strengthen your pegs, Isa 54:3 for you will spread abroad to the right and to the left, and your descendants will possess nations, and they will resettle the desolate cities.”
These verses belong to the Millennial expansion. Israel was as if barren with no (proper) inheritance, but they will joyfully sing because enlargement of their land will come and they will spread out. There is a reference to the desolate one and the married woman. “The contrast is not between Zion and other cities, but between Zion’s present and her past: even now in her widowhood and barrenness she has more children than she had before her separation from her Husband.” CBSC.
TO BE CONTINUED IN PART 5