|<< Isa 58|
Isaiah 59-63 Listen
1 Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:
2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
3 For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.
4 None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity.
5 They hatch cockatrice’ eggs, and weave the spider’s web: he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper.
6 Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works: their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands.
7 Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths.
8 The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace.
9 Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness.
10 We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes: we stumble at noonday as in the night; we are in desolate places as dead men.
11 We roar all like bears, and mourn sore like doves: we look for judgment, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far off from us.
12 For our transgressions are multiplied before thee, and our sins testify against us: for our transgressions are with us; and as for our iniquities, we know them;
13 In transgressing and lying against the LORD, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood.
14 And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.
15 Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment.
In this prophecy Isaiah dwells on the depravity of those Jews who had turned their backs on God. We see in verses 1-2 that God is ready to deliver, but Israel flatly rejects God's salvation. If some of these indictments against Israel seem familiar, it's because Paul quotes verses 7-8 to describe the depravity of man in general (not specifically Jews) in Romans 3:15-17 (see notes). After all, sin is sin, no matter who it is. The point of these verses is to show that Israel is undeserving of redemption. It is also interesting to note that the pronouns used in the first eight verses are second or third person (i.e. an indictment against Israel), but Isaiah moves to first person pronouns in verse 9 to indicate that all, including himself, suffer from the consequences of their sin. That's one of the dreadful side effects of rebellion against God - many obedient people are negatively impacted by the rebellion of a few.
Notice the state of Jewish society in Isaiah's day in verse 15, "Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey:" Truth was ignored by Isaiah's contemporaries, and whoever was bold enough to take a stand against evil became a target. Let's reaffirm, Isaiah is talking about Israel in this passage. Their sin had a negative impact upon Isaiah himself while he viewed righteous people being villainized. Can you imagine a society where evil is regarded as good and good as evil - where evil doers are praised and the righteous are villainized? Hmmm...sounds kinda contemporary, doesn't it?
16 And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him.
17 For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke.
18 According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompence to his enemies; to the islands he will repay recompence.
19 So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.
20 And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD.
21 As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever.
Then Isaiah addresses this sin with a promise of judgment for those who reject and salvation for those who receive. The redeemer (the Messiah) is promised in verse 20, "And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD." Though Isaiah's prophetic ministry precedes that of Jeremiah, the New Covenant of Jeremiah 31:31-34 (see notes) is in view here. This is the covenant that will result in the whole nation of Israel being righteous before God at the beginning of the millennium. The New Covenant is presented in Hebrews 8:8-12 (see notes) as the basis by which all are saved - not just the Jew. It's an individual salvation with God's law written on each Believer's heart. Notice the way in which Isaiah expresses it in verse 21, "As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seeds seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever."
1 Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.
2 For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.
3 And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.
4 Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side.
5 Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee.
6 The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the LORD.
7 All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto thee, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto thee: they shall come up with acceptance on mine altar, and I will glorify the house of my glory.
8 Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows?
9 Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the LORD thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified thee.
10 And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee: for in my wrath I smote thee, but in my favour have I had mercy on thee.
11 Therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought.
12 For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted.
13 The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary; and I will make the place of my feet glorious.
14 The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee, The city of the LORD, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.
15 Whereas thou hast been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through thee, I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations.
16 Thou shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the breast of kings: and thou shalt know that I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.
17 For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron: I will also make thy officers peace, and thine exactors righteousness.
18 Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise.
19 The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the LORD shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.
20 Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the LORD shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended.
21 Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified.
22 A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the LORD will hasten it in his time.
It's been a tough road for Israel, but they will rise again and become the center of activity in the world. In this chapter, Isaiah outlines the restored glory of Israel before the world during the millennium. Isaiah speaks of ideal living conditions under the authority of the Messiah of Israel. All the nations of the world will look to Jerusalem for leadership. He kicks off this enlightening with verse 1, "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee." We'll see the impact of this "light" in the subsequent verses.
Perhaps a distinction should be made here regarding the Revelation of John. In Revelation we see a period of 1,000 years where Satan himself is bound (Revelation 20:2-6, see notes); we know this yet-future period as the millennium. At the end of the millennium, Satan is loosed and subsequently mounts an attack against the Messiah with the assistance of those who will have been compliant during the Messiah's reign, but will have declined a faith relationship (Revelation 20:7-9, see notes). After the defeat of Satan, he will be cast into the Lake of Fire where he will spend eternity (Revelation 20:10, see notes). After the White Throne Judgment of Revelation 20:11-15 (see notes), Hell will be removed from the center of the earth and cast into the Lake of Fire also. At that point in time, Revelation 21:1-2 (see notes) says, "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband."
The purpose for recapping Revelation 20 is to show the chronological relationship between the millennium and a distinct period following the millennium after which a "new heaven and a new earth" are created. It would also appear that only after that do we see the New Jerusalem - not during the millennium itself as some very fine Bible scholars have suggested. With that being established as our working premise, let's compare Isaiah's prophecy to that of John with regard to the living conditions during the millennium and after the creation of the New Heaven and New Earth.
The following prophecies from Isaiah 60 will certainly be fulfilled during the millennium:
However, beginning with verse 18, we have some provisions which DO NOT particularly characterize the millennium, but DO characterize the period extending into eternity after the creation of the New Heaven and New Earth:
I can see no theological problem whatsoever with Isaiah's merging of the specifications for these two periods in Isaiah 60. All the specifications will be fulfilled and line up nicely with John's Revelation.
1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is UPON ME; BECAUSE THE LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
4 And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.
5 And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers.
6 But ye shall be named the Priests of the LORD: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves.
7 For your shame ye shall have double; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess the double: everlasting joy shall be unto them.
8 For I the LORD love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt offering; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
9 And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people: all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the LORD hath blessed.
10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.
11 For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.
These verses give more detail about the righteous rule of the coming Messiah. We now know that these are conditions which will be met at the beginning of the millennium. As the righteous redeemer, he will bring about worldwide righteousness. The benefits to Israel are apparent all through chapters 60 and 61. Jerusalem will be the center of activity as the Messiah rules. Gentiles will highly regard the Jews. And finally, in verse 11, "...so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations."
Now here's the inflammatory part. In the early part of Christ's earthly ministry, he identified himself as the Messiah by going into the temple in Luke 4 and reading verses 1-2 from this passage (Luke 4:18-19, see notes). He then made this statement about those verses in Luke 4:21 (see notes) after reading this passage regarding the Messiah from Isaiah, "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears." In other words, Christ was plainly saying that he was the Messiah prophesied by Isaiah. Read Luke 4 to see their reaction; they tried to kill him. It's obvious they knew exactly what he was implying...and they didn't like it one bit. This was the deal breaker for them. This was more Messiah than these Jewish leaders were looking for.
We find additional conditions listed in verses 4-11 regarding life during the millennium:
Jerusalem! You'll be back! (Isaiah 62)
1 For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth.
2 And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name.
3 Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.
4 Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.
5 For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.
6 I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence,
7 And give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.
8 The LORD hath sworn by his right hand, and by the arm of his strength, Surely I will no more give thy corn to be meat for thine enemies; and the sons of the stranger shall not drink thy wine, for the which thou hast laboured:
9 But they that have gathered it shall eat it, and praise the LORD; and they that have brought it together shall drink it in the courts of my holiness.
10 Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people.
11 Behold, the LORD hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.
12 And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the LORD: and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken.
This prophecy is God speaking to Jerusalem on behalf of Jerusalem of the coming glory of the Messianic reign during the millennium. There are a couple of old songs I like that make reference to "Beulah land." Verse 4 here has that reference, the only reference, to this term for Jerusalem. "Beulah" means "married." You'll see from the context that it speaks of the relationship of the inhabitants of Jerusalem to the city as well as God's relationship to the city. That marriage indicates a permanent bond that will be established on both accounts. Moreover, the word "Hephzibah" in that verse means "my delight is in her." Verse 12 sums up the coming glory of Jerusalem and its inhabitants during the millennium, "And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the LORD: and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken." The context here would suggest conditions in Jerusalem during the millennium itself - not the new and improved Jerusalem of Revelation 21:1-2 (see notes) after the millennium. If that statement seems confusing, read the comments on Isaiah 60, (see above).
Jerusalem will be the capital city of the entire world during the millennium.
The battle of Armageddon (Isaiah 63:1-6)
1 Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save.
2 Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat?
3 I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment.
4 For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.
5 And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me.
6 And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth.
Edom is east of Jerusalem along with the city in Edom, Bozrah, which is referenced here. At the end of the tribulation period of seven years, the great last battle of Armageddon takes place when the nations of the world will stage their last tribulation-period stand against righteousness. Edom epitomizes these wicked nations, as they are Israel's nearest wicked neighbors at the time of the writing of this prophecy. There's a really interesting play on words in this prophecy. Edomites were the descendants of Esau, Jacob's brother (the father of all Israelites). How did Esau become known as Edom? Genesis 25:30 (see notes) says, "And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom." The Hebrew word for red is the same Hebrew word given as the nickname for Esau because his favorite color seemed to be red. Esau's nickname was "Red." It just so happens that blood is red. So, you see the play on words in these verses with the Edomites (the red people) and the red blood on the garment of the conquering Messiah from fighting the enemies of God.
God's mercy upon Israel (Isaiah 63:7-14)
7 I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the LORD, and the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses.
8 For he said, Surely they are my people, children that will not lie: so he was their Saviour.
9 In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.
10 But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them.
11 Then he remembered the days of old, Moses, and his people, saying, Where is he that brought them up out of the sea with the shepherd of his flock? where is he that put his holy Spirit within him?
12 That led them by the right hand of Moses with his glorious arm, dividing the water before them, to make himself an everlasting name?
13 That led them through the deep, as an horse in the wilderness, that they should not stumble?
14 As a beast goeth down into the valley, the Spirit of the LORD caused him to rest: so didst thou lead thy people, to make thyself a glorious name.
These verses show us God's commitment to Israel as his people. Isaiah goes back to recall the days of Moses leading Israel in the wilderness. However, we see in verse 10, "But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them." Afterward, even though they rebelled, God is merciful to Israel.
15 Look down from heaven, and behold from the habitation of thy holiness and of thy glory: where is thy zeal and thy strength, the sounding of thy bowels and of thy mercies toward me? are they restrained?
16 Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O LORD, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting.
17 O LORD, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear? Return for thy servants’ sake, the tribes of thine inheritance.
18 The people of thy holiness have possessed it but a little while: our adversaries have trodden down thy sanctuary.
19 We are thine: thou never barest rule over them; they were not called by thy name.
This will be the prayer of the remnant of Israel who will be saved during the tribulation. They'll be looking for God to restore them to glory. They'll remind God of how he defeated their enemies back in the old days, and they will call upon him to do it again. Of course he will, and this sets the stage for the last great battle of Revelation 19:11-21 (see notes), the one we know as the Battle of Armageddon. This prayer is continued on into Isaiah 64 (see notes).