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Book of Isaiah
Chapters 49-57 give us God’s gracious provision of redemption. This second section (chapters 49-57) points to an effective cure for their (and our) real problems. On the outside, their exile would seem to be the bad guy ruining their lives. If from section one they can understand that their judgment is because of their sin, then they will look for relief not only in a return to their homeland but in the healing of their sins, and ONLY God alone can provide this healing.
Although they are comforted about their return to Palestine, it is just a small part of the complete worldwide plan of healing that Almighty God will provide through His gracious and Humble Servant. The Servant serves as the Center of Hope in these chapters. Because of this awesome Servant, Israel can be assured that God has not forsaken them. In reality, the Servant will lead ALL nations to serve God. Slowly this Majestic Servant is introduced. His work is not easy, but He finds strength in the LORD God.
Through the multitude of verses describing the Suffering Servant, the Israelites (and we as well), should begin to realize the cost of salvation. It is easy enough to arrange for their passage back to Judah as the first section emphasized using Cyrus the Persian emperor as His servant. But, this Suffering Servant, brings God’s people back through sufferings which climax with His death on the cross, and in this way He has become their Saviour (and ours). He died for their sins. What should have been OUR sufferings, became His sufferings. Do you honestly realize just what Jesus did for us? For you and for me? And because He faithfully did and does His work, He prospers and leads all those who are made righteous (justified) by Him (Rom.3:24; 5:1, 9).
God ever so patiently taught the Jews that His plan was to incorporate people all around the world. This was to include people from all around the world . . . Jews AND Gentiles! The every one in chapter 55:1 is all-encompassing. Chapter 56 deliberately assures these strangers (Gentiles) not to feel inferior nor unimportant. Consider the following:
#1. Man looks for political freedom; God provides spiritual freedom in the Kingdom of God.
#2.Man thinks only of his own race. God helps people from every tongue and race.
How great and immeasurable is God’s grace! Chapter 57 will bring us back to the operating table. God spreads out our wickedness right before our eyes, and IF you sincerely want salvation of your soul, and long for hope of everlasting life, you must be willing to hear what the LORD has to say to you. Are you listening???
Matthew 3:2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (KJV)
Luke 13:3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. (KJV) . . . This is very important, because Jesus says it again!
Luke 13:5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. (KJV)
Ch.40-48: Isaiah 48:22 There is no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked. (KJV)
Ch.49-57: Isaiah 57:21 There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked. (KJV)
Ch.58-66: Isaiah 66:24 And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh. (KJV)
All three of these last sections end with the same idea . . . there shall be no peace, to the wicked. The Messiah brings peace, but any and all who reject Him will NEVER know peace. Turning TO idols is turning AWAY from the Messiah. As we have seen, this section has majored in a condemnation and rebuke of idolatry. Idolatry is a road that leads to Babylon. The LORD, in the Book of Isaiah, is traveling the lonely road to Calvary. BEWARE!!! ALL idolatry and witchcraft are an abomination to the LORD: (Deut.27:15; 1 Ki.11:7; 23:13; Isa.44:19; Jer.32:35; Eze.18:12; Dan.12:11; Mal.2:11; Rev.21:27)
ISAIAH 51 parallels with COLOSSIANS. Colossians is the book of correction. In Isaiah 51, God's chosen people are repeatedly rebuked to listen to Him and to look to Him for judgment. Isaiah 51:4-5 Hearken unto me, my people; and give ear unto me, O my nation: for a law shall proceed from me, and I will make my judgment to rest for a light of the people. 5 My righteousness is near; my salvation is gone forth, and mine arms shall judge the people; the isles shall wait upon me, and on mine arm shall they trust. Col. 1:10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Col. 1:22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: . . . Consider this wisdom: 1 Cor. 11:31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. (KJV)
Some think that this chapter, together with Isaiah 52:1-12, is one connected portion, and it is wrong to separate them. This part of Isaiah is that of marvelous beauty, and is a most suitable introduction to the most important portion which follows, which respects the Messiah.
This is designed mainly to comfort the Jews in their exile. They are considered to be in Babylon near the end of their captivity, desperately desiring to be rescued. This chapter is somewhat intense in its character, which is made up of different speeches of God and His people . . . the one encouraging the strong language of consolation, and the other is passionate pleas for their deliverance. God speaks to them in the language of comfort, and directs them to remember the founder of their nation, and assures them that He is well able to deliver them (vs.1-3).
#1. He speaks of them as devout, and as seeking the LORD (vs.1).
#2. They were to remember Abraham and Sarah; the quarry, so to speak, from which the nation had been hewed; they were to remember how feeble they were, and yet how God had made a great nation of them, and to feel assured that God was equally able to conduct them forward and to multiply them into a great nation (vs.1-2). http://www.lastdaysprophecy.org/L_D_israel.htm
#3. A direct Promise that God would comfort Zion, and make it like Eden (vs.3).
God calls upon His people to pay attention to Him, assuring that He would extend the TRUE religion even to the Gentile world, and that His salvation would be more permanent than the heavens were (vs.4-6).
#1. He would make His religion a light to the Jewish people (vs.4), even though they were now in darkness, yet they would one day be brought into the light.
#2. He would extend it to the isles. . . to the pagan world (vs.5).
#3. It should be everlasting. The heavens would grow old and vanish, but His salvation would NOT ever be ended (vs.6).
God assures Israel that they have no reason to be downhearted because of the number and power of their enemies. No matter how mighty they were, they would be consumed as the moth eats up a garment, and as the worm consumes wool (vs.7-8). Always remember: One with God is the majority!
The people are introduced as calling upon God, and as begging Him to intervene as He had done in former times in their behalf (vs.9-10). In this appeal they refer to what God had done in former periods when He cut Rahab (Egypt) in pieces, and delivered His people, and they cry to Him to intercede in the same way, and to deliver them.
To this request, the LORD replies (vs.11-16). He assures them:
#1. His redeemed shall return with joy and triumph (vs.11).
#2. He that had made the heavens was their Comforter, and they had nothing to fear from man, or the fury of any oppressor (vs.12-13).
#3. The captive exile would be loosed, and they so desired that it would soon occur (vs.14).
#4. The LORD of hosts, who had divided the sea, was their Protector. He had given them a solemn Promise, and He had covered His people with the shadow of His Hand, and He would defend them (vs.15-16).
Chapter 51 closes with a direct address to Jerusalem, and with wonderful assurances that it would be rebuilt, and that it would be no more visited with such calamities (vs.17-23).
#1. The calamities of Jerusalem are numbered. She had drunk the cup of the fury of the LORD; she had been forsaken by those who were qualified to guide her; desolation and destruction as a result had come upon her; her sons had fainted in the streets, and had drunk of the fury of God (vs.17-20).
#2. God promises deliverance. She was drunken, but not with wine. God had taken out of her hand the cup of trembling, and she would no more drink it again. He would put that cup into the hand of those who had afflicted her, and they would now drink of it (vs.21,23).
Theme: Israel's origin from past history; Israel's outlook for the future; summary of Israel's present conditions.
It is impossible to read this chapter without recognizing the fact that God has a future plan for Israel . . . just as He has a future plan for the church and for you and me.
The final verse of chapter 50 finished with a warning, which might lead some to a wrong interpretation. God does NOT want us to think that Israel as a nation has been set aside permanently! That simply is NOT true! And that when He speaks of Israel, He means Israel. But in the last days, Israel shall indeed be a part of the TRUE church (Gal.3:26-29).
Just as Israel has had a past rooted in a very small beginning (Gen.12:1-3), so too, Israel today is small and set aside . . . but this does not mean God has forsaken them. He has NOT forsaken Israel, and He never will! No matter how hard wicked people try to kill her off, they will NOT ever accomplish it. Israel is here to stay! Jeremiah 31:35-37 Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name: 36 If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. 37 Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD. (KJV)
Israel may seem to the world today that she is way off track, but dear one, God will put her back on the main track sometime in the future, and I do not think it is a very distant future. With the way the world is going, it reminds me of: Genesis 6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (KJV) . . . You know what God did then! I believe judgment is coming soon. There are so many signs pointing to this. I think that Jesus could come and take the saints home at any time in the Rapture. http://www.lastdaysprophecy.org/L_D_signs_rapture.htm
In this chapter God turns on the alarm to awaken those who are asleep that they might know that the eternal morning is coming soon. Romans 13:11-12 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. (KJV) . . . If you do not know if you are going to Heaven, the Bible tells us that you CAN know (Jn.20:31; 1 Jn.5:10-12, 20). http://www.lastdaysprophecy.org/L_D_truth_about_salvation.htm
Israel's Origin from Past History (51:1-3)
Isaiah 51:1 Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged. (KJV)
Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness . . . now He turns His speech again to the believing and godly Jews. Hearken means to listen; to pay attention to what is said!
Ye that seek the LORD . . . that make it your main caution and concern to seek favor and help from the LORD.
Look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged . . . this considers the state of Abraham and Sarah, when they procreated Isaac, from whom Jacob and all Israel sprang. He compared the bodies of Abraham and Sarah to a rock, or pit, or quarry out of which stones are cut or dug, thereby implying that God in some sort actually did that which John the Baptist said He was able to do (Mat.3:9), even of stones to raise up children unto Abraham; it being then as impossible by the course of nature for Abraham and Sarah in their old age to produce a child, as it is to hew a living child out of a rock, or to dig one out of a pit of stone.
Isaiah 51:2 Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you: for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him. (KJV)
Look unto Abraham your father, and to Sarah that bare you . . . what was symbolically expressed in the former verse is here expressed literally. They were directed to remember that God had taken Abraham and Sarah from a distant land (Gen.12:1-3), and that from so humble a beginning the LORD had increased them to a great nation. The point being, that He was able to bless and increase the exile Jews, even though they were quite feeble and few.
For I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him . . . for only one I called, he was alone but he increased to a mighty nation. The point is, that God had called one man, Abraham, and He had caused him to increase until a mighty nation had sprung from him, and that He had the same power to increase the little remnant that remained in Babylon until they would again become a mighty people.
Isaiah 51:3 For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody. (KJV)
For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places . . . Zion (Isa.1:8). The meaning here is, that the LORD would again restore Zion from its ruins. IF God had raised up so great a nation from so humble a beginning, He certainly had power to restore the waste places of Judea to more than their former beauty and prosperity (Isa.40:1).
And He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord . . . although she (Zion) shall be waste and desolate like a wilderness or desert for a time, she shall be restored, and be made as pleasant and flourishing as the Garden of Eden was (Gen.2:8-17).
Joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody . . . the sound of rejoicing and praise shall be heard there again, where are now heard the cries of wild beasts. The voice of melody, praises to the LORD shall again be celebrated.
Israel's Outlook for the Future (51:4-15)
Isaiah 51:4 Hearken unto me, my people; and give ear unto me, O my nation: for a law shall proceed from me, and I will make my judgment to rest for a light of the people. (KJV)
Hearken unto me, my people; and give ear unto me, O my nation . . . come unto me, O ye people, and hear Me, O Israel. Listen to me, my people . . . becausethe Gentiles will listen to Me, as I have formerly told you (Gen.12:2-3; Ex.12:49; Ps.22:27-30; 68:29-31; 72:8-11,17; Isa.2:2-5; 11:9-10; 19:24-25; 42:1-4; 45:14; 49:22-23; 52:10; 60:3-7; 66:19; Jer.16:19; Zec.8:20-22; Mal.1:11; Lk.2:32. Acts 28:28; 1 Pet.2:9-10; Rev.11:15; 12:10; 15:4). The Jews are warned to take heed that even though He had chosen them to be His peculiar people (Ex.19:5; Deut.14:2; 26:18; Ps.135:4; Tit.2:14; 1 Pet.2:9).They were advised NOT to reject the LORD’S counsel, nor to forsake their own mercies, as He feared they would do.
For a law shall proceed from me . . . the idea here is, that the LORD would give law to the distant nations by the distribution of the TRUE religion.
And I will make my judgment to rest for a light of the people . . . judgment here is the same as law or statute, or to the establishment of the TRUE religion. To rest means I will cause to bring forth, or I will establish. One version renders it simply, My judgment for a light of the nation. Judgment properly means to make afraid, to terrify, to restrain by threats (Job 26:12). Here it means that He would firmly set His law; and that He would place it so that it would be established and immovable. Judgment is here the same thing as law in the former clause, and is the Word of God, which is often called judgment, or the evangelical doctrine of which He says that He will make it to rest. For a light of the people, not only to the Jews, but to people of ALL nations, who shall receive it and walk in that light which the Jews will reject, and use all possible means to extinguish it.
Isaiah 51:5 My righteousness is near; my salvation is gone forth, and mine arms shall judge the people; the isles shall wait upon me, and on mine arm shall they trust. (KJV)
My righteousness is near . . . righteousness is used in many ways. My righteousness; my salvation, as it is explained in the next clause, is the redemption of all God’s people, both Jews and Gentiles (Gal.3:26-29), which is the result of His righteousness; it is His justice, His faithfulness, His mercy and His goodness, all rolled up into one! All these are called by the name of righteousness in Scripture, and all these contributed to the work of man's redemption. It is the faithful completion of His Promises to His people.
My salvation is gone forth . . . the Promise of salvation is gone out, and the execution of that purpose is already started. He would soon deliver His people; and He would at no distant period extend salvation to all nations (Gentiles). The LORD’S eternal purpose of saving His people shall quickly be fulfilled.
And mine arm shall judge the people . . . arm here is put for Himself, just as the arm is the instrument by which we execute our purposes (vs.9). The LORD shall dispense judgment to them.
The isles shall wait upon me . . . isles are distant nations; the pagan lands (Isa.41:1; 42:4). The idea is, that distant lands would become interested in the TRUE religion, and acknowledge and worship the One and Only TRUE God. What a blessing this is!
And on mine arm shall they trust . . . the Arm of God, as we shall see in Isaiah 53, is His salvation. Many ask, to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? (Isa.53:1). God desires that the Arm of redemption in Christ to be revealed to the entire lost world. Therefore He is sending out this message that this Arm will deliver Israel and Gentiles in the future (Gal.3:26-29).
Isaiah 51:6 Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished. (KJV)
Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath . . . the plan of directing their attention to the heavens and the earth is, seems most likely to impress them more deeply with a proof of the certainty of His salvation. Since the heavens and the Earth appear to be firmly fixed; there is no reason to think that they will dissolve or decay , , , yet even though they are firmly fixed, they shall indeed one day vanish away (Ps.102:25-26; Isa.34:4; Mat.24:35; Heb.1:10-12; 2 Pet.3:7, 10-12; Rev.20:11; 21:1), but the Promise of God will NEVER fail.
For the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment . . .
heavens shall vanish away occurs nowhere else in the Bible. The idea here is, that the heavens would disappear, as smoke dissolves and disappears in the air. The idea of the vanishing, or the disappearing of the heavens and the Earth, is one that often occurs in the Scriptures (Ps.102:25-26; Isa. 34:4; Heb.1:11-12; 2 Pet.3:10-12).
The earth shall wax old like a garment . . . shall decay, and be destroyed (Ps.102:26).
And they that dwell therein shall die in like manner . . . the idea as given in the common translation is not feeble, as some suppose, but is a deeply striking one, that the heavens, the Earth, and all the inhabitants would vanish away together, and all disappear.
But my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished . . . it is a glorious Truth that the redemption which God shall give His people shall survive all the revolutions of kingdoms, and the close of all earthly things. It is very possible that the Saviour had this Passage in mind when He said: Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. (KJV)
Isaiah 51:7 Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings. (KJV)
Hearken unto me . . . listen to me, pay attention.
Ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law . . . people who know God and are acquainted with My law, are those who are to be saved. This is spoken to the pious part of the Jewish nation. That know righteousness; that love and practice it, as knowing is commonly used. In whose heart is my law; who are quietly opposed to the carnal Jews that had the law written only in tables (2 Cor.3:3; Heb.8:10).
Fear ye not the reproach of men . . . if we have the Promise of God, and the assurance of His favor, we shall have no reason to dread the reproaches and the scoffs of people (Mat.10:28).
Fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings . . . the contempt of the carnal Jews, who will try to lead their believing and godly brethren away from the LORD, and rudely accuse, insult and offend them.
Isaiah 51:8 For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool: but my righteousness shall be for ever, and my salvation from generation to generation. (KJV)
For the moth shall eat them up like a garment . . . the moth (Isa.50:9). The idea is, that the reproachers shall be consumed as the moth eats up a garment. They were so weak when compared with the LORD that even the moth, one of the smallest, and most contemptible of insects, would consume them. An expression strangely similar to this occurs in (Job 4:18-21).
The reproachers shall be easily destroyed, for God shall revenge your cause upon them, and deliver you from their accusations and reproaches.
And the worm shall eat them like wool . . . like wool garments, which is soon destroyed by moths or such creatures. Worm probably means the same as the moth.
But my righteousness shall be for ever, and my salvation from generation to generation . . . the Promise of this righteousness and salvation shall be for ever, and shall never be abolished. It is an everlasting righteousness that the Messiah brings (Dan.9:24), an eternal redemption that He is the Author of (Heb.5:9). It shall spread through all the nations of the Earth, and it shall last throughout all the ages of the world. The endlessness of the Gospel and the blessed things it brings in is illustrated by the fading and perishing of this world and all things in it.
Isaiah 51:9 Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the LORD; awake, as in the ancient days, in the generations of old. Art thou not it that hath cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon? (KJV)
Awake, awake . . . this verse starts a new subject. It is the solemn and impassioned plea of those who were in exile that God would intervene in their behalf, as He did in behalf of His people when they were suffering in cruel bondage in Egypt. Awake seems to be spoken to the arm of LORD, and is a request that it might be roused from its seeming idleness, and its power exerted in their behalf.
Put on strength, O arm of the LORD . . . clothe thyself with mighty works; put forth Thy strength.
Awake, as in the ancient days, in the generations of old . . . meaning in the time when the Jews were delivered from their bondage in the land of Egypt.
Art thou not it that hath cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon? . . . cut it in pieces, or destroyed it. It was that Arm which wielded the sword of justice and of vengeance by which Rahab was cut. Rahab here means Egypt (Ps.89:10). And wounded the dragon, dragon properly means any great fish or sea monster; a serpent, a dragon or crocodile (Isa.27:1). Here it probably means the crocodile, which is symbolic of Egypt, because the Nile abounded in crocodiles, and because a monster so unwieldy and formidable and unsightly, was a suitable representation of the proud and cruel king of Egypt. The king of Egypt is often compared to a crocodile (Ps.74:13-14; Eze.29:3; 32:2). Here the sense is, that the Arm of the LORD had sorely wounded and greatly weakened the power of Egypt, which for strength was not unfairly represented by the crocodile, one of the most mighty of monsters, but which, like a pierced and wounded monster, was greatly exhausted when God visited it with plagues, and destroyed its hosts in the sea (Ex.14:27-31).
Isaiah 51:10 Art thou not it which hath dried the sea, the waters of the great deep; that hath made the depths of the sea a way for the ransomed to pass over? (KJV)
Art thou not it which hath dried the sea, the waters of the great deep ? . . . are You not the same God? Are You not as powerful now as You were then? Dried the sea, the Red Sea when the children of Israel passed over (Ex.14:21-22). This is the common illustration to which the Hebrew prophets and poets appeal, when they wish to refer to the intervening of God in favor of their nation (Ps.74:13-14; 77:18; 78:13; 106:9; 136 ;13-15; Isa.43:2,16; 51:10,15; 63:11-13; Jer.31:35). The Arm of the LORD shall also work in the last days (Rev.16:12). http://www.godcannotlie.org/rev_ch16.htm
That hath made the depths of the sea a way for the ransomed to pass over . . . those who had been ransomed from Egypt. Ransomed is commonly rendered redeemed. He who had overcome all the obstacles in the way of their deliverance from Egypt, was also well able to overcome all the obstacles in the way of their deliverance from Babylon; and He who had intervened in Egypt might be expected again to show His mercy, and save them again from oppression. All God’s past interpositions . . . and especially the great and wonderful interposition when He gave His only begotten Son (Jn.3:16) for His people; establish an argument that He shall still continue to regard the interests of His people, and will intervene in their behalf and save them.
*****The arm of the LORD shall continue to work on Israel’s behalf (and ours). Just as surely as it has done great things in the past in defense of the same cause, we can be certain that it is neither shortened nor weakened. It did wonders against the Egyptians, who enslaved and oppressed God's people, it cut Rahab (Egypt) to pieces with one terrible plague after another (Ex.Ch.7-12), and wounded Pharaoh, the dragon, the Leviathan, as he is called (Ps.74:13-14); giving him his death wound. It did wonders for Israel, drying up the sea, even the waters of the great deep, to make a road through the sea for the ransomed to pass over (Isa.43L16; Ex,14:21-22). The LORD is never at a loss for a way to accomplish His purposes concerning His people, but will either find a way or make one. Past experiences can greatly support our faith and hope, so they are wonderful requests when we pray (Psalm 85).
Isaiah 51:11 Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away. (KJV)
Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion . . . this verse contains an answer to the prophet's prayer. It is true, He did these great things, and He will do the same again. The redeemed of the LORD shall return, is probably said to reassure them, in answer to their prayer, that His ransomed people would return again to Zion.
And everlasting joy shall be upon their head . . . everlasting joy shall belike a crown of glory. But for the completion of this outstanding Promise, they must look beyond their return from Babylon into their own land, and when they meet with discouragements, troubles and calamities, they must extend it unto the last days and the Coming of Christ (Zec.14:1-4; Rev.19:11-21), by whom these great things shall be obtained and actually conferred upon His people. The custom of singing referred to here on a journey was very common in the East. It was done to relieve the monotony of a journey over extended plains.
They shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away . . . when the saints come to Heaven they enter into the joy of their Lord (Isa.29:19; 35:10; 51:11); it will crown their heads with eternal honor and fill their hearts with complete satisfaction. They shall obtain that joy and gladness which they could never obtain in the valley of tears. In this world of changes it is such a short step from joy to sorrow, but in the world to come, sorrow and mourning shall flee away (Isa.35:10; 51:11), never to return or come in view again. The entire verse 10, also occurs in Isaiah 35:10. Any time that something is repeated, remember that it is important. Here, it brings comfort and hope to the and us.
Isaiah 51:12 I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass; (KJV)
I, even I, am he that comforteth you . . . the word ‘I’ is repeated to give stress the importance of the Passage, and to deeply impress upon them the fact that their comfort came from God alone. Since God was their Protector and Friend, they had no reason to fear anything that man could do.
Who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die . . . Who art thou? How unreasonable and doubting you are, O My people. You should not fear a man that shall die. God is your Eternal Comforter and will endure forever. But all men, even the most mighty, must one day die. And if God is our Protector, WHY should we fear what a mere mortal can do to us?
Who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die . . . this phrase is very common in the Hebrew Scriptures, and means the same as, Do not be afraid of a man who shall die. He can hurt your body but he cannot touch your eternal soul! We are to fear only God! http://hisservants.org/fear_h_s.htm
And of the son of man which shall be made as grass . . . of a weak mortal and perishing creature. Man shall perish as grass does that is cut down at mid-day (Isa.40:6-7; Ps.90:5-6; 103:15-16; Jam.1:10-11; 1 Pet.1:24).
Isaiah 51:13 And forgettest the LORD thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? and where is the fury of the oppressor? (KJV)
And forgettest the LORD thy Maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth . . . these verses seem intended to rebuke that state of the mind, far too common, even among the people of God, where they are overwhelmed by the number and strength of their enemies, and forget that they should depend on God and His Promises of His comfort, help and relief. In such conditions God reproves them for their lack of confidence in Him, and calls on them to remember that He has made the heavens and Earth, and truly does have power to save them (Isa.40:12, 26).
And hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy . . . they had continually feared and trembled before their oppressors. As if he were ready to destroy; as if it were in man’s power to destroy them in a moment.
Where is the fury of the oppressor?. . . what has become of the power and rage of the Babylonians? Is it not all gone? Are not they broken, and thou delivered? He speaks of the thing as if it were already done, because it would certainly and suddenly be done. What is there to dread? The indication is, that the enemies of the Jews would be cut off, and that they should therefore put their confidence in God, and rely on His promised help.
Isaiah 51:14 The captive exile hasteneth that he may be loosed, and that he should not die in the pit, nor that his bread should fail. (KJV)
The captive exile hasteneth that he may be loosed . . . the meaning clearly is, that the exile who had been so long as it were enslaved in Babylon, was about to be set free, and that the time was very near when their captivity was to end. The prisoner would not die there, but would be led again to his own land. The indication is, that they who were bowed down under bondage and oppression in Babylon, would very soon be released. This is one of the many Passages which show that the scene of the prophetic vision is Babylon, and the time near the close of the captivity, and that the plan of the prophet is to comfort them there, and to assure them that they would soon be released.
And that he should not die in the pit . . . Babylon is represented as a prison or a pit. Israel would be restored to their own land. Prisoners were often confined in a deep pit or cavern, so the word is the same as a prison. The Athenians often condemned offenders to the pit. It was a dark, offensive hole, and had sharp spikes at the top, that no criminal might escape; and spikes at the bottom, to pierce and torment those who were thrown in. The pit: (Gen.37:20; num.16:30; Ps.9:15; 28:1; 30:3,9; 40:2; 55:23; 119:85; 140:10; Jer.37:21; Zec.9:11).
Nor that his bread should fail . . . his needs would be supplied until he is released. God is not slack, as they think, but hurries to fulfil His Promise, and to rescue His captive and oppressed people from all their oppressions and miseries.
Isaiah 51:15 But I am the LORD thy God, that divided the sea, whose waves roared: The LORD of hosts is his name. (KJV)
But I am the LORD thy God, that divided the sea, whose waves roared . . . to show them that He was able to save them, God again refers to the fact that He had divided the sea, and delivered their fathers from bondage and oppression. That divided the sea, the Red Sea. Some render this, that rebuked the sea. It is Almighty God alone who controls the raging sea. Maybe the idea here is, that He restrains the raging of the sea, making it tranquil or still by rebuking it. He had this power over all raging seas, and He had shown it in a special manner by His rebuking the Red Sea and making it rest, and causing a way (road) to be made through it, when the children of Israel came out of Egypt.
The LORD of hosts is his name . . . (Isa.1:9; 42:8). LORD of hosts appears 273 times in the Old Testament. I am the LORD appears 295 times in the Old Testament. He IS the One and Only TRUE GOD!
*****Verses 14-15 tell us that just as God had brought their father Abraham from the ends of the Earth, God intends to bring Israel back to her land. This is what the prophet Jeremiah is saying: Jeremiah 23:8 But, The LORD liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land. (KJV)
The day will come when Israel will no longer remember their deliverance out of Egypt, for so great will be their deliverance in the last days (Rev. Ch.19). Dear one, this is remarkable! You cannot just set it aside and ignore it. God is saying, Wake up! This is what I am going to do.
Isaiah 51:16 And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people. (KJV)
I have put my words in thy mouth . . . the LORD had committed His Truth to the Jewish people; to Zion. He had trusted them with His statutes and His laws; He had given them the awesome Promise of the Messiah, and through Him the assurance that the TRUE religion would be spread to other nations. He would preserve them and restore them again to their own land.
For God's Word is often said to be put into the mouths, not only of the prophets, but of the people also (Deut.30:14; Josh.1:8; Isa.59:21).
And I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand . . . have protected thee by My almighty power (Isa.49:2).
That I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth . . . I have given them these Promises and this protection in all their calamities, to reassure them of any care and kindness to them, and that I will reform them in a most glorious manner, and bring them unto that perfect and blessed estate which is reserved for the days of the Messiah, which in Scripture is called a making of new heavens and a new earth (Isa.65:17; 66:22; 2 Pet.3:13; Rev.21:1-5).
And say unto Zion, Thou art my people . . . that I may own them for My people, in a more memorable manner than I have ever done before.
Outline of Israel's Present Conditions (51:17-23)
The present conditions of Israel should tell us something. God is still telling us to wake up.
Isaiah 51:17 Awake, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem, which hast drunk at the hand of the LORD the cup of his fury; thou hast drunken the dregs of the cup of trembling, and wrung them out. (KJV)
Awake, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem . . . awake (vs.9), either #1. Out of the sleep of security. Or #2. Out of the sleep of death. Raise up yourself; come out of that forlorn and gloomy condition in which you have been for so long. This verse starts an address to Jerusalem under a new image. The figure employed is that of a man who has been overcome by the cup of the wrath of the LORD that had produced the same effect as being drunk. Jerusalem had reeled and fallen flat on her face. There was none to sustain her, and she had sunk deep down into the dust. Calamities of the most appalling kind had come upon her, and she is now called on to raise up from this condition, and to recover her former splendor and power.
Which hast drunk at the hand of the LORD the cup of his fury . . . which hast been sorely afflicted (vs.22); for so this symbol is also used in (Ps.75:8; Jer.25:15; 49:12).
Thou hast drunken the dregs of the cup of trembling, and wrung them out . . . which strikes him that drinks it with a deadly horror. Wrung them out . . . drunk every drop of it (Ps.75:8). This correctly means, to suck out all the liquid from the residue. The wrath of God is often compared to a cup producing intoxication, because it produces a similar effect. It drains the strength, and makes the person stagger and fall. In like manner, all calamities are represented under the image of a cup that is drunk, which produces a flattened effect on the body. They had totally exhausted the cup of the wrath of God. Similar language occurs in: Revelation 14:10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: (KJV)
*****Consider the situation of Jerusalem today. It is a city in chaos and turmoil. Even though it was a favorite spot of David, and is also God's favorite spot on Earth, it has yet to be made beautiful and a city of peace. The LORD has yet to bring His people there. God is saying, Wake up, O Jerusalem, for I am going to make you again a great city of peace one day.
Isaiah 51:18 There is none to guide her among all the sons whom she hath brought forth; neither is there any that taketh her by the hand of all the sons that she hath brought up. (KJV)
There is none to guide her among all the sons whom she hath brought forth . . . the image here is taken from the condition of one who is under the influence of an intoxicating drink, and who needs someone to sustain and guide her. The indication is, than among all the inhabitants of Jerusalem in the time of the calamity, there was none who could restore to order the agitated and distracted affairs of the nation. All her wisdom was destroyed; all her counsels confused; all her power stunned. All the sons whom she hath brought forth, all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were drunk with this cup, and not able to go, not her princes, not her prophets, not her priests were able or willing to lead and support them. In her drunken condition, there was no one to help her rise up. A drunk woman was actually quite an unusual sight, and quite degraded.
Neither is there any that taketh her by the hand of all the sons that she hath brought up . . . those that should have helped her, did not! She is drunk with the cup of God's fury, and being so, staggers and is very unsteady in her guidance and efforts. She knows not what she says or does, and in this doomed condition, of all the sons that she has brought forth and brought up, that she raised and educated, there is none to guide her, none to take her by the hand to keep her either from falling or from shaming herself.
*****Think it not strange if wise and good men are disappointed in their children, and have not the help and support from them that they expected, but instead there were arrows in their hand, pointing at their heart. Jerusalem herself had none of all her sons, princes, priests nor prophets, that had such a sense either of duty or gratitude as to help her when she needed it most, so they complain (Ps.74:9).There is none to tell us how long.
Isaiah 51:19 These two things are come unto thee; who shall be sorry for thee? desolation, and destruction, and the famine, and the sword: by whom shall I comfort thee? (KJV)
These two things are come unto thee . . . either, #1. Those which were now mentioned, that she was drunk with the cup of God's wrath (vs.17). Or # 2. That she had none to support or comfort her in that condition.
Who shall be sorry for thee?. . . who shall be able to pity thee as to furnish relief? None!
Desolation, and destruction, and the famine, and the sword . . . the things which follow, which even though they are expressed in four words, yet they may rightly be reduced to just two things, the desolation or devastation of the land, and the destruction of the people, by famine and sword. Famine and sword are not named as new evils, but only as the specific ways to bring the destruction there mentioned. This no doubt refers to the series of calamities that would come upon her in connection with the invasion of the Chaldeans.
By whom shall I comfort thee? . . . this suggests a desire on the part of the LORD to give them comfort. But the idea is, that the land would be laid waste, and that they who would have been the natural comforters would be destroyed. There would be none left to whom an alternative could be had for comfort. They have no one to give them relief (Lam.2:11-13).
Isaiah 51:20 Thy sons have fainted, they lie at the head of all the streets, as a wild bull in a net: they are full of the fury of the LORD, the rebuke of thy God. (KJV)
Thy sons have fainted, they lie at the head of all the streets . . . thy sons have fainted, they are far from being able to comfort thee, as was said (vs.18), for they themselves faint for lack of comfort, and through famine. They lie dead by famine, or the sword of the enemy, at the head of all the streets; where men enter in or go out of the streets, where the enemy found them either opposing their entrance, or their running out of them to try to escape.
As a wild bull in a net . . . those that are not slain, struggle to live; and although they murmur at God, and fight with men, they cannot prevail or escape.
They are full of the fury of the Lord, the rebuke of thy God . . . meaning Jerusalem's sons, the professors of religion, now full of calamities, which seem to flow freely from the wrath of God, and are rebukes of His fury.
Isaiah 51:21 Therefore hear now this, thou afflicted, and drunken, but not with wine: (KJV)
Therefore hear now this, thou afflicted . . . by Babylon (Rome in the last days), by Antichrist and his followers; hear, for your comfort, the following prophecy:
And drunken, but not with wine. . . not with wine in a literal sense; nor with the wine of the fornication of the whore of Rome; nor with idolatry, as the kings of the Earth are said to be (Rev.17:2; 18:3), but, as some express it, drunk with tribulation; with the afflictions at the Hand of God, and persecutions from men. They were flattened by the wrath of God. As a wild animal is held by the labor of the hunter, and is not able to escape, so it was with the inhabitants of Jerusalem suffering under the wrath of God. They were humbled, flattened and powerless, and were, like the deer that was caught, entirely at the disposal of him who had ensnared them.
Isaiah 51:22 Thus saith thy Lord the LORD, and thy God that pleadeth the cause of his people, Behold, I have taken out of thine hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of my fury; thou shalt no more drink it again: (KJV)
Thus saith the LORD, and thy God that pleadeth the cause of his people . . . He who is LORD of all, the Eternal God, who can do all things, and Who is the Covenant God of His people, and will do all things that He has planned and promised, and which are for their good and His glory. He pleads the cause of His people, which is a righteous one, as He will make it appear, by delivering them out of their troubles.
Behold, I have taken out of thy hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of my fury . . . (vs.17). This verse contains a Promise that they would be delivered from the effect of the wrath of God, under which they had been suffering so long. Thou shalt no more drink it . . . they shall no more be subject to similar trials and calamities (Isa.54:7-9). Possibly the idea here is, not that Jerusalem would never be again destroyed, which would not be true, for it was afterward subjected to the severe trials under the Romans; but that the people who would then return, the pious exiles, would be preserved forever after from similar sufferings. The purpose of the prophet is to console them, and this he does by the assurance that they would no more be subjected to such trials.
*****God has been pressing His cup of fury to their lips because of their rejection of Christ, but the day is coming when He shall remove that cup. Israel shall indeed come to he senses, and the day will come when God will take away His judgment and bless them. If you think that God is through with the nation Israel, you are WRONG! Even after all these years of judgment upon the land and upon the people, God will bless them. God will bring them victory, and that is what He is saying here.
Isaiah 51:23 But I will put it into the hand of them that afflict thee; which have said to thy soul, Bow down, that we may go over: and thou hast laid thy body as the ground, and as the street, to them that went over. (KJV)
But I will put it into the hand of them that afflict thee . . . as the LORD did to literal Babylon (Jer.25:15-16), so will He also do to mystical Babylon (Rome) in the last days. He shall get revenge upon her all the evils she has done to others, and destroy them that destroyed the Earth (Rev.11:18; 13:10; 18:6).
Which have said to thy soul, Bow down, that we may go over . . . they not only afflicted the bodies, but distressed the souls and consciences of men; forcing them to a comply with their idolatrous practices, to bow down and worship idols (Ex.20:5; Lev.26:1; Ps.115:4-8; Isa.46:6-10; Dan.3:18), and in the last days, the worship of the beast, and his image (Rev.13:12, 15; 14:9,11), and to acknowledge subjection to Rome, and its authority over them. The reference seems to be the custom of the eastern kings trampling upon the necks of their conquered enemies, (Josh.10:24), and the pope of Rome has, in a literal sense, trampled upon the necks even of kings and emperors (Rev.17:2-6).
And thou hast laid thy body as the ground, and as the street, to them that went over . . . this expresses the low estate of the TRUE church, or Holy City, while trodden under foot by the Gentiles during the reign of Antichrist (Rev.11:2), and may also mean the uneasy outward compliance of some through the force of persecution, when they did not cordially embrace, nor with conscience, and from their heart, submit to the authority of the church of Rome; but even though the people of God are represented in such a low and groveling condition, yet they shall arise out of it, and come into a very flourishing one, as Chapter 52 shows.
*****The enemies of Israel will NOT escape the judgment of God. Every nation that was ever dedicated to anti-Semitism (hatred of Jews) has fallen: Egypt, Persia, Rome, Spain, Belgium and Germany. This chapter should really make believers today, be aware that God will yet choose Israel, and that the events in the Near East indicate that we are fast approaching the end times, even though no specific prophecy is being fulfilled in this hour.
Even though God knew that Israel would reject the Messiah, He had to make them a genuine offer of the Kingdom, before turning to the Gentiles. This is why Jesus sent the first group of disciples only among the Jews, and why He said He was only sent to the lost sheep of Israel (Mat. 15:24) Although Paul called himself the apostle to the Gentiles (Rom.11:13), He often went to the local synagogue first when coming to a new town, out of love for His own people.
In my opinion, this was not meant to become a general principle in evangelism, although I think that some Messianic groups see it that way. Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (KJV)
Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (KJV) . . . We are to Go ye therefore, to whomever we are led, no matter if they are Jews or Gentiles!
Thirty-five Predictions in Isaiah Chapters 51 & 52, not yet fulfilled:
#1. The Lord will comfort Zion (Isa.51:3).
#2. He will comfort all her waste places.
#3. He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord.
#4. Joy, gladness, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody will be found there. It is not so today.
#5. A law will proceed from Me (Isa.51:4).
#6. I will make judgment to rest for a light of the people.
#7. My righteousness is near (Isa.51:5).
#8. My salvation is gone forth.
#9. My arms will judge the people.
#10. The isles will wait upon Me.
#11. They shall trust in My arm.
#12. The heavens will vanish like smoke (Isa,51:6).
#13. The earth will wax old as a garment.
#14. Men that dwell in it will die in like manner.
#15. My salvation will be forever.
#16. My righteousness will not be abolished.
#17. The wicked will be consumed like a moth-eaten garment and like wool that is eaten by worms; but My righteousness and salvation will continue in all generations (Isa.51:7-8).
#18. The Redeemed shall return, and come with singing to Zion (Isa.51:11).
#19. Everlasting joy will be upon them.
#20. They will have joy and gladness.
#21. Sorrow and crying will flee away.
#22. I will comfort you (Isa.51:12). Not so today.
#23. The fury of the oppressor will be no more (Isa.51:13). The fury of oppressors rage!
#24. I have put My words in your mouth (Isa.51:16; 59:20-21).
#25. I have covered you in the shadow of My hand that I may say to Zion: You are My people (Isa.51:16).
#26. I have taken the cup of trembling out of your hand, even the dregs of the cup of My fury; you will no more drink of it (Isa.51:21-22).
#27. I will put it into the hands of your enemies, for them to drink of it (Isa.51:23).
#28. Henceforth the uncircumcised and the unclean will never come into Jerusalem (Isa.52:1).
#29. The captivity of Israel will be over and the people will return to Jerusalem and Zion (Isa.52:2-6).
#30. My people will know My name in that day and understand that I have spoken to them (Isa.52:6).
#31. Missionaries will go upon the mountains bringing good tidings and publishing peace and salvation; and they will say to Zion: Your God reigns! (Isa.52:7).
#32. Your watchmen will sing together and see eye to eye when the Lord will bring you back to Zion (Isa.52:8).
#33. The waste places will break forth into singing because of the comfort and redemption of Jerusalem (Isa.52:9).
#34. The LORD will bare His Holy Arm before the eyes of all nations, and all the ends of the Earth will see the salvation of God (Isa.52:10).
#35. You will not go out with haste, for the LORD will go before you and be your rereward [rear guard] (Isa.52:11-12; Josh.6:9).
Book of Isaiah . . Isaiah's Mini-Bible
Isaiah Ch.1 . . Isaiah Ch.2 . . Isaiah Ch.3 . . Isaiah Ch.4 . . Isaiah Ch.5 . . Isaiah Ch.6 . . Isaiah Ch.7 . . Isaiah Ch.8 . . Isaiah Ch.9 . . Isa.Ch.10 . . Isa.Ch.11 . . Isa.Ch12 . . Home Page
JUDGMENT ON THE NATIONS . . . . . Isaiah Ch.13 . . Isaiah Ch.14 . . Isaiah Ch.15 . . Isaiah Ch.16 . . Isaiah Ch.17 . . Isaiah Ch.18 . . Isaiah Ch.19 . . Isaiah Ch.20 . . Isaiah Ch.21 . . Isaiah Ch.22 . . Isaiah Ch.23 . . Home Page
ISAIAH’S APOCALYPSE . . . . . Isaiah Ch.24 . . Isaiah Ch.25 . . Isaiah Ch.26 . . Isaiah Ch.27 . . Home Page
ISAIAH'S SIX WOES . . . Isaiah Ch.28 . . Isaiah Ch.29 . . Isaiah Ch.30 . . Isaiah Ch.31 . . Isaiah Ch.32 . . Isaiah Ch.33 . . Isaiah Ch.34 . . Isaiah Ch.35 . . Home Page
Isaiah's Historic Part . . Isaiah Ch.36 . . Isaiah Ch.37 . . Isaiah Ch.38 . . Isaiah Ch.39 . . Home Page
Isaiah Speaks of Messiah's Incarnation. . Isaiah Ch.40 . . Isaiah Ch.41 . . Isaiah Ch.42 . . Isaiah Ch.43 . . Isaiah Ch.44 . . Isaiah Ch.45 . . Isaiah Ch.46 . . Isaiah Ch.47 . . Isaiah Ch.48 . . Home Page
Isaiah's Introduction to the Suffering Servant
Isaiah's Suffering Servant Prophecy. . . Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Isaiah's Redemption Through the Suffering Servant . . . Isaiah Ch.49 . . Isaiah Ch.50 . . Isaiah Ch.51 . . Isaiah Ch.52 . . Isaiah Ch.53 . . Isaiah Ch.54 . . Isaiah Ch.55 . . Isaiah Ch.56 . . Isaiah Ch.57 . . Home Page
Isaiah's Vision of the Dispersion . . . Isaiah Ch.58 . . Isaiah Ch59 . . Isaiah Ch.60 . . Isaiah Ch.61 . . Isaiah Ch.62 . . Isaiah Ch.63 . . Isaiah Ch.64 . . Isaiah Ch.65 . . Isaiah Ch.66 . . Home Page