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Isaiah 52 An Amazing Rescue from Suffering, through Suffering. ISAIAH. CH 52 690 BC. Isaiah 51-2 – some thoughts from the previous lesson: More about the rewards of faithfulness and relationship, here -- 2 Corinthians 5:
An Amazing Rescue from Suffering, through Suffering.
More about the rewards of faithfulness and relationship, here -- 2 Corinthians 5:
For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:
3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.
4 For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.
5 Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.
6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:
7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
Here again, God is telling us, through Paul, that the full answers to life’s difficult questions come, not when we follow the yellow-brick road, or ask some grumpy Wizard, but when we say “yes” to a personal relationship with the God Who made us! And we’re not trying to get to Oz, or even to Kansas, but to a promised city that is real, one that is made by God – a city that never fades.
That is why God says “Listen up, all of you who are interested.”
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.
Near-term: God has not abandoned His people nor His holy places. In Jeremiah, it was told just how long it would be.
Jeremiah 29:10 For thus saith the Lord, That after seventyyears be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.
And we all know and cherish those words that immediately followed, in verse 11:
11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end (NIV “a hope and a future”)
That’s why Daniel was anxious to pray and fast and to hear from God as he saw that 70th year approaching:
Read Daniel 9 in its entirety.
That’s why the people at the time of the birth of Christ should have been astir about their Messiah’s coming.
That’s why we in our day should also be anticipating His return!
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.
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.
This is a prophecy of the coming of the Gospel. The law that “shall proceed” from God is the New Covenant in Jesus’ Blood. The “light of the people” is the same Gospel light that was seen by people who walked in darkness, the light which God said should not be hidden under a basket, the light that we should let so shine before men. “Near” means the same as Paul said, “The Word is nigh thee” to confess and to believe on Christ and His resurrection. The “isles” are the far-away lands where the Gospel would go, and be embraced, through the work of faithful missionaries, starting with the Apostles. “Mine arms”: the arms which we are encouraged to lean upon for our hope and future are the same arms which will judge the whole world. Pay me now, or pay me later.
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.
The worst thing about casting in your lot with the world is that it puts you on a path to be set on fire and torment.
The best thing about casting your lot with the God that made you is that He offers salvation and deliverance, in every sense of the word
from a life of degradation
from the disappointments of the world
from delusions and lies
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?
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?
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.
Here Isaiah begins to pray. In his prayer, He implores God to rise up and insure the ongoing safety and livelihood of Israel. He reminds the Lord of His past miraculous interventions. The word Rahab could refer to the convincing displays of power God had made (and which made a believer of the harlot and saved her family); the word could also refer to God’s dealing blows to arrogance, pride and violence (“rahab” means that) put forth by those who fight against God. Maybe all of the above. In any event, since God took Israel’s part before, Isaiah expresses confidence that He will do it again, rescue Israel, and they will rejoice because of it.
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.
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.
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?
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 theLord, the rebuke of thy God.
Now here is a delicious irony: Isaiah had just prayed that God would “awaken” to the desperation, reminding Him of His past performances and of His covenant. God then says, “I’ve been awake; it’s time for you and Israel to wake up!” Israel has abandoned her shepherd, and is desolate and astray; and there’s no one out there who can deliver them, no one who even cares. The point is that God DOES care, so they should never have left Him. Here Israel is, getting punished for their rebellion, and they’re even rebelling against THAT. Hearing from God can hurt.
21 Therefore hear now this, thou afflicted, and drunken, but not with wine:
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:
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.
This can certainly be a reference to God’s deliverance of Israel and His punishment of the likes of Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, or the wicked Haman, during the captivity immediately ahead. I also see in it a passage for future reference, such as during the great tribulation, when Jerusalem and Israel will again be a cup of trembling, and Israel will both need, and receive, one more final deliverance by the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob!
1Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.
Chapter 52 is a continuation of Chapter 51. Remember, we didn’t even have chapter/verse divisions in our Bible until Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury, took on the task around 1225 AD.
Nowhere is it more apparent that these chapters go together than in the opening, “Awake, awake…” signature that we saw previously: first, Isaiah was politely suggesting that God should wake up, because His Holy City was endangered, along with His people. Second, we read God saying, “No, I’m awake, alright – but Jerusalem and the Israelites should wake up!”
Here, we have that greeting repeated, but this time, it is very mysterious. The no more uncircumcised, nor unclean, qualification can only refer to the Millennium, and, ultimately, the New Jerusalem (i.e., “Heaven”)!
2 Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion.
From previous issues and episodes of the Isaiah saga, we know that Israel (northern) has already messed up beyond repair, and they are already in the meat grinder. The knucklehead Ahaz was offered signs, and he said, “Signs, schmeins… We are OK on our own.” God said, “Yes, you ARE on your own; but you’re NOT OK.”
In verse 2, we see God, in the prophetic-present tense, picking up Judah and Jerusalem, after their fall (even though it’s yet future), dusting them off, and resuming the conversation (“Let’s see, where were we? Oh, yeah, now that the bands are off your neck, no longer captives, free to move about the country, let’s resume our conversation about your faithfulness to Me… Now that you’re not Babylon’s or Persia’s captives any more, how about becoming My captives? Have I got your attention?”)
3 For thus saith the Lord, Ye have sold yourselves for nought; and ye shall be redeemed without money.
Here is God, being mysterious again, going “Want to hear some New Testament?”
Israel says, “New Testament? What’s that?”
God says, like Marty McFlyafter he imitated Chuck Berry on guitar, “You may not dig it now, but your kids are gonna LOVE it…”
The idea is that Israel and Judah worshiped other goddies and got nothing from it. They prostituted themselves, and stupidly paid the customer (Eze 16:32-4); but would be redeemed out of compassion -- in the same way Rahab was, and Tamar, and Ruth and Bathsheba – all of these stories contain a Redemptive aspect, so that women who were not all virtuous Jewish girls were redeemed; and all 4 are included in the Christ lineage. Now watch how the New Testament puts it:
Romans 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, [a]we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and [b]we exult in hope of the glory of God.
3 And not only this, but [c]we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;
4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; [d]though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Much more then, having now been justified [e]by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved [f]by His life.
11 And not only this, [g]but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned— 13 for [h]until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a [i]type of Him who was to come.
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Romans 5:15 But [j]the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.
16 The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression [k]resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions [l]resulting in justification.
17 For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
18 So then as through one transgression [m]there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness [n]there resulted justification of life to all men.
19 For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.
20 [o]The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,
21 so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
So, here in Isaiah 52, God is setting the stage for lofty language of Romans, and the Lord’s Own Words: “This cup is the New Testament in My Blood (and you don’t have enough money to buy it).”
4 For thus saith the Lord God, My people went down aforetime into Egypt to sojourn there; and the Assyrian oppressed them without cause.
This is obscure. I think it means: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob each went down into Egypt when famine hit. The attraction was food. God was OK with it, and they came back blessed under the power and protection of God.
Then, beginning about 200 years before Isaiah wrote this, Assyria made several attempts to enslave Israel and Judah, just out of thirst for conquest and dominance (i.e., “without cause”).
Secondly, God is pointing out the fact that, against God’s directive, many in Israel (northern kingdom), took counsel on their own to go down to Egypt, not to escape famine, but God’s punishment. This time, God certainly was not going to bless them nor cause them to prosper. Instead, those who were carried away into Assyria would at least survive, while those who ran to Egypt were slaughtered along with the Egyptians – by the invading Assyrians. They were quite ruthless, and Egypt was no match for them.
5 Now therefore, what have I here, saith the Lord, that my people is taken away for nought? they that rule over them make them to howl, saith the Lord; and my name continually every day is blasphemed.
Rhetorically, God asks, “What now? Is it happening again?” Answer: “Why, no. This time there is a reason for Assyria to trouble Israel. I, God, am using them as My instrument of punishment.”
Israel is not pleased with the punishment (ongoing as Isaiah writes), and struggles in protest, whining and blasphemy, saying, “Where is this so-called God who supposedly has made us His chosen people?” They were calling on Him they did not know.
God says, “No, it’s not ‘where is God’ but rather, ‘where did Israel go?’” Unbelievers love to ask, “Where was God?” Go figure.
So, no – this time they didn’t get hauled away for nothing; they got hauled away because they rebelled against God one too many times. Remember Jereboam? Ahab & Jezebel? Rebels!
6 Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I.
“The cards are now dealt. Read ‘em and weep.”
Abe, Ike and Jake went to Egypt for a good reason, to escape famine and to thrive; and God smiled on them and theirs.
Israel went to Egypt for rebellious reasons, and God frowned. Judah is going to be tempted to do likewise – God is saying, “Learn from Israel’s mistakes.” Some did, some didn’t.
“They shall know my name…” – maybe they will now understand that when God speaks, people need to listen, and take heed.
Adam and Eve learned it; the people of Noah’s day learned it; Israel wandering in the wilderness learned it; Samson learned it; Saul learned it – they ALL learned it, the hard way.
“JUDAH, IT IS NOT TOO LATE!” The main reason for the prophecy.
When EF Hutton talks, people listen; and a greater than EF Hutton is here (Stidham Standard Version, paraphrase).
7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!
Here is a new prophecy, a complete departure from the “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time” that preceded it.
And what a prophecy it is! It represents a lead-in to the Gospel. The term, “good tidings”, is, literally, the Gospel.
How fitting that it is a preview of the Gospels and the Epistles:
Luke 2: the Angel of the Lord to the shepherds, and to us: “I bring you good tidings of great joy; peace on earth; a Savior (salvation), to all people. Best news ever.
John 1:23 the voice of one crying in the wilderness, John Baptist, said, “Behold the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world”. Good news alright. Feet shod. Ready, go.
Romans 10:13-18 How shall they hear without a preacher? Go prepared, studied-up, prayed-up, led by the Spirit. Eph. 6:15
We have a story to tell; we are His ambassadors.
8 Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion.
The Watchmen here are the prophets of old, and the Apostles, who were yet to come. As we have long taught, the old and new testaments are in complete agreement: the prophets and apostles “see eye to eye”.
And, in Ephesians 4:11, we see that when Christ ascended on high, He gave gifts: again, apostles and prophets, but also evangelists, pastors and teachers. He is still doing that. The Gospel is here alright, and we sing and praise, like in Zion of old, when David was around – and it’s all to bring the Gospel more fully into the lives of God’s children, individually, and as a group – toward maturity.
And this brilliantly-conceived, yet mysterious, aspect of the Church Age was foretold, way back in 690 BC, in these types and shadows.
9 Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem.
When Judah returns under the sponsorships of Cyrus, Darius and Artaxerxes, there will be a miraculous rebuilding from the rubble, and a great rejoicing.
Just before the AD 70 destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, Christ brought redemption, not for the city, but for its people, that is, as many as received Him. Those who received Him have experienced the comfort of the Lord, and His Comforter, the Holy Spirit!
In the last days, He will again revisit Jerusalem. He already has, by restoring Israel to its land and city; but there is more redemption yet to come, in the “time of Jacob’s trouble (Jeremiah 30:7; Matthew 24:21).”
10 The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.11 Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord.12 For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the Lord will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rearward.
We have been over this end-times revisitation of Israel, when Christ comes to His long-lost nation, saves a remnant via supernatural preaching and prophesying (Moses, Elijah, the 144K).
That word, “rearward”, means “rear-guard” – as in God has got your back. I have claimed that many times for myself, as I watched God protect me and my family in matters I didn’t even know about.
It reminds me of the wandering in the wilderness when God used His pillar of fire to guard the rear flank of Israel vs the Egyptians. So it will be again when God takes them back to the wilderness in the last days of the Tribulation.
13 Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.14 As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men: 15 So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.
This begins another prophecy. To us, it is the most precious of all the OT prophecies of our Lord Jesus. It is mysterious to most Jews to this day, because it speaks of the Anointed One, the Messiah, in terms that can only be described as the most troubling, and undeserved, suffering anyone could ever imagine.
It speaks of Christ’s :
Exaltation and worship
His Blood (the sprinkling of many nations)
His iron-rod rule
The newness and mystery of His ultimate plan.
And He is just getting started!
And He is just getting started
Ultimate Sacrifice and Redemption in Chapter 53