Recent Posts
Lowell Brueckner

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

The Messiah Restores Israel


Due to travels, it has been a while since I wrote the commentary on the last chapter 48. Finally, I've gotten the chance to continue with chapter 49. I hope you will find it worth the wait. It's a beautiful picture of the Messiah and the Jews coming into the Millennium. I especially find the care of the Jewish children during the Tribulation a wonderful part. 

45. An expository study of Isaiah, chapter 49

The calling of the Christ

“Listen to me, O coastlands, and give attention, you peoples from afar.” Isaiah again sends his call to distant lands, to those outside the commonwealth of Israel. All creation is obligated to hear the word of the Lord and submit to the consequences, if they do not. Their refusal is voluntary, so ignorance is not taken into account, and in all cases they will be judged for the word that God has uttered. No excuse is granted. We face the same situation in these times, for Jesus proclaimed, “The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day” (Jn.12:48). 

“The Lord called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name” (v.1). The sinner is conceived in sin and the only remedy is the Messiah, the Lamb of God from all eternity, spotlessly conceived in the womb of a virgin. He is the Christ, the only hope of the world. He is named from the body of His mother: “She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Mt.1:21).

“He made my mouth like a sharp sword” (v.2). He is the logos, the living, powerful Word incarnate, prepared as a polished arrow, to be drawn out at the proper time, true and perfectly accurate in performing the eternal purpose of God. He is placed in a manger in Bethlehem, then hidden and kept in the hand of God in Egypt. When the Lord looked at the nation of Israel, He saw its supreme purpose, which was to bring forth His Son (v.3). Hosea 11:1 prophesies: “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.” Matthew sees that the entire nation typifies the Son and, as the youthful nation is called out of Egypt, so the boy Christ was taken out of hiding in Egypt and back to Galilee to become a carpenter.

The preparation of the body of the sacrificial Lamb (He.10:5) dated far before His conception in the womb of a virgin. This Servant was racially distinguished as the Son of Abraham, born into the nation of Israel from the tribe of Judah. He was a Jew, but as the apostle John records, “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him” (Jn.1:11). A few chapters later, Isaiah will write, “He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief, and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not” (53:3).

                                         Honoring the Father

He has reason to say, from a human standpoint, “I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity,” therefore He does not seek mankind’s approval, but comes to do the will of the Father. In that case, “My right is with the Lord, and my recompense with my God” (v.4). Ultimately, Christ will bring Jacob back “that Israel might be gathered to him” (v.5), but His eyes are perfectly set on the honor that comes from God. He expects this motivation from every true believer and the unbelievers meet with a rebuke from Him: “How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” (Jn.5:44). Good standing among mankind, is biblically termed “the fear of man” and Solomon places it in direct contrast to trust in God: “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe” (Pr.29:25).

How will this Servant fulfill the will of the Father? He will not only bring back the tribes of Jacob, but He will shine forth as a light to all the nations. He will be the Savior to the ends of the earth (v.6). The ultimate aim of the sovereign God is that people will be saved out of every nation, kindred, tongue and tribe. Isaiah saw this clearly and already wrote it in 11:10 and 42:6. 
 The Lord says that this Servant, an abomination to men, who submitted Himself to the judgment and condemnation of the rulers of His day, will one day become the Lord of the nations: “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow… and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the Father” (Phil.2:9-11). In verse 7, Isaiah sees princes prostrate before Him, because of the faithful and Holy One of Israel. He emphasizes throughout his ministry that all is done to the glorification of His holiness.

Verse 8 is a promise to the Messiah that God has answered His prayer and it will come to pass in His perfect timing. Paul applied the verse particularly to the Corinthians and generally to the entire gospel age: “Behold now is the favorable time; behold now is the day of salvation” (2 Co.6:2) and warned them that there is only one way to receive salvation… that is, through grace. A favorable time means a time when God delights. Again and again the proud nature of man must be squelched, by reminding him that there is nothing that he can do towards achieving his own salvation. Grace means that God alone chooses the favorable time. Although that time is now, generally speaking, we should never give the impression that Christ is available to an individual to be received whenever he chooses.

I suppose that the response to the gospel would be much greater, if it were put into man’s proud hands. Because he must humble himself and depend entirely upon the Lord’s calling, the number is drastically reduced. God here teaches us of His sovereign authority. He must call prisoners or they will never be free, and darkened souls will never appear in the light (v.9). The fallen condition of mankind deems that it is impossible for him to take the initiative towards his own salvation.

Believers are placed into the hands of the Good Shepherd for His eternal care. I say eternal care, because throughout eternity we will depend upon Him and trust him for our wellbeing. The passage of verses 9 and 10 are applied in the book of Revelation: “The Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water” (Rev.7:17, see 16-18) Therefore faith abides throughout the Millennium and into eternity (1 Co.13:13).

                                     A feeling of being forsaken

 Once again, Isaiah ushers us into the Millennium. This is a major issue with God and the Holy Spirit, who inspires Isaiah, will not let the theme rest. Mountains will succumb to His pleasure and highways will provide passage into the Promised Land (v.11). From distant lands around the world, the Jews will stream into their rest, from the north and west, and from Sinon, only mentioned this one time in the Bible. Several commentators think it might be China, but we’ll just let it go and say that they will come from unknown sources (v.12).

Zion is depicted elsewhere as the joy of the whole earth and universally the world’s population will join the joy of heaven to see the most afflicted people on the planet comforted (v.13). Even nature responds to the compassion of the Lord towards Zion.

I can give personal testimony to a tendency in human nature to a feeling of divine rejection. Can you? It is probably due largely to a sense of unworthiness and a consciousness of spiritual failure. Hear Zion lament: “The Lord has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me” (v.14).

I think, Joseph gives an example of how the Lord must react to that suggestion, when his brothers suspected that he would take revenge on them after Jacob died. “Joseph wept when they spoke to him… You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive… So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones. Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them” (Ge.50:17-21).
God is so kind! Our mistrust brings Him grief. “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you” (v.15). This is amazing comfort, followed by a reference to a Hebrew custom of marking their hands in order to remember an important occurrence (Ex.13:9), but how can this not be a prophetic reference to the cross? Here is an expression of love that surpasses that of a mother (v.16). Matthew Henry states, “God’s compassions to his people infinitely exceed those of the tenderest parents towards their children. What are the affections of nature to those of the God of nature!” His compassions reach out even to doubting Thomas… “See my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe” (Jn.20:27).

                                    Astounding restoration

The destroyers and the wasters have left and the builders take their place (v.17). All temporal restoration has pointed to a more perfect fulfillment. The days of affliction are over, comfort has come and the millennial building begins. The Gentile converts are gathered around Zion and “you shall put them all on as an ornament; you shall bind them on as a bride does” (v.18). Zion is not only rebuilt, but decorated. The land of Israel is too small for her population and the wastelands and desolate areas are filled. Brutal enemies are out of sight and out of mind (v.19).

It is a day of awesome realization, as the parents in Zion remember the children born in a time of great fearfulness and sadness, perhaps even regretting their having been born. If the words of the song Because He lives have brought comfort in these troubled times, think of the release brought to parents, who have gone through the Great Tribulation:

How sweet to hold a newborn baby,
                             And feel the pride and joy he gives; 

                            But greater still the calm assurance,
                This child can face uncertain days because He lives.

These same children are now looking for elbow room, as Zion prospers (v.20). “Then you will say in your heart: Who has borne me these? I was bereaved and barren, exiled and put away, but who has brought up these? Behold, I was left alone; from where have these come?” (v.21). Because He lives and His Word is true, mourning has turned to dancing, the oil of gladness has replaced the spirit of heaviness, and beauty has taken the place of ashes (Ps.30:11; Is.61:3)! The Lord has fulfilled His promises, and unbelievable dreams have become reality.

Just before the Millennium reign, the Judgment of the Nations will occur. Literally, I believe, this scene will take place, similar to what we heard took place during the Nazi persecution. At that time, Jewish children were hidden in tool boxes and smuggled to safety by Gentile workers. Jews were hidden in false walls, especially constructed in Dutch homes. Again in the end times, after 3 ½ years of horrendous tribulation, Jewish children will reappear in the arms and on the shoulders of Gentile believers, who cared for them secretly (v.22).

 Kind kings and gentle queens, anxious to be of service, will be raised up. Antisemitism will no longer exist in the hearts of the people, but in its place will be a holy respect for those that God has called His own since the time of Abraham. As the brothers of Joseph, they will fall on their faces and “lick the dust of your feet. Then you will know that I am the Lord; those who wait for me shall not be put to shame” (v.23). Even the Great Tribulation will not be able to challenge His care, and so the answer to the question put in verse 24, “Can the prey be taken from the mighty, or the captives of a tyrant be rescued?” is a decided “yes”!

The Lord will rescue the tormented victims and release the captives taken by the antichrist and the false prophet. “The beast was captured, and with it the false prophet… These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur” (Rev.19:20). As we have come to see in the verses just previous to this, God will pay special attention to the salvation of the children (v.25).

God will bring tremendous retribution to the oppressing armies of the antichrist. Never before has there been a similar judgment upon the earth, as that which will take place, when the bowls of the wrath of God are poured out. They will resort to cannibalism. The angel of the waters proclaims in Revelation 16:6: “They have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink. It is what they deserve!” John MacArthur comments, “God’s deliverance of Israel will be so dramatic that the world will recognize that the Lord, the Savior, Redeemer, and Mighty One of Israel is the true God.”


Post a Comment