THE REDEEMER-WARRIOR COMES TO EXECUTE SALVATION AND VENGEANCE
This is a great Christmas season text – A Redeemer will come to Zion! The Redeemer is coming – that was the message of the OT and that is the message of the NT as well. The first time to bring Salvation … but the second time both to bring Salvation to the nation of Israel but Vengeance to God’s enemies.
Last week in the first half of Chapter 59 we a Devastating Picture of a Depraved Society. How sad to see the depths to which the Holy City of God had descended – No Justice; No Light; No Hope; No way of Escape; No Joy; No Justice. The Culpability did not lie with God – there was no lack of power or compassion on His part. The problem was due to the pervasive corrupting impact of their own sin which testified against them. What a dark picture. Where truth is lacking, the foundations of society have been completely undermined.
It’s going to take a very special person to make a difference and turn around such a desperate situation. No mere human can solve this sin problem. The Divine Warrior Himself will need to graciously put on the armor of battle and gain the victory that is needed. But He will do this in His sovereignty and in His power not ultimately to provide for the needs of His people but ultimately to glorify Himself.
THE REDEEMER-WARRIOR COMES TO EXECUTE SALVATION AND VENGEANCE
I. (:15b-20) THE PROVISION OF REDEMPTION = THE REDEEMER-WARRIOR WILL COME TO ZION
A. (:15b-16a) Divine Vision Sees the Fundamental Problem =
Depravity With No Deliverer
“Now the LORD saw,”
There is never any deficiency in the Divine Vision. The certainty that the Lord accurately sees to the heart of every situation – not just observing external circumstances but also the heart motivation behind all of our thoughts and deeds – should be a comfort to the righteous and a fearsome thing to God’s enemies.
Doesn’t need to have His vision corrected; no need for contact lenses or laser surgery
Fortunately for us the Lord’s pure vision is coupled with His mercy and compassion towards the Elect – otherwise there would be no hope for us because of the depths of our own depravity.
Have to deal with 2 issues:
– Deliverance of God’s people
– Vengeance against God’s enemies
The Divine Vision in this instance focuses on two key areas:
1. No Justice
“And it was displeasing in His sight that there was no justice.”
The Lord created this world perfect; He knows how things should look when justice and righteousness prevail; He is displeased when He sees a perverse society where no justice exists. We should have a hatred of evil as well. We should have a longing for the Messiah to return and establish His kingdom in justice and righteousness here on this earth.
Rev. 22:20 “Come, Lord Jesus”
2. No Man / No Intercessor
“And He saw that there was no man,
And was astonished that there was no one to intercede;”
Parunak: Of several Hebrew words for man (including אדם and אנושׁ ), this one ( אישׁ ) is often used to indicate virility and strength:
1Ki 2:2 [David to Solomon] I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man;
Jer 5:1 Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon it.
Motyer: to stand between people and the consequences of their moral collapse
Constable: Though Israel was blind (v. 10), the Lord saw. He saw the true state of His people, as He sees everything. He saw that there was no justice in Israel or for Israel (vv. 9-15a). . .
God also saw that there was no human being who could mediate between Himself and His people, who could appeal effectively to Him for them (cf. 1 Tim. 2:5 “one mediator”; Heb. 7:25 “He always lives to make intercession for them”; 1 John 2:1 “we have an Advocate”). Aaron and Phinehas had done this for Israel in the past (Num. 25:7). So God Himself acted in power to deliver them, in faithfulness to His promises.
Oswalt: God’s desolation (he was appalled) over this fact is surely not a response of surprise, as though some human could have filled this gap but did not. Rather, it is an expression of his perpetual horror of sin and his perpetual compassion for his people.
Borgman: The most shocking part is not the depravity but that there was no one to do anything about it; Ezek 22:30”I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one.”
Num. 14:19 – God ready to destroy the nation after evil report of the 10 spies; Moses stood in the gap; intercedes for the people; there were others who stood in the gap as well; Phineas kills consorting couple right in front of the tabernacle – in the midst of debauchery and rampant immorality
Because there was no one, God Himself would bring salvation; to save His own people by His own power for His own sake
B. (:16b-17) Divine Warrior Dresses for Battle to Accomplish the Victory Himself
What passage do you think of when you read these verses? The Apostle Paul did not come up with his imagery of the armor of God in a vacuum. He was an expert in the writings of Isaiah.
1. Salvation and Righteousness – Rescuing His People
“Then His own arm brought salvation to Him;
And His righteousness upheld Him.
And He put on righteousness like a breastplate,
And a helmet of salvation on His head;”
Beall: It is quite possible that “arm” and “righteousness” in this verse may refer to the Messiah (see Isa 40:10; 53:1). In any event, at the very least they refer to God’s power and righteousness:
God Himself would have to intercede for the people and provide salvation. . . note the chiastic arrangement in vv. 16-17 of salvation-righteousness, righteousness-salvation
2. Vengeance and Zeal – Judging His Enemies
“And He put on garments of vengeance for clothing,
And wrapped Himself with zeal as a mantle.”
Constable: As a warrior preparing for battle, the Lord made ready to defend His people (cf. Eph. 6:13-17).
Parunak: Paul has clearly started with Isaiah’s imagery and elaborated it. But think about the implications of what he has done. Isaiah is describing the armor that God dons to come to earth and solve the problem. This is first of all the armor of the messianic Redeemer. It is a fruitful exercise to meditate on how our Lord demonstrated the use of each piece of this armor. Paul now says that we are to wear it.
The relation between the passages is very much the same kind as that in the various Servant passages that Paul appropriates to himself as an apostle (chart). The church is the body of Christ. Our mission is a continuation of his mission. We are the Servant, completing the work of the perfect Servant, and the armor we need in our work is the same that he bore.
C. (:18-20) Divine Visitation – In Vengeance and Redemption
Be Ready – The Redeemer-Warrior is coming! Great Christmas season text
1. (:18-19) Vengeance Repays Enemies to Establish Divine Glory
a. (:18) Repaying According to Works – Settling All Accounts
“According to their deeds, so He will repay,
Wrath to His adversaries, recompense to His enemies;
To the coastlands He will make recompense.”
Parunak: The fundamental idea is bringing something to its appropriate completion, and the nouns used here always appear in contexts of reward or punishment. God’s judgment is never undeserved.
Oswalt: repay is from the verb salam (the same root as salom, “peace”) with the sense of pacifying a debt. It is hard to escape the sense that the choice of the word is ironic. God will give salom, “peace,” to those who love him (cf. 57:19), but he will “pacify” all accounts with his enemies, whether they be near at hand or at the ends of the earth (the coastlands).
Motyer: Wrath is the burning hostility of the divine nature to sin; retribution, the exactness with which wrath is applied
Borgman: Divine recompense = wrath to His enemies – coast lands = uttermost parts of the earth; universal judgment; no remote island untouched; 1 Pet. 1:17 “impartially judges men according to their deeds”; Rev. used of Christ who will repay His enemies according to their deeds; Rom. 2:5; God will repay men according to their deeds; sounds like salvation by works; damnation by works; how can Paul say such a thing when he believes in justification by faith alone; not hypothetical here; a person is saved by faith and faith alone but they will be judged by works and works alone because works are the validating evidence of genuine faith; we better repent of our evil deeds and follow Jesus with the obedience of faith; James – show me your faith without works – that faith can’t save; saying that you believe in Jesus is not all that matters; the obedience of faith – real faith has in it obedience
b. (:19a) Establishing Worldwide Worship to the Glory of God
“So they will fear the name of the LORD from the west
And His glory from the rising of the sun,”
This fear could be either positive or negative – depending on which interpretation you choose for the second half of the verse below
c. (:19b) Overwhelming in Sudden Wrath
“For He will come like a rushing stream,
Which the wind of the LORD drives.”
1) Motyer: When an adversary comes streaming in, the Spirit of the Lord lifts a banner against him (AV)
NIV “When the enemy comes in like a flood, theSpirit of the Lord will put him to flight”
2) Oswalt: for he will come like a pent-up river, which the wind of the Lord drives before it . . . The wrath of God against sin will be like a stream thundering through a narrow canyon, pushed on by a roaring wind; and those who choose to ally themselves with sin, no matter where they are in the world, will have good cause to be terrified (cf. 2:19-22; Rev. 6:15-17).
2. (:20) Redemption Rescues People From Sin
“’And a Redeemer will come to Zion, And to those who turn from transgression in Jacob,’ declares the LORD.”
II. (:21) THE PROMISE OF REDEMPTION = THE NEW COVENANT
A. Unilaterally Established by God with the Nation of Israel
“’And as for Me, this is My covenant with them,’ says the LORD:”
“them” = “those who turn from transgression in Jacob”
Emphasis on what God will do Himself personally
B. New Focus on God’s Spirit
“My Spirit which is upon you,”
James Harrison: Who is the “you” in this context? Masculine instead of feminine as in 60:1 so it is the Messiah rather than the nation of Israel here?? Or Israel as the servant nation??
Context seems to fit better with the nation than with the person of Messiah
C. Internalization of God’s Word – for the purpose of obedience and testimony
“and My words which I have put in your mouth,”
S. Lewis Johnson: so the result is Israel finally becomes the true servant of Jehovah through the ideal Servant the Lord Jesus Christ
Parunak: The main difference is that in 54:13, the second person singular pronouns are feminine, designating mother Zion. In our passage they are masculine, representing the people of God as the continuation of the Servant. The promise is not looking back to the barren wife or the bereaved, widowed mother, but forward to “them that turn from transgression in Jacob” (vs. 20) who now carry on the work of the Servant.
D. Permanence of God’s Promise
“shall not depart from your mouth,
nor from the mouth of your offspring,
nor from the mouth of your offspring’s offspring,’
says the LORD, ‘from now and forever.’”
Constable: There is debate about whether the Lord has already given His Spirit permanently to all His people, but there is no question that He has not yet made His people the witnesses that they should be. He has given the Spirit to Christians, but not to all Israelites (cf. Joel 2:29). Christians are relatively ineffective witnesses now, but Israel will be a faithful witness in the Millennium (Jer. 31:33-34; Ezek. 36:27b). Israel will witness to the greatness of Yahweh and will draw the nations to Him (cf. 2:2-3; 60:1-3). This is the purpose for which He will redeem them.
Beall: This covenant is probably to be identified with the New Covenant of Jer 31:31- 34 and Ezek 36:26-27. It is interesting that in 42:6 and 49:8, the Servant is to be given as a covenant to the peoples. Thus, the entire Trinity is involved in this covenant with God’s people. It is an everlasting covenant, one which is yet to be literally fulfilled in the Millennium. Chapter 60 provides in glorious detail the outworking of this covenant in the Millennial kingdom.
Parunak: As the Intercessor, he establishes a new relation between himself and his people, dealing with the internal problem of sin that alienates us from God. Historically, this began in the gospels and Acts, but the Jewish aspect will be completed as described in Rev 20.
Oswalt: Israel is called to be God’s servant to the world, in order that all the world may be drawn to the mountain of the house of the Lord (2:2-3). In order for that purpose to be realized, Israel’s sin must be forgiven, but it must also be defeated. Israel’s character must be like God’s in order that out of the clean muth of her life the breath of god may pronounce the Word of God to the waiting world. When this takes place, the glory of the Lord will have risen in Israel and all the nations will come to the brightness of that rising (60:1-3).
The world is a chaotic and dark place when we view it just through the natural lens of our own observation. But the certainty of God’s promises for the future centered around the Second Coming of the Redeemer-Warrior should give us confidence in the glory of the age to come.
Our cry echoes the closing words of the Book of Revelation in response to the testimony of our Lord that He is coming quickly:
Amen.Come, Lord Jesus.