THE PROMISED MESSIAH COMES IN BLESSING AND VENGEANCE TO TRANSFORM ISRAEL AND REJOICE IN HIS MISSION
58:1-14 ONLY GENUINE WORSHIP BRINGS BLESSING
“Why have we fasted and you did not see?” vs.3
59:1-15a THE PERVASIVE, CORRUPTING IMPACT OF SIN LEAVES SOCIETY DEVOID OF TRUTH, JUSTICE AND RIGHTEOUSNESS
“your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God” vs.2
Having laid out the problem, Isaiah introduces the solution – requires divine intervention
59:16-21 setting the stage for the details that will be unfolded in the concluding chapters of Isaiah’s prophecy THE REDEEMER-WARRIOR COMES TO EXECUTE SALVATION AND VENGEANCE
THE LIGHT OF THE LORD WILL BE REFLECTED IN TRANSFORMED ISRAEL, SERVED BY TRANSFORMED NATIONS IN THE MILLENNIAL KINGDOM
Come today to Chap. 61 in its entirety —
It always seems like Christmas comes to an abrupt end – so it is in Chap. 61. We move quickly from the Mission of the Messiah at His First Coming to that of His Second Coming.
Parunak: Structural observation: v. 1 begins in the first person, with somebody other than the Lord [God the Father] (because the speaker claims to have been anointed by the Lord). This first person voice speaking about the Lord returns in v. 10. At least part of what comes between (v. 8) is spoken by the Lord [God the Father].
THE PROMISED MESSIAH COMES IN BLESSING AND VENGEANCE TO TRANSFORM ISRAEL AND REJOICE IN HIS MISSION
God has a plan for Israel and the Gentile nations which He will execute until it comes to completion; that plan will establish the righteousness of God on earth; will transform Israel and the nations; and will bring glory to God – it all hinges on the work of the Redeemer whom God has sent
I. (:1-3) THE MISSION OF MESSIAH INVOLVES BOTH BLESSING AND VENGEANCE
[Review of our Christmas message and now extension to New Year’s Emphasis]
A. (:1-2a) Messiah’s Mission at His First Coming
1. The Anointing of the Servant/Messiah with the Holy Spirit
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
Because the Lord has anointed me”
2. The Announcement of Good News to the Afflicted
“to bring good news to the afflicted;”
3. The Accomplishment of His Mission of Healing, Deliverance and Blessing
“He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,”
“To proclaim liberty to captives
and freedom to prisoners;”
“To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord”
The year in which the Lord shows His favor; His acceptance; associated with receiving God’s favor and blessing: [only use of entire phrase … but look at usage of “favorable”]
– In terms of favor in general (dispensed by a sovereign)
Deuteronomy 33:23 And of Naphtali he said, “O Naphtali, satisfied with favor, And full of the blessing of the LORD, Take possession of the sea and the south.
Psalm 5:12 For it is Thou who dost bless the righteous man, O LORD, Thou dost surround him with favor as with a shield.
Proverbs 12:2 A good man will obtain favor from the LORD, But He will condemn a man who devises evil.
Proverbs 14:35 The king’s favor is toward a servant who acts wisely, But his anger is toward him who acts shamefully.
Proverbs 18:22 He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the LORD. [Specific example of a particular blessing]
– in terms of response to our prayers
Psalm 69:13 But as for me, my prayer is to Thee, O LORD, at an acceptable time; O God, in the greatness of Thy lovingkindness, Answer me with Thy saving truth.
– in terms of association with salvation and the granting of new life
Proverbs 8:35 For he who finds me finds life, And obtains favor from the LORD.
Isaiah 49:8 Thus says the LORD, “In a favorable time I have answered You, And in a day of salvation I have helped You; And I will keep You and give You for a covenant of the people, To restore the land, to make them inherit the desolate heritages;” [quoted in 2 Cor. 6:2 in conjunction with receiving the grace of God in salvation – grace and truth come through Jesus Christ; appeal to live a life of holiness and separation unto God]
Isaiah 60:7 All the flocks of Kedar will be gathered together to you, The rams of Nebaioth will minister to you; They will go up with acceptance on My altar, And I shall glorify My glorious house.
– combining these 3 aspects: bringing God’s favor and blessing in association with salvation and spiritual life and deliverance in response to prayers of desperation
Psalm 145:19 He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He will also hear their cry and will save them.
2016 is going to be a year in which the world continues to moan with despair over the desperate and dangerous times in which we live; things are tenuous; the threat from terrorism continues to grow; the economy is uncertain; racial relations in our own country are antagonistic; everywhere we turn there will continue to be negative news dominating the headlines
Hollowness of New Year’s Eve revelry – fireworks displays; firing off of soundmakers; dancing in the streets; partying all night – but where is the deep and lasting joy and security? Stars on TV proclaiming that their New Year’s resolution for 2016 is “World Peace” – how empty is that wish?
But for those who put their trust in the grace and salvation which the Lord Jesus brought to us at His First Coming, 2016 for us should be a year of God’s favor and blessing
That is why I am making this verse our key verse for 2016
That is why I spent so much of this sermon reviewing the OT usage of this word
B. (:2b-3) Messiah’s Mission at His Second Coming
1. Vengeance Upon God’s Enemies
“And the day of vengeance of our God”
Contrasted with blessing towards God’s people
Prominent theme in Isaiah – 34:8; 35:4; 47:3; 59:17; 63:4
Constable: The day of salvation had begun (cf. 49:8; 2 Cor. 6:2). However, the day of vengeance would not begin until much later, specifically at the end of the Tribulation when He will return (cf. 34:8; 35:4; 63:4; Dan. 7:21, 24-27; Mic. 5:15; 1 Pet. 1:11; Rev. 12:13-17; 19:15-20).
Dan. 7:21 until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was passed in favor of the saints of the Highest One, and the time arrived when the saints took possession of the kingdom.
Micah 5:15 And I will execute vengeance in anger and wrath on the nations which have not obeyed.
Nah. 1:2 A jealous and avenging God is the LORD; The LORD is avenging and wrathful. The LORD takes vengeance on His adversaries, And He reserves wrath for His enemies.
Parunak: The noun “vengeance” is what we would call “revenge,” getting back at people who have opposed us:
Jdg 16:28 And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.
Pro 6:34 For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance. The Scriptures exhort us not to seek vengeance for ourselves, but God is entitled to seek it:
Rom 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
These two periods differ not only in their description, but also in their duration and the title taken by their author:
• Vengeance is the work of a day, but acceptance is described as a year. Compare 63:4, where the Redeemer announces, “the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.” God’s vengeance is real, and terrible, but it is not where he puts the emphasis. In 28:21, he describes judgment as his “strange work.” His delight is not in judgment, but in redemption.
• In describing his work of acceptance, God takes the name יהוה, his covenant name, emphasizing his relationship with his people. The work of vengeance is ascribed to him as אלהים, simply “God.”
2. Comfort and Joy Upon God’s People
“To comfort all who mourn,
To grant those who mourn in Zion,
Giving them a garland instead of ashes,
The oil of gladness instead of mourning,
The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.”
“all who mourn”
Isa 3:26 And her gates shall lament and mourn; and she being desolate shall sit upon the ground.
Isa 60:20 the days of thy mourning shall be ended.
Parunak: -Mourners did away not only with the beautiful turban, but also with the oil with which they anointed themselves.
J. Vernon McGee: Isaiah is making a play upon words with “beauty” and “ashes”—it is like saying in English that He will exchange joy for judgment or a song for a sigh.
Ps. 45:7 “You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; Therefore God, Your god, has anointed You with the oil of joy above Your fellows.”
3. Glory Upon the God Who Establishes Righteousness
“So they will be called oaks of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”
Images of stability and permanence
Parunak: This prominent tree marked the idolatrous groves that Isaiah earlier condemned:
Isa 1:29 For they shall be ashamed of the oaks which ye have desired, and ye shall be confounded for the gardens that ye have chosen.
Isa 57:5 Enflaming yourselves with idols [אילים, perhaps with reference to the sacred pillars] under every green tree, slaying the children in the valleys under the clifts of the rocks? Now they will be “oaks of righteousness,” emblems of obedience to God’s word just as much as the pagan groves were of disobedience
II. (:4-9) THE MISSION OF MESSIAH TRANSFORMS ISRAEL’S STATUS AMONG THE NATIONS — DISTINCT ROLES FOR BOTH GENTILE NATIONS AND THE NATION OF ISRAEL IN THE REDEEMER’S MISSION
What had God promised would be the status of the nation of Israel in the world?
What has Israel’s status been during these times of the Gentiles?
What will change when the Messiah returns to usher in His Millennial Kingdom?
A. (:4-5) Relationship of the Gentile Nations to Israel = Ministering to Israel
1. (:4) Ministry of Rebuilding and Restoring
“Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins,
They will raise up the former devastations;
And they will repair the ruined cities,
The desolations of many generations.”
Beall: Young’s comment that the reference here is “to the building up of the Church from the ravages sin has made throughout the ages” (3:462) shows the inadequacy of the non-literal amillennial approach. In v. 5, Gentiles are again pictured as contributing to Israel’s prosperity, much as in chapter 60 (esp. v. 10). They will serve Israel as shepherds, plowmen, and vinedressers. On the other hand, v. 6 explains that the Israelites will be called priests and servants of the Lord–they will be the spiritual leaders of the nation, while Gentiles provide the physical strength. The Israelites will receive the wealth of the Gentiles (see Isa 60:5, 11), and will be given a double portion for her inheritance. As Grogan explains, Israelite laws of inheritance gave the firstborn a double portion (Deut 21:17); so here, the “firstborn” of the nations (Exod 4:22) would receive a double portion in their land (p. 334). Note that earlier in the book Israel had received “double” punishment for her sins (40:2); now she would receive double blessing and everlasting joy.
Oswalt: the fact of the rebuilding itself, not the builders, is what is important. At various points Isaiah had said that the great cities of Israel’s enemies and oppressors would be destroyed never to be rebuilt (13:19-22; 34:8-17). No matter how vigorous the efforts, all rebuilding attempts will fail. But the opposite is true for Jerusalem and Judah. No matter how long the ruins may have existed, the will be rebuilt, and no matter how terrible the desolation, new life for Israel will spring up again (cf. 35:1-2).
2. (:5) Ministry of Caretaker Over Flocks and Fields and Vineyards
“Strangers will stand and pasture your flocks,
And foreigners will be your farmers and your vinedressers.”
Parunak: The central section shows a conspicuous change in grammatical person in describing the redeemed. Contrast the exclusive use of 3mp pronouns in vv. 3-4 and 7b-9 with the exclusive use of 2mp pronouns in 5-7a. . . Since the prophets are the mouthpiece of the Spirit, we can understand this central paragraph (:5-7a) as the Spirit’s communication to us of what God has done for us
– The Lord is our Shepherd – tremendous imagery comes to mind
– The Lord is our True Vine and His Father is the Vinedresser; we are the branches that bear much fruit as we abide in the true vine
In the millennial kingdom the Lord will use Gentile nations to perform these precious ministries of serving as shepherd and farmer and vinedresser
Motyer: The picture is not of a slave-state or of second-class citizenship but of glad co-operation, or former aliens taking their place in the life of the people
B. (:6-7) Relationship of Israel to the Gentile Nations = Fulfilling Their High Calling
1. (:6a) Priests to the Gentiles
“But you will be called the priests of the Lord;
You will be spoken of as ministers of our God.”
No clergy-laity distinction here
All of the saved – Jews and Gentiles alike participate in this priesthood of believers
Apparently in the millennial kingdom, the administration of the revived sacrificial system in the temple will have a Jewish orientation – not diminishing the application to the church of the priesthood of all believers [somewhat of a problem text – not what we would expect]
2. (:6b) Prospered and Supported by the Wealth of the Gentiles
“You will eat the wealth of nations,
And in their riches you will boast.”
Constable: However, the Israelites would not oppress their former oppressors. Rather than tilling the land and tending flocks, the Israelites would serve in the exalted position of being priests of Yahweh. They would mediate between God and the Gentiles. As the priests in Israel lived off the contributions of their fellow Israelites in the past, so all the Israelites would live off the contributions of the Gentiles in the future. The nation would finally become the kingdom of priests that God intended it to be (cf. Exod. 19:6; Deut. 33:10).
How radically different from the climate Israel faces today in the world of nations
3. (:7) Possessors of a Double Portion of Full Inheritance in Their Land –
Everlasting Joy vs. Humiliation and Shame
“Instead of your shame you will have a double portion,
And instead of humiliation they will shout for joy over their portion.
Therefore they will possess a double portion in their land,
Everlasting joy will be theirs.”
C. (:8-9) Reasons Given for This Transformation (Reversal of Fortunes)
1. (:8) Faithfulness of the Covenant-Keeping God
a. Detesting Any Form of Hypocritical Commitment in Worship
“For I, the Lord, love justice,
I hate robbery in the burnt offering;”
1) if the verse is directed against Israel (Parunak) – “robbery with burnt offering” (cf. 1:13; Mal. 1:17; 3:8). In this case the verse would be attacking that same combination of hypocritical religion and social injustice that chs. 56-59 and 63-66 address.
2) If the verse is spoken on behalf of Israel (Oswalt), God is promising to reward them; not to do so would be robbery and injustice
Parunak: The AV translation “with the burnt offering” would thus be saying that God is displeased when people engage in both robbery (more generally, selfish grasping) and burnt offering; when they presume to worship him while still continuing in their sinful habits. . .
The whole history of Israel may be understood at one level as driven by the inconsistency between the worship that God prescribed for them and their disobedience of his moral commandments. It is a precious privilege to worship the Lord, and the symbols and structures he gives us to assist our worship are treasures of grace. But they become an abomination to him if we presume to exercise them while we are rebelling against him
Motyer: The Lord required unreserved commitment from his people, and anything less was robbery. He now recalls this in order to illustrate the fact that in his faithfulness he will himself hold nothing back when he recompenses his people. He will live up to his own standards.
b. Bestowing Full Blessing Ultimately in Fulfillment of Covenant Promises
“And I will faithfully give them their recompense
and make an everlasting covenant with them.”
2. (:9) Trophy Recognition of What Transformation Looks Like
“Then their offspring will be known among the nations,
And their descendants in the midst of the peoples.
All who see them will recognize them,
Because they are the offspring whom the Lord has blessed.”
Trophies are a recognition of Accomplishment – at least they should be
Illustration: TV commercial of Dad taking participation trophy from his son and writing Champions instead
The saved of the Lord are the trophies of His grace because by His power He has transformed them into something they were not
Constable: The physical seed of Abraham would continue to exist and to be identifiable as Israel, as God promised the patriarch and his descendants (Gen. 12:1-3). Furthermore, Israel would be a witness to the rest of the earth’s population. Thus all the earth would be able to worship and praise Yahweh.
Oswalt: The second aspect of the promise is that not only will Israel have historical continuity, but it will also be a witness to the peoples of the world.
Motyer: so transformed will the Lord’s people be that world-wide they will be quite distinct because of a quality discerned in them which can be explained only as an act of divine blessing.
III. (:10-11) THE MISSION OF MESSIAH BRINGS GREAT JOY FOR ITS
RIGHTEOUSNESS AND FRUITFULNESS
A. Boasting of Exultation in God
“I will rejoice greatly in the Lord,
My soul will exult in my God;”
Is this Messiah speaking (Parunak, Motyer) or the redeemed of Israel (Beall, Oswalt)??
My preference is that the Messiah is speaking here
– Because of same first person singular pronouns used as in opening verses
– Because the emphasis is on the Mission of the Messiah
Beall: Finally, in vv. 10-11 redeemed Israel responds to the message of vv. 1-9. The remnant will rejoice greatly in the Lord (inf. abs. used to strengthen the verb). The root is used 9 times in Isaiah (out of 24 uses in the entire OT), nearly all in the final 5 chapters of the book (35:1; 61:10 ; 62:5; 64:4; 65:18, 19; 66:10, 14). As Oswalt notes, “it conveys ecstatic joy, and is used of God rejoicing over Israel about as often as it is used of Israel rejoicing over God” (Isaiah 40-66, 574). God has clothed His people with the clothes of salvation and righteousness (compare the Lord’s own “clothing” in Isa 59:17)
B. Beauty of Garments of Righteousness
1. Spiritual Imagery
“For He has clothed me with garments of salvation,
He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness,”
2. Marriage Imagery
“As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland,
And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”
Constable: Israel’s joy in that day (the Millennium) will be like that of a bride on her wedding day, ecstatically adorned with a turban and jewels.
C. Bounty of Productive Fruit
“For as the earth brings forth its sprouts,
And as a garden causes the things sown in it to spring up,
So the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.”
Parunak: Righteousness and praise correspond to the plants in the two similes. He speaks of praise rather than salvation, perhaps because he sees that salvation has had its effect, and now people praise God for the deliverance they have experienced. This praise, and their practical righteousness, “spring up” as plants do. They are the natural result of the life that God gives. They are not just wild plants, but the object of the tender care that he offers as the gardener.
Motyer: This verse adds a second explanation of the joy in verse 10ab. This task for which he is endowed will be fruitful. Soil has a spontaneous power of growth; garden is cultivated in order to produce. So righteousness is the product alike of the spontaneous activity of the divine nature and of the cultivating care of the God who keeps his promise. Righteousness is the saving work as it satisfies God and produces the fruit of righteousness in its recipients; praise is the saving work as it excites a response.
As we enter into the new year of 2016, let us have the expectation that the Lord will continue to shower us with His blessings – we continue to live in that season of the favorable year of the Lord – where our Redeemer through His sacrifice on the cross has made us accepted before the Father on the basis of His righteousness and showered us with every spiritual blessing. Yes, vengeance lies ahead when the Lord returns … but that purging will mean comfort and joy for the Lord’s people.