THE LORD SWEARS HE WILL BRING SALVATION AND RIGHTEOUSNESS TO HIS HOLY CITY JERUSALEM
Integrity if it means anything, surely means that a person can be trusted to keep his word, to stand by his promises. Nothing less than the integrity of the Lord is at stake with respect to the City of Jerusalem and the nation of Israel ultimately experiencing salvation and the righteousness of God. That is what the Lord promises here in Chap. 62 and that is what He will surely deliver. How sad it is that so few believers today actually believe that the Lord will keep this simple and clear promise.
Yes, the NT opens up for us new dimensions of understanding as it speaks of the heavenly Jerusalem in Heb. 12:22 and all the blessings of salvation and righteousness that the people of God – Jew and Gentile – will experience in heaven for all eternity. But the added complexity and depth of the NT applications of God’s OT promises do not negate or abolish the simple fulfillment of God’s original promises to the physical city of Jerusalem and the land of Israel and the Jewish people. Remember, there are many varied layers of application, but only one literal fulfillment of the prophecy.
What testimony would it be to the Gentile nations to see that God has abolished His program for the nation of Israel and now is dealing instead with the church – with Jew and Gentile without distinction? How does that bring glory to God. Do you think God is saying to the Jews – “I fooled you guys. You took what I was saying for all of those hundreds of years literally; you actually thought that the promises applied to you; instead, all of the time I was speaking of higher spiritual realities that you could never have realized. What would Abraham and David think of that approach – to say nothing of the Jewish disciples of Jesus Christ who asked Him after His resurrection, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?”
Let’s look this morning and the clear and simple promise that God makes here to His holy city of Jerusalem.
THE LORD SWEARS HE WILL BRING SALVATION AND RIGHTEOUSNESS TO HIS HOLY CITY JERUSALEM
How can we be sure that these glorious promises will actually come true?
I. (:1-5) PROMISE OF FULFILLMENT
A. (:1-2a) Great Promise
1. (:1a) Great Because of the Players Involved = Messiah and Jerusalem
“For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,
And for Jerusalem’s sake I will not keep quiet,”
Not messing around here with some minor promise; with some peripheral issue; with something of little significance
Speaker here continues to be the Messiah as in closing verses of chap. 61:10-11 that are transitional – could just as easily be taken with this paragraph
Motivation of Messiah – “For Zion’s sake” – His ultimate motivation is always for His own glory – Is. 48:11 – but that drives God acting on our behalf to bless His people; has love and compassion for His people
Motyer: (:1-3) The Anointed One expresses his determination that Zion may so come to possess the blessings of righteousness and salvation that it may be plain for all to see; and to possess, too, a new name and royal dignity. . . The verbs combine to say that the Anointed One will give himself to both ceaseless prayer and ceaseless action.
Oswalt: God is depicted as responding to the charges that he has been silent to the pleas of his people (cf. 42:14; 45:15-19; 57:11; 64:12; 65:6).
Borgman: Conveys both actions (vs. inactive, idle) and words (vs. not saying anything)
Messiah speaking and working on Jerusalem’s behalf until she fulfills God’s high calling for her; statement of absolute determination
2. (:1b) Great Because of the Transformation Promised = Righteousness and Salvation
“Until her righteousness goes forth like brightness,
And her salvation like a torch that is burning.”
This is practical righteousness that can be seen as a result of imputed righteousness
Glorious Imagery = Shining light and blazing torch
Borgman: you are a walking billboard for Me;
Jesus described John the Baptist as a burning and shining light – zeal and knowledge of light for the benefit of others
Oswalt: nogah, brightness – This word appears in 59:9, which uses the absence of brightness to express the absence of justice and righteousness in the Israelite community. Thus its appearance in 60:3, 19 and here expresses the presence of the divine character as reflected in his people by his grace (see also 9:2 and Prov. 4:18). It is God’s character dawning on an Israel that confesses its inability to do righteousness that will draw all the nations to its light. God here promises to be indefatigable in bringing that day to pass.
3. (:2a) Great Because of the Worldwide Stage = Nations and Kings
“And the nations will see your righteousness,
And all kings your glory;”
David Thompson: Here is proof that this has never happened to this day. When Jesus Christ returns, all the world political leaders will honor Israel and recognize her glory. World leaders today are debating whether or not Israel even has a right to exist. There will come a day when they will all honor Israel.
Rev. 21:24 – certainly the church has not accomplished this; this is the eternal state
God’s purposes don’t fail; only dispensational perspective can handle this accurately
Brian Borgman: we would have said church did poorly in its mission; God sees picture better; looks at the success of the church in a much different light = amillennial perspective; God’s purpose is triumphing; He is much more optimistic than we are
B. (:2b-5) Glorious Promise
1. (:2b) Glorious Because It Involves Divine Transformation = a New Name
“And you will be called by a new name,
Which the mouth of the LORD will designate.”
Oswalt: What will be the manifestation of that glory? It will be a change of condition and character as evidenced by a new name. In Israelite culture, as in that of the entire ancient Near East, name and character were intimately associated. This is the reason for the importance attached to the naming of children (cf. 7:3, 14; 8:3; 9:6). It also explains the significance of important name changes in the patriarchal accounts (Gen. 17:5, at the institution of circumcision as covenant sign; Gen. 32:28, at the point of Jacob’s admission of dependence on God). Thus here the proclamation of a new name for Zion indicates the new condition and character that God’s salvation will provide for her. That this is solely the work of God is expressed in the final colon by the statement that the very mouth of the Lord ha designated the name.
David Thompson: As we just mentioned, Israel will be called by a specific new name given to her by God. There are a bunch of them mentioned in this chapter: “married to the land” (verse 4); “the holy people” (verse 12); “the redeemed of the LORD” (verse 12); and “the sought out” (verse 12). Whatever the new name is, it will signal that all of this has happened.
James Barker – Future Restoration of Israel
Israel over 4000 years old; God gave Jacob a new name = Israel = the prince of God; Gen. 32:28; 62:10 – God again will give the nation a new name; Jer. 33:16 – those days haven’t arrived yet; “the Lord is our righteousness” ; will be fulfilled when the Lord Jesus Christ returns to Zion – Is. 59:20; Rom. 11:26
2. (:3) Glorious Because It Involves Majestic Beauty
“You will also be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD,
And a royal diadem in the hand of your God.”
Motyer: Zion is not said to wear but, twice over, to be the crown or diadem in the Lord’s hand. To be in his hand is to be kept, guarded and upheld; to be a crown is to be that which expresses kingliness – not the exercise of royal power (the wearing of a crown) but the possession of royal worth and dignity. The Lord’s people will be the sign that he is King.
Oswalt: mixed metaphor – The people of God, Zion/Jerusalem, are in his hand, i.e., in his care and under his control. But they are not in his hand as slaves or lumps of wood or stone. They are there as a priceless possession, a thing of delight, honor, and beauty.
3. (:4) Glorious Because It Involves Ultimate Acceptance and Security
a. (:4a) Expressed Negatively
“It will no longer be said to you, ‘Forsaken,’
Nor to your land will it any longer be said, ‘Desolate’;”
Cf. the renaming that takes place in Hosea 1
b. (:4b) Expressed Positively
“But you will be called, ‘My delight is in her,’
And your land, ‘Married’;
For the LORD delights in you,
And to Him your land will be married.”
Oswalt: basic sense of the word is “to possess” . . . In the modern setting “owned” is objectionable in the context of marriage. But in the ancient setting the alternative was “unwanted,” and to “belong to” someone was far better. . . Translate: “Belongs to” or “Dwelt in” – “your sons will dwell in you” . . . At the same time, it is clear that the relational element is important to the writer.
4. (:5) Glorious Because It Involves Ecstatic Joy – Image of Bridegroom and Bride
a. (:5a) Ecstatic Joy Pictured in the Marriage of a Virgin
“For as a young man marries a virgin,
So your sons will marry you;”
MacArthur: “Marry” in the sense of occupying and possessing the city.
b. (:5b) Ecstatic Joy Pictured in the Marriage Consummation
“And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
So your God will rejoice over you.”
Constable: Quoting Grogan: So often in the OT a new name (v. 2) is the pledge of divine action to change the status or character of a person (cf., e.g., Gen 17:5, 15[; John 1:42]). . .
The new name promised in verse 2 would be Hephzibah (My delight is in her; cf. 2 Kings 21:1) and Beulah (Married). These names would replace former designations of Israel’s condition: Azubah (Forsaken; cf. 1 Kings 22:42) and Shemamah (Desolate). These new names would reflect God’s delight in His people and His work of uniting them with their land.
Motyer: The two halves of the verse are, respectively, the wedding and the honeymoon; the marriage covenant, which includes the bridegroom’s promise to “love and to cherish”, and the entry upon the delights of married life in which the bridegroom rejoices in his bride. So Zion will be the object of the cherishing love of her own sons, and the Lord will enjoy honeymoon-delight with those whom the Anointed One has saved and made right with him.
II. (:6-9) TWO GUARANTEES OF FULFILLMENT
A. (:6-7) Ordination of the Watchmen – Make Sure God Remembers His Promise
Charged with a very important mission
1. (:6a) Their Appointment
“On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen;”
Oswalt: could be angelic beings here (cf., e.g., Dan. 4:13) who have been appointed by God as functionaries in the heavenly court. Those who remind. As 2 Sam. 18:6; 1 Ki. 4:3; and Isa. 36:3 show, the Israelite kings had officials whose title was, as here, “The One Who Reminds.” This person’s task was probably to be certain that the king remembered what he had committed himself to do. [not the same context as Ezekiel where the watchmen are warning the people of impending danger]
2. (:6b) Their Activity
“All day and all night they will never keep silent”
3. (:7) Their Alertness
a. Unceasing in the Performance of Their Duties
“You who remind the LORD, take no rest for yourselves;”
b. Unceasing in the Demands Upon the Promise Keeping God
“And give Him no rest until He establishes and makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.”
Grogan: This passage may well furnish part at least of the OT background to the parables of importunate prayer told by our Lord (Luke 11:5-10; 18:1-8).
B. (:8-9) Oath of the Lord – I Will Keep My Promise
1. (:8a) Guarantee Based on Power to Perform
“The LORD has sworn by His right hand and by His strong arm,”
Strength, power; associated with work of His Servant/Messiah
2. (:8b) Guarantee Based on Compassion for Oppression
The Lord does not take delight in disciplining His people
a. No More Discipline By Way of Famine
“I will never again give your grain as food for your enemies;”
Deut. 28:33-34 “A people whom you do not know shall eat up the produce of your ground and all your labors, and you will never be anything but oppressed and crushed continually. You shall be driven mad by the sight of what you see.”
Mic. 6:15 “You shall sow but you will not reap. You will tread the olive but will not anoint yourself with oil; And the grapes, but you will not drink wine.”
– days of Gideon – Judges 6:1-6
– days of Assyrian oppression
– days of Babylonian oppression
b. No More Discipline By Way of Frustration
“Nor will foreigners drink your new wine, for which you have labored.”
Motyer: Loss of crops to an invader was a common pre-exilic experience, and it would have spoken deeply to Isaiah’s people about their coming security to be told that this would never happen again.
3. (:9) Guarantee Based on Encouragement to Worship
God is a Spirit and seeks people to worship Him in Spirit and in truth
a. Feasting Coupled with Praise
“But those who garner it will eat it, and praise the LORD;”
b. Drinking Coupled with Worship
“And those who gather it will drink it in the courts of My sanctuary.”
Constable: The Lord revealed that He had appointed watchmen, whose job it was to remind Him of His promises to Israel, so that He would not forget them (cf. 36:3; 2 Sam. 8:16; 1 Kings 4:3; Luke 2:36-38). Obviously the Lord does not forget His promises, but this assurance, in the language of the common practice of the day, underscored the fact that He would not forget. The watchmen in view may be angels and or human intercessors (cf. Ezek. 33; Dan. 4:13; Luke 11:5-10; 18:1-8).
Another reference to rebuilt temple in the millennial kingdom
III. (:10-12) ANTICIPATION OF FULFILLMENT
A. (:10) Make Preparations
1. Open Gates
“Go through, go through the gates;”
2. Clear Path
“Clear the way for the people;”
3. Paved Highway
“Build up, build up the highway;”
Illustration: Resurfacing of our street – as you turn down it now it has a welcoming presence, rather than the bumpy, pot-hole obstacle course we used to have to navigate
Oswalt: this is the highway over which the nations will flow to Zion, bringing Zion’s children with them as them come to worship Zion’s God.
4. Cleared Obstacles
“Remove the stones,”
5. Visible Banner
“lift up a standard over the peoples.”
Signal, standard, banner
Is. 11:10 “Then in that day the nations will resort to the root of Jesse, who will stand as a signal for the peoples; and His resting place will be glorious.”
Is. 49:22 “Behold, I will lift up My hand to the nations and set up My standard to the peoples”
B. (:11) Boast in God’s Promise
1. Command to Boast
a. God’s Word to the Gentile Nations
“Behold, the LORD has proclaimed to the end of the earth,”
Or is God talking to the Jews who are scattered throughout the world??
b. God’s Word to His Elect Nation
“Say to the daughter of Zion,”
2. Reason to Boast
“Lo, your salvation comes;”
“Behold His reward is with Him, and His recompense before Him.”
The reward and recompense are the elect people whom the Messiah has redeemed and regathered to the land of Israel
C. (:12) Embrace Your Transformed Identity – What’s in a Name?
1. Testimony of the Gentile Nations
“And they will call them, ‘The holy people, The redeemed of the LORD’;”
Ex. 19:6 – they will not fulfill their calling to be a holy nation
2. Security of the City of Jerusalem
“And you will be called, ‘Sought out, a city not forsaken.’”
Is. 49:14 – this complaint of Israel will no longer be voiced
Beall: According to vv. 11-12, the Lord will be bringing salvation when He comes, and His people will be called holy and redeemed. The people constitute His “reward”: the people will be brought by the Lord to Jerusalem. As was mentioned above, these verses are almost identical to Isa 40:10. The people will receive a new name (“Holy People”) as well as the city (“sought out; a city not forsaken”). These names would be quite a great contrast to the names mentioned in v. 4 (“forsaken” and “desolate”).
Motyer: “sought out” – here it refers to the Lord assiduously finding and gathering his world-wide people (Ezk. 34:11; Jn. 1:43; 9:35).
As we rejoice in our transformed identity this morning, let’s focus our worship and praise on our Redeemer – the one who gave up His holy life as a perfect sacrifice on the cross so that we could be the holy people, the redeemed of the Lord; the one who sought us out so that we would be no longer forsaken, the enemies of God – but now members of God’s own household forever – beloved and secure in our new relationship.