Our chronological Scripture reading continues as we near the conclusion of our study of Isaiah. Remember, the Old Testament Scriptures lay the foundation for our future study in the New Testament.
The prophecies recorded in Isaiah 61 foretell the setting and circumstances of both the first and second comings of Christ.
Isaiah foretold the Messiah would come as God’s Spirit anointed servant (61:1). It was the first coming of Christ, and His earthly ministry that was in view in Isaiah 61:1. How can we know Isaiah 61:1 is a depiction of Christ? By interpreting Scripture with Scripture, we know Jesus applied Isaiah 61:1 to Himself in the Gospel of Luke 4:16-21.
The Messiah’s Calling (61:1-3)
The Messiah’s calling would be that of a preacher, for He would “preach good tidings unto the meek” (61:1b). He would heal, and “bind up the brokenhearted” (61:1c). He would deliver His people from sin, and “proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound” (61:1d). The Messiah would “comfort all that mourn” (61:2).
Promises to Those Jews Returning from Captivity (61:3-5)
As a reminder, prophecies often carry an imminent application, and far-reaching implication. Isaiah 61:3 began, in my opinion, as a description of the rebuilding of Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity, but there is also the far-reaching implication of events that will not be fulfilled until the Second Coming of Christ.
The captive of Israel (mostly Jews from the tribe of Judah) were set at liberty by king Cyrus of Persia, and allowed to return to the Land. There, the LORD blessed His people as He gave “unto them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness” (61:3a). Of course, all this would be done that the LORD “might be glorified” (61:3). The once named exiles rebuilt their houses, and repaired their cities (61:4). It came to pass, those who had been slaves in Babylon, were blessed to have “strangers” (non-Hebrews) serve them in Israel (61:5).
A Kingdom of Priests and the Blessings of a Double Portion (61:6-9)
Those who had been slaves in Babylon (a city that is a type of the world), would be renamed in Israel, “Priests of the LORD…Ministers of our God” (61:6). For the shame and humiliation, they had suffered during captivity, God promised to reward His people a double portion of His blessings in Israel (61:7). Where they had suffered lawlessness, God declared, “I the Lord love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt offering…And I will make an everlasting covenant with them” (61:8).
A Song of Salvation (61:10-11)
Isaiah 61 concluded stating two reasons for rejoicing: “Greatly rejoice in the LORD” for “the garments of salvation,” and for “the robe of righteousness” (61:10).
Isaiah 62:1-5 is a prophetic picture of the day the LORD will return in all His heavenly glory, and reign in Jerusalem.
With an undying passion, Isaiah preached, “For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth” (Isaiah 62:1). Of course, the righteousness of which Isaiah spoke was not that of men, but the imputed righteousness of the LORD Himself!
Everything Israel could long for was promised to her: Righteousness and salvation (62:1); Glory (62:2); Prosperity (62:3); and the righteous reign with the LORD as King (62:3).
Israel had been named “Forsaken” and “Desolate” because of her rebellion and lawlessness (62:4); however, when the LORD reigns in Jerusalem she will have a new name, “Hephzibah”, meaning “my delight is in her” and the land of Israel will be named “Beulah”, meaning “married”. Instead of the sorrow and shame of Israel’s rebellion and her divorce from the LORD, He promised to lovingly restore His people to Himself as a groom joyfully receives his virgin bride (62:5).
Continuing with Jerusalem as the subject, the LORD made the following promise to His beloved people that He would, “set watchmen [guards] upon [their] walls…Which shall never hold their peace day nor night” (62:6). What was the duty of the watchmen? It was to guard, guide, and pray night and day. In fact, “make mention of the LORD, Keep not silence” (62:6). Isaiah urged, “give Him [the LORD] no rest, till He establish, and till He make Jerusalem a praise in the earth” (62:7).
Closing thought – In other words, never stop praying until the LORD has fulfilled all He has promised! The people were urged to prepare for the coming of the LORD, and say, “Behold, thy salvation cometh” (62:11). In the Millennial Kingdom, God’s people will be called, “The holy people, The redeemed of the Lord,” and the city once forsaken will be called, “Sought out” (62:12).
What a difference Christ makes!
Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith