Scripture reading – Isaiah 61; Isaiah 62

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Our chronological Scripture reading continues today as we near the end of our study of the Book of Isaiah. I understand that prophetic books can be challenging to understand. Nevertheless, the Old Testament Scriptures are the foundation for our future studies in the New Testament beginning this July 2024.

Isaiah 61

The prophecies in Isaiah 61 foretold the setting and circumstances of Christ’s first and second comings. Isaiah prophesied the Messiah would come as God’s Spirit-anointed servant (Isaiah 61:1). It was Christ’s first coming 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 (Luke 4:16-21).

The Messiah’s Calling (Isaiah 61:1-2; Luke 4:16-19)

The Messiah’s calling was that of a preacher, for He would “preach good tidings unto the meek” (Isaiah 61:1b; Luke 4:18a). He would heal and “bind up the brokenhearted” (Isaiah 61:1c; Luke 4:18b). He would deliver His people from sin, and “proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound” (Isaiah 61:1d; Luke 4:18c).

What binds and enslaves men? From what was the LORD’s anointed to proclaim “liberty to the captives” and open the doors “of the prison to them that [were] bound” (Isaiah 61:1)? We understand that men and women are universally slaves to sin. Without a Savior, humanity is without hope.

The Messiah’s Calling

In verse 2, we read that the Messiah would come “to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD” (Isaiah 61:2; Luke 4:19). Like the year of Jubilee when the Jews were freed from the servitude of their debts (Leviticus 25:9-10), the Messiah’s ministry would proclaim and provide freedom from a sinner’s servitude to sin.  

Yet, in Luke 4, Christ did not quote the entirety of Isaiah 61:2, for it also spoke of “the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn” (Isaiah 61:2b). Though Jerusalem’s fall to Babylon was a day of vengeance, I believe it is the Second Coming of Christ that was the subject of Isaiah 61:2b and will be fulfilled when He comes as King and Judge (Matthew 25:31-46; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10).

Promises to Those Jews Returning from Captivity (Isaiah 61:3-5)

I have reminded my readers that prophecies often carry imminent applications and far-reaching implications. For instance, Isaiah 61:3 begins by describing the rebuilding of Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity. Still, there are also far-reaching implications of events that will not be fulfilled until the Second Coming of Christ.

The captives 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” (Isaiah 61:3a). All of this would be done that the LORD “might be glorified” (Isaiah 61:3). Upon their return to the land, the exiles rebuilt their houses, and repaired their cities (Isaiah 61:4). They would eventually become so prosperous that those who were slaves in Babylon, were blessed to have “strangers” (non-Hebrews) serve them in Israel (Isaiah 61:5).


A Kingdom of Priests and the Blessings of a Double Portion (Isaiah 61:6-9)


Restoring the children of Israel to their place as God’s chosen, they would be renamed “Priests of the LORD…Ministers of our God” (Isaiah 61:6). For the shame and humiliation they suffered during captivity, God promised to reward His people a double portion of His blessings in Israel (Isaiah 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” (Isaiah 61:8).


A Song of Salvation (Isaiah 61:10-11)


Isaiah 61 concluded by stating two reasons the returning exiles would rejoice in the LORD: The LORD would provide His people with “garments of salvation” and a “robe of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10). Salvation and righteousness were not earned or merited by the people’s effort or work. They were provided by the LORD, whom they acknowledged as the One who “clothed” and “covered me” (Isaiah 61:10b).

What was the duty of the watchmen?

Isaiah 62

Isaiah 62:1-5 is a prophetic picture of the day the LORD returns in all His heavenly glory and reigns 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 thatburneth” (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 longed for was promised to her: righteousness and salvation (Isaiah 62:1), glory (Isaiah 62:2), prosperity (Isaiah 62:3), and the righteous reign with the LORD as King (Isaiah 62:3). 

Israel had been named “Forsaken” and “Desolate” because of her rebellion and lawlessness (Isaiah 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 (Isaiah 62:5). Continuing with Jerusalem as the subject, the LORD promised to “set watchmen [guards] upon [their] walls…Which shall never hold their peace day nor night” (Isaiah 62:6).

What was the duty of the watchmen? They were to guard, warn, guide, and pray night and day. They were to “make mention of the LORD” and not be silent (Isaiah 62:6). They were not to rest “till [the LORD] establish, and till He [makes] Jerusalem a praise in the earth” (Isaiah 62:7).


Closing thought –


Faithful watchmen of the LORD cannot go to sleep at their post. We are to watch and never stop praying until the LORD has come, as He promised! God’s people are urged to prepare for the coming of the LORD and say, “Behold, thy salvation cometh” (Isaiah 62:11).  

In the Millennial Kingdom, God’s people will be called “The holy people, The redeemed of the Lord” (Isaiah 62:12a). Jerusalem, the city once despised and scorned, will be called “Sought out, A city not forsaken” (62:12).

What a difference Christ the Messiah will make!

Copyright © 2024 – Travis D. Smith 

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