TODAY’S READING: ISAIAH 46-52
OVERVIEW: Israel’s preservation and restoration from Babylon (46:1-47:15); admonition to the restored nation (48:1-22); the mission of the Servant (Messiah) (49:1-26); the submission of the Servant (Messiah) (50:1-11); the provision by the Servant (Messiah) (51:1-52:12).
HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:
In yesterday’s reading we saw the Lord’s prophecy through Isaiah to raise up Cyrus, the Persian King, to conquer the Babylonians and set free the captives of Israel, enabling them to return to their land. Do note, however, that Cyrus only prefigures “the Lords’ anointed.” (45:1), the Lord Jesus Christ, who will one day (soon!) establish His Millennial Kingdom and restore Israel to her homeland. “In that day,” all of the Gentile nations of the world will submit themselves to the rule of Israel’s King, and “every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear” (45:23).
In chapters 46 and 47, Isaiah details Babylon’s collapse, along with its gods. God declares that Babylon’s gods are absolutely powerless to rescue Babylon from His impending judgment and destruction. Just as God raised up Cyrus from the east (46:11) to conquer Israel’s oppressor, the Lord Jesus Christ will also rise from the east as the “SUN of righteousness” to deliver the Nation of Israel on the “day of the Lord” (Mal. 4:1-2)!
In chapter 48, like many in “Laodicea” (Rev. 3:14-22), the Lord indicts those who confess His Name and even profess the same in baptism (devotional application), but it can’t be recognized by the life they live (48:1). The chapter goes on to show that because of Israel’s stubbornness (“thy neck is an iron sinew” – 48:4a) and obstinacy (“thy brow brass” – 48:4b), the Lord would discipline them by allowing them to be brought into Babylonian captivity. Even so, He promises to bring them back. Praise the Lord for His marvelous grace and mercy, because we need it in our stubbornness and obstinacy just as surely as does/did Israel!
As we enter chapter 49, the Lord reveals His Servant (the Messiah), and how He will restore Israel both physically and spiritually in the Promised Land. Though “Zion said, The LORD hast forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me” (49:14) the Lord promises that He will not “forsake” or “forget” them! Even though they rejected Him (John 1:11), He will still fulfill His purposes and promises to them, ultimately bringing blessing to Israel, along with the Gentile nations of the world, in the Millennium (49:22, 25-26). Chapter 50 contrasts the disobedience of Israel, with the obedience of Israel’s Servant (Messiah).
In chapters 51 and 52, the Nation of Israel is exhorted to “look” (51:1, 2) through the eyes of the faith into the future to see the LORD, the Comforter of Zion (51:3), as He rescues Israel from the nations, bringing them into their land, and into the blessing of Messiah’s rule in the Millennial Kingdom, when they will no longer be afflicted by the Gentile nations (52:1). In light of His promise of deliverance, Israel is exhorted to “Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the LORD hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem. The LORD hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.” (52:9-10).
I, personally, can’t wait for the “suffering Servant” (i.e. “his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men” – 52:14) to “be exalted and extolled, and be very high” (52:13), when “the kings [of the nations] shall shut their mouths at him” (52:15). And, once again, with the Apostle John we cry out, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:20)!
SPECIFIC REFERENCES TO “THE DAY OF THE LORD”:
46:13 –“I will place salvation in Zion for Israel my glory.”
51:3 –“the Lord will comfort Zion”
51:11 –“the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion.”
52:6 –“in that day”
52:8 –“when the Lord shall bring again Zion”
52:10 –“The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations”
52:10 –“all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God”
CHRIST IS REVEALED:
As THE FIRST AND THE LAST – Isa. 48:12 (Rev. 1:11; 2:8; 22:13).
As THY SAVIOUR AND REDEEMER – Isa. 49:26 (Titus 2:13-14; II Pet. 1:1; I Cor. 6:20; Gal. 4;4-5; I Pet. 1:18-19).