Isaiah concluded his prophecies by describing a true worshipper of God. “On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word.” He blesses those who humble themselves before Him. There is no place for manmade worship before the Lord.
The prophet looked forward and painted a picture of a child being born without labor. Jerusalem was reborn peacefully as Cyrus allowed the Judean exiles to return from Babylon with his assistance. The birth of the Lord’s church was also peaceful as it was established in Jerusalem on Pentecost after Christ’s resurrection from the dead. However, in both instances, hardships followed.
A future judgment in which all nations and tongues will be judged according to their deeds was depicted by Isaiah. Blessings beyond comprehension will be heaped upon those who obey the Lord. Harsh punishment will come to the disobedient. “…For their worm does not die, And their fire is not quenched. They shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”
The prophet painted a picture of events surrounding the early church. There were the Jews who seemingly were calling for God, but were not calling for His Son, Christ. On the other hand, with the Jews rejecting Christ, the Gentiles were invited into His fold.
He pointed out various heathen practices of idol worship that were highly displeasing to God. However, there was always a remnant who would remain dedicated to the Lord and they would escape the punishment that He would mete out to the disobedient. Notice that those who were punished did not hear or answer His call. Obedience is one’s response to hearing.
The righteous were promised eternal blessings in a new heaven and new earth. There would be no more weeping. They would be able to live in the houses that they had built and eat the fruits of their labors. There would be peace and tranquility. Those were figures of speech that could be easily understood to represent a glorious future of the blessings of salvation.
Isaiah used highly figurative language to describe the Savior’s battle against evil represented by Edom, Israel’s ancient and bitter enemy. He was pictured as having the blood of sinners like grape stains from the winepress upon His garments. Only He was able to atone for their sins with His own blood.
Israel was chosen many years earlier to be God’s people. Many times, their faithfulness to Him wavered as they turned from Him and fell into the various sins of the day. He in response, turned His back as an enemy upon Israel. As they would repent and return to Him, He in His mercy would receive them back into His arms.
It is easy to blame God for our weaknesses and ask, “Why have You made us stray from Your ways, and hardened our heart from Your fear?” He could keep us from sinning, but that is not His plan. He has given us the freedom to serve Him or Satan.
Isaiah’s prophecy became more direct toward the coming Messiah. The Messiah’s mission was presented as words of encouragement for the poor and downtrodden. Rebuilding of Jerusalem from the destruction of the Babylonians was a picture of the blessings from the Christ as He rebuilds the ruins of sinful man. The joys of salvation are cause for rejoicing to the saved as they go forth bearing their fruit.
A contrast between the hardships of the rebuilding nation of Israel and the blessings that would be afforded by the Messiah was presented by the prophet. Those who faithfully serve the Lord will have a full life compared to those who hold on to the old life of sin. As the relationship between God and His people changed, He often would give them a new name as with Abram to Abraham and Jacob to Israel. Isaiah stated that in the future, they would be given a new name that the Lord would name. In the early existence of the Lord’s church, He gave His followers the name Christian.
Many of God’s prophets preached gloom and doom against His people. Isaiah’s words were beginning to be more hopeful. The glory of God would shine upon the dark gloom that had enveloped them. They would begin to amass abundant riches from their Gentile neighbors. Sons of their former enemies would bow before them. Those blessings would let them know that, “I, the Lord, am your Savior And your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.” Peace and prosperity would reign under the bright glory of God.
The prophet wrote in terms of the restoration of the physical Jerusalem. There was implicated also a spiritual Jerusalem that would arise as Jesus, the Son of God would shine upon His church. All nations would flow to it including the Gentiles. The message calls for all of God’s children to arise and shine as we reflect the glory of Christ.
Isaiah painted a bleak picture of sin and hopelessness. He explained that God was able to hear and to save them from their enemies, but that was not possible because their sins had separated them from Him. When a child of the Lord is mired in sin and all hope seems lost, he should realize that he cannot escape by his own efforts. Repentance and a return to God is the answer. The prophet looked ahead by inspiration and saw salvation for Zion. “The Redeemer will come to Zion, And to those who turn from transgression in Jacob.” A new covenant would be made by the Lord. Through present day knowledge, we know that covenant was of the Lord Jesus Christ that superseded the Law of Moses.
There are two schools of thought among scholars regarding the author and time of writing of the final works of Isaiah. It is thought that they were written by an unknown prophet after the temple was restored. However, if one is to believe the power of God to foretell the future, it is probable that Isaiah himself with God’s guidance did indeed pen those final words that bear his name.
When the temple was first built by Solomon, eunuchs and foreigners/Gentiles were excluded from participating in any of the temple activities. With the temple rebuilding after the Babylonian exile, those rules would change. However, it was necessary for all people to be obedient to the laws of God. The future acceptance of all people in the Lord’s church can also be recognized in the prophet’s words. Leaders who cared for their own selfish interests instead of the welfare of the people were condemned.
Man has a long history of failing to recognize God as his Supreme maker and sustainer. Instead, many look to inanimate objects and worship them instead of worshipping the true God. The prophet spoke harsh words of condemnation against those idol worshippers. Some who claim to follow the Lord try to hold to Him with one hand while holding to idols with the other hand. Covetousness is also a form of idol worship. They are committing spiritual adultery. When those people cry out to God, He will say, “Let your collection of idols deliver you.” God’s inheritance is to the ones who put their trust in Him. “There is no peace for the wicked.” They are like a stormy sea with boisterous waves.
Many times in man’s attempt to obey the letter of the law outwardly, he is guilty of neglecting to care for other important needs in life. His inward man, the heart is not with God. There were many hardships that faced the exiles upon their return to Jerusalem from Babylon. As the leadership went about restoring the temple and city, they failed to care for those who were suffering those hardships. The prophet admonished them to, “Extend your soul to the hungry And satisfy the afflicted soul, Then your light shall dawn in the darkness and your darkness shall be as the noonday. The Lord will guide you continually…”