Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Isaiah Post 39 - Our Great Intercessor Who Will Conquer (Chapter 59)

I just went back and read my introductory post on this walk through Isaiah. It made me chuckle: I guessed that there would be a few weeks of posts! Last year, I had spent a half year teaching through Isaiah in our Sunday school class. I guess I underestimated the time it would take to turn the outlines of my notes into something readable.

Anyway, if you are here, thanks for sticking with me. Today we will look at Isaiah 59.

Verses 1-15 give us a very accurate description of the evil of mankind. I'm not going to post it here; you can read it on your own. The apostle Paul quoted verse 8 in his own outline of man's evil in Romans chapter 3. There is nobody who is righteous on their own!

The LORD was displeased by the lack of justice, verse 15 tells us.  But then, Isaiah drops this prophetic bombshell in verse 16:
He saw that there was no man,
And wondered that there was no intercessor;
Therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him;
And His own righteousness, it sustained Him.

Did you catch that?  HIS OWN ARM brought Salvation. Yeshua our Messiah, is not just at the right hand of God, He is the right hand of God. God is spirit. Jesus is the action arm of God – literally. God LOVES, Jesus DOES, through the POWER of the Holy Spirit.

Give me a moment for a tangent.  Here is a picture that we have from the Hebrew scriptures - the difference between Noah and Moses.

Noah was able to save himself and his family on the ark that he built, but the rest of the world was destroyed. Noah is not really a picture of an intercessor.

Moses, on the other hand, led his people to salvation through the Red Sea with outstretched arms,  Later, Moses pleaded with God not to destroy the Israelites, interceding for them in Exodus 32:10 when God’s anger burned against their unfaithfulness.  Moses was a true intercessor.  

The LORD then gives this promise in Deuteronomy 18:18:
I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him.

Yeshua is that Prophet, likened to Moses who interceded for his sinful people.  Yeshua is our ultimate intercessor.  And like Moses did with the Israelites, Yeshua redeemed us with outstretched arms.

Cursed is anyone who hangs on a tree
Deuteronomy 21:23 and Galatians 3:13

The remainder of chapter 59 switches gears and foretells of His future redemption when He returns to Zion as a conquering King and redeems the remnant of Jacob. He will fully vanquish His enemies. It will be the ultimate spiritual warfare, and we know Who wins.

I want to talk about verse 17, which sets up the whole scenario:
For He put on righteousness as a breastplate,
And a helmet of salvation on His head;
He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing,
And was clad with zeal as a cloak.

This will sound familiar to anyone who has studied Ephesians 6 and the armor of God.  I had to admit surprise when I discovered that the concept was rooted in Isaiah.

In Ephesians 6, we find six pieces of armor.  I was also surprised to learn that there are three pieces that we already have, and three more pieces that we are instructed to take up.

We already have:
  • The girdle of truth around our waist
  • The breastplate of righteousness 
  • Our feet prepared with the gospel of peace

We are instructed then to take up:
  • The shield of faith
  • The helmet of salvation
  • The sword of the Spirit - the Word of God

At the moment of our justification - the moment we receive Yeshua and His redemptive sacrifice to forgive our sins - He equips us with the first three pieces.  We accepted the truth of Him, He gave us righteousness, and prepared us to share it with others.

For the rest of our lives, as we walk with Him, we must then actively, and daily, take up the last three pieces -  working out our salvation.  This is our process of sanctification, and does not end until we take our last breath.  We take up the shield of faith when we resist the devil's schemes.  We put on the helmet of salvation every time we renew our minds and take every thought captive.  We wield a sword every time we pick up God's word and digest it.

If you have read my blog before, or understand the meaning of numbers in scripture, you might find it interesting that there are six pieces of armor mentioned in Ephesians 6.  Just one short of seven, which represents perfection, or completeness.

It is also interesting to note that Isaiah 59:17 features the LORD with one piece of armor from each category.  But the second half of that verse speaks of something else entirely - the garments of vengeance, also depicted as a cloak of zeal.  

This is the seventh and final Biblical piece of armor. This piece is not for us. It belongs to God alone. 
Verse 18 clearly shows this:
According to their deeds, accordingly He will repay,
Fury to His adversaries,
Recompense to His enemies;
The coastlands He will fully repay.

This will happen upon His return.  The wrath of God will be poured out on the earth at His return. Scripture says, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay."   The LORD says this in Deuteronomy 32:35, it is repeated in Romans 12:19, and it plays out in the book of Revelation, especially in chapters 8, 9, and 14.

And of course, this entire section ends with the promise of redemption for Jacob. Paul quotes the last two verses of Isaiah 59 in Romans 11:
And so all Israel will be saved,as it is written:
“The Deliverer will come out of Zion,
And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;
For this is My covenant with them,
When I take away their sins.”

Can I get an amen here?  This is the grand event that is going to wrap up human history. The gospel which began at Jerusalem has nearly circled the world, and will be completed there very soon.

The next post is up.  Click here to read it.

If you'd like to read through my entire series on Isaiah, click here.

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