Friday, January 19, 2018

Isaiah Post 41 - Messiah, The Land, and The Wedding (Chapter 61)

Isaiah 61 starts out like this:

“The Spirit of the LORD God is upon Me,
Because the LORD has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable
(favorable) year of the LORD, 

Sound familiar?  And notice the comma?  We'll come back to that.

In Luke 4, Yeshua read these very words in His hometown, but stopped halfway through verse 2, (where I stopped above) and said, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing." And then He handed the scroll to the attendant.

First, I want to mention that word anointed.

That word in Hebrew is Mashiach (or as we say it in English - Messiah).

The word literally means smeared with oil. The Hebrew word carries with it the connotation of being chosen and made ready for something. Oil represents the Holy Spirit. The Greek word Christos, from where we get the word Christ, simply means oily one. There was no Greek word equivalent in meaning to the Hebrew word.  I wonder how many people still consider Christ to be the last name of Jesus?  I know I did for many years.

OK, back to Luke 4. The people in the synagogue did not react well to Yeshua's statement. This young man was a simple carpenter’s son, and they’d known Him His whole life. They knew that "the anointed one" was to be the coming Messiah. And that is exactly who Yeshua was claiming to be.

Let's look now at the place where Yeshua stopped reading:

To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD,
And the day of vengeance of our God;

This is one of those spots in Isaiah where we have a prophecy that contains His first and second comings in one sentence. Yeshua stopped reading before the part of God's vengeance, because that will be part of His purpose when He returns to earth.

It is possible that the people were angry because they felt Yeshua stopped short in the prophecy.  The Jews at that time were awaiting deliverance from Rome's heavy oppression, not from their sin.  The people went so far as to try and throw Him off a cliff. 

Mount Precipice near Nazareth, commemorating Luke 4.

Isaiah's prophecy continues with verse 2B through 4, in the last days context of the coming Kingdom and His return.  

To comfort all who mourn,
To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”

And they shall rebuild the old ruins,
They shall raise up the former desolations,
And they shall repair the ruined cities,
The desolations of many generations.

What a wonderful promise to a people group, who wandered throughout the earth without a country of their own, and who are now coming home.

When you fly into Tel Aviv, you see restoration all over the place.  Fields, towns, cities, roads, and lots of green.  New buildings have replaced ruins.

Isaiah continues:
Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks,
And the sons of the foreigner
Shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers.

This last  part of this verse is what moved Tommy Waller to start the ministry HaYovel, meaning The Jubilee. Gentiles come from all over the world to work with this ministry in the Biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria, helping farmers plant and harvest grapes for wine.

The last several verses of Amos are in parallel to much of this chapter.  Most of the book of Amos is doom and gloom for Israel, but yet at the end... restoration!  Look at Amos 9:13-15

“Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord,
“When the plowman shall overtake the reaper,
And the treader of grapes him who sows seed;
The mountains shall drip with sweet wine,
And all the hills shall flow with it.

I will bring back the captives of My people Israel;
They shall build the waste cities and inhabit them;
They shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them;
They shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them.

I will plant them in their land,
And no longer shall they be pulled up
From the land I have given them,”
Says the Lord your God.

Isaiah continues in verses 6-7, speaking to and of Israel;
But you shall be named the priests of YHVH,
They shall call you the servants of our God.
You shall eat the riches of the Gentiles,
And in their glory you shall boast.
Instead of your shame you shall have double honor,
And instead of confusion they shall rejoice in their portion.
Therefore in their land they shall possess double;
Everlasting joy shall be theirs.

Talk about a reversal of history here!  Instead of being the scapegoat of the nations, Israel will eat the riches of the nations.  And double honor instead of shame is quite the contrast!

(The ideology of shame and honor is deeply ingrained into Middle Eastern cultures.  This is why honor killings still exist in the Muslim world today.   To most cultures, such a thing is horrific.  But to someone steeped in the shame versus honor ideology, they believe they can do no less.)

Like much of last days Bible prophecy, there is a clear connection to the land.  This connection goes all the way back to the Abrahamic covenant of 4000 years ago.  The everlasting covenant of the land, the seed, and the blessing is still in effect today.

The Land of Israel is central to last days action.  This is why that tiny piece of land (that can fit entirely into Lake Michigan) is always in the news.  And the Temple Mount is at the center of the battle. Without the Jews back in their homeland, Yeshua cannot return to Jerusalem and take His rightful place on the throne, which will be in His rebuilt temple.

Verse 8 moves on to let us know that YHVH loves justice and also hates robbery for the purpose of the burnt offering.  Isaiah then mentions the everlasting covenant that YHVH will make with His people.  He is speaking here of YHVH’s seventh covenant, the covenant of peace, which is everlasting and will be instituted in the coming Millennial kingdom.   (Do you need a refresher on God's seven covenants with man? Click here for a brief but important rabbit trail).

What we know as the New Covenant, the shedding of Messiah’s blood, will have been a done deal by this point in Isaiah’s prophecy. Israel as a nation will be brought back into an everlasting covenant  of peace with YHVH because of the blood of Messiah. The bible often repeats: I will be glorified in my people Israel.

The final two verses of Isaiah 61 give us an amazing picture of the wedding of the Lamb and the coming Messianic Kingdom. A wedding is one of the most joyous things of all! (unless you are the one paying for it, tee hee).

The wedding is pictured in verse 10:
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD,
My soul shall be joyful in my God;
For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
He has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments,
And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.
Revelation 19:7

God demonstrates salvation and righteousness together with a wedding. The coming Kingdom will be kicked off with a wedding feast, also known as Sukkot, or Feast of Tabernacles. All nations will be celebrating this.  Sukkot is the seventh and final appointed time of the LORD.

Verse 11 says,
For as the earth brings forth its bud,
As the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth,
So the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.

Again, the land:  it is central! The garden is a throwback to the Garden of Eden where it all began.  The righteousness that was lost 6000 years ago will spring forth once again, amidst praise!

Sowing is in the spring. With His first advent, Yeshua fulfilled the spring feasts. The seeds have been sown and grown during the last 2000 years.  The final harvest is soon to come, and will involve the whole world!

The next post is available here.

If you missed the beginning of this series on Isaiah, you can click here to start at the first post.

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