Saturday, June 16, 2018

Zion's Wedlock (Part II)

"Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God. Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married. For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee." (Isaiah 62:3-5)

Like a crown of great worth, Israel's luster will be displayed by God to every nation on earth. The second word for hand focuses on the palm of the hand. The Jews are in the palm of God's hand. He will not lose His grip upon their ultimate welfare until the nation has been restored under Jesus Christ.

In the aftermath of the Babylonian invasion, Desolate and Forsaken were terms which became all too common for the inheritance promised to Abraham's seed. The Kingdom's advent will vanquish forever these disparaging terms and usher in two names which reflect the nation's salvation. Hephzibah means My delight is in her, and Beulah means married. God has kept Israel as the apple of His eye (Zechariah 2:8). The nation's relationship with her God will someday be restored through faith in Jesus the Messiah. In those days, Israel's population will greatly increase (Isaiah 49:18-22); and God's people will live joyfully in the lot of their inheritance.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Zion's Wedlock

"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 that burneth. And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name." (Isaiah 62:1-2)

The LORD speaks directly and promises to Israel righteousness, salvation and a new name. Someday, Israel's salvation will shine out to the world as the light of a burning torch pierces the night's darkness. The word behind lamp is that used to describe God's presence when He passed between the divided animals of the Abrahamic covenant (Genesis 15:17). That night, the burning torch of God's presence signified the Lord's promise to give Abraham's seed the land of the Canaanites. In Christ's Kingdom, God's promise will be complete when Israel safely occupies her inheritance and her salvation shines forth as a burning torch.

In the past, Israel has been anything but truly righteous. Her rejection of God's Son has left her a nation of empty religion. The world's rulers have witnessed God's preservation of Israel, but they have not witnessed Israel's righteousness. Under the headship of Christ and clothed with His righteousness (Isaiah 61:10), Israel will be on display for every nation to see. In that day, God will give Israel a new name. Jeremiah calls the Millennial Jerusalem, "The LORD our righteousness (Jeremiah 33:16)." Ezekiel names her, "The LORD is there (Ezekiel 48:35)." Perhaps the new name is one of these, or perhaps it is different. The Lord delights in giving new names to those who have been renewed by the Spirit through belief in the Son.

...To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it (Revelation 2:17).

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Zion's Liberty (Part V)

"I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth 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." 
(Isaiah 61:10-11)

In the opening verses, the Servant-Savior was speaking; but here, Israel is the speaker, or perhaps Isaiah speaks on behalf of Israel. Israel's marriage to God is the primary focus. The passage opens with exuberant joy. The Hebrew verb behind rejoice is intensified by the presence of an infinitive. Israel's deliverance from sin and oppression is cause for all to rejoice. The Hiphil form of the Hebrew verb behind clothed focuses on the subject performing the action. Only God can clothe an individual with righteousness. The righteousness of human works cannot prepare a person to meet God (Isaiah 64:6). A man's salvation must come from God alone. Isaiah pictures God's righteousness as a robe which covers one's nakedness (Revelation 3:18). This divine righteousness is obtained through humble faith in Jesus' work on Calvary. Israel's national redemption will become a reality upon Christ's return when each surviving Jew turns in faith to Jesus the Messiah (Zechariah 12:10-13:1). The Messiah, Who has been made sin for every man, will make each Israelite the righteousness of God when their hearts are turned to Him in faith (II Corinthians 5:21). In that day, the nation of Israel will be permanently wedded to God.

Verse eleven reiterates the fact that salvation and its resultant righteousness and praise is the work of God alone. For centuries, Israel has attempted to deliver herself. She has struggled to release herself from the bondage of her enemies and from the bondage of her sin, but she has failed. When brought to the end of herself, the Lord Jesus Christ will redeem her. This miraculous work will be known throughout the entire world, and every nation will come to the Millennial Jerusalem to see what great things God has done!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Zion's Liberty (Part IV)

"For I the LORD love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt offering; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people: all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the LORD hath blessed." (Isaiah 61:8-9)

God loves judgment; therefore, He will restore His people as He has promised. He will cleanse them from the inside out and enable them to offer acceptable sacrifices for a memorial in the Millennial Temple. During Malachi's time, the priests were offering defective sacrifices while saving the better for themselves (Malachi 1:6-8). They were scoffing at the service of God and making a mockery of Christ's saving work which was pictured in the temple service (Malachi 1:12-14).

The Babylonian invasion was allowed by God, but this does not negate the reality of Babylon's sin in her treatment of humanity. God's love for judgment wiped away Babylon and preserved Israel. Israel's final exaltation under the Lord will move the world's peoples to acknowledge that such a revival is no work of mortal men but of the Creator Himself.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Zion's Liberty (Part III)

"And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations. And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers." (Isaiah 61:4-5)

In the Kingdom, the nation of Israel will be rebuilt. Many times, her cities and villages have been destroyed by war and invasion. A partial fulfillment of this rebuilding came to pass during the return of the exiles in 539 BC; but such was an extremely small representation of the grand resurrection of national Israel.

In the day of Israel's exaltation under the headship of Jesus Christ, the Gentile nations will be assigned to the subordinate position of Israel's servants. This is quite contrary to the arrogant position to which the world's nations have exalted themselves over God's people.

"But ye shall be named the Priests of the LORD: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves. For your shame ye shall have double; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess the double: everlasting joy shall be unto them." (Isaiah 61:6-7)

At last, in that day, the Israelites will finally occupy the office to which God had appointed them so long ago - an office which they forfeited through rebellion. Exodus 19:6 says, "And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel." These priests and ministers will serve the Lord Christ in His millennial temple as they prepare and offer the sacrifices of memorial. Having been cleansed by Christ's blood through faith in His name, the citizens of Israel will serve the Lord in sincerity and truth the way it was always meant to be. Prior to ushering in the eternal state, the Lord will show the world the beauty of Israel's theocracy which had formerly been tainted by her rejection of the Messiah.

The boasting spoken of is not the godless boasting of men but rather an exuberant joy in the amazing power of God Who will subjugate the earth and use its riches to support and adorn the nation which He has chosen. The Lord's divine judgments upon Israel will become a thing of the past. She will be purged of her iniquity after the terrors of the Great Tribulation, and her blessings will far outweigh the horrors of her punishment. According to Ezekiel's measurements of Israeli territory, the land mass of the nation will also be increased. Perhaps this reality is expressed in the thought of double.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Zion's Liberty (Part II)

"...And the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified." 
(Isaiah 61:2a-3)

The Messiah Who came first as the sacrificial Lamb will return as the sovereign Liberator. The Lord's enemies will be destroyed at His coming, Israel will be saved and set free, and only those have been washed by His blood will be accepted into His kingdom (Matthew 25:34).

The regenerate are characterized once again by their mourning spirit. Only the damned are not concerned with the sin and injustice. Placing ashes on the head was a common symbol of mourning (II Samuel 13:19). God promises to remove these and to furbish a lovely headdress (beauty). Anointing one's head and washing one's face was an outward sign of wellness and joy while the absence of these actions displayed grief (Matthew 6:17-18). God's remnant will be given the Spirit of His joy in place of the spirit of mourning. Every Christian has found this to be the case. Someday the Jewish people will experience it also. In that day of Israel's redemption, the clothing of Christ's righteousness will leave no room for a sad spirit. All these promises bring to mind Christ's words, "Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted (Matthew 5:4)."

The word behind trees may be translated as ram or terebinth. Clothed by God's righteousness, His redeemed are strong trees planted in His garden, and they cannot be cut down or dried up (Psalm 1:1-3). All of these truths are designed to resound to the glory of God. The main application of these verses is to the Jewish people in the end times; however, of all that has been promised, a parallel may be drawn to every aspect of the Christian experience.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Zion's Liberty

"The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD..." (Isaiah 61:1-2a)

Isaiah writes the words as he is moved by the Spirit of God, yet the chief application is to the Lord Jesus Christ Himself Who when after He had read this very passage from the scroll of the synagogue said, "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears (Luke 4:21)."

Christ is He Who shares the very Spirit of the Lord JEHOVAH (hoowhy ynda). This statement attests to Jesus' deity. The Spirit placed the divine seed in Mary's womb (Luke 1:35). The Spirit was present at Jesus' baptism (Luke 3:21-22). The Spirit was given without restraint to Jesus (John 3:34), and it was by God's Spirit that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead (Romans 1:4, Hebrews 9:14). The Spirit also characterizes the holy Lamb as He stands in the midst of God's throne (Revelation 5:6). The believer is privileged to partake of this Spirit which has been permanently given through faith in the Messiah (Ephesians 1:13).

Christ's first advent was focused on preaching the good news of eternal life through belief in His name. Naturally, all who claim Him as their own cannot help but identify in some way with the heart of Christ in proclaiming this good news to the lost. While the gospel is for all, it will profit only those who receive it in meekness and humility. The proud will reject its news because the gospel reveals the wickedness and helplessness of man while exalting the righteousness and sufficiency of Christ. This truth is reinforced by the fact that the proud Jews of Nazareth rejected the Lord's sermon from this very passage and attempted to kill Him (Luke 4:16-30).

Christ's gospel offers healing to the hurting soul. This is the primary thought behind binding up. Every individual who is outside of Christ is brokenhearted, but not every individual realizes it. Without Christ, no heart is whole; a man must first acknowledge and accept this truth if he hopes to find spiritual healing.

Like the Old Testament Year of Jubilee, the gospel is focused upon release and restoration. Every man has sold himself into sin and is impoverished by his sinful, helpless state. Every man is bound in the prison of his sin and sin nature. He is helpless to free himself except through faith in the atoning work of the holy Messiah. Faith in God's righteousness throws open the doors of the prison. It reinstates a man to his rightful possession within the family of God.

Christ's good news, which every Christian should share, proclaims God's accepted time. The year of the LORD is not a literal year, but rather an appointed time in which God's grace is manifested in a unique way. The Church Age is characterized by believers sharing with a lost world that now is the time to believe (II Corinthians 6:2). Now is the time to embrace Christ in faith, because after death, there is no room for belief unto salvation; and soon the Savior will return in judgment of man's sin. At this juncture in Isaiah's text, the Lord stopped His reading (Luke 4:19-20), because the remainder of the verses deals with the Lord's Second Coming.