Isaiah Part 35: The Redemption of Israel (42:18-44:23)Posted: Fri. Jan, 15 2021
We continue to learn of this very large work by Isaiah. I didn’t know what I was getting into. If you have been reading, you might recall that I was doing a blog series on the prophets, which was originally meant to discuss their lives and not necessarily expound on their writings, however, since little is known of Isaiah other than his book, I decided to give “summarizing” the book a shot. When I told my wife some time ago that I thought this series was getting too long and that I feared people either were tired of reading it or would soon tire, she encouraged me by telling me that I was writing it for me, i.e., for my own understanding of the book. She was right, and I have to finish it. Plus, I don’t have to try and be clever about picking something scintillating to write about. So, if you are reading along, bravo. I think it will be fruitful for you. I also know that the book will have to be studied many times throughout our lives to grasp its breath and depth. But that makes sense. All books of the Bible are like that.
The Lord must deliver His people.
Covenant theology, the belief that all the promises to Israel are voided and given to the church, thus concluding that there will be no nation of Israel in the future, denies this. That thinking is a blatant and arrogant superimposition of human thoughts upon an unwavering and unchangeable God who is exact in His covenant promise and trustworthy.
Thus says the Lord,
"If the heavens above can be measured,
And the foundations of the earth searched out below,
Then I will also cast off all the offspring of Israel
For all that they have done," declares the Lord.
I guess the covenant theologians have explored the whole earth to its core and then took their instruments throughout the entire universe while documenting all discovery and recording all measurements. It’s amazing they ever find time to study the Bible. Yes, my sarcasm is a mark of my contempt for these human attacks on God’s character. How could anyone deny to Israel the tender proclamation:
But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel,
"Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name; you are Mine!”
In this section it sometimes seems like God is going to both judge and destroy Israel and also deliver and bless her. Both are true, but the judgment is to the nation and its unbelievers. In 586 B.C. at the hands of Babylon and in 70 A.D. at the hands of the Romans, Jerusalem will be conquered. Their unbelievers, along with all who have rejected the gospel will be judged unrighteous and the final judgment. Deliverance and blessing are to the remnant of believers, and the Lord Jesus will establish their nation and bless them for a literal one-thousand years at His future Second Coming.
There is national redemption and spiritual redemption. One cannot be had without the other. The people in Israel who were impressed with Christ’s miracles, especially His feeding of the 5000, failed to see the need for both together. They wanted to make Christ king, hoping that by His power He would push the Romans into the sea and rule in political and national victory. Peter also failed to see the need for both, and crystalized the failure when he reacted to Christ’s teaching about His own suffering and death.
And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And He was stating the matter plainly. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him.
The spiritual redemption (First Advent) must come before the national redemption (Second Advent), and together they will usher in a new age of righteousness filled with men made righteous by the blood of Christ. The Cross must come before the Crown.
These two sides of Isaiah's initial words of comfort provide the following paradigm.
National Redemption (42:18-43:21)
Spiritual Redemption (43:22-44:23)
The New Covenant - unconditional
A few more blogs will complete this section. In the span of all of Isaiah’s capacious writing that deals with the judgment of the nations and the redemptive history of the world, we find the beautiful redemption of a generally rebellious people who were chosen and loved by God - Israel. There are a few exceptions, like Isaiah himself, but even they are not perfect, nor worthy of redemption or able to redeem. God’s sets His grace on display as the obstinate people from the one called out, Abraham, will be used by God to redeem themselves and the world because God Himself will become the greatest one of them - Jesus, Son of God, Son of David, Messiah of the world.
In His name,
Pastor Joe Sugrue