Tonight, we're in our fifth study in a series entitled "Jesus In Isaiah."
Remember that although the Babylonian Captivity was still decades yet future, the Lord is using the writings of Isaiah to speak to those in captivity, reassuring them of His plan for them.
In Babylon, these future captives will be released to return after 70 years. But they will be discouraged by their small number and distance from their homeland. God reminds them of their ancestors Abraham and Sarah. Just one man, far from the Promised Land. But God was faithful to him and his wife, and they became a great nation. The Jews would once again be blessed, along with their land. Though Judea lay in ruins after the Babylonian invasion, the Lord would once again restore it beautifully.
Ever since chapter 42 began, God has been telling about the coming of His Servant. This is the One with the Spirit upon Him Who would bring forth justice to the nations (42:1-3). This is the Servant Whose mouth is like a sharp sword (49:2), Whose ministry was to bring the Jews back to God (49:5), to be a light of the nations (49:6). He would be despised at His first coming, but princes will bow down to Him at His second coming (49:7). He would be a covenant of the people and would restore the land of Israel (49:8), setting the captives free (49:8). He can sustain the weary with a word (50:4), and would suffer horrible torture and humiliation (50:6).
God is now telling the Jews again that His Servant will come. He will be the law and He will be justice. He will be a light of the nations. He will be God's righteousness, and He will be God's salvation. When will this happen? They will be able to tell just by looking at the earth and sky as it undergoes terrible tribulation.
The book of Revelation describes such events prior to the return of Jesus Christ.
Rev. 6:12-14 I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
As horrifying as these things sound, God reassures His people that although the earth will be wearing out like an old shirt and people around the world are dying by the millions, He will be faithful. His salvation will be forever. And all those who opposed God's people will be gone, like a shirt eaten by moths.
Another title of this Servant of God, Jesus Christ, is "the Arm of the Lord." At the second coming,
Is. 30:30 ...the LORD will cause His voice of authority to be heard, and the descending of His arm to be seen in fierce anger, and in the flame of a consuming fire in cloudburst, downpour and hailstones.
Is. 40:10 Behold, the Lord GOD will come with might, with His arm ruling for Him. Behold, His reward is with Him and His recompense before Him.
Remember that Jesus said,
Rev. 22:12 “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done."
Now, the Arm of the Lord, Jesus Christ, is being told to be strong in bringing the Jews back to the Promised Land at the end of the Great Tribulation. We knew He would do that, but we're also told of a past glory that isn't often thought of as being the work of Christ: He was the one Who cut Rahab in pieces. As we learned back in chapter 30, Rahab was the name of an Egyptian water dragon, and Egypt had come to be called by its name (Psa. 87:4). It was Jesus Christ who brought the plagues upon Egypt, and parted the Red Sea, delivering the Jews from their bondage.
And once again, Christ will bring His people the Jews out of bondage and into the Promised Land.
God's continual words of reassurance to those who are in exile include a comparison: "Why are you afraid of man when I am on your side? I'm the eternal one, and you're fearing man, who dies." Remember that Jesus told us,
Matt. 10:28 “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."
The Jews were afraid of their Babylonian opponents, but had walked away from the Lord, Who was the One Who could help them.
And yet, He again tells them that they will not be abandoned in the Babylonian Captivity. They are His people, and He will not leave them to die in their foreign dungeon.
Because of their sin, the Jews have been the subjects of God's judgment many times. But the day is coming when God pours out the cup of His wrath not on the Jews, but on those nations who hate the Jews. This will include Babylon, which will be given...
Rev. 16:19 ...the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath.
The messenger who brings the news to the watchmen that God reigns on earth will be quite welcome. I believe that this messenger is Jesus Christ Himself. For, we are told by the prophet Zechariah that on the day He returns to earth to rule and reign,
Zech. 14:3-4 Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle. In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south.
At that moment, the nations of the world will be attacking Jerusalem, and the Jews still living inside will be convinced that they are moments away from extermination.
So, you can see why Jesus' return will be so welcome! It will come in the nick of time!
And again, we see Jesus referred to as the arm of the Lord:
Is. 52:10 The LORD has bared His holy arm in the sight of all the nations, that all the ends of the earth may see the salvation of our God.
Everyone in the earth will see Jesus Christ saving His people.
Just like the Lord encouraged the captives in Babylon to make the trip back to the Promised Land, God will again open up highways in the wilderness and encourage the Jews to return to Jerusalem when the Millennial Kingdom is established on earth. The Lord will protect their journey, and many of them will receive first-class air travel!
Matt. 24:31 “And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.
The Servant of the Lord, Jesus Christ was lifted up on the cross at His first coming, and will be lifted up in exaltation at His second coming.
But even when He returns, His appearance will astonish everyone. Jesus said through Zechariah,
Zech. 12:8-14 “In that day the LORD will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the one who is feeble among them in that day will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the angel of the LORD before them. And in that day I will set about to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn. In that day there will be great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the plain of Megiddo. The land will mourn, every family by itself; the family of the house of David by itself and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Levi by itself and their wives by themselves; the family of the Shimeites by itself and their wives by themselves; all the families that remain, every family by itself and their wives by themselves.
Their mourning will be because they see the scars of brutality which Jesus suffered still on Him. He was brutalized so badly that His appearance was marred more than any man.
When John saw Him in Revelation, he described Jesus as
Rev. 5:6 ...a Lamb standing, as if slain...
Appearing to be butchered, but alive. And when people see Him in that state, they will finally understand what Jesus endured to pay the price of their sin.