The Book of Isaiah Bible Study Chapter 40 Part 1

Isaiah

Our reading today is Isaiah 40:1-5

There is a change coming to Israel – not only to the people of Israel but also to the land of Israel. 

v1: Comfort: In Hebrew this word is ‘Nahum’. At the start of Yeshua’s earthly ministry, He left the Galilean city of Nazareth and went down to Capernaum (Kfar Nahum – which means ‘village of comfort’). This move to Capernaum fulfilled Isaiah 9:1-2 (see Matt 4:13-16). Yeshua (the Messiah) came to do a work of comforting a people in distress (the work of redemption). Even the Rabbis understand that this section of Isaiah is related to Messiah. 

  • Comfort…comfort My people: This is a word of commandment.

v2: Comfort (literally: ‘Speak to the heart’): This is not the word for comfort but is the word for ‘heart’. This is a word that is related to thoughts. G-d is going to do a work. He is going to bring comfort to His people and this in turn will give Israel (the Jewish people) a different perspective – they are going to start to see things differently. 

  • Her: Referring to Jerusalem. 
  • Warfare: Conflict 
  • Her warfare is ended: Her warfare has been made complete. Israel’s struggle, opposition and persecution is going to come to an end. Instead of experiencing the conflict of battle they are going to experience comfort.
  • Her iniquity is pardoned (it has been reconciled): Her condition of iniquity is going to change. She is going to be found to be in an acceptable state, as her sins are going to be dealt with. This phrase foreshadows a very important Biblical truth – future redemption.  In the end, Israel is going to be made acceptable to G-d (Zech 13:1) – not because of what they have done, or not because they deserve it, but because of what G-d has done. A time is coming when there is going to be reconciliation, peace and comfort between the Jewish people and G-d. 
  • She has received from the L-rd’s hand double for all her sins: This speaks about, and foreshadows, the great suffering that the Jewish people are going to go through (and have gone through) throughout their history. This suffering, the cause of it which was faithlessness (sinfulness), is going to come to an end.  

v3: Note: This is a verse related to John the Baptist (Luke 3:3-6, Matt 11:7-11). John the Baptist was the forerunner of Yeshua. This is a verse that speaks of the divinity of Yeshua. 

It makes it very clear that Yeshua was not just a messenger from G-d, but that, in and of Himself, He is G-d.  

v4: Note: Here Isaiah is again speaking of the change that is coming. Israel is going to go through a great change, a metamorphosis, a different reality. G-d is not ‘done’ with Israel.

  • Valley: The word ‘valley’ used here speaks of a very deep, very narrow, steep valley.
  • Valley…exalted (lifted up)…mountain and…hill …made low: Part of this change is that those things that were low are going to be raised up, those things that were high or exalted are going to be levelled. 
  • Rough places (This is literally the word for a mountain range): It is a word that speaks of the smaller mountains with a range that goes on for a long distance.
  • Smooth (literally: ‘Valley’): This is a different word to the valley spoken of above. This is referring to a valley that is not steep or narrow, but it is almost level, a valley which is almost a plane (a gentle valley). This kind of valley is very broad, wide and long. 

v5: Note: This change has an outcome, it produces a result, a consequence. 

  • All flesh: This is a term for humanity.
  • All flesh shall see it together: This should not surprise us. Israel’s purpose and call was to be a blessing to this world, to the Gentiles (Gen 12:3), through revelation and truth (Roms 9:4-5). When Israel is made right with G-d, when Israel is comforted, it is going to have implications for the whole world (Roms 11:11-15). Israel is going to be a tool that G-d uses in the last days to bring about a great change to humanity.
  • The mouth of the L-rd: The foundation for bringing this change is the Word of G-d. We need to be committed to His Word. Nothing else in this world is going to give us revelation and insight like the Word of G-d. When we apply faith to His Word (utilize it in our lives, respond in obedience to His instructions and commandments) our lives are changed, and we bring glory to G-d in our individual lives. Soon this will not only be applicable to individual believers but, after G-d brings about a change, it will be global! His glory will be seen by all flesh!

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