The Book of Isaiah Bible Study Chapter 41 Part 1

Isaiah

On to Isaiah 41:1-7

This is not an easy chapter to interpret. It is a chapter that speaks about someone – but this person’s name is not mentioned. However, what the Scripture does give us are indicators. These indicators lead us to the conclusion that this passage is speaking about Messiah. Isaiah, as we have so frequently seen, had an end-time mindset. Often throughout the book of Isaiah there is an emphasis on the establishment of the Kingdom, and on the One who is going to do the work so that this Kingdom can be established. 

v1: Keep silence: This is a command.

  • Coastlands (literally: Islands): When this term is used prophetically it is speaking about far away or remote places. Great leaders and rulers were able to exact and collect taxes from these faraway places. These earthly leaders were able to rule over them despite their remoteness. Similarly, G-d’s Sovereignty, His rule and administration will touch these places. 
  • People: Nations. People groups. ‘Nations’ speak of familiar places. ‘Islands’ speak of remote places. 
  • Renew strength: G-d is telling them (those near and far) to get ready for what He is going to bring about. A change is coming. 
  • Let them come near…let them speak: G-d is getting their attention, and he wants them to respond. 
  • Come near together for judgment: It is through judgment that G-d will bring a great change (ie the establishment of His Kingdom) to all of His creation. 

Verse 2 (literally): “Who goes up from the east? Righteousness will call to Him, to His feet. He will give before Him the nations, and kings He will rule. He will give as dust to His sword, driven as stubble before His bow.”

Note: This verse speaks of one who has to be answered to. 

  • Who goes up from the east: Rabbinical commentators say this is speaking of Father Abraham. Most Christian commentators would say this is referring to Cyrus. Although G-d did use Abraham and Cyrus mightily, none of the context clues point to either of these two men. 
  • Goes up: This could also be translated ‘to stir things up’. This would fit within the context of the change that is coming. The Rabbinical commentators see this as a word meaning ‘to wake up’. This person is going to stir things up. He is going to wake up the world and cause them to see things very differently. In the day of judgment people are going to wake up to a new reality. 
  • Righteousness: This word is highly significant in helping us to understand the time frame. It indicates to us that we are talking about righteousness being established in this world – which is only going to happen when Messiah returns and establishes His Kingdom. 
  • Righteousness will call to Him, to His feet: G-d the Father has called G-d the Son, and He has called Him for the purpose of righteousness. G-d the Father is going to put all things under the feet of Yeshua (Eph 1:22). This means that it is Yeshua is He who is going to dominate or rule over all the nations (Rev 2:27). 
  • Rule: To administer or to control them.
  • Dust to His sword: This is what His sword is able to accomplish – the corpses are going to be like dust. He is going to experience great victory over His enemies. The casualties of this battle are going to be like the dust of the earth. 
  • Stubble: Hay. Very light weight. Easily blown away. Easily consumed. There is nothing lasting or significant about His enemies. 
  • Sword…bow: Weapons of war. 

Verse 3 (Literally): “He pursued them, and He passed peace; the way on His feet He did not go.”

He pursued them and He passed peace: This is the word for ‘peace’ and not the word for ‘safety’. What this tells us is that the one being spoken of here pursued them and as He passed through their midst the outcome was peace (peace is the outcome/the result of the fulfilment of G-d’s will). 

  • The way on His feet He did not go: This is an odd and awkward expression but what it means is that He did not travel by foot. Prophetically if one moves but not with one’s own feet (nor with the hooves of any animals) then we know the movement being spoken of is supernatural (for example: Daniel 8:5). The supernatural aspect of this person being spoken of here should indicate to us that this chapter is neither about Abraham, nor about Cyrus, but is in fact prophetically about Yeshua, the Messiah. 

v4: Performed (acted) and done it: This is again speaking of the Sovereignty of G-d. What He begins He successfully completes. His desires and objectives will be met (Phil 1:6). 

  • Calling the generations from the beginning: G-d Himself (Yeshua) has called the generations into being. He has always been at the head; He has always been in control. He (Yeshua) is the Creator of this world (Col 1:15-18) and He is the Administrator of it.  
  • The first and the last: The beginning and the end. 
  • Last (things): Written in the plural. In the beginning there was only G-d. He spoke many things into being so, at the end, many things are going to come to their fulfilment or conclusion. 

v5: Coastlands (Islands): Again, alluding to G-d’s absolute reign or control. His administration encompasses all things, all peoples – even those who are at the remotest corners of the earth. 

  • Feared: No one will be able to escape this judgment day. It is going to be a fearful day for those who have not received G-d’s help/ G-d’s salvation while they still had the time. 
  • They drew near: They approached. At the end, G-d is going to assemble all peoples. They are going to have no choice but to draw near to where He is going to be (Zech 12:3,9). 

v6: Everyone helped his neighbour: This is still set within the context of the nations – the faraway or remote places. Those in the nations are predominantly idol worshippers. Israel at this time was a unique people. They approached the One true G-d through His Word, through the prophets and through the instructions of G-d’s servants. This is not yet speaking of Israel, but about those in the idolatrous nations. These nations, at the end, will come together in unity to help each other. 

  • Said to his brother, ‘Be of good courage’: The world, for the most part, are not going to repent. They are going to double down in their idolatry, and they are going to encourage one another to stay firm in this type of falsehood.

v7: Craftsman: Workman. The artisan. The skilled worker.

  • Hammer: The purpose of this hammer was to make things smooth
  • (literally: The one who has a hammer hits the anvil): This one works to make something marvellous and finely crafted. 
  • Soldering: The gluing, the joining or the holding of things together. This process makes the idol (in this case) stronger. These craftsmen are building their idols in such a way that the idols are strengthened and do not collapse under pressure (see Rev 13:14-15).

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