The Book of Isaiah Bible Study Chapter 44 Part 3

Isaiah

Our next portion is Isaiah 44:21-28

The fact that creation exists reveals to us that there has to be a Creator. Likewise, G-d has promised to redeem us – so if redemption exists it stands to reason that there has to be a Redeemer. The concept of a Redeemer is very prominent in Judaism, and also very prominent in the Scripture (starting in Genesis and ending in Revelation). 

The Hebrew word ‘Mashiach’ and the Greek word ‘Christos’ are synonymous with our English word ‘Messiah’ or ‘Christ’. This is a word that means ‘Anointed One’ and is related to the One who has been anointed to be King Messiah – the King who is also the Redeemer. Without His work of redemption His Kingdom cannot be established. 

There are two distinct aspects of redemption spoken about in the Bible:

1) Redemption involves a payment. This payment makes the outcome of redemption a possibility (1 Cor 6:20). This price (the work of redemption) was paid by Yeshua 2000 years ago on the cross. 

2) Redemption involves an outcome – the establishment of G-d’s Kingdom (the fulfilment of Messiah’s work). Although this is a partial reality now for those who believe in Messiah, it will only come into full effect at the second coming of Messiah. It is only then that the Kingdom of G-d will be established on earth, and it is only then that the promises and blessings of G-d can be truly accessible and fully enjoyed. 

v21: Remember these (things): In the previous section, Isaiah spoke about the futility and wickedness of idolatry. G-d wants the Jewish people to remember the futility, to remember that idolatry brings about that which is evil and that it also brings about G-d’s judgment. 

  • Jacob, and Israel… My servant: G-d is affirming that He is referring to the Jewish people by using these two terms. He affirms that the Jewish people are His servants. 
  • You will not be forgotten by Me: G-d will never forget Israel. He will never forget the covenant promises He made with her. One of the promises that G-d gave to Israel was that He was going to use her to be His instrument of blessing to the nations, that she is going to be an instrument through which G-d’s promises are fulfilled [ie the second coming of Messiah, and therefore the establishment of His Kingdom, is hinged on the Jewish people’s response to Messiah (Matt 23:37-39 is spoken directly to the Jewish people. ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the L-rd’ are words that reveal a spiritual change that is going to take place in Israel. This spiritual change has to happen prior to the second coming of Messiah. That change is not going to come easily or quickly. That change is going to be brought about by intense suffering, troubles, persecution. Nevertheless, G-d is going to allow Israel to go through these hardships – Jer 30:7 – to bring them to the place where they beseech G-d for a Messiah – someone who will save them. It is when Yeshua comes again, after Israel has cried out for Him, that the outcome of redemption will be initiated, and the Kingdom of G-d will be established)]. 

v22: I have blotted out…your transgressions…your sins: G-d reminds the people about His work of redemption. This is written in the past tense, although the work of Messiah was yet future in Isaiah’s day when this was written. 

  • As a thick cloud: A cloud does not stay a cloud for long. A cloud dissipates. It gets blown away and that exact cloud is never seen again – it disappears. G-d is reminding the people that, because of the work of redemption, their sins and transgressions will not stand before Him. Their sins will be forgiven. 
  • Return to Me: G-d’s work of redemption has been done in full – it is complete (John 19:30). However, Israel has not yet returned to G-d in the completeness that He desires (Roms 11:26-27). This will only happen in the last days.  
  • I have redeemed you: G-d Himself did the work of redemption. He did this through His only begotten Son (John 3:16). 

Note: Although G-d is speaking primarily to Israel in this verse, He (who is not a respecter of persons – Acts 10:34) makes this same promise available to all of humanity. All of humanity is invited to receive G-d’s redemption – first to the Jews and then to the Gentiles (Roms 1:16)

v23: Sing O heavens, for the L-rd has done it: Yeshua perfectly fulfilled the Father’s will. He was the sinless Lamb of G-d, able to lay His life down as a perfect sacrifice to atone for the sins of mankind. It is through Him that we can experience redemption! This should cause us to rejoice! The L-rd has done this redemption for us!

  • Shout (for joy): Make known your happiness in a very emotion-filled, loud and public way.
  • The L-rd has redeemed Jacob: This work of redemption that G-d has done for Jacob is going to result in a transformation. Jacob experienced this transformation in his own life – even receiving a new name – Israel (Gen 32:24-28). 
  • Glorified Himself in Israel: In the last days (more than in any time throughout history) G-d is going to be glorified through Israel. This is an important principle: redemption allows the one who has been redeemed to glorify G-d. Without acknowledging and receiving the work of Messiah (our great Redeemer) in our lives, by faith, we will not be able to worship or glorify G-d. Redemption is a prerequisite for G-dly worship – worship that G-d’s going to be pleased with.

v24: The L-rd, your Redeemer: Any scholar of the Scripture, any Rabbi, teaches that the Redeemer and the Messiah are in fact the same person. This verse, by linking the words ‘L-rd’ and ‘Redeemer’ together, points very clearly to the divinity of Messiah. 

  • Stretches out the heavens…spreads abroad the earth: Creation is mentioned here to remind us of the establishment of the Kingdom of G-d (the outcome of redemption). The establishment of G-d’s Kingdom is like a second creation. The creation of this world is a reality that we currently live in. Creation is also a testimony that reminds us that if G-d can create the first heaven and earth, He can definitely create the New Heaven and the New Earth (Revelation 21) – a new reality, a Kingdom reality. This New Kingdom is only possible through His work of redemption. 
  • By Myself: There is no other source but G-d alone. 

v25: Whatever G-d does is good. However, G-d’s enemy always brings opposition against good. Satan’s chief tools are deception, deceit, falsehood or lying (John 8:44). In this verse we see that G-d is going to defeat and destroy any concept of falsehood. He is going to show that the people mentioned below have no relationship with truth and therefore they are devoid of authority. 

  • Babblers: Those who speak empty things. These people do not necessarily call themselves prophets, but they are people who love to tickle the ears of others with false promises, prosperity etc. Their words are empty of truth. 
  • Diviners: Sorcerers. Those that do supernatural (spiritual) things, but their supernatural enchantments are all based in evil and are all untrue/false.
  • Mad: This is not talking about anger but is talking about driving them crazy. G-d is going to show that what they’ve said and done is madness, it’s folly, it is ridiculous and there is no truth within it. 
  • Turns wise men backward: G-d is going to show their wisdom to have no significance. He is going to show that their knowledge is folly and foolish. 

v26: This verse contrasts with Isaiah 44:25. Those who practice falsehood are going to be shown to be empty. Those who practice and speak truth are affirmed by G-d. 

  • The word: This is the message that G-d gave to Israel for the world – the Bible (Roms 3:2 – the revelation of G-d was given to Israel)
  • Performs: Makes complete. Makes a reality. 
  • Messengers: Referring to the prophets.
  • Says to Jerusalem, ‘You shall be inhabited’: It is a prophetic truth that the Jewish people are going to resettle Jerusalem (This has been happening on a much larger scale since 1948).
  • Judah: This area is in the southern part of Israel, around Jerusalem.
  • Raise up: The word used here is a word that relates to resurrection.
  • Waste places: Ruins. The places that Israel’s enemies destroyed (which was part of the judgment and discipline of G-d against Israel because of their sins) are going to be rebuilt. 

v27: Deep: This is a word that has to do with very deep waters. 

  • Be dry: Become arid. This is referring again to a change that G-d is going to bring about (Rev 21:1 – the sea dries up??). 

v28: He is My shepherd: Cyrus responded to G-d’s instruction. He was the one who gave the proclamation (many years after Isaiah penned this prophecy), and the government sanctioned opportunity, for the exiles to return to Judah after their exile to Babylon. 

  • Perform: Fulfil. Complete.
  • Even saying to Jerusalem: ‘You shall be built’: Cyrus gave an edict for Jerusalem to be rebuilt and resettled by the exiles who returned from Babylon (Ezra 1). 
  • The temple: A reference to G-d’s presence being restored to Jerusalem.

In conclusion:  This chapter begins with a promise. G-d then counsels the people not to fall into idolatry but to rely upon the truth/prophetic revelation of G-d. This is then followed by the assurance of the faithfulness of G-d. After having done the work of redemption He will bring about the outcome of redemption – the reestablishment of Jerusalem and of the temple. Ultimately all of this is being done so that the temple can be rebuilt in order that G-d can be worshiped in Jerusalem, in Judah and in His nation. This all testifies to G-d’s faithfulness (and is foreshadowing the establishment of His Kingdom on earth after Yeshua’s second coming).  

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