The Book of Isaiah Bible Study Chapter 45 Part 1

Isaiah

We go on to Isaiah 45:1-8

Cyrus was a Persian king who allowed the Jewish people to leave Babylon and go back to Judah to resettle the land and rebuild the temple.  Although Cyrus was a Gentile, He obeyed G-d, and was used mightily to fulfil the purposes of G-d. This tells us that G-d is free to use whomever He wants to use.

v1: Anointed: Literally: Messiah. The Messiah is one who is anointed by G-d for a purpose – in this case a Kingdom purpose. This verse is not speaking about THE Messiah of Israel (Messiah Yeshua) but it is speaking about Cyrus – whom G-d anointed as king. G-d gave Cyrus a choice to submit to Him and His purposes, and Cyrus was wise enough to do just that. 

  • (Taken hold of): In Hebrew this is a play on words. It is also a word that means to give strength to, to strengthen. G-d strengthened Cyrus so that he could carry out what G-d wanted him to do (subdue nations, etc). 
  • Loose the armour of kings (literally: open up the loins of kings): This is not the word for armour. A person’s loins refer to waste in the physical, but Biblically it refers to a person’s foundation or strength. Cyrus, by ‘opening up their loins’, was going to render these kings powerless. 
  • Open before him the double doors, so that the gates will not be shut: This is poetic language that teaches us that Cyrus was going to have an impact over his empire and over other nations. 

v2: Any obstacle in Cyrus’s way was going to be taken care of by G-d. G-d promised to make straight the crooked ways before Cyrus. The things which were hard to break G-d was going to break for him. 

v3: Treasures of darkness: The treasures of this world. G-d promised Cyrus that he was going to benefit financially. Cyrus did not seek this prosperity, but because of his obedience to G-d he was going to find it. 

  • Hidden riches of secret places: G-d also promised to give Cyrus the treasures in this world that no one knew about (the treasure hidden away – eg gold is hidden underground). G-d brought about a redistribution of wealth in Cyrus’s day. G-d did this because of Cyrus’s faithfulness. 
  • The L-rd who calls you by your name: The prophet Isaiah prophesied this prophecy around the 8thcentury BC. It was in the 6th century BC that the Babylonian captivity began, and it lasted for 70 years. It was only after this time when Cyrus became king and sent the people of Judah back to the land of Israel. G-d mentioned and called Cyrus by name at least 200 years before he was born! 

v4: For Jacob My servant’s sake and Israel My elect (chosen one)Referring to the descendants of Jacob – the Jewish people. 

  • You have not known Me: Cyrus had not known the G-d of Israel. He was not aware of the purposes or the plans of G-d but nevertheless G-d chose him because of G-d’s purpose, for the sake of the Jewish people.

v5: Gird you: Surround or embrace you (talking of Cyrus). This is speaking about G-d’s Sovereign choice of Cyrus. G-d made a Sovereign choice that He was going to use the Jewish people for a particular purpose. G-d’s purpose is always fulfilled. The Jewish nation was called to be a blessing to the nations. Although G-d desires for them to fulfil this purpose through their obedience, He can even use their disobedience to fulfil this same purpose.

(For example – G-d’s purpose for Pharoah was that G-d might show His power through Pharoah so that G-d’s Name could be declared in all of the earth – Ex 9:16, Roms 9:17. If Pharoah had been obedient, G-d’s power would have been just as effectively declared to the world as it was through his disobedience). 

 In the same way, G-d made a Sovereign choice that He was also going to use Cyrus for a specific purpose. Similarly, for those of us who are in a New Covenant relationship with Him, through Messiah Yeshua, we have also been Sovereignly chosen to fulfil His purpose – to be a royal priesthood, a holy nation (1 Peter 2:9-10). G-d does not have favourites (Roms 2:11), He uses who He wills. He is able to use those who respond obediently to Him, but He is also able to use those who are disobedient to Him to also fulfil His purposes (eg: Judas Iscariot, Pharoah etc). 

  • I will gird you, though you have not known Me: This simply speaks about G-d’s ability to choose whom He wants to choose. Cyrus did not have a personal revelation of G-d. He was not seeking G-d, but G-d revealed Himself, and His purposes, to Cyrus and Cyrus had a choice to obey or to disobey G-d. 

v6: The rising of the sun to its setting: Referring to all of the people from the east to the west. 

  • None: Zero
  • There is (nothing) besides Me: This does not mean, as some have incorrectly concluded, that everything is G-d (pantheism etc). Creation being the Creator is heresy. This just means that G-d is the only G-d. There are no other gods. He stands alone. 

v7: I…create calamity (literally: evil): It does not say that G-d does evil but that He creates it. This is a problematic phrase for many people. We should understand it in this way: G-d, who does nothing wrong, created this world with the ability to choose. There is right and wrong in this world. G-d spoke into the darkness and formed light (Gen 1:2). Without darkness, light would not exist. By ordering light to come forth, G-d made a distinction between light and darkness. In the same way, in the beginning, the earth was filled with chaos (void and empty, ‘evil’). G-d spoke peace and order into this chaos, thereby also making a distinction between peace and evil/calamity. Darkness and chaos used to exist without their “counterpart” (before the creation of the world), but in our dispensation one cannot exist without the other. In the New Jerusalem this will no longer be the case – darkness (and chaos/evil) will no longer exist (Revelation 22:5). 

G-d creates all things and within His creation is choice – a necessity to choose. All people, saved and unsaved, make decisions every single day. These decisions have very real (and many have eternal) consequences. 

Note: For there to be love, worship and obedience there has to be free will and choice (right and wrong). Choice, in relationship to free will, is so important. Even though we are born spiritually dead in our trespasses and sin, G-d has equipped all men (women) with a conscience through which we can know a degree of right and wrong (even an unbeliever believes that lying and stealing are not right) and through which some might come to know Him (Roms 1:18-20). In this life every single human being encounters some degree of revelation of G-d. It is through our conscience that we have a degree of understanding of spiritual things before we are born again (Roms 8:9, Roms 2:14-1). 

v8: This is a very poetic description of the change that G-d is going to bring about in this earth. Currently we live in a very evil world, but this is going to change. 

  • Literally: The heavens sprinkle up above, and the skies pour out righteousness: This speaks of G-d being at work, He is moving and working in this world. G-d’s activity in the heavens impacts this world. 
  • Salvation, and let righteousness spring up together: G-d’s “rain” produces fruit – this fruit is called salvation. When people are saved, righteousness follows closely behind them. 

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