The Book of Isaiah Bible Study Chapter 61 Part 1


We go on to Isaiah 61:1-3

In this chapter we find one of the most famous Messianic prophecies there is. In Luke 4:16-21 Yeshua was in Nazareth (His hometown) and He was handed the book of Isaiah. He turned to this passage and read it before the people. Although this is a prophecy of only good and wonderful news (a revelation about what G-d is ultimately going to bring about for His people), those in Nazareth did not welcome Yeshua applying it to Himself. They neither honoured nor respected Yeshua. 

This prophecy contains numerous promises that G-d makes to His people. G-d’s desire is that we would receive them in faith, take hold of them and allow them to influence our thoughts and our behaviour so that we might participate with G-d in bringing these things about. How do we participate with Him? We are called prophetically to be those who execute righteousness – doing those things which reflect the character and will of G-d to others.  

v1: Me: Referring to Messiah

  • Anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor…: The reasons why the Spirit was upon Messiah are now listed.
  • Preach: Proclaim. Evangelise. This is a word which is related to the word for ‘gospel’. Yeshua was not sent to proclaim just any good news or glad tidings. He was sent to proclaim the good news that is related to redemption. This redemption began at Messiah’s first coming (Yeshua did the work of redemption at His first coming – He paid the price for redemption), but it is going to reach its completion (final redemption) as His second coming when He comes to establish His Kingdom. Within G-d’s Kingdom we are going to experience the fullness of the promises and blessings of G-d (ie. the outcome of redemption. The price was paid at Yeshua’s first coming. At His second coming He is completing the transaction – collecting what belongs to Him). When Yeshua came the first time He promised these things, but when He comes for the second time, He is going to deliver on them.
  • Poor: In its simplest form this is the word for humble. Derived from this same root, it can also be understood to mean those who are afflicted ones, those who are suffering because of righteousness (those who are rejected and persecuted in this world because of their allegiance and their faithfulness to G-d). 
  • Heal: In modern Hebrew this is the word for a paramedic – someone who arrives on the scene to alleviate suffering and pain. It speaks of someone who deals with injuries or very sick people. 
  • Brokenhearted: Those who are full of grief – whose hearts are broken because of the injustice and unrighteousness that dominates the world.
  • Liberty: FreedomThe purpose of being set free is not simply for the sake of freedom. We are set free to be able to behave in a different way (Those in prison have to abide by the rules of the prison. When they are set free, they have to abide by the rules of society. They are not exempt from laws in either place. Likewise, when we are enslaved by sin, we live by the law of sin and death. When we are set free from sin, we no longer follow the rules of sin and death, but we have a whole new set of laws – living by the laws of the Spirit…Roms 8:2-4). 
  • The opening of the prison: There is a change in the prisoner’s condition or circumstances. This is what Messiah came to bring about – a righteous change, a change that is related to the will and purposes of G-d.

v2: The acceptable year: The year of delight. This is related to the will of G-d – those things that He likes, those things that are related to what He sees as proper or acceptable. This is referring to a time yet future. A time known as “the days of Messiah”, the days when all things will be acceptable to G-d. 

  • The day of vengeance: A Day of retribution. Those things which are not acceptable to Him are going to be judged and destroyed.
  • Comfort all who mourn: G-d’s vengeance against His enemies leads to His people receiving comfort (Rev 6:9-11). Mourning, a form of grief and of dealing with loss, is related to death. Death is always related to sin (Roms 6:23). Sin brings grief and sorrow. G-d is going to deal with sin and, once sin has been dealt with, ‘sorrow and sighing will flee away’ (Isaiah 51:11). 

v3: Zion: A Kingdom word. 

  • Console those who mourn in Zion: This is speaking about those who look at the world in its current condition and they see how remote and far away the Kingdom principles and Kingdom character are. This fills them with grief and sadness and sorrow. These ones, who are grieved about the corruption and the unrighteousness in this world, are known as ‘those who mourn in Zion’. 
  • Them: Referring to those who mourn about the unrighteous worldly state of affairs. 
  • Beauty for ashes: Another exchange is going to occur, an ‘upgrade’ in status. 
  • Ashes: Referring to those who sit in sackcloth and ashes (those who are in an active state of mourning). 
  • The spirit of heaviness: A gloomy spirit. Referring to those who are sad. 
  • That He may be glorified: All of the wonderful things that G-d brings about, all of the changes that take place, are done for the purpose of bringing glory and honour to Him. If we are not committed to bringing glory and honour to G-d, then we have not understood the gospel message. We want the forgiveness of sins, to be reconciled to G-d. We want the invitation to be in His Kingdom. We want to experience the good things of G-d. However, all of these changes that G-d brings about are so that we can be placed in a new condition – a redemptive condition – whereby we become a new creation in order to bring honour and glory to Him. We obviously benefit from the changes that G-d brings about, but all of these changes are ultimately about G-d being glorified – not ourselves. Everything is for Him. 

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