The song of salvation
through the vicarious, suffering sacrifice comes to
a great fortissimo of triumph. The Suffering messiah
is victorious. The sacrifice is complete. The price
of redemption has been paid in full. He has risen
from the dead. He lives! "The Lord God omnipotent
reigneth!" History is in His hands. He causes all
things to work for His redemptive glory. He is the
sovereign God who transcends and controls history
for His redemptive glory.
Isaiah begins chapter
fifty-four with a glorious shout of joy because the
Suffering Servant has accomplished our redemption.
"The golden passional of the Old Testament is
complete." He says, "Shout for joy, O barren one,
you who have borne no children; Break forth into
joyful shouting and cry aloud, you who have not
travailed . . . " (v.1). There is reason for this
shouting. Those who are barren because of the
captivity will now bear a tent full of children.
They will have experienced God's blessings. "Enlarge
the place of your tent; Stretch out the curtains of
your dwellings, spare not; lengthen your cords, and
strengthen your pegs . . . . Your descendents will
possess nations, and they will resettle the desolate
cities" (vv. 2-3).
The LORD, the Holy One of
Israel, is our Redeemer and He has had compassion
upon His people. Even though He chastised Israel
because of her rebellion, He has remained steadfast
in His unshakable love. Isaiah quotes the LORD in
"For the mountains may be
removed and the hills may shake,
But My lovingkindness
will not be removed from you,
And My covenant of peace
will not be shaken,"
Says the Lord who has
compassion on you.
The Redeemer has come who
pays a full price in order to set His people free.
"A Redeemer will come to Zion, And to those who turn
from transgression in Jacob," declares the Lord
SING THE INVITATION
Because of the vicarious,
substitutionary atonement of the Suffering Servant
of Yahweh He can now offer an invitation for
everyone to come and receive living water freely.
"Ho! Every one who
thirsts, come to the waters;
And you who have no money
come, buy and eat.
Come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without
"Why do you spend money
for what is not bread,
And your wages for what
does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me,
and eat what is good,
And delight yourself in
"Incline your ear and
come to Me.
Listen, that you may
And I will make an
everlasting covenant with you,
According to the
faithful mercies shown to David (vv. 1-3).
Based upon Isaiah
fifty-three everything has now been prepared. The
"Ho" (hoi) in verse one expresses a deep sorrow on
account of the unsatisfied spiritual thirst and
The "water" speaks of
spiritual satisfaction, and "wine and milk" is
figurative of spiritual revival and nourishment (2
Peter 2:2). The true believer "longs for the pure
milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect
The "waters" reminds us
of the word of Jesus Christ in John 4:14; 7:37.
Because of His redemptive work on the cross He can
offer us spiritual water that will quench our
spiritual thirst. Jesus offers us the great
invitation to come to Him and drink. Jesus said, " .
. . whoever drinks of the water that I will give him
shall never thirst; but the water that I will give
him will become in him a well of water springing up
to eternal life. . . . If anyone is thirsty, let him
come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the
Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow
rivers of living water.’"
The one who comes and
drinks of these waters must have an intense hunger
for God. He must come like the prodigal (Luke
15:16ff). The only way to satisfy the soul is
This is a marvelous
picture of grace in the Old Testament. These
blessings and gifts of divine grace are obtained by
faith alone. The humble believer can receive this
spiritual satisfaction by a sense of need and
readiness to accept it. The apostle Paul stated it
wisely, "But if it is by grace, it is no longer on
the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer
grace" (Romans 11:6). "For by grace you have been
saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it
is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so
that no one may boast" (Ephesians 2:8–9).
glorified Savior offers the same invitation. "I will
give to the one who thirsts from the springs of the
water of life without cost" (Revelation 21:6). In
Revelation 22:16–17, He said:
"I, Jesus, have sent My
angel to testify to you these things for the
churches. I am the root and the descendant of David,
the bright morning star." The Spirit and the bride
say, "Come." And let the one who hears say, "Come."
And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who
wishes take the water of life without cost.
What must a person do to
receive this water that satisfies? God says,
"Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, that you
may live; And I will make an everlasting covenant
with you, According to the faithful mercies shown to
David" (Isaiah 55:3). "Seek [acquire experiential
knowledge] the LORD while He may be found; Call upon
Him while He is near" (v. 6). "Call" now while He
stands ready with super abundance of grace to meet
covenant . . . according to the faithful mercies
shown to David" is continuation of the long string
of covenants Yahweh made beginning with Abraham,
Isaac and Jacob regarding His people Israel. Some
Bible scholars see the “everlasting covenant” as the
New Covenant (Jer. 32:40; Heb. 13:20). Other place
the emphasis on the Davidic Covenant (2 Samuel
7:8-16) which is an everlasting covenant. God still
has a purpose for Israel. He has not abandoned His
people. He keeps His eternal covenants. This
"eternal covenant" is secured in the Second David,
the Son of God, the Messiah (cf. Hosea 3:5; Ezekiel
34:23-25; Jeremiah 30:9). The father of John the
Baptist, Zacharias, filled with the Holy Spirit,
prophesied of Jesus saying, God "has raised up a
horn of salvation for us in the house of David His
servant. . . " (Luke 1:69). That was also the
conviction of the New Testament saints (Acts
2:29-36; 13:22-23, 34-39; Romans 11:25-29).
How can God offer such an
invitation to everyone, including the Gentiles?
God's ways are not our ways (55:8-11; cf. 59:1-2).
"Behold, the Lord's hand is not short that it cannot
save; neither is His ear so dull that it cannot
hear" (59:1). God established David’s everlasting
throne with the idea that behind David stood David’s
Don't blame God for the
separation that sin brings. It is not God; it is
"your iniquities" that "have made a separation
between you and your God, and your sins have hid His
face from you, so that He does not hear" (59:2).
Therefore the solution is quite clear. "Let the
wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his
thoughts; and let him return to the LORD, and He
will have compassion on him; and to our God, for He
will abundantly pardon" (55:7). "Let him return to
the LORD" "involves a complete right-about-face."
Respond to this great invitation and receive His
SEE THE LIGHT (60:1-7)
Chapter sixty is a blaze
of light in the spiritual darkness that covered the
whole earth. Jewish people and Gentiles are sitting
in darkness of unbelief. The prophet shouts, "Arise,
shine; for your light has come, And the glory of the
Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness will
cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples; but
the Lord will rise upon you and His glory will
appear upon you. Nations will come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your rising"
(60:1-3). In the second servant poem Isaiah had
declared, "I will also make You a light of the
nations so that My salvation may reach to the end of
the earth" (49:6).
Who is this "light" that
has visited those dwelling in darkness? Who can
penetrate the spiritual darkness that covers the
earth? Why He has already come! "Blessed be the Lord
God of Israel, for He has visited us and
accomplished redemption for His people, and has
raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of
David His servant . . . " (Luke 1:68-69). Again Dr.
Luke writes, "Because of the tender mercy of our
God, with which the Sunrise from on high will visit
us, To shine upon those who sit in darkness and the
shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of
peace" (Luke 1:78-79, all capitalized words quote
Old Testament). It is the heavenly glory of the Lord
that flares up (Isaiah 6:3; 24:23; 40:5; 58:8).
The Light of the world,
the Lord Jesus Christ gives us a perfect, plentiful,
complete understanding of this great salvation. With
the strong voice of the great I AM Jesus stated
assertively, "I am the Light of the world; he who
follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will
have the Light of life" (John 8:12).
Isaiah had promised, "The
people who walk in darkness will see a great light;
those who live in a dark land, the light will shine
on them" (9:2). They saw the "great light" that
illuminated their spiritual darkness when Jesus
walked the land. Jesus is that "great light" (cf.
John 1:4-5). He said, "I have come as Light into the
world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not
remain in darkness" (12:46).
Gentiles are drawn to the
light of Jesus. Even at the birth of Jesus non-Jews
came to worship Him (Matthew 2:1ff). How insightful
to compare Isaiah 60:19-20 with Revelation 21:4;
22:5. There is a wonderful day coming when we will
no longer need the moon and the sun because "you
will have the LORD for an everlasting light, and
your God for your glory" (Isaiah 60:19). In the "new
heaven and new earth" "the city has no need of the
sun or of the moon to shine upon it, for the glory
of God has illuminated it, and its lamp is the Lamb.
And the nations shall walk by its light; and the
kings of the earth shall bring their glory into it"
(Revelation 21:23-24). There will be no night there
(v. 25) "because the Lord God shall illumine them;
and they shall reign forever and ever" (22:5).
The speaker in Isaiah
61:1-2 is the Servant of the LORD, the Messiah whom
we saw in chapters 42-53. What the speaker says is
identical with what has already been said about Him
(42:1; 48:16; 50:4; 42:7; 49:7).
"The Spirit of the Lord
God is upon me,
Because the Lord has
To bring good news to the
He has sent me to bind up
To proclaim liberty to
And freedom to prisoners;
To proclaim the favorable
year of the Lord
And the day of vengeance
of our God;
To comfort all who mourn
. . ." (61:1-2).
This is the most
beautiful self-portrait of the Messiah. Jesus Christ
saw Himself as the fulfillment of these grand
passages in Isaiah. After reading aloud from the
scroll of Isaiah 61:1-2 that was handed Him in the
Synagogue at Nazareth, He rolled up the scroll and
began to say to them, "Today this Scripture has been
fulfilled in your hearing (Luke 4:21). He announced
that He was the one to fulfill this prophecy. It
"stands fulfilled." The "favorable year" means the
real year of Jubilee had arrived. The Messianic
prophecy of Isaiah was fulfilled that day. The age
Luke 3:22; 4:1, 18
affirms to us that "the Holy Spirit descended upon
Him in bodily form like a dove . . . and Jesus, full
of the Holy Spirit . . . was led about by the Spirit
in the wilderness . . . and Jesus returned to
Galilee in the power of the Spirit."
No one binds up the
wounds of broken hearts like Jesus. In Matthew
11:28-30 Jesus issues an invitation and the only
requirement is to be "weary and heavy-laden." He
binds up the broken hearted and brings relief to the
afflicted, suffering humanity. Jesus put the
compassion of His loving heart into action. Luke
4:40 tells us, "while the sun was setting, all who
had any sick with various diseases brought them to
Him; and laying His hands on everyone of them, He
was healing them" (cf. 7:13-15; 8:43-56; 13:11-15;
It is interesting that
Jesus ended His reading of this passage in Isaiah
with "to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord."
Isaiah, however, did not stop there. He continued,
"And the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all
who mourn" (61:2b, c).
Jesus ushered in the
Gospel of grace at His first coming. When He returns
it will be "the day of vengeance of our God." Jesus
foretold the coming of the day of vengeance upon the
nation of Israel and Jerusalem in Luke 21:22-24. The
Suffering Servant of Yahweh has been realized in the
Son of Man who will reign as sovereign King.
SOVEREIGN KING REIGNS
"Nowhere in the Old
Testament is a more glorious picture of the future
kingdom drawn" than in this passage. There will be a
new heaven and a new earth. Isaiah brings his grand
Gospel message to a climax when he sees the
sovereign LORD God reigning throughout eternity as
King of kings and Lord of lords. God reigns
throughout eternity and He is in charge of the
affairs of the nations. He makes a new everlasting
covenant with those who accept His sovereignty and
salvation. They live in a new city of incomparable
beauty and complete security, the New Jerusalem,
where the LORD God and the Lamb are the temple and
the Lamb is the light (cf. Revelation 21:22-27).
What God is going to do
is produce something for all intents and purposes
new. It is so radically new that it is the result of
God's creative activity. Only God can produce this
new heaven and new earth. This new work of creation
demands the sovereign creative power which brought
about the original creation. "For behold, I create a
new heaven and a new earth" (65:17-19). Isaiah's
picture of the Messianic age penetrates regions
beyond the spiritual horizon of any and all Old
Testament prophets. This radically new creation will
powerfully demonstrate the glory of God the Creator.
It will be so dramatic that the old heavens and
earth will not be remembered. All the ravages of sin
and depravity will be remembered no more. We cannot
imagine what is in store for all of creation (Romans
The present system of
universe will roll up like a scroll (Isaiah 34:4;
Matthew 24:29; 2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 6:12-14;
Isaiah 65:17; 66:22; Romans 9:19-21; Mark 13:25). He
makes all things new. In the New Jerusalem, in the
new heaven and new earth, the Lord God reigns!
From where Isaiah stood
time and eternity, the age of grace, the millennium
and the new heaven and new earth were not sharply
focused. He saw the grand eternal landscape. We need
the vision of John on Patmos to bring clearly into
focus his new heavens and new earth (Rev. 21:1). The
apostle John informs us that they follow the
Millennium (Revelation 20:4). Isaiah did not make a
distinction between the two, but saw them as one
long period of sovereign rule. Even the thousand
year reign of Christ will be only a second in time
when compared to the eternal ages to come.
Every time we lead
someone to put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ
as their substitute we are involved in something
that will still be worthwhile a million years from
now. One bright morning we will see people gathered
there "from every nation and all tribes and people
and tongues, standing before the throne and before
the Lamb, clothed in white robes." We'll join in
that heavenly multitude singing a new song:
"Worthy are You to take
the book and to break its seals; for You were slain,
and purchased for God with Your blood men from every
tribe and tongue and people and nation . . ."
Oh, come Lord Jesus,
Isaiah ends his scroll
with a striking contrast and reminder to every
generation. Our future depends upon what we do with
Jesus Christ today. For those who will humble
themselves and believe in Him as their suffering
Servant who died for their sins we will continue
eternally before Him in His presence (66:22-23).
However, for those who reject His offer of grace
today there is eternal rejection and suffering
One thing is certain,
"All mankind will come to bow down before Me," says
the LORD God (66:23). Before whom will they bow?
Philippians 2:9-11 says it is at the name of Jesus
that every knee will bow and "every tongue should
confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of
God the Father." There will be no exceptions when He
returns. The LORD God reigns!
When the famous composer
George Frederick Handel was sixty years old he was
going through extremely difficult circumstances in
his life. He was probably at his lowest financially,
physically and emotionally. He had been ruined by
jealous rivals in the music world and creditors were
threatening to jail him. He was partially paralyzed,
experiencing clinical depression and at the point of
One day he received a
letter and package from Charles Jennens. In it were
papers on which were scribbled passages of
Scripture. Handel mulled over those Scripture verses
and began to write. Day after day he wrote. He
walked about in his room, weeping, crying and
writing. With tears flowing down his cheeks he
cried, "Hallelujah!" Handel finally went to bed
exhausted and slept for seventeen hours. He had
completed the greatest song on the sovereignty of
God ever written––the Messiah.
In London in 1743 the
first audience that listened to Messiah was so
deeply moved by it that when the "Hallelujah Chorus"
was reached, the king of England and the people
stood to their feet. "The Lord God omnipotent
reigneth, and shall reign, King of kings and Lord of
lords, forever and ever. Hallelujah!" Yes, He reigns
forever and ever. Hallelujah!
Title: Isaiah 54-66
The LORD God Reigns!
Christ in the Old Testament