Isaiah 35

 

 

vs. 1-10 - THE GLORY OF THE LAST TIMES AND THE MESSIANIC AGE

                  

On the punishment of God’s enemies will follow the peace, prosperity, and glory

of His Church. Previously, the Church is in affliction, waste, and desolate. Its

enemies once removed, destroyed, swept out of the way, it rises instantly

in all its beauty to a condition which words are poor to paint. The highest

resources of the poetic art are called in to give some idea of the glory and

happiness of the final Church of the redeemed.

 

v. 1 – “the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose”

 

v. 2  - "they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the

            excellency of our God"

 

The culminating joy and delight and blessedness of the Church shall be the

vision of God - either the spiritual perception of His presence (Matthew 5:8;

Romans 1:20) or the actual beatific vision (1 Corinthians 13:12; Revelation

21:11, 23; 22:4)

 

v. 3 – “Strengthen ye the weak hands…confirm the feeble knees” - In the

Church of the redeemed there will be “weak” brethren as well as strong, “feeble”

as well as healthful (1 Corinthians 3:1; Galatians 6:1; Hebrews 5:12- 14). So Paul:

 We that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to

please ourselves” (Romans 15:1).

 

v. 4 – “Say to them that are of a fearful heart….your God…..will come and

save you-  rather, He will come Himself to save you - There is One alone who

can save, and He must do it Himself, and, to do it, He must “come” to us. The words

were at once an announcement of the Incarnation, and a promise to every

trembling, doubting heart — a promise of direct Divine assistance, of the presence

of God within us, (Immanuel) of help potent to save. The predominant thought of

the prophet appears to have been Messianic, and hence the burst of glorious

prophecy which follows — a burst of prophecy most inadequately

expounded of the time of the return from the Captivity.

 

vs. 5-6 –“Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened” - In the literal

sense, our Lord claims these prophecies to Himself and His earthly career,

when He says to the disciples of John the Baptist, “Go and show John those

things which ye do hear and see, the blind receive their sight, and the lame

walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear” (Matthew 11:4, 5); but

they have doubtless a further spiritual sense, in which they belong to the

whole period of his mediatorial kingdom, and are correlative to former

utterances of the prophet, in which the blinded eyes and deaf ears and

stammering tongues of God’s people had been spoken of and made the

subject of complaint (Isaiah 6:10; 29:10, etc.). Our Lord’s miracles

of bodily healing, performed during the three years of His earthly ministry,

were types and foreshadowings of those far more precious miracles of

spiritual healing, which the Great Physician is ever performing on the sick

and infirm of His Church, by opening the eyes of their understandings, and

unstopping the deaf ears of their hearts, and loosening the strings of their

tongues to hymn His praise, and stirring their paralyzed spiritual natures to

active exertions in his service. Doubtless Isaiah, or the Spirit which guided

him, intended to point to both these classes of miracles, and not to one of

them only, as characteristic of the Messiah’s kingdom.

 

vs. 6-7 - For in the wilderness shall waters break out and streams in

the desert” - The wilderness of humanity shall be renovated by a large

effluence of God’s grace (Isaiah 30:25; 32:2; 41:18; 43:19; John 7:37, 38).

The parched ground shall become, etc.; rather, the glistening

sand. That hot glow of the parched desert soil, which produces the mirage,

shall be replaced by a real lake of cool water. Illusive imitations of

goodness shall give way to the display of genuine virtues and excellences.

 

er. 8. And an highway shall be there, and a way (Isaiah 30:21).

There shall be a clear “way” marked out in which all shall be bound

to walk — a “strait and narrow way” doubtless (Matthew 7:14), but

one not readily missed. “The way shall be called The way of holiness” - It

shall be that path through the dangers and difficulties of life which holiness

points out and requires. The unclean shall not pass over it. It is that right course

of life, which “the unclean” do not follow, though they might do so if they chose,

but which the righteous follow to their great gain and advantage -but it

shall be for those” -  rather, as in the margin, but He shall be with them; God,

i.e. shall be with those who seek to walk in the way, and not to err from it.

He shall direct them, support them, sustain their footsteps – “the wayfaring

men” -  rather, they that walk in the way — that make up their minds to try to

walk in it. Though fools; i.e. however simple and unlearned they may be —

shall not err therein” - shall not wander from the way through mere simplicity.

It shall be easy to find, difficult to miss.

 

v. 9 – “No lion shall be there” - No great tyrannical power, like Assyria

(Nahum 2:11, 12) or Babylon, shall arrest the energies of the Church,

take it captive, or enslave it – “no “ravenous beast”shall make it his prey. In

proportion as the Church is holy (v. 8) it shall be free from the

molestation of bloody persecutors (Isaiah 11:9) – “the redeemed shall walk

there” - those whom God has purchased for his own (Exodus 6:6; Hosea13:14)

- shall be free to walk there, untroubled by cruel enemies. There is

an under-current of comparison between the blessedness of the last times

and the existing troubles of Israel, still threatened by Sennacherib.

 

v. 10 – “The ransomed of the Lord shall return” - The blessedness of

the last times would be incomplete to Jewish ideas without this crowning

feature. There had already been a great dispersion of the faithful (Isaiah

1:7-9); there was to be a still greater one (Isaiah 11:11); Israel could

not be content or happy until her “outcasts” were recalled, “the dispersed

of Judah gathered together from the four corners of the earth” (Isaiah 11:12).

The return here prophesied is again announced, in almost the same

words, in Isaiah 51:11 –“with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads” –

anointed, as it were, with “the oil of gladness” (Psalm 45:7) forever and ever.

sorrow and sighing shall flee away” - (Isaiah 25:8; Revelation 7:17; 21:4).

 

 

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                                                ADDITIONAL NOTES

 

The glory of the Church not temporal greatness, but spiritual perfection.

Amid the wealth of metaphor which Isaiah employs to depict the final

prosperity, glory, and happiness of the Church, it is remarkable how little

use is made of any images drawn from the conditions or circumstances of

earthly grandeur.

 

 

Characteristic features of that day and age:

 

  • power of working miracles – physical or spiritual or both – vs. 5-6

 

  • a gift of spiritual insight – the ability to penetrate the great realities

      that are behind material things – the ability to see the glory and

      excellency of the Most High

 

  • the ability to walk in the way of holiness

 

  • to realize, by continual meditation and study of God’s works, the

      goodness and greatness, the “glory and excellency” of the Lord,

      our God