A Picture of the Messiah in Isaiah

Guest Article by Rudy Ross.

This week Rudy Ross and I are finishing a discussion of Deuteronomy on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel. Today’s message involves behavior that will bring a curse upon people.

Rudy and I are preparing a new study in the Gospel of Luke that will also involve a different approach to the study in the videos and blog articles. We pray that God uses them to draw you into a deepr relationship with himself.

This article begins by considering the 26th chapter of Isaiah. As you read the chapter, you will find some of God’s gems of information and understanding. Following the chapter, Rudy provides some analysis and application.

Isaiah 26

1 On that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:
We have a strong city;
he sets up victory
like walls and bulwarks.
2 Open the gates,
so that the righteous nation that keeps faith
may enter in.

3 Those of steadfast mind you keep in peace—
in peace because they trust in you.

4 Trust in the Lord forever,
for in the Lord God
you have an everlasting rock.

5 For he has brought low
the inhabitants of the height;
the lofty city he lays low.
He lays it low to the ground,
casts it to the dust.
6 The foot tramples it,
the feet of the poor,
the steps of the needy.

7 The way of the righteous is level;
O Just One, you make smooth the path of the righteous.
8 In the path of your judgments,
O Lord, we wait for you;
your name and your renown
are the soul’s desire.

9 My soul yearns for you in the night,
my spirit within me earnestly seeks you.
For when your judgments are in the earth,
the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.

10 If favor is shown to the wicked,
they do not learn righteousness;
in the land of uprightness they deal perversely
and do not see the majesty of the Lord.

11 O Lord, your hand is lifted up,
but they do not see it.
Let them see your zeal for your people, and be ashamed.
Let the fire for your adversaries consume them.

12 O Lord, you will ordain peace for us,
for indeed, all that we have done, you have done for us.

13 O Lord our God,
other lords besides you have ruled over us,
but we acknowledge your name alone.

14 The dead do not live;
shades do not rise—
because you have punished and destroyed them,
and wiped out all memory of them.

15 But you have increased the nation, O Lord,
you have increased the nation; you are glorified;
you have enlarged all the borders of the land.

16 O Lord, in distress they sought you,
they poured out a prayer
when your chastening was on them.
17 Like a woman with child,
who writhes and cries out in her pangs
when she is near her time,
so were we because of you, O Lord;
18 we were with child, we writhed,
but we gave birth only to wind.
We have won no victories on earth,
and no one is born to inhabit the world.

19 Your dead shall live, their corpses shall rise.
O dwellers in the dust, awake and sing for joy!
For your dew is a radiant dew,
and the earth will give birth to those long dead.

20 Come, my people, enter your chambers,
and shut your doors behind you;
hide yourselves for a little while
until the wrath is past.

21 For the Lord comes out from his place
to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity;
the earth will disclose the blood shed on it,
and will no longer cover its slain.

Analysis of Isaiah 26

The chapter above contains a series of stunning images familiar to those who believe Jesus is the Messiah.

Consider for a moment the readers without that frame of reference and how that knowledge would change the way they imagine the message.

What’s evident is the people of God are brought back to life, and His instrument of doing that is Light.

Light’s prominent place described as the dew of light connects us to Jesus’ title Light of the World, and with that, its meaning connects us and everyone who ever read this to the end of this age and life after death. If this prophecy (and all prophecy) is only seen and heard how the first hearers heard it without Jesus’ Resurrection, we miss part of the meaning.

What’s helpful is using Jesus’ life as a lens to look backward and forward in time.

Isaiah 26 is a window into an important future event. Isaiah’s job was to write what he saw.

Our task in seeking to understand is to ask the LORD to let us see what Isaiah saw. That may not be the way you read prophecy, but in my experience, He honors that.

Remember, we miss things right in front of us all the time. The center portion of a vision is critical, but so are the edges; in addition to that, we must also restrain our preconceived notions.

That perspective is essential in reading the 26th chapter because it needs the 25th and 27th to hold its context. That said, Chapters 25-27 are a part of a larger message that includes chapters 22-31.

What Isaiah saw within that vision is identical to components found in Revelation. The Master’s plan has never changed; therefore, we shouldn’t be surprised that the ones picked to see the future are seeing the same events.

As we focus on their commonalities the appearance of Light becomes an important detail, because that kind of Light only comes from God’s presence. The use of Light by God is His metaphorical choice; after all, by saying Let there be Light, He showed Moses how the universe was started.

Even though the crescendo of the 26th chapter is Light, it also contains eight more of the twelve themes. Again, when this kind of convergence of themes occurs, there’s no doubt it is significant.

The themes in their order of appearance are:

— Separation of Heaven and Earth,

— Promises/Covenants,

— Reconciliation/Atonement,

— The King and the Kingdom with The Messiah,

— Firstfruits/First Born,

— Election, Miracles that suspend time,

— Blood,

— Light, the focus of this entire section, which is the Resurrection.

The Song and a Picture

Isaiah 26 says: “In that day, this song will be sung in the land of Judah.” Let’s think about this as a song and allow the lyrics and our imagination to form a picture.

The first verses are about a Strong City with walls and bulwarks. Without a doubt, physical barriers and battlements are in this picture, but there’s something else protecting this place, and it’s called Salvation.

We are told that salvation has been set up in addition to the walls, and it provides an extra layer of protection. Being called salvation should surprise us because Jesus’ name means “to save” in Hebrew.

Moses is told that the LORD will select a city in the promised land after He puts all their enemies to rest. Understanding the importance of the earthly Jerusalem helps us to see how it echoes New Jerusalem, Heaven.

That distinction dramatically strengthens our faith and changes the conversations with naysayers and replacement theologians because the people in the city are peoples of the world, including Jewish people. If that is what the prophecy is showing us, we (Christians) and they (The Jews) have a role to play near the end that we have not considered.

The city known as Jerusalem is the only place where sacrificing can be done. It is the place that David eventually ruled from, and Jesus was crucified. For these reasons, we can glean from Isaiah 26 that The King is protecting His Kingdom with the extra wall.

The biblical reference to Jerusalem being the city of God’s choosing is Deuteronomy 12. That passage states: He will designate a place in the land to put His name. We now know that place is Jerusalem.

If only one citation is found, what you think a passage is saying is probably not what it is saying. The designated location (Jerusalem) is discussed many times within The Five Books of Moses. That is a definition of the biblical principle about the death penalty requirement: Two Witnesses.

Salvation

The future city has Salvation as its wall, and the gates are open for the righteous nations to enter. One of the benefits of residing in that city is the inhabitants’ experience Peace, which parallels the Sabbath Rest’s promise.

Interestingly, this is the opposite of how the crusades played out. In Isaiah 26, God’s people were inside the city, and He was protecting them. The crusaders were taking God’s role in trying to save Jerusalem.

That is a way for Christianity to see we don’t have all the answers. It also makes an opportunity to understand when an idea comes from a wrong base, its outcome has unintended consequences.

Isaiah tells us the inhabitants of a lofty city (another city) have been humbled and cast into the dust. The feet of the poor and needy have trampled down the inhabitants of that other (lofty) city. We also see the people from that other city trampled by the LORD, which turns their confessions upside down about the LORD’s way. His way doesn’t have stumbling blocks.

We are told that the poor are inside the walls worshiping the LORD while waiting for Him to act.

They are singing: “Our hearts yearn for Him at night. Your name and remembrance is the desire of our souls.”

They also acknowledge His judgments teach the world what righteousness is supposed to look like. Other victories in the Bible are part of this chapter’s most significant echo, which describes our enemy’s final defeat. That’s even more evident as the LORD helps us to read between the lines.

Proverbs 8, written 250 years before Isaiah 26, teaches righteousness and judgment are part of our inheritance, including prudence.

Holding that thought, let’s revisit the opposing city’s (lofty) condition. Its loftiness is an attitude (pride), not a matter of altitude. We must come to grips with this: if we declare Jesus’ Lordship pridefully, we miss the point.

The different languages of the world came into being at the Tower of Babel 5000 years ago. Over time, words and phrases have shifted in what they mean. The twelve themes are a tool that helps that not happen as much. That shifting changes how we think about the past and our perception of the future. Returning words to their original context has a dramatic effect on how we interpret what we read.

Isaiah 26 illustrates this perfectly. As we return to Isaiah’s vision, we find two groups of people, one praising the LORD and the other not.

If favor is shown to the wicked,
they do not learn righteousness;
in the land of uprightness they deal perversely
and do not see the majesty of the Lord.

O Lord, your hand is lifted up,
but they do not see it.
(Isaiah 26.10-11a)

The condition of the lofty city is the blindness of the people to the sovereignty of the LORD.

The reverse is true about the people inside the walled city; they have realized that they are poor and needy, and the LORD uses them as examples for those who don’t believe so that they would change their minds. Remember, Jesus wishes that no one would be lost.

The need to be humble and contrite is foundational to following the King. We’ve learned from experience we can’t do anything useful without His help. In this sense, we are not in a fake kind of submission; it’s real. He knows what’s best. If we can recognize this dichotomy in ourselves and then respond appropriately, we will know His will.

Isaiah articulates his spiritual work-around (humility) with a verse that is easy to miss its meaning. He says; O LORD, you will ordain peace for us; you have done for us all our works. (Isa. 26:12) James adds his voice to this principle in his first chapter.

“Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

“Of his own will, he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures” (James 1:16-18).

(For the sake of reading time, we will cut off Rudy’s thoughts at this point. Please spend some time prayerfully reading Isaiah 26 in the light of today’s article and tomorrow’s thoughts.)

Prayer Requests

Please email your prayer request to bsprad49@gmail.com or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.

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