James Gray - Concise Bible Commentary
Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.Isaiah 58:1-66:24
MEETING OF THE AGES
We are drawing to the end of the present, and the opening of the Millennial age. The prophet’s eye rests on the time when Israel is back in her land, the majority still unconverted to Christ and worshiping in a restored temple. There is a faithful remnant waiting for Him, though enduring the persecution of the false christ. This persecution may often be felt at the hands of their own brethren after the flesh. These facts must be assumed in the interpretation of these chapters, though they will not appear strange to any who have studied the preceding books in this commentary.
Chapter 58 opens with a renewal of the prophetic commission, suggesting that at the time of the end there will be a special heralding of the Lord’s coming as there was at His first coming (Malachi 4:5-6). Indeed the whole chapter suggests the preaching of John the Baptist. Their complaint in Isaiah 58:3 is answered in the verses that follow (Isaiah 58:4-7). Their blessing depends on obedience (Isaiah 58:8-14).
Chapter 59 continues the thought, leading into a revelation of the divine purpose to interpose on their behalf in the person of the Redeemer. This interposition is for judgment (Isaiah 59:15-19), but to the penitent and believing it means forgiveness, sanctification and blessing forever (Isaiah 59:20-21).
Chapter 60 carries on the description of the blessing. It has actually come. The rest of the world may yet be in darkness, but not Israel (Isaiah 60:1-2). Moreover, the latter has become light for all the rest. Millennial blessing pervades the earth (Isaiah 60:3-11). Israel is the arbiter of the Gentile nations (Isaiah 60:12), and the latter are contributing to her greatness and benefit (Isaiah 60:14-16). Now the whole of Israel is converted and she has become great (Isaiah 60:21-22).
Chapter 61 shows the cause of the foregoing to be the work of the Messiah on Israel’s behalf (Isaiah 61:1-3). The first part of this prediction was fulfilled at the first coming of Christ (see Luke 4:16-20). The first part ended at the proclamation of “the acceptable year of the Lord” (Isaiah 61:3), but the second part begins “at the day of vengeance of our God.” This is the second coming. The rest of the chapter repeats what was said of the future blessings in the preceding one.
Chapter 62 carries on the thought of 61. Help will be found by reading the Revised Version side by side with the King James, and especially by observing the marginal readings.
Chapter 63 begins with the picture of judgment. The day of vengeance is ushered in by the coming of the Avenger, Christ, on behalf of His people against the oppressing Gentiles (Isaiah 63:1-6). The remainder of the chapter is identified with the following one, the two composing the intercessory prayer of penitent Israel in that day. Read and compare it with Nehemiah’s prayer in Nehemiah 1 and with that of Daniel 9. It also suggests many of the psalms. The closing two chapters are the answer to this prayer, and require no comment in the light of the principles of interpretation illustrated before.
1. What period is in view here?
2. Whose later work is suggested in chapter 58?
3. How does chapter 60 show that the blessing on Israel is to precede that of the rest of the earth?
4. Have you read Luke 4:16-20?
5. What time period is represented by the comma after the word “Lord,” in Isaiah 61:2?
6. Are you careful to note the marginal renderings in your Bible?
7. How would you designate the last part of chapter 63 and chapter 64?