Rebuke for the Wicked and Promises for the Faithful

56:9 to 58:14

    It is customary for Isaiah, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, to go back and forth between near historical and far eschatological prophecies. The way you can distinguish between the two is content and context. In this section we see the condemnation of the Jewish religious leaders, the disappearance of the righteous, and idolatry being practiced. None of those things take place during the messianic Kingdom. Therefore, the condemnation pictured here is that of the Jewish leadership of Jeremiah’s day, about one hundred years later. That makes it a near historical prophecy. It is not unusual for Isaiah to alternate between far eschatological and near historical prophecies. Here Isaiah uses a far – near – far motif. Once again, context and content drive our interpretation, not ideology.

    A far eschatological prophecy pointing to Israel’s national regeneration (54:1-17) and the offer of salvation to the Gentile nations during the Messianic Kingdom (55:1 to 56:8).

  In this near historical prophecy, Isaiah rebukes the unrighteous Jews one hundred years later during the ministry of Jeremiah (56:9 to 57:13); promises to forgive them if they will repent (57:14-21); then reminds them that there is a true way to fast (58:1-14).

  A far eschatological prophecy of the end of the Great Tribulation, the Second Coming and the Messianic Kingdom (59:1-21 to 60:1-22).


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