According to What They Had Done,

He Will Repay Wrath to His Enemies

59: 15b-21

   DIG: How do you reconcile the picture of God as a warrior in 59:15b-19 with that of Redeemer in 59:20? What will be the effects of the LORD's action on those who have opposed Him? On those who repent? On the nations of the world? What is the covenant Isaiah speaks of in 59:21? What is required of the people?

   REFLECT: How do you feel about Jesus’ role as the Redeemer and the judge in Isaiah’s prophecy (see John 3:16-21 and Romans 11:22-27)? What determines which way he will relate to you? The apostle Paul exhorts believers to wear the armor that God wears. How might this help you to face evil and injustice?

    When Isra'el confesses her sins at the end of the Great Tribulation, God intervenes. The reason for God’s intervention is His displeasure, which is then described. The LORD looked and was displeased that there was no justice for His people (59:15b). ADONAI is neither blind nor insensitive to their plight. His destiny and hers are inseparable. He has promises to keep. He saw that there was no one, He was appalled that there was no one to intervene on her behalf (59:16a). Isaiah was not saying that the LORD did not want to get involved, but that Israel was totally incapable of helping herself. Only ADONAI could help her. This is true of salvation in any era. People are not capable of saving themselves. God alone can forgive sin.

    These words are going to be elaborated on by Isaiah in 63:1-6 (see Kg – The Second Coming of Jesus Christ at Bozrah). Here ADONAI looks over the condition of the Remnant that is confessing their sins, and sees that there is no one else to rescue them because having turned away from evil, they have become a prey themselves. So God’s own arm will bring salvation and righteousness (59:16b). Who is God’s arm? The Messiah, the Servant of ADONAI, Jesus Christ. Here, and in 59:19, is the seventh of nine references to the arm of the LORD (30:30 and 32, 40:10, 50:2, 51:5 and 9, 52:10, 53:1, 62:8, 63:5).

    He put on righteousness as His breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head; He put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak (59:17). This pictures Jesus getting ready to intervene. Paul would later take this verse and use it when describing the full armor of God. Because many people are more familiar with the New Covenant than the Old Covenant they believe that Paul was describing a Roman soldier. But Isaiah had written this long before there were any Roman soldiers. The full armor of God in Ephesians 6 is either direct quotes or paraphrases from the Old Covenant. His point is that we should resist Satan as Christ did in the wilderness, with Scripture (Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13 and Luke 4:1-13). It is the knowledge of Scripture that is the full armor of God, and the means of resisting Satan. Thus, Isaiah says that Messiah will put on the breastplate of righteousness and the helmet of salvation as He prepares for war.

    In the course of this campaign (see Kh – The Eight Stage Campaign of Armageddon), Yeshua Messiah will punish the wicked. According to what they have done, so He will repay wrath to His enemies and retribution to His foes; He will repay the islands their due (59:18). The word repay is from the verb salam (the same root as shalom or peace) with the sense of settling an account. It is hard not to escape the irony in the choice of words here. ADONAI will give shalom, peace, to those who love Him (57:19), but He will settle all accounts with those who oppose Him. It will not matter if they are close at hand or in the islands (at the far reaches of the earth). All the damage that sin, the LORD’s enemy, has done to creation since the Garden of Eden (see my commentary on Genesis Ba – The Woman Saw the Fruit of the Tree and Ate It), will be repaid in full. The Hebrew for what they have done, gemulot, and gemul, meaning retribution, are from the same root, gml, or to give retribution.

    From the west, men will fear the name of ADONAI, and from the rising of the sun, they will revere His Shechinah glory. For He will come like a pent-up flood that the breath of the LORD drives along (59:19). All these words have references surrounding the Second Coming of Christ and will be repeated with more detail in 63:1-6. In the previous verse God comes as a warrior, as a soldier, and in these two verses He inflicts wrath to His enemies and retribution to His foes. He will destroy the invading army of the antichrist that will come like a pent-up flood. Whenever the word flood is used symbolically it is always a symbol of a military invasion. While it is true that the Bible uses many symbols, it uses them consistently. For example, whenever the word stone is used symbolically, it is a symbol of God the Son. Whenever the word mountain is used symbolically, it is a symbol of a king, kingdom, or throne. Whenever the word star is used symbolically, it is always the symbol of an angel. Therefore, whenever the word flood is used symbolically, it is always a symbol of a military invasion. This invasion will lead to Isra'el’s national regeneration.

    But Isra'el’s regeneration is preceded by her national confession (see my commentary on Revelation Ev – The Basis for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ). We have seen this movement in the last couple of chapters. In Chapters 58 and 59 we see Isra'el’s sinfulness, then Isra'el’s national confession, which brings about God’s preparation for war. Finally, when the invading army of the antichrist reaches its final solution against the Jews, the Holy Spirit, will lift up a standard against him by Isra'el’s national regeneration. A standard was a sign that identified a group of tribes of Isra'el (Numbers 1:52). What will be the Holy Spirit’s sign of the antichrist’s defeat in this final battle? The sign will be Isra'el, but not her death, as he desired, but her national regeneration. Like the Haman being impaled on a pole instead of Mordecai (see my commentary on Esther Bf - So They Impaled Haman on the Pole He Had Set Up for Mordecai), the antichrist will die instead of Isra'el. What a blessed turn of events!

    And when Isra'el’s national regeneration comes, then, and only then, comes the Redeemer. He will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins, declares the LORD (59:20). This pictures the Second Coming. The Redeemer is the warrior back in 59:16-17. He will come to Zion and fulfill His New Covenant with the nation of Isra'el that He spoke of in Jeremiah 31:31-34.

    As for Me, this is My New Covenant with them, says the LORD (59:21a). This New Covenant will be marked by the activity of the Ruach HaKodesh. Both Joel 2:28 and Zechariah 12:10 emphasize a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all the Jews still living at the end of the Great Tribulation (Zechariah 13:8). Why? Because all Isra'el will be saved (Romans 11:26).

    ADONAI continued to speak through His prophet, saying: My Spirit, who is on you, and My words that I have put in your mouth will not depart from your mouth, or from the mouths of your children, or from the mouths of their descendants from this time on and forever (59:21b). Jeremiah emphasized this when he wrote no longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, “Know the LORD,” because they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest (Jeremiah 31:34). So while there will be Gentile unbelievers in the messianic Kingdom, there will not be any Jewish unbelievers in the Kingdom. We are going to see the same connection between Isra'el’s national confession of her sin, her national regeneration, the Second Coming, and the destruction of the invading army in Chapters 58 and 59 continuing in Chapters 62, 63 and 64.


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