Isa 64.1-12 is a continuation of the theme of Isa 63 and Isaiah pleads with Yehovah to intercede against the nations, but he also knows everyone is unclean and sinful. He wants the Lord to show his power like in the days of old. He believes that God’s name will receive glory through the redemption of Israel, but he will also receive glory because of his judgment against Israel’s enemies. In context, this chapter alludes to the second coming of Yeshua in the Messianic redemption so it will contain Yom Kippur terms and concepts.
v 1…O that thou wouldst rend the heavens (there was an outer veil of the Temple that had a panorama of the heavens on it and it was called “The Heavens.” Josephus describes it in Antiquities of the Jews, Book 9, Chapter 10.4. It was the veil that was seen in the courts and the one that was torn in the time of Yeshua in Matt 27.51 and Mark 15.38. The “heavens” were opened at the beginning of his ministry in Mark 1.10 and also at the end of his ministry when he died. It may happen again when Yeshua returns on Yom Kippur. The veil was also torn at the time of Uzziah. The “opening of the heavens” is an idiom meaning that a deeper revelation of Yehovah is coming) and come down (on our enemies), that the mountains might quake at thy presence (Exo 19.18; Deut 33.2).
v 2…As fire kindles the brushwood and fire causes water to boil (an automatic thing)- to make they name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence (it is also automatic for the nations to fear Yehovah when he moves, like with Moses)!
v 3…When thou didst awesome things which we did not expect (at Sinai; the Red Sea; the wilderness, etc), thou didst come down (and rend the heavens), the mountains quaked at thy presence (visibly-Deut 10.21).
v 4…For from old they have not heard nor perceived by ear, neither has the eye seen a God besides thee, who acts in behalf of the one who waits on him (God still does awesome things from generation to generation0Exo 34.10; 1 Cor 2.9).
v 5…Thou dost meet him who rejoices in doing righteousness (as defined in the covenant and Torah), who remembers thee in thy ways (his will). Behold (see for yourself), thou wast angry, for we sinned; we continued in them a long time; and shall we be saved (our hearts were hardened and deliverance seems impossible now)?
v 6…For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds (the good things we do in the flesh) are like a filthy garment ( or menstrual cloth; in entering a covenant garments are exchanged. We need a redeemer with clean garments. Death is associated with menstrual blood and that physical process alludes to man’s expulsion from the womb of creation in Eden); and all of us wither like the leaf (heaped up for destruction), and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away (to death).
v 7…And there is no one who calls on thy name (because we are sinners), who arouses himself to take hold of thee (by faith); for thou hast hidden thy face from us (apart from the power of the Rucah Ha Kodesh; the potter controls the clay), and hast delivered us into the power of our iniquities (into exile).
v 8…But now (things must change), O Lord, thou art our father (even after all we have done-the whole nation can participate in the coming deliverance, like in Egypt in the First redemption), we are the clay, and thou our potter (Rom 9.20- he is not just the sculptor, but a father); all of us are the work of thy hand (he has guided the history of Israel in every detail).
v 9…Do not be angry beyond measure, O Lord (the weight becomes unbearable), neither remember iniquity forever (inflict punishment); behold (take note of), look now, all of us are thy people.
v 10…Thy holy cities (Canaan as a whole had a kedusha-Psa 78.54) have become a wilderness, Zion has become a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation (the same fate as the rest of the land).
v 11…Our holy and beautiful house (the Temple had a kedusha) where our fathers praised thee, has been burned with fire (this was a prophecy because it had not been burned yet, it was done in the time of Zedekiah and Nebuchadnezzar; but this will apply when Yeshua comes). and all our precious things have become a ruin.
v 12…Wilt thou restrain thyself at thee things, O Lord (hold back from delivering us)? Wilt thou keep silent and afflict us beyond measure (continue to the limit)?