We are briefly going through the Servant Passages found in Isa 40 through 66. We are picking up our study in Isa 55.1-2 where we have several idioms. We have a call to “everyone who thirsts” and this refers to those who are thirsty for spiritual things (John 4.13-14, 6.53-58, 7.37). They should come “to the waters” of Torah and true teaching. The call is to those who “have no money” or are spiritually poor or bankrupt and buy wine (teaching-Song 8.2) and milk (the Word-1 Pet 2.2). The question is asked “Why do you spend money for what is not bread” (false doctrine) and they are encouraged to “eat what is good” which is the Torah/Word of God (Matt 4.4; John 4.32, 6 56; Luke 10.40).
Isa 55.3 says that they are to listen “that you may live” and this comes from Deut 30.6 and is a term for being “born again.” The Lord will make an “everlasting covenant” which is the same as the covenant of peace we have referred to earlier (Isa 54.10; Ezek 37.26; Jer 31.31). David is referred to here for receiving mercy from the Lord, and we are assured of that same mercy. There is concept that we want to bring out here. When the Lord is referring to the Messiah, he will often say “my servant David” (1 Chr 11.1-2; Ezek 34.24, 37.24, 44.3, 45.22). This can be found in the book “Judaism in the First Century of the Christian Era” by George Foote Moore. That is an important distinction we must remember when reading the Scriptures. Isa 55.4-13 we learn that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, and his ways are not our ways. It goes on to say the curse is going to be reversed and the word of the Lord will accomplish what he said it was going to do. The people will “go out with joy and be led forth with peace.” They will be coming from every place they have been scattered to. All of this is opposite of the curse because the Messiah has come. These verses have a direct relationship with the Psalms of Ascent (Psa 120-134).
When the people would go to the festivals in Jerusalem, they would meet at a central town in their region and go up together. They would sing the Psalms of Ascent and by doing this, they were rehearsing the time when Messiah has come and the exiles were being brought back into the land. Psa 113 through 118 are called the “Hallel” (Praise) and they are only recited in their entirety at Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot. These three festivals are called the “Shelosh Regalim” or the three pilgrim festivals. It comes from the Hebrew “shelosh” meaning “three” and “regal” meaning “to walk” or “leg.”
Psa 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible. It is 176 verses long, divided into 22 sections corresponding to the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Each section has 8 verses. The first 8 verses begin with the first Hebrew letter aleph, the second set of 8 begins the second letter Beit, the third with the third letter Gimel and so on down. The interesting thing about this is that every single one of the 176 verses mentions the Torah and the subject is the commandments. People have spelled their need in Hebrew and then they prayed the appropriate verses because this psalm has all 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet, from Aleph to Tav. This term is also a term for the Messiah (Rev 22.13).
Psalm 136 is called the “Great Hallel” which is sung at Passover. It was also sung in the Temple and it contains 26 acts of Divine kindness and sustenance for the world. Psa 122.1 was sung as they for Jerusalem. Psa 84 was sung as they went, among other psalms. When Jerusalem came into view they sung Psa 125.2. When they were at the gates of Jerusalem they sung Psa 122.2 plus Psalm 24 (this was quoted in 1967 Six Day War as they entered the Temple Mount). When in the courts of the Temple, they sang Psalm 150.
Psalm 122.3 says that Jerusalem is built as a city that is “compact together” and this means “united.” There is a concept that says the Heavenly Jerusalem “unites” with the Earthly Jerusalem at Sukkot and this concept is seen in Rev 21.1-2; Isa 61.10 through 62.12; Psalm 132.7. The “New Jerusalem” is an idiom for the “Olam Haba” or the “World to Come.” When Isa 55 is read, you can experience these concepts and Psalms. Isa 55.12 says that “all the trees of the field will clap their hands” and this alludes to Psa 92.12 where it says, “The righteous man will flourish like a palm tree, he will grow like a cedar of Lebanon.” The “trees” are a metaphor for people (Isa 65.22; Deut 10.29; Jer 17.8) and they will flourish, unlike the grass (wicked) of v 7. Psa 92 is a psalm that is read on the Sabbath and is a picture of the Messianic Kingdom, the “day of the Lord.”
Psa 47 and 2 Kings 11 speak of “clapping the hands” as a part of the acclamation of a new Jewish King. The coronation of a king had five stages. They are the investiture, the anointing, acclamation, enthronement and homage. The resurrected righteous will be clapping their hands at the coronation of the Messiah.
Isa 56.1 says, “For my salvation is about to come” and it is the word “yeshua” in Hebrew. Isa 62.11 the concept of salvation is personified. Isaiah actually gives the name of the Messiah and he is coming with rewards, and this can also be seen in Isa 40.10 and Rev 22.12. Isa 56.2-5 mentions the “foreigner” and this is the word “nekar” or a non-Jew (Deut 16.9; Exo 20.8; Isa 66.23; Acts 10; Lev 16.29; Num 15.14-15). It then goes on to say that this non-Jew has “joined himself to the Lord” as a part of the mixed multitude. Remember, we have discussed this before. When Israel came out of Egypt in the First Redemption, they were in three groups: Israel, Judah and the mixed multitude of non-Jews who believe. In the Second Redemption, it will be the same way (Isa 11.11-12). The non-Jew here is part of the mixed multitude, and the Commonwealth of Israel (Eph 2.12; Rom 11.17). Then in goes on to say “eunuch” and this word refers to a court officer or a eunuch in the physical sense. This eunuch should not say “I am a dry tree” or one who is unrighteous before God (Ezek 20.47, 17.24). A “green tree” is one who has the righteousness of God (Luke 23.28-31). This eunuch chooses “what pleases me” and this means he observes the Sabbath, and this pleases the Lord. They will have a memorial “in my house” (the Temple/Olam Haba) better than that of sons and daughters (Jews).
Isa 56.6-8 goes on to say that the non-Jews who have joined themselves to the Lord will come to his “holy mountain” which is where the Temple is, and it is called the “house of my prayer.” They will bring their Korban Olah and other korbanot, and the Lord will accept them. The Lord goes on to say, “For my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations (non-Jews who believe).” Sukkot is an example of this when they offered 70 bulls over the 7 days. These bulls would diminish in number over these days, alluding to the fact that the nations will be decreasing during the kingdom. The number 70 alludes to the nations (Exo 1.5; Deut 32.8). The Lord will also gather the dispersed of Israel and “yet others” (the non-Jews) will also be gathered (John 7.35, 10.16).
Isa 56.9-12 refers to the “beasts of the field” and the “beast of the forest” and this refers to those hostile to Israel in a Hebrew parallelism. It says “his watchmen are blind” and this refers to the false prophets and shepherds who are short-sighted. Not good if you are supposed to be watching over the sheep to protect them from beasts. They are “dumb dogs unable to speak” so they are useless to help warn of danger. They are greedy with no understanding and have turned to their own way. This sounds like most religious leaders and congregations today). They are drunk and in a spiritual stupor (stupid).
In Part 35, we will pick up in Isa 57.1-2 and these two verses are going to take some time to develop. We will be looking into what is called “Chiastic Structure” and poetry, and we will give examples from the Scriptures on this type of poetry. For instance, the Psalms are divided into 5 books that correspond to the 5 books of Torah. In a chiastic structure, the theme will always be found in the middle. A chiastic structure is like A,B,C,B,A, and “C” is the theme. You will also see it as A,B,C,D,E. The book of Isaiah is a chiastic structure, and the Servant Passages from Isa 40 through 66 will be in a chiastic structure. The book of Revelation is in a chiastic structure. So, we will have a lot of information to go over as we develop Isa 57.1-2 and we will pick up there next time.