Continuing with our study of the Redemption, we left off in Isa 57.1-2 in the Servant Passages. The verse says, “The righteous man perishes and no man takes it to heart; and the devout men are taken away while no one understands. For the righteous man is taken away from evil. He enters into peace (“shalom” an idiom for the Messianic Kingdom and the Messiah); they rest in their beds, each one who walked in his upright way (The Torah). Now these verses are going to take us awhile to go over.
The Chiastic form of poetry is a form of poetry that looks like this: line A,B,C,D,E. Line A will be repeated in line E, Line B will be repeated in Line D, so the theme is Line C. So, it will look like A,B,C,B,A. The Psalms are structured in a Chiastic form alluding to the Torah. Psalm 1-41 is called Book 1, corresponding to Bereshit. Psalm 42-72 is called Book 2, corresponding to Shemot. Psalm 73-89 is Book 3, corresponding to Vayikra. Psalm 90-106 is Book 4, corresponding to B’Midbar and Psalm 107-150 is Book 5, corresponding to Devarim. They have the same names as the Torah.
In a chiastic structure, the main theme will always be in the middle. So, the main theme of the Torah is Vayikra, where the concept of Kedusha is being taught. The book of Isaiah is in a chiastic structure. The Servant Passages from Isa 40 through 66 are in a chiastic structure, even the book of Revelation is in a chiastic structure. The message of the Prophets, for example, did not always come in chronological order, so it can be confusing of you are not aware of the chiastic form of poetry. In a chiastic structure, if you can find the theme you can lay things out in order.
How does this relate to Isa 57.1-2? From Isa 26.1 to Isa 27.13 we have the theme for the book of Isaiah. It is like a road map. It will take you to different roads (messages) in the book, but it will always bring you back to a chronology of events. Rev 14 is in chronological order, taking us from the beginning of the Birth-pains to the coming of the Messiah at the end of the Birth-pains. Isa 26 and 27 is the same way. It will take us from the beginning of the Birth-pains until Messiah comes seven years later. So, let’s go to Isa 26 and we are going to do a practice in how to “Remez.” Go back to Isa 57.1-2 again, and also keep open Isa 26.1-2 so you can see them side by side.
First of all, what is Remez? Remez is part of the Four Levels of Biblical Interpretation. What is the word that is used to describe the Jewish method of exegesis? It is called “Middot” which means “measurements.” That is the term we should use when we want to learn how to look at the Scriptures. There is a word called “Pardes” and it means “Paradise.” It alludes to the Garden of Eden, when Man could talk with the Lord and have full understanding. That would be “Paradise” would it not? But, it is also an acronym for the Four Levels of Interpretation, Peshat (literal, simple level); Remez (allegorical, hint level); Drash (parabolic, explore level) and Sowd (mystical, secret level). Taking the first letter of the for levels, you have “P,R,D,S” or “Pardes.”
The only way to understand a passage is to have a look at the four levels, then you will get a balanced view of what it means. However, you will never exhaust a word or a phrase. People will take one verse out of context and build a doctrine around it. Remez (Allegorical, hint) means that every passage is going to “allude” to other passages. The only way you can understand the total message is by having the passages “glued” together. So, we are going to use the Remez level with Isa 26 and Isa 57. The term we use when doing this is “Midrashic Pearl Stringing.”
Isa 26.1-2 says, ” In that day (we already know that this term refers to the coming of the Messiah and the Day of the Lord/Messianic Kingdom) this song will be sung in the land of Judah: ‘We have a strong city (spiritual Jerusalem-Rev 21; Psa 149.1); he sets up the walls and ramparts for security (salvation). Open the gates (Psa 24.7 is what the people say when entering Jerusalem, and an idiom for Rosh Ha Shannah) that the righteous nation may enter, the one that remains faithful (“Emunim”=has faith).'” Taking what the people did when coming up to the festivals, these verses allude to believers coming up to the Heavenly Jerusalem on Rosh Ha Shannah. Isaiah expects you to know what he is talking about. The phrase “Open the gates” is explained as an idiom for Rosh Ha Shannah in the book “Days of Awe” by S.Y. Agnon. Sa’adia Gaon, a sage of the Babylonian community about a thousand years ago, wrote that there are ten reasons for blowing the shofar on Rosh Ha Shannah. He said one of the reasons was that the righteous will enter the gates of Jerusalem in Heaven on Rosh Ha Shannah in the resurrection.
Now go to Isa 57.1-2 and we are gong to do some Midrashic Pearl Stringing. What we just read in Isa 26.1-2 corresponds to “the righteous man perishes and no man takes it to heart. Devout men are taken away while no one understands. For the righteous man is taken away from evil” in Isa 57.1 Now, look at Isa 26.3, where it says, “The steadfast in mind (heart/soul/spirit) you will keep in perfect peace.” Go back to Isa 57.2 where it says, “he enters into peace; they rest in their beds, each one who walked in his upright way.” These verses go together, and that is Remez.
Now, we do not believe in “the rapture” in the way it is taught in Christian doctrine. That doctrine is based on 1 Cor 15 and 1 Thes 4, two verses primarily. The “rapture” is taught with the belief that “only true Christians will be caught away” at the very beginning, mid, or after the Birth-pains. Having said that, we do believe in what Paul called “the Gathering” in 2 Thes 2.1. The Gathering will happen on Rosh Ha Shannah, year 6001 from creation, the first day of the time period called the Atid Lavo, or the “Day of the Lord.” It will be ten days before the start of the Birth-pains. One of the reasons for this is Isa 26.1-2. That is a major difference with the Christian concept of the “rapture.”
The “righteous” are defined as a person who has received the free gift of salvation, by grace through emunah (faith). It is not earned or purchased. It is not “merited” and there is only one way a person can obtain it, and that is through faith and it is a gift from God. It all starts with God while we were yet sinners. We must believe what Abraham believed. He believed that man was created in the image of God and that man sinned, and was driven out of the presence of God. Man must repent (turn away) from his sins before the Lord and that God would send a redeemer to restore man and the creation back to God. In a nutshell, that is what he believed. We know that Yeshua is that redeemer, and that is what Abraham didn’t know at the time. The righteous are those who have been written in the Book of Life, going all the way back to the Garden of Eden. These will include Jews and non-Jews. What matters is if you have believed through faith, and God recognizes it. People believe in God, but does God believe in you. Does he recognize your faith? Did that faith come from him, through his grace? Was it your will to be saved, but not his will (John.1-13)? There will be class of people who will say to the Lord “on that day (when he comes)” that they did many works in his name. They believed in him they thought. But he will say “I never knew you: depart from me, you who practice “Torah-less-ness” (Matt 7.22-23).
The righteous will not be a “Jewish or a Christian” thing. The problem we have in Christianity is they believe only “Born Again” Christians will be included in the “rapture.” We believe that there are many non-Christians who have a faith that God recognizes. Some say that there are Jews who do not believe in “Jesus” but they are waiting for the Redeemer to come. They are just like Abraham and those in Acts 19.1-7. Some say that God has given them righteousness based on that, but we believe that one must respond to the light God has given. Abraham had no knowledge of who Yeshua was. Today, faith in Yeshua is required and God is perfectly able to save who he wants. But, to be fair, Jews reject the Christian “Jesus” and what they say he was. They don’t believe, and rightfully so, that no legitimate Messiah would come and set one free from the Torah. Jews don’t believe a legitimate Messiah would change the Sabbath to Sunday. There are so many more examples that invalidates their “Jesus” from being the Messiah. This is not to mention the many persecutions of the Jews “in the name of Jesus.” They remember the Crusades and the Pogroms. Why should they associate with that name? Why would they accept a Messiah who is against the Torah?
We believe that God will get them the truth of who Yeshua really is, illuminated by the Ruach Ha Kodesh. Acts 19.1-7 talks about people who believed and were immersed in the immersion of Yochanon, but had not heard of the Messiah had come yet. Paul comes and preaches to them and they accept Yeshua and are filled with the Spirit. Nobody is going to slip through the cracks. There is another problem we have with the Christian doctrine of the “rapture” and that is it is only based on two verses. But, the Tanak is full of references (Isa 13, Isa 26, Isa 57; Psa 81.3; Zeoh 2; Isa 18; Psa 27; Isa 21; Psa 47, 45; Job 14, 19; Isa 51; Num 10; Isa 11 just to name a few).
Idioms and phrases will help lay it out for you. This is what we call the “Silver Bells Theory.” This theory says that if you asked someone what holiday you are singing about, and then sang ‘Silver Bells” they will say “Christmas!” In the same way, the “gathering” on Rosh Ha Shannah has idioms like “shout”; ‘teruah”; “last trump”; “voice”; “trumpet”; “wedding”; “coronation”; “resurrection”; “judgement”; “king”; “open the gates”, “a door was opened” and “gathering” just to name a few. If you want to study “the gathering” you must study it from the Jewish sources. You will never get it from Christian sources. Then you can go back and read 1 Cor 15 and and 1 Thes 4 and you will see them in a different light. Doing that will not take away but it will enhance your understanding. You will need to go into the Tanak, the Liturgy in prayer books, the Mishnah, the Talmud and Jewish books by Jewish authors.
In Part 36, we will pick up in Isa 57.3.