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Israel Will Blossoms
The destruction of the anti-Christian powers by Christ at His second coming, described in the previous chapter, will be followed by what is described in this chapter: the realm of peace. After the storms of judgment now follows the invigorating calmness of blessing, yes, its full joy (Isa 35:10). The heart of Isaiah will have been beating faster if in spirit he looks ahead and describes this time. The New Testament calls it the time when creation will be freed from its slavery to corruption (Rom 8:21).
Unlike the desolation of Edom, the land of Israel will blossom like a crocus (Isa 35:1). As desolate and empty as Edom shall be, so glorious is what the LORD brings about in the land of promise. As the land of Edom becomes a desert, the desert of Israel turns into a blossoming garden. The glory of the LORD and the majesty of God will be revealed in the fertility of the land as a result of the ruling righteousness (Isa 35:2).
Slack hands will be strengthened, buckling knees will become firm (Isa 35:3). The writer of the letter to the Hebrews encourages the Hebrews with this verse, and also us, if it threatens to become too much, if we are in danger of losing courage and giving up hope that the Lord and His kingdom will come (Heb 12:12). If in faith we turn our gaze again to what has been promised to us, our limp hands will start again to work for the Lord and our knees will become firm again, determined to go the way of following the Lord Jesus.
Fear will be banished (Isa 35:4). The vengeance of their God over their enemies will be followed by final salvation. “Behold, your God” applies to the Messiah. The Messiah Who comes is God (Isa 40:9). He will both judge the enemies and bless the remnant. The blind and deaf will be healed (Isa 35:5). The lame will leap and the mute will sing (Isa 35:6).
Although they will not have glorified bodies, they will have recovered, healthy bodies, for sickness must give way in the realm of peace. That does not only concern physical healing. Also spiritually, Israel, the blind and deaf servant of the LORD (Isa 42:19), will be healed by the Messiah, who is the perfect Servant of the LORD (Mt 12:17-21).
At His first coming, during His life on earth, the Lord Jesus shows the foreshadowing of this, when He opens the eyes of the blind and makes the deaf hear. These wonders are proof that He is the promised Messiah (Mt 11:4-6). He is the Messiah, even though He does not yet assume world domination because the people reject Him. The wonders He does are “the powers of the age to come” (Heb 6:5), that is the millennial realm of peace, in which those powers belong. The wonders that the Lord does refer to that. They are a foretaste of that time. That is what Isaiah describes here. He uses the word “then”, which refers to that time. These wonders are not characteristic for the church.
The terrible situations of sorrow in the great tribulation will give way to the glory of God in the happiness of His redeemed. The wilderness, the scorched land, the thirsty ground, it will all become totally fertile (Isa 35:7). Nature will reap the benefits of the disappearance of the spiritual and human hostile powers and of the presence of the glory of the LORD and His earthly and heavenly people.
The Highway of Holiness
The roadway through which God’s people are enabled to interact and communicate with one another will be sanctified to the LORD (Isa 35:8). It is a roadway like the highway on which other nations will also walk, a roadway that runs through the wilderness to Israel (Isa 19:23). It is not possible to go astray or not understand one another. There is only a “Highway of Holiness” on which no unclean person can walk. It is the roadway that leads to Jerusalem.
The roadway in the presence of God is always the roadway of holiness. In that day, when the hearts of men have returned to the LORD, He will lead them to Himself by the Highway of Holiness, to Mount Zion, where His throne will be established and from where His law will go over the whole earth.
That roadway is also a picture of the Lord Jesus. For us He is the way to the Father (Jn 14:6), to fellowship with Him. Through Him we, New Testament believers, will be eternally in the presence of the Father in the Father’s house.
He is also for His earthly people the only way to all earthly blessings they will enjoy in the realm of peace. This roadway is only for those who have fellowship with God, in their hearts “are the highways” (Psa 84:5). Similarly, in the new Jerusalem there is only one street, “the street” of “pure gold” (Rev 21:21b). There, too, it will be impossible for anything unholy or unclean to come there, nor will it be possible to wander or do anything that contradicts God’s glory, of which gold is a picture.
There will be nothing that can be dangerous for the redeemed because they walk in obedience (Isa 35:9; cf. 1Kgs 13:21-24; Jdg 14:5). He is only for the redeemed. They walk the roadway of blessing that the human beings of the past have always wanted to build in the history of the world. All these efforts have caused nothing but misery because everything is based on selfishness and abuse of power. No civilization has been able to eradicate war and disease, despite all the peace conferences and treaties. Only Christ can and will bring order. His return is the only and certain hope for lasting peace.
The Ransomed of the LORD
The section concludes with a promise repeated in Isaiah 51 (Isa 51:11) – through which both main sections of the book express the same message of comfort; this is a proof of the unity of the book. In anticipation of the glorious situation described above, “the ransomed of the LORD” will return to the land. No one will be left behind in the land of his exile (Eze 39:28; Mt 24:31).
Instead of ashes on their heads as a sign of mourning, there will be joy upon their heads. This joy will never be disturbed again. The joy of their return will be enhanced by the gladness and joy they will experience when they have come to the land. All suffering and its manifestations will then be forgotten; they will, so to speak, flee at the sight of all those glorious things and never return for eternity.
Thus this third part of the book of Isaiah ends with the “joyful shouting” of “everlasting joy”, like the first and the second part (Isa 12:1-6; Isa 27:2-13), This is reminiscent of the situation of the new heaven and the new earth that will follow thereafter: “And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be [any] death; there will no longer be [any] mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away” (Rev 21:3-4).
Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Isaiah 35". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13