A Very Gospel Passage: Isaiah Devotional Journal 50

Isaiah 25    Septuagint Modernized

A Gospel Passage: Isaiah 25

Isaiah 25 is an end times passage. It is also a very gospel passage. Most people alive today likely will not experience the second coming before they die. However, the truths of this gospel passage apply to all believers now.

Recap: What Are the Signs?

There are several signs that indicate Isaiah 25, especially in the Septuagint, is an end times passage and a gospel passage. By “end times,” I mean the very end. I do not see any indications that this chapter is millennial.

  • First, we saw that Isaiah 24:1-20 describes the final shaking of the whole earth. Isaiah 24:20 is definitive, “…and it shall fall, and shall not be able to rise.” (See Devotional Journal 46 for more details on this section.) A proposed, though not proven, millennium would need to occur before the final judgment.
  • Second, Isaiah 24:21-23, especially in the Septuagint, describes the church age. Isaiah 24:21-22 (LXE) corresponds to Revelation 20:1-3. (See Devotional Journal 47.) This jumping back to a prior time frame is characteristic of Isaiah.
  • Third, the vocabulary throughout Isaiah 24 indicates a “whole world” event. (See again Devotional Journal 46.)
  • Next, Isaiah 25:1 opens in celebration of the events of chapter 24, the messianic and end times chapter.
  • We saw that the “ancient and faithful counsel” goes back to the very beginning, before creation. Then, after creation, in the garden, God gave Eve the promise of a Savior for the whole world. (See prior post Devotional Journal 49.) When Isaiah speaks his “Amen!” he’s agreeing with a counsel that reaches far wider that the main characters of a proposed millennium.

Why the Celebration?

Isaiah 25 continues in a smooth connection from chapter 24. We see the prophet in Isaiah 25:1, as spokesperson for the people, celebrating God’s victory. The remainder of this short chapter expands on the causes of their celebration.

City? What City?

For You have made cities a heap, even cities made strong that their foundations should not fall; the city of ungodly men shall not be built forever. (Isaiah 25:2, Modernized Septuagint)

The Septuagint and Masoretic texts fairly match in verse two. (There is a difference in plurals and singulars.) But what cities are these? Scripture often uses symbols. Because Isaiah speaks of the judgment of the end times, the city (or cities) represent all the evil and wickedness of the fallen human heart gathered in one place. Moab, in verse 10, is a similar symbol. We are reminded of how John the Apostle uses Babylon as a symbol for evil in Revelation 18:1-24. The phrase, “shall not be built forever,” (“it will never be rebuilt” ESV) is another indicator of the end times finality of this passage. This symbol represents the final destruction of evil. It will never again gather together in one place.

Verse 3

Septuagint: 3 Therefore shall the poor people bless You, and cities of injured men shall bless You. (CAB)

Masoretic: 3 Therefore strong peoples will glorify you; cities of ruthless nations will fear you. (ESV)

The two versions just quoted appear at first glance to be nearly opposite each other. However, in their own contexts, the overall flow of each brings them into agreement in light of the whole passage. The Septuagint here does seem to better continue the thought of verses 1-2.

Verses 2-12

Isaiah 25:2-5 flows smoothly in the Septuagint. The sense of the verses holds together with no sudden jerks. Verses 3-5 describe the weakness of the poor people, as contrasted with the strength of the evil. The prophet points out in verse 4 how the Lord God will deliver the poor from wicked men. Interestingly, however, verse 5 indicates that God had given them over to the wicked in the first place. Prior chapters in Isaiah developed this theme. God uses the wicked to discipline his own people. Then he delivers them. (See, for example, Isaiah chapters 3-5. See also Habakkuk’s complete explanation in three chapters.)

The Feast and the Mountain…Already, Not Yet

6 And the Lord of hosts shall make a feast for all the nations; on this mount they shall drink gladness, they shall drink wine; 7 they shall anoint themselves with ointment in this mountain. Impart all these things to the nations; for this is God’s counsel upon all the nations.

The phrase “already…not yet” has circulated for some time. It refers to Old Testament prophecies, such as the one we are considering here in Isaiah 25. Christians in the current era since Christ’s ascension experience the fulfillment of the prophecies “already.” They experience now the spiritual truths which Isaiah describes. And yet, Christ promised that he would return and gather his flock to live with him forever. At that time, he will permanently destroy all evil. “Not yet” describes that period of time.

ALREADY

I. Christians now the world over celebrate a feast in Christ’s kingdom. They truly do “drink gladness” (vs 6) and the “wine” of joy and of Holy Communion (John 17:13, et al). The wine of communion anticipates the Lord’s return (Luke 22:18-20).

II. What is “this mount”? The mountain right now is the spiritual, symbolic seat of Christ’s kingdom. (Please take time to read the following verses: Daniel 2:35, 44; Isaiah 30:29; Micah 4:2; and Zechariah 8:3.) In the “already,” the mountain of the Lord is not a literal mountain. Scripture is not opposed to symbolism. For example, Paul used symbolism freely in Galatians 4:35-31 when speaking of mountains. Further, the mountain in Hebrews 12:22-24 is a spiritual mountain. The mountain of Christ’s kingdom is where Christians live and worship now.

III. The “ointment” of anointing is the Holy Spirit. God forgave sins through Jesus’s offering of himself upon the cross. His death and resurrection accomplished purification for humankind. But the purpose of purification stretched beyond cleanliness itself. The purification of Christ’s offering prepared the way for a return of fellowship with the great God Almighty. The BIG CHANGE recorded in the New Testament is the anointing of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, and the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ. The presence of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of believers is the means of fellowship with God.

VERSES

    • The Apostle John first explained the transition from dead materialism to living Spirit to Nicodemus (John 3:1-8). Next, he explained the same transition in different words to the woman at the well (John 4:13-14, 20-26). He explained it again in the parable of the wineskins in Mark 2:22. The gospel of John contains many references to the coming Spirit (John 7:39; 14:16-18, 23, 26; 15:26; 16:13-15).
    • In John 17:13 and 23 Jesus prays for the fellowship between humankind and God that the offering of his death will accomplish.
    • The book of Acts records the importance of the gift of the Holy Spirit to all believers (Acts 1:8; 2:38; 8:14-17).
    • The Apostle Paul expressed great concern that worshipers of Christ receive the anointing of the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:1-6; Romans 8:5-17; Galatians 3:2-3, 13-14).
    • Finally, near the end of Scripture, John again relates the wonderful gift of the Holy Spirit, the “anointing” of Isaiah 25:7 (1 John 3:24; 4:13; 5:6-8).

IV. “Impart all these things to the nations; for this is God’s counsel upon all the nations” (Isaiah 25:7b)

Verse 7b strongly indicates that Isaiah is not speaking of a special “millennial” period of time in this passage. The so-named “millennium” supposes itself to be a time period of special favor to the Jewish nation in particular, above all others. But the joy of Christ includes all believers of every nation, tribe, family, people, and tongue. The joy of Christ for all peoples began with his resurrection and will continue to his Second Coming, the end of the age. The New Testament is entirely clear on this point.

In verse 7, Isaiah repeats what he had spoken in verse 1, concerning God’s “ancient and faithful counsel.” Here, he bluntly states that this counsel is to and upon “all the nations.” Surely that includes more than a supposed “millennial” Israel? The reader can find more on the “ancient and faithful counsel” in Isaiah Devotional Journal 48 and Journal 49.

Verses 8-12

To Be Continued

 

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