Isaiah 52:1-12 LXX: Isaiah Devotional 2.40

… Continued from Isaiah 52:1-12 LXX: Isaiah Devotional 2.39 – justonesmallvoice.com

Recap: Evidence of the Incarnation in Verse Six

  1. “In that day” 
  2. Use of the Particular Phrase “I AM (ego eimi) he” 
  3. The Statement “Therefore, my people shall  know my name.” 
  4. The Statement, “I am present” 
  5. The Context Following Verse 6

Verses 7-10 Support Verse 6

The context which follows verse 6 supplies a final support for the understanding that Septuagint Isaiah 52:6 speaks of the Servant’s incarnation. First, verse 7 signals an immediate shift in tone from chastisement to joyful remedy. Verses 7-10 announce not just the salvation, or deliverance, of Zion (Israel), but of the whole Gentile world to the end of the earth. We begin with verse 7.

Isaiah 52 … 6 I am present 7as a season of beauty upon the mountains, as the feet of one preaching glad tidings of peace, as one preaching good news: for I will publish your salvation, saying, O Sion, your God shall reign. (LXE)

Readers will find that various translations of Isaiah 52:7 from both the Greek text and the Hebrew text differ somewhat one from another. But the main thrust of the verse in every translation points in the same direction–that of joyful gladness. A messenger arrives upon the mountains of Sion to proclaim salvation and the sovereignty of God. The news is good news. The messenger announces peace.

Who Is the Messenger?

1. Some may say that John the Baptist is the messenger of verse 7. Scripture calls this prophet “the messenger of the covenant” in whom God delights (Malachi 3:1). New Testament readers know, however, that John preached a message of repentance. “2 ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ …7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?'” (Matthew 3:2-7 ESV) See also Acts 18:24 and 19:4.

2. In keeping with God’s proclamation in verse 6, the messenger in verse 7 most likely is God’s Servant (Christ the Son).

PEACE

The peace Christ the Servant announces is a new peace between humanity and God.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. (ESV)

47 If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. 49 For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment– what to say and what to speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.” (John 12:47-50 ESV)

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. (ESV)

YOUR GOD REIGNS

Christ the Servant also announced, “O Zion, your God reigns” (SAAS) (1).

From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17 ESV)

OTHER MESSENGERS

3. The Apostle Paul also interprets Isaiah 52:7. He gives a plural reading for Isaiah’s singular preacher of good news in verse 7. These harbingers of the message of peace and God’s sovereignty are the apostles and other believers who go out to their friends and neighbors to share the glad tidings of salvation.

14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” (Romans 10:14-15 ESV)

The Message of Salvation

The prophet in Isaiah 52:7 introduces the word “salvation.” The name “Jesus” (Joshua) approximately transliterates the Hebrew word for salvation (Strong’s number 03444). The Hebrew spelling is יְשׁוּעָ֑ה. Its pronunciation is Yeshua.

She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21 ESV)

Verses 8 and 9

Septuagint Isaiah 52:8-9 continues the theme of gladness and joy. Verse 8 focuses on the people, while verse 9 focuses on the place.

VERSE 8

THOSE WHO GUARD

For the voice of them that guard you is exalted, and with the voice together they shall rejoice: for eyes shall look to eyes, when the Lord shall have mercy upon Sion. (LXE)

Those who “guard” Sion are its watchmen. The watchmen are stationed on the mountains in order to see what is happening in the distance. They are the ones who bring news. Prophets are also spiritual watchmen. Many Old Testament prophets saw the advent of Messiah from a distance and shouted out his arrival with joy. Isaiah is but one of these.

You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, (John 5:39 ESV)

And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. (Luke 24:27 ESV)

10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. (1Peter 1:10-11 ESV)

EYES LOOK TO EYES IN ONENESS

The Septuagint phrase, “eyes shall look to eyes” is an interesting figure of speech. We have such a phrase in English that signifies agreement, “We saw eye to eye with each other.” Fred Miller translates the Septuagint phrase this way. The same phrase is used in the Hebrew text. Seeing “eye to eye” does bring joy–the joy of oneness. When John the Apostle describes the oneness of God the Father and the Logos, he uses the phrase “face to face.” “The Word was with God” (John 1:1). Most students have heard their pastors or teachers expound the Greek of this phrase, “πρὸς τὸν θεόν.” They explain that the word πρὸς (pros) signifies face to face (or, eye to eye).

Christ (the Servant) identifies one of the joys of his followers as that of oneness.

John 17:11 ESV And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one… 13 But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves… 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us… 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one,

The Apostle Paul picks up the theme of oneness in Christ.

5 May … God… grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, 6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 15:5-6 ESV)

For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body– Jews or Greeks, slaves or free– and all were made to drink of one Spirit. (1Corinthians 12:13 ESV)

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28 ESV)

14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 … that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. (Ephesians 2:14-16 ESV)

4 There is one body and one Spirit– just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call– 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Ephesians 4:4-6 ESV)

Complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. (Philippians 2:2 ESV)

MERCY UPON SION

Finally, the exaltation, the rejoicing, and the oneness will occur “when the Lord shall have mercy upon Sion” (verse 8, LXE). In the immediate context of the people hearing Isaiah, that time of mercy would occur when God would liberate them from their Babylonian captivity. In the larger context, however, a more enduring time of mercy would occur when the messenger(s) on the mountains would bring the good news of Sion’s redemption, their salvation.

Other Translations

ESV Isaiah 52:8 The voice of your watchmen– they lift up their voice; together they sing for joy; for eye to eye they see the return of the LORD to Zion.

NET Isaiah 52:8 Listen, your watchmen shout; in unison they shout for joy, for they see with their very own eyes the LORD’s return to Zion.

CJB Isaiah 52:8 Listen! Your watchmen are raising their voices, shouting for joy together. For they will see, before their own eyes, ADONAI returning to Tziyon.

VERSE 9

Let the waste places of Jerusalem break forth in joy together, because the Lord has had mercy upon her, and has delivered Jerusalem. (LXE)

As previously mentioned, verse 9 focuses on place. During the captivity, Jerusalem existed, but was hardly recognizable. Most of its citizens had been carried away into exile. The temple had been destroyed. Notice that the prophet is so sure of Jerusalem’s future deliverance that he writes using past tense. When the Lord shows his mercy on Jerusalem, all of her waste places shall rejoice.

The statement, if taken concrete-literally, must of course be interpreted as a metaphor. Piles of physical rocks and rubble do not express human emotion. Most readers will see Jerusalem in this verse as a symbol for the people and the place. This resembles the use of Sion in the previous verse. The Lord will show his mercy, his redemption and salvation, on the people of Sion, more so than upon a mere physical location. Some readers may go even further and find that the text refers basically to Jerusalem’s people. It is people who concern God far more than locations of his physical creation.

Nevertheless, in Scripture Jerusalem does represent a physical location where God’s people gather. Some readers seem to be very tied to a concrete-physical location, while others are content with a spiritual location. Ultimately, this verse will find its climactic fulfillment when the New Jerusalem comes down from heaven in the final age to come.

Revelation 3:12 The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. 

Notice in the above quotation the spiritual nature of the new Jerusalem which the writer himself interprets. He writes that Christ will make those who conquer “a pillar” in the temple of God. Surely, he does not mean a physical pillar? Secondly, he will write names “on him” who conquers. And yet the Old Testament forbade marking the body with tattoos (Leviticus 19:28).

Paul in Ephesians 2:19-22 speaks of believers forming a spiritual building together. The writer of the Letter to the Hebrews speaks of a heavenly city (Hebrews 12:22). One thing is certain, whether concrete-physical or spiritual-physical, the “city that is to come” (Hebrews 13:14) will be a glorious city.

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1 SAAS: “Scripture taken from the St. Athanasius Academy SeptuagintTM. Copyright © 2008 by St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

Evidence of the Incarnation in Verse 6 to be continued…

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