2 But your iniquities [avonot] have separated between you and your Elohim, and your sins [chattot] have hid [concealed] His face from you, that He will not hear.
In view of the terrible iniquities evident in the ecclesia of Isaiah's time, and expressed in chs. 57-58, it is understandable that the prophet must have felt distressed at the attitude of the people. Why does Yahweh not respond to the desperate needs of the people? Because He will not countenance nor compromise with sin and iniquity. Such a situation separates the people from their God. He is close at hand (ch. 55), but not for those who refuse His goodness. To such wickedness, Yahweh will never hear...They sought no repentance, no forgiveness, and therefore none was possible. *
they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths.
...as we casually view the life of an orderly, "civilized" community. But in such a community there are many restraints that preserve a misleading surface appearance of tranquility.
Remove the artificial restraints of law, custom and the fear of consequences, and irritate the passions a little, and the animal that is in all human beings is immediately apparent, and once it has tasted blood it will go on to incredible excesses of violence and viciousness.
Human nature is basically selfish and vile: until this is realized and confessed, it cannot be combatted or controlled. As long as it is glorified, defended or excused, or its evil effects minimized, there's little hope.
Bro Growcott - BYT 4.10.
14 And judgment [mishpat (justice)] is turned away backward, and justice [tzedakah (righteousness)] standeth afar off: for truth [emes] is fallen in the street [ rechov], and equity [nacho'ach (honesty)] cannot enter.
15 Yea, truth [emes] faileth; and he that departeth from evil [rah] maketh himself a prey: and Yahweh saw it, and it displeased him [was displeasing in His sight] that there was no judgment [mishpat (justice)].
How appropriate are vv. 14-15 to the present environment of the Truth! We live in an age of complete abandonment of morality; when mankind ignores the very basic principles of true justice. And unfortunately, there is a danger that the attitudes seen in society about us, can be manifested, even to a lesser extent, among the brotherhood!
Certainly the ecclesia of Isaiah was rife with such characteristics. They may not have been so aware of the iniquity (as we might not be today), but the record of the divine examination is very evident in the words of the prophet. It is for us to read, remember, and renew our lives accordingly to the character of the Intercessor (v. 19). - GEM. *
16 And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him.
It is, of course, difficult for us to see the situation as it appears from God's point of view: but here is an intimation that there is to him cause for marvel (in all the circumstances) that no one should arise to plead Israel's cause and take measures for their rescue.
"Therefore His arm brought (will bring) salvation."
The form of this interposition is clearly stated: "The Redeemer shall come to Zion"-a statement which Paul, in Rom. 11:26, applies to the recovery of Israel after the flesh.
This interposition is not because of any revival of excellence in Israel. The very reverse is carefully stated by God Himself:
"I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel-(Be ashamed and confounded for your own evil ways)-but for my holy name's sake which you have profaned among the heathen. . . . The heathen shall know that I am the Lord when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the heathen and gather you out of all countries and bring you into your own land" (Ezek. 36:21-24, 32).
...It is a painful sight to God to behold the triumph of mere brute force over the arrangements of His wisdom which He placed in the midst of Israel. While that triumph is by His own appointment, it is no pleasure to Him, but the reverse-a puzzle to those who treat matters superficially, but none the less true nor intelligible.
The truth of it rests on His own declarations in the Scripture: for the intelligibility of it, we have only to fall back on our consciousness. Do we not often decide upon the doing of things that we don't like to do in the accomplishment of the aims of wisdom? Undoubtedly.
The punishment of our children, the performance of disagreeable acts of duty are instances. There is, therefore, no difficulty in understanding that God should in one and the same act, both appoint and disapprove. This conflict of feeling as we might call it, is visible from the beginning of His communications. At the very beginning, in the song of Moses, He said, with reference to Israel's stubborn insubordinations:
"I said I would make the remembrance of them to cease from among men, were it not that I feared the wrath of the enemy-lest their adversaries should say-Our hand is high (in the overthrow of Israel), the Lord hath not done all this" (Deut. 32:26-28).
So in the case of the Assyrian whom He said He would use as the instrument of His anger against Israel, He said:
"Howbeit he meaneth not so. . . . He saith, By the strength of my hand, I have done, and by my wisdom, for I am prudent. . . . Therefore it shall come to pass when the Lord-(by the Assyrian's hand)-hath performed his whole work upon Mount Zion and on Jerusalem. I will punish the faint of the stout heart of the King of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks" (Isaiah 10:7-13).
We may understand, then, that the prolonged down-treading of Israel by the power of the Gentiles becomes offensive in God's eyes without any new circumstance intervening as regards Israel's state. The mere continuance of Gentile prosperity in ascendancy over His own offending people, provokes at the last what we might call a reaction in God's mind in favour of Israel.
"When he seeth that their power was gone, he will repent himself concerning his servants and . . . will have mercy upon his land and upon his people."
This is the sentiment of the entire prophetic word on the subject:
"Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished and that her iniquity is pardoned, for she hath from the Lord's hand double for all her sins."
The Christadelphian, Oct 1898
17 For He put on righteousness [ tzedakah] as a breastplate [armour], and an helmet of salvation [Yeshuah (Saving Power)] upon His head [rosh]; and He put on the garments of vengeance [bigdei nakam] for clothing [a uniform], and was clad with zeal [kinah] as a cloke [ me'il (mantle)].
Zeal (enlightened zeal) inevitably leads to happiness and peace of mind. Zeal is the conviction that there is a glorious and worthwhile work to be done, and an intense, irresistible enthusiasm to do it -- to throw oneself totally into it. Zeal is positive and constructive and upbuilding. It has no room for doubt and discouragement, nor lazy wallowing in self-pity.
Human failure does not daunt zeal, for its roots are deeper. Zeal knows with sorrow that narrow is the Way, and few there be that find it. Zeal necessarily grieves at this unnecessary folly: but it knows too that glorious salvation is freely offered and available to all who have the wisdom and the gumption to cut themselves free from the bonds of the flesh and fly to divine heights on the wings of zeal.
God calls us to Him. Who will hear?
- Bro Growcott
19 So shall they fear the name [Shem] of Yahweh from the west [ma'arav], and His glory [kavod] from the rising of the sun [shemesh]. When the enemy shall come in like a flood [nahar], the spirit [Ruach (Hakodesh)] of Yahweh shall lift up a standard against him.
Before the Lamb can enter Zion with the 144,000, it will be necessary for him to expel the enemy. He comes to redeem Zion from the power of the foreigners, who have "come in like a flood", and afflicted her with "desolation and destruction, and the famine, and the sword". At this crisis of Zion's history, coeval with
"darkness covering the earth, and gross darkness the people,"
Yahweh inquires through the prophet,
"What have I here that My people is taken away for naught? They who rule over them make them to howl, saith Yahweh; and My Name continually every day is blasphemed".
"They have scattered Israel among the nations, and they have parted My land;"
"the king of the north hath planted the tents of his entrenched camp between the seas to the mountain of the glory of the Holy One" (Isa. 59:19; 52:5; Joel 3:2; Dan. 11:45).
Such are Zion's relations, domestic and foreign, social, civil, and spiritual, at the crisis immediately preceding the appearance of the Lamb and his company within her walls. Being assembled in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, and having laid successful siege to Jerusalem, they rifle its houses, ravish its women, and send half of its population into captivity, many of whom they sell to the Greeks for slaves at the vilest prices (Zech. 14:2; Joel 3:3).
This prostrates Jerusalem in the dust, and fastens bands around the neck of the captive daughter of Zion. The uncircumcised and the unclean, then in possession of Tyre and Zidon, and the coasts of Palestine, are in high feather over their success. This will be truly the day of Jacob's trouble, in which there will be none to help, nor any to uphold (Isa. 63:5; Jer. 30:7). But, Zion's extremity is her Redeemer's opportunity. "When," saith Moses,
"he seeth that their power is gone, he will repent himself for his servants;"
and saith Joel,
"He will then be jealous for his land, and pity his people, who shall no more be made a reproach among the nations" (ch. 2:18,19; Deut. 32:36).
"The Harvest of the Earth," according to Joel, and John's angel that comes out of the nave, hath been ripened; "for their wickedness is great". The harvest is composed of vast multitudes of ripened wickedness in the plain, or valley of judgment, unconsciously awaiting a terrible overthrow. Joel in vision saw them all assembled there, as expressed in the words,
"Multitudes, multitudes (hamonim, hamonim) in the valley of the judgment; for the Day of Yahweh is near in the valley of the judgment" (ch. 3:14).
These hamonim are the hamon-gog of Ezekiel 39:11 - the multitude of Gog, which is buried in the valley of the judgment executed; and gives name to an adjacent city, called Hamonah, that is, Multitude.
This and the preceding chapter of Ezekiel are parallel with Joel 3, and John's vision of the reaping. The prophet is indignant at their wickedness. He does not pray for their conversion, nor for their salvation; but for their sudden and complete overthrow, in the words,
"Thither cause to come down with violence thy mighty ones, 0 Yahweh!"
Nor will Joel's prayer be in vain; for, referring to the same crisis, Zechariah says,
"Yahweh Elohim shall come in, and all the Saints with thee" (ch. 14:5).
This coming in to Jerusalem will be with violence, and a terrific outpouring of wrath upon the multitudes in arms. In the words of Ezek. 38:18,
"Adonai Yahweh saith, my fury shall come up in My face: for in my jealousy and in the fire of My wrath have I spoken, surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel.... and all the men that are upon the face of the land shall shake AT MY PRESENCE, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the towers shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground.
And I will call for a sword against Gog throughout all my mountains saith Adonai Yahweh: every man's sword shall be against his brother. And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him and upon his bands and upon the many peoples that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire and brimstone".
Thus, Yahweh goes forth and fights against these multitudes, as in the days of old (Zech.14:3).
20 And the Redeemer [Go'el] shall come to [Tziyon], and unto them that turn [make teshuva from transgression in Jacob [peysha (rebellion) in Ya'akov], saith Yahweh.
cp Rom 11:26
In the period of Zion's rising out of present darkness into future light and glory, she is manifested as the metropolis, or Mother City, of a rising world, styled in the English Version, "the world to come;" but in the original, he oikoumene he mellousa, the future inhabited (earth) or, habitable. This New Constitution of Things, which was the great burden of Paul's discourse, (Heb. 2:5) will comprise the "NEW HEAVENS AND NEW EARTH" to be created by the Eternal Spirit, through Christ Jesus arid his Brethren, in the development of which, He will "create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy" (Isa. 65:17) - a New Government, and a New civil, ecclesiastical, and social Organization of the nations of the earth.
Concerning this new government, or "Economy of the fullness of the times (Eph. 1:10), it is written in Psa. 19:1-6, "The heavens declare the glory of AlL (the Invisible Power), and the work of his hands the firmament shews. Day unto day will utter speech; and night unto night will shew knowledge. There is no language, nor any words, where their voice is not heard.
Their line hath gone out in all the earth; and their words to the ends of the world. In them he hath set a tabernacle for the Sun; who as a Bridegroom coming out of his covering or place where he was hid from view), will rejoice as a mighty man to run a course. His going forth is from the end of the heavens, and his circuit unto the ends thereof; and there is nothing hidden from his heat".
This Sun is the great illuminator, who "enlightens the earth with his glory" (Apoc. 10:1; 18:1; 21:23); and who, in the days of his flesh, said, "As long as I am in the world, I am the Light (or Sun) of the world" - a Light which shone into the darkness, but was not comprehended by it (John 9:5; 1:5). It is this "Great Light;" once seen by them "who sat in the region and shadow of death", which is styled in Mal. 4:2, "THE SUN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS," who arises with genial influences upon all who fear the Name of Yahweh Elohim; but with intensely scorching effect also upon the wicked who serve him not.