Isaiah 43 - Outline of Isaiah (Book Notes menu page)
III. Salvation (poetry), ch. 40-66
A. Peace assured through knowing the LORD God... (The God of Peace), ch. 40-48
4. Who alone is Israel's Redeemer and Savior, 43:1-44:5
1. But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob,
and he that formed thee, O Israel,
Fear not: for I have redeemed thee,
I have called [thee] by thy name; thou [art] mine.
{cp. v.7,15,21}
2 When thou passest through the waters, I [will be] with thee;
and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee:
when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned;
neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.
3 For I [am] the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour:
I gave Egypt [for] thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee.
{cp. Isa 20:3-5; Prov 21:18; 11:8}
4 Since thou wast precious in my sight,
{since} thou hast been honourable {honored}, and I have loved thee: {Jer 31:3}
therefore will I give
{other} men for thee, and {other} people for thy life.
the LORD that created thee, O Jacob...-
The LORD made something out of nothing when He created Israel.
that formed thee, O Israel...- The LORD ordered the nation according to His design.
Fear not...- Israel's fear was due to oppression of gentile dominion,
from which they had no one to deliver them (Isa 42:22-25).
...for I have redeemed thee... for I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Savior...-
The work of redemption is stated as accomplished fact.
  • In part, this recollects the LORD's historic redemption of Israel from Egypt (Ex 15:13).
  • But it also speaks of the role of Israel's Messiah, as their 'kinsman redeemer.'
    The word 'redeemed' is HB= ga'al, referring to the work of the 'kinsman redeemer' (the 'goel').
    This work of Christ, determined from eternity past, was finished on the cross. Heb 2:14-16
    (See the Book Notes on the whole book of Ruth for an explanation and illustration of the 'kinsman redeemer.').
  • Israel was redeemed from Egypt through the blood of the Passover lamb,
    which foreshadowed the Lamb of God who takes away sin (the Servant Messiah, Isa 42:6; Joh 1:29; 1Pet 1:18-20).
    The price of redemption was paid, even while Israel, in their blindness, could see no one to deliver them (Isa 42:21-23).
...I will be with thee... (v.2)- In all of Israel's tribulations, including the future Tribulation period,
the LORD will never abandon, but will preserve them.
  • through the waters...- During the Exodus from Egypt, Israel passed safely
    through the Red Sea and through the Jordan River, into the promised land. But there, because they turned from the LORD, He caused their enemies to overflow the land like a flood (eg., Isa 8:7,8; 28:1,2). Even so, He would preserve a remnant.
  • The fires of judgment would burn against the nation.
    But it would have no lasting effect upon the believing remnant (eg., Dan 3:25-27; Zech 13:9).
...I gave Egypt... and people for thy life.-
The LORD would give Israel's enemies to destruction, in order to preserve her.
     In the near application, Israel would be released from her captivity to Babylon by the rise of the Medo-Persian empire which would be given dominion over the nations and regions mentioned in v.3 (cp. Isa 45:13,14).
     In the distant application, the catastrophic collapse of Babylon (the worldwide system of gentile dominion) will precede the rise of Christ's Kingdom, in which Israel will be restored to prominence.
5 Fear not: for I [am] with thee:
I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west;
6 I will say to the north, Give up;
and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far,
and my daughters from the ends of the earth;
{Jer 30:10,11; 46:27,28}
7 [Even] every one that is called by my name:
for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.
I will bring thy seed from the east... from the west...-
Today, there is a partial physical regathering of Israel to their land, in preparation for the Day of the LORD. Through the Time of Jacob's Trouble, many Israelites will return to Him spiritually.
...even every one that is called by my name...-
Israel's believing remnant is identified with the LORD, by personal faith in His Person and promises.
In every age, God saves individuals by His Grace, through faith (cp. Rom 9:6-8; Hab 2:4), and nurtures them to spiritual maturity. (The references below apply most fully to Church Age believers.)
  • I have created {HB=bara', created something that did not previously exist} him...-
    An individual becomes a new creature (a child of God), by faith.
    eg., Rom 4:3; Joh 1:12,13; 3:3,5; 2Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15; Eph 2:10; Titus 3:5-7
  • I have formed {HB=yatsar, molded} him...-
    The child of God is being transformed, into conformity with God's Will. eg., Rom 12:2
  • I have made {HB='asiah, finished} him...-
    The child of God will be brought to perfection. Rom 8:29,30; Heb 13:20,21
...for my glory.- The glory of God is revealed in His Grace
toward unworthy sinners whom He has redeemed. eg., Eph 1:6,12; 2:4-7
8. Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears.
9 Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled:
who among them can declare this, and shew us former things?
let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified:
or let them hear, and say, [It is] truth.
10 Ye [are] my witnesses, saith the LORD,
and my servant whom I have chosen:
that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I [am] he:
before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.
11 I, [even] I, [am] the LORD; and beside me [there is] no saviour.
12 I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed,
when [there was] no strange [god] among you:
therefore ye [are] my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I [am] God.
13 Yea, before the day [was] I [am] he;
and [there is] none that can deliver out of my hand:
I will work, and who shall let it
{ie., who shall 'turn back' what I have done}?
bring forth the blind people...- Israel will be brought out of dispersion
from the four corners of the earth (v.5,6), while still in a state of spiritual imperception (cp. Isa 6:9-13; 42:18; Eze 12:2).
let the nations be gathered together... let the peoples {plural} be assembled...
let them bring forth their witnesses {ie., evidences}-
The wisemen and the gods of the Gentile nations did not discern Israel's past or future.
Their explanations of Israel's history fall short of the Truth.
or, let them hear, and say, It is the truth.-
Having no evidence to the contrary, and being ignorant of God's Word, the Gentile nations must listen and consent to the truth, before they can be accepted into the Millennial Kingdom. cp. Isa 52:15
Ye are my witnesses {ie., evidences}, saith the LORD...-
Israel, even in her state of rebellion and spiritual blindness, is still God's servant, through whom He will accomplish His purpose. That purpose is:
that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am He...-
I even I am the LORD; and beside me there is no savior. cp. Isa 41:4; 44:6; Hos 13:4
This statement directly refutes the world's acclaim of the Antichrist as god and savior. eg., Rev 13:4
I have declared {ie., proclaimed, published}, and saved {ie., delivered},
and shewed {HB=shama, caused to be heard}-
From the beginning, the LORD proclaimed what He would do with Israel. The fulfillment of His Word would demonstrate that He alone is their Savior (apart from any 'stranger' which they had followed previously). cp. Isa 46:10; 48:4-7; Deu 32:12; Joh 5:43
14. Thus saith the LORD, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel;
For your sake I have sent to Babylon, and have brought down all their nobles,
and the Chaldeans, whose cry [is] in the ships.
15 I [am] the LORD, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your King.
Here, about 120 years prior to the Babylonian captivity of Jerusalem, the LORD predicts the fall of Babylon (cp. Jer 50:34). The ships by which Babylon conducted commerce on the Euphrates River, would carry her nobles away as captives.
16 Thus saith the LORD,
which maketh a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters;
17 Which bringeth forth the chariot and horse, the army and the power;
they shall lie down together, they shall not rise:
they are extinct, they are quenched as tow
{ie., a wick of flax}.
18 Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.
19 Behold, I will do a new thing;
{cp. Isa 42:9}
now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it?
I will even make a way in the wilderness, [and] rivers in the desert.
20 The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls:
because I give waters in the wilderness, [and] rivers in the desert,
to give drink to my people, my chosen.
21 This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise.
The LORD, who would bring Babylon's armies against Jerusalem, would also extinguish those armies (v.16,17). Whereas the LORD had powerfully delivered Israel in the past (eg., in the Exodus from Egypt, and in the miraculous defeat of Sennacherib's army, Isa 37:36,37), those events would seem small in comparison to a yet future deliverance (v.18). The LORD would "make a way..." and provide "waters in the wilderness" for the remnant who would return from Babylon to Jerusalem (v.19-21). However, the ultimate fulfillment awaits the fall of Babylon the Great, and the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom.
22. But thou hast not called upon me, O Jacob;
but thou hast been weary of me, O Israel.
23 Thou hast not brought me the small cattle of thy burnt offerings;
neither hast thou honoured me with thy sacrifices.
I have not caused thee to serve with an offering
{ie., meal offerings},
nor wearied thee with incense.
24 Thou hast bought me no sweet cane
{ie., calamus, cp. Ex 30:23-25} with money,
neither hast thou filled me with the fat of thy sacrifices:
but thou hast made me to serve with thy sins,
thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities.
thou hast been weary of me...- Israel had grown tired of serving the LORD.
I have not caused thee to serve {as a slave}...-
The LORD had called Israel to sonship, to serve Him from the heart.
But because their hearts were far from Him, His service had become a drudgery to them. They failed to see a reason to bring a sacrifice for their sins. Yet, their sins were ever before the LORD, and He grew weary of the necessary work of punishing sin. cp. Isa 1:11-15; Mal 1:13,14
thou hast made me to serve with {as a slave, in bondage under} thy sins...- Isa 7:13; Amos 2:13
There is a stark contrast between the indictment of v.22-24 and the pardon offered in v.25, as He reasons with them in His love and grace (cp. Isa 1:18).
25. I, [even] I, [am] he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake,
and will not remember thy sins.
26 Put me in remembrance: let us plead together:
declare thou, that thou mayest be justified.
27 Thy first father hath sinned, and thy teachers have transgressed against me.
28 Therefore I have profaned the princes of the sanctuary,
and have given Jacob to the curse, and Israel to reproaches.
I, even I, am He...- "It is a Royal pardon."
that blotteth out...- "It is an effectual pardon."
thy transgressions... thy sins...- "It is a personal pardon."
for mine own sake...- "It is a purchased pardon."
"God finds in Himself (in Christ), and not in the sinner, a righteous ground on which He can act in pardoning the guilty." [in quotes, GWms] See Rom 3:19-26
declare thou, that thou mayest be justified...-
The LORD invites them to produce a righteousness of their own, by which they can be justified before Him. But of course, this is impossible (Rom 10:3,4). Their history of sin, and their suffering of its consequences, are evidence of their unrighteousness.
thy first father hath sinned...
...therefore, I have given Jacob to the curse, and Israel to reproaches.
Jacob's descendants exhibited the sinful nature of their forefather. Jacob had become Israel, when he turned to the LORD, in his time of need. But the nation had not yet turned and remained distant from Him. Therefore, they would be subjected to further trouble.
thy teachers {the scornful priests, cp. Isa 28:14} have transgressed {ie., rebelled}...
...therefore, I have profaned {ie., defiled, dishonored} the princes of the sanctuary {ie., the Holy Place}...
[This section continues into the next chapter (through 44:5).]

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