Isaiah 56 - Outline of Isaiah (Book Notes menu page)
The closing verses of the previous chapter (Isa 55:10-13) previewed that future day,
when the Word of God, the son of David, will have established His Millennial Kingdom, restored Israel and re-ordered the world. The whole creation will rejoice, and mankind will live in righteousness and peace.
     As this chapter (ch.56) opens, the citizens of the Millennial Kingdom come into view. In His 'Sermon on the Mount' (Matthew ch. 5-7), Jesus presented the rules of His Kingdom, which are even higher than the standards set by the Mosaic Law. Those who would know the blessing of the King, in that day, will understand the importance of personal observation of the Sabbath and attention to moral rectitude, which are emphasized in this description of His reign.
III. B. 5. The Results of Redemption, 54:1-56:8
  1. For Israel... ch. 54
  2. For everyone who thirsts... ch. 55
  3. For citizens of the Millennial Kingdom... 56:1-8
1. Thus saith the LORD, Keep ye judgment, and do justice:
for my salvation [is] near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed.
my salvation is near to come...-
'Salvation' here refers to the national restoration of Israel when their Messiah returns to deliver them and to establish His kingdom (Rom 11:26). This first verse has dual application, to the time of the Kingdom, and also to the time prior to its establishment.
  • Anticipation, of the coming King and His Kingdom, ought to be motivation for right living, for believers who live prior to that time.
    This was the message of John the Baptist, at the King's first coming (Mat 3:1-3).
    Today, believers, who wait for Him, live with similar motivation (1Joh 3:2,3).
    Prior to Christ's return to establish His Kingdom, Elijah will come to call Jew and Gentile to repentance (cp. Mal 4:5,6; Rev 11:3-6)
  • When the King comes again, He will rule with a rod of iron,
    to ensure true justice and righteousness. 2Sam 23:3,4; Psa 2:9-12
    Those who live in harmony with Him will know His blessing.
2 Blessed [is] the man [that] doeth this,
and the son of man [that] layeth hold on it;
that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it
{ie., profaning, treating it as common},
and keepeth his hand from doing any evil.
3. Neither let the son of the stranger,
that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak,
saying, The LORD hath utterly separated me from his people:
neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I [am] a dry tree.
4 For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths,
and choose [the things] that please me, and take hold of my covenant;
5 Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls
a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters:
I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.
Blessed is the man that doeth... layeth hold... keepeth the sabbath... [does not do] any evil.-
Citizens, who live according to the rules of the Kingdom (as the King outlined in the 'Sermon on the Mount' in Matthew ch.5-7), will be happy there. They will be enabled to live righteous lives, because through their King they will have received new hearts (Jer 23:5,6; 31:33,34). However, anyone who does evil will encounter swift justice.
     During the Millennial Kingdom, Israel will keep the Sabbath and the regular feasts and also offer sacrifices (Eze 45:17). These observations will be in remembrance of the work of salvation, accomplished by the King at His first coming.
the son of the stranger... the eunuch...-
Both were excluded from full participation under the Mosaic Covenant (eg., Num 18:1-4,7; Deu 23:1-3).
But under the New Covenant, all who embrace the LORD and His ways will enjoy the full blessings of the Kingdom. At the beginning of the proclamation of the Gospel, the Holy Spirit recorded examples of the New Covenant blessing on both groups (eg., Acts 8:27-39; 10:1,34,35). In Christ, the Gentiles, who were strangers and separated from the things of God, have been brought near (Eph 2:11-19).
neither let the eunuch say... I am a dry tree.-
The eunuch, unable to have children (to carry on his name), might consider himself like a dead tree without fruit. Yet, the LORD who is able to transform brier bushes into myrtle trees (Isa 55:13), is also able to give life to a 'dead tree.' Joined to the LORD (the ever-living One), with the desire to please Him flowing within his heart, even those, whose natural life is 'cut off,' are blessed with the LORD's eternal life and Name. This was also the experience of the King (53:8), who established the New Covenant "in His blood" (Luk 22:20). Those who 'take hold of' {or, are made strong through} that Covenant demonstrate a new quality of life (cp. v.4; Jer 31:33,34).
that keep my sabbaths, and choose [the things] that please me, and take hold of my covenant.-
This is not a description of legalism, or salvation by works. Through 'taking hold on the New Covenant,' by faith, the believer is given a new heart (which desires to please God), and finds his 'sabbath' rest in Christ and His finished work (Heb 4:1-11).
a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters...-
Natural children are a blessing from the LORD (Psa 127:3), but they can also be a sorrow and burden (Prov 10:1; 17:21,25). Whether one has children or not, there is no higher blessing than to be a child and son of God (Joh 1:12,13; Eph 1:5; 2Pet 1:4).
6 Also the sons of the stranger,
that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him,
and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants,
every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it,
and taketh hold of my covenant;
7 Even them will I bring to my holy mountain,
and make them joyful in my house of prayer:
their burnt offerings and their sacrifices [shall be] accepted upon mine altar;
for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.
8 The Lord GOD which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith,
Yet will I gather [others] to him,
beside those that are gathered unto him.
The Lord Jesus quoted v.7 in Mat 21:13; Mark 11:17; Luk 19:46.
At the time of His first advent, Israel had corrupted the worship at the Temple, which should have been a place of witness to all nations. During His Millennial Kingdom, the Temple will be restored to its intended purpose. The sacrifices that will be offered upon the altar, in that day, will be in honor and remembrance of Christ's one historic all-sufficient sacrifice. God's Word will go out from Jerusalem to all nations (Isa 2:2,3; Mal 1:11). It appears that, when He comes, Israel's remembrance of His sacrifice, will be in a different form than the church's remembrance "till He comes," though both commemorate the same sacrifice (cp. 1Cor 11:25,26).
yet will I gather others...- 'Others' refers, here, to the gentile nations,
with the implication that many gentiles will come to faith, during the time that the King regathers the dispersed of Israel into His Millennial Kingdom. Perhaps many more will turn to Christ in that day, than during the Church Age. cp. Joh 10:16
At verse 9, the view suddenly shifts from Israel's glorious future to the sad situation of the nation,
in Isaiah's day, and during their subsequent years of continued wandering from the LORD.
III. Salvation (poetry), ch. 40-66
B. Salvation procured by the Suffering Servant
(The Prince of Peace), ch. 49-57
  1. The Holy One, Israel's Redeemer is also the Salvation of the gentiles, 49:1-26
  2. The Redeemer is rejected by sinful men, 50:1-11
  3. The Redeemer is sure Redemption for the Remnant that trust in Him, 51:1-52:12
  4. The Price of Redemption, the substitionary sacrifice of the Suffering Servant, 52:13-53:12
  5. The Results of Redemption, for Israel and all who thirst, 54:1-56:8
  6. Condemnation of those who reject the Holy One, 56:9-57:21
9. All ye beasts of the field, come to devour, [yea], all ye beasts in the forest.
10 His watchmen [are] blind:
they are all ignorant, they [are] all dumb dogs, they cannot bark;
sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.
11 Yea, [they are] greedy dogs [which] can never have enough,
and they [are] shepherds [that] cannot understand:
they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter.
12 Come ye, [say they], I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink;
and to morrow shall be as this day, [and] much more abundant.
all ye beasts... - The devouring beasts are the gentile nations that afflict Israel.
They are called, as instruments of judgment upon Israel. cp. Dan 7:3-9; Rev 13:1,11
his watchmen are blind...- The watchmen are Israel's false prophets and priests.
Although charged with the responsibility of guarding and leading the people, they were willfully ignorant of God's Word, and therefore failed to warn of judgment and its cause. Instead, they led the people into sin and into a false sense of security (Isa 28:7; 29:9-14).
     They were "dumb dogs," because they remained silent concerning the approaching judgment. They were "greedy dogs," living for their own fleshly pleasures. Paul warns of such false teachers, telling his readers to "beware of dogs." (Php 3:2,18,19; cp. 2Pet 2:18-22).
     They were "shepherds," entrusted with the care of God's flock, but they did not know the LORD and had no concern for His sheep (Eze 34:2,3; Joh 10:7-11).
[This section continues into the next chapter.]

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