Isaiah 61 - Outline of Isaiah (Book Notes menu page)
C. Restoration secured through Israel's glorious King (The King of Peace), ch. 58-66
  1. Israel's false worship contrasted with true worship, 58:1-14
  2. Israel's confession of sin, and the Redeemer's remedy, 59:1-21
  3. Israel's radiance and peace in the Light of the Redeemer, 60:1-22
  4. Israel's joy in the completed Gospel of the Anointed One, 61:1-11

1. The Spirit of the Lord GOD [is] upon me;
because the LORD hath anointed
{HB=maschach} me
to preach good tidings unto the meek;
he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to [them that are] bound;
2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD,
and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion,
to give unto them beauty for ashes,
the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD,
that he might be glorified.
the Spirit of the Lord GOD {Adonai Jehovah} is upon me...- cp. Isa 11:1-5; 42:1
At the close of the previous chapter, the LORD (God the Father) was speaking (Isa 60:22). Here, the One speaking is the Son, who is anointed with the Spirit of the LORD. Again, we see the Persons of the Tri-une Godhead, together, in the work of salvation (cp. 42:1; 48:16; Luk 3:22).
Jesus read from this passage in the synagogue in Nazareth, where He had grown up (Luk 4:16-24).
  • From the response of the people (eg., Luk 4:22),
    it is evident that they viewed Him as an insignificant person.
    For He was the 'little one' of whom the Scriptures spoke (see Isa 60:22).
  • From the way He handled the Scriptures,
    it is evident that He was well acquainted with them,
    since He readily found the passage that He wanted to read.
       However, what He did not read demonstrates the meaning and importance of 'rightly dividing the Word of Truth' (2Tim 2:15).
       Observe that Jesus did not finish reading the first three verses of this chapter, even though they form one sentence. He intentionally stopped part way through the sentence, in the middle of verse 2, closing the book after "the acceptable year of the LORD."
       He told His audience that the portion which He had read was fulfilled in their ears 'this day,' that is, at His first coming. He did not continue reading because the remainder of the text awaits His second coming.
At His first coming, the Messiah (the Anointed One of v.1) was sent (Isa 48:16)...
  • to preach good tidings to the meek...- Mat 5:3-12
  • to bind up {ie., bandage, heal} the brokenhearted...- Mat 11:28-30; cp. Isa 50:4
    He illustrated this by healing the sick and raising the dead.
  • to proclaim liberty to the captives...- Joh 8:32-36; cp. Isa 42:7; 49:9
    He illustrated this by casting out demons, setting men free from satanic bondage.
  • to proclaim the acceptable year {HB=shanah, year, season} of the LORD.-
    This phrase recalls the year of Jubilee, when slaves were set free, and liberty was proclaimed throughout the land (Lev 25:9,10). In a similar way, the Lord provided deliverance from bondage to sin and Satan, in the year that He paid the price of redemption, on the cross. That salvation is freely offered to all who put their trust in Him. But it is available for a limited time, because the Age of Grace will close, and every man's days are numbered (2Cor 6:1,2; Col 1:13,14).
Verses 2b-3 describe aspects of salvation which await the Messiah's second coming:
  • the day of vengeance of our God...- cp. Isa 35:4; 59:17,18; 63:1-4; Luk 21:20-24; Zech 12:1-3,9
  • to comfort all that mourn...- The days of Israel's mourning are not yet ended. Isa 60:20
  • to appoint {HB=sium, put, reward} unto them that mourn in Zion...
    • beauty for ashes...-
      Ashes placed on one's head were a symbol of mourning, often accompanied by the wearing of sackcloth (eg., Isa 58:5). When Christ returns, He will exchange Israel's ashes for a glorious headdress (ie., the priestly head covering). See Ex 39:28, where this word for 'beauty' {HB=pe'er, translated 'bonnets'} refers to the head covering of priests. Also see Psa 30:11.
    • the oil of joy for mourning.- cp. Psa 23:5; 45:7
    • the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness {ie., darkness}. cp. 'garment' in v.10
  • that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD,
    that He might be glorified.- see Isa 60:21; Psa 92:12-15; Joh 15:8
    God's people, alive and fruitful in His righteousness and beauty, will live for the glory of the One who planted them in the place of blessing.
4. And they shall build the old wastes,
they shall raise up the former desolations,
and they shall repair the waste cities,
the desolations of many generations.
5 And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks,
and the sons of the alien [shall be] your plowmen and your vinedressers.
6 But ye shall be named the Priests of the LORD:
[men] shall call you the Ministers of our God:
ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles,
and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves.
strangers shall... feed your flocks...- The gentile nations will serve Israel,
though she was previously despised and a reproach among the nations.
but ye shall be... the Priests of the LORD...- The whole nation of Israel, not just the tribe of Levi,
will be priests, as the LORD originally intended. Ex 19:6
7 For your shame [ye shall have] double;
and [for] confusion
{ie., reproach} they shall rejoice in their portion:
therefore in their land they shall possess the double:
everlasting joy shall be unto them.
8 For I the LORD love judgment
{ie., justice},
I hate robbery for burnt offering;
and I will direct their work in truth,
and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
9 And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles,
and their offspring among the people:
all that see them shall acknowledge them,
that they [are] the seed [which] the LORD hath blessed.
for your shame... double...- They will be compensated with joy
commensurate to the measure of their sorrows. cp. Isa 40:2; 54:4; Zech 9:12
I hate robbery for burnt offering...- The LORD hates hypocrisy.
No matter how impressive or costly the donation, the LORD will not accept what has been obtained through illicit means. (eg., There is no acceptance for the wealthy man, though he builds orphanages and churches with his profits, if he has robbed others of what was rightfully theirs. cp. Jam 5:1-6)
I will direct {HB=nathan, give, grant} their work {HB=pe'ullah, recompense, wages} in truth {HB='emeth, in faithfulness}...-
ie., The LORD will faithfully reward His people with the wages of honor, in compensation for their shame.
their seed shall be known among the Gentiles... all... shall acknowledge them...-
In that day, the world will recognize and honor the chosen people.
cp. Gen 22:18; Acts 3:25,26; Rom 11:15,25-29; Isa 44:3
10. I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God;
for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation,
he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decketh [himself] with ornaments,
and as a bride adorneth [herself] with her jewels.
11 For as the earth bringeth forth her bud,
and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth;
so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise
to spring forth before all the nations.
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD...-
Here, the voices of Israel and her Messiah blend together, as He leads them in praise.
for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation... the robe of righteousness...-
  • The righteousness of the bridegroom covers the bride as well.
    v.3; Jer 23:5,6; Rom 3:22; Isa 52:1; cp. the righteousness of church saints: Rev 19:7,8; 21:2
  • The bridegroom puts on His priestly garments.
    The word 'decketh' {HB=kahan} refers to the clothing of a priest "that he may minister unto me in the priest's office" (eg., Ex 28:1,3,4,41). The word for 'ornaments' {HB=pe'er} refers to the 'beauty' of the priestly headdress (as noted at v.3 above, and in Ex 39:28).
       The Bridegroom will take on His role as the King and Priest of His people, Israel (Psa 110:1-4; Heb 7:17; 9:11,12).
  • The bride adorns herself with her jewels.
    Like a wedding ring, these mark her as belonging to her bridegroom. See Gen 24:53.
       The word for 'jewels' {HB=keliy} is very broad, referring to 'something prepared' (as determined by the context). She receives from Him, that which He has prepared for her. (cp. Eph 5:25-32, regarding the Church of Christ) the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth {ie., to grow, to bud}...-
The LORD will bring to fruition the work of salvation which was begun at Christ's first coming.
See 2Sam 23:5; Joh 12:23,24; Psa 85:9-13; Isa 55:10,11; Jer 33:15,16

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