(Isaiah 35:10) “And the ransomed of the LORD will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.”
Isaiah Chapter 35 is a prophetic psalm as are many of the Psalms. In fact the whole Bible is prophetic in nature. The Hebrew prophets prophesied for three time frames. They prophesied for their own time, for the first coming of the Messiah, for His Second Coming and the days leading up to this event, and in some passages of scripture included the Messianic age to come after this age has finished.
The Old Testament as the New Testament there were no chapter and verse divisions in the texts. These were added much later by translators for easier referencing. A prophet in one prophecy would cover all three time periods and include the Messianic Age to come as well and run them all together in the one prophecy.
King Solomon wrote “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). In the Bible the prophets took past events and applied them to future events and collectively they all pointed to one final fulfilment. These events were similar in character and partial fulfilments that all pointed to an ultimate fulfilment in the future.
At times the prophets used imagery, allegory and metaphors to describe deeper spiritual truths and this pattern is seen not only in the Old Testament but also in the way the New Testament was written. Both the Lord Jesus and the apostles used this method Having said this we must also keep in mind that in relation to Bible prophecy that God is the God of history and uses historical events, nations and kings and works through them to establish His plans for man, and more so for His people.
As God Himself has said; “Remember what happened long ago, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me. I declare the end from the beginning, and ancient times from what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and all My good pleasure I will accomplish.’ I summon a bird of prey from the east, a man for My purpose from a far-off land. Truly I have spoken, and truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, and I will surely do it” (Isaiah 46:9-11).
The late Derek Prince said something along these lines; “God does what He wants, in the way He wants, when He wants, and with whomsoever He wants, and asks no man’s permission. Can we make room for the sovereignty of God?” As it is also written; “Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are His. He changes times and seasons; He deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things; He knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with Him” (Daniel 2:20-22).
The psalmist also writes, “It is God who judges; He brings down one and exalts another” (Psalm 75:7). While man has a free will to make choices God knows how things will turn out in the end and has already planned accordingly because He inhabits eternity and knows everything there is to know. See also (Psalm 139:1-16).
And so Psalm 35 uses metaphors and illustrations from nature to describe deeper spiritual truths but also which are also prophetic in nature, not only for the future spiritual and national restoration of Israel, but also for all of the redeemed through the ages that make up the Israel of God, keeping in mind that the Messiah has only one bride spiritually grafted into the Commonwealth of Israel (Romans 11:15-18) (Ephesians 2:11-22) (John 10:16).
Now let’s look at Isaiah Chapter 35
(Vs.1-2) “The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendour of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the Lord, the splendour of our God.”
Today in Israel we see the wilderness and the desert places blossoming and vast areas of land being turned into fruitful pastures and fruit bearing fields yielding produce. It would seem that Israel is becoming a fruitful land agriculturally. However, it is a partial reclaiming of the desert places that is the harbinger of that full restoration of the whole land of Israel which is to come in the Messianic age to come when Israel will be a luscious place like the original garden of Eden was, and a nation raised up above all of the other nations with the Messiah reigning from Jerusalem, the capital of the whole world. (Isaiah 2:1-5) (Micah 4:1-5). In that day there will be shouts of joyful praise and unbridled joyful tears of repentance for the one who was pierced for their sins and yet who in His unfathomable love and mercy has redeemed and forgiven them and cleansed them from all their sins in His atoning blood (Zechariah 12:10-14; 13:1)
Also we see that this ultimate restoration in the regeneration of the land indicates that there has also been a spiritual restoration in the hearts of all Israelis who have survived the Time of Jacob’s Trouble, which will occur prior to the Lord’s return and which will see Israel as a nation delivered. David their king we are told will reign over them. Of course it is not literally King David but the Messiah Himself the human decedent of David (Jeremiah 30:1-10).
Not only will the Land of Israel be exceedingly fruitful but the people of Israel will be reflectors of spiritual light to the nations, and that light will be the light of the Messiah when He reigns from Jerusalem and also in the hearts of all whom He has redeemed, being one flock with one shepherd (John 10:16). Israel will indeed be a light to spiritually enlighten the nations in the age to come after the close of this present age. The teaching of the Torah will go forth to the nations and cover the earth as the waters cover the seas.
As the prophet Micah writes; “In the last days the mountain of the house of the LORD will be established as the chief of the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and the peoples will stream to it. And many nations will come and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us His ways, so that we may walk in His paths.” For the law (the Torah) will go forth from Zion and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem” (Micah 4:1-2).
The Messiah’s reign will be the harbinger of the final and eternal state to come in the New Jerusalem which will come down from heaven at the end of the Messianic age and will also see a completely new heavens and earth and in that day the redeemed of the nations will be walking in its light (Revelation 21:23-25).
At present Israel is once again the object of the hatred of the nations. No other nation in history has suffered as the Jewish people have suffered. God is using applied pressure today from the nations that are gathering against Israel, not to destroy His people who are still the apple of His eye, but to bring them to the foot of that old rugged cross where the Passover Lamb Himself shed his blood on the sacrificial alter of that cross to atone for the sins of His people, to save them from its power and penalty in their lives, and the only one who takes away the sins of the whole world (Matthew 1:21) (John 1:29).
After the Jewish remnant chosen according to God’s foreknowledge and grace have encountered the Messiah when He comes back, they will all be saved and inherit the Messianic kingdom. In that day all Israel will be saved! God will banish ungodliness from His people and take away their sins (Romans 11:25-27). This is Israel’s ultimate inheritance. The nation will become what God has called them to be and to do in the Messianic kingdom age to come, “because God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29).
Now let’s continue…
(Vs.3-4) “Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.”
At present by and large Israel is a secular, humanistic, materialistic, hedonistic nation and has a lot of religious activity happening, but a nation that still rejects their Messiah and the salvation found only in Him alone and not in any work of man. Israel’s leaders are wheeling and dealing with the nations and relying upon the Egypt of this world for their support and security, but in Israel’s darkest hour yet to come the nations they have trusted in will desert them.
Jeremiah tells us that cries of fear and terror and not of peace will be heard and that strong men will grip their stomachs with their hands like a woman in labour and that every face in Israel will turn pale. It will be the time of Jacob’s Trouble but Israel will be saved out of it by the return of the Messiah (Jeremiah 30:4-7). After this they will love, worship and serve the one who has bled and died for their sins when He reigns from Jerusalem. The yoke of Israel’s oppressors will have been forever broken from off of their necks! (Jeremiah 30:8-11a).
One thing to keep in mind is that what happens to Israel in the last days will also happen to the faithful Body of the Messiah spiritually grafted into the Olive Tree, being the nation of Israel. The beast kingdom of the Antichrist will also persecute the saints, the elect company of Jewish and Gentile believers within Israel and within Christendom (Daniel 7:21-22, 25) (Revelation 13:6-7) Having said this Daniel also tells us that when this persecution occurs that God’s thrones of judgement will be set in place and that His saints will be delivered to inherit His kingdom on earth. (Daniel 7:9-14, 18, 21-22, 26-27).
In the time of Jacob’s Trouble, which will impact Israel, devastate Christendom and the whole world for the last three and a half years of this present age, God will prove to be the strength of His people in their hour of affliction, a time period unequalled in past history an never to be equalled again (Daniel 12:1, 7) For the sake of His elect saints and for the very survival of the human race God will cut those days short! (Matthew 24:21-22). In that day of tribulation the only friends the Jewish people will have will be born gain, blood redeemed, Spirit–sealed New Covenant believers who understand God’s prophetic purposes for Israel in the Last Days.
And so God encourages us to Strengthen our feeble hands shaken by adversity, to steady the knees that give way, and to say to those with fearful hearts, to be strong and not to give into fear because our God will come, He will come with vengeance; with divine retribution He will come to save all who are trusting in Him. He will avenge His elect who have been crying out to Him day and night for deliverance. Indeed He will avenge them speedily! (Luke 18:7-8).
As the apostle Paul also writes; “God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with His powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His might on the day he comes to be glorified in His holy people and to be marvelled at among all those who have believed” ( 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10a).
And then we read…
(Vs.5) “Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped.”
When the Lord Jesus walked among us He gave spiritual sight to those who were spiritually blind and spiritual ears to hear the message of salvation with their hearts. By and large the Jewish people remained spiritually blind and the veil over their hearts remains to this day and their hearts remain hardened. However it is a partial hardness which the Messiah our Lord Jesus will completely soften when they encounter Him coming in the clouds in great splendour and glory for all to see. In that day the veil over the eyes of the Jewish nation who have survived the Time of Jacob’s Trouble, will be removed!
Since 70AD the gospel of the kingdom has been bearing spiritual fruit among the Gentile nations and those who have been saved (believing Gentiles) being spiritually grafted into the Commonwealth of Israel, being the wild olive branches grafted in place of those individual natural branches (unbelieving Jews) broken off from their own Olive Tree through unbelief in the Messiah (Romans 11:15-24).
And then we read…
(Vs.6-7) “Then will the lame leap like a deer and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.
When the Messiah reveals Himself to His wayward brethren, as Joseph did to his wayward brothers, their spiritual lameness will be cured and they will leap with joy and freedom as a young dear leaps in the prime of its life once it has learned to walk! Those who have been spiritually mute due to the hardness of heart and enslaved by sin will be set free and enabled to praise and shout for joy at so great a salvation and deliverance from all of their spiritual and physical enemies and completely delivered out of the hands of all who hate them! (Luke 1:7).
The living water and streams of the Holy Spirit will satiate the spiritually dry, arid and parched souls desperately in need of the water of eternal life! The burning void of spiritual desolation will be inundated with the pools of God’s spiritual power and life and in that place where Satan and his jackals (demons) once resided will be driven out by the Spirit of God and replaced with spiritual fruitfulness by the power of the Messiah’s indestructible life! (Hebrews 7:16).
These things will come to their complete fruition when the Messiah comes back to save His people, not only from the power and penalty of sin, but eliminate its very presence completely from their lives forever! Indeed the Messiah still holds out the golden flask of the water of eternal life to all who are spiritually thirsting after God, and those who seek Him will be abundantly satisfied in this life and in the Messianic age to come and then for all of eternity after that! The Lord Jesus still calls to those who are spiritually thirsting for God! (Isaiah 55:1-2) (John 4:10, 13-14; 7:37-39).
For all those who truly repent of their sin and rebellion, seek God and call upon Him to save them, and turn to Him for mercy and pardon through the blood and merits of Jesus the Messiah, will receive pardon from God and that in abundance!
As Isaiah also writes; “Seek the Lord while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the Lord, And He will have compassion on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon”(Isaiah 55:6-7).
God wants the surrender of our wills. We cannot do this of ourselves but if we are willing to be made willing then God will do that supernatural spiritual work deep down on the inside and we will be changed (John 3:3) (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Many today in Israel, in Christendom and in this world hunger and thirst after miracles, signs, wonders, fame, fortune, the adulation of man and material blessings and prosperity, and having things good in this world, but very few hunger and thirst after that righteousness that comes from God and is received by faith in the Lord Jesus (Matthew 5:6) (Romans 3:21-24) (Philippians 3: 7-11). This is the message needed in Israel especially among the Ultra-Orthodox religious Jews who walk around seeking to establish their own works based righteousness. This is not only a spiritual problem within Israel but also within Christendom with its ecumenical interfaith associations.
To this day the people of Israel by and large labour under the curse of the law but what Israelis need to hear is that their Passover Lamb has been sacrificed for them, that the curse of the law has been broken at the sacrificial altar of the cross, and that when any Jewish man, woman, boy or girl comes by faith to the Messiah that curse is forever broken over their lives and they discover what it really means to be a decedent of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (1 Corinthians 5:7). They realise, maybe for the first time ever, that a true Jew is one who has been spiritually circumcised in their heart by the Holy Spirit and whose praise is not from men but from God! (Romans 2:28-29). Also it needs to be said that they do not have to stop being Jewish.
The Messiah was Jewish, the writers of both Testaments were all Jewish and salvation is of the Jews! (John 4:22). Added to this, the first century assemblies of New Covenant believers were all Jewish and Gentile believers were spiritually grafted into the spiritually revived Israel of God which happened on the day of Pentecost.
The New Covenant was made with the House of Israel and with the House of Judah and not with a Gentile ‘Church’ as such (Jeremiah 31:31). Gentile believers are spiritually grafted into Israel and become partakes of the blessings given to the decedents of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. As the apostle Paul writes; ‘As Paul writes; “The Messiah redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us. For it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing promised to Abraham would come to the Gentiles in the Messiah Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit” (Galatians 3:13-14). See also (Romans 4:16, 22-25).
And then we read…
(Vs.8) “And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness. The unclean will not journey on it; it will be for those who walk in that Way; wicked fools will not go about on it.
We are told in the Word of God that “holiness adorns Your House O God” (Psalm 93:5). Holiness is not something very religious and austere but a heart that has been filled with the love of God by the Spirit of God (Romans 5:5). It is not a human love but one that is supernatural in nature and one that is released by our faith, not primarily with our feelings although they will be involved to a greater or lesser degree in the expression of it towards God and towards man (Galatians 5:6) (Matthew 22:37-40). Luke adds “with all of your strength” (Luke 10:27).
Sometimes loving involves action without any feelings at all when seeking to love those who are hard to love. Only God can love through us and when we yield our wills to His will Hs love will be perfected in us and grow in us and we will be as Jesus was in this world when He walked this earth for we will be more like Him in increasing measure (1 John 4:17). To be truly holy is to be truly happy!
Primarily releasing God’s love shed abroad in our heart by the Holy Spirit it is an act of the will and not of the emotions and one that runs diametrically opposed to the world’s definition of love. When we have been born again we will want to love what God loves and hates what God hates and as we yield our wills to his Word then He changes us supernaturally deep down on the inside from one degree of glory to another. We are in fact partakers of His divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).
Because His nature is in us now we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this surpassingly great power is from God and not from us (2 Corinthians 4:7). We will start to see our daily lives increasingly being conformed to the likeness and image of God’s Son having His nature and character in our words and actions. To this we have been predestined (Romans 8:29).
Having said this the wicked who have no time for God, who want nothing to do with the salvation that the Messiah our Lord Jesus has purchased for them with His own blood and reject it even after hearing it, will never walk in the way of holiness or obtain heaven. To reject salvation is to act like a fool and God Himself has said this in His Word.
As we read; “The fool has said in his heart there is no God” (Psalm 14:1). It does not only apply to atheists alone but also to those who after hearing about God or being aware of Him revealed in nature still reject the revelation they have of Him (Romans 1:18-20). The reality is that if we want to go to heaven instead of hell we must have the holiness of the Lord Jesus dwelling in us through our faith in Him to save and to keep us in this world from the clutches of Satan and his snares.
The Lord Jesus is all we will ever need for heaven and true happiness in this life and that which will bring us to God for time and for eternity. God has made the Lord Jesus everything we will ever need to walk in the way of His holiness without which we will not see God! (Hebrews 12:14).
As the apostle Paul writes; “So that no one may boast in His presence. It is because of Him that you are in the Messiah Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God: our righteousness, holiness, and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord (1 Corinthians 1:29-31).
If you have been born again by the Spirit of God and have within you the holiness of the Lord Jesus at work in your life then your eternal destination will be the New Jerusalem because the way into that city is the way of holiness.
The apostle John also writes about this. “Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying” (Revelation 22:14-15).
And then we read…
(Vs.9) “No lion will be there, nor will any ferocious beast get up on it; they will not be found there. But only the redeemed will walk there”
God’s word tells us that Satan is always on the prowl seeking whom he may devour. He already has the unsaved in his clutches. The ones he is scared of are you and me who have been saved out of his clutches. He knows we can do great damage to his kingdom using the power of the blood of Jesus, by the power of the Word of Jesus and by the Spirit of Jesus, and it scares him witless!
He may roar as a fierce lion but his teeth have been pulled out at the roots by the Messiah’s redeeming work at the cross (Colossians 2:15). In this life we will face many trials and afflictions and in God’s Word we are told that through much tribulation we must enter the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22). Satan is upping the ante on wearing down the saints as he has always sought to do and this will come to a peak in the time of the Great Trouble for the beast empire of the Antichrist.
However, the thrones of God’s judgement will be set in heaven and judgement pronounced in favour of the saints (New Covenant believers) and the sentence carried out on Satan, and after that the saints will inherit the Messianic kingdom of God on earth and ultimately eternal bliss in the final and eternal state (Daniel 7:8-12, 25-27) (Revelation 21:1-4). After the Messiah has returned Satan will be removed from human contact for 1,000 years and then be released only to go into the lake of fire forever to join the Antichrist, his satanic hordes and the false prophet already there (Revelation 20:7-10). After this comes the Great White throne Judgement for all those whose names are not written in God’s Book of Life (Revelation 20:11-15).
At present as New Covenant believers we are daily assaulted by Satan and his demonic hordes from hell, and the way of holiness at times seems far away as we struggle with the desires of the flesh that war against the desires of the Spirit within us deep down on the inside, however, the day is coming when we will walk in the way of perfect holiness completely unshackled from temptation, sin and the desires of the flesh that go against what God desires in us and for us.
In the Messianic kingdom the redeemed Israel of God will walk in the path of holiness and never deviate from its path. Satan will no longer be around or active on earth to afflict and trouble us as he does in this present life and that without letup! Hindrances to holiness will no longer exist for the glorified, raptured and resurrected saints of the Israel of God co-ruling with the Messiah in His Millennial Messianic kingdom. No ferocious principalities and powers from the fallen unseen spiritual world will be around and the earth will become another Garden of Eden, not perfect, but the harbinger of the new heaven and earth to come after the Millennial Age has been superseded by the final, perfect and eternal state (Isaiah 65:17-25) (Revelation Chapters 21 and 22).
And finally we read…
(Vs.10) “…and the ransomed of the LORD will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.”
As New Covenant believers our ultimate destiny as ransomed and redeemed saints we will enter the eternal city of God with singing and everlasting joy will crown our heads and gladness and joy will overtake us and sorrow and sighing will be no more and this for all of eternity! This is our ultimate destiny as the ransomed Israel of God!