June 28, 2015  •  Leave a Comment


We Christians have often scooped-up and claimed as our own, verse 2 of Isaiah 54:

"Enlarge the place of your tent,
    stretch your tent curtains wide,
    do not hold back;
lengthen your cords,
    strengthen your stakes."

We use it as God's word to us to move forward because He has called us, in this passage, to do so with confidence and the expectation of His Blessing; and we may be quite right to do so.

However, the context of that verse, that is, the whole of Isaiah 54 and its context from chapter 48 all the way through to the end in chapter 66, has become more the focus for me because it is being fulfilled, right before our eyes, and on a day to day basis, in Israel and the world today. The fulfillment is not by any means an historically "done deal", although in the Prophetic Vision given to Isaiah, that is how it is formed.

This is a rather large context that speaks of YHWH's Eternal Redemption Plan: which includes "the Servant", "the Man of Sorrows", "the Branch", and the Sovereign LORD who says,

"Then you will know that I, the Lord, am your Savior,
    your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob" (60:16).

"Then" clearly means when He restores His people, Israel, to their LAND, and "establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth" (62:7-8).

He declares to Her:

"For your Maker is your husband—
    the Lord Almighty is his name—
the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer;
    he is called the God of all the earth.
The Lord will call you back
    as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit—
a wife who married young,
    only to be rejected,” (54:5-6)

Since this narrative includes both the Prophecies of Restoration of His People to their LAND, and the "Suffering Servant", "in [whose] hand ... the will of the LORD will prosper" (53), as the One who will bring all of this about, I must conclude that:

we cannot say that the "Suffering Servant" part (Isaiah 53) is literally and entirely fulfilled in Yeshua Ha-Mashiach, Jesus Christ, but, at the same time say, that the restoration of Jerusalem as the "praise of the earth", and

"In the last days

the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established
    as the highest of the mountains;
it will be exalted above the hills,
    and all nations will stream to it"

are metaphorically fulfilled in the church!

We are to expect literal fulfillment of all the other Messianic prophecies as well.

Our church elders recently indicated that this verse was the springboard of an expansion vision for our church, and I was delighted because Grace and I have for some time now been very grateful to our LORD for the expansion He is working in our vision and understanding of Scripture; particularly the Prophetic Scriptures.

As indicated above, the context for that verse is not only all of chapter 54, but the whole book in which YHWH, and the "Servant", speak about and to Israel, both the people and the Nation, about sin, punishment, exile and devastation because of disobedience, restoration to the Land of Promise, cleansing, purification and Redemption.

I find YHWH's Oath fascinating. This Oath, He says, is like the Oath that He gave to Noah, but now declares to Israel, back in their own Land after the Diaspora:

"So now I have sworn not to be angry with you,
    never to rebuke you again.
Though the mountains be shaken
    and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
    nor my covenant of peace be removed,”
    says the Lord, who has compassion on you." (54:9)

This sounds quite unilateral; but when we remember that the Sovereign LORD said, in Ezekiel 36-37, that "It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name ... I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Sovereign Lord, when I am proved holy through you before their eyes" (emphasis added), this unilateral declaration sounds familiar.

It seems clear that the "proof" spoken of is the Restoration of all Israel to their LAND. YHWH will be "proved holy" when Israel, and the world, see that the people of Israel are back in the Land that He Promised to Abraham Isaac and Jacob/Israel.

YHWH's Redemption Plan, the one that we Gentiles have, in some mysterious way through "Christ", been grafted into, must include everything that the Prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Micah, Zechariah and all the others say will be concluded only when the LORD Almighty will literally, (the text gives no hint that this is metaphorical), "return to Zion and dwell in Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the Faithful City, and the mountain of the Lord Almighty will be called the Holy Mountain." (Zechariah 8).

In fact, Zechariah continues with:

"A day of the Lord is coming, Jerusalem, when your possessions will be plundered and divided up within your very walls.

I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city. Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights on a day of battle. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south. You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him." (14)

The re-establishment of the Nation of Israel in 1948 has made these Prophesies much more believable than they may have been for the 2,000 years of the Diaspora. Perhaps we can forgive "Christian" theologians who took it upon themselves to declare that YHWH had abandoned His people Israel, and replaced them in His favor with "Christian" who became followers of the Jewish Yeshua Ha-Mashiach; these same theologians then proceeded to distance themselves and the church from their Jewish roots. Vestiges of this are still with us today, even though we no longer accept Replacement Theology as such.

Back in that day, one might understand how theologians could come to such conclusions, but not after 1948. Once these "latter day" prophecies began to be  LITERALLY FULFILLED before our eyes, we needed to review our beliefs and become open to the possibility that prophecies we had seen as being METAPHRICAL ONLY, could, or perhaps should, be returned to the realm of LITERAL MEANING. That is, back to the way we used to read the Scriptures; take literally everything that can be read so, and see the metaphorical as another dimension of depth, but never replacing the literal understanding of the text.

That passage in Isaiah 54,

“Enlarge the place of your tent,
    stretch your tent curtains wide,
    do not hold back;
lengthen your cords,
    strengthen your stakes."

then needs to be read with the sentence that follows it, which does not apply easily as metaphor for the church:

"For you will spread out to the right and to the left;
    your descendants will dispossess nations
    and settle in their desolate cities."

I do believe that we can be encouraged by this passage in our own situation today, and, in fact, even more dramatically if we understand it as literal fulfillment of Prophecy regarding YHWH's people and their return to their Land. Since that Return is being fulfilled on an on-going basis today, we can be confident that our God, who is the same yesterday, today and forever, and is the same LORD God of Israel who is bringing His people back to their Land blessing them there, will indeed bless the EXPANSION He has determined for our lives as well.


P.S. An interesting article regarding a detail that might be easily missed as we look at unfolding of PROPHECY today:







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