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Isaiah 58 – 66

Weekly Deep Dive
Weekly Deep Dive
Isaiah 58 - 66
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The law of the fast. Sabbath day observance. Who is the tree? Who is the sheep, who is the shepherd, who is the groom? What does it mean to be like Christ? A double portion. Clothed in salvation.

4 responses on "Isaiah 58 - 66"

  1. Why does Isaiah switch back and forth from talking as the Lord and then talking as himself? How do we tell which is which? I hope my question makes sense. This is so confusing, maybe the reason you don’t get many questions is because people don’t even know what to ask. I

    • This is such an amazing question! I love it and it has caused a lot of great reflection and meditation on the words of Isaiah for me. To me, it’s the power of art. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and Isaiah has a gift of painting a picture with his words. The scriptures are full of symbolism of outsiders becoming Israel, particularly when Israel goes stray. You have Ruth, who was married to an Israelite whose name meant sickly. Sickly left Israel at a time of famine and married Ruth, an outsider. The famine symbolized apostasy. When Israel turns away from the Lord, famine and apostasy follows. Ruth, on the other hand, shows great strength following her mother-in-law back into Israel saying your God is my God. She ultimately marries Boaz, whose name literally means strength. In the account, she went from weakness to strength, from a Gentile to now, not only an Israelite, but an ancestor to both King David and Christ. Same thing with Rahab in Jericho. While the two spies went to a harlot, an image of unfaithfulness to the Lord, Rahab recognized the strength in Israel and wanted to be a part of it. She was brought in, initially towards the fringes of the camp, and then eventually finds her way to the core of the camp nearest the temple. While Christ was alive, he told the Jews, you claim Abraham as your father, but I say unto you, I can raise seed to Abraham from these stones. While the apostles were fishing, they caught no fish on the one side of the boat. After being redirected to cast the nets on the other side, their nets were bursting, they were then directed to be fishers of men. The fish were symbolic of people and the sides of the boat, the nations. The Jewish nation wasn’t bearing much success, but when turning to the rest of the world, the converts would swell to the breaking of the church organization. After Christ’s death, we saw this all play out. the Jews were very reluctant to believe and follow Christ. The apostles were eventually directed to take their work to the nations and brought them into the covenant, Abraham’s covenant. Just as with the Assyrian destruction, that brought all sorts of nations into Israel and taught them to worship the Lord. This has been a major theme of the Bible, including Elijah going to a widow of the Gentiles in a time of great famine and offering her meal that would never fail. Jeremiah says the people turn to their stones and call them father. In response, Christ turns to the stones and calls them children.
      All of this to say, this theme gets woven into Isaiah, and part of the ambiguity of who is talking. In Isaiah 63:16 “Doubtless thou art our father though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O LORD, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting.” Isaiah talks about the Lord inheriting the nations. Nations is the same Hebrew word as Gentiles. Here, he is talking about a people that did not descend from Abraham, yet became the Lord’s people, and subsequently, descendants of Abraham. This is just like Ruth, Rahab, the widow and Christ saying he would raise children up to Abraham from stones. With that in mind, listen to Isaiah 65:1, “I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name.” Who is the Lord talking about? It sounds like the Gentiles again. But, look at the entirety of chapter 64 leading up to this verse. In 64, Isaiah is speaking on behalf of his people pleading with the Lord for him to save them. He says “Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains would flow at thy presence . . . But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags . . . And there is none that calleth on they name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee . . . But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay and thou our potter.” Isaiah says that none in Israel call upon the name of the Lord. Now re-read verse 1 of 65. “I am sought of them that asked not for me. I am found of them that sought me not.” He’s talking about Israel who would not call on him previously. Israel becomes as Sodom and Gomorrah, but in reverse, Sodom and Gomorrah become as Israel. Think about that imagery for a second.
      Now, when Christ speaks as Israel when they are carried away into Babylon, he says ‘I gave my back to the smitters and my cheek to him that plucketh out hair. He was stricken, beaten of men and esteemed as not.’ Is that referring to Israel, or Christ? Both. God became man, so that man could become God. I see a lot of the imagery here as saying that the sinner, the nations, anyone can become Israel. Israel has faltered and God is offering the falterers, the ones that have gone astray, the chance to become Israel. Christ became mortal and suffered a fall and death so that he can redeem the fallen and the dead, and through him, we call all be restored.
      I hope that helps, and wasn’t more confusing. I’ll try to address this in the Jeremiah Part 2 episode. Let me know if this helps, or makes it worse…

  2. I was reminded in your discussion when you were referring to the Lord being remembered as the one that brought the children of Israel out of Egypt and through the Red Sea, how throughout the scriptures it seems that what the children of Israel are remembering the Lord for evolves. If we take look at similarly a day of rest, in the beginning God created the Earth and he rested on the 7th Day from his creation. Likewise the children of Israel have the Passover to remember what the Lord had done for them during the plagues. Even Nephi explaining to Laman and Lemuel how they should not fear to go up to Laban recalling the great things the Lord had done such as bringing the children of Israel out of Egypt. Now we have the Sabbath in remembrance of Christ and what he has done, as in the atonement and the act of his death and Resurrection. No more do we have our Sabbath or our Passover to remember what the Lord did for the children of Israel in protecting them from the destroying angel, helping them get out of egypt, or bringing them into the promised Land, but we remember what he has done for us as our Savior. Hence perhaps your discussion in Jeremiah, sand his prophecy about how the Lord will be remembered as the one who brought Israel back together from the north and from the south, etc.

    • I love this insight, thank you for sharing! The example of the sabbath being changed from the end of the week to the first of the week and being celebrated for the resurrection instead of the creation is a powerful example. Spot on, so glad you shared this!

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