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Isaiah’s name is a shortened version of the Hebrew, Yesha yahu, “Yahweh Saves.” So his primary message was to tell Israel, as Paul put it, “all Israel will be saved” (Romans 11:26). Paul then quotes Isaiah 45:25 in support of this statement. Paul’s quotation was part of a longer passage in Isaiah 45:22-25,
22 Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. 23 I have sworn by Myself, the word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness and will not turn back, that to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance. 24 They will say of Me, “Only in the Lord are righteousness and strength.” Men will come to Him, and all who were angry at Him will be put to shame. 25 In the Lord all the offspring of Israel will be justified and will glory.
More than any other passage, this encapsulated Isaiah’s message and gave hope through the New Covenant vow of God Himself. Because of God’s “righteousness,” He will keep His word. Because of God’s “strength,” He is able to keep His word in spite of all opposition. These two key concepts are the reason for the success of the New Covenant.
Most Christians today misunderstand the nature of the covenants. They are told that the Old Covenant is conditional and the New Covenant is unconditional. This is actually true, but it does not clarify the matter sufficiently. The Old Covenant is conditional upon man’s response and obedience; the New Covenant is unconditional in that it depends fully upon God’s will and ability to keep His oath.
The usual Christian concept of salvation today is essentially that it is based upon a conditional covenant—the Old Covenant. Why? Because the promises of God have no effect apart from man’s response. Since most men will not respond during their lifetime, it is assumed that death is the great deadline for salvation. Hence, only a tiny percentage of people can be saved through this Old Covenant method.
On the other hand, the New Covenant places the unconditional responsibility upon God Himself to save anyone and everyone. He did not merely vow to make it possible for us to fulfill our Old Covenant vows. No, God made a vow to save all mankind, and this vow is empowered by His strength and ability to fulfill it in righteousness. “Every knee will bow.” “Every tongue will swear allegiance.”
When? Obviously, for most people, this will occur at the Great White Throne judgment after they have been raised from the dead in the general resurrection. Hence, death is not a deadline for salvation; it is only a deadline to qualify as an overcomer who will be raised in the first resurrection and thereby receive “eternal life” (i.e., aionian life in the Millennial Age).
It is only because “God is able” that we may have confidence in the New Covenant, for it is based wholly on the sovereignty of God. In fact, using the principle of Equidistant Letter Spacing, if we begin with the first yod in Genesis 1:1, every 521st letter thereafter spells in Hebrew, Yeshua is able. Hence, God’s sovereignty, i.e., God’s ability to accomplish His will, is one of the earliest and most fundamental principles built into the Scriptures.
Whereas the ELS in Genesis sets forth Yeshua’s strength and ability in creation, the New Covenant oath in Isaiah 45 sets forth Yeshua’s strength and ability to save not only Israel but “all the ends of the earth.” In other words, in spite of all the sin, all the rebellion, and, yes, even in spite of all the divine judgments, God is still able to swear an oath that “every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance.”
In other words, He is able to save and restore all that He created in Genesis 1:1. The ELS of 521 that begins with the first yod in Genesis 1:1 also puts Yeshua-Jesus into the picture “in the beginning.” John 1:2 confirms this, telling us that Christ, the Logos, “was in the beginning with God.” This establishes Christ’s pre-existence.
The Significance of Isaiah’s Name
The prophet Isaiah was a type of Christ, even bearing His name and its Hebrew meaning. His book of prophecies shows forth Christ’s judgments upon Israel on account of its sin as well as Christ’s ability to restore the nation on account of the righteousness of God. The prophet was simply a spokesman, a mouthpiece through whom Christ spoke judgment and salvation.
It is obvious, then, that the judgment was temporary and corrective in nature. Judgment came upon them for violating their vow at Mount Horeb (Exodus 19:8), a vow which we call the Old Covenant. Being unable to fulfill their vow, they were judged. But God too made a vow, which we know as the New Covenant, first with Noah (Genesis 9:9, 12), later with Abraham (Genesis 12:2, 3), and still later with Moses (Deuteronomy 29:12-15) at the end of Israel’s wilderness journey, a covenant which Joshua (Yeshua) was commissioned to implement (Deuteronomy 31:23).
A spokesman is essentially an agent. So we may call Isaiah the agent of Christ. A good agent does not speak on his own initiative. He speaks only what he hears from another. We call it “inspiration,” and this is why we believe that all Scripture is inspired (2 Timothy 3:16). Just as Christ was His Father’s Agent, so also was Isaiah the agent of Christ. In fact, all who are inspired by the Holy Spirit are agents of Christ, commissioned as ambassadors of the Kingdom.
Isaiah’s salvation message was founded on the New Covenant, even though he was a prophet in a time when the Old Covenant dominated. But as we have seen, the New Covenant actually preceded the Old Covenant, being clearly set forth to both Noah and Abraham. Hence, as Paul tells us in Galatians 3:17, the New Covenant promises to Abraham could not be invalidated by the conditional covenant that came 430 years later in the time of Moses. No, the New Covenant has greater authority and the power to limit the jurisdiction of the Old Covenant.
Introduction to Isaiah’s First Message
Isaiah 1:1 begins,
1 The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz concerning Judah and Jerusalem, which he saw during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.
The first thing we learn is that Isaiah was the son of Amoz, which means “strong.” We have already shown how the heart of Isaiah’s message was the New Covenant and how God is both righteous and strong. Hence, we see that Isaiah himself represents salvation, and his father is strong enough to save.
Secondly, Isaiah was from Judah, even as Yeshua-Jesus was from Judah. Was it possible that Isaiah was from Bethlehem as well? We are not told. Yet we know that he had a lengthy ministry that extended through four kings in Jerusalem, and tradition says that he was put into a log and sawn asunder in the reign of Hezekiah’s son, Manasseh.
Isaiah’s first “vision” begins in Isaiah 1:2,
2 “Listen, O heavens, and hear, O earth, for the Lord speaks, “Sons I have reared and brought up, but they have revolted against Me.”
Isaiah treats this as a statement in a court of law, calling both heaven and earth to witness what is being stated. God then speaks, referring back to Israel’s birth from Egypt, calling them “sons.” So also Hosea 11:1 says,
1 When Israel was a youth I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son.
The same revelation was given to Moses in Exodus 4:22,
22 Then you will say to Pharaoh, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Israel is My son, My firstborn’.”
These were “sons” in that God was their heavenly Father. Their mother, of course, was Egypt, making them spiritual Ishmaelites, or donkeys (Genesis 16:12), which were in need of redemption to turn them legally into the sheep of His pasture (Exodus 13:12-14). The Passover lamb thus redeemed them and accomplished this legal maneuver, and this prophesied of things to come, when Jesus Christ, our Passover Lamb came to do so in a greater way.
The problem in Isaiah’s day was that those who were supposed to be “sons” of God were not acting like sons. They had reverted to the stiffnecked condition (a rebellious will) of spiritual donkeys. Jeremiah 2:24 complained of the same thing a century later. The Apostle Paul later interprets such people as children of the flesh (Romans 9:7, 8; Galatians 4:29). In other words, their “sonship” position was based on fleshly genealogy and natural birth, rather than being begotten by the Spirit.
Such fleshly children, Paul says, are not inheritors of the Kingdom but must be “cast out” with their “mother,” the earthly Jerusalem (Galatians 4:25, 30).
Even so, because of the New Covenant, we know that God will turn the hearts of all men to Himself in the end, because “every knee will bow.” But before that happens, Hagar must be cast out in order to prove to all that no one can inherit the Kingdom by claiming to be a fleshly child of Abraham. They must renounce Hagar and claim Sarah as their spiritual mother. They must stop advocating for the earthly Jerusalem as the true mother of the Kingdom.
God will certainly save all Israel and all of creation. However, He will not do so until they repent, bow their knees to Jesus Christ, and profess their allegiance to Him. The New Covenant states that God is able to make this happen. He will not merely save everyone in their carnal state of rebellion. No, He will cause them to repent and to bow their knees, not out of compulsion, but by revealing Himself to them. Paul interprets Isaiah by paraphrasing him slightly in Philippians 2:11,
11 and that every tongue will confess [exomologeo] that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Their confession (exomologeo) is not extracted by force upon unwilling people. The word means “to acknowledge openly and joyfully, to profess that one will do something, promise, agree, engage.”
At the Great White Throne judgment, when all see Jesus for who He really is, when all finally know that He is Love personified, that His love compelled Him to swear an oath to turn every heart to Himself, then they will be awestruck at the salvation which they had previously ignored or rejected for lack of understanding or inspiration.
This is the only way in which their confession can be made "to the glory of God the Father."