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Isaiah is the prophet of Salvation. He is also known as the truly "Universalist" prophet, by which is meant that He makes it clear that salvation is extended equally to all nations and not just to Israel. He lived to see the fall of Israel and the deportation of the Israelites to Assyria, and he prophesied of their "return" to God (through repentance). He is truly a "major prophet" whose prophecies greatly influenced the Apostle Paul in the New Testament.
Category - Bible Commentaries
The day of the Lord is the time in which Babylon falls, and in that day “Israel” again will be chosen. Isaiah 14:1 says,
14 When the Lord will have compassion on Jacob and again choose Israel, and settle them in their own land, then strangers will join them and attach themselves to the house of Jacob.
This verse is usually interpreted through the eyes of modern Zionism, but I have an alternate viewpoint. First of all, for God to “choose Israel” a second time implies that Israel had lost its status as God’s chosen people. The Hebrew word bachar (“choose”) means “to try, to prove,” because God tests or proves them before He chooses them.
In this case, God had given Israel a bill of divorce (Jer. 3:8) and sent her out of His house according to the law (Deut. 24:1, KJV). She had been chosen as God’s wife at Mount Sinai, but after the divorce she was no longer in a marriage relationship with God. To be chosen again means that Israel had ceased to be God’s wife.
The divorce law prevented Him from taking her again to be His wife (Deut. 24:4). Hence, He (Christ) had to die in order to be raised up as a new creature, wherein the law no longer recognized the ex-Husband as the same individual. Likewise, she herself had to divorce her false gods in order to be eligible for (re)marriage.
But if God had chosen Israel again while she was still in her fleshly state, the best that He could have had was another Old Covenant marriage. Such a marriage would have been doomed to failure again. God had no intention of remarrying a fleshly bride again, for such a bride, though called Israel, would be comparable to Hagar, the Old Covenant wife that had already been cast away (Gal. 4:24).
For this reason, God has waited for the time when Israel would be spiritual (rather than fleshly), so that they might enjoy a New Covenant relationship. Since Jesus Christ is the Mediator of the New Covenant, the bride must acknowledge Him and His New Covenant before she is eligible for such a marriage. That is why Paul says that only the remnant of grace is chosen (Rom. 11:7) and that Hagar must be cast out (Gal. 4:30).
Isaiah 14:1 says that God “will have compassion on Jacob and again choose Israel.” The prophet draws our attention to the story of Jacob and how his name was changed to Israel. Jacob was tested, tried, and proven, before Israel was chosen.
Jacob, the deceiver and supplanter, was carnal, for he thought that his will was supreme and that God needed his help to fulfill the earlier promises spoken about him. In fact, that was why he deceived his father in Gen. 27:24. He knew that the prophecy before he was born stated that “the older shall serve the younger” (Gen. 25:23).
Only after losing the wrestling match with the Angel Peniel did Jacob realize that God was sovereign and did not need his fleshly help to fulfill His promises. Hence, he was given a new name, Israel, “God rules,” that is, God is sovereign.
Isaiah’s wording shows that God has compassion for Jacob, but He only chooses Israel. Jacob was not born an Israelite. Becoming an Israelite requires revelation. It requires a change of heart, a change of nature. Peniel means “the face of God,” and Paul tells us in 2 Cor. 3:18 that we are changed by beholding Him with an unveiled face—a face without the Old Covenant veil. When Jacob wrestled with the angel, the veil was still on his face. Jacob became an Israelite when the spiritual veil was removed and he saw (recognized) the face of God.
So it is with the entire remnant of grace. They are all tested and tried by fire until they come to the place of spiritual maturity where the Old Covenant veil is removed and they see the face of God. To see Him as He is (1 John 3:2) is to know His nature, beginning with His sovereignty. True Israelites are not those who are born after the flesh, as was Ishmael, but those who are “children of promise” (Gal. 4:28).
These are the ones chosen to inherit the Kingdom. Many Jacobites and spiritual Ishmaelites are citizens, but only Israelites are heirs. One’s status as an Israelite is not based on genealogy, as if one’s earthly parents could determine such a thing. No, a true Israelite is one whose Father is God and whose mother is “Sarah,” the New Covenant. It takes two parents to create a child. God has many children who are Ishmaelites and some who are of the Isaac company.
Isaiah 14:1 tells us that God will “settle them in their own land.” Zionists claim that “their own land” is Canaan, the physical land into which Joshua led them. That was indeed the Promised Land at the time, but it was not the ultimate promise of God. God had a much better “land” to give them. It was the land that Abraham sought, “a better country, that is, a heavenly one” (Heb. 11:16).
Heb. 11:13 says that Abraham confessed that he was a stranger in the land of Canaan, and Heb. 11:14 says,
14 For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own.
In other words, “their own land” (Isaiah 14:1) was not the land of Canaan. Only the “better country” that Abraham saw from a distance was “a country of their own.” To interpret this as the original land of Canaan is to view the prophecy through an Old Covenant veil. The remnant of grace, that is, the overcomers, do not see through such veils but see God face to face. They know His plan and intention. They are like Abraham—people who look for better things.
The “Promised Land” of the overcomers, the true Israelites having Abrahamic faith, is the glorified body that was lost when Adam sinned. Our bodies are made of the dust of the ground (Gen. 2:7). Originally, Adam’s body was in a glorified state; hence, he needed no earthly clothing, for he was clothed with the tabernacle (tent) from above (2 Cor. 5:1-3).
His clothing was the glory of God, which left him when he sinned. The goal of history is to return to that original state—and more. The Promised Land is the glorified body. It is pictured in terms of clothing. When God settles us in our own land, as promised, we will have authority in both heaven and earth and will have equal access to both places. Like the post-resurrection Christ, we will be able to go to heaven or come to earth simply by changing clothes, as it were.
As a believer, your spirit even now is capable of heavenly experiences, but there is something greater that is coming, where even our bodies will disappear from the earth and go to heaven in the same manner that Jesus did after His resurrection (Luke 24:31, 36).
This is how God settles His chosen ones in their own land under the New Covenant. Carnal people are limited by an Old Covenant veil, and their vision is limited to a carnal land inheritance.
Isaiah 14:1 says too that “strangers” (ger, “sojourners, foreigners”) will join them as they are being settled in their own land. In other words, the prophet says, the Promised Land is not just for Israelites. Foreigners have rights too, because ultimately, the promises of God are for the whole world.
Zionists interpret this to mean that non-Jews will convert to Judaism and thus become Jews, even as we see in Esther 8:17. But Judaism, by definition, is an Old Covenant religion whose veil has not been removed. Instead of non-Jews converting to Judaism, the promise of God is that Jews—and others—must come to Christ. Heb. 13:11-14 puts it this way:
11 For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest as an offering for sin, are burned outside the camp. 12 Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate. 13 So, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach. 14 For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come.
The book of Hebrews appeals to “Hebrews” to immigrate from the Old Covenant to the New. It offers “better things” than what was seen in Jerusalem under Old Covenant Judaism. As such, the book’s final appeal is for Jews to go “outside the camp,” that is “outside the gate” (of Jerusalem), because that is where Jesus went to be crucified on the Mount of Olives.
All people are invited to come to Christ in the same manner and on an equal footing, for the ungodly dividing wall in the outer court of the temple was destroyed by Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:14, 15). Therefore, the remnant of grace—the true Israelites—will not be restricted to those of a particular fleshly genealogy. The only requirement is that they seek the “better country” that Abraham sought and that they adopt the faith of Abraham, believing that God is able to fulfill His vows, oaths, and promises (Rom. 4:21).
Isaiah himself will explain his universalist view later in Isaiah 56:6-8,
6 Also the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, to minister to Him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants, every one who keeps from profaning the Sabbath and holds fast My covenant; 7 even those I will bring to My holy mountain and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar; for My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples. 8 The Lord God, who gathers the dispersed of Israel, declares, “Yet others I will gather to them, to those already gathered.”
The temple of God was built to be a house of prayer for all the peoples, even as Solomon himself stated in his prayer of dedication (1 Kings 8:41-43). In those days there was no dividing wall to keep foreigners (and women) at a distance. All were welcomed by God equally. It was only later, when Herod rebuilt the temple just before the birth of Jesus, that the dividing wall was added to fit the narrow nationalism of the priests in that day.
This wall has been reconstructed by the Zionists today, and if God allows them to build a third temple, there is no doubt that they will again construct a dividing wall according to their traditions. We expect such things of Jews who do not recognize Jesus and who resent the idea that He has torn down this wall. But Christians ought to know better. The fact that many Christians have sided with the Jews in this matter shows that they are Jacobites, not Israelites. The Old Covenant veil is still upon their faces, for although they lay claim to the New Covenant, their practices are still rooted in Old Covenant thinking.
So let us be the children of Abraham by sharing his New Covenant faith (Gal. 3:7). Let us be Israelites and not merely Jacobites. Let us seek a better covenant, a better country, and a better city as our inheritance.