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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
Isaiah 30:19, 20 says,
19 O people in Zion, inhabitant in Jerusalem, you will weep no longer. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you. 20 Although the Lord has given you bread of privation and water of oppression, He, your Teacher [moreh], will no longer hide Himself, but Your eyes will behold your Teacher [moreh].
There are two Jerusalems throughout Scripture, and the prophets speak to both cities without distinguishing between them. The Hebrew word for Jerusalem is Ierushalayim, which literally means “two Jerusalems.” The Hebrew language has a plural (-im) and a dual (-ayim). Ierushalayim has the dual ending, which means precisely two. The prophets leave it to the reader to discern which city the word of God is addressing.
In the above case, “Jerusalem” is the New Jerusalem, or the heavenly city, as it is often called. The New Testament makes the distinction between the two cities. Overall, the earthly city is slated for destruction, while the heavenly city is promised grace and salvation. It is the same with us as individuals, for our flesh, or “old man,” has been sentenced to death, while our “spiritual man” is our real self that is being saved.
Hence, when Paul says in 1 Cor. 15:50 that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God,” it is not only the flesh and blood of our “old man” but also the earthly city of Jerusalem.
Having made this distinction by reading the New Testament, we can properly interpret Isaiah. Jerusalem is the New Jerusalem in this case, and Zion is likewise changed to Sion (Heb. 12:22, KJV), which is Mount Hermon (Deut. 4:48). It is also the place where Jesus was transfigured and manifested as the Son of God (Matt. 17:2, 5).
Isaiah’s message to Jerusalem is the promise of God, which is based on the New Covenant (Gal. 3:18). God’s promise is to save all mankind, and when God calls someone, it is to fulfill His promise in that person. Ultimately, He will call everyone, but only a few are called in this present age, for the few are called to bless the many. The evidence of their calling is seen in the fact that they repent and turn from their fleshly ways. God opens their eyes to see the truth, and they are inspired to change direction and to learn the ways of God.
So the prophet says, “He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry” (of repentance). Yet we know also that they cannot repent apart from a sovereign act of God that causes them to repent (Jer. 31:18; Lam. 5:21). When sinners turn (repent) and their actions confirm that which God has done in their hearts, then God responds to their cry and delivers them.
Prior to their repentance, God gives them “bread of privation” [tsar, “enemy, distress, affliction”] “and water of oppression” [lachats, “affliction, oppression”]. These are Hebrew metaphors that picture affliction as if it were a daily diet of food until God’s promise of deliverance is fulfilled. Then they will see their Teacher (moreh).
The Hebrew word moreh literally means an archer. The root word is yarah, “to shoot, to teach.” It is the word used in Joel 2:23, where it is translated “the early rain,” but could also be rendered “Teacher of righteousness.” A teacher of righteousness is pictured as an archer who skillfully hits his target—Truth.
But moreh is also pictured as rain, which speaks of the outpouring of the Spirit. The combination of these two ideas is seen in John 15:26, where Jesus spoke of “the Spirit of Truth who proceeds from the Father.” Hence, even as rain comes down from heaven, so also does the Spirit of Truth proceed from our Father in heaven.
The Spirit of Truth is “the promise of the Father” (Acts 1:4). Any time Scripture speaks of the promise of God, it is a New Covenant feature. When the Holy Spirit was sent to the church on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2, it was to fulfill the promise, oath, or vow of the Father. So it is that the New Covenant is fulfilled when God writes His law upon our hearts (Heb. 8:10) by the agency of the Spirit of Truth.
Rejecting the law is evidence that God is not yet fulfilling His promise to them but that the promise will be fulfilled in them only at a later date. To such, the promise that their eyes will behold their Teacher remains in the future. Isaiah 30:21 says,
21 Your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left.
Men may be under the illusion that their own will has led them to repent and turn to God, but in fact the great Teacher of righteousness has been guiding them from behind by the Spirit of Truth. When we recognize the truth of the matter, we will understand the sovereignty of God and know that He is the Source and First Cause of all things. The Apostle Paul had received this revelation as well, for it was the foundation of his teachings in Romans 9.
Isaiah 30:22 says,
22 And you will defile your graven images overlaid with silver, and your molten images plated with gold. You will scatter them as an impure thing, and say to them, “Be gone!”
When the Spirit of Truth is given, men will cast aside their idols, “graven images,” and “molten images.” This is what happens when the Holy Spirit writes the Second Commandment in our hearts: “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth” (Deut. 5:8).
An idol is an artistic expression of men’s understanding of God and His nature. The problem is that the flesh, with its soulish man, cannot comprehend the things of the Spirit (1 Cor. 2:14). Hence, an idol always falls short. An idol limits men’s ability to know God as He really is. Physical idols create idols of the heart by writing incorrect laws upon the hearts of men. This revelation was given to Ezekiel when certain elders of Jerusalem came to inquire of him the word of the Lord (Ezek. 14:3). God told the prophet that if men inquired with idols in their hearts, He would answer them according to those idols so that they would stumble and fall.
The prophet showed us that we must come to God without preconceived opinions, so that we are able to hear whatever God says. In other words, it must be a true inquiry, rather than an attempt to get God to validate one’s own fleshly opinions. We must be seekers of truth, rather than just searching for validation of our own beliefs and preconceived opinions.
Isaiah thus tells us that when our great Teacher comes to lead us into all Truth, we will cast aside our idols, including the idols of the heart. Men will then be able to hear and obey the word of God. They will no longer reject the word in favor of their own traditions (idols). This promise has already been fulfilled in the remnant of grace, even while “the rest were blinded” (Rom. 11:7, KJV). But the day is coming when the Spirit of God will be poured out upon the entire earth. Then all will see and understand. Isaiah 30:23, 24 says,
23 Then He will give you rain for the seed which you will sow in the ground, and bread from the yield of the ground, and it will be rich and plenteous; on that day your livestock will graze in a roomy pasture. 24 Also the oxen and the donkeys which work the ground will eat salted fodder, which has been winnowed with shovel and fork.
The prophet uses the metaphor of rain to reveal the work of the Spirit of Truth, whose spiritual blessings also result in physical manifestations. The earth was created to bring forth fruit and to be productive, but sinful men have hindered its productivity by their carnal and immoral practices that run contrary to the law of God. So the curse (judgment) of the law was to prevent the earth from being productive. Deut. 28:23, 24 says,
23 The heaven which is over your head shall be bronze, and the earth which is under you, iron. 24 The Lord will make the rain of your land powder and dust; from heaven it shall come down on you until you are destroyed.
The blessings of obedience are seen in Deut. 28:12,
12 The Lord will open for you His good storehouse, the heavens, to give rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hand…
This has at least two layers of meaning: spiritual and physical. The physical manifests the spiritual condition. Hence, drought and famine are the result of sin (violation of the law). While accepted science in our present Babylonian system does not recognize the Creator as a First Cause, we who believe the word of God understand that conditions on earth depend upon the spiritual condition of its inhabitants. Creation is an expression of the Creator.