The concluding verses of Isaiah 49 provide us with two dramatic prophetic pictures. In verses 22 and 23  Zion is informed that her children shall be gathered to her with regal attention and respect. The last three  verses speak of Yahweh’s deliverance of the children of Zion from their oppressors by which all flesh shall  know that He is their God and Saviour.

 49:22–23 The dramatic reversal in the attitude of the nations towards Zion’s children

Verses 22, 23 “Thus saith the Lord Yahweh, Behold,  I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles [rsv nations],  and set up my standard [Heb ness cp 11:10; rsv  ‘signal’] to the people: and they shall bring thy sons  in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried  upon their shoulders.

And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their  queens [mrg ‘princesses’; Heb sarah cp Gen 17:15  mrg] thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down  to thee with their faces toward the earth, and lick  up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that  I am Yahweh: for they shall not be ashamed that  wait for me.”

The words of these two verses are spoken by  Yahweh to Zion. In them He assures her that He  will summons the nations, by the “lifting up of his  hand” and “setting up of a standard”. Instead of  being oppressed, Yahweh’s evident favour towards  her children will bring about a complete change  of attitude among the nations to them. They will  facilitate their return to Zion. The picture is of  their every need being met, her sons being carried  in arms, her daughters on shoulders! So great will  the fear of Yahweh be that kings and queens will  devote themselves to their well-being, becoming  nursing fathers and mothers (cp 60:9–11).

“they [kings and queens] shall bow down to thee  with their faces toward the earth” Similar words  to these are found in Isaiah 60:14: “The sons also  of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto  thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow  themselves down at the soles of thy feet.” Zion’s  former persecutors now render service to her. The  sentiments of these verses are taken up by the  Lord in his words to the ecclesia in Philadelphia:  “Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of  Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do  lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship  before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee”  (Rev 3:9) These words will be fulfilled following  the judgment, when the faithful of Philadelphia are  found worthy and those who afflicted them within  the ecclesia are exposed for what they were, liars.

The application of these words is important and  helps us identify who these sons and daughters of  Zion are, namely, the saints. They cannot apply to  the natural seed as they are still in unbelief of the  Messiahship of Jesus.

“for they shall not be ashamed that wait for  me” (cp Psa 25:3). This phrase confirms our  interpretation that the saints are being referred to.  The attitude of “waiting” faithfully upon Yahweh  frequently designates God’s chosen (40:31; 51:5).  The words are paraphrased by Paul in Romans,  “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love  of God…” (5:5). So both New Testament references  to this verse (Revelation 3 and Romans 5), apply the  words to the saints, both Jew and Gentile.

It is interesting then to contemplate how the  kings and queens can “bring Zion’s sons and  daughters to her in their arms”. It cannot be literally  true for they shall be immortal then. It must apply  to the attitude of kings and queens in the day of  Christ’s power. They will be humbled before him  and his elect (Psa 72:9–11), the rulers of the coming  age. This is the same picture presented earlier in  this chapter, “Kings shall see and arise, princes also  shall worship” the risen and glorified Lord (v7). So  the resources of the rulers and of the nations will be  placed at the disposal of Christ and his elect, and  their attitude towards them will be transformed.

The same will apply to Zion’s natural seed.  They, too, will experience this change of attitude  towards them and men of all nations will take hold  of their skirts, because it will be seen that God is  with them (Zech 8:20–23), and they will facilitate  their regathering to Zion (cp 43:1–7; 45:14; 66:19–  22; Mic 5:7–15).

Zion, as the bride of Yahweh and mother of  His children, is often so presented in Scripture.  Psalm 87 describes Zion as the mother of “this  man and that man” because they have been “born  in her”, not in a literal sense but spiritually. Zion  epitomises their hopes: “Glorious things are spoken  of thee, O city of God” (v5, 3). Hence Paul refers to  “Jerusalem which is above” being “the mother of  us all” (Gal 4:26). He then cites Isaiah 54:1, “For it  is written, Rejoice, thou barren… for the desolate  hath many more children than she which hath an  husband” (v27).

49:24–26 Yahweh’s deliverance of His captives

Verse 24 “Shall the prey be taken from the  mighty, or the lawful captive delivered? (rsv ‘or  the captives of a tyrant delivered?’)

Zion’s children, the “seed of the woman”, have ever  been the subject of affliction and persecution. The  redeemed of the Lord are described as having “come  out of great tribulation” (Rev 7:14; 17:6; 18:6; 20:4).  They have suffered at the hand of the Jesuits, the  agents of the Romish Harlot (Rev 17:5). But the  time will come when the tables will be turned and  the destroyer of our brethren will be judged and  destroyed (Rev 18).

Isaiah 49:24 presents two questions and the  implied answer to them is, “No!” The captives of  a tyrant cannot be rescued! These questions are  addressed to mother Zion in relation to her children  (v25). But Verses 25 and 26 are Yahweh’s answer.

Verses 25–26 “But thus saith Yahweh, Even the  captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the  prey of the terrible [rsv ‘tyrant’] shall be delivered:  for I will contend with him that contendeth with  thee, and I will save thy children. And I will feed  them that oppress thee with their own flesh; and  they shall be drunken with their own blood, as  with sweet wine: and all flesh shall know that I  Yahweh am thy Saviour, and thy Redeemer, the  mighty One of Jacob.”

In these verses we can see the ultimate victory of the woman’s seed over the seed of the serpent (Gen 3:15). The most unlikely thing will happen. The captives (saints) of the tyrant shall be liberated, because Yahweh Himself “will contend with him that contendeth with [them]” (cp 54:17). The result is stated: “and I will save thy children”. Clearly mother Zion was addressed in verse 24, and her children are the saints, who will be delivered and redeemed. Though they might have perished at the hand of their persecutors, ultimately the victory will be theirs, for they shall be resurrected and glorified. They will be the kings and priests of the age soon to dawn (Rev 5:9–10; 20:4; 2 Tim 2:12).

“and all flesh shall know that I Yahweh am thy Saviour” Verse 26 makes it clear that this  victory of Christ and the saints over the latter-day  representatives of their oppressors will be recognised  by all flesh. Yahweh will intervene and vindicate His servants after a long period of refraining Himself  (49:13–14).

The titles used here are significant. Salient lessons will be taught to “all flesh”, and they shall know that He is

  1. “Yahweh” – the name given to Moses at the Bush which guarantees the existence of His purpose with Israel (Mal 3:6; Exod 3:13–15;  6:6–8). He will be sanctified and known by His great judgments (60:16; Ezek 38:23; Exod  9:16).
  2. “Thy Saviour” – the Deliverer (43:10, 13; Titus 1:3, 4; 2:10, 13; 3:4, 6).
  3. “Thy Redeemer” – (Heb goel) – as such He assumes the responsibilities of the next of kin. This will be made plain to “all flesh” when  He delivers Zion’s children from oppression, and the grave and exalts them in the coming Kingdom (Rev 20:4).
  4. “The mighty [Heb abhir, lofty] One of Jacob” – this phrase occurs three times in Isaiah (1:24; 60:16). Jacob made vows with God when he fled  from Esau (Gen 28:15). These were faithfully carried out by God. As a result Jacob confessed  his faith in God’s redemption (Gen 48:15–16,  21; Heb 11:21). Brother John Carter’s words  that follow bring out the significance: “the God  of Jacob then is the One who has promised to be with His people in all their sojourn, never to leave them in all their days of trial during which they may be the victims of the evil thoughts of their fellows as Jacob was of Laban’s. The  God of Jacob is the One Who fulfilling His Word, will bring the heirs of the promise to the  land covenanted, with life preserved through  unending days. When we read the Psalms etc with this background, we find they have a fuller meaning (cp Psa 20:1; 46:7, 11; 75:9–10; 81:1,  146:5).” (The Christadelphian, Vol 77, 1947  p 33,34.)

Isaiah 50:1–3 Zion’s sins have separated her from her husband. There was no response to Yahweh’s call despite His power to save

Verse 1 “Thus saith Yahweh, Where is the bill of your mother’s divorcement, whom I have put  away? Or which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves, and for your transgressions is your mother put away.”

In the opening words of this verse two questions are addressed to the children of Zion, which relate to Zion’s words in 49:14, 21. They are asked:

  1. To produce the bill of divorce that shows that Yahweh has put her away
  2. To nominate to which of His creditors (to whom He owes money) He has sold her.

The implied answers are negative. The last part of the verse explains why the relationship has broken down and who has initiated it! The questions are answered in the reverse order:

“Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold  yourselves” (cp allusion Romans 7:14), and  For your transgressions is your mother put away.”

They were responsible for the breach in the  relationship: Yahweh had been forsaken, and their  iniquities and transgressions against His laws had caused the separation. These thoughts are virtually  repeated in 59:1–2: “Behold, Yahweh’s hand is not  shortened, that it cannot save… But your iniquities  have separated between you and your God, and  your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.”

Verses 2–3 “Wherefore, when I came, was  there no man? When I called, was there none  to answer? Is my hand shortened at all, that it  cannot redeem? Or have I no power to deliver?  Behold, at my rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a wilderness: their fish stinketh,because  there is no water, and dieth for thirst. I clothe the heavens with blackness, and make sackcloth  their covering.”

“Wherefore, when I came, was their no man?  When I called, was there none to answer?” This was the sad fact. There was a total failure to respond  to Yahweh’s overtures. Later He complains that  He has “spread out [his] hands all the day unto a  rebellious people, which walketh in a way that [is]  not good, after their own thoughts” (65:2). The  claim that there was “no man” and “none to answer”  is frequently made (51:18; 59:16). This would  ultimately necessitate His involvement in human redemption. He would have to extend Himself,  His arm if the conditions were to be met! How this  would be done is explained in the Third Servant  Song that follows (50:4–9). This Servant would succeed where all others had failed. He would hear, respond and obey!

“Is my hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem? Or have I no power to deliver?” Yahweh  again asks two questions in an endeavour to rationalise why it is that there has been no response. Is it because of His inability to save, or because His impotence has been proved, justifying their lack of faith in Him to redeem them? The words that follow answer the questions.

“Behold, at my rebuke I dry up the sea” It was through no failure on His part that they had defected  from Him. What follows is a series of statements that prove His historic power to save and deliver.

The “drying up of the sea” is a reference to the Exodus model and experience by which the nation had been born (Psa 136:13; 78:13; Exod 14:21).

“I make the rivers a wilderness [cp Josh 3:16]:  their fish stinketh, because there is no water, and  dieth for thirst” (cp Exod 7:18, 21). “I clothe the heavens with blackness…” (cp Exod 20:21)

In these three verses the general failure of the national Servant is set forth. However all is not lost, for in the verses that follow (v4–9), a great contrast is to be seen. We are again introduced to Yahweh’s suffering Servant who was so intent upon doing the will of his Lord, whatever this might involve. We shall see how his sufferings were graphically foretold, and his determination to pursue the course that Scripture had dictated. Such was his great love for his heavenly Father.