Isaiah 61 begins, “”The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
This is the passage that Yeshua read from when he was in the synagogue in Nazareth. By that point, Yeshua had been baptized by John and had been anointed by the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit). Yeshua had already been preaching repentance in the synagogues of Galilee and the surrounding region before returning to the synagogue in Nazareth. He proclaimed the acceptable year of the Lord in their midst; He was proclaiming Jubilee. According to Leviticus 25:10, Jubilee is a time when liberty is proclaimed throughout the land to all of its inhabitants.
After reading from Isaiah and closing the scroll, Yeshua gave it back to the shammash (attendant) and sat down. He told them that this passage had been fulfilled in their presence. They couldn’t believe it; they asked, “Can this be Joseph’s son?” Based on what else Yeshua said, the people wanted to see Him perform miracles in their presence but Yeshua wasn’t going to do that. The people in the synagogue were filled with anger; they intended to kill him but he walked away from them.
Yeshua did not fulfill the portion of Isaiah that follows—“And the day of vengeance of our God.” This is something that Yeshua will fulfill in a future year of Jubilee. Second Thessalonians 1:7b-8 describes that as the time “…when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Surely, this will take place in this generation.
The prophecies found in Isaiah obviously can be divided into different periods of time. We need to bear this in mind as we sort out the prophecies found in Scripture. One thing is for sure, this is a Messianic prophecy.
Next, the prophet said the Messiah will comfort all who mourn. He intends to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for their heavy spirits. This is a beautiful prophecy. The Hebrew word for beauty is pe’er. According to Strong’s Concordance, pe’er is a fancy head-dress or ornament. This will replace the ashes that people put on their heads when they were mourning.
Let’s shift our focus for a moment to give us a mental picture of mourning. Think about what Tamar did when she had been raped by Amnon. Second Samuel 13:19 says, “Then Tamar put ashes on her head, and tore her robe of many colors that was on her, and laid her hand on her head and went away crying bitterly.” I believe that Zion will be like Tamar in the future. According to Zechariah 14:2-3, the women will be raped but YHVH will come and fight against the nations that come against Jerusalem. When it’s all over, He will give them beauty for ashes.
The oil of joy will be given to them for their mourning. This is probably not just olive oil but some kind of perfumed oil. I happen to be trying a blend of essential oils called “Be Joyous.” It contains Bergamot, Ylang Ylang III, Red Grapefruit, Orange, and Lemon essential oils. I diffuse it for my son’s depression. Other essential oil blends can be used as well for depression. In the same way, the oil of joy will help to disperse the depression of YHVH’s people which was caused by the traumatic experiences they’ve endured.
The clothing of YHVH’s people will be replaced with robes of righteousness or garments of praise for their spirits of heaviness. It will be like taking off the spirit of heaviness and replacing it with garments of praise. It will be that quick. There is a song by Jamie Harvill called Garments of Praise that I enjoy singing and dancing with on Shabbat. It speaks of trading our sorrows for garments of praise and it asks that YHVH make our broken weary bones rise to dance again. It makes me think of the time when the spirit of heaviness will be replaced with garments of praise. At that time, Isaiah 60:21 will be fulfilled: “Also your people shall all be righteous (tzaddikim); They shall inherit the land forever, The branch of My planting, The work of My hands, That I may be glorified.” Yes, YHVH’s people will be trees of righteousness and will inhabit the land forever; no one will force them to leave.
Messiah’s people will not be lounging around on clouds all day. They will be working on earth. Those in Zion will rebuild the ancient ruins and raise up the former desolations (See also Isaiah 58:12). Rebuilding the ruins was a common practice in Babylon and in other cities after they were destroyed and/or plundered. Since this is a Messianic prophecy, rebuilding the old ruins of Jerusalem will take place in the future as well. I believe this is referring to the time of the 7th day or during the millennial reign of Yeshua.
Isaiah 61:5 says that strangers will stand (5975; amad; serve) and feed the flocks of YHVH’s people, and the sons of the foreigner will be the plowmen and the vinedressers of YHVH’s people as well. Isaiah 14:2 is more clear: “Then people will take them and bring them to their place, and the house of Israel will possess them for servants and maids in the land of the Lord; they will take them captive whose captives they were, and rule over their oppressors.” These people are in contrast to the people in Zion who will be named the priests of the Lord; they’ll be called the servants or ministers of our God.
The wealth of the nations will come into Zion. In Isaiah 60, we saw that this was no just money but material possessions as well. YHVH’s people will revel in their riches. Because YHVH’s people were treated badly by their enemies, they will own double honor and double the amount of land. Right now, Israel is small but the boundaries mentioned in Ezekiel 47 will be much larger. Double reparation is also seen in Zechariah 9:12. YHVH will do this because He loves justice; He hates robbery; He intends to bless and have an eternal covenant with His people.
As Isaiah 61 ends, we see the themes of joyfulness, the garments (of salvation), and the robe of righteousness/garments of salvation, and being decked with ornaments. This is a bookend of sorts for a chiastic structure with the different emphases on servant-hood. Perhaps the period of servant-hood will eventually end when the millennial reign of Yeshua ends.
YHVH Elohim (the Lord God) will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations in the same way the earth brings forth its bud and as the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth. YHVH will not be silent forever; these things will happen in YHVH’s timing. He will cause Jerusalem’s righteousness to be as brightness and her salvation to be as a burning lamp. Trust Him to make it happen.
The nations will see Zion in an entirely different way; they will see her glory and righteousness. The prophet tells us that Jerusalem will be called by a new name which YHVH will give her; she won’t be called “forsaken” or “desolate” anymore. It will be called “Hephzibah” which means “My delight is in her.” This is the same name of Hezekiah’s wife (2 Kings 21:1); the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown commentary refers to Hephzibah as a type of Jerusalem. Their land will be called “Beulah” which means to be married.
We often think of YHVH’s people as being the Bride of Yeshua but John saw a different bride. Revelation 21:9-11 says, “ Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.” This light must be that of righteousness.
John describes the new Jerusalem like this in Revelation 21:18-21: “The construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. 19 The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones: the first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. 21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.” Revelation 21:12-14 explains that the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb were engraved on the foundation stones and that the names of the twelve tribes were written on the gates of the city. In this way, the city is wearing ornaments. This is a description of the bride in the 8th day. Interestingly enough, Isaiah 49:18 tells Zion that her children will come to her and she will wear them as ornaments and bind them on her as a bride does. This is a description of the bride in the 7th day.
Even now, there are watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem and around the world. They are not silent; they are warning the world of what’s coming in the future. They are praying not just for Jerusalem but for the people and the whole land of Israel; they are praying for everyone to repent—to abandon lawlessness and turn to Yeshua and Torah-observance. They are praying for YHVH to make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.
YHVH has promised to lift the curse of taking away and allowing foreigners to eat and drink that which His people have labored over. Instead, YHVH’s people will enjoy it in His holy courts. This will be a time of peace and a time to praise our Creator during the 7th day.
Yeshua is coming and will bring His reward with Him! His people will be called “The Holy People, The Redeemed of YHVH.” Jerusalem will be called “Sought Out, A City Not Forsaken.”