ISAIAH CHAPTER 35.
The Joyful State of Christís Kingdom.
We have, in this chapter, a beautiful and majestic picture of the flourishing condition of Christís kingdom, of the glorious future awaiting those who belong to the mountain of Zion, the redeemed of the Lord. V. 1. The wilderness and the solitary place, the desert and the steppe, shall be glad for them, that is, what formerly was a moral wilderness would he totally changed; and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose, the Oriental narcissus, or crocus, which rapidly covers the waste places of the steppes after the beginning of the rainy season, making the whole surface of the land appear like a carpet of flowers. V. 2. It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice even with joy and singing, in an ecstasy of delight over the blessings of the Lord; the glory of Lebanon, with its mighty forests, shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel, the mountain famed for its beauty, and Sharon, the valley south of Carmel, famed for its luxurious vegetation, they shall see the glory of the Lord and the excellency of our God, namely, with the coming of the Messianic era. Therefore the prophet addresses words of cheer and comfort to the afflicted believers: v. 3. Strengthen ye the weak hands, the reference being to the firm grasp with which the believers should hold to the hope of their calling, and confirm the feeble knees, so that they will stand upright, keeping their ground against all enemies. V. 4. Say to them that are of a fearful heart, agitated and terrified by the dangers besetting them on every hand, Be strong, fear not; behold, your God will come with vengeance, to revenge His children upon their enemies, even God with a recompense, to punish every one according to his deserts; He will come and save you, for in punishing the enemies of His people the Lord delivers and saves those that are His. V. 5. Then the eyes of the blind, said of the spiritual blindness of natural man, shall be opened, to see the beauty of the Savior, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped, so that those who have never understood the sweet message of salvation will heed and believe it. V. 6. Then shall the lame man, who by reason of his self-righteousness was unable to walk the way of Godís commandments, leap as an hart, in eager willingness to do the Lordís bidding, and the tongue of the dumb, of him who formerly knew nothing of the Gospel and therefore confessed nothing, sing, in hymns of thanksgiving to the God of his salvation; for in the wilderness shall waters break out and streams in the desert, for the grace and mercy of God in the New Testament era flows in rich streams to those who thirst for His forgiveness. Cp. Ps. 65, 9. 10. V. 7. And the parched ground shall become a pool, the mirage shall become a real lake, that is, the civic righteousness of men, their acts and works, which now only seem good, will then truly be good because flowing from the motive of faith in Christ, and the thirsty land springs of water, made fruitful by the power of love in the Word; in the habitation of dragons, in the dens of jackals, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes, an oasis of the Lord in the midst of a world filled with enmity toward Him. V. 8. And an highway shall be there and a way, a causeway such as was used by armies, the valleys being filled up and all obstructions removed, and it shall be called The Way of Holiness, the holy way, where the saints of the Lord were found; the unclean shall not pass over it, only those consecrated by the Lord; but it shall be for those, such as have, by the grace of God, found the way of sanctification; the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein, that is, even the most unlearned will he able to follow the way of salvation as set forth in the Word of God. V. 9. No lion shall be there, the lion being named as one of the fiercest representatives of the animal world, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon; it shall not be found there, every one who walks on this way being under the special protection of God; but the redeemed shall walk there, those who have accepted the redemption of God in Christ Jesus and rely upon it in firm faith. V. 10. And the ransomed of the Lord, those whom the Messiah has delivered from the natural slavery of sin and from the consequent condemnation of death, shall return and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads, this joy being visible in their entire aspect, especially in the appearance of their faces; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away; for the Christian religion is the most cheerful religion, the absolute religion also for this reason, that it alone announces to sinners the full and free love of God in Christ Jesus. In this manner these two chapters are in the fullest sense of the word Messianic prophecies, finding their application wherever the kingdom of Christ is established. Cp. Phil. 4, 4.