Life-Study of Isaiahby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In the Old Testament of thirty-nine books, the main thing covered is the old creation, and in the New Testament of twenty-seven books, the main thing revealed is God's new creation. Thus, God's two creations mark the boundary between the Old Testament and the New Testament. Now we need to see that in the first thirty-nine chapters of Isaiah, the old creation is covered, including God's chastisement of Israel and His judgment of the Gentiles, whereas in the last twenty-seven chapters, the center of Isaiah's prophecy is the new creation.
The coming of the new creation does not involve the immediate end of the old creation. On the contrary, after the new creation comes, the old creation remains for a period of time. In the New Testament, the new creation begins with the coming of John the Baptist. After that, the old creation remains until it is terminated at the end of the millennium. The end of the thousand-year kingdom will be the termination of the old creation as well as the completion, the consummation, of the new creation, as signified by the New Jerusalem in the new heaven and new earth (Rev. 21:1-2).
History tells us that Isaiah wrote his book during two or three periods of time. I believe that the second part of his prophecy was written at a time different from the first part.
The second part begins with a word of comfort spoken to the heart of Jerusalem (Isa. 40:1-2). The fact that this word is spoken to the heart means that it is concerned not with the outer man but with the inner man. In this chapter, the speaking of the word of comfort to the heart of Jerusalem is actually the announcing of the gospel. Thus, we may understand the word comfort as meaning the preaching of the gospel.
The first thing announced in Isaiah 40 is the coming of John the Baptist (vv. 3-4). Immediately after this is the appearing of Christ as the glory of Jehovah (v. 5). The glory of Jehovah is the center of the gospel for the new creation (2 Cor. 4:4-6). Christ is the effulgence of God's glory (Heb. 1:3), and this effulgence is like the shining of the sun. The New Testament tells us that Christ's first coming was the rising of the sun (Luke 1:78). Thus, when Christ appeared, the glory of Jehovah appeared to be seen by the God-seekers and Christ-believers.
After Isaiah 40 speaks of the coming of John the Baptist and the appearing of Christ as the glory of God, this chapter tells us that, like the grass and the flower of the field, all men will wither and fade, but the word of God remains forever (vv. 6-8). The word of God is actually Christ as the gospel of God. This word is abiding, and as the word of life, it is also living. All men of flesh, all withering and fading human beings, should receive Christ, the glory of God, who comes to people as the living and abiding word of God. Those who receive Christ as this word of God will be regenerated that they may have eternal life to live forever (1 Pet. 1:23).
According to Isaiah 40:29-31, those who have received the word and have been regenerated are now waiting for Jehovah. For us to wait on God means that we "fire" ourselves, that is, that we stop ourselves with our living, doing, and activity and receive Christ as our replacement. Verse 31 says that such a waiting one will mount up with wings like eagles, signifying the resurrection power of Christ. He will not only walk and runhe will also soar in the heavens, far above every earthly frustration. This is a transformed person. Therefore, in this chapter we have the announcing of the gospel (corresponding to the four Gospels), salvation through regeneration (corresponding to the Acts), and transformation (corresponding to the Epistles).
I believe that Isaiah wrote this chapter to give us a comparison between Hezekiah, a godly man who was still in the old creation, and a regenerated and transformed person in the new creation. As chapters thirty-six through thirty-nine indicate, no matter how good Hezekiah was, he was still in the old creation, and thus he was fired by God. But in chapter forty we see a different kind of personone who is regenerated and transformed, one who has been fired, who has taken God in Christ as his replacement, and who is now continually waiting upon the Lord. Such a person "will mount up with wings like eagles." The apostle Paul is the best representative of the kind of person described in Isaiah 40. Let us consider the difference between Hezekiah and Paul and ask ourselves whether we will be like Hezekiah or like Paul. May we all be like Paul, who was absolutely in the new creation. With him, the old creation had been terminated, fired, and replaced, and now the new creation is here with Christ.
With this view of Isaiah 40 before us, let us now go on to consider the details in this chapter.
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