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Isaiah Fifty One

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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Isaiah 51:1 Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.

whence ye are hewn. It is salutary for God's people to remember the background out of which the Lord called them to Himself, not to reflect on old sins, but to renew a thankful heart for what He has done for them.

Isaiah 51:2 Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you: for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him.

Isaiah 51:3 For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.

wilderness like Eden. Isaiah here not only confirms the historicity of the garden of Eden, but also confirms that all its perfections will one day be restored: God does not fail in His purposes.

Isaiah 51:4 Hearken unto me, my people; and give ear unto me, O my nation: for a law shall proceed from me, and I will make my judgment to rest for a light of the people.

Isaiah 51:5 My righteousness is near; my salvation is gone forth, and mine arms shall judge the people; the isles shall wait upon me, and on mine arm shall they trust.

Isaiah 51:6 Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished.

wax old like a garment. This is an anticipation of the scientific law of increasing entropy. The heavens, the earth, and all things are in a process of decay and ultimate death, but God's salvation and righteousness shall never die. See also Psalm 102:25-27.

Isaiah 51:7 Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings.

Isaiah 51:8 For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool: but my righteousness shall be for ever, and my salvation from generation to generation.

Isaiah 51:9 Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the LORD; awake, as in the ancient days, in the generations of old. Art thou not it that hath cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon?

Rahab. God's power was greatly manifest in the “ancient days,” especially in the days of Noah and Moses, and perhaps even more so when Satan, that old “dragon” was cast out of heaven. The name “Rahab” is enigmatic. It does not refer to the harlot of Jericho (Joshua 2) but to a great enemy of God (see also Psalm 87:4; 89:10). “Rahab” means “boaster” and could well be—in this context, at least—a name for “the dragon.” However, many scholars assume it refers to Egypt.

Isaiah 51:10 Art thou not it which hath dried the sea, the waters of the great deep; that hath made the depths of the sea a way for the ransomed to pass over?

Isaiah 51:11 Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.

everlasting joy. This glorious promise of kingdom blessing is directed primarily to Israelites redeemed during the tribulation and entering the millennial kingdom still living on earth (see notes on Matthew 25:34, 40). Indirectly it also includes all the redeemed of all ages as they enter the eternal kingdom in the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:1-7).

Isaiah 51:12 I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass;

Isaiah 51:13 And forgettest the LORD thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? and where is the fury of the oppressor?

Isaiah 51:14 The captive exile hasteneth that he may be loosed, and that he should not die in the pit, nor that his bread should fail.

Isaiah 51:15 But I am the LORD thy God, that divided the sea, whose waves roared: The LORD of hosts is his name.

Isaiah 51:16 And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people.

Isaiah 51:17 Awake, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem, which hast drunk at the hand of the LORD the cup of his fury; thou hast drunken the dregs of the cup of trembling, and wrung them out.

Isaiah 51:18 There is none to guide her among all the sons whom she hath brought forth; neither is there any that taketh her by the hand of all the sons that she hath brought up.

Isaiah 51:19 These two things are come unto thee; who shall be sorry for thee? desolation, and destruction, and the famine, and the sword: by whom shall I comfort thee?

Isaiah 51:20 Thy sons have fainted, they lie at the head of all the streets, as a wild bull in a net: they are full of the fury of the LORD, the rebuke of thy God.

Isaiah 51:21 Therefore hear now this, thou afflicted, and drunken, but not with wine:

Isaiah 51:22 Thus saith thy Lord the LORD, and thy God that pleadeth the cause of his people, Behold, I have taken out of thine hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of my fury; thou shalt no more drink it again:

Isaiah 51:23 But I will put it into the hand of them that afflict thee; which have said to thy soul, Bow down, that we may go over: and thou hast laid thy body as the ground, and as the street, to them that went over.