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THOUGHTS FROM ISAIAH

THE DAY OF THE LORD [2]

We saw last week that Isaiah speaks of ‘the Day of the Lord’ as a day of judgement. He also speaks of ‘that day’ as a day of salvation, restoration and glory. As with the prophecies of judgement, so with the prophecies of salvation: there is often a micro fulfilment in the short term in the history of Israel and a macro and final fulfilment in and through Jesus Christ.

With this perspective of over-lapping fulfilments in mind let us look at ‘the day of the Lord’, ‘that day’, as it relates to the present salvation that we already have in Jesus Christ, and the final, complete, ultimate expression and perfection of that salvation that will be implemented when he returns. [Note that because our focus is on Isaiah’s teaching on ‘the day of the Lord’ there is much that Isaiah says about our salvation in Christ that is not addressed in this article.]

Even here in Isaiah the One who ushers in and establishes the day of the Lord is Jesus Christ:

He is ‘the Branch of the LORD … beautiful and glorious’ [4:2].

He is the ‘great light’ that shines on those living in darkness [9:2; John 3:19; 8:12].

He is the Branch of Jesse, upon whom the Spirit of the Lord rests [11:1-3; John 3:34].

He is the Root of Jesse, with world-wide impact [11:10,12; Romans 15:7-12; Revelation 5:5; 22:16].

He, the glorious and holy ‘I AM’, is our salvation [12:1-2; 6:1-3; John 12:41].

He is ‘the first and the last’ – the origin and the goal of all that exists [Isaiah 44:6; Revelation 1:17; 22:13].

Thus, hidden here in Isaiah are glimpses of our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, the One who saves, the One who himself is our salvation. So also here in Isaiah is the salvation he brings on ‘the day of the Lord’, a salvation that has already been accomplished in and through his incarnation, death and resurrection, but is not yet experienced in its completeness.

The inhabitants of Jerusalem [the church, the bride of Christ – Revelation 21:2,9,10] are ‘holy’, and cleansed [Isaiah 4:3,4], and protected by the presence of the Lord [Isaiah 4:5,6; 26:1-3; 27:2-5; Exodus 13:20-22; Romans 8:31-39]. [An ‘already’ aspect.]

There will be universal peace. The death and destruction that entered the world in Genesis 3 will cease [Isaiah 11:6-9; 25:7,9; 29:17; 1Corinthians 15:26; Revelation 21:4]. [A ‘not yet’ aspect.]

There will be world-wide knowledge of the Lord, with people from every nation coming to him and honouring him as God [Isaiah 11:9-10; 12:3-5; 19:18-25; 40:5; Matthew 28: 19; Revelation 5:9; 14:6] [Already and not yet].

Satan will be overcome [Isaiah 27:1; John 12:31; Revelation 20:2,10]. [Already and not yet.]

God himself will be the glory of his people [Isaiah 28:5; Colossians 1:27; 2Thessalonians 2:14; Revelation 21:11]. [Already and not yet.]

In the first coming of Jesus Christ Isaiah’s ‘day of the Lord’ was inaugurated. Already those who have been saved by him possess and experience the multi-faceted spiritual salvation purchased by his substitutionary, sin-bearing death and validated by his bodily resurrection. Already, those who believe in him live in a position of unimpeded, permanent, present access to God [Ephesians 2:18; Colossians 3:3; Hebrews 4:16; 10:19-22]. Nothing – neither Satan, nor sin, nor suffering, nor death – can ever undo what Jesus Christ has done for us. But these enemies, though restricted by God, still exist. That day, which Isaiah also speaks of, on which they will all be removed forever, has not yet come.

To this grand and final day Isaiah, and all Old Testament believers, looked forward [Hebrews 11:13-16]. To this day also, New Testament believers – we ourselves - also look with joy and expectation. The unquestionable certainty of this day, this final day when all that is opposed to God and to his people is brought to an end, is grounded in the power and the person of God and of his Christ. The unquestionable certainty of this day is the focus of Isaiah’s last words [Isaiah 66:22-24]. It is also the promise of the last words recorded of Jesus Christ: ‘Yes, I am coming soon’ [Revelation 22:20], and the confidence of John’s reply:  ‘Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.’

May we, with Isaiah, with John, and with our Lord Jesus Christ, look beyond the present sin and suffering to this great day of the Lord. With this sure and certain confidence let us live out our lives with patience, knowing that our present suffering is nothing compared to the glory that will follow [Hebrews 12:1-3; Romans 8:17-21].

© Rosemary Bardsley 2014