Isaiah 59: Covenant Blessings for the Zion of God - including us! The purpose for these articles, of which this is the tenth, is not to give an exhaustive exposition of Isaiah, but just to touch upon those passages that speak of the Zion of God. Those are the passages that also, by extension, relate to Christians today, seeing that we are the Zion of God as well as the ones Isaiah was writing to. Paul told his readers, Hebrews 12:22-24: “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.” The good news of Isaiah is actually our good news as well. It is not without reason that Isaiah has been called the Fifth Gospel. The Gospel resonates in that good prophet's writing. Just a quick overview of this 59th chapter before we focus in on the closing verses. The predicament of all mankind is starkly laid out, especially in the fist eight verses: Our sins have separated us from God. We are not saved – do not even want salvation. We, in fact, run the other direction. We are strangers to righteousness and peace. There is an instructive shift in verses 9 – 13, from “they” (4 – 8) to “we”. We are still in a pitiful predicament, yet now the description is of those of us who are at least aware of our lostness: “We look for light, but there is darkness”, “We grope”, “Our transgressions are multiplied before You”. Here is an awareness of sins and a mourning and poorness of Spirit. Our Saviour here puts on His holy armor, v. 17, the same armor that Christians put on, Eph. 6:13 – 17. When we put on Christ we put on this armor – though not with the very same prerogatives and mission. Then we see God Himself coming to our rescue, marked by the divine pronouns, 15 – 17. His coming brings two things: Fury and retribution to His adversaries, 18 and 19 and covenant blessings to His own, 20 – 21. Lets look especially at those last four verses, Isa. 59:18 - 21: 18. According to their deeds, accordingly He will repay, Fury to His adversaries, Recompense to His enemies; The coastlands He will fully repay. 19. So shall they fear The name of the LORD from the west, And His glory from the rising of the sun; When the enemy comes in like a flood, The Spirit of the LORD will lift up a standard against him. 20. “The Redeemer will come to Zion, And to those who turn from transgression in Jacob,” Says the LORD. 21. "As for Me,” says the LORD, “this is My covenant with them: My Spirit who is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your descendants, nor from the mouth of your descendants’ descendants,” says the LORD, “from this time and forevermore.” Now let's pull these verses right into our time. This passage, as encouraging as it must have been to the Jews of Isaiah's time, has potent relevance to all Christians. Christ's coming in verse 18 describes consequences for more than just the Jews in Israel. The adversaries in the "coastlands" will be fully repaid. This means the Gentiles. How far is this scope of God's retribution (18-19) and glory (20)? From the West to the the East ("the rising of the sun"). Jehovah Nissi. Christ is our Banner. When the "enemy comes in like a flood" against God and His people He "will lift up a standard against him." What is this standard? The better question is "Who?". We find our first answers earlier in Isaiah. First 49:12: “Behold, I will lift My hand in an oath to the nations, And set up My standard for the peoples; They shall bring your sons in their arms, And your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders;" (See also Isa. 62:10.) Isaiah 11:10-12 deserves special notice (used by Paul in Romans 15:12): 10. And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, Who shall stand as a banner to the people; For the Gentiles shall seek Him, And His resting place shall be glorious.” 11. It shall come to pass in that day That the Lord shall set His hand again the second time To recover the remnant of His people who are left, From Assyria and Egypt, From Pathros and Cush, From Elam and Shinar, From Hamath and the islands of the sea. 12. He will set up a banner for the nations, And will assemble the outcasts of Israel, And gather together the dispersed of Judah From the four corners of the earth. Christ said, "If I be lifted up I will draw all men unto Me." John 12:32 Earlier in John's gospel, John 3:14-15, we have his first mention of Christ as our Banner: "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life" The last two verses in Isaiah 59 will have to wait for next time. How does the truth about Christ being a banner affect us? We need to keep these important truths in view: 1. Jehovah Nissi ("God is my Banner") is Jesus Christ, the One lifted up in John 3:14 - 16 for the sins of the world. 2. Christ is a banner against all of God's enemies. 3. He is a banner for salvation to all who hear the call of the Spirit in their hearts. 4. He is a banner for salvation for Jews and Gentiles anywhere and everywhere. More to come. There still remains the last two verses in this wonderful chapter.