Updated: Jun 2, 2021
Wednesday, October 7, 2020 -
Old Testament prophetic Scriptures are often hard to decipher in meaning. They could be referring to consequences of contemporary events, to future events which are now historical to us, to Christ Himself and His redemptive plan, to the end times and coming day of the Lord, or time of judgment, to the millennium period, or to life in the new heavens and the new earth. Plus, any given passage could have multiple meanings and fulfillments, or point to fulfillment jumping from one era to another, sometimes within the same passage.
One such passage is Isaiah 35, a wonderfully prophetic passage I believe depicts both the coming of the Redeemer Christ, the latter days of the revived land of Israel, the millennium period, and the time of life on the New Earth.
Jesus Himself seems to refer to verse 4 when He answers the disciples of John whether or not He is the Messiah, “The blind receive sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them” (Matthew 11:5-6).
Isaiah 35 begins with what we would think seems to be being fulfilled in the modern day, with Israel’s deserts now blooming. The entire passage should bring such tremendous encouragement, “Encourage the exhausted and strengthen the feeble. Say to those with anxious heart, ‘Take courage, fear not” (verses 3-4a). What is said next is truly reason to rejoice, “Behold, your God will come with a vengeance; the recompense of God will come, but He will save you” (verse 4). God’s vengeance here implies justice for His people in the form of redemption and salvation. Indeed, we are told later in the same sentence, “But He will save you!” The two terms, vengeance and recompense in this sentence though, are very interesting. God’s vengeance in this instance could in fact refer to the promise of God that Eve’s seed would bruise the serpent on the head (Genesis 3:15), for this is indeed exactly what Christ’s death on the cross accomplished. It provided a means of redemption and salvation for all of mankind, while avenging the devil and sin he brought into the world.
Recompense is normally a term affiliated with a reward or payment in return for something done which is positive. But, according to the dictionary, it is also “something which is given or done to make up for a loss, injury, etc.” Indeed, our salvation is undeserved, yet it is freely given to us in exchange for our sincere, heartfelt repentance and turning to Christ. Through Christ’s death, we are saved and freed from our sin and its consequences. Christ is the vengeance and recompense for sin. And when He came, the eyes of “the blind were opened, the ears of the deaf were unstopped, the lame leapt like the deer, and the tongue of the dumb shouted for joy” (verse 5-6)!
Isaiah 35’s last four verses could be said to be partially being fulfilled today, whether or not these are the end times, the end times, or the millennium period.
How marvelous are these promises, yet the pivotal point in all of human history, or God’s history, is found in verse 4, “Say to those with anxious heart, ‘Take courage, fear not. Behold, your God will come with vengeance; that recompense of God will come, but He will save you.”