The difficulty with the Book of Isaiah Part 8

This is the final ennead of Isaiah.

ISAIAH 58-66

               The foregoing summary shows that the first ennead was about the Father, the second ennead was about the Son. The final ennead speaks about the Spirit. Kaiser makes it plain, “The third ennead, 58–66, triumphantly announces the dawning of a new day of salvation for nature, nations, and individuals. At the center of this ennead was a new principle of life—the Spirit-filled Messiah (61:1–63:6) who bore the powers and dignities of the prophetic, priestly, and kingly officers.”[1] The one passage considered the most recognizable from this ennead is:

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion—to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified (Isaiah 61:1-3).

 

This is the passage that Yeshua bin Yosef el Judah stood up and read in a small synagogue. He caused an uproar when he declared, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:20). The people there knew instantly he was referring to the Scriptures given by Isaiah.

               This passage starts with the phrase, “The Spirit of the Lord God.” It is this idea the third ennead is speaking to, that time when the Holy Spirit will be upon the earth actively pursuing the completion of God’s will. A further indication that this is a time of the Holy Spirit is found in 63:7-14. Twice during this passage, Isaiah uses the title “Holy Spirit.” Only does Isaiah use the phrase “The Spirit of the Lord.” This passage presents the call for a new Moses to lead a new Exodus into a promised rest. God promised a time of rest to Joshua, but to date that time of complete rest has not taken place.

               The main focus of Kaiser’s biblical theology is this idea that God has made promises to Israel and eventually they will culminate in: (1) Abraham’s seed through Isaac would be as countless as the stars and sand of the seashore, (2) they would be a great nation, (3) that kings would come from Abraham, Sarah, and Jacob, and (4) Abraham’s name would be great.[2] An additional promise of rest in God lives in this ennead.[3] So special was this rest that God would call it His rest (Ps 95:11; Isa 66:1).[4] This is not to say Israel at various times has not experienced temporal periods of rest. Joshua saw a temporary time of rest as depicted in Joshua 21:43-45. It is tempting to think of this as the promised rest, but parts of Canaan were still under rule by other people groups. This rest was still a promise made.

               This final ennead also points to the new covenant, the New Jerusalem, and the New Earth. The scenes described in Revelation 21 are virtually identical to those described in this final ennead. There will one day be a time of total rest; the land promised will finally be a gift from God to Israel. There will be a cessation of all violence against God’s people. Just as the Holy Spirit moved upon men to compose the Old Testament, he also inspired men to compose the New Testament: same Spirit, and same inspiration, one unified document describing the total plan, person, and work of God.

[1] Kaiser, The Promise-Plan of God: a Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments, p. 183.

[2] Walter C. Kaiser Jr., “The Promise Theme and the Theology of Rest,” Bibliotheca Sacra 130, no. 518 (1973): p. 136.

 [3] Ibid.

 [4] Ibid., p. 138.

 

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