Summary: A hymn of joy for the grace of God.
THE BLESSINGS OF THE AGE TO COME
“The Spirit of the LORD God is upon me,” announces Isaiah (Isaiah 61:1). The prophet goes on to speak of restoration (Isaiah 61:4), and an everlasting covenant (Isaiah 61:8). “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,” echoes Jesus: and our Lord goes on to proclaim the year of Jubilee (Luke 4:18-19).
Isaiah, Israel, the believer, the church - and Messiah Himself - all respond with a hymn of joy at the grace of God, which clothes us with salvation, and robes us in His righteousness (Isaiah 61:10-11). This is what it means to have “put on Christ” in that which our baptismal initiation represents (Galatians 3:27). It explains also the on-going commands to “put on the new man” (Ephesians 4:24), and to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 13:14).
This passage is the reversal of another song, another time, when judgment and desolation loomed large upon the horizon of Isaiah’s contemporaries: the ‘Song of the Vineyard’ (Isaiah 5:1-7). There the husbandman (cf. John 15:1) looked for a fruitful harvest, but the vineyard yielded only bad fruit (Isaiah 5:4). The LORD looked for justice and righteousness in Israel, but found instead only oppression, and cries of distress (Isaiah 5:7).
Now at last the LORD will have His harvest: the dispossessed will no longer be fearful of those who exploited and oppressed them, neither their own people nor the invasion force of the enemy. Righteousness will spring forth before all nations (Isaiah 61:11), starting at Jerusalem (Isaiah 62:1). A once desolate and forsaken land will be restored (Isaiah 62:4).
According to God’s judgement, the northern kingdom of Ephraim/Israel wore a crown of pride, and their hitherto glorious beauty was a fading flower (Isaiah 28:1). The restored Jerusalem, however, was to be “a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD” (Isaiah 62:3). The “royal diadem” speaks of a kingdom of priests, kept by the hand of God.
Isaiah - and Messiah - will not hold their peace, nor rest, until the LORD has established Zion a praise in the earth (Isaiah 62:7). It was the gospel emanating from that city which yielded a plenteous Jubilee harvest for Christ. We should still, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6).
The involvement of Gentiles and kings (Isaiah 62:2) anticipates the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Isaiah prophesied elsewhere that “in the last days” the mountain of the LORD's house would be exalted above all hills, and people from all nations would gather to worship (Isaiah 2:2-3). According to the Apostle Peter, the last days began at Pentecost (Acts 2:16-17).
The bestowing of a “new name” (Isaiah 62:2) points forward to our new identity in Christ (Revelation 2:17). There is an identification with the new name of God (Revelation 3:12), and a hitherto hidden name of Jesus (Revelation 19:12). Whatever the name is, it will be pronounced by God.