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This should be a special text to us all.  Jesus preached from these verses in His first recorded sermon. 

But not only did Jesus preach from Isaiah 61 ... He is described in Isaiah 61!

Let's study this Passage verse by verse!

                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell           

 A Preacher in his Study

 

ISAIAH 61:1-3

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

 

 

ISAIAH 61, VERSE 1 (FIRST LESSON) ...

I believe that one of the loveliest passages in all of Scripture is found in Isaiah 61.  (I KNOW Jesus loved these verses!) For example:  "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound."  Isaiah 61:1 Jesus quoted (really preached) this verse in Luke 4:18-19!  It was His text for the first recorded sermon He ever delivered! This fact alone should make this passage precious to us! Today we shall not have the space to look at ALL the words in this great verse ... but we shall at least begin. That word "Spirit" is interesting.  In Hebrew it is spelled "ruach" and is pronounced roo'-ak.  It literally means wind or breath and comes from a root verb "to blow or to breathe!"  This (Holy) Spirit is the Very Breath of God Almighty!  When Jesus there in Nazareth applied this verse to Himself ... He not only WAS God (and IS God) ... but had the very breath of God upon Him. The Spirit of God is the Third Person of the Triune Godhead.  We believe in One God ... manifest in Three Persons. Jesus operated His Ministry in the Power of the Spirit of God! Jesus (The God-Man) in His humanity depended upon the Spirit and upon His Father for everything! If He did so ... surely you and I must too! But WHERE is the Spirit in reference to Jesus?  UPON Him!  The preposition "upon" translates the little Hebrew term "al."  It primarily means "above."  (From a root stem meaning "the top, the highest, aloft!")  BUT it can mean above, over, upon or even against (in the sense of support)!  Sounds like the Spirit of God was all over Jesus! In the New Testament we learn that we are to be "filled" with the Spirit!  John says of Jesus' relationship to the Spirit:  "For he whom God hath sent (Jesus) speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him." (John 3:34)  This verse just told us that Jesus had the Holy Spirit upon Himself to a measureless degree! (In an unlimited manner!) And ... just as Jesus said the Spirit was UPON Him ... we can say the Spirit is WITHIN us (because of the shed Blood of our dear Saviour)!  See 1 Corinthians 6:19 which says to believers:  "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?" Preacher, what is to be my relationship daily with the Holy Spirit?  2 Corinthians 13:14 helps us here:  "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen."  See it?  The "communion" of the Holy Spirit.  The word means "having things in common, sharing things!"  We share every experience of life with the precious Spirit of God, our Companion and Comforter!  We are to be careful not to hurt Him (not to grieve Him or quench Him in any way)!  See Ephesians 4:30 and 1 Thessalonians 5:19. Just think of it!  The same Spirit Who indwells you ... also was upon our Lord Jesus!  Talk about "fellowship!"  (1 John 1:3 "... That ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.") Enjoy your day ... your day of communion with God the Holy Spirit!  The Same Member of the Godhead Who was "upon" Jesus!

 

 

 

ISAIAH 61, VERSE 1 (SECOND LESSON) ...

Jesus' first recorded sermon is described by Luke in the fourth chapter of his great Gospel. The "text" Jesus used is found in Isaiah 61. Here's the first verse of the Isaiah prophecy:  "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound." Today look with me at just this clause: "The Lord hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek." In Luke's report (King James Version) of Jesus' sermon event these words are found: "He hath anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor." Jesus was an anointed Preacher!  Isaiah's prophecy uses a Hebrew verb for "anointed" which means ("mashach") to smear or spread a liquid upon something or someone.  (Hence, "anoint" in a religious sense!)  One lexicon says: To rub with oil! Now if you will look at that Hebrew word a bit ... mashach ... you might be reminded of an English word that it "gives" to us --- Messiah (The Anointed One of God)! This "oil" is a picture of the Holy Spirit! The verb is used 69 times in the Bible and is translated "anointed" 68 of those times.  (It is rendered "painted" once!  Jeremiah 22:14) This is a "perfect" verb ... meaning that the action is completed! God equipped Jesus fully with the Holy Spirit ("without measure") once and for all! The verb "preach good tidings" is all one word in Hebrew --- "basar" means "to publish, to show forth, to bear news or to announce!"  Strong's word dictionary says it means: To be fresh or full!  To announce glad news! Now that is exactly what the New Testament word for Gospel means:  good news!" (The Greek "euangelion" gives us our words evangelize and evangelist!) Isaiah's "preach good tidings" is a "Piel" stem verb --- indicating that the action is intensive!  Really preaching fervently!  And it is an infinitive meaning that the action here is continuous.  Jesus preached constantly during His days of ministry here. But to whom did He preach?  To the only crowd who will ever listen to preaching about God's good news! To the "meek."  (Hebrew = "anav")  The word means "depressed" or "afflicted."  Bible teachers believe the word is linked to the adjective that means "humble." The proud don't need God's help or God's message ... and they will tell you so rather quickly! The truly meek are glad for a word of "salvation!" Of course by the time the Holy Spirit of God gets through with someone via His ministry of "conviction" ... he or she will be humbled and meek! Is anyone today thankful that someone preached to you the "good news" of Jesus' Death, Burial and Resurrection? Is anyone well aware that true preaching is "anointed" of God?  Again, the Oil of this "anointing" is a type of the Holy Spirit Himself! Is anyone ready to praise God today that He made you "humble" and "lowly" and "meek," convicted of being "lost" and on your way to hell (as a sinner)? I say ... thank God for salvation this Tuesday morning! Let me tell you what I believe.  It is my conviction that Jesus was the greatest Preacher Who ever set foot on this earth (or ever will)!  He was "anointed" as no other!  He "preached" as no other!  He loved the "meek" as no other ever did! I praise and worship Him today!

 

 

 

ISAIAH 61, VERSE 1 (THIRD LESSON) ...

Isaiah 61:1 has a clause that is very enlightening.  It is written prophetically of our Lord Jesus.  First here's the whole verse ... "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound."  (Isaiah 61:1) Today's study involves the words:  "He hath sent Me to bind up the Brokenhearted." Here's immediate proof that Jesus was SENT on His mission.  (Sent by the Holy Spirit!)  This verb "sent" is in Hebrew "shalach" and means "to send ... especially as a messenger!"  It's a "Qal perfect" verb, telling us that this action is already completed.  Jesus, the Sent One, has already come to die on Calvary and will never come again for THAT purpose!  (It IS only through the Cross that He is able to do the things listed in this great verse!) By the way, a "Sent One" in New Testament terminology is an "Apostle!"  This says that Jesus is The Apostle of God!  So does Hebrews 3:1 --- "Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus." The next verb is "bind up" and means "to wrap firmly" as a turban or a compress.  The Hebrew "chabash" is only used 33 times in the whole Bible.  It is strangely expressed here as a "Qal infinitive!"  Let me tell you what that means. Watch carefully. Whereas the previous verb, "sent," is a "Qal perfect!" Grammatically that means that though Jesus was only sent once ... in the past ... to die on Calvary (finished action) ... the results of that Death ... such things as binding the brokenhearted and setting captives at liberty are still happening (continuous action)! Glory to God!  This is an important distinction. When I think of this word in reference to Jesus ... I can see the "Good Samaritan" at work!  There is one more outstanding thing about this little verb.  Of its 33 uses in the Scriptures, it is translated "bind up" or "bind" only 14 times.  It IS further translated "to saddle" 13 times and "to govern" 1 time.  The implication is that when Jesus does bind up the brokenhearted (a picture of saving an old lost soul) ... He also "saddles" that soul and puts him or her to use in the Kingdom of God!  He moves into the life He "saved" and begins to "govern" as Lord!  (Wow!  Thank God for dictionaries!) Lastly, the "brokenhearted" are those ("shabar") who have been "broken, crushed, shattered or wrecked!"  What a word!  This is a "Niphal participle" ... indicating that it's in the passive voice and its sense of time is constant ... ongoing.  These "brokenhearted" have been crushed by something other than themselves!  Maybe the devil!  Or just sin itself!  Or one of their so-called "friends!"  (If you associate with sin ... you WILL get hurt!)  And the pain of this suffering is long lasting!  It is eternal if one dies lost and goes to hell! Here are some of the ways our King James translators rendered the word:  break, destroy, hurt, torn, crushed ... and even once "give birth!"  The "give birth" translation is in Isaiah 66:9.  Read it with me.  "Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the LORD: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? saith thy God."  Now remember, "bring to birth" is the same word we have in our verse for "brokenhearted!"  It actually looks like the REASON God allows "brokenheartedness" may be to "bring forth" life.  Does God sometimes send heart-rending trials to bring someone to the (new) birth?  It certainly seems to appear that way. I sure am thankful this Wednesday morning that our God is able to "bind up the brokenhearted!"  I KNOW He does that so very well!  He has done it for me! Thank you for studying with us this morning.  (I think I'm speaking to some other formerly "brokenhearted" folks who now love the Lord!)

 

 

 

ISAIAH 61, VERSE 1 (FOURTH LESSON) ...

As you well know by now, these Pages on drmikebagwell.org are dedicated to Bible study. If you wish to know anything about us personally, about the only place you'll find it is on the "Standing With The Bagwells" Page. Usually there (near the bottom of the Page) is some "news and notes" material.  (The "With a Bible In My Hand" Page contains some personal photos I've made through the months ... but all with a Scriptural emphasis.) This Thursday notice with us another small part of Isaiah 61:1.  It is a portion of the "text" Jesus used in His first recorded sermon (Luke 4).  "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound."  (Isaiah 61:1) We've been studying our way through this great verse and are now at the words: "To proclaim liberty to the captives."  Jesus proclaimed liberty to the captives! The verb "proclaim" is a little Hebrew term "qara" which is used 735 times in Scripture!  It means to utter a loud sound or to make a proclamation.  Some lexicons even say that it means "to accost" a person!  To "accost" someone is to interrupt them and insist upon some particular action!  I just learned something from Webster's Unabridged Dictionary! The verb "accost" is from a Latin background.  Ac-cost fuses two words together. "Ad" (which in English becomes "ac-") means "by or with."  And "cost" is Latin for one's "side!"  It literally means "by one's side."  To come up beside a person and invite them (vigorously) to participate in some plan! Now the reason I went into all that definition is because of its similarity to another Bible word (but in Greek), "paraclete."  It also means "para" (by or with) and "kaleo" (called).  A "paraclete" is one who is called by your side to help and strengthen you! Now the interesting thing is that in the New Testament the "Paraclete" is the Holy Spirit of God!  "Paraclete" is translated in such ways as the "Comforter" or the "Consolation!"  It is also used of Jesus in 1 John 2 where He is called our "Advocate!"  So Isaiah of long ago sure knew exactly what he was talking about, didn't he? But what did Jesus proclaim to these captives?  Liberty! He brings Liberty (in Hebrew "deror").  It means "a flowing" or something that "runs freely!"  It is only used 8 times in the King James Bible ... 7 of which are translated "liberty" and once it's rendered "pure!"  The "pure" usage is found in Exodus 30:23 in reference to "pure" myrrh of the Holy Anointing Oil!  (Another association with the Holy Spirit!) I have noticed in reviewing those 8 references that the expression "proclaim (or proclaiming) liberty" is found several times in the Bible.  It seems to be one of the great preaching themes of Scripture!  And twice it is uses of the "liberty" given to former captives at the Year of Jubilee in Israel!  (Leviticus 25:10 and Ezekiel 46:17) Here one wants to take a "break" and study that great 50th year of Jubilee!  (I'd say that the year Jesus died was THE GREATEST OF ALL years of Jubilee!)  Also let me just add that this "flowing" liberty reminds me of the Hebrew words for doctrine and prophesying --- both of which have the idea of something "dripping, dropping, flowing, or even running!"  (As water does!)  Where does an old sinner learn of the Liberty that's available in Christ Jesus?  Through the Word of God and its preaching! To whom did Jesus preach?  To the "captives!"  "Shabah" is a Hebrew noun that means the ones who have been "led away."  People who have been "taken."  (One text:  To carry away into slavery!)  Jesus sets the slaves free!  The first Bible use of the word is found in Genesis 14:14 where Abraham's nephew Lot was taken "captive." For those of you who want a little more "study," the second use of the word is in Genesis 31:26 where Laban accuses Jacob of taking "captive" his own wife (Rachel or Leah)!  Some critics today accuse Jesus of taking a Bride and making her "captive!"  All I can say is "JOYFUL CAPTIVITY, BLESSED CAPTIVITY!"  Paul constantly called himself a "slave" (servant) of Jesus Christ! We ought today to be so thankful that our Lord Jesus came and set us captives free! I was in bondage to sin ... but now I am "at liberty" forever! John 8:32 says it all:  "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."  Jesus is the Truth according to John 14:6!  And the Word of God is the Truth according to John 17:17!

 

 

 

ISAIAH 61, VERSE 1 (FIFTH LESSON) ...

The opening paragraph of Isaiah 61 describes Jesus' goals as a Preacher! (However keep in mind that He is the Son of God also!) Look at verse 1 of the text:  "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound."  Jesus opened His preaching ministry with these very words (at least as far as His "recorded" preaching words are concerned).  This is recounted in Luke 4:16-30. Today we are going to look at the last clause of that great verse:  "And the opening of the prison to them that are bound." Just what does that mean? The expression "opening of the prison" translates one Hebrew (compound) word.  It looks like this: "peqach-qoach."  It is really a doubled from of the same noun! Strong's concordance (dictionary portion) says that it means "a jail delivery" or "a release from a dungeon!"  Then it adds this little fact.  The noun originates with a verb that means: "To open the senses, especially the eyes!"  (When all one's senses are non-functioning ... that man is DEAD!) This gives new meaning to the hymn "Amazing Grace!"  You will remember the words ... "I once was blind ... but now I see!" The word also carries the idea of opening something WIDE!  Completely!  Also note that this word is only used once in all  of Scripture. That obviously occurs right here in our text. Our God can open prisons for the bound! That's a perfect picture of what happens when a sinner gets saved!  He gets "liberated!"  He was a salve to sin and wicked passion ... and the Lord set him free! He could not spiritually hear or see or taste or feel or even smell.  But that has changed and he can now do them all! Watch!  Revelation 2:7 --- "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches"   Next notice Hebrews 12:2 --- "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith."  Even taste is mentioned in Psalm 34:8 --- "O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him."  To "feel" is even illustrated in places like 1 Thessalonians 5:26 --- "Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss."  (Or negatively in 2 Corinthians 6:17 --- "Touch not the unclean thing.")  And smell?  2 Corinthians 2:15 and 16 --- "For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?"  The word "savour" means aroma!  (Wow!)  All five physical senses are re-stated on a spiritual plane! Those verses alone could make a pretty good Bible study!  I was dead.  Jesus gave me life (eternal life)!  Now I can operative with spiritual sensitivity to the glory of God! The verbal "bound" (Hebrew = "asar") means "to yoke something!"  (Or to "hitch" or to "fasten" in any sense!)  The state of being "bound" (a Qal passive) was one that continually existed for the former prisoner until he was set free!  The "passive" voice means he did not bind himself ... but was overpowered (by his own sin)!  The first use of the verb is in Genesis 39:20 where Joseph was "bound!"  (Our greater Joseph was "bound" to a Cross ... that we might be given liberty!) Notice our word as it is used in Psalm 146:7 --- "The LORD looseth the prisoners." Prisoners translates "asar!" We old former sinners (now saved by God's Grace) ought to be praising the Lord today! He came to where we were ... and opened the prison house of sin ... and set us free! In Micah 2:13 Jesus is called the "Breaker!"  It's one of His little known Names!  "The Breaker is come up before them: they have broken up, and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by it: and their king shall pass before them, and the LORD on the head of them."  He was a Breaker in all our lives. He came to our "jailhouse" of sin and vile passion and iniquity ... and broke us out of there! Again, Praise His Name!

 

 

 

ISAIAH 61, VERSE 2 (FIRST LESSON) ...

We have been investigating the Isaiah text of Jesus' first recorded sermon!  The last clause Jesus read (according to Luke 4:17-20) is found in our verse for today! "To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn"  Isaiah 61:2 The only part of the verse Jesus read and exegeted ("to lead out" the meaning of a passage) is:  "To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,"  Jesus actually stopped His text at a "comma!" (This so far has been a 2,000 year comma!)  It represents the time span between the acceptable year of the Lord and the day of His vengeance! The term "acceptable year of the Lord" is believed by many to be a technical expression referring again to the "Year of Jubilee."  The Spirit Anointed Preacher of Isaiah 61 (fulfilled in Jesus) would bring liberty to the captives in the sense of declaring a Year of Jubilee (freedom) for the slaves! The adjective "acceptable" (Hebrew = ratzson") means: pleasant, delightful, favorable or filled with good-will (grace)!  It comes from a verb that means: to be pleased with ... or more specifically; to satisfy a debt!  Did you hear that?  "To satisfy a debt!" If Jesus on the Cross satisfied our (sin) debt (which He did) ... then He is our "Kinsman-Redeemer!"  The Year of Jubilee Scriptures also discuss the Kinsman Redeemer concept (in back-to-back paragraphs)!  See Leviticus 25. The word "year" is interesting.  It is derived from a verb that means "to fold over" or just "to duplicate."  It represents some period of time that is repeated occasionally. It became the term the Israelites adopted for a "year," a revolution of time that recurred every 12 months! The "preaching" verb here --- "to proclaim" --- is the Hebrew root "Qara."  It means to call out loud!  It's a pretty strong verb, too!  It carries the idea of approaching a person and demanding a hearing!  Strong's Exhaustive Concordance has a word dictionary in the back ... which says our word means "to accost" someone!   To halt him (or her) in his (or her) path and expect a response to the message! Notice that the Grace time ("Acceptable Year of the Lord") lasts longer than the Judgment time ("Day of Vengeance").  Our God is a God of love!  BUT He will judge the wicked and they will suffer eternally if they reject God's Grace! Now back to that "Year of Jubilee" concept for a minute ... since that's exactly what our text is mentioning.  It occurred every 50th year for Israel.  (After 7 series of Sabbatical Years)  During the year of Jubilee all land reverted to its original owners ... and all slaves were set free! (Back then land could be taken as a result of bad debts!  People also could "work off' unpaid debts by being servants of the one to whom they owed such money!)  But that servitude and poverty was "broken" on the year of Jubilee and releases had to be given for all property and people!  The only exception I can see to this (again, based upon Leviticus 25) is when a "Kinsman Redeemer" arrived on the scene.  He could "redeem" (buy back one's possessions or set the slave free) anytime ... provided he paid the price required! (If he had the money ... was related to the victim ... and was willing to spend ... He could "redeem" them early!)  Just as Boaz was the Kinsman Redeemer to Ruth ... Jesus IS our Kinsman Redeemer! (By the way, back on the clause "to proclaim liberty to the captives," the word "liberty," in Hebrew ... "deror," is another technical term that refers to the Jubilee Release Program!  See Leviticus 25:10 and Jeremiah 34:8 and 15 and especially Ezekiel 46:17!) This I know ... when Jesus found me I was a slave to sin.  I had lost all to iniquity and degradation.  But He REDEEMED me!  And I've been praising Him ever since! (I believe that through His Holy Spirit and real God-called Preachers ... Jesus is STILL preaching "the acceptable year of the Lord!") Someone listen today!  He will save (deliver) you!

 

 

 

ISAIAH 61, VERSE 2 (SECOND LESSON) ...

We have been studying the text Jesus used in His first recorded sermon.  He preached from Isaiah 61. The Lord's sermon is recorded for us in Luke 4. He either stopped His reading of His text in Isaiah 61:2 at the comma (after the word Lord), or Luke only recorded the text that far (using a literary procedure called an ellipsis). Either way, here are the first 3 verses of Isaiah 61.  "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;  To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified."  Isaiah 61:1-3  One of the most unusual clauses in the passage is today's Home Page focus.  "To proclaim ... the day of vengeance of our God."  Luke did stop the printed text just before these words ... BUT Jesus DID preach that day (again, based on Luke 4) on God's judgment or vengeance! The noun used for "vengeance" is a Hebrew word, "naqam."  It means "revenge!"  It is derived from a root verb that means "to grudge or to punish!" Now don't misunderstand me.  I am just defining the term.  God NEVER has sinned and NEVER will! This "vengeance" of His is not wicked in any way.  The Lord's wrath is NOT based upon any selfish motives or impure responses.  BUT God will some day exact the right payment from sin for all the damage it's done!  God will punish rebels who refuse to repent! Jesus had quite a bit to say (in His public ministry while on earth) about the coming times of God's judgment.  He even mentions it in the Luke 4 sermon! This "day of vengeance" is often called the "Day of the Lord" in the Old Testament. Hear me well. Jesus preached about Heaven ... and about Hell! He offered Salvation ... but warned of Damnation to those who refused His offer of Grace! By the way, the first Bible use of "vengeance" was an act of grace!  Genesis 4:15 says --- "And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him."  (Wow!) Our word vengeance is translated "punished" twice in the King James Version. Those examples may be found in Exodus 21:20 and 21.  But the first use of the word in Scripture IN THIS VERY FORM is in Deuteronomy 32:35 where we are told that vengeance belongs unto God!  He OWNS it! Still today the love and grace of God need to be preached ... but right along with His righteousness and judgment! I am so glad that Jesus was a "balanced" Preacher!  In fact, He was (better make that IS) a Perfect Preacher!

 

 

 

ISAIAH 61, VERSE 2 (THIRD LESSON) ...

*  Jesus our Saviour came to die on the Cross so that we might be saved.  In Luke 19:10 we are told:  "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." But He does many other things for the sinner in conjunction with the saving of his lost soul! Our verse today describes one of those "side effects" of salvation! Isaiah 61:2 says prophetically of Jesus that He came "to comfort all that mourn." This being true, one can Biblically say that Jesus is also A Comforter (as is the Holy Spirit)! The verb "comfort" is a beauty!  The Hebrew term ("nacham") means to sigh, to breathe strongly, to be sorry, to pity or to console!  The word shows God in His compassion. Additionally the verb here is a "Piel" suggesting that it is intensive in its action!  God vigorously comforts those who mourn. One of the first uses of the verb in Scripture is found in Genesis 24:67 where Isaac's bride comforts him after the death of his mother.  We as part of the New Testament church are the Bride of Christ. Maybe He saved us (giving us comfort) ... so we could in turn worship and adore Him (giving our great Bridegroom comfort)! In Ruth 2:13 we have another example of comfort (using our same verb).  The Bridegroom Boaz is comforting his Bride Ruth!  Our "comfort" verb is also an infinitive.  This reveals to us that its action is constant.  God is always comforting those who mourn! Notice too that He is not too selective in this comfort He gives!  He comforts "ALL" who mourn.  Now all may not be willing to receive this great comfort ... but it's there nonetheless! But who are the candidates for such kindness? Those who "mourn."  The verb comes from a root stem that means "to bewail."  In Hebrew it is spelled "abel."  In Scripture the verb often is used for sorrow over the death of a loved one. Perhaps spiritually we mourn when we learn of our condition apart from Christ --- dead in our sins!  Grieving over our wickedness (called "conviction") ... at which point God can really comfort us! Jesus perhaps had this very verse in mind when He preached on the mount "Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted."  Mathew 5:4 Maybe if we Christians mourned more over sin today we would all the more sense His comforting Presence! I just know this.  Our Lord is able to love, sooth and comfort all who are properly grieving over some situation in their lives! Blessed be His Name!

 

 

 

ISAIAH 61, VERSE 3 (FIRST LESSON) ...

I hope Iím not staying too long in one passage. I have been captivated by Isaiah 61! Jesus must have loved it too. It was His text for His first recorded sermon in Scripture.  Notice verse 3 with me: "To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified."  Isaiah 61:3   The first part of the verse today gets our attention. "To appoint to them that mourn in Zion!" Now you would think thatís not enough of a verse to ponder! BUT it is the Word of God! Let me first of all say that God is in the "appointing" business! I studied that verb "appoint" and found that (Hebrew = "sum") it means: to put, to place, to set, to make, etc. Itís first use in Scripture is in Genesis 45:7 where Joseph reveals his identity to his brothers: "And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance." Our verb "sum" is here translated "preserve!" GOD HAS PRESERVED SOME THINGS FOR THOSE WHO MOURN ... FOR THE GODLY! The second use of the verb is found in Numbers 11:11. Letís notice it too. "And Moses said unto the LORD, Wherefore hast thou afflicted thy servant? and wherefore have I not found favour in thy sight, that thou layest the burden of all this people upon me?"  Here "sum" is translated "layest!" GOD HAS LAID SOME THINGS UPON HIS PEOPLE TOO! He has laid upon you some things like "beauty and joy and praise!"  Now I donít want to tire you ... but look at the third Bible use of our verb! Deuteronomy 12:5 says: "But unto the place which the LORD your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put his name there, even unto his habitation shall ye seek, and thither thou shalt come." Here "sum" is translated "to put." (To put Godís very Name!) GOD HAS ALSO PUT HIS NAME ON YOU, DEAR BELIEVING FRIEND! AND WHEN HE DID SO ... AS A "SIDE EFFECT" CAME BEAUTY AND JOY AND PRAISE AND ALL KINDS OF FRUIT! I just discovered something interesting! This verb is not used in the whole Book of Psalms! That is strange. I wonder why the Holy Spirit (in the longest Book of the entire Old Testament) omits this word? I of course do not know the full answer to that question ... and will not know until heaven ... BUT I do see one thing. This little verb ("appoint" in English and "sum" in Hebrew) does not have to be in the Psalms to glorify God!  Isaiah here has written a Psalm! (A Psalm of praise!) Isaiah sanctified this little verb and made it into part of a Psalm! (Not a Davidic Psalm ... but an "Isaiah" Psalm!) If you are reading these words today ... dear "saved" friend ... and the devil has you discouraged or defeated ... let me tell you something! God has APPOINTED some things for you also! Things like: Heaven! Answers to Prayer! The continual indwelling of the precious Holy Spirit! A living Bible that never will change! Eternal Salvation!  Praise His Name!

 

 

 

ISAIAH 61, VERSE 3 (SECOND LESSON) ...

Today we study one of the most beautiful passages in the Bible. Look at the goal of the marvelous Grace of God: "To give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified."  (Isaiah 61:3)  Notice with me the phrase "to give unto them beauty for ashes." If you will really think about it ... thatís exactly what He did for you when He saved your soul. "To give" is the standard word (Hebrew = "nathan") for "bestow, add or give!" It is a Qal infinitive (simple active voice) with a "time" sense that reveals on-going action. God keeps on giving and giving and giving beauty for ashes! He is a giving God! The first time this word is used in Scripture (Genesis 4:12) is when a curse is placed on Ham and the earth will no longer "yield" ("nathan") her strength to him. In our use of the word here today the curse is reversed and God gives grace! The noun "beauty" is an interesting word. The Hebrew word ("peer") is only used 7 times in the whole Bible. It is translated as follows in the King James Bible: "bonnets" (2 times), "beauty" (1 time), "goodly" (1 time), "ornaments" (1 time), "tires" (a head ornament) only 1 time, and "tire of thine head" (1 time)! Thatís a unique history! Strongís Concordance says that it means "to gleam" and has the idea of ornamentation ... especially the ornamentation of a tree! (Things like the lovely limbs and leaves and blossoms and fragrances of a healthy vigorous tree!) Whatever the precise meaning ... its intent is clear. Loveliness and propriety are meant here! God gives me beauty (which on a real tree is some kind of growth and development) ... in the place of old dirty "ashes!" This noun comes from a word that means to strew ... and one only strews something that is of no account and is to be thrown away! The word is "epher" and one lexicon says it means things that are worthless! All 22 times it is used in our Bibles it is translated "ashes." (In our particular context it is whatís left over from a burnt-out life given to the devil.) However, remember that "ashes" derived from a life given to God in humble service (sacrifice) are precious! (The ashes of certain sacrifices were treated with great respect!) Dust and ashes are found together 4 times in Scripture. We who will return some day to dust ... will leave behind ashes from service to someone or something. I want to be used of God! I want my dust and ashes to be dedicated to Him! I guess one can say after a godly man or woman has lived their lives ... died ... been buried ... and their dear old bodies have long since returned to dust and ashes ... that God will view all that as a collection of ... BEAUTIFUL ASHES! I love that thought. He took my "ashes" ... and gave me His Beauty!

 

 

 

ISAIAH 61, VERSE 3 (THIRD LESSON) ...

I never cease to be amazed at the things the Bible has to say about salvation! At the moment of salvation, a soul is transferred from darkness to light ... from death to life ... from a destiny in hell to one in heaven! God can "restore the years the locust have eaten (Joel 2:25)!" He also can give us beauty for ashes (as we saw yesterday)! And today we get to see another beautiful picture of the power of the saving grace of God! Isaiah 61:3 says: "To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified." Letís examine the one phrase "To give ... THE OIL OF JOY FOR MOURNING!" Our God is able to do this! First letís look at manís condition before salvation. Heís in a state of "mounrning." In Hebrew itís spelled "ebel." It is only found 24 times in all the Bible. And in the Authorized Version (King James) it is always translated "mourning." The word is from a root that means "to wail or to bewail!" It refers to lamentation. It involves oneís reaction to death or tragedy or great sorrow of any kind. It is apparent what Isaiah is saying. (Jesus says it of Himself later in Luke 4 when He preaches His first sermon.) He says it "elliptically" ... but He says it none the less. That means that Luke only records the first few words of a passage ... indicating that Jesus went on to read and preach from the entire passage. The Scriptures often use this literary technique. Jesus came to minister to those who were lost (Luke 19:10)!  In saving lost souls (via the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ) our Lord exchanges our MOURNING for His JOY!  No wonder they call it salvation! Another interesting "aside" is that the word for mourning ("abel"), when "pointed" differently in Hebrew (spelled the same ... but with different little vowel "marks") is their word for "verily" (truly) or "indeed!" An example of this can be found in Genesis 17:19 where the word is translated "indeed." God took our sureties ... our stupid assertions ... our false premises and gave us instead His truth ... filled with His JOY! But ... what is the "oil of joy?" The noun "oil" is spelled "shemen" and speaks of fat or oil in several different forms. It usually (as here) means "olive oil." It is used in Scripture 193 times. Itís translated "ointment" 14 times! God must ĎAnoint" us with something (Someone) when we get saved! Indeed! With the dear Holy Spirit of God ... Who is pictured as OIL throughout Scripture! But get this. The word "shemen" comes from a verb that means "to shine!" Thereís just something about the Holy Spirit that makes one "shine!" Really the ancients used to put oil on their faces to give themselves a healthy and lovely "glow." I still believe the indwelling and infilling Holy Ghost of God causes oneís face to shine (especially in a spiritual sense)!  And guess what? I just read that this oil from the olive tree was often very fragrant! Perfumed olive oil! I still think thatís a pretty good description of the Spirit, donít you? And lastly that word "joy" (in Hebrew = "sason") which means gladness or exultation. It has the idea of cheerfulness. Also it is derived from the semantic field of words that means "to be bright." For a good idea of some synonyms for our word "joy," notice Esther 8:16 --- "The Jews had light, and gladness, and joy, and honour." Look (prophetically) at the Joy Jesus possesses: "Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows." Psalm 45:7 And the wellspring of this joy? Salvation! Psalm 51:12 proves it: "Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit." Another source of such joy is ... the Word of God! Again, read Psalm 119:111 --- "Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart." How ecstatic we Believers should be this day! Our mourning is gone! We now have JOY, real JOY! And it comes from our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ!

 

 

 

ISAIAH 61, VERSE 3 (FOURTH LESSON) ...

The Scriptures say in Isaiah 61:3 that the Lord can give you "THE GARMENT OF PRAISE FOR THE SPIRIT OF HEAVINESS." Iíve often wondered what that expression means. It obviously deals with patterns of dress. My research suggests that the Jews loved to wear brightly colored clothes ... especially at times of feasting and thanksgiving! Those outfits well may have been called "garments of praise!" The noun "garments" in Hebrew is "maateh" and is only used this one time in all the Bible! That makes this one special garment! It comes from the root verb that means "to wrap." (Sounds like a rather sufficient covering for oneís body, doesnít it?) And "praise" is "tehillah," meaning adoration, praise, glory or renown. It is derived from the verb "to shine!" The Jews also were very emotional people who loved to celebrate joyful occasions! Here are the clothes one would wear to a wedding or to a marriage feast! (Anyone reading these lines going to a wedding?) I would say that if God is going to dress us for praise, He means for us to get ready to do just that ... praise Him! The word "spirit" is "ruach" and means breath or wind (then ... spirit). Notice there is a spirit of heaviness! There are also spirits of anger and jealousy and lust! But few spirits are as dreary as that of "heaviness." This spirit of heaviness is not even described in "clothing " terms! But we do know what Old Testament folks wore during times of heaviness and sorrow and grief! They wore a rough scratchy burlap type material called "sackcloth." It in Scripture often pictures repentance and conviction over sin! Maybe we're being taught here that in order to be saved ... one MUST wear the spirit of heaviness for a while ... until belief in the shed Blood of Jesus brings him or her to salvation. THEN the burdensome clothing of sin is exchanged for beautiful bright robes of joy and praise! "Heaviness" is a word that means "to be weak or feeble!" ("keheh" in Hebrew)  Of the 9 times itís used in the King James Bible, here are its translations: "somewhat dark" (5 times), "darkish" (1 time), "wax dim" (1 time), "smoking" (1 time) and "heaviness" (1 time).  God can take our sackcloth (and darkness) and trade them for robes of joy! We believers are to be dressed in robes of righteousness according to Revelation 7:14 and 19:8. I believe those could be called "garments of praise!" Remember Josephís "coat of many colors!" It was surely a garment of praise. Our greater Joseph (the Lord Jesus) will some day appear wearing His garments of praise too! Oh, how today we ought to thank God for giving us a new wardrobe. (In many cases both physically and spiritually!) When Joseph left prison ... he changed his garments before meeting Pharaoh. Genesis 41:14 --- "Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon: and he shaved himself, and changed his raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh." When we meet our Heavenly King ... we too shall have been given a new outfit ... changed garments ... garments of praise! Bless the good Name of the Lord!

 

 

 

ISAIAH 61, VERSE 3 (FIFTH LESSON) ...

It seems that Scripture often compares people to trees!  Even lost people are so described.  For example, in Psalm 37:35 we read:  "I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree." But especially saved people are placed into this motif by the Spirit of God.  Whether it's Psalm 1 and the "tree planted by the rivers of water" or Psalm 92 where "the righteous flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon" ... trees are used of God as object lessons. Even the Lord Jesus tells us we can know a tree by its fruit.  He is obviously referring to people and the lives they live. Now it is so in our text today as well. Isaiah 61:3 says of God's transformed people:  "That they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified." The noun for "trees" is amazing!  It is in Hebrew "ayil" and comes from a verb that means "to twist" (something twisted together so as to make it stronger).  In the King James Version it is used to indicate strength or might.  Here are some of its unusual translations:  mighty (men), 4 times!  posts (as strong and standing firm), 21 times!  lintel (door post), 1 time!  oaks, 1 time! and trees, 2 times!  We believers are to be strong (steadfast) because of the Grace of God in our lives!  Grace does impart strength!  Here's proof from Paul's life: 1st Corinthians 15:10 --- "But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me." But what kind of trees are meant here? Trees of "righteousness."  The word means correct in the eyes of God.  (Straight and even ... not crooked and broken!) But notice Who "planted" these trees! The noun "planting" is from the Hebrew "matta" and means "to strike in!" Something placed into the ground (in this context).   Notice this similar verse in Isaiah 60:21 --- "Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified." God's Hands can plant too!  Our word is translated "plantation" in Ezekiel 17:7!  God has not only planted us ... He has set us in a plantation!  (An assembly of trees!)  In Ezekiel 31:4 it's "plants." We are His little plants!  James 1:21 tells us to "Receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls."  That word "engrafted" means implanted!  The implanted Word of God brings salvation!  Also remember Jesus' parable of the sower! What kind of Gardener is the Lord?  Let Ezekiel 34:29 answer that question:  "And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more."  A plant of renown! But what's the purpose of all these things? Why all the activity of these three verses in Isaiah?  One goal!  One desire! "... That HE might be glorified."  It's all to the glory of God!  The verb to "glorify" (Hebrew = "paar") means to gleam!  (To embellish!)  Maybe even to be decorated (as a tree is with strong limbs and lovely leaves and luscious fruit)! This builds one beautiful word picture!  The word is also used of the head bonnets the Priests of Israel wore! See Exodus 39:28 where our word is "goodly" bonnets.  It can mean "to beautify or adorn. Ezra 7:27 --- "Blessed be the LORD God of our fathers, which hath put such a thing as this in the king's heart, to beautify the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem." Well, I have one thing to say ... GLORY TO GOD! Now, if you ever have the time (or the interest) you can go back through these lessons from Isaiah 61:1-3 (all still saved on this site) and study the whole passage. Isaiah is one of the greatest writers of the entire Bible!

 

 

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