Listen Up!; Isaiah Chapters 51-53
May 1, 2015

C. R. Oliver

You may watch this Newsletter in a video HERE.


May 1, 2015

Listen Up!
Isaiah Chapters 51-53

It is easy to forget, in these closing chapters of Isaiah, that God is re-introducing Himself to His people. Along with these passages is an ever increasing refinement of what He considers as important and just how He plans to intervene in history. The Lord shows the tender side of His Fatherhood, as well as, the power side of His authority.

Chapter 51:

In this chapter, His use of repetitive phrases adds emphasis to His teachings. Such is the case in 51:1-8. Three paragraphs begin with "Listen to Me." Perhaps we all must listen more intensely. Each paragraph poses a new consideration which build on one other. Three groups are addressed-those who "seek the Lord," then the group called, "My people" and then those who "cherish His laws."

Group I, Those who seek Him:
Isaiah 51:1-3
Listen to me, all who hope for deliverance, who seek the Lord! Consider the quarry from which you were mined, the rock from which you were cut! Yes, think about your ancestors Abraham and Sarah, from whom you came. You worry at being so small and few, but Abraham was only one when I called him. But when I blessed him, he became a great nation. 3 And the Lord will bless Israel again, and make her deserts blossom; her barren wilderness will become as beautiful as the Garden of Eden. Joy and gladness will be found there, thanksgiving and lovely songs.
One could call "Those who seek Him," the praying--faith folk. They are those who believe for deliverance and in doing so, "seek the Lord!" He tells them to consider their heritage: "the rock from which you came." Abraham and Sarah are the ones from "whence you came." Consider it was God who started with two people and made a great nation, so why not trust Him still?

O church, consider the "rock from which you came ("Upon this rock I will build my church")." O Church, never lose sight of your heritage and how God has supernaturally blessed your works! O Church, consider the upper room and the multitudes that have followed their witness!

Hinged on these considerations, a fiat statement is made: "The Lord will bless Israel again." Oh, He has, yes it has come to pass and the future blessings will continue to flow.

Since the immediate respondent is Israel, what of you and me? If we truly seek the Lord are we not the inheritors of those promises in Abraham? (Today, some are preaching the "blessings of Abraham" message. They are saying that these blessings are available to us, and they are. However, there is far more involved in that blessing than messages about prosperity. The ensuing chapters are filled with extensions of the Israel blessing, including the sure mercies of David.)

Does this verse mean the same blessings that fell upon Abraham are to be re-instituted or does this mean that God is moving to pour out a special blessing upon Israel that would equal Abraham's blessing? Or does this mean the blessing on the nation will be as far reaching as on the man himself?

Group II, Those who call themselves, "My People."
Isaiah 51:4-6
4 Listen to me, My people; listen, O Israel, for I will see that right prevails. 5 My mercy and justice are coming soon; your salvation is on the way. I will rule the nations; they shall wait for me and long for me to come. 6 Look high in the skies and watch the earth beneath, for the skies shall disappear like smoke, the earth shall wear out like a garment, and the people of the earth shall die like flies. But my salvation lasts forever; my righteous rule will never die nor end.
Again, the "Listen Up" command is given to those who trust Him. God says He is overseeing the last days with special effects. First, He "will see that right prevails." This is a huge promise, because injustice and "conditions like the days of Noah" prevail. Courts are defiled, justices biased, governments are oppressive and religion is compromised, BUT-He will bring order out of chaos.

For the people of God, there will be mercy and justice and salvation. During this time, several occurrences will take place. First, He will rule the nations.

The Lord says: "I will rule the nations that wait for Me and long for Me to come." (O that those nations called "Christian" would rise up and seek His coming and then rest in His power.) Much of the rhetoric among the clergy today is the "imminent judgment of God upon the US." They paint a dismal picture and leave their audiences in a lurch, without touching the main theme: "My salvation lasts forever; My righteous rule will never die nor end."

"His People" are told to look in two places: "Look Up," to the sky, which shows signs of passing away and "Look down," to the earth, where people are "dying like flies." (People rapidly dying could mean war, plague or "national cleansing." We are not told which, but the heavens are currently bearing their witness with four Blood Moons in two years. The question to be asked is "should one lay the emphasis on the events or on God who is behind the events?")

God places His emphasis on His control: "But My salvation lasts forever; My righteous rule will never die nor end." Beginning His statement with that little word "but," changes everything said before it. No matter what is happening before that one little word "but" is insignificant. What comes after it is what counts. (My wife's answer to those who are fearful and unbelieving upon considering the events of Government and Terrorism today is: "But God!")

This is truly the message for the "last days!"

Regardless of what is happening in the cataclysmic throws of a chaotic society-He is still in charge!

Group III, Those who cherish My Laws:
Isaiah 51:7-8
7 'Listen to me, you who know the right from wrong and cherish my laws in your hearts: don't be afraid of people's scorn or their slanderous talk. 8 For the moth shall destroy them like garments; the worm shall eat them like wool; but my justice and mercy shall last forever, and my salvation from generation to generation.
These two verses (7-8) are written to the saints. The Lord has one glaring command: "Don't be afraid." The mandate is followed with, "BUT My justice and mercy shall last forever, and My salvation from generation to generation." (I am convinced this is the message that must reach the ears of those who understand the seriousness of the times.)

God shows He can be counted on from generation to generation.

However, Isaiah cries out for God to show up and show out, like He did in Egypt. The prophet knows that if the Lord delivered His people once, He can do it again. Isaiah is the progenitor of the phrase: "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever."
Isaiah 51:9-11
9 Awake, O Lord! Rise up and robe yourself with strength. Rouse yourself as in the days of old when you slew Egypt, the dragon of the Nile.

10 Are you not the same today, the mighty God who dried up the sea, making a path right through it for your ransomed ones? 11 The time will come when God's redeemed will all come home again. They shall come with singing to Jerusalem, filled with joy and everlasting gladness; sorrow and mourning will all disappear.
Isaiah was inside Jerusalem when he penned these words. Israel was at home at the time. BUT, there is a time coming in the future when the Redeemed of the Lord will "come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy and gladness: sorrow and mourning will all disappear." That has not happened yet. Yes, there were interim times (after the Babylonian captivity) when those who returned did so with joy, but sorrow and mourning have not disappeared-far from it!

The Lord answered Isaiah's inquiry about, "Are you not the same today?" Beginning in verse twelve, He addresses His people and what He says is cogent to this hour.
Isaiah 51:12-16
'I, even I, am He who comforts you and gives you all this joy. So what right have you to fear mere mortal men, who wither like the grass and disappear? 13 And yet you have no fear of God, your Maker--you have forgotten him, the one who spread the stars throughout the skies and made the earth. Will you be in constant dread of men's oppression, and fear their anger all day long? 14 Soon, soon you slaves shall be released; dungeon, starvation and death are not your fate. 15 For I am the Lord your God, the Lord Almighty, who dried a path for you right through the sea, between the roaring waves. 16 And I have put my words in your mouth and hidden you safe within my hand. I planted the stars in place and molded all the earth. I am the one who says to Israel, "You are mine."'
"I have put my words in your mouth and hidden you safe within my hand." Is He talking to Isaiah alone? No, He is talking to all His covenant people. What greater promise of love could be showered upon them?

After promising them release, no more dungeons, no more starvation, no more death, He draws them close to Him and says, "You are Mine." Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Facing the awful prospect of annihilation and incarceration by governments of the world, the Christians need His deliverance. We are His! His word and His care go together!
Isaiah 51:17-23
17 Wake up, wake up, Jerusalem! You have drunk enough from the cup of the fury of the Lord. You have drunk to the dregs the cup of terror and squeezed out the last drops. 18 Not one of her sons is left alive to help or tell her what to do. 19 These two things have been your lot: desolation and destruction. Yes, famine and the sword. And who is left to sympathize? Who is left to comfort you? 20 For your sons have fainted and lie in the streets, helpless as wild goats caught in a net. The Lord has poured out his fury and rebuke upon them. 21 But listen now to this, afflicted ones--full of troubles and in a stupor (but not from being drunk)-- this is what the Lord says, the Lord your God who cares for His people: "See, I take from your hands the terrible cup; you shall drink no more of my fury; it is gone at last. 23 But I will put that terrible cup into the hands of those who tormented you and trampled your souls to the dust and walked upon your backs."
When one analyzes these verses, several gripping statements capture the mind. In verses 17 and 21, the recipients are told to "Wake Up" and to "Listen." The Lord announces rather grandly that it's, "Transfer the cup time." Remember, the Lord is re-introducing Himself to His people. And because they have been distant for so long, it is necessary to set out "Your God, the one who cares for His people."

The Lord tells the citizens of Jerusalem they, "have drunk enough from the cup of Fury."

He is transferring destruction, desolation, peril and sword to any nation that has tormented and trampled their souls. (There is a large gathering of nations that had best plan to attend.) One thing for sure is Jerusalem, "You shall drink no more of my fury, it is gone at last." He is their comfort (v. 19). He cares for His people (v. 22).

(O nations, woe to you to whom He passes that terrible cup of trembling--those of you who have trampled the covenant people! The cup of trembling is both in dread of its fury and its permanent effect. Somehow, the majority of the world is about to experience what it means to "receive the cup." Holiness Ones drink the cup of covenant [the Lord's supper], but the nations that have made themselves the enemy of God will drink the cup of wrath. )

Chapter 52:

This chapter contains one of the most quoted verses in Scripture,
Isaiah 52:7
7 How beautiful upon the mountains
Are the feet of him who brings good news,
Who proclaims peace,
Who brings glad tidings of good things,
Who proclaims salvation,
Who says to Zion,
"Your God reigns!"
(This passage is surrounded with challenges, promises and promotions from the Lord.)

At the beginning of the chapter, the Lord is shown calling His people to a new level and position among the nations. The chapter ends with a picture of the death of Jesus and the poignant and graphic depiction of His visage.

With this verse comes a refreshing "new persona" for His covenant people. Instead of wrath, discouragement and sinful failure, they must arouse themselves, for they have a change of clothing like Zechariah 4. The filthy garments are laid aside and the pure ones of grace are put on.
Isaiah 52:1
Wake up, wake up, Jerusalem, and clothe yourselves with strength
Put on your beautiful clothes, O Zion, Holy City;
They must awaken and rise up to become the Holy City they were destined to be, clothed in God's strength and beautiful attire. A huge promise follows this admonition which tells us this is yet a future event. In other words, "Wake up to who you are!" This could well be the message to the body of Christ for today.

Some promises attend the re-clothing.
Isaiah 52:1
Sinners--those who turn from God--will no longer enter your gates.
Again, God issued a command to, "Rise Up, from the dust"
Isaiah 52:2
Rise from the dust, Jerusalem; take off the slave bands from your neck, O captive daughter of Zion
Beaten down, bruised, vilified and so accustomed to the slave status, the people of God have taken on the manner and character of the "downtrodden (being labeled the 'captive daughter of Zion')." It is up to them to take off the "slave bands." With the Lord, their status has already been changed; it is up to them to awaken to it and remove their slave bands.
3 For the Lord says, "When I sold you into exile, I asked no fee from your oppressors; now I can take you back again and owe them not a cent! 4 My people were tyrannized without cause by Egypt and Assyria, and I delivered them."
"Tyrannized Without Cause" would make a great book title chronicling the history of God's people.

In this passage, God takes responsibility for punishing His people for their waywardness. He sold them to their oppressors (Egypt and Assyria) without monetary exchange. He delivered them once from those oppressors, and now they are enslaved again (by Babylon). In a few verses from now, He will tell them to shed the character of Babylon and be free again.

(O Church, from how many things have you been delivered, but once again are enslaved? Rise up and awaken to your place in Him. Throw off the chains of bondage and repent of being less than God planned.)
Isaiah 52:5-6
5 "And now, what is this?" asks the Lord. "Why are my people enslaved again and oppressed without excuse? Those who rule them shout in exultation, and My Name is constantly blasphemed day by day. 6 Therefore I will reveal My Name to My people, and they shall know the power in that Name. Then at last they will recognize that it is I, yes, I, who speaks to them."
Transforming power lies in that Name!

Abram experienced the Yahweh change as The "Eternal Breath" breathed upon him and changed him to Abraham (part of the name being "ah"[the breathe]). Sara was changed to Sarah. Moses heard from the great "I Am." All the names of God from the Old Testament change to one name: Jesus! THERE IS POWER in that Name! (If there are other "name additions," given by the Lord, we must wait to hear them [for He promised to "reveal" them]). In the book of Acts, the "upper-roomers" did exploits in the power of that name.

(Ah! Church, there is still power in the Name. Use it!)
Isaiah 52:7-10
7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those who bring the happy news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns. 8 The watchmen shout and sing with joy, for right before their eyes they see the Lord God bring His people home again. 9 Let the ruins of Jerusalem break into joyous song, for the Lord has comforted his people; He has redeemed Jerusalem. 10 The Lord has bared His holy arm before the eyes of all the nations; the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.
The King James Bible waxes poetic with verse seven and is quoted often-mostly in accolade to those bearing the message in foreign settings as missionaries or to ministers in general. However, the chief element of the message is, "the God of Israel reigns." How truly beautiful are the feet of them, who, in purity and truth, bring souls into the fullness of the gospel. All too often, it is not this message that is transmitted to the "evangelized." (I have encountered all kinds of doctrines brought alongside the central message of the gospel. The feet that carried such error are not beautiful.) The watchman, presiding over the ruins of Jerusalem, saw "before their eyes" the people of God returning from captivity. The redemption of Jerusalem has been and will be forever a focal point of history. (All these passages have both historic and future dimensions. Once again, Jerusalem is front and center of world affairs.)

Verse 10 is about to explode on a scale which has never been seen before ("The ends of the earth will "see" the salvation of our God!")
Isaiah 52:11-12
11 Go now, leave your bonds and slavery. Put Babylon and all it represents far behind you--it is unclean to you. You are the holy people of the Lord; purify yourselves, all you who carry home the vessels of the Lord. 12 You shall not leave in haste, running for your lives; for the Lord will go ahead of you, and He, the God of Israel, will protect you from behind.
Babylon is not just a place; it was and is a way of life. Some call today's economic base "A Babylonian system," because of society's belief that man can provide mankind all that is needed for life, both physically and emotionally. Such philosophy denies the need for God.

Israel was told to put the "Babylonian way of life" behind them as unclean. They must see themselves as a "Holy" people. (The modern church would do well to heed these words).

The Lord's protection hovers around His covenant people. As they move away from Babylon and come home, they will not have to leave hurriedly, as in Egypt. There will be time to engage a new lifestyle. Holy people need to know that God is "in the change" for them. He promised to be "ahead" and "behind them (As you and I move into Holiness, He is there to guide our path and be our "rereward [KJV)])."

Beginning with verse 15, and continuing through to the end of Isaiah's prophetic words, is a graphic picture of Jesus as Messiah.
Isaiah 52:13-53:1
See, My Servant shall prosper; He shall be highly exalted. 14 Yet many shall be amazed when they see Him--yes, even far-off foreign nations and their kings; they shall stand dumbfounded, speechless in his presence. For they shall see and understand what they had not been told before. They shall see My Servant beaten and bloodied, so disfigured one would scarcely know it was a person standing there. So shall he cleanse many nations.
Though this passage needs little explanation, it has certain elements needful to enjoin. "My servant shall prosper and be highly exalted" is a historical fact-also His crucifixion. There has come a time and there will come a greater time, when the nations "will see and understand." The Bible says "had they known," they would not have crucified Him.

Isaiah saw a suffering servant and an exalted King.

Chapter 53:

Isaiah sounds like he is making a national confession for Israel (and the world) in this chapter. (Such a confession would suit today's marketplace globe.)
Isaiah 53:1-6
1 But, oh, how few believe it! Who will listen? To whom will God reveal His saving power? 2 In God's eyes He was like a tender green shoot, sprouting from a root in dry and sterile ground. But in our eyes there was no attractiveness at all, nothing to make us want Him. 3 We despised Him and rejected Him--a man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief. We turned our backs on Him and looked the other way when He went by. He was despised, and we didn't care.

4 Yet it was our grief He bore, our sorrows that weighed Him down. And we thought His troubles were a punishment from God, for His own sins! 5 But He was wounded and bruised for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace; He was lashed--and we were healed! 6 We--every one of us--have strayed away like sheep! We, who left God's paths to follow our own. Yet God laid on him the guilt and sins of every one of us!
Two views of the Suffering Servant reveal the divergence between God's eyes and man's. Isaiah starts his confession with, "We despised," "we rejected," we turned our backs," "we looked the other way" and "we didn't care."

Similarly, Isaiah also took the "our" position--just as he did with the "we." What the prophet saw, broke his heart. Isaiah understood he was also a part of the "we" and a great respondent to the "our." He bore "our grief" and carried (was weighed down with) our sorrows and beaten for our peace (Why then do we grieve, sorrow and have no peace?).

The KJV says "by his stripes we were healed." (Why then do we struggle with disease and ill health?)

Again, Isaiah takes on the national persona and confesses:
6 We--every one of us--have strayed away like sheep! We, who left God's paths to follow our own. Yet God laid on Him the guilt and sins of every one of us!
(Knowing all that mankind has cumulatively done [the amalgamation of every person's sin], still He makes provision and forgiveness.)

"YET," God "laid on Him the guilt and sins of every one of us! (This message is the message that must reach the world! He is the answer to the question posed by Jesus to Peter, "Whom say ye that I am?")

All about Jesus:

The most poignant description of the plan of God in Jesus' crucifixion surfaced in a few short verses:
Isaiah 53:7-12
7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He never said a word. He was brought as a lamb to the slaughter; and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He stood silent before the ones condemning Him. 8 From prison and trial they led Him away to His death. But who among the people of that day realized it was their sins that He was dying for--that He was suffering their punishment? 9 He was buried like a criminal, but in a rich man's grave; but He had done no wrong and had never spoken an evil word.

10 But it was the Lord's good plan to bruise Him and fill Him with grief. However, when His soul has been made an offering for sin, then He shall have a multitude of children, many heirs. He shall live again, and God's program shall prosper in His hands. 11 And when He sees all that is accomplished by the anguish of His soul, He shall be satisfied; and because of what He has experienced, My righteous Servant shall make many to be counted righteous before God, for He shall bear all their sins. 12 Therefore, I will give Him the honors of one who is mighty and great because He has poured out His soul unto death. He was counted as a sinner, and He bore the sins of many, and He pled with God for sinners.
Isaiah's portrayal of events surrounding the death of the Son of God leaves no detail unturned. Jesus' silence in not answering the magistrates, His prison trial, His burial in a rich man's tomb and His resurrection ("He shall live again") all came to pass like a panorama of Isaiah's words. Over 600 years before the time, Isaiah spoke as if these events were "already accomplished." They were! "Before the foundation of the world He was a lamb slain." It was the plan of God for man's redemption before there was a man.

Therefore, the accolades, beginning in verse 10, grace His frame. The word, HOWEVER (v.10), stands like a huge gateway--giving mankind a glimpse of the enormity of God's purposes. Through His sacrifice, "God's program shall prosper in His hands."

Jesus rejoiced in what was accomplished in His endurance of the cross ("For the joy set before Him"). "He was satisfied" with what He had finished.
"…because of what He has experienced, My righteous Servant shall make many to be counted righteous before God, for He shall bear all their sins."
Paul said that His sacrifice gave us the opportunity to be "filled with all the fullness of Christ!" Isaiah said this was why honor flowed to Him. Revelation said, "To Him be glory and honor and power both now and forever.…"
12 Therefore, I will give Him the honors of one who is mighty and great because He has poured out His soul unto death. He was counted as a sinner, and He bore the sins of many, and He pled with God for sinners.

Until Next month,

Dr. Cosby R. Oliver, PhD.


          Zadok Publications
          P.O. Box 132874
          The Woodlands, Texas 77393

          (936) 230-3543

          On The Web:


Paperback volumes may still be ordered through our website.

To see the currently available books from Amazon, click on the cover images below.

The Sons of Zadok HR The Regal Pair Solomon's Secret Called to be Saints

Consumed By His Fire Double Grace En Punto A Study in Isaiah

The Road to Captivity Exact Ezekiel

Study Guide - The Sons of Zadok Study Guide - Called to be Saints Study Guide - The Road To Captivity

In Spanish:

Called to be Saints El Secreto de Salomon Los Hijos de Sadoc

In German:

Die Sohn Zadoks

To see the currently available books from Barnes & Noble, click on the cover images below.

Sons of Zadok Double Grace HR The Regal Pair Consumed By His Fire

Called to be Saints Solomon's Secret En Punto A Study in Isaiah

The Road to Captivity Exact Ezekiel

In Spanish:

Called to be Saints El Secreto de Salomon Los Hijos Sadoc

In German:

Die Sohn Zadoks

Last modified: 02/04/2019