Sweet Beulah Land Isaiah 62
Israel may be back in its land, but it must fight to stay there. Here is a look at God’s promises to the Jewish people and His settlement of the issue once and for all.
For centuries the Jewish people have waited for their Messiah to come and set up His Kingdom in Israel. At that time, Israel will receive the Land God promised them in perpetuity. That is when redeemed Israel will experience the fulfillment of all the promises in the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 12:1–7) and become the center of worldwide worship and learning.
Where in Scripture does God promise this wonderful existence for Israel? One place is in Isaiah 62, where Israel’s future glory is interwoven with the nation’s return from 70 years of captivity in Babylon in the sixth century BC. Like the preceding chapter, Isaiah 62 focuses on the restoration of Israel and the glory of Zion in the Millennial Kingdom. Verses 1–12 appeal to God to establish His Kingdom and to the Israelites to prepare for its arrival.
JOEL: THE DAY OF THE LORD
Read more of David Levy’s prophetic commentary in Joel: The Day of the Lord.
Verse 1 pulsates with emotion at the prediction of Israel’s restoration: “For Zion’s sake I will not hold My peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a lamp that burns.” Enthusiasm, excitement, and expectation reverberate at the good news that God will not “hold [His] peace” (keep quiet) or “rest” until His work in and for the nation is accomplished.
Based on the word I in verse 6, (“I have set watchmen on your walls”), the speaker is God the Father, who promises not to stop working or speaking on behalf of “Jerusalem” until her “righteousness” and “salvation” (v. 1) shine as a witness around the globe—that is, until Israel experiences personal blessing from God and becomes a blessing to the world.
That event will occur at the Second Coming when God will pour out the “Spirit of grace” on Jerusalem, and a remnant will receive the Messiah as Savior and become spiritually redeemed (Zech. 12:10). These people will repent of sin and be declared righteous because they will possess the imputed righteousness of God (Isa. 62:1). Then Israel’s salvation and righteousness will glow brightly and bless the world like a flame of God’s glory.Israel’s redemption and restoration will produce three divine responses, each beginning with “You shall…be”:
- “You shall be called by a new name” (v. 2). New names appear in verses 4 and 12. They reflect Israel’s new, redeemed, righteous status and position in the Millennium. All the kings of the earth will recognize Zion’s new situation and glorify her (v. 2).
- “You shall also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God” (v. 3). Israel is not given a crown. Rather, it will be a crown. Jerusalem will be adorned with the glory, grandeur, and elegance of majesty as it manifests the Lord’s righteousness. How different God’s relationship will be with Jerusalem in that day, compared to when He turned His face from sinful Israel.
- “You shall no longer be termed Forsaken, nor shall your land any more be termed Desolate; but you shall be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; for the Lord delights in you, and your land shall be married” (v. 4).
Names like Forsaken and Desolate, which highlight Israel’s sin, shame, humiliation, rejection, and abandonment, will be no more. Hephzibah means “my delight is in her” and describes God’s gratification and pleasure in His new love-relationship with Israel. Beulah means “married” and speaks of Israel’s repossession of the land. The reproach of God’s separation, or divorce, from Israel will be removed; and He again will care for and protect Israel, as a husband does a beloved wife.
In verse 5, Israel’s restoration and covenant relationship with God and the land during the future 1,000-year Millennium are compared to marriage: “For as a young man marries a virgin, so shall your sons marry you; and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.” God will delight in Israel as a bridegroom delights in his new bride.
Isaiah assured Israel that God is setting watchmen to guarantee its safety: “I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent” (v. 6). Speaking through the prophets in Judah, God promised Israel He will restore and redeem the nation when the Messiah comes.
The prophets functioned as watchmen, prayerfully requesting that God fulfill His promises. They were never to be silent or at ease but were to plead continually to God on Jerusalem’s behalf “till He establishes [Israel back in the land] and till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth” (v. 7). There is no suggestion here that God will ever forget His promises to Israel. Rather, the verse emphasizes continual intercessory prayer to bring to fruition the vows He made to establish Jerusalem as His holy city.
Through an oath, Jehovah reassured Israel that its enemies will never degrade the nation again: “The Lord has sworn by His right hand and by the arm of His strength: ‘Surely I will no longer give your grain as food for your enemies; and the sons of the foreigner shall not drink your new wine, for which you have labored’” (v. 8). A human being always vows by a greater power than himself. In this situation, God condescended to employ the custom of the day. He swore by the greatest authority in the universe—Himself—putting His own integrity, reputation, and honor on the line to guarantee His promises to Israel. God also backed up His oath “by His right hand and by the arm of His strength,” providing added assurance that His omnipotence guarantees the accomplishment of His will.
God promises never to give Israel’s “grain” and “new wine” to its enemies (such as Babylon, Persia, Edom, and others) after the nation has been redeemed and restored in the Millennium.
Verse 9 sounds an added note of assurance that whatever Israel sows will be multiplied, and Israel will gather its own harvest without other nations seizing it (cf. Amos 9:13–15), inspiring praise and worship to the Lord for His blessing. The Chosen People will eat this wonderful harvest as they worship God in the courts associated with the Millennial Temple.
Preparation for Restoration
Isaiah recorded God’s divine instructions for someone to prepare the way for Israel’s return to Jerusalem, although he did not name the individual(s): “Go through, go through the gates! Prepare the way for the people; build up, build up the highway! Take out the stones, lift up a banner for the peoples!” (Isa. 62:10). Scholars have speculated these people might be the watchmen mentioned previously (v. 6) or people already living in Jerusalem.
A command is given for those in Jerusalem to go outside the gates to prepare the way for people returning to the city. Numerically, this return speaks of something greater than the return from Babylon. The words go through, used twice, convey the speaker’s urgency, eagerness, and zeal to accomplish the task because salvation is coming to Zion. (In other chapters, Isaiah used the concept of preparing a highway; but this verse should not be confused with those texts.)
For whom is this way being prepared? Some believe it is for the Messiah at His Second Coming. Others believe it is for redeemed Jewish people returning to Jerusalem at the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom, with the aid of redeemed Gentiles worldwide. Still others believe it is for Gentiles (saved during the seven-year Tribulation) coming to Jerusalem to be taught Scripture by redeemed Jews and to worship God with them (cf. Zech. 8:20–23; 14:16). The context seems to refer to redeemed Jewish people returning to Jerusalem at the beginning of the Millennium.
Those preparing the way are to remove every stone that obstructs the road. Thus the way will be an elevated superhighway that is straight, smooth, and wide to expedite the return. The preparation includes lifting up “a banner for the peoples” traveling (Isa. 62:10). Banners were cloth pennants, flags, or streamers used as a rallying point. They identified a group or tribe’s possession of an area and were used to lead in festive worship or to indicate victory and triumph. In verse 11, the Lord announces to the world the salvation of Israel: “Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Surely [behold] your salvation is coming; behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him.’”
The word behold is used three times in the Hebrew text and is an interjection meaning “look” or “now.” It is used to express strong surprise, hope, expectation, or certainty. First, the world is to “behold” the Lord’s proclamation of Israel’s soon-coming salvation and tell the message to the nation. Second, Israel is to “behold” that its salvation is coming, but in the person of a Savior who is the Messiah. Third, Israel is to “behold” that “His [the Messiah’s] reward is with Him, and His work [recompense] before Him.” At His Second Coming, the Messiah will reward Israel with redemption and recompense—compensation for what the nation suffered as a victim of persecution.
Israel also will receive four new names that tell the world it has been redeemed (v. 12):
- “The Holy People,” speaking of Israel’s new, sanctified position in the Lord.
- “The Redeemed of the Lord,” describing its renewed relationship with God.
- “Sought Out,” because Jerusalem will be the spiritual center of the world during the Millennium.
- “A City Not Forsaken,” because Jerusalem will be the place of true worship, where all nations shall come to worship the Holy One of Israel.
The world has never seen the Jerusalem about which Isaiah prophesied. Today it is a city filled with strife. When Jesus returns, the city whose name means “city of peace” will finally know true peace. And it will know it forever.