Author: Ron Graham
A Day of Salvation
—A theme of Isaiah
A main thread running through the book of Isaiah is the message of salvation. He tells us that although so many people set their hearts against God, there are some who are righteous, who will be saved from the awful destruction that God brings upon the wicked.
1 Saved From Destruction
Isaiah speaks of the destruction of Israel, even of Jerusalem, and of many other nations. However he sees these as omens of a terrible final destruction at the end of the world. He even chooses to end his book on this very note.
"All flesh will come to bow down before me says the Lord. Then they shall go forth and behold the corpses of the men who have transgressed against me. For their worm shall not die, and their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh." (Isaiah 66:24).
Jesus himself quoted these words from Isaiah when he was warning us of hell (Mark 9:48).
2 How God Will Save
A Redeemer... Isaiah promises that a Redeemer will come. God looked upon mankind and saw that there was no just man to intercede, so God himself became the Saviour of mankind. "His own arm brought salvation to him, and His righteousness upheld him" (Isaiah 59:15-16).
Isaiah describes the splendid armour of the divine Saviour (Isaiah 59:17-19) and this reminds us of the "armour of God" which Paul commended to the Ephesians (Ephesians 6:10-18). Paul also refers to another passage in Isaiah about the Redeemer’s armour (Isaiah 11:4-5)
So Isaiah promises, "A Redeemer shall come to Zion, and to those who turn from transgression in Jacob declares the Lord" (Isaiah 59:20).
The Gospel... God’s method of telling the world about the Redeemer is to send out preachers to spread the good news (the gospel) everywhere. "How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace, and brings good news of happiness, and announces salvation, and says to Zion, 'Your God reigns'" (Isaiah 52:7, Romans 10:15).
3 Whom God Will Save
Israel... Although God is using the Assyrians to destroy Israel, and will use the Babylonians to destroy Judah, he intends to save a remnant of his people. "A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob to the mighty God" (Isaiah 10:21). Note that the name Jacob is used instead of Israel to avoid confusion. The remnant will be made up of people from all the tribes in both of the kingdoms. So God’s people are not going to be annihilated. They will not be "as Sodom and Gomorrah" (Isaiah 1:9) but it will be a nation "whose stump remains when it is felled" (Isaiah 6:11-13).
Isaiah 11:10, 42:4
Gentile nations... To the remnant will be added people of all nations. "All nations will stream to" the mountain of the Lord (Isaiah 2:2-4). Paul stresses that the saved will be made up of both Jews and Gentiles, and among the passages he quotes are two from Isaiah (Romans 15:12, Isaiah 11:10, Isaiah 42:4). Note incidentally, that Matthew also quotes the latter (Matthew 12:18-21, Isaiah 42:1-4), and that Matthew and Paul are using the Greek translation of Isaiah.
4 When God Will Save
"Thus says the Lord, 'In a favourable time I have answered you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you...'" (Isaiah 49:8). Paul quotes this passage and then says, "Behold now is 'the acceptable time', behold now is the 'day of salvation'" (2Corinthians 6:2).
None of us has the slightest idea of when this time will end. God promises to save us now, not later, so we must believe now and obey now, not later.