In chapter 60, Isaiah prophesied about the glorious future God has determined for His people Israel (and the whole earth). But how are these great blessings ever going to be realized? How can a sin-cursed world ever hope to find restoration from its present misery? The answer is that God is going to accomplish it all by sending His Spirit-Filled Messiah. The promise is true and the promise is certain, and this is the reason why all of us can have hope and never fear the future (cf. Isa. 8:13-14; 26:3-4; 40:31; 1 Pet. 2:6). Chapter 61 gives us three reasons for this hope.
First reason: The first reason for this hope revolves around the person and work of the Messiah (vv. 1-3). Here in vv. 1-3 we see the Messiah described as the One who has been anointed (the Heb. verb Masach) with the Spirit of God. THIS is why He is called “the Messiah.” Various passages in both the Old and New Testament use this word Messiah or its Greek equivalent Christos (1 Sam. 2:10; Isa. 61:1; Dan. 9:25, 26; John 1:41, 49; 4:25; Matt. 16:16, 20; 26:63-64; John 11:27; cf. Isa. 11:2; 42:1; 59:21). God’s Messiah is the One who will bring good news and restoration to a fallen world (vv. 1-2a). This will mean restoration for those who have trusted in Him, but Isaiah tells us that He is also the One who will bring God’s vengeance on unrepentant sinners (v. 2b; cf. 2 Thess. 1:6-9; Rev. 15:1-4; 16:4-7). All believers are to find hope and comfort in God’s promise that one day God is going to replace our present suffering and mourning with never-ending comfort and joy (vv. 2c-3; cf. Rev. 21:1-4).
The second reason for hope: A complete restoration to Zion by God’s Anointed One (vv. 4-9). During the seven-year tribulation period, especially during the last three-and-a half years, the land and people of Israel will be brought to the edge of utter annihilation by the massive invasions coming from the armies of the world (Isa. 26:20-21; 34; Dan. 7:21-28; Joel 3:1-17; Zech. 12; 14). The land of Israel will be brought to great ruin, but God’s promise is that after Christ has brought an end to these wars (Rev. 19:11-21), the remnant of believers from those same Gentile nations will begin to assist Israel in the restoration of its ravaged country (vv. 4-5; cf. Hag. 2:6-9; Zech. 6:9-15; 14:14). It is at this time (in the messianic kingdom) that Israel will finally realize its mediatorial purpose in representing God to the world. Isaiah says that Israel will be priests of Yahweh (v. 6; cf. Isa. 66:21), a calling that had been part of Israel’s calling from the very beginning (cf. Gen. 12:3). God will take away the ages of shame and humiliation (cf. Zech. 8:12-13) and replace it with everlasting joy and blessing, all of which is part of the New Covenant restoration of Israel (vv. 7-9; cf. cf. Isa. 35:10; 42:6-7; 49:6-8; 51:11-13; 54:10; 55:3; 59:21; Jer. 31:31-34; 32:40; Ezek. 37:25-26; Hos. 2:14-18).
The third reason for hope: The calling of God’s Anointed One (vv. 10-11). Yahweh has clothed His Spirit-Filled Messiah with garments of salvation and righteousness, and this is exactly what He will do when He returns to this world (cf. Isa. 58:8; 62:1). He will fulfill the righteous promises of God by saving His people from ruin (v. 10). Isaiah illustrates the certainty of this promise with a botanical image. Just as the earth brings forth vegetation, so too God will His righteousness and praise to sprout forth.
What is the real message for you and me? It is the promise of God that gives us hope to keep trusting and following the Lord despite the agonies of a fallen world. God has made these promises to the chosen nation Israel, but these are also the same promises God has given to every person who has trusted in Jesus Christ: “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).