Introduction: Are you troubled about the terrible things you read in
the newspapers and see on television? Is there any end in sight to
the problem of sin? If there is, what is it? Looking down the long
ages of earth’s history, Isaiah reveals God’s ultimate solution to
the sin problem. Let’s dive into our study and find out about God’s

  1. The Problem

    1. Read Isaiah 59:1-2. Isaiah writes about God’s arms and
      God’s ears. What do God’s “arms” symbolize? (A person
      works with their arms. This is a reference to the power of

      1. What, then, does it mean for God to have “short
        arms?” (God lacks the power to get the job done.)

      2. What do God’s ears symbolize? (A person hears with
        his ears. This is a reference to God’s ability to
        hear us.)

        1. What, then, does it mean for God to have “dull
          ears?” (It means God lacks the ability to hear

      3. What do these two verses suggest is the real problem
        and what do these verses suggest is a false
        description of the problem? (The real problem
        separating God from humans is human sin and not any
        lack of power or perception on God’s part.)

    2. The next two verses continue to describe the sins of the
      people. Read Isaiah 59:5-6. What is a “viper?” (A snake.)

      1. What do snakes represent in the Bible? (Sin and
        Satan. Compare Genesis 3:13-15 with Revelation 12:9-10 and Revelation 20:1-3, 7-10.)

        1. The people described here ( Isaiah 59:5) “hatch
          the eggs of vipers.” This seems symbolic. What
          do you think it symbolizes? (That these people
          produce sins. If snakes represent Satan and sin,
          then the eggs of snakes seem to represent the
          reproduction of sin.)

        2. What do you think it means to “eat” the egg of a
          snake? (To accept the influence of sinners. One
          group is producing sin and the other group is
          accepting that sin into their lives.)

        3. What is an “adder?” (Another type of snake.)

        4. In my experience, you have to break an egg to
          eat it. At the same time, if you break an egg
          prematurely, nothing is ever hatched. It never
          comes alive. Does the last half of verse 5 make
          any sense to you? (Again we have the symbolism
          of “eating” the snake’s egg – which means to
          accept the sin. Accepting sin into your life
          results in you becoming a snake. Sinners
          reproduce sin in others.)

      2. What is the purpose ( Isaiah 59:6) of a spider’s web?
        (To catch something to kill and eat.)

        1. Why would Isaiah suggest that you can’t use a
          spider’s web for clothing? (This may again be a
          reference to Genesis 3:6-10. Sin can never make
          us whole. Sin can never make us right. Sin can
          never give us peace. Sin is only a trap that
          brings death.)

  2. The Promise

    1. Let’s skip down a few verses. Read Isaiah 59:15b-16. What
      was God’s conclusion about the sinful nature of humans?
      (He was not happy about it. He decided that someone must
      do something about sin.)

      1. Who did God find to intervene against the sin
        problem? (Himself! That “arm” that we discussed
        earlier in Isaiah 59:1 was not too short to “work

    2. Read Isaiah 59:17. What other verses in the Bible come to
      mind when you read this?

      1. Read Ephesians 6:13-17.

      2. Read 1 Thessalonians 5:8.

      3. Isaiah 59 speaks about God pulling on the breastplate
        of righteousness and the helmet of salvation. How did
        we (the evil people we discussed above) get to that
        point in Ephesians and 1 Thessalonians that we could
        put on God’s powerful spiritual armor?

    3. Read 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11. In Isaiah 59:16 God was
      looking for someone to intervene against sin. Who ended up
      intervening for us? (In Isaiah 59 the suggestion is that
      God intends to intervene for us. 1 Thessalonians makes it
      very clear that Jesus is the member of the Godhead who
      intervened and made it possible for us to receive
      salvation by faith.)

    4. Read Isaiah 61:1. Who do you think is speaking here? Of
      what does this remind you? (Read Luke 4:16-21. We find
      Jesus reading this in the synagogue and then stating that
      it refers to Him! This is further evidence that Jesus is
      the One who intervened on our behalf against sin.)

      1. How did Jesus “release prisoners” and give “freedom”
        to “captives?” (He freed us from eternal death – the
        penalty for our sins.)

    5. Read Isaiah 61:2. Given the background of human
      sinfulness, and God’s decision to intervene to save us,
      what do you think are the “year of the Lord’s favor” and
      the “day of vengeance of our God?”

    6. Read Isaiah 61:3. When will this happen? (When the final
      chapter of our earth’s history comes to an end. This is
      the conclusion to God’s intervention on our behalf against
      sin. Jesus came to earth, and by His life and death He
      released us from sin. If we accept what He has done for
      us, we enter into His favor and enjoy the blessings of
      verse 3 eternally. If we reject Him, then we are destroyed
      in the day of His vengeance.)

  3. The Fulfillment

    1. Read Isaiah 62:10. Add the commands of verse 10 to the
      promises we just studied. What do you think is taking
      place? What is going on? (Someone wants to make it easy
      for newcomers to show up. They hustle people through the
      gates, they fix up the roads, they remove stones that
      might stub visitors’ toes, they hoist a big “Welcome” sign
      over the city.)

    2. Read Isaiah 62:11. Who is coming? You or Jesus? (Verse 10
      says “prepare the way for the people.” Verse 11 says,
      “See, your Savior comes.” It seems that both the saved and
      Jesus are coming to the city.)

    3. Let’s add Isaiah 62:12 to our discussion. Does this
      clarify who is coming? (No commentary that I read seemed
      to agree with me, but I think the key is in the last part
      of verse 11: “His reward is with Him and His recompense
      accompanies Him.” I think these verses have a parallel
      symbolism. On one hand we prepare for Jesus to come again.
      On the other hand, the New Jerusalem in Heaven prepares
      for our arrival. The “reward” and “recompense” seem to be
      the reward and recompense of Jesus. The redeemed are the
      reward and recompense of Jesus. Therefore, I see a picture
      of us getting ready for Jesus to come to earth again and
      then the New Jerusalem getting ready for Jesus(and us!)to
      arrive. We come as new citizens!)

    4. Read Isaiah 60:18. We are jumping around a bit in Isaiah,
      but I think we are staying on the same topic. Are we
      inside a city here? (Yes. It seems so because the text
      refers to walls and gates.)

      1. Why would you call walls “salvation” and
        gates,”praise?” (Because they are saving you from bad
        things happening outside the walls and gates.)

        1. Is it possible to understand this text without
          any literal walls or gates? (Yes. That your
          salvation and praise are what protect you from
          bad things “outside.”)

    5. Read Isaiah 60:19-20. Does this sound like a real, live
      city to you?

      1. Have you ever heard someplace else in the Bible of
        this idea of Jesus being the light of the city? (Read
        Revelation 21:22 through 22:5. John the Revelator is
        clearly describing the New Jerusalem in Heaven. This
        teaches us that Isaiah is writing about the New

    6. Friend, God has used His powerful “arm” to intervene to
      save you. Will you repent and accept His offer of
      salvation? As we have seen, God has a new and wonderful
      home for those who accept His offer!

  4. Next week: Rebirth of Planet Earth.