Introduction: Are you troubled about the things you read in the newspapers and see on television? Freedom of worship and freedom of speech are under an increasingly severe attack. Is there any end to the problem of sin in sight? 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 plans!

  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 God.)

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

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

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

  1.         Read Isaiah 59:3-4. What do bloody hands and an improperly pled cases tell you about these people? (Litigation is supposed to be the way to avoid violence. These people not only resort to violence, but they corrupt litigation.)

  1.         Read Isaiah 59:5-6. What is a “viper?” (A snake. An adder is a poisonous 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 in 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.)

  1.         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.)

  1.         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 be a reference to Genesis 3:8-10. 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.)

  1.         The Promise

  1.         Let’s skip down a few verses. Read Isaiah 59:15-16. 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 achieve salvation.)

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

  1.         Read Ephesians 6:13-17.

  1.         Read 1 Thessalonians 5:8.

  1.         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?

  1.         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? (Isaiah 59 suggests that God intends to intervene for us. 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 makes clear that Jesus is the member of the Godhead who intervened and made it possible for us to receive salvation by faith.)

  1.         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.)

  1.         Read Isaiah 61:3. When will this happen? (At least 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.)

  1.         Let’s revisit the lesson last week. Read Isaiah 58:5-6. Do you think that Isaiah 61:3 teaches that we should experience these things now? Instead of sackcloth and ashes, we should enjoy joy and praise?

  1.         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.)

  1.         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.)

  1.         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!)

  1.         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. Your salvation and praise are what protect you from bad things “outside.”)

  1.         Read Isaiah 60:19-20. Does this sound like an actual city to you?

  1.         Have you read 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 Jerusalem.)

  1.         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!

  1.         Next week: Rebirth of Planet Earth.