In the fifty-fourth chapter of Isaiah, God foretells His restoration of Israel with promises of peace, protection and prosperity. “Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the LORD.” (Verse 1) As explained in a previous study, the “children of the desolate” speaks of the people of Israel descended from the longtime childless Sarah, wife of Abraham. The “children of the married wife” speaks of Hagar, whom Sarah gave Abraham to wife. The prophecy proclaims that the children of Sarah will be far more in number than those of Hagar’s descendants, the modern Arabic peoples. The fulfillment of this wonderful prophecy is ignored by the modern commentators who are fixated on the followers of the Jewish religion as being the sole representatives of Israel in the world today.
“For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee”
The next two verses then emphasize the great numbers of descendants of Sarah, through the imagery of an enlarged tent with lengthened cords, breaking forth in all directions throughout the earth. “Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes; For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.” Their seed would “inherit” the nations; that is, they would rule and reign over foreign peoples. The word rendered “Gentiles” in our English translation is “goy,” and is used here for various pagan, non-Israel peoples.
Verse four: “Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more.” God’s Israel would forget the “shame of thy youth,” the captivity in Egypt during their early formative years. The “reproach of thy widowhood” refers to the fact that the ten tribes, the House of Israel, were divorced by God for their sins of disobedience. This indicates that it is not Judah in view here, for that tribe was never divorced, and suffered only a seventy-year exile in Babylon for their sins, after which a remnant returned and were re-established in Canaan.
The Dove Returns to Noah by C.F. Vos
In verse six, the ten tribes of the House of Israel known as Ephraim are identified further, for they were as a wife who was refused; that is, divorced by their husband, the Lord God. “For the LORD hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God.” They would return to Him in faith, and the gathering promised is a foreshadowing of their acceptance of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
A fascinating parallel is made in verse nine between Noah’s flood and God’s dealings with Israel. “For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee.” Just as the rainbow was sent as a covenant sign that God would never again devastate His world, so God gave Israel a covenant sign that He would never again devastate His elect nation. If the Jewish people were in view, then God failed His Promise, for the Jewish nation was decisively rebuked by Him, not only in 605-587 B.C., but again in 70-73 A.D. Historians record that the Jews were devastated by the Romans, the temple was destroyed, and the Jewish people were slain or scattered into exile and slavery.
In distinct contrast to the Jewish holocaust, verse ten tells us, “For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee.” You can search through modern dispensationalist literature, with its emphasis upon dividing up the Scriptures into eras and other details, but you will find little reference to this “covenant of peace.” Perhaps it is because sadly there has been no such era of peace for the Jewish people, nor does it exist for them even today in the ongoing strife in the Mideast. But the House of Israel in Europe, America, and other lands has known its eras of Pax Romana, Pax Britannica, and Pax Americana. In fact, the reference in this verse to the mountains departing and the hills being removed is a reference to Israel’s tribes and their exile from Canaan. Mountains in prophecy represent large tribes and nations, and hills are small tribes and nations. They would find peace even in their lands of exile.
This era of peace is repeated in verse 13, “And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children.” This prophecy is a source of much confusion for Biblical commentaries, because a people truly taught of the Lord will be identified as those following the Lord Jesus Christ and upholding His Word and precepts.
Verse fourteen promises, “In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee.” Anyone who is the least familiar with current events in the Mideast will know that the Jewish nation has not fulfilled this prophecy in the least. The commentaries desperately grope for an answer with little success by offering conflicting ideas. The Pulpit Commentary negates the prophecy entirely by saying, “his [God’s] conditions should be remembered. There is no absolute, unconditional guarantee.” In other words, never mind what God divinely promised; the Jewish people did not cooperate and completely cancelled the divine decree! If that were so, and divine promises were but tenuous wishful hopes and dreams, could any promise in the Bible be relied upon? The Kelly Commentary also disagrees and instead insists, “…the prophecy is fulfilled in the millennial day.” The Believer’s Bible Commentary similarly maintains, “This is how God will vindicate them in the golden era of peace and prosperity.”
Just think about such a claim. When the Prophet Isaiah proclaimed that Israel would spread abroad in great numbers, would never again be forsaken, would never again fear or be in terror, would be far from oppression, would be taught of the Lord, and receive manifold blessings (verses 12 and 13), did he just happen to forget to tell his hearers the all-important fact that the prophecy would only take place in the Millennium in the far distant future? Did Isaiah give his listeners such a wonderfully hopeful prophecy of peace, righteousness, and blessings, inspire and encourage them, and forget to inform them that the blessings actually only related to a totally different age and that until then they could in fact expect the opposite? Such is the strange view of the commentators who see no other way that such prophecies could ever be fulfilled in the Jewish people in this age. Reason and logic should convince us of their error and lead us to the true identification of the House of Israel in our world today.
Theologians often quote the last verse (54:17), “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.” Again we must ask, did God forget to qualify this verse and make it a future-limited Millennial blessing? If not, where is the Israel in whom the prophecy has been fulfilled? The wonderful promises in this chapter have indeed been realized in the true House of Israel. God has indeed given them a covenant of peace and blessings, yet it is more than that. It may also be called a covenant of servanthood, for He would use them to fulfill His Purposes in the earth.