Pay Heed, You Distant Peoples
by Bruce McKerras
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Pay heed, you distant peoples
Isaiah 49:1-13 Listen to Me, you coasts and islands, pay heed, you peoples far distant. The Lord called and named me [Isaiah = the Lord has saved] before I was born. He made me His spokesman. My reward is to be with God.
The Lord said: Israel are My servants, through whom I shall win glory. My task for you is to bring back Jacob to the Lord, so that Israel will be gathered again to God. Is it not too simple a task for you, to restore the 12 tribes of Jacob and bring back the survivors of Israel? They will be a light to the nations, so that My salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.
The Redeemer and Holy One of Israel says: You were once despised and in subjection, but the Lord has chosen you and kings will honour you. In the time of My favour, I will answer you and will help you on the Day of Deliverance. I have formed you and destined you to be a light for the peoples, restoring the Land and living once more in its desolate places.
I say to the captives: go free – to those in darkness: [exile] come out. Everywhere there will be pasture, water in plenty. It will not be too hot, for the One who loves them will guide them along highways and level paths. They are coming – some from far away, the North, West and the lands of the South. Shout for joy, you heavens, earth rejoice, burst into song you mountains. For the Lord has comforted His people and has compassion on them in their distress.
Isaiah 49:14-23 The Lord says: I shall never forget My Land or My people, they are always before Me. I did indeed raze the Land and destroy your oppressors, but now all Israel is flocking back to their heritage, brought back by the nations in honour and reverence. You will know that I, your God has done this and none who trust in Me will be disappointed. Reference: REB, NIV, KJV. Verses abridged.
‘His spokesman’, Isaiah reveals what is to be, the secret of things to come. He prophesies the ‘restoration the 12 tribes of Jacob and the return of the survivors; His servants, through whom He will win glory’. The survivors are those who the Lord has protected during His fire judgement of the nations. The great and terrible Day of the Lord’s vengeance and wrath ‘will raze all the holy Land and destroy the oppressors’. Psalm 83, Rev. 6:12-17
Almost all of the Book of Isaiah, relates to the restoration of the Israelites to the Promised Land. The Lord’s people are destined to be a ‘light to the nations’ and spread the gospel around the world. The Lord will answer their prayers for help on the Day of Deliverance. Isa 30:26, Isa 63:4, Zechariah 9:14-17. “pay heed you peoples far distant’ the Israelites, all of His righteous people, still scattered around the world. Some of Judah have returned to a part of the Land. All righteous Israelites will ‘come from far distant places, from all directions’, and settle in the new country of Beulah. Isaiah 62:1-5 ‘ALL who trust in the Lord will not be disappointed’. Israelites include all who trust God and ‘call out to Him’. Joel 2:32, Revelation 7:14
‘It will not be too hot’ and they will be guided and their needs provided for. Psalm 107 They will ‘restore the Land and buildings’, and live there in safety and prosperity, Hosea 2:14-23, Ezekiel 36:8-12, ‘so that My salvation may reach the ends of the earth’. This will be achieved by the 144,000 - 12,000 selected from each tribe, who will go out in pairs to preach the Gospel of the coming Kingdom of Jesus. ‘Israel, you are My servants, through whom I shall win glory.’ Revelation 14:1-7, Isaiah 66:19
No mention is made of the Millennium reign of Jesus and ‘ you will know that I your God has done this’, proves that Jesus is not physically present as yet, therefore this restoration of Israel is before that event. All this is in order for His people: righteous Israel, to fulfil their destiny, to fulfil the promises made to the Patriarchs, and to prepare for the Return of Jesus. It is them who say “Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord”, at the Return.
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