The Messiah in Isaiah Bible Study
Isaiah 59:17-20 - The Redeemer of all Creation
by I Gordon
This study will look at Jesus as the redeemer of all things. Now it is
fair to say that there are quite a few scriptures to look at in
exploring this topic and we will have to do a mini-Bible survey
involving passages in Genesis, Revelation and a few more in-between!
Biting off too much you say? True. But it will be good for you! Some
sermons and studies are light and fluffy. This isn't one of them. Now
last time we read in Isaiah 59 about the conditions leading up to the
return of Jesus Christ. We saw that 'Justice' has fallen, and her good
friends 'righteousness' and 'truth' have stumbled and are nowhere to be
In this study we will read the remaining verses in the chapter as they
mention Jesus as the redeemer. As I studied this and read some
interesting books on it
, it led to light being shed upon some other great scriptures from the
start and end of the Bible. So I want to look at a different aspect of
Jesus' redemption in this study. We normally talk about redemption in
terms of people and of Jesus being their 'kinsman-redeemer'. And, well,
yeah ok... I guess an argument could be made to say that people are
important. But I want to look at redemption in terms of all of
creation. A redemption that restores all that was lost at the fall and
puts this planet back in the rightful hands of its true owner. Now,
it's ok... I'm not going all green on you and won't be suggesting that
the salvation of trees and cute little seals is God's highest goal. No
no no no. But it is interesting that redemption involves a reversal of
all that occurred at the fall. Because of this, scripture reveals that
even creation itself longs to be set free from its current bondage. And
it will be set free when the redeemer returns. Let's have a look.
Definition of the 'Christianese' terms used
Now I've already used enough 'Christianese' to confuse some. Most
notably 'redeem', 'redemption', 'kinsman-redeemer'. So what does
'redeem' mean? It means to 'buy back'. And a 'kinsman-redeemer' was a
person, normally a close relative, that paid a debt to purchase back
something that was lost.
What was required for someone to be a redeemer? Well, they had to be
willing to pay, have the ability to pay and sometimes the power to take
possession of that bought.
Backing the bus right up... All the way to Leviticus!
Before even reading the remaining verses in Isaiah, we need to do some
ground work. So let's put the bus in reverse and look at the laws of
redemption in terms of the land in one of your favourite books in the
Bible. That's right... the one you spend quite a bit of time in - good
Leviticus 25:23-28 'The land, moreover, shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are but aliens and
sojourners with Me. (24) 'Thus for every piece of your property, you are to provide for the redemption of the land.
(25) 'If a fellow countryman of yours becomes so poor he has to sell
part of his property, then his nearest kinsman is to come and buy back
what his relative has sold. (26) 'Or in case a man has no kinsman, but
so recovers his means as to find sufficient for its redemption, (27)
then he shall calculate the years since its sale and refund the balance
to the man to whom he sold it, and so return to his property. (28) 'But
if he has not found sufficient means to get it back for himself, then
what he has sold shall remain in the hands of its purchaser until the
year of jubilee;
but at the jubilee it shall revert, that he may return to his
It is fair to say that God's rules concerning real estate back then
differ to what you get in the local 'Property Press' today. Here is a
quick sum up - God gave His people, the Israelites, the land of Israel.
Each tribe of Israel was given a portion and each family within those
tribes was allotted a portion. Yet look what He says about that land...
it can't be sold permanently because, well, the land
is actually God's! Now God knew that people, through difficulties and
hardship may lose their land. And so He put three measures in place to
protect them. So for example, let's say I lived in Israel at that time
and I lose my land having fallen into hard times. That thought is
certainly not outside the realms of possibility.
Should I later have the means to re-purchase the land, I could do
so. That was my right - Yes I've lost the land and sold it to
someone else. But if I ever got the means back to be able to
purchase it, I could.
A close relative, called a kinsman-redeemer, could pay the price to
purchase the land back for me. I could say to my brother, come
on... cough up. If he had the means and willingness to pay, the
land could be redeemed and purchased back.
If my brother wasn't willing or didn't have the means
and there was no other relative that would step up to pay the
price, then there was a year of jubilee that came around every 50
years when the land was returned to its original owner... Me! Of
course, I may not even be alive when the next 50 year jubilee came
about so if that was the case then the land was returned to my
closest relative still alive.
Now why these laws? Obviously God cared about His people and put laws
in place to make sure that the poor were taken care of.
Yet this law concerning the redemption of the land points to something
far greater. That is, the redemption of planet earth and all of
creation through placing its care under its rightful owner once more!
The Leviticus passage in light of the redemption of this entire
1. Just as the land of Israel is God's, scripture tells us that this
entire planet is God's. He is the ultimate owner. He made it, He owns
Psalms 24:1-2 'The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it, the
world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and
established it upon the waters.'
2. Just as God gave dominion and possession of the land of Israel (but
not ultimate ownership) to His people, so He gave dominion and
rulership to mankind over this earth. Again, ultimate ownership
remained with Him as its creator, but man ruled over the earth and had
Genesis 1:26-28 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in
our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the
birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over
all the creatures that move along the ground." So God created man
in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and
female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, "Be
fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule
over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every
living creature that moves on the ground."
3. Just as the Israelites sometimes lost their possession through bad
luck or bad management, so mankind disobeyed God, followed the enemy's
lie, and lost dominion over this earth. Adam fell, Eve fell and all of
creation with them. Disharmony and contention has resulted ever since.
From the first man born, Cain, who murdered his own brother to the
chaos that is seen in so many nations of this world today, the evidence
is seen that it is a fallen humanity living out and witnessing to the
fact that our fall was so great.
4. And yet, just as God provided a way through a redeemer to buy back
the land that had been lost, so He has provided a redeemer to pay the
price to purchase all things back to God once more. The price was paid
on the cross for all humanity to be redeemed if they would believe and
accept that provision made on their behalf. The price was also paid to
redeem all of creation and undo the consequences of the curse that
where placed upon it. That involves the ground, the plants and trees,
the animal kingdom as well as humanity. It shall all be redeemed and
returned to what God intended when the true King rules.
Just one wee small problem...
It was possible that when a close-relative redeemed some property that
they would not actually take possession of that property for some time.
They may decide to leave it and at a future date take control of it. Of
course, others may have started or carried on using the land unlawfully
in the mean time so when the true owner returned, sometimes he had to
use force to get them to leave. This is where we pick up the story
again (finally!) back in Isaiah. This is what is portrayed in the
closing of Isaiah 59.
Here comes the redeemer!
Isaiah 59:17-20 He put on righteousness like a breastplate, And a
helmet of salvation on His head; And He put on garments of vengeance
for clothing And wrapped Himself with zeal as a mantle. (18) According
to their deeds, so He will repay, Wrath to His adversaries, recompense
to His enemies; To the coastlands He will make recompense. (19) So they
will fear the name of the LORD from the west And His glory from the
rising of the sun, For He will come like a rushing stream Which the
wind of the LORD drives. (20) "A Redeemer will come to Zion, And to
those who turn from transgression in Jacob," declares the LORD.
Now anytime you see 'vengeance' in a passage such as this, you know it
is talking about the time when Jesus returns. If it just said that He
put on 'righteousness like a breastplate' and 'a helmet of salvation'
it could be talking about Jesus' first coming. But when He slips on the
clothing prepared for the last days - the 'garments of vengeance', then
you know you're on 'second coming' ground. This passage shows Jesus
preparing to take back His possession from His enemies. He is the
redeemer, coming to Zion, with wrath and recompense for His enemies! I
said earlier that a redeemer had to be able to pay the price, they had
to be willing to pay the price, and they had to have the power to take
possession of that redeemed. Well Jesus Christ was willing and able to
pay the price and did so when He came 2000 years ago. And this
scripture reveals that He also has the power to take possession of that
which He redeemed... even if it means taking it by force. And again,
that includes not only people but this entire earth. It is His. He will
come to take possession of it again. Only then, as Revelation tells us
will 'the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our God'.
Confirmation that the Lamb is worthy...
Let's look at a similar passage that gives us a glimpse into heaven in
the days leading up the second coming of Jesus Christ. It shows us who
the true owner of this world is.
Revelation 5:1-6 I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a
book written inside and on the back, sealed up with seven seals. (2)
And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, "Who is worthy
to open the book and to break its seals?" (3) And no one in heaven or
on the earth or under the earth was able to open the book or to look
into it. (4) Then I began to weep greatly because no one was found
worthy to open the book or to look into it; (5) and one of the elders
*said to me, "Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of
Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its
seven seals." (6) And I saw between the throne (with the four living
creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven
horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into
all the earth.
Alright... so what does that all mean? What is this book (or more
correctly, this scroll) that needed to be opened? And why is it sealed?
Why can't just anyone break the seals and peak inside? And what is
inside anyway? And why would it be so important as to make John weep
when it looked like no one was worthy enough to look inside? Oh, so
many questions! Scripture always interprets scripture so if you want to
know the background to this passage to answer what this scroll
contains, I encourage you to read this footnote
and the associated passage. For those of you wanting answers quick
smart we'll proceed!
So here we have a scroll, written on the front and back but sealed with
seven seals. We asked earlier what is the sealed scroll all about?
Well, just as we have seen in the book of Jeremiah, it is a title deed
to property. Except this one is the title deed to the whole earth and
all of creation. And it is stored, as you can see, in a very secure
place for it is 'in the right hand of Him who sits on the throne'. No
losing that title deed now is there? But who is worthy to take this
title deed? Who has the right as the redeemer to open this deed? Who
has paid the price to buy back this world and all it contains?
There seems like there is no one... there is no that can step forward
to take possession of this world. And the Apostle John, as he sees
this, starts to weep. Why was he weeping? Because there seemed like
there was no one that could right the wrongs that had taken place on
this planet. There was no one that could save it from its fallen lost
condition. John would have been thinking 'you mean to tell me that
everything just has to carry on like this? With disharmony, despair,
destruction & death? Is there no one who can put things back to how
they were meant to be?'
Is there no one? No wonder John began to cry.
Dry those tears John! No need to blubber...
Revelation 5:5-6 Then one of the elders said to me, "Do not weep! See,
the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is
able to open the scroll and its seven seals." (6) Then I saw a Lamb,
looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne,
encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. He had seven
horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into
all the earth.
The command goes forth... Stop weeping. There is someone! Someone with
the title of 'the Lion of Judah' has triumphed! He is worthy to open
the seals. Yet as John looked he saw not a lion... but a lamb. This of
course is Jesus Christ. When he came the first time, 2000 years ago, He
came as a lamb. 'Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.'
He came to die... for that was the price required to pay for your sin
and mine. Yet before leaving He promised to return! And when He does
return he will come not as a lamb, but as the lion of Judah - the king
of Kings... the ruler and redeemer. The one who has the right to take
possession of this earth!
Conclusion - The Last Verse!
Matthew 19:27-30 Then Peter said to Him, "Behold, we have left
everything and followed You; what then will there be for us?" (28) And
Jesus said to them, "Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me,
in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious
throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones
, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (29) "And everyone who has left
houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms
for My name's sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit
eternal life. (30) "But many who are first will be last; and the last,
In looking forward to the time when He returns to earth and puts all
things right, Jesus used a very interesting word. He said 'In the regeneration...' This English word means:
1. The act or process of regenerating or the state of being
2. Spiritual or moral revival or rebirth.
3. Biology - Regrowth of lost or destroyed parts or organs.
But when you look at the Greek word used it becomes far more
instructive. The Greek word used is
This is derived from two Greek words - Palin - meaning 'once more or
again', and Genesis.
So how Jesus described the conditions that exist when He sets up His
kingdom on this Earth is 'Genesis Again' or 'Genesis Once More'. That
is what it will be like during the Kingdom rule of Jesus Christ. No
more curse. No more disharmony. All of creation liberated from its
current bondage into that which it was initially created to be like.
So to sum it all up, God gave laws to
the nation of Israel concerning the redemption of lost property because
they give us a picture of the greater spiritual principle whereby a
redeemer will come and redeem all that Adam lost. He is the only one
who is worthy. That is why we sing worship to His name. There was no
one to help, no one to intervene so His own hand brought salvation. And
while we currently live in the age where we worship a King in exile, He
will soon return to claim that which is His possession. And only one
word that you can say to that... Maranatha!