“And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together” Isaiah 40:5 KJV
“Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together” Isaiah 40:5 NASB
Isaiah 40 is a remarkable chapter for many reasons. It is, first, the turning point in the prophecy of Isaiah. The first 39 chapters, corresponding in picture to the Old Testament with its 39 books, have been prophetic and the peals of judgment have echoed throughout its chapters. There have been glimpses of the coming Messiah here and there (chapter 7, 9, 11), but with chapter 40 we are about to be ushered into the blazing light of revelation of the coming Messiah and the hope of the nation, as well as the entire universe.
In itself, the chapter is noteworthy for the majestic revelation it presents of God – in His greatness, grandeur, and glory. He is the God Who made and named the stars, to Whom world empires are but the small dust of the balance. He is the God Who brings the great of earth to nothing and yet carries lambs in His bosom. So great is His wisdom that He takes counsel from no one; so great His power, that He stretches out the heavens like a curtain; so great is His worth that all the beasts of the field are not sufficient to make an appropriate burnt offering for Him. The chapter, thus, provides an abundance of truth for meditation and worship.
The chapter begins with the Voice of the Messenger with a message of pardon (vv 1-2), preparation (vv 3-8), and presentation (vv 9-11). He is preparing the way for the Lord. The result is that “the glory of the Lord shall be revealed” (v 5). While Matthew, Mark, and Luke quote portions of Isaiah 40:3-5, it is Luke who gives us the most extensive quote.
Under the control of the Spirit of God, Luke makes a significant change in the wording. Instead of the “glory of the Lord” being revealed, he substitutes, “the salvation of God” (Luke 3:6). This is no mistake or oversight on his part. The Spirit of God is equating the glory of the Lord with the salvation of God, and both with the person of Christ. In Him and in the salvation which He procured, we see the glory of God in its greatest display.
The remainder of the chapter will describe, as few other chapters in our Bible do, the greatness of God in creation. Yet that glory is eclipsed by the glory revealed in Christ and in His salvation.
Spend time reading and rereading this wonderful chapter. Over the next two months, we will explore some of the hidden and not-so-hidden pictures of Christ which it presents.
- How many direct and indirect references are made in the New Testament to Isaiah 40?
- The word in verse 2 for “comfortably” literally means to “speak to the heart.” Using your concordance or Bible program, look up the occasions this word is employed in the Old Testament.
- There are lessons to be learned and truths to be gleaned by always comparing how the New Testament writers, under the control of the Spirit of God, cite Old Testament Scriptures.