"Then your light will break out like the dawn, And your recovery will speedily spring forth; And your righteousness will go before you; The glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.Isaiah 58:8(NASB)
The two Testaments of the Bible are so closely interrelated that it has been said of Scripture: "The New is in the Old concealed, and the Old is in the New revealed." The content, message, progression, and information contained within the Old, often lays the foundation for its fulfilment in the New, where it is often expanded, explained, illuminated, revealed, or fulfilled – in the Person and Work of Christ Jesus.
To gain a full and comprehensive understanding of the New Testament requires a student of Scripture to be familiar with the Old Testament, for many of the prophetic Scriptures are brought to completion in the New, and many of the people in Old Testament times are identified as a type of Christ or their teachings and experiences are made manifested through His mission and ministry.
The history of redemption is rooted in Genesis and is further developed in every additional Old Testament book. Its magnificent story unfolds throughout the pages of Scripture, until the coming of Christ the promised Messiah, is revealed in the New.
The later chapters of Isaiah give a comprehensive outline and overview of the rejected Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world. Isaiah paints the most astonishing picture of Jesus, as the suffering Servant of God Who was despised and rejected by those He came to save.
It speaks of the apostasy of God's chosen people, through whom the Saviour was to be born, and it tells of the nation's terrible punishment and their inevitable dispersion in the day of God's vengeance.
Isaiah also writes of the promised regathering, restoration, and ultimate redemption of a remnant of righteous Israel, and despite the shocking proclamation that their King would one day be led as a lamb to the slaughter, Isaiah also trumpeted a message of hope for the righteous remnant who trusted God's Word and lived their life by faith.
Isaiah promised that those who were poor in spirit, gentle in heart, hungered for righteousness, mourned for their sin, and trusted God's Word would be comforted and blessed by the Lord. They would receive mercy and grace in time of need, and be granted God's gracious healing and spiritual wholeness: "Then your light will break out like the first rays of dawn," were Isaiah's words of comfort to this little, faithful remnant. "Your recovery will speedily spring forth and your righteousness will go before you."
The faithfulness of Israel's remnant is likened to the breaking forth of the first rays of morning light rising from the blackness of night, heralding in the fast approaching warmth and hope that daylight brings. Although they may have to wait for their renewal and restoration, it will certainly come at the appointed time and will not be slow, for they are promised: "It will spring forth speedily," and they were further guaranteed that "their righteousness would go before them."
This little, believing remnant of Israel, were not only promised spiritual renewal and restoration but that "the glory of the LORD would be their rear guard." The faith of this remnant of Israel (and indeed all Old Testament saints) is credited to them as righteousness, as it was to Abraham of old. And the assurance of God's glorious presence, power, protection, and providence is to be their eternal reward.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the Scriptures, both the Old and New Testaments and the wonderful truths that they contain. Thank You that through their pages You have unveiled Your holy character, Your plan of redemption, and the message of the Cross. Help me to familiarise myself with every part of Your Word, and to be guided into all truth by the Holy Spirit. Give me discernment, I pray, not to be misled by false teachers who read into the Scriptures a wrong interpretation of the truth. Teach me and train me in the way I should go. Thank You that Your plans for Israel and purposes for the Church will come to fruition, and I pray that Your righteousness will go before me and the glory of the Lord will also be my rear guard. Thank You, in Jesus' name, AMEN.