Isaiah 43 and Deut. 32:8. (Isaiah 43:1, 2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14-15, 16, 17-18, 19, 20, 21-22, 23, 24, 25-26, 27-28)
I am reeling under what you just sent, Gary. That is indeed a remarkable and revealing pairing of scripture portions, and then the reminder of the blind servant who opens many eyes that we’ve discussed so richly in times past, literally reeling.
The wandering Jew is indeed the blind servant in our midst. (Isa 42:19, 43:10) Isa 43 comprehends the whole story of the exile from its beginning to its end, underscoring that a mere remnant could never realize the promise. Even when Moses spoke these words, “Yet the Lord hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day” (Deut 29:4), even then there was a remnant of the Spirit, made up of those comparative few who had circumcised hearts, indwelt and endowed, or filled with the Spirit (Gen 41:38; Ex 28:3; 35:31; 36:1; Deut 10:16; 30:6; 34:9; Num 11:17, 25, 29; 14:24, 27:18; Ps 51:10; Prov 1:23; Jer 4:4; Eze 18:31; Dan 4:8; 5:11; Jn 3:3, 10; 1Pet 1:11, 23).
This is OT language for the provision of the regenerating, renewing power of the Holy Spirit that was presently available to the true remnant of faith. This perennial remnant stood in contrast to the larger nation whom Moses would describe as a perennially “perverse generation … children in whom is no faith” (Deut 32:5, 20). Because this would be the often predominant condition of most of the larger nation, so long as this condition persist, it forbids long or secure tenure in the Land.
I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto ye go over Jordan to possess it; ye shall not prolong your days upon it, but shall utterly be destroyed.
I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it.
Yet, Moses well understood that nothing short of ‘eternal possession’ was promised. This would not be immediately forth coming. Therefore, something very big had to happen to move this mountain of the Jewish condition, which, of course, is nothing more than the human condition, albeit with the great advantage of the light of revelation and the entrustment of the holy oracles. So like Abraham and the patriarchs, Moses knew that something big had to give! What would that be?
What would be sufficient to move this mountain of unbelief and release an entire people to an eternal Jubilee by an abiding holiness that would persevere and guarantee abiding continuance in the Land, the promised “everlasting righteousness” that would extend, not only to a remnant, but now to the whole of the nation (Jer 31:34; 32:40), so that “from that day and forward” (Exe 39:22, 28-29), no invader could menace (2Sam 7:10; Isa 54:15-17), and no curse could light, so that never again would THIS people in particular (“my covenant with THEM”; Ro 11:27) be plucked out of the Land (Amos 9:15), or subjected to the judgment of exile?
And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of THEIR land which I have given THEM, saith the Lord thy God.
What would accomplish something so radical? A new existence in another world? This has been the answer of the church, but it is not the answer of the scripture. Rather, Moses looks ahead to see an age ending (not earth ending) apocalyptic resolution. He understands this great dilemma of covenant obedience to be solved, not in transfer to another realm or sphere, but in a national regeneration that takes place at the end of a final ‘great tribulation’ in the latter days, when Israel will be brought to the end of their power (Deut 4:29-30; 30:1-6; 32:36; Dan 12:7).
The problem of blindness and therefore covenant obedience through a regenerate faith was the abiding great dilemma that demanded an apocalyptic resolution. Even before the successive line of prophets would use the precise language of a coming great ‘day of the Lord’, Moses would look ahead to an ultimately transitional great tribulation. This would be “in the latter days” (Deut 4:29-30) when, not only a small part, but the whole of the nation, and all of their children afterward would receive the circumcision of the heart that would accomplish the ‘whole heart’ of covenant demand, and therefore the ‘new heart’ of covenant promise.
Moses, and all the prophets following understood that THE day must come when, not a mere remnant, but “all Israel” will lie down in safety (in the Land!) and none make them afraid again forever (). That’s final security in the Land!
Why? because that was the promise as attested in plan language and plainly understood by all.
How? Because of the ‘coming in’ (not only for the remnant, but for ‘all Israel’) of “the everlasting righteousness” (Dan 9:24), from which not one Jew, or child born to a Jew will ever again depart (Isa 54:13; 59:21; 60:21; 61:9; Jer 31:34; 32:40; Eze 37:25). That’s the covenant! That’s how Paul was reading it when he said, “and so then all Israel shall be saved”. He is seeing the end of the covenant as a time when there will be a uniform;y saved Jewish salvation, with all nations under divine threat to respect God’s right to exalt the very people He so deeply abased and subjected to shame and spitting (many scriptures go here).
Only this abiding inheritance of the Land by an all saved, fully exalted nation can fulfill the promise, not somewhere in the great beyond of mystical, unverifiable transcendence, but here on this earth in the real stuff of time, all opposition to the contrary notwithstanding. Therein is the glory of the covenant. It’s all about grace, sovereign, discriminating, electing grace.
So from the beginning it is made clear that so long as this condition of blindness persists for Israel as a corporate whole, not only Israel, but the nations will not have abiding peace. “How much more THEIR fullness?!”
The blind servant exists in two distinct forms, personal and corporate. The blindness of the Servant (Messiah) is a holy blindness that sees only what the Father reveals, as Jesus never lifted Himself to know or see anything as of himself, being free through virgin birth of that powerful propensity of fallen self reliance. He was the perfect selfless servant, judging nothing after the sight of His eyes, yet in full and perfect knowledge of the mystery (Isa 53:11; “by His knowledge shall My righteous servant justify man”) of who He was and what He was sent to be and to do.
Conversely, the elect nation, no less elect in their blindness, is also a servant with an indispensable role for the sake of the world, but even more for the sake of the highest glory of God as open testament to undeserved, sovereign, discriminating grace. It is the role of one who is blind for the sake of the many. How can this be? It is the same as when God says to Israel, “I have given men for your life” (Isa 43:3-4). For there to be an election, there has to be a non-election. For this cause, God has ordained that Israel’s blindness serve as a profound, utterly humbling revelation and instruction for those, equally unqualified, whose eyes the Lord has chosen to open.
To what end? Ro 9:11 tells us expressly. “So that the purpose of God might stand, not of works but of Him who calls”. To THAT end God has bound all over to unbelief that when mercy comes at God’s appointed time, it can be seen to be wholly mercy, undeserved and unhurried by flesh. Then will the blind see that there is no difference between those who see and those who do not see except the sovereign grace of the Spirit that opens the eyes and changes the heart by a faith that is given, not on the basis of human readiness or seeking, though God will arrange the most earnest seeking, but on the basis of a divinely timed act of free grace that us utterly apart from anything of, in, or from man.
What offense this, but it is THE offense that explains so much that must remain hidden until this prerogative of God to judge, to kill or make alive, be acknowledged as just and right and holy.
Where is free will in this? It is nowhere because it does not exist. By the nature of its nature, the will is bound until liberated by a sovereign, free, completely unconstrained act of sovereign grace, and Israel is the great example of this much opposed and ever disputed reality that underlies all the theology of grace, which is just the theology of “not by might nor power but by My Spirit says the Lord,” the theology of the whole Bible in a verse.
Not ashamed, not afraid to offend, the repentant, but probably very dismissed and very poor Reggie Kelly, fearful flesh be hanged, no, ‘crucified’.