What does Isaiah 54:1 mean?

Discussion in 'Bible Study' started by JReid, Apr 14, 2011.

  1. Hello all, as my first post I'm starting with this.. I read it years ago and from time to time since then I've endeavored to get the writer's intent.

    "Sing, O barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband," says the LORD."

    It seems a strange thing to say in view of the Jewish mandate for women to have children.

    Is this verse referring, in some way, to intercession... or does it have a different meaning?

    All possible interpretations will be welcome.
  2. Welcome to the forum JReid.

    Reid is in fact my mothers madian name and I have a lot of relitives in North Al.

    Anyway, I would be honored to give you an explination of Is. 54:1

    The 54th chapter portrays the results of the atoning work of the Servant of the Lord.

    The view of the prophet is toward the application of the atonement of the Servant to the entire world.

    The gentiles are show as a BARREN AND DESOLATE WOMAN who breaks into singing of praise because of her recent marriage (assumed) and cildren. The imagery here is used simply to show the concept that whereas the Gentiles were estranged from God, in contrast to the Israelites who are show as the MARRIED WIFE...they shall now be united to the Lord and bear spiritual desendandts.

    In the OT, Israel is pictured as the WIFE of Jehovah and in the NT as the wife of Christ.

    That means Gentiles and Jews come to God today on the same basis......FAITH IN CHRIST!
    JReid likes this.
  3. Thank you. :D Trying to read it at face value kept throwing me off, but with your explanation I can understand Galatians 4 alot better now.

    I don't know of any relatives in North Al(abama?) :)
  4. When I read the verse you quoted.....

    Isaiah 54:1 Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the LORD.​

    ....I was reminded of:

    Mark 13:16-18 And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment. But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter.​

    To me, they are teaching of the same thing. In the end of days, "in those days," many will fall into apostasy...following the wrong Christ. They commit adultery/idolatry with Satan which is what being "with child" refers to as well as some nursing along his false religion. Then those that are "barren" and "didst not bear" or "travail with child," are those that stayed true...waited for the true Savior.

  5. Thanks for your input 1whirlwind..

    Forgive me but I am not inclined to agree with you, Mark 13:16-18 is speaking of a real situation of sudden evacuation away from the danger. It follows the verse spoken about the abomination of desolation that is addressed to the Jews of an event to happen in yet future. So I don't see where the allegorical explanation that you provided would fit in those verses.

    However I do agree that Jesus spoke of an apostasy and false Christs in the other verses when talking of future events. :)
  6. .

    First....I had to remove the line about the post being my first....it wasn't. It has been so long since I've been here that I forgot. So, it's my first in a long time. :D

    Second...I don't see the passage in Mark being about suddenly running away. It's about the end of days, the great tribulation of Satan. It is spiritual tribulation.

    By the way, I too know a J Reid. A dear friend for a long time.

  7. You are the second person on these forums who has said that my name is that of someone known. :) I once googled my name and found many who have it. Apparently it's more widespread than I thought.
  8. My understanding of the passage, in light of what Paul says about "our mother" in Galatians is that #1 "salvation is of the Jews." #2 "Salvation is first for the Jew, and then for the Gentile." And the context is a word spoken to Jerusalem. Whether Jew or Gentile, the desolation of the flesh is the fertility of the Spirit. I have written extensively about this, and for anyone who is interested in that perspective, you can find more on my blog: lovinglikegod.com . This is a very important TRUTH of the Scriptures, and a very timely truth for the days we are now living in. Bless You!


  9. Isaiah 54:1
    Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear,.... The Targum interprets this of Jerusalem, paraphrasing the words thus,

    "sing praise, O Jerusalem, which was as a barren woman that bears not;''

    and so the apostle applies the words of the text to the Jerusalem above, the mother of us all, the then present Gospel church, Gal_4:26, which, at the first setting of it up, in the times of Christ, during his life and at the time of his death, and before the day of Pentecost, was like a barren woman; the number of converts were very small; few believed the report of the Gospel, professed Christ, and submitted to his ordinances; the names of the disciples were but a hundred and twenty. Though some understand this of the Jewish church, under the Old Testament dispensation, whose members were not many, and whose proselytes from the Gentiles were but few; and others of the Gentile world, before the coming of Christ, and the preaching of the Gospel in it; but the former sense is to be preferred, having the suffrage of the apostle:

    break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child; among whom there were few instances of conversion, scarce any begotten and born again of incorruptible seed by the word of God, and no signs thereof; but now it being otherwise, and multitudes being converted both in Judea and in the Gentile world, the church and its members are called upon to express their joy aloud in songs of praise, setting forth the glory of efficacious grace, in the regeneration of men; for as this is matter of joy to the angels of heaven, so to the saints on earth:

    for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord; more souls were born again, and added to the church after the death of Christ, when she was in a desolate condition, like a woman deprived of her husband, and in a widowhood state, then there were while Christ was here on earth, personally present with his people, and preaching the Gospel himself unto men; three thousand were converted under one sermon, and great numbers afterwards were added, so that the church at Jerusalem was in a much more flourishing condition after the death of Christ than before; more fruitful when it was become like a widow than when the bridegroom was with her; and the church of Christ still increased yet more and more afterwards, as the following verses predict. The Targum is,

    "more shall be the children of Jerusalem than the children of the habitable city.''

    The edition of it, in the king of Spain's Bible, has it,

    "than the children of Rome;''

    and so it is quoted by R. Elias (h), and by Buxtorf (i). The Jews understand this prophecy of their deliverance from their present condition by the Messiah; and of the rebuilding of Jerusalem, and the prosperity of it.

  10. This passage is quoted in Galatians 4:27.

    The barren lady who is told to rejoice is Sarah who is the wife of Abraham as was Hagar from whose son Ishmael are descended the Muslim Arabs. Sarah is a type of the Christian Church and Hagar is a type of those who are under spiritual bondage like Jews and Muslims who know not the saving grace of Jesus Christ represented by the freewoman Sarah and her freeborn child Isaac who represent the heavenly Jerusalem which is the church of Christ.

    Isaiah 54:1 is the prophet speaking of the Babylonian bondage followed by the glorious deliverance in Christ. Chapter 53 is all concerning Christ, and chapter 54 speaks of the great deliverance.

    Ishmael the son of Hagar persecuted Isaac. (See Genesis 21:9) just as the Jews persecuted God's spiritual children who are the heirs of the promise.

    The allegory continues : - When it was impossible for the two families to get along in peace, Abraham cast out Hagar the bondwoman and her son Ishmael.

    So, too, the Jews, the children of the old covenant have lost the divine favour, and others whether they are Jews or Gentiles who have accepted Jesus Christ have become the heirs (Israel). That isn't to say though that the Jews and others cannot return to their spiritual home where they belong under Abraham and Sarah from whom are descended Isaac, Jacob (Israel), Judah and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

    See the family tree here
    GodsAlwaysRight and William T Hannaford say Amen and like this.

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