A copy of the book of Isaiah was written on animal skin and carefully put into an earthenware pot and buried in a cave. It must have lain undisturbed for more than 2000 years before it was discovered in 1948 in a cave in Israel near the Dead Sea. Until then the earliest versions of Isaiah we had were written 1100 years later than that. So the miracle is that there’s hardly any difference between these versions.
When Jesus chose to read from the book of Isaiah it must have been pretty well identical to this ‘Dead Sea scroll’. A modern scholar has recently translated the scroll into word for word literal English and here is what Isaiah 61:1-4 says:
‘The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because YHWH has anointed me to preach good tidings to the weak; to bind up the brokenhearted, to call to the captives liberty, and to the imprisoned the opening of prison. To announce the favourable year of YHWH, and the day of vengeance for our God; to comfort all who mourn; To appoint to the mourners in Zion, to give to them beauty instead of dust, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of the spirit of heaviness; and they shall call to them oaks of righteousness, the planting of YHWH, for glory. And they shall build the ancient ruins, the desolations of the beginning shall they raise, and they shall renew the ruined cities, the desolations of generation to generation. They shall raise them up’.
It’s interesting to note that there is an extra sentence in this version, which doesn’t appear in any of the later versions. It says the words ‘They shall raise them up’.
I’m not sure what this all meant to the listeners in the synagogue that day. Jesus said that He was now fulfilling the prophecy given by Isaiah so long ago. But what I am sure of is that it means the promise of healing and deliverance is for the believers in Jesus today.
There are many of us who are weak, broken-hearted, captive in prisons, in mourning, or burdened with a spirit of heaviness. Jesus still brings us good news, binding up our broken hearts, calling us to liberty and opening our prison cages, giving comfort, beauty and a garment of praise.
The promise is that we shall become oaks of righteousness, planted by the Lord, for His glory. We shall restore ancient ruins, desolated places, and the ruined cities, which have been desolated for generations. We will raise them up again. They will be restored. Praise the Lord!
On a trip to Finland we met some people who were encountering Ellel Ministries for the first time. One of them asked how healed we had to be before we could bring the healing and deliverance ministry of Jesus to others.
It’s an interesting question and my husband referred to this promise, noting that it is the ones who have been so needy who rebuild the ruins. At the start of an Ellel Ministries Modular School some people don’t seem as if they could do much to help others, but by the end of the course they are eager to take the healing they themselves have received to others.
Prayer: Dear loving heavenly Father, we come to You in the name of Jesus. Thank You for the promise of Jesus, Messiah, that He would not only heal us and set us free from oppression, but that He would make us strong to help others with the help that we ourselves have received. Amen.
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