כי ההרים ימושׁו והגבעות תמוטנה וחסדי מאתך לא־ימושׁ וברית שׁלומי לא תמוט אמר מרחמך יהוה׃ ׃
"For me this is like Noach's flood. Just as I swore that no flood like Noach's would ever again cover the earth, so now I swear that never again will I be angry with you or rebuke you. For the mountains may leave and the hills be removed, but my grace will never leave you, and my covenant of peace will not be removed," says Adonai, who has compassion on you.
The haftarah this week takes us to the Jerusalem of the future.
As we learn, study, and watch the destruction, exile, resurrection, and struggle for survival of Jerusalem, we must keep the promises of HaShem in focus. His promises remind and assure us that no matter how dark the tunnel, the light of HaShem shines at the end of it. Through these promises, we have certainty that the future of Jerusalem is as bright as the promises of HaShem.
According to prophecy, Jerusalem finds its place in the world in three different modes:
- The storm-tossed Jerusalem of this world
- The Jerusalem of the Messianic Era during the 1000 years of Yeshua's reign on earth
- The Jerusalem of the world to come as described in Revelation 21-22.
It is the belief of this rabbi that no other leader will ever succeed to establish lasting peace in Jerusalem and give it its rightful place in the world except Yeshua, the Mashiach of Israel, the King of Jerusalem. To suggest otherwise is akin to blasphemy. Let's now hear the proclamation of the prophet.
THE PROCLAMATION OF THE PROPHET
"Sing, barren woman who has never had a child! Burst into song, shout for joy, you who have never been in labor! For the deserted wife will have more children than the woman who is living with her husband," says Adonai. (Isa 54:1)
The prophet continues HaShem's proclamation of the future of Jerusalem. He tells us that the city will not just be a place for Jews but that righteous gentiles will also have a share in it. As such, he reminds people of the hospitality of Abraham and Sarah. Genesis Rabah 60:16 says of barren Sarah, "...as long as Sarah lived her doors were wide open ..."
Enlarge the space for your tent, extend the curtains of your dwelling; do not hold back, lengthen your cords, make your tent pegs firm. For you will spread out to the right and the left, your descendants will possess the nations and inhabit the desolated cities. (Isa 54:2-3)
The prophet Isaiah, who foresees Jerusalem in its future abandoned and rejected widowhood encourages her:
"Don't be afraid, for you won't be ashamed; don't be discouraged, for you won't be disgraced. You will forget the shame of your youth, no longer remember the dishonor of being widowed." (Isa 54:3-4)
Through the prophet, HaShem reminds Jerusalem of His faithfulness to the marriage covenant He once ratified with her.
He will be the "גאל go'el", the Redeemer.
For your husband is your Maker, Adonai-Tzva'ot is his name. The Holy One of Isra'el is your Redeemer. He will be called the God of all the earth. For Adonai has called you back like a wife abandoned and grief-stricken; "A wife married in her youth cannot be rejected," says your God. (Isa 54:5-6)
HaShem reminds Jerusalem of His compassion:
"Briefly I abandoned you, but with great compassion I am taking you back." (Isa 54:7)
I was angry for a moment and hid my face from you; but with everlasting grace I will have compassion on you," says Adonai your Redeemer. (Isa 54:8, see also Ex 34:6-7)
One might wonder how 2000 years could seem like only a "moment." Here is how it works. A man once asked HaShem, "God, I know that with you a day is as 1000 years and 1000 years is as a day, and I also know that with you a penny is as $1,000,000,000 and $1,000,000,000 is as a penny. Could You please give me a penny?" HaShem kindly answered, "Of course; I'll give you one tomorrow!"
Here now is our connection with the parasha of Noach. Just as in the days after the flood when HaShem promised humanity that He will never flood the earth again, He makes a promise to Jerusalem that He will never be angry with her again.
"For me this is like Noach's flood. Just as I swore that no flood like Noach's would ever again cover the earth (Gen 9:9-17), so now I swear that never again will I be angry with you or rebuke you. For the mountains may leave and the hills be removed, but my grace will never leave you, and my covenant of peace will not be removed," says Adonai, who has compassion on you. (Isa 54:9-10)
A GIANT LEAP
In a giant time-prophecy leap, the prophet takes this world's Jerusalem to a vision of the last Jerusalem. The vision is very similar to that of Revelation 21:9-21.
"Storm-ravaged [city], unconsoled, I will set your stones in the finest way, lay your foundations with sapphires, make your windows shine with rubies, your gates with garnet, your walls with gemstones. (Isa 54:11-12)
The prophet then tells Jerusalem that on that day of the Jerusalem of the world to come, all her children will know Him. Jeremiah later repeated the same idea. (Jer 31:34). This knowledge of HaShem will result in peace for Jerusalem.
Thus we are taught that the true knowledge of God results in peace. As we remember that Jerusalem was destroyed due to the zealots' causeless hatred due to ignorance of HaShem's Word, we deduce that the restoring of Jerusalem will be the result of love among brethren and the knowledge and understanding of the Word of HaShem. (Ps 133:1).
All your children will be taught by Adonai; your children will have great peace. In righteousness you will be established, far from oppression, with nothing to fear; far from ruin, for it will not come near you. (Isa 54: 13-14)
HaShem often used the wrath of foreign nations as His instrument of wrath, but He now assures Jerusalem that in that day, her enemies will no longer be His doing against her.
Any alliance that forms against you will not be my doing; whoever tries to form such an alliance will fall because of you. It is I who created the craftsman who blows on the coals and forges weapons suited to their purpose; I also created the destroyer to work havoc. (Isa 54:15-17a)
In that day, through Mashiach, HaSatan, the Accuser will not have anymore credit in the sight of the great Judge of the Universe.
"No weapon made will prevail against you. In court you will refute every accusation. The servants of Adonai inherit all this; the reward for their righteousness is from me," says Adonai. (Isa 54:17)
This will also be the time when social and economic disparity will disappear. No more will people work for meat that perishes (John 6:27).
The picture of the world to come presents to us a society that no political or economic system of man has ever been able to accomplish in its 6000 years of history (give or take a few hundred years), a society where peace, alongside justice, abundance, as well as love and laughter for ever after abound.
It is the opinion of this rabbi that we could almost attain it today if we would learn to live as HaShem intended us to. Just obeying the 10 commandments would suffice. It is reported in the Book of Josephus that a long time ago, Seth, the son of Adam, somewhat succeeded at this. Here is the report:
Now this Seth, when he was brought up, and came to those years in which he could discern what was good, became a virtuous man; and as he was himself of an excellent character, so did he leave children behind him who imitated his virtues. (9) All these proved to be of good dispositions. They also inhabited the same country without dissensions, and in a happy condition, without any misfortunes falling upon them, till they died. They also were the inventors of that peculiar sort of wisdom which is concerned with the heavenly bodies, and their order. (Josephus, Antiquity of the Jews, book 1; chapt 2; par 3)
Now, for the description of the world to come ordered by Messiah by the mouth of the prophet, a declaration that is foreshadowed in the concepts of Shabbat and Jubilee years
"All you who are thirsty, come to the water! You without money, come, buy, and eat! Yes, come! Buy wine and milk without money -- it's free! Why spend money for what isn't food, your wages for what doesn't satisfy? Listen carefully to me, and you will eat well, you will enjoy the fat of the land. Open your ears, and come to me; listen well, and you will live -- I will make an everlasting covenant with you, the grace I assured David. I have given him as a witness to the peoples, a leader and lawgiver for the peoples. You will summon a nation you do not know, and a nation that doesn't know you will run to you, for the sake of Adonai your God, the Holy One of Isra'el, who will glorify you." (Isa 55:1-5)
MAY IT BE SOON HASHEM, EVEN IN OUR DAYS
(It is possible to do it just by living by His Words)
R' GABRIEL LUMBROSO