For years I have heard the verse in Isaiah 59:19 interpreted two ways;
- When the glory of the Lord comes in like a flood, the enemy…
- When the glory of the Lord comes in, like a flood the enemy…
You can read it both ways in various translations but I prefer the first version.
Today, however, I was reading a post that used the second one about the “enemy coming in like a flood” and decided to explore the verse in more depth. What I found was astounding and has altered my understanding to yet another interpretation. It is for this reason that I am writing this and am quite excited to share what I discovered.
When I want to go deeper I use the interlinear version of the original Hebrew translation and then do individual phrase and word studies to study the meaning of the word and also the meaning as expressed in the specific context where it is found.
Here is my understanding / translation from what I discovered. I will give it in its entirety and then I will provide the back up support that I discovered.
“When His glory comes in like a river, like a contracted (and hence swift, powerful) river, the Spirit of the Lord (His ru ah; breath, wind, Spirit) shall drive it on, and shall come to Zion the Redeemer.”
So here is how I came to this conclusion:
First of all, the statement “When His glory comes in like a flood or river”, is clear in the Hebrew. The passage can only be interpreted this way when you read it in the original Hebrew. “Enemy” or “adversary” actually is one word in the sentence that doesn’t fit or make any sense unless you look at the contextual meaning which I will share in a moment.
The word translated “flood” is the word “nahar” which actually translates as river not flood. It also is the meaning in the interpretation of the context in which it is used.
The controversial word in this passage is the word “adversary” which is translated in many translations as “enemy” which of course we tend to interpret as the devil all though if you read the full chapter there is no reference made to the devil but rather evil people doing evil things that actually gives a vivid description of what we see going on in the world today.
“their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands. Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood. Their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; desolation and destruction are in their paths and highways.” Isaiah 59:7
“Rebelling against and denying the Lord, turning away from following our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving in and muttering and moaning from the heart words of falsehood.
14 Justice is turned away backward, and righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God) stands far off; for truth has fallen in the street (the city’s forum), and uprightness cannot enter [the courts of justice].
15 Yes, truth is lacking, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. And the Lord saw it, and it displeased Him that there was no justice.”
As we can see this is a reference to evil people rebelling against God. No devil here all though we all know where evil resides within people, the devil can’t be too far behind.
This verse has been worn out as a verse for spiritual warfare and I get the intent but in some ways it tends to glorify the power of the enemy, especially when the version number 2 is used. As I am about to show you, the devil or enemy or adversary is not found in the original Hebrew text.
So the controversial word in the verse is the word “tsar” which can be translated as adversary however it often means to restrict or limit or narrow as in a tight place or strait.
In this verse “tsar” is interpreted to mean “like a contracted (and hence swift, powerful) river. This is according to Brown-Diver-Briggs. Here’s how the definition of “tsar” appears in their definition:
|NAS Word Usage – Total: 7|
|cramped 1, limited 2, narrow 2, rushing 1, tight 1|
As you can see, adversary, foe, enemy, oppressor is the third definition and is not even mentioned in the NAS word usage dictionary.
So if you are with me so far and can accept that this verse is not talking about “the enemy” then you will see how the verse flows beautifully as a simile of the power and glory of the Lord acting on our behalf.
‘When His glory comes in like a river, like a contracted (and hence swift, powerful) river, the Spirit of the Lord (His ru ah; breath, wind, Spirit) shall drive it on,”
The Spirit of the Lord… the word in Hebrew which many are familiar with is ru ah. It has a beautiful expressive meaning that speaks of the Lord’s breath as when He breathed, His ru ah into Adam and he became an animated living being. Jesus also gave the picture of the Holy Spirit being as the wind that no one knows where it comes from or where it is going.
So in the context of this verse we see the active, powerful, purposeful force of the Spirit of the Lord like a mighty, swift, powerful river of His glory driving it on to its intended purpose which was to bring the Redeemer, Yeshua Ha-Mashiach, Jesus the Messiah to Zion.
The beauty of this passage has gotten lost and caused confusion over one word that unfortunately has been, in my humble opinion, misinterpreted.
The context of Isaiah 59 is of the Lord taking matters into His own hands to bring His salvation which is literally the word Yeshua – Jesus as the only solution to the world’s problems.
It is stated best in this verse:
“He saw that there was no man and wondered that there was no intercessor [no one to intervene on behalf of truth and right]; therefore, His own arm brought Him victory, and His own righteousness [having the Spirit without measure] sustained Him. 17 For [the Lord] put on righteousness as a breastplate or coat of mail, and salvation as a helmet upon His head; He put on garments of vengeance for clothing and was clad with zeal [and furious divine jealousy] as a cloak.” Isaiah 59:17
So [as the result of the Messiah’s intervention] they shall [reverently] fear the name of the Lord from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun.” Isaiah 59:19.
I love the Amplified Version but in this verse they jump the track and put the emphasis on the enemy until the last part of the verse which captures what I discovered today and I think reinforces my interpretation when it says:
..”for He will come like a rushing stream which the breath of the Lord drives.”
The Lord has been speaking to me a lot lately in references to His Mighty Wind and emphasizing that HE IS ON THE MOVE.
On May 15th, he gave me a vision of a whirlwind coming that was on fire; a fire tornado. He then downloaded the song “Fire Wind” which speaks of the overwhelming transforming power of His Presence in the imagery of a Fire Whirlwind consuming all in its path.
Two days later a prophetic word on the Elijah List gave the same imagery and referenced the verse which I was not aware of at the time I wrote “Fire Wind” which was Psalm 50:3
“Our God comes and does not keep silence; a fire devours before Him, and round about Him a mighty tempest rages.
4 He calls to the heavens above and to the earth, that He may judge His people:”
As I read and did a deeper study of this passage, I discovered that “judge” in this context is of the Messiah King coming to establish order on behalf of His people and not to a reference of judgment.
He goes on to offer the invitation for His people to come directly to Him, King Jesus, in their day of trouble and He personally will intervene and rescue them. It is a personal, intimate, closeness that He invites us to experience when trouble comes.
There is no word of correction or warning in the word “judge” but rather the Ruler of the Universe bringing order and alignment with His Kingdom rule and purposes.
By the way, May 15th was the Day of Pentecost following our celebration of Easter / Resurrection Day which I found out later that day after writing the song that referenced the Day of Pentecost. I know that the actual Jewish Pentecost was in June but I thought it meaningful that the song came on that day.
The purpose of sharing this is to emphasize what I am hearing from the Lord and what has been reinforced from prophetic voices around the world; The Lord is on the move!
We have been working, waiting, praying, believing, declaring and waiting some more for what has been in our hearts to be brought forth for the Kingdom in the world.
I believe the waiting is over and that King Jesus, is personally on the move to bring His Kingdom order to our lives in the midst of all hell breaking loose in the world.
If you would like to read some of the words that have spoken clearly about these things lately, here are some links:
Let him who has ears to hear listen for the voice of the “Wind” and get ready. The Lord is on the move on behalf of His saints; the people of His Kingdom.