Isaiah 56


It is interesting that after Isaiah 53, 54, and 55 there is still something to add to complete the message

God had for Isaiah to preach.


The central theme of the remainder of the book (56-66) is for the believer in the promise to live out their

lives in God’s righteousness and in line with his holy character.


Chapters 40-55 spoke of the grace of God which included the Servant doing the work and ended with 

 an invitation to the thirsty to come buy without money.


Chapter 56 begins with instructions for those who have received the grace of God to live holy.


This section will wrap up the three main subjects areas of the book of Isaiah:

1)      Chapters 7-39 a rebellious and unclean people

2)      Chapters 40-55 God’s holiness (divine character) is declared and the gracious provision of sacrifice, atonement and deliverance is revealed

3)      Chapters 56-66 these same people who were unclean and that have received the gracious provision are now enabled and called upon to live holy and serve the Lord.

In fact chapters 7-66 are foreshadowed and summed up in Isaiah personal experience in Isaiah 6.  In chapter 6 Isaiah:

1)      is the man with unclean lips

2)      is the man who sees (has a revelation and understanding) the holiness of God and  is graciously touched and cleansed by the coals

3)      is the man who is sent out to proclaim the holiness (character) of God and the message of Isaiah 53 to his people.


Chapter 7-39 says obey or be destroyed.  The people can’t and so will be destroyed.

Chapters 40-55 says receive the free gift.  Anyone can believe and receive.  Some do   which indicates their heart. 

Those who do not show they never wanted to in the first place.

Chapters 56-66 says now that you have been empowered walk in the holiness.


56:1-8 God speaks to the believers who have accepted the work of 53 and the invitation of 54 and 55.


56:9-13 God warns those who have rejected his message and the servants work


56:13-19 God speaks of the day when his anger is turned back and promises peace.


56:19-21 God warns though that there will be no peace for the wicked in that day.





These words are instructions for those who have believed the message of Isaiah 53 and responded to the invitation of Isaiah 54 and 55.

This is the way a believer should live while he waits for the Lord to manifest his kingdom.

The Lord will bring righteousness and justice but we are not to wait until then.

If we are members of this community and kingdom we should live like that today.



Keeping the Sabbath? Is Isaiah stressing a righteousness of rituals?

In Isaiah 1:10-15 the rituals are considered corrupted by the people.

God wants the real deal which is described as keeps his hand from doing any evil.”

But, that leaves evil undefined?  What is evil?  What is good?

That is where the “Sabbath” regulations come in. 

They are a description of what God thinks is evil and what God thinks is good.



“foreigner” is the Gentile nations


“eunuchs” where excluded from the assembly of the Lord. (Deuteronomy 23:1)
Not only foreigners but eunuchs who had become eunuchs so they could serve a foreign god. 

This is for shock value.  It is saying even a foreign eunuch could serve God if he has accepted the invitation and the work of the Servant in Is. 53. 


In Deut 23:1-8 these people where not allowed to participate with Israel:

a)      eunuchs

b)      born of a forbidden marriage

c)      Ammonite

d)      Moabite

Why?  Are these people naturally evil and against God?

The point of these laws where:

1)      Eunuch – God’s creation and the way he made it are good.  Any unproductive altering is against his will.

2)      Forbidden marriage – practices and values are handed down through families

3)      Ammonites and Moabites – Violated God’s people in history and actions in the past affect the future. 

4)      Their actions in the past are affecting them in Moses day.  Our actions today will also have a future consequence.


Eunuchs:  Acts 8:27-39   and Psalms 68:31



Mentions foreigners who bind themselves to serve the Lord or servants of the Lord.


These do three things with correct motives:

1)      They bind themselves to the Lord because

a.       To serve him

b.      To love the name of the Lord

c.       To worship him

d.      (They bind themselves to the Lord because of who the Lord is not because of what they get from the                                                                 Lord or because the Lord improves their life.  They do not seek to benefit from a relationship with the Lord.)

2)      They keep the Sabbaths

3)      They keep the Covenant


“serve” or  “minister” is the Hebrew word “saret” is usually used in reference to cultic service (60:7, 10; 61:6) refers to the ritual                                         service of the temple.  A very strange thing to say that foreigners will get to do.


The Priesthood was a place of service to call others to the Lord so they could enter the same priesthood.



These servants will be with the Lord



Here God is the one who “Gathers”

a)      the Creator (40:23-26)

b)      the Deliverer (46:9-11)

c)      the Gatherer (56:8)

This again speaks of the world wide expansion and outreach of God who

1)      made the world,

2)      saved the world and

3)      will gather the world.

See also in Isaiah 19:25; 49:6-7; 51:5 and 55:5



Speaks of those who have rejected the call and the work of the servant

1)      These verses are divided into two groups:

a.       56:9-57:2

b.      57:3-13

2)      56:9-57:2 show:

a.       The blame is on the leaders

b.      The righteous are being removed as a form of deliverance

3)      Unconsciousness:  Both the Leaders and the People are unconscious of their responsibilities, their failures, and their destinations:

a.       Leaders in 56:10-11

b.      People in 57:1


A call for judgment to begin.

Because of the failure of the leadership the enemy will easily be let in.



The leadership is described as:

1)      Watchmen  (possibly the prophets)

2)      guard dogs  (possibly the priests)

3)      shepherds    (possibly the kings)


“watchmen” – If they can not see the enemy the people probably won’t

Ezekiel 3:17

Habakkuk 2:1

Isaiah 21:6

Isaiah 52:8


“dogs” – they can not bark and so they are useless to defend the nation.

This would refer to lacking the sound or anointing to communicate.



Not only are they:

1)      unconscious or unknowing

2)      useless to perform their duty

. . .they also:

3)      have unsatisfied desires


This leadership does not:

1)      know their purpose or their situation (56:10)

2)      fulfill their responsibility (56:10)

3)      know how to satisfy their desires (56:11)

4)      understand the problem (56:11)

POINT:  Since they do not know their PURPOSE and do not fulfill the MISSION they can find no satisfaction in life.



All of their efforts are on satisfying these desires with less and less results.
They end up in slavery:

1)      first, self induced slavery to addictions and desires

2)      second, national slavery because their culture becomes too weak because they are too distracted by the first slavery, self induced.



Righteous are perishing and no one notices



The righteous are taken to peace and away for evil and its results.