The Old Testament Lesson for this Easter Sunday is written in the book of the prophet Isaiah. The text is Isaiah 25:6-9 and, appropriately for Easter Sunday, it is a portion of one of the few EXPLICIT resurrection texts in the Old Testament. This is not to say the Hebrews had an undeveloped understanding or no concept of the afterlife—especially the resurrection. There are multiple implicit indications in the Old Testament Scriptures of the Hebrews resurrection theology. However, the EXPLICIT references are few: Job 19; Isaiah 25 and 26; Ezekiel 37; Daniel 12. Because this is true, our text for today is of extreme significance to both the Old and New Testament people.
On this celebration of the resurrection of Jesus and therefore, our resurrection from the dead, it is important to look at some of the big motifs which make their way through these verses. The first is the imagery of “mountain meals” in the presence of the LORD. We see this theme strongly in Exodus 24 where Moses, Nadab, Elihu, and the seventy elders of Israel are called up Mount Sinai to eat with the LORD, in His very presence. Now, here in Isaiah, we see a great feast prepared by the LORD in His presence on the Holy Mountain. This idea carries us forward through the Scriptures as it points us to the Feeding of the Five Thousand on the mountain slope/hillside in the presence of Christ who provides the feast, and it finds its fulfillment in Revelation 19—the marriage Feast of the Lamb in His Kingdom on the new Mount Zion (Heaven). The same language is also found in several of Jesus’ parables.
This imagery of eating in the presence of the LORD God—a feast God prepares and provides from His own bountiful goodness (no potlucks or picnic lunches on these mountains!) should also point us to another holy and eschatological feast, the Holy Supper, the Marriage Feast of the Lamb here on this earth! All of these motifs intertwined together provide a wonderful and beautiful text for Easter Sunday.
This imagery of eating in the presence of the LORD God…should also point us to another holy and eschatological feast, the Holy Supper, the Marriage Feast of the Lamb here on this earth!
25:6 מִשְׁתֵּה (mish-Teh) (2X) “banquet; feast”
שְׁמָרִים (she-ma-Rim) (2X) “old wine; well-aged wine; wine with the dregs/resting on the lees” This is the BEST of the best.
מְמֻחָיִם (me-Mu-cha-Yim) root: מחה (maw-khaw) Pual: “to be flavored with marrow; to be full of marrow” Again, this is the RICHEST, the BEST of the best.
מְזֻקָּקִים (me-zuk-ka-Kim) root: זקק (zaw-kak) Pual: “to be filtered; refined”
*This is the feast, the banquet to end all banquets. The LORD God is the maker and provider of this great feast which takes place for the resurrected faithful in the courts of Heaven.
25:7 וּבִלַּע (u-vil-La) root: בלע (baw-lah) Piel: “to swallow down; destroy; annihilate”
הַלּוֹט (hal-Lot) (2X) Root: לוֹט (lote) Used as a noun: “covering; envelope” Used as a verb, Qal: “to wrap up; wrap; cover” “A covering that covers”
וְהַמַּסֵּכָה (ve-ham-mas-se-Chah) “covering; woven netting; webbing” Frequently translated as “veil.”
הַנְּסוּכָה (han-ne-su-Chah) root: נסך (naw-sak) Qal: “to weave; entwine” “A covering that is woven” “A webbing that is cast over”
*Also note the use of הָעַמִּים (ha-am-Mim) (the peoples) and הַגּוֹיִם (hag-go-Yim) (the nations/the gentiles), in other words “everyone.”
25:8 לָנֶצַח (la-Ne-tzach) from: נֵצַח (neh-tsakh) “ever; duration” With the ל “forever; everlasting; forever lasting”
וּמָחָה (u-ma-Chah) Qal: “to wipe away; to wipe; wipe clean”
דִּמְעָה (dim-Ah) “tears” (collective)
וְחֶרְפַּת (ve-cher-Pat) “shame; reproach”
*No death, no tears, and no shame... forever.
25:9 קִוִּינוּ (kiv-Vi-nu) (2X) root: קוה (kaw-vaw) Piel: “to wait for; to hope in; to eagerly wait/look for”
נָגִילָה (na-Gi-lah) root: גיל (gheel) Qal hollow verb: “to rejoice; shout jubilantly; shout in exaltation”
בִּישׁוּעָתוֹ (bi-shu-a-To) “in His salvation”
*From mountain to mountain and meal to meal the LORD God points us to His banquet, the Marriage Feast of the Lamb in His Kingdom which shall have no end, and the resurrection to everlasting life.
Concordia Theology-Various helps from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, MO to assist you in preaching Isaiah 25:6-9.
Text Week-Text Week-A treasury of resources from various traditions to help you preach Isaiah 25:6-9.
Lectionary Podcast- Dr. Walter A. Maier III of Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft. Wayne, IN walks us through Isaiah 25:6-9.