The Old Testament Lesson for this Sunday is written in the book of the prophet Isaiah. The text is Isaiah 25:6-9 and is a portion of one of the few EXPLICIT resurrection texts in the Old Testament. This does not mean, nor does it indicate the Hebrews had no concept of the resurrection, or an undeveloped concept and understanding of the resurrection as some critical scholars have argued. There are certainly many implicit indications in the Old Testament Scriptures of their resurrection theology, including the doctrine of “bodily resurrection.” However, the explicit references are few in number: Job 19; Isaiah 25 and 26; Ezekiel 37; Daniel 12. Because of this reality, our text for today is of extreme significance to both Old and New Testament people and frequently finds its way into many funeral services!
Also important are the various motifs which show up in these verses. First, there is the “mountain meal” motif. Especially important is that this meal is eaten in the presence of the LORD God. This mountain meal connects us to the Exodus 24 mountain meal when Moses, Nadab, Abihu and the 70 elders eat in the presence of the LORD on Mount Sinai. It also points us forward to the New Testament and the feeding of the 5000 on the mountain slope/hillside. It finds its fulfillment in Revelation 19 and the marriage feast of the Lamb in His Kingdom on the new and eternal Mount Zion.
The imagery of eating in the presence of the LORD God also points to the important reality that this is a feast the LORD Himself provides for His people—no picnic lunches or potlucks on these mountains! The LORD prepares the feast and He gives of Himself to do so. Of course, this truth should point us to another holy feast—the Lord’s Supper, Communion, the eschatological feast.
The LORD prepares the feast and He gives of Himself to do so.
One other important motif that stands out is the “covering” and the “veil.” This reminds us of the veil Moses put on to hide the Glory of the LORD from the people and then also the Glory Cloud which reveals God’s presence but still conceals His face. Darkness, shadows and clouds are also often part of this motif. God’s face is hidden from those who are unholy, but the day is coming when we will see Him face to face—the resurrection to the courts of Heaven.
25:6 יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת (Yah-weh tze-va-ot) “Sabaoth LORD” “The LORD of Hosts” (as in army hosts)
מִשְׁתֵּה (mish-Teh) “banquet; feast” (x2)
שְׁמָרִים (she-ma-Rim) “old wine; well-aged wine; wine with the dregs/resting on the lees” The very best! (x2)
מְמֻחָיִם. (me-Mu-cha-Yim) root: מחה (maw-khaw) Pual: “to be full of marrow; to be flavored with marrow” The richest and the very best! This is the feast, the banquet to end all banquets. The LORD God is the provider/maker of this great feast which takes place in the courts of Heaven.
25:7 וּבִלַּע (u-vil-La) root: בלע (baw-lah) Piel: “to destroy; to annihilate; to swallow down”
הַלּוֹט; (hal-Lot) from: לוט (lote) As a noun: “covering; envelope” As a verb: “to wrap up; to cover” “a covering that covers…” (2x)
וְהַמַּסֵּכָה > (ve-ham-mas-se-Chah) “covering; webbing; woven netting” Frequently translated as “veil.”
הַנְּסוּכָה; (han-ne-su-Chah) root: נסך (naw-sak) Qal: “to entwine; to weave; to plait” A covering that is woven… a web that is cast over.
*Note the usage of כָּל-הָעַמִּים (kol ha-am-Mim) (all the peoples) and כָּל-הַגּוֹיִם (kol hag-go-Yim) (all the nations/gentiles). In other words, everyone!
25:8 לָנֶצַח (la-Ne-tzach) from: נצח (neh-tsakh) “ever; duration” With the l (lamed) “forever; everlasting”
וּמָחָה (u-ma-Chah) root: מחה (maw-khaw) Qal: “to wipe away; to wipe clean; to wipe”
דִּמְעָה (dim-Ah) “tears”
וְחֶרְפַּת> (ve-cher-Pat) “shame; reproach; disgrace”
25:9 קִוִּינוּ (kiv-Vi-nu) root: קוה (kaw-vaw) Piel: “to hope; to wait; to await; to look eagerly for”
וְיוֹשִׁיעֵנוּ (ve-yo-shi-E-nu) “He might save us”
נָגִילָה (na-Gi-lah) root: גיל (gheel) Qal: “to rejoice; to shout in exultation; to shout jubilantly”
בִּישׁוּעָתוֹ (bi-shu-a-To) from: ישׁוּעָה (yesh-oo-aw) “salvation” “in His salvation”
From mountain to mountain, from meal to meal the LORD God points us to His banquet, already prepared; the marriage feast of the Lamb in His Kingdom which shall have no end!
Concordia Theology-Various helps from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, MO to assist you in preaching Isaiah 25:6-9.
Text Week-A treasury of resources from various traditions to help you preach Isaiah 25:6-9.