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DRAFT: A Chiastic Reconfiguration Of Isaiah 44-45

Kuruvilla Thomas
Bangalore
Published on 29 January 2022 *




Isaiah 44-45 Timeline
Fig. 1


Introduction

This study treats Isaiah 44:24-45:25 as a cryptochiasmus in order to arrive at a coherent reconfiguration of the text ( see definition of cryptochiasmus in [1] ). If you wish to skip the technicalities of a chiastic parse, you may read starting from Section 4 of the Discussion section, which has the reconfigured text.

Isaiah 44:24-45:25 is primarily regarding the start of the Millennial Reign of Christ and his Messiah. It also predicts that Christ will bring salvation to the world at his First Coming, and that Cyrus the Great of Persia will, with God's help, become emperor over most of the inhabited world, and free the Judahites in Babylon.



Discussion

1. Presuppositions

We base our parse of Isaiah 44:24-45:25 on the assumption that it refers to 3 Periods:

  1. Cyrus the Great Frees the Judahites and Builds a Vast Empire (c. 539 BC).
  2. Christ's Ministry and The First Jewish–Roman War (26AD–73AD). The Judahites that rejected Christ and followed false doctrines were killed in this war.
  3. The Coming Messiah Reigns from Israel at the Start of Christ's Millennial Reign (circa 2027AD).

2. Parsing the chiasmus

We will use NIV Bible for this parse.

Parsing this chiasmus involves dividing portions of the text into three categories as above. We will call the time of Cyrus' victory over Babylon Period 1, the First Jewish-Roman War Period 2 and the start of Christ's Millennial Reign Period 3.


Categorizing Isaiah 44:24-45:25

Ch 44 vs 24 - Ch 45 vs 4a belong to Period 3. The coming Messiah will defeat the enemies of God and establish the new Jerusalem at the start of Christ's Millennial Reign. The coming Messiah is called "Cyrus" because he is the antitype of the Persian emperor (an antitype is a fulfilment of a symbolic prophecy). Although most of this subunit could also describe Cyrus of Persia, some portions of it do not properly apply to him (like vs 4a - see commentary below). It is difficult to determine the opening boundary of this prophecy (and consequently that of this first subunit), but we consider the passage from 44:24 to be a part of this prophecy, because 44:28 mentions Cyrus, and the quote in 44:28 begin in 44:24.



Ch 45 vs 4b-6 belong to Period 1. The Lord gives Cyrus of Persia the strength to rule the world, even before he knows and acknowledges the God of Israel. Ironically, the subunits that are regarding Cyrus of Persia do not contain his name. ( Verse 45:4a does not belong to this subunit, because it mentions Israel/Jacob, which typically refers to all of Israel. This Period is regarding Cyrus' dealings with the Judahites, the Southern Tribes.)

Ch 45 vs 7-12 belong to Period 2. Christ brings righteousness and salvation from God to the world. Many of the Judahites of this Period followed false doctrines that led them away from Christ, and they were punished for it during the First Jewish-Roman War. We expect to see a Period regarding the First Jewish-Roman War in all cryptochiasmi.

Ch 45 vs 13 belong to Period 1. Cyrus frees the Judahites from the Babylonians and helps rebuild the temple.

Ch 45 vs 14-25 belongs to Period 3. The Israelites turn back to their God and become a prosperous nation. The rest of the world is exhorted to worship the one true God.


Original text

We color-code the chiastic units of the original text (NIV) below for easy visual identification using: red for Period 1, blue for Period 2 and green for Period 3. We have retranslated parts of the text that have been inaccurately rendered because of a lack of proper context.



Isaiah 44 24 “This is what the Lord says— your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb:
I am the Lord, the Maker of all things, who stretches out the heavens, who spreads out the earth by myself, 25 who foils the signs of false prophets and makes fools of diviners, who overthrows the learning of the wise and turns it into nonsense, 26 who carries out the words of his servants and fulfills the predictions of his messengers,
who says of Jerusalem, ‘It shall be inhabited,’ of the towns of Judah, ‘They shall be rebuilt,’ and of their ruins, ‘I will restore them,’ 27 who says to the watery deep, ‘Be dry, and I will dry up your streams,’ 28 who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd and will accomplish all that I please; he will say of Jerusalem, “Let it be rebuilt,” and of the temple, “Let its foundations be laid.”’


Isaiah 45 1 “This is what the Lord says to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of to subdue nations before him and to strip kings of their armor, to open doors before him so that gates will not be shut: 2 I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. 3 I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name. 4a For the sake of Jacob my servant, of Israel my chosen, I summon you by name.
4b I [a] bestow on you a title of honor, though you do not acknowledge me. 5 I am the Lord, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me, 6 so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting people may know there is none besides me. I am the Lord, and there is no other.
7 I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things. 8 “You heavens above, rain down my righteousness; let the clouds shower it down. Let the earth open wide, let salvation spring up, let righteousness flourish with it; I, the Lord, have created it.
9 “Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker, those who are nothing but potsherds among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘The potter has no hands’? 10 Woe to the one who says to a father, ‘What have you begotten?’ or to a mother, ‘What have you brought to birth?’
11 “This is what the Lord says— the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker: How dare you question Me about My sons, or instruct Me in the work of My hands? [b] 12 It is I who made the earth and created mankind on it. My own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshaled their starry hosts.

13 I will raise him up [c] in my righteousness: I will make all his ways straight. He will rebuild my city and set my exiles free, but not for a price or reward, says the Lord Almighty.”
14 This is what the Lord says:
“The wealth [d] of Egypt and the merchandise of Cush, and of the Sabeans, men as tribute— [e] they will come over to you and will be yours; they will trudge behind you, coming over to you in chains. They will bow down before you and plead with you, saying, ‘Surely God is with you, and there is no other; there is no other god.’”
15 Truly you are a God who has been hiding himself, the God and Savior of Israel. 16 All the makers of idols will be put to shame and disgraced; they will go off into disgrace together. 17 But Israel will be saved by the Lord with an everlasting salvation; you will never be put to shame or disgraced, to ages everlasting.
18 For this is what the Lord says— he who created the heavens, he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth, he founded it; he did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited— he says: “I am the Lord, and there is no other. 19 I have not spoken in secret, from somewhere in a land of darkness; I have not said to Jacob’s descendants, ‘Seek me in vain.’ I, the Lord, speak the truth; I declare what is right.
20 “Gather together and come; assemble, you fugitives from the nations. Ignorant are those who carry about idols of wood, who pray to gods that cannot save. 21 Declare what is to be, present it— let them take counsel together. Who foretold this long ago, who declared it from the distant past? Was it not I, the Lord? And there is no God apart from me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but me.
22 “Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. 23 By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear. 24 They will say of me, ‘In the Lord alone are deliverance and strength.’” All who have raged against him will come to him and be put to shame. 25 But all the descendants of Israel will find deliverance in the Lord and will make their boast in him.


Retranslation notes for Isaiah 45
[a] vs 4 "name. I" instead of "name and".
[b] vs 11 "How dare you question Me about My sons, or instruct Me in the work of My hands?" instead of "Concerning things to come, do you question me about my children, or give me orders about the work of my hands?".
[c] vs 13 "him up" instead of "up Cyrus", Cyrus is not named in the Hebrew.
[d] vs 14 "wealth" instead of "products".
[e] vs 14 "and of the Sabeans, men as tribute" instead of "and those tall Sabeans".


3. Building the reconfigured text

From this parse, it appears that Isaiah 44:24-45:25 forms a cryptochiasmus as below:


A1   Ch 44 vs 24 - Ch 45 vs 4a Period 3. The coming Messiah will reign from Jerusalem
  B1   Ch 45 vs 4b-6 Period 1. Cyrus controls the world
    X   Ch 45 vs 7-12 Period 2. The Judahites that reject Christ are punished
  B2   Ch 45 vs 13 Period 1. Cyrus frees the Judahites
A2   Ch 45 vs 14-25 Period 3. The world will worship the one true God


We now reconstruct the passages in the right order based on the chiastic structure above and based on the ordering rules of a cryptochiasmus [1].

We lead with central pivot point 'X'. The corresponding subunits (For example; subunit A1 corresponds to A2) are placed contiguously to form units (For example, A1,A2 is a unit ) so that we get a list of such units.


The sequence selected for rearrangement is:

X  [A1,A2]  [B1,B2]        (1)

Translating (1) into verse numbers, we get:

Ch 45 vs 7-12   [Ch 44 vs 24 - Ch 45 vs 4a, Ch 45 vs 14-25]   [Ch 45 vs 4b-6, Ch 45 vs 13]        (2)

We arrive at the reconfigured passage in the next section by rearranging the verses so they are in sequence (2).



4. Isaiah 44:24-45:25 Reconfigured

Christ's Ministry and The First Jewish–Roman War (26AD–73AD) (Ch 45 vs 7-12)
45 7 I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things.
8 “You heavens above, rain down my righteousness; let the clouds shower it down. Let the earth open wide, let salvation spring up, let righteousness flourish with it; I, the Lord, have created it.
9 “Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker, those who are nothing but potsherds among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘The potter has no hands’? 10 Woe to the one who says to a father, ‘What have you begotten?’ or to a mother, ‘What have you brought to birth?’
11 “This is what the Lord says— the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker: How dare you question Me about My sons, or instruct Me in the work of My hands?
12 It is I who made the earth and created mankind on it. My own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshaled their starry hosts.


The Coming Messiah Reigns from Israel at the Start of Christ's Millennial Reign (circa 2027AD) (Ch 44 vs 24 - Ch 45 vs 4a, Ch 45 vs 14-25)
44 24 “This is what the Lord says— your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb:
I am the Lord, the Maker of all things, who stretches out the heavens, who spreads out the earth by myself, 25 who foils the signs of false prophets and makes fools of diviners, who overthrows the learning of the wise and turns it into nonsense, 26a who carries out the words of his servants and fulfills the predictions of his messengers,
26b who says of Jerusalem, ‘It shall be inhabited,’ of the towns of Judah, ‘They shall be rebuilt,’ and of their ruins, ‘I will restore them,’ 27 who says to the watery deep, ‘Be dry, and I will dry up your streams,’ 28 who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd and will accomplish all that I please; he will say of Jerusalem, “Let it be rebuilt,” and of the temple, “Let its foundations be laid.”’


45 1 “This is what the Lord says to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of to subdue nations before him and to strip kings of their armor, to open doors before him so that gates will not be shut: 2 I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. 3 I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name. 4a For the sake of Jacob my servant, of Israel my chosen, I summon you by name.

45 14 This is what the Lord says:
“The wealth of Egypt and the merchandise of Cush, and of the Sabeans, men as tribute— they will come over to you and will be yours; they will trudge behind you, coming over to you in chains. They will bow down before you and plead with you, saying, ‘Surely God is with you, and there is no other; there is no other god.’”
15 Truly you are a God who has been hiding himself, the God and Savior of Israel. 16 All the makers of idols will be put to shame and disgraced; they will go off into disgrace together. 17 But Israel will be saved by the Lord with an everlasting salvation; you will never be put to shame or disgraced, to ages everlasting.
18 For this is what the Lord says— he who created the heavens, he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth, he founded it; he did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited— he says: “I am the Lord, and there is no other. 19 I have not spoken in secret, from somewhere in a land of darkness; I have not said to Jacob’s descendants, ‘Seek me in vain.’ I, the Lord, speak the truth; I declare what is right.
20 “Gather together and come; assemble, you fugitives from the nations. Ignorant are those who carry about idols of wood, who pray to gods that cannot save. 21 Declare what is to be, present it— let them take counsel together. Who foretold this long ago, who declared it from the distant past? Was it not I, the Lord? And there is no God apart from me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but me.
22 “Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. 23 By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear. 24 They will say of me, ‘In the Lord alone are deliverance and strength.’” All who have raged against him will come to him and be put to shame. 25 But all the descendants of Israel will find deliverance in the Lord and will make their boast in him.


Cyrus the Great Frees the Judahites and Builds a Vast Empire (c. 539 BC) (Ch 45 vs 4b-6, Ch 45 vs 13)
45 4b I bestow on you a title of honor, though you do not acknowledge me. 5 I am the Lord, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God.
I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me, 6 so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting people may know there is none besides me. I am the Lord, and there is no other.


13 I will raise him up in my righteousness: I will make all his ways straight. He will rebuild my city and set my exiles free, but not for a price or reward, says the Lord Almighty.”


5. A Commentary on the Reconfigured Text

5.1 Christ's Ministry and The First Jewish–Roman War (26AD–73AD) (Ch 45 vs 7-12)

This Period is arranged in the form of a two-unit chiasmus:

A1 45:7 God is the great creator of all things
  B1 45:8 God rains down righteousness through the New Covenant
    X 45:9-10 Woe to those who question their Creator
  B2 45:11 God defends His New Covenant and its adherents
A2 45:12 God is the great Creator of all things

The Judahites of the time of Christ had to make a critical decision within one generation: to believe in Christ, or to follow corrupt man-made doctrines like those of the Pharisees and face death.



Chapter 45 7 I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things.

God is the creator of the universe and all that is in it. This truth may be stated in this rather unusual way here to refute the dualism that is at the core of many Satanic doctrines. Dualism is the belief in two supreme opposed powers - a virtuous god of "light" and a corresponding demonic god of "darkness". God avers that He alone is God and He is God of everything - light and darkness.



Chapter 45 8 “You heavens above, rain down my righteousness; let the clouds shower it down. Let the earth open wide, let salvation spring up, let righteousness flourish with it; I, the Lord, have created it.

God sent Christ to the earth to bring down His righteous Word - the gospel of the New Covenant (see John 14:6). Christ's death brought in redemption for man's sins, and righteousness and salvation for those who believed in him and heeded his words (John 3:16).



Chapter 45 9 “Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker, those who are nothing but potsherds among the potsherds on the ground.

God pronounces woe on the Judahites that had been led astray and away from Christ by false doctrines - they were to suffer and die during the First Jewish-Roman War.( See details on this Period in our parse of the 70 Weeks of Daniel [2].)

The Satanic doctrines that some of the Judahites followed - doctrines such as Gnosticism - place God in an inferior, powerless position in the pantheon of gods, and they teach that people are themselves gods. So adherents have no qualms about questioning God's work, ignoring his commands and even giving Him orders (see also Isaiah 28:16). God puts them in their place, saying that they are mere broken pieces of pottery and so not worthy of quarrelling with Him, the Creator of all things.



Chapter 45 9b Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘The potter has no hands’? 10 Woe to the one who says to a father, ‘What have you begotten?’ or to a mother, ‘What have you brought to birth?’

A human who questions the work and power of God is as ridiculous as a pot that criticizes the work of a potter, or calls its creator impotent ("has no hands"). Questioning God on His creation is as inappropriate and offensive as denigrating children to their parents ("What have you begotten?").



Chapter 45 11 “This is what the Lord says— the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker: How dare you question Me about My sons, or instruct Me in the work of My hands?

The Pharisees and Teachers of the Law questioned the righteousness of Christians ("God's children") and persecuted them for their beliefs (Acts 4:3-22, 6:8-8:1 etc.). They opposed the teachings of Jesus even though they knew that Christ was sent by God ("instruct Me in the work of My hands?") (for ex. see Matt. 22:15-22, Matt. 12:9-14). ( We base our interpretation of this passage on the corresponding subunit in 45:8.)



Chapter 45 12 It is I who made the earth and created mankind on it. My own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshaled their starry hosts.

God is the creator of the heavens and earth and all that is in it, so mere humans must revere Him and humbly accept all His commands.



5.2 The Coming Messiah Reigns from Israel at the Start of Christ's Millennial Reign (circa 2027AD) (Ch 44 vs 24 - Ch 45 vs 4a, Ch 45 vs 14-25)

The passages of this Period are structured as a series of 2 chiasmi. In the first chiasmus, the Israelites return to their God and their nation, while in the second the whole world is invited to turn to the God of Israel.


The passage below in 44:24-45:4a,45:14-17 is arranged in the form of a two-unit chiasmus:

A1 44:24-26a A great God turns His people away from idolatry
  B1 44:26b-28 Israel is restored
    X 45:1-4a The coming Messiah will be victorious
  B2 45:14 Israel is restored
A2 45:15-17 A great God turns His people away from idolatry


Subunit A1: A great God turns His people away from idolatry (44:24-26a)

Chapter 44 24 “This is what the Lord says— your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb:
I am the Lord, the Maker of all things, who stretches out the heavens, who spreads out the earth by myself,

The Israelites have been chosen by God to be His people, even from the time of Abraham ("formed you in the womb") (cf. Isaiah 44:2, see Gen. 17). God, who has redeemed Israel in the past, will once again redeem and restore Israel at the start of the Millennial Reign (see also Isaiah 52:9).

Throughout this passage addressed to the Israelites, in 44:24-28, God lists some of the awesome things He has done and will do, to convince them to turn away from their idolatry forever. He begins, in this verse, by declaring that He is the creator of all things (cf. Isaiah 40:13).



Chapter 44 25 who foils the signs of false prophets and makes fools of diviners, who overthrows the learning of the wise and turns it into nonsense, 26a who carries out the words of his servants and fulfills the predictions of his messengers,

Prior to the Millennial Reign, the Israelites had worshipped idol gods and had been deeply influenced by their pagan teachings. God exposes the foolishness of the false prophets of other gods (cf. Isaiah 28:7-8), and He reveals that the great "knowledge" of philosophers and sages who teach false doctrines from Satan are just nonsense (see 1 Corinthians 1:20). On the other hand, He fulfils all the predictions of His own prophets (see for ex., Dan. 2:27-28).



Subunit B1: Israel is restored (44:26b-28)

Chapter 44 26b who says of Jerusalem, ‘It shall be inhabited,’ of the towns of Judah, ‘They shall be rebuilt,’ and of their ruins, ‘I will restore them,’ 27 who says to the watery deep, ‘Be dry, and I will dry up your streams,’

God will restore the Israelites who had been rendered destitute by millennia of punishment from Him ("ruin") (see Deuteronomy 28:15-68), so that it is once again a thriving nation ("Jerusalem" and "towns of Judah" synecdochically refer to the New Israel) (see also Jeremiah 30:18). The Israelites will gather in the New Israel (Isaiah 11:11-12), and all hostile peoples ("the watery deep", "streams") who try to stop the Israelites from assembling in their new home and rebuilding it will be defeated and destroyed ("dry up") (see also Isaiah 11:15-16).



Chapter 44 28 who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd and will accomplish all that I please; he will say of Jerusalem, “Let it be rebuilt,” and of the temple, “Let its foundations be laid.”’

We propose that the coming Messiah is the "Cyrus" of this Period (the name Cyrus is more accurately pronounced Koresh or Kurus); he is called "Cyrus" because Cyrus the Great of ancient Persia was a type of the Messiah. ( A "type" is a symbolic prophecy or foreshadowing - a prophecy without words. For example, Jesus called John the Baptist, "Elijah", because Elijah was a prefiguration of John - Matthew 17:12-13.)

Cyrus of Persia conquered the world, and ruled it in righteousness; he freed the Judahites in Babylon to return to their land and aided in the reconstruction of the Temple (Ezra 1:1-4). Similarly, the Messiah will be a shepherd and king to the Israelites and the world, for he will implement the decrees of Christ on earth (cf. Isaiah 11:1-10). The Messiah will build the New Jerusalem and its temple (see 1 Chron. 17:11-14).



Pivot X: The coming Messiah will be victorious (45:1-4a)

Chapter 45 1 “This is what the Lord says to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of to subdue nations before him and to strip kings of their armor, to open doors before him so that gates will not be shut: 2 I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron.

With God's help, the coming Messiah ('messiah' means anointed one), "Cyrus", will overpower his enemies (see for ex. Rev 19:11-21) and rule the world from Jerusalem - the "armor, "mountains", "doors", "gates" and "bars" represent defences and other obstacles to the Messiah's control over the world.



Chapter 45 3 I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name. 4a For the sake of Jacob my servant, of Israel my chosen, I summon you by name.

The Messiah will be given the kind of "secret treasures" that make it clear to him, to the Israelites and to the faithful around the world that he was called by God. These "treasures" may refer to wisdom and knowledge from God, notably the sealed prophetic passages that are revealed to him, for these are prophecies that only God can unseal (Rev 5:3-5). ( The Messiah will also be given control of some of the gigantic hidden wealth of Satan's forces, but this is not as convincing a proof that the God of Israel has called him.) We take the phrase "summon you by name" to mean that the Messiah has received a personal call from God to lead the New Israel (as opposed to a general invitation to a group of aspirants).



Subunit B2: Israel is restored (45:14)

Chapter 45 14 This is what the Lord says:
“The wealth of Egypt and the merchandise of Cush, and of the Sabeans, men as tribute— they will come over to you and will be yours; they will trudge behind you, coming over to you in chains. They will bow down before you and plead with you, saying, ‘Surely God is with you, and there is no other; there is no other god.’”

In this Period of the Millennial Reign, "Egypt" represents the Western Empire (USA, Britain, France...) (see parse of Isaiah 18 [5]). "Cush" is a synonym for "Egypt", because the Cushites (Ethiopians) ruled Egypt in Isaiah's time, and "Sabeans" refers to the people of "Egypt", because the Sabeans were a prominent Cushite tribe (Gen 10:7).

The Western Empire, one of the primary "heads" of the 7-headed Beast of Rev. 13&17, will play a vital role in controlling the world for Satan during the Reign of the Beast; the Western Empire will, as part of the Beast army, also launch an attack the New Israel (Rev. 19:19). But after the Beast is defeated at the start of the Millennial Reign (Rev 19:19-21), the nations of the Western Empire will acknowledge the Israelites and their Almighty God; they will be vassals to the New Israel ("in chains") and they will pay tribute to Israel in the form of wealth, merchandise and manpower (see also Isaiah 18:7,19:21).

This is no reflection on the good Christians in these nations, who have been the mainstay of Christianity worldwide for the last two millennia.



Subunit A2: A great God turns His people away from idolatry (45:15-17)

Chapter 45 15 Truly you are a God who has been hiding himself, the God and Savior of Israel. 16 All the makers of idols will be put to shame and disgraced; they will go off into disgrace together. 17 But Israel will be saved by the Lord with an everlasting salvation; you will never be put to shame or disgraced, to ages everlasting.

God had hidden his face from His own people, the Israelites, for the waywardness of their forefathers - they were idol worshippers until this Period (see Isaiah 29:9-10). But now God will reveal Himself, so that the Israelites will turn back to their God and reject their idol-gods; they will remain faithful and blessed throughout the Millennial Reign (see also Isaiah 30:21-23).



The passage below in 45:18-25 forms a chiasmus. The pivot, [45:20-21], establishes God's vast superiority over idol-gods. In the subunits, [45:18-19] and [45:22-25], God invites all the earth to turn to Him, the one true God, the creator of all things.


Chapter 45 18 For this is what the Lord says— he who created the heavens, he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth, he founded it; he did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited— he says: “I am the Lord, and there is no other.

God created the earth to be occupied by man (Gen. 1:28), but only during the Millennial Reign will the righteous truly enjoy God's creation as He intended. The 6 millennia under Satan were a time of tribulation, but in the 7th millennium, the righteous will enjoy a Sabbath "rest" of peace and prosperity (Hebrews 4:1-11).



Chapter 45 19 I have not spoken in secret, from somewhere in a land of darkness; I have not said to Jacob’s descendants, ‘Seek me in vain.’ I, the Lord, speak the truth; I declare what is right. 20a “Gather together and come; assemble, you fugitives from the nations.

God has been open and clear in His dealings with His people. as opposed to Satan, whose work is necessarily done in secret and whose plans are only divulged to the elite among his worshippers. Those Israelites who have sought their God have not sought in vain - they have been given the truth from God. God makes these statements to reassure those outside Israel who wish to worship the God of the Israel; these "fugitives" from the "darkness" of pagan religions are invited to come to God for the "light" of truth (cf. Matthew 7:7).



Chapter 45 20b Ignorant are those who carry about idols of wood, who pray to gods that cannot save. 21 Declare what is to be, present it— let them take counsel together. Who foretold this long ago, who declared it from the distant past? Was it not I, the Lord? And there is no God apart from me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but me.

God derides those who worship other gods - "gods" that are really Satan and his fallen angels - and mocks their religions that require idol-worship. These gods have a limited ability to answer supplications from humans, but they are no match for the almighty God of Israel.

God challenges the other gods to consult with each other and predict the future the way He has done. Through these many prophecies in His Word, God has accurately foretold events well into the future, something none of the other gods could do. He presents this as proof that He is the only true God. (cf. Isaiah 41:21-24).



Chapter 45 22 “Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. 23 By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear. 24a They will say of me, ‘In the Lord alone are deliverance and strength.’”

God calls on the rest of the world to turn to Him, for He is the one true God. From this time of the start of the Millennial Reign, everyone on earth will have no option but to acknowledge Him as the Mighty Deliverer (see Zech. 14:16-19, cf. Phil. 2:10-11). ( Note that Paul applies 45:23 to Christ in Philippians 2:10 and quotes the passage in another context in Romans 14:11.)



Chapter 45 24b All who have raged against him will come to him and be put to shame. 25 But all the descendants of Israel will find deliverance in the Lord and will make their boast in him.

All those who oppose God will be put to shame, but the Christians, the spiritual "descendants" of Israel (Matthew 8:11, Romans 11, Galatians 6:16), will be forgiven of their sins and praise the God they worship.




5.3 Cyrus the Great Frees the Judahites and Builds a Vast Empire (c. 539 BC) (Ch 45 vs 4b-6, Ch 45 vs 13)

This Period is structured as a chiasmus. The pivot, [45:5b-6], predicts Cyrus' conquest of the world. The subunits, [45:4b-5a] and [45:13], predict that he would free the Judahites and help them rebuild.


Chapter 45 4b I bestow on you a title of honor, though you do not acknowledge me. 5a I am the Lord, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God.

Even before Cyrus the Great knew and acknowledged God, he was honoured with an important assignment ("title of honor"). Based on the corresponding subunit [45:!3] below, we propose that this assignment is to free the Judahites and help them rebuild Jerusalem.



Chapter 45 5b I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me, 6 so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting people may know there is none besides me. I am the Lord, and there is no other.

God strengthened Cyrus of Persia so that he could conquer vast territories of the inhabited earth, even before Cyrus knew and acknowledged Him as the Almighty. God later revealed Himself to Cyrus, and though Cyrus worshipped other gods, he did acknowledge the God of the Judahites as the source of his strength after defeating Babylon, so that all the world knew the power of God (see Ezra 1:2, 2 Chronicles 36:22-23).



Chapter 45 13 I will raise him up in my righteousness: I will make all his ways straight. He will rebuild my city and set my exiles free, but not for a price or reward, says the Lord Almighty.”

God raised up Cyrus and made him a king over many nations to fulfil His righteous plan, removing all obstacles to his reign ("make all his ways straight"). Cyrus was made aware that it was the God of the Judahites that enabled him to defeat many nations, and in particular Babylon (2 Chronicles 36:22). In gratitude, Cyrus released the Judahites from their Babylonian captivity and helped them rebuild their temple in Jerusalem (Cyrus himself did not aid in rebuilding the city, but the Judahites he freed began the process of rebuilding; also, the temple can be considered as foundational to the city). So Cyrus did not seek a tribute from the Judahites ("not for a price"), but on the contrary returned the precious articles of the temple and encouraged the Judahites to make donations towards the temple reconstruction (Ezra 1:1-4, 2 Chron. 36:22-23).




Conclusion

With this chiastic reconstruction of the text, we have shown that Isaiah 44:24-45:25 contains prophecies on three distinct Periods. Cyrus of Persia in Period 1 can be considered a type of Christ in Period 2 and the Messiah in Period 3.

References

[1] A Definition of Cryptochiasmus
[2] A Chiastic Reconfiguration Of "The 70 Weeks Of Daniel"
[3] A Chiastic Reconfiguration Of Obadiah
[4] A Chiastic Reconfiguration Of Jeremiah 50-51
[5] A Chiastic Reconfiguration Of Isaiah 18






* Modified parse 2 August 2023