I love to read the book of Isaiah it is one of my favorite books. One time when reading this text just seemed to jump off the page to me. “Rip the heavens apart! Come down, LORD; make the mountains tremble. Be a spark that starts a fire causing water to boil. Then your enemies will know who you are; all nations will tremble because you are nearby. Your fearsome deeds have completely amazed us; even the mountains shake when you come down. You are the only God ever seen or heard of who works miracles for his followers. You help all who gladly obey and do what you want, but sin makes you angry. Only by your help can we ever be saved.” Isaiah 64: 1-5 Contemporary English Version (Emphasis Mine) In this text the prophet is calling for a visitation of God, reminding the Almighty of His previous encounters with His chosen people; and based on those encounters calling for what he is expecting to come.
I see five particular visitations that the prophet cries out to God for: verse 1 - A Visitation of Awe, verse 2 – A Visitation of Fire & Respect, verse 3 – A Visitation of Unexpected Amazement, verse 4 – A Visitation of Miracles For His Own and verse 5 – A Visitation of Salvation. All five of these visitations are visitations that we the Church of Jesus Christ need today.
Let us consider the first cry the prophet makes. “Rip the heavens apart! Come down, LORD; make the mountains tremble.” The Complete Jewish Bible renders this same verse: “We wish you would tear open heaven and come down, so the mountains would shake at your presence!” (Emphasis Mine) This was a manifestation of God from Israel’s past. When He met Moses on the mountain and came down, the very mountains shook at His presence, which caused awe amongst the people. The awe of God is something that has been lost to most of the church world today…we are too flippant with God without proper awe and respect.
In the Old Covenant we have many examples where the people where in awe of God. “When the people of Israel saw the mighty power that the Lord had unleashed against the Egyptians, they were filled with awe before him. They put their faith in the Lord and in his servant Moses.” Exodus 14:31 New Living Translation (Emphasis Mine) I believe that this type of visitation is one that we need today…one of awe.
The second cry the prophet makes in verse 2 is for the fire of God, which will bring respect. “Be a spark that starts a fire causing water to boil. Then your enemies will know who you are; all nations will tremble because you are nearby.” (Emphasis Mine) Another translation renders verse 2: “It would be like fire kindling the brush, and the fire then makes the water boil. Then your enemies would know your name, the nations would tremble before you!” The Complete Jewish Bible (Emphasis Mine) Fire was not a new manifestation to Israel, Moses and the burning bush, Elijah and the prophets of Baal. Even in the book of Acts the church was birthed in cloven tongues of fire.
Notice in this verse it declares the result of the visitation of fire is that the nations (The Hebrew meaning of the word nations in this text is: people not of Hebrew descent or people who are apart from the covenant) will tremble because He is nearby, they will know who He is. We could say for us today a current application would be all unbelievers would know that your God is with you and respect you when the fire of God comes upon you. This is definitely one that we need today.
Then the prophet makes another cry in verse 3 for God to once again do for them what He has done in the past; worked on their behalf unexpectedly amazing them. “Your fearsome deeds have completely amazed us; even the mountains shake when you come down.” Contemporary English Version (Emphasis Mine) A different translation renders verse 3 this way: “When you did tremendous things that we were not expecting, we wished that you would come down, so that the mountains would shake at your presence!” The Complete Jewish Bible (Emphasis Mine) God did things for them that they did not expect. He totally amazed them. I don’t know about you…but I am ready for this one. I am ready for God to amaze me, unexpectedly!
The Psalmist declared: “He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.” Psalm 40:3 New Living Translation (Emphasis Mine) All throughout the Gospel of Matthew they were amazed at something Jesus either said or did: amazed at His teaching 7:28, amazed that the wind and sea obey Him 8:27, amazed that a demon was driven out and a mute man spoke 9:33, amazed at His wisdom and miraculous power 13:54, amazed at His healing ministry as all were healed 15:31, amazed at the withered fig tree 21:20. This is a visitation we definitely need to cry for.
The next visitation the prophet cries for is found in verse 4 is actually a declaration that God has done what no one ever heard of or saw before. “You are the only God ever seen or heard of who works miracles for his followers.” Contemporary English Version (Emphasis Mine) Another translation renders verse 4: “No one has ever heard, no ear perceived, no eye seen, any God but you. You work for him who waits for you.” The Complete Jewish Bible (Emphasis Mine) Israel’s history was full of the accounts of God’s miracle working power on their behalf. Not only is this concept Old Covenant Theology…it is also New Covenant Theology. The Apostle Paul declared: “But just as it is written, ‘THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.’" 1 Corinthians 2:9 New American Standard Bible (Emphasis Mine)
Several years back I delivered a prophetic word at church on a Sunday morning, which was right along this same line. “…These are the days of the fulfillment of My word. Eyes have not seen and ears have not heard and neither has entered into the heart of man the things I have prepared for those that love Me. This is the day for that scripture to be made manifest. This is a day for things that will literally blow the minds of the saints that will be transpiring within the earth. These are the days of the outpouring of the Spirit of God. These are the days of a new measure of anointing and a new realm of glory to be operated in, and there are things that you could not dream or imagine that shall be common place that I will do by my Spirit in these days saith God…” (September 30, 2007) I am ready for God to blow my mind, by doing what we have not seen or heard before.
The final cry the prophet makes is found in verse 5 and is a cry for a visitation of salvation; while our sin displeases Him, yet He is our salvation. “You help all who gladly obey and do what you want, but sin makes you angry. Only by your help can we ever be saved.” Contemporary English Version (Emphasis Mine) While another translation renders verse 5: “You favored those who were glad to do justice, those who remembered you in your ways. When you were angry, we kept sinning; but if we keep your ancient ways, we will be saved.” The Complete Jewish Bible (Emphasis Mine) The Hebrew word here for saved implies: to be liberated, saved or delivered; It is the Hebrew equivalent of the Greek word Sozo.
Again this is not an unknown concept at the time of Isaiah’s writing. Israel’s history is full of instances where God was angry with them for their sin, yet He still delivered them. It is no different for us. He is displeased with our sin, but thank God the blood of Jesus Christ His Son still cleanses us from all sin. We as His children, washed in His blood are walking in our salvation as far as our names being written in the lamb’s book of life is concerned…but we still need to pray for a visitation of salvation because many are in need of deliverance.
In these five verses we see five different visitations that Isaiah is calling for. He is rehearsing the past and asking for them again afresh and anew. We too can use all five and should ask for them as well, we need them, and so does this world whether they know it or not!