Is. 35:1 The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.
Is. 35:2 It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the LORD, and the excellency of our God.
It’s obvious that these verses are a continuation from the previous chapter. Isaiah has just been speaking of the judgment of God coming first to the land of Edom and how that land will become a wasteland forever, a land fit only for the wild animals. I was very thankful for the other translations on this section. The words “for them” are not in the Hebrew. The prophet is declaring that the earth will rejoice for Israel (as identified through Carmel and Sharon) at her return to a position of blessing and fellowship with YHWH. The land of Israel is going to blossom abundantly. Through this chapter and other sections of scripture, some of which will be addressed later in Isaiah, we know that the earth will experience a lifting of some of the effects of the curse suffered because of man’s sin. The thousand-year reign of the Messiah will be one of prosperity and peace as a result of the firm exercise of His power and authority.
Is. 35:3 Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees.
Is. 35:4 Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you.
Although Isaiah’s message is one of great judgment from God, those of His people who are weak with fear can be comforted by the fact that God is coming in judgment on their behalf and will effect their salvation. Knowing this should give us courage instead of fear.
Is. 35:5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
Is. 35:6 Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.
Is. 35:7 And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.
When the Lord is on the throne, no longer will men suffer from blindness, deafness, lameness or the inability to speak. Deserts will be nonexistent. Although I know the context is speaking of physical healing both for man and the land, I can’t help but make application to spiritual healing as well.
Is. 35:8 And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.
Is. 35:9 No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there:
Is. 35:10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
I like the translation from the Complete Jewish Bible for these verses:
A highway will be there, a way,
called the Way of Holiness.
The unclean will not pass over it,
but it will be for those whom he guides —
fools will not stray along it.
No lion or other beast of prey
will be there, traveling on it.
They will not be found there,
but the redeemed will go there.
Those ransomed by ADONAI will return
and come with singing to Tziyon,
on their heads will be everlasting joy.
They will acquire gladness and joy,
while sorrow and sighing will flee.
We know the Messiah is going to rule from Jerusalem. Ezekiel 40-48 describes the temple in detail as well as the specific land boundaries for the twelve tribes of Israel. Those who want to travel to Jerusalem and worship will experience a safe journey. I think it is interesting that the statement is made that no “lion” or other beast of prey will be encountered. Peter, through the inspiration of the Spirit, described Satan as a “roaring lion…seeking whom he may devour.”
1Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour….
Satan will be bound in the bottomless pit for that thousand years, and men will no longer be subject to attack from him or his demons. The reign of Messiah will be a time of rejoicing for those whom He has ransomed. The focus of the message at this point is to Israel but will apply to all those redeemed by the blood of the lamb who are living at that time.