Joy of the Redeemed (35:1–10)
Here in this chapter, then, Isaiah is not only thinking about the redeemed at the end of the world but also about the godly Israelites of his own day. As we have seen elsewhere, Isaiah’s prophecy here relates both to the near future and to the distant future. “God will come to save you,” says Isaiah (verse 4), “both in this age and in the age to come.”
5–7 Here Isaiah again lifts his eyes to the distant future, the Messianic age. In that age, people will experience both physical and spiritual restoration. Eyes and ears will be opened (verse 5); the lame will leap and the mute will shout (verse 6). This total healing will be characteristic of the Messianic age (Isaiah 29:18; 32:3; Matthew 11:4–5; 12:22; 15:29–31; Acts 3:7–8); even the land itself will be watered and restored (verse 7).
8–10 In these final verses, Isaiah continues to look far ahead; he sees God’s redeemed people walking along a highway . . . called the Way of Holiness (verse 8)—the way of the righteous (Psalm 1:6). Perhaps Isaiah is envisioning the Jewish exiles returning across the desert to Jerusalem; but he is also envisioning a new Jerusalem (Revelation 21:2), into which nothing unclean or impure will be permitted to enter (Revelation 21:27). On this highway no lion or ferocious beast will en danger the pilgrims (verse 9); Satan cannot touch God’s redeemed (1 Peter 5:8–9). They will enter Zion, the new Jerusalem, with joy (verse 10); sorrow and sighing will be no more (see Isaiah 25:8; Revelation 21:3–4)