Isaiah prophesies about a lavish banquet that the LORD of Hosts will prepare to celebrate His victories over the kingdoms of the earth. This Messianic Banquet will also celebrate the LORD of Host’s victory over sin and death. He will wipe away all tears and sorrow. Isaiah teaches that this day is the day that God’s people have long awaited.
Isaiah’s prophetic song continues by contrasting the bitter and total defeat experienced by God’s enemies with the joyful celebration of God’s complete victory and the incredible blessings it will bring for all who have taken refuge in Him.
The scene Isaiah prophesies is a lavish banquet.
From the outset it is interesting to note that Isaiah also changes the tense about which he describes these things from the prophetic past to the simple future. This does not diminish the certainty that these events will happen exactly as he prophesied in the least. They most certainly will happen. But it may indicate that these things will happen after the LORD’s destruction of the fortified city into a heap (Isaiah 25:2).
First, Isaiah establishes a new scene. The LORD of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain.
The LORD of hosts is a militant term that is describing God and/or His Messiah. The hosts are His vast armies. The LORD of hosts presents God as the commander of a vast heavenly army (Revelation 19:14). The LORD of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet to commemorate His military victory over all His enemies and to inaugurate His reign over the earth. This appears to be the first celebration of God’s kingdom on earth.
This appellation—LORD of hosts—appears no less than sixty times in the book of Isaiah. The New Testament reveals the identity of the LORD of hosts to be Jesus, the Messiah—the King and Redeemer of Israel. Isaiah calls the LORD of hosts the “first and the last”:
“Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts:
‘I am the first and I am the last,
And there is no God besides Me.’”
The New Testament identifies Jesus Christ as the “first and the last”.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
In time, the remnant of Israelites (the tribes of Judah and Benjamin—the Jews) came to understand this prophecy of Isaiah as a Messianic banquet that the LORD of hosts will prepare. They believed God would send a military Messiah who would lead the people of Israel to victory over their enemies. This Messiah would be a warrior king like David (Jeremiah 30:8-9; Ezekiel 34:23).
Jesus is this Messiah. But Jesus, the Messiah, did not come to subdue or judge the earth upon His first advent (John 3:17). He came to bring salvation. He came to eternally reconcile all who believe in Him to Himself. Jesus came to earth to:
- grant eternal life to whoever believes in Him (John 3:14-16)
- freely pardon all our sin by paying our penalty with His own blood (Romans 5:8-9; Colossians 2:14)
- empower and equip His followers to proclaim this good news to all peoples and all nations (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8).
The second time Jesus the Messiah comes, He will judge the earth and defeat His enemies (Isaiah 24; Revelation 19:11-21).
Isaiah says this magnificent banquet will be not only for Israelites but for all peoples. This phrase, for all peoples, prophetically infers that the Jewish Messiah will be a champion not only for Israel but for the entire earth—including Gentiles. Jesus also taught something similar when He marveled at the Roman centurion’s great faith,
“Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel. I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the [banquet] table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.”
Those who come from “east and west” in this quote from Matthew 8 would have been understood as Gentiles. The Roman centurion would have been from the “west.”
This lavish banquet will take place on this mountain. The phrase this mountain refers to Mount Zion—one mountain that the city of Jerusalem is built upon, the one that is often used to represent Jerusalem. We know this because Isaiah explicitly described this mountain earlier in Isaiah 24:23,
“For the LORD of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem,
And His glory will be before His elders.”
After setting the new scene, Isaiah proceeds to describe the lavish nature of the LORD of hosts’s victory banquet.
It will be a banquet of aged wine, with choice pieces with marrow.
The taste of wine improves with age. So this wine will be top quality. The wine served at the LORD’s banquet will be refined by the passing of much time. It will be aged wine.
It is interesting to consider that this banquet may be the banquet Jesus was referring to when He told His disciples at His last Passover meal: “I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom” (Matthew 26:29). If so, at the time this commentary is written, this wine has perhaps aged for two millennia.
Choice pieces with marrow means the best and juiciest cuts of meat. In the ancient world, meat was expensive. For many Israelites it was a food eaten at special occasions—such as sacrifices or holy days. At the LORD’s banquet there will be the best cuts of meat provided for all peoples. This lavish banquet will be a most satisfying feast.
It is also interesting to consider how Jesus is our Passover lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7; Revelation 5:6). Jesus is the choicest pieces with marrow. He taught His disciples that His flesh is our true food (John 6:54-58) And He said the bread that He broke at Passover was His body broken for us (Matthew 26:26) and commanded His disciples to eat it. Jesus was not teaching cannibalism when He said these things. He was teaching that He is our spiritual food and source of life and nutrition.
Those who attend this victory feast prepared by Jesus will have Jesus as their spiritual nourishment. But unlike physical food which is consumed and eliminated, the nutritious food of Jesus never diminishes (John 4:13-14). He is multiplying like the baskets of food He blessed when He fed the multitudes (Matthew 14:13-21; 15:32-39). And moreover, just as this lavish banquet will be for all peoples—Jews and Gentiles alike—Jesus’ feeding of the five thousand was for Jews (Matthew 14:31-21) and His feeding of the four thousand was likely to Gentiles (Matthew 15:32-39).
After describing the LORD of hosts’ lavish banquet, Isaiah’s prophetic song describes how the LORD of hosts will defeat sin and death for all time.
First, the LORD of hosts will defeat sin.
He will swallow up the covering which is over all peoples.
The covering which is over all peoples is a metaphor for the shame of guilt and sin. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve failed to hide their shame with a covering of fig leaves (Genesis 3:7). Since their first disobedience, all peoples of every race, tribe, nation, and tongue have lived in disobedience to God (Romans 3:23). We too fail to remove or hide our shame through self-righteous works, or by rebranding sin as something good, something to be celebrated. But all such attempts are only fig leaves that fail to remove the guilt of sin covering over us. However, Jesus will swallow up this human problem.
In the next line, Isaiah explains what this covering does to us when he says: Even the veil which is stretched over all nations. He calls it a veil. A veil covers. It also separates and divides. The veil of our guilt and shame is a poor covering. But it separates us from living our best life with God. Sin weakens and corrupts our hearts, tempting us to love lesser and lesser things. It destroys our minds, driving us ever further into depravity. Sin keeps us from being able to enjoy life and live in harmony. It keeps us from being able to enjoy and know God and find true fulfillment in Him, and in following His ways. Sin is a veil that separates us from God and divides all nations against each other. The deadly veil of sin is stretched over all nations.
But on this (same) mountain (Isaiah 24:23, 25:6)—Mount Zion, upon which is the city of Jerusalem—the LORD of hosts will swallow up the covering of shame and even the veil of sin that shrouds the entire earth. It is no coincidence then that Jesus, the LORD of hosts, was crucified on this mountain of Jerusalem where He defeated sin once and for all when He died for the sins of the world (John 19:30; 1 Peter 2:24). Jesus is the LORD of hosts, the commander of heavenly armies. He is also the Suffering Servant, who came to serve, and to die on behalf of all humanity (Isaiah 53).
The LORD of hosts defeated sin during His first advent—which was in the future for Isaiah, but in the past for us. Jesus, the LORD of hosts, chastised His disciples for trying to defend Him when His enemies came to arrest Him, saying He could pray to His Father and His Father would send “more than twelve legions of angels” (Matthew 26:53). But He did not pray that prayer. He obeyed His Father’s will and went to the cross.
Upon His second advent, the LORD of hosts will swallow up death for all time. This is the second thing Isaiah says He will accomplish.
Jesus defeated death when He rose from the grave three days after He was crucified. He freely shares His victory over death to everyone who believes in Him (John 3:14-16). He is the first of many who will rise (1 Corinthians 15:20-22). In Jesus, we have the gift of eternal life. We can experience it now by faith and upon His return we will experience it by sight. But in the meantime, until He returns, we still suffer and undergo physical death, even though our spirits remain alive in a place Jesus called, “Abraham’s Bosom”; or “Paradise” (Luke 16:22; 23:43). We live in the hope of Jesus, even as we grieve the painful losses brought about by death (1 Thessalonians 4:13).
Christ’s resurrection defeated death. But He has not yet abolished it for all time. This defeat will come later. Paul explains how Christ’s resurrection and defeat of death affects believers in the meantime, “But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming” (1 Corinthians 15:23). In other words, Jesus rose from the dead first. But after Him those who are His people will also physically rise from the dead at His second coming.
Isaiah essentially prophesies something similar in the next chapter.
“Your dead will live;
Their corpses will live.
You who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy
For your dew is as the dew of the dawn,
And the earth will give birth to the departed spirits.”
Part of the LORD of Hosts’s victory over death is that death will no longer be able to harm any who are in Him. The LORD of Hosts told Martha beside the tomb of His friend Lazarus, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die” (John 11:25-26a). Or as Jesus assured His disciples, mere hours before His own death, “because I live, you will live also” (John 14:19).
The LORD of hosts will defeat death for all time. Those who are His people will rise to life and death itself will die. Upon His return we will be reunited with Christ in our new glorified bodies in the new heaven and the new earth,
“Then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death.”
(1 Corinthians 15:24-26)
Isaiah’s prophecy of this lavish banquet prepared by the LORD of hosts, the commander of heavenly armies, is a celebration of our reunion and Christ’s victory. And when we, the LORD of hosts’ followers comprised of all peoples and all nations, celebrate this banquet with Jesus, He, the LORD of hosts will swallow up death for all time. At that time, death will be no more. And we will sing: “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55, also see Hosea 13:14).
Isaiah poetically describes how the LORD of hosts will defeat shame, sin, and death at this feast. He will swallow them up. And He will devour these bitter enemies of humanity, while all the peoples who have believed in Him enjoy the lavish banquet of aged wine and choice pieces with marrow. He received the bad (death, sin, shame). He swallowed it up. We will receive the benefit (life, new righteousness, honor).
This is another way that by “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).
Isaiah continues, And the LORD God will wipe tears away from all faces.
These appear to be sad tears; not happy tears. There are two reasons it seems that they are tears of sorrow and not of joy. First, in this passage the LORD of hosts is putting away bad things—such as shame, death, and reproach. It fits the context that this would be another negative that He is doing away with. He is putting away sorrow itself—and these tears are the last tears of regret His people will ever shed. Second, it is not typical to wipe someone else’s happy tears away, while it is common to console a friend who is in sorrow and wipe their sad tears away.
We are also told something similar in the Book of Revelation:
“Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”
The fact that the LORD God will wipe away all tears may be how Jesus will personally, patiently, and gently remove all traces of personal shame and sorrow after a believer’s judgment (2 Corinthians 5:10). The tears will perhaps be from believers realizing the lost opportunities they had to honor the LORD of hosts by faith during their lifetime. They wish they could go back, but they cannot. They have lost both the opportunity to serve the King by faith in those moments and their eternal reward for doing so (1 Corinthians 3:11-15).
This realization may even cause weeping (sadness) and gnashing of teeth (anger, likely at ourselves) (Matthew 8:11-12). This wiping away of tears is a necessary step of personal reconciliation of believers to the extent that they did not confess their sins or follow Jesus by faith in their life on earth. The wiping away of tears seems to be the final act of reuniting our fellowship with God and restoring us to friendship and partnership with Him.
It is important to remember that whether or not we are faithful followers/servants we will always be members of God’s eternal family and that we can never lose the gift of eternal life. If we believed in Jesus as God’s Son and accepted His gift of eternal life by faith, we are born again (John 3:16; 10:27-29; 1 Corinthians 3:15; Ephesians 2:8-9; 2 Timothy 2:11-13). Being born is something that cannot be undone. But just as with physical birth, we will bear the consequences for our choices during the life we live once we are born.
To learn more about the Gift of Eternal Life see: “What is Eternal Life? How to Gain the Gift of Eternal Life.”
To learn more about the Rewards and Losses we will rejoice or weep over upon Christ’s return see: “Eternal Life: Receiving the Gift vs. Inheriting the Prize.”
Isaiah adds And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth.
Reproach means disapproval. The reproach that the LORD of hosts will remove from His people could be another reference to the covering of guilt and shame from sin or to the veil of sin. Or this line could mean that the LORD of hosts will remove the shame and reproach that the world assigned to His people for following God. Jesus was reproached, and His faithful followers will also be reproached by the world. But when Jesus redeems the world, what was reproached will now be honored.
Christ teaches that a disciple is not above His master, and that if the world has reproach for the master, they will also have reproach for His people (Matthew 10:24-25). He also promises His disciples that if they will confess Him before men, He will give them the great reward of confessing them before His father in heaven (Matthew 10:32).
When Jesus gives His people a heavenly shoutout, the glory and recognition they will receive will more than repay and completely remove all reproach of men they endured while living on earth.
That is one reason why Jesus teaches:
“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great.”
The same principle of being rewarded by God in heaven for enduring earthly reproach for His sake is seen in the life of Jesus.
Jesus obeyed His Father and despised the shame of the cross (Philippians 2:8; Hebrews 12:2) and for this God exalted His name above every other (Philippians 2:9). No one will reproach Jesus in that day. Instead, every knee will bow and tongue confess that He is LORD (Philippians 2:10-11).
The exchange of reproach for honor will be as Psalm 30:11 sings: “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness.”
These incredible promises of a lavish banquet prepared by God, a removal of guilt and sin, a defeat of death, and honorable recognition by the LORD Himself are all sealed with the LORD of hosts’s promise: For the LORD has spoken. This assertion of For the LORD has spoken is the prophet’s way of sealing and underscoring the certainty of a promise. It is akin to Jesus’s oft used expression, “Truly I say to you…”
After telling us of all the wonderful things the LORD of hosts will do for His people, Isaiah then shares how His people will respond upon experiencing these blessings.
Isaiah does this through the expression: And it will be said in that day.
In that day, the LORD of hosts’s people will say: Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us.
After many years, centuries, and now millennia of waiting on God to completely fulfill His promises, the LORD’s people will at long last experience all of God’s promised blessings. And when these hopes are fulfilled, they will know it. They will recognize in this moment, that all their pain, suffering, and patience was worth it. His salvation has come.
All things will be made new. In the present we know abstractly by faith, that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28) but none who are now living on earth have experienced God’s goodness fully. In that day—all of God’s people will experience His unrestrained goodness. All wrongs will be righted. All hurts forever healed. All doubts removed. This is the long longed-for moment.
God is with us forever. This is the LORD for whom we have waited
The people will say: Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.
It is fascinating to consider in this passage about the LORD of Hosts and the Messiah’s banquet, that the word in this passage which is translated as salvation is the Hebrew word יְשׁוּעָה. It is pronounced “yesh-oo’-aw.” It is the Hebrew name translated to English as “Jesus.” The Hebrew text has no pronoun “His” in this sentence. A literal rendering of the final line of this verse is: “Let us rejoice and be glad in Jesus.” Jesus is the Word. Jesus is the I AM, meaning He is existence. Jesus is life and truth. Jesus is the very definition of salvation (Matthew 1:21).
6 The LORD of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain;
A banquet of aged wine, choice pieces with marrow,
And refined, aged wine.
7 And on this mountain He will swallow up the covering which is over all peoples,
Even the veil which is stretched over all nations.
8 He will swallow up death for all time,
And the LORD God will wipe tears away from all faces,
And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth;
For the LORD has spoken.
9 And it will be said in that day,
“Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us.
This is the LORD for whom we have waited;
Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.”
Check out our other commentaries:
Deuteronomy 3:18-22 meaningMoses restates his response to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh after he had distributed the land east of Jordan to them.......
1 Samuel 17:20-30 meaningDavid learns of Goliath and angers his oldest brother with his curiosity and his fearless speech upon hearing of the seemingly unbeatable Philistine champion.......
Hebrews 6:9-12 meaningPaul is convinced the window of repentance is still open for his friends. He thinks his readers are capable of maturity and faithfulness. He has......
Genesis 14:13-16 meaningWhen Abram learned of Lot’s capture, he set out in pursuit with his allies. They pursued them a considerable distance, then defeated the kings and......
Numbers 1:5-19 meaningGod names a man from each tribe to be appointed to help Moses and Aaron carry out the census.......