The Messiah’s Banquet Isaiah 25:6-12

The informal title I have given to this series of sermons on Isaiah would be The Gospel in the Old Testament. Because the Prophecies of Isaiah are so significant in foretelling the coming of God’s Messiah and the Salvation he will bring. We haven’t begun to touch yet on the Suffering Servant and the passages which foretell the crucifixion. Before Christmas we will be reminded of the prophecies about the incarnation in chapter 7, “the virgin will conceive and bear a son.” And then the wonderful promises in Isaiah 9/
Isaiah 9 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness from that time on and for ever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.

Last week for Remembrance Sunday we drew hope from the wonderful promises of peace in Isaiah 2:4
They will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war any more.

We saw that glorious hope of Peace on Earth in Isaiah 11. The day when
6 The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. ….
9 They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.

And we have seen how that hope of peace rests on the shoulders of the stump of Jesse,
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD—
3 and he will delight in the fear of the LORD.

We have seen from Isaiah 2 how the fulfilment of so many of these promises is tied in with the Mountain of the Lord, Mount Zion and God’s Holy City of Jerusalem. And from chapter 5 how the nation of Israel is the God’s Vineyard and we looked at how Jesus is the True Vine and the fulfilment of those prophecies. And all this from just the first dozen chapters of Isaiah. It is truly the Gospel in the Old Testament.
For tonight I want to point us to one more thread of prophecy in Isaiah. You could easily miss it but it is a promise which became very important to the Israelites and lies behind a number of events and parables and promises in the New Testament. And we find it in just six verses of Isaiah 25. The promise of the Messiah’s banquet.
6 On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples,
a banquet of aged wine— the best of meats and the finest of wines.

Here is a promise of a glorious celebration. Rich foods and aged wines. The very best of everything! Notice that the blessings will come from God’s holy mountain Zion. But it is more than a one-off party

7 On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; 8he will swallow up death for ever.

The party is a celebration of the fact that God will destroy the last enemy, death. So it will be an ETERNAL celebration. For ever! It will never end!

The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s
disgrace from all the earth. The LORD has spoken.

No more crying – no more pain, no more suffering! We read those promises last week from the Book of Revelation chapter 21. But they were spoken here hundreds of years earlier in the Book of Isaiah in the prophecies concerning The Messiah’s Banquet,
9 In that day they will say, ‘Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us.
This is the LORD, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.’

Finally those who put their trust in God will be vindicated. Their enemies will be destroyed forever.
10 The hand of the LORD will rest on this mountain; but Moab will be trampled in their land as straw is trampled down in the manure.
11 They will stretch out their hands in it, as swimmers stretch out their hands to swim.
God will bring down their pride despite the cleverness of their hands.
12 He will bring down your high fortified walls and lay them low;
he will bring them down to the ground, to the very dust.

So here in Isaiah 25 we find the promise of the banquet God will hold to celebrate his victory over all the enemies of Israel and even over the last enemy of all – death itself. And did you notice how inclusive this would be. FIVE times we heard the word ALL.
a feast of rich food for all peoples, …. he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth.

These blessings will be for EVERYBODY. Even death will be swallowed up – for everybody! The promise of the Messiah’s Banquet. This became a centre for the hopes of the Israelites in Exile. That one day they would return to the holy mountain and to the city of God Jerusalem to share in this wonderful feast. These hopes were all waiting for the coming of God’s chosen one, the Prince of Peace, the Messiah.
And these promises form the background to a number of statements we read in the New Testament. After Jesus healed the Roman Centurion’s Servant in response to the amazing faith of the Centurion, we read this.

Matthew 8 10 When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Here we find the promise of the Feast in the Kingdom of Heaven with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, the Messiah’s Banquet. But Jesus gives a solemn warning that many of the people who were sure of their place at the table were going to end up sorely disappointed.
And the Messiah’s Banquet is also the background for Jesus’s parable of the Wedding Feast. Luke’s Gospel takes a special interest in the poor and the outcasts and it is significant that in Luke 14 the link between that parable and the Messiah’s Banquet is explicit. Jesus was eating at the house of a prominent Pharisee, teaching people to care for the poor and the lame and the blind, and we read this.
Luke 14 15 When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”
16 Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’

Matthew 22 records the parable like this. 1 Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: 2 “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. 3 He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.
You remember how many of those who had been invited sent feeble excuses and refused to come. So they missed out on the wonderful feast and other people were invited instead.
8 “Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. 9 Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ 10 So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.

There’s a ;ovely song which we used to sing from Sounds of Living Waters which draws together these threads. It began O, welcome all ye noble saints of old, and the chorus went
God and man at table are sat down, God and man at table are sat down. That#s tThe feast in the Kingdom of God. The Messiah’s Banquet. God and man at table are set down. And this is also the background to verses we know well in Revelation

Revelation 19 6 Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:
“Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
7 Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.
8 Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.”
(Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)
9 Then the angel said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’ ” And he added, “These are the true words of God.”

John did not invent the idea of the wedding feast of the Lamb for the book of Revelation. It was there all along. The Messiah’s banquet. What an amazing promise. That believers will get to feast with the Messiah! The church of God the bride will feast with her husband her Saviour. We would have no right to that privilege. But it is God’s gift to us.

Such wonderful promises. And we are all invited.

WE THOUGHT A YEAR AGO ABOUT GOD’S WONDERFUL INVITATION in Isaiah 55. Now we’ve looked at Isaiah 25 you will see that the background to God’s invitation is indeed the Messiah’s banquet.

We all enjoy receiving invitations from our friends. Weddings, trips, special events, birthday parties, dinner parties, any parties really! There are some wonderful invitations in the Bible and Isaiah 55 is one of the best! I say ONE of the best. Here in this one chapter there are at least seven invitations.
A. An Invitation to Drink – v. 1
B. An Invitation to Hear and Listen – v. 2
C. An Invitation to Come To God – v. 3
D. An Invitation to Seek the Lord – v. 6
E. An Invitation to Call Upon Him – v. 6
F. An Invitation to Repent – v. 7
G. An Invitation to Return to the Lord – v. 8
And that’s just in the first eight verses! Perhaps we ought to entitle the chapter, “an offer you can’t refuse!”
GOD’S WONDERFUL INVITATION (vv 1-2)
Isaiah 55:1 ¶ “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labour on what does not satisfy?
Instead of the junk food of entertainment and consumerism, and the New Age in all its many deceptions.
2 Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.
GNB – Isa 55:2 Listen to me and do what I say, and you will enjoy the best food of all!
GOD GIVES US THE BEST FOOD OF ALL! Come and be satisfied – satisfaction guaranteed! A wonderful invitation made possible through
GOD’S MERCY AND PARDON (vv 6-7)
6 ¶ Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will
have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
So here is God’s wonderful invitation to enjoy the best food of all, an everlasting covenant, mercy and pardon, God’s unsearchable wisdom, the power of God’s word, joy and peace. This is an invitation to the Messianic Banquet.
Jesus was a guest at many feasts. But he was only host at one. The Last Supper. That was the time when the Messiah spread a feast for his disciples. When Jesus took bread and broke it and took the cup of the New Covenant and said to his disciples, “Do this in remembrance of me.” A feast which we use to look back to the death and resurrection of Jesus, but actually has its roots in the promise of the Messiah’s Banquet. That one day we will share bread and cup in glory.
Isaiah 25 6 On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine— the best of meats and the finest of wines.
7 On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; 8he will swallow up death for ever.
The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s
disgrace from all the earth. The LORD has spoken.
9 In that day they will say, ‘Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us.
This is the LORD, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.’

But we don’t need to wait until heaven for these blessings. We have the invitation of Jesus here and now!
Revelation 3: 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

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