We all know what the prophet Isaiah said about the desert, that it will “blossom as the rose.”
It is instinctive, when we read something like this, to picture in our minds the deserts we know. Sand, barrenness, rock, cacti. No lush green growth, no water.
This is what is intended. Then we realize this is symbolism. Prophetic language. The link is to help us get the “picture.”
The desert will “blossom.” What will make it happen? You guessed it: WATER! Spiritual water of divine knowledge, the water of LIFE!
One religious organization today says they have fulfilled this prophecy: they have built an elaborate palace in the desert and planted blossoming flower plants all around. Prophecy of Isaiah 35: Fulfilled.
True? FALSE! How do we know flowering plants do not fulfill the prophecy? How do we know it has to be symbolic?
Let us read the first two verses of Isaiah 35:
Isaiah 35:1–2 1The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; And the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. 2It 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.
Can you imagine a wilderness being “glad”?
Have you seen a desert of sand and rock “rejoice”? Even more, have you seen a “singing” desert? Have you seen the desert “rejoice even with joy and singing”?
This tells us the blossoming also must be symbolic!
Now put the illustrations together.
As the desert (people of the earth) take in an abundance of life-supporting water (the water of LIFE), they will come alive spiritually (grow in character).
What will change?
People with hard, insensitive natures will change and become humble and loving – or they won’t be there!
People who are dry, destitute of the life-saving water of God, without reverence or honor for God, will become penitent and God-honoring – or they won’t be there!
What will be the effect? JOY! Worldwide JOY!
They will rejoice even with joy and singing.
Isaiah describes the 180 degree turn of those who formerly despised God’s people:
Isaiah 60:14 14Also the sons of those who afflicted you Shall come bowing to you, And all those who despised you shall fall prostrate at the soles of your feet; And they shall call you The City of the Lord, Zion of the Holy One of Israel.
Then the prophet says it again speaking of the changed attitude toward God’s people:
Isaiah 60:15 15Whereas you have been forsaken and hated, So that no one went through you, I will make you an eternal excellence, A joy of many generations.
The fact is, RIGHTEOUSNESS brings JOY, peace, happiness, contentment. It is part of the 100 fold of blessing even now.
Isaiah 49:13 13Sing, O heavens! Be joyful, O earth! And break out in singing, O mountains! For the Lord has comforted His people, And will have mercy on His afflicted.
Isaiah 55:12 12“For you shall go out with joy, And be led out with peace; The mountains and the hills Shall break forth into singing before you, And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Look at the symbolism in that prophecy! And it is all about JOY.. peace… singing… even clapping their hands! And the “trees of the field are doing it,” so great is their joy.
Hear the Psalmist’s singing reply:
Psalm 144:15 15Happy are the people who are in such a state; Happy are the people whose God is the Lord!
Proverbs takes it right to the point:
Proverbs 14:34 34Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a reproach to any people.
Righteousness exalts… sin is a reproach.
So when we go to Isaiah 35, we have a prophecy of a people who have turned to God, seeking the water of life, and they are filled with JOY!
Please turn to Isaiah, chapter 35.
The earth is now a wilderness and wasteland, barren as the desert, inhabited with jackals, lions and ravenous beasts. This is a symbolic picture of world conditions when Christ returns, a world of wickedness, everyone devouring each other.
But these conditions will soon end, rapidly, decisively and with great upheaval—when our Lord comes with vengeance to save His people.
In this passage Isaiah artistically paints a beautiful picture, the like of which has never been seen on the earth. Our imagination cannot comprehend its beauty and grandeur. It is a picture of the Lord’s Kingdom, flourishing and glorious.
It will be a new earth belonging to Jesus Christ and those who follow and obey Him. Indeed the desert will blossom as the rose—the new government will be the fountainhead from whence will flow living waters. None of His planting will be without these life-giving waters which will flow from this fountainhead into all the earth.
The result? The blind shall see, the deaf hear, the lame leap like a deer, the dumb shall sing, and the ransomed of the Lord will walk the high road to Zion, pouring out their hearts in songs of everlasting joy!
What will it be like to be there? Let your imagination soar to the skies as I read the words of Isaiah, chapter 35 from the New King James Version.
Isaiah 35 1 The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose;
2 It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice, Even with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, The excellence of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, The excellency of our God. 3 Strengthen the weak hands, And make firm the feeble knees.
4 Say to those who are fearful-hearted, “Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, With the recompense of God; He will come and save you.”5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
6 Then the lame shall leap like a deer, And the tongue of the dumb sing. For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, And streams in the desert.
7 The parched ground shall become a pool, And the thirsty land springs of water; In the habitation of jackals, where each lay, There shall be grass with reeds and rushes.
8 A highway shall be there, and a road, And it shall be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean shall not pass over it, But it shall be for others. Whoever walks the road, although a fool, Shall not go astray.
9 No lion shall be there, Nor shall any ravenous beast go up on it; It shall not be found there. But the redeemed shall walk there,
10 And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, And come to Zion with singing, With everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, And sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
Have you heard about the Holy Highway that once was a desert land?
Have you traveled on it? Of course not, because it is still under construction.
Right now this holy highway leads through a desert land. But soon the desert will be gone, and this great highway, the Way of Holiness, will take you all the way around the world.
Holiness will bring the new world together. One standard, one purpose, one language, one faith, one loyalty, one God! The right way will be obvious to all. Nothing perverse will be allowed along this Holy Highway.