“It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught of God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me.” John 6:45 (NAS)
Jesus, in His great discourse at Capernaum on the true bread of life (i. e., Himself), quotes from the prophet Isaiah. The citation of the prophet’s utterance is a partial quote from Isaiah 54:13.
The entire verse reads: “And all your sons will be taught of the LORD; and the well-being of your sons will be great.” An alternate rendering of this verse in Isaiah in the original American Standard Version (circa 1901) is: “And all thy children shall be taught of Jehovah; and great shall be the peace of thy children.” (Underlined emphasis added) It’s important to understand the complete thought of this Old Testament passage because the Israelites who heard Jesus quote this section of Isaiah would likely have been aware of the context. And we shall get to the surrounding context of the other verses in this chapter in Isaiah, as well we should, shortly. First a little more information on a couple of Hebrew words. This translation (along with the KJV, NKJV, NIV and others which translate it as “peace”) communicates a bit better the thrust of the original Hebrew word which is recognizable to many. It’s the word shalom (Strongs, OT 7965). Let’s take a brief look at the definition and root of this word. The root is shalam, which at its essence means “to be safe” (in mind, body or estate). It also means to be (causatively, make) completed and by implication to be friendly. Shalom, its derivative, is translated well, happy, friendly, prosperity, and overwhelmingly as “peace” in the Old Testament. Consequently, if you have shalom, you’re safe, at peace. The other Hebrew word we want to consider, limmuwd (or limmud, #3938 Strong’s)) is the one translated “taught.” This word is also translated “disciple(s)”. Thirteen times this form of the word limmuwd and its root lamad (#3925 Strong’s) appears in Isaiah. God’s purpose through His revealed will in His word (the Bible) preserved has been to teach mankind and make them His disciples. See, whether we care to accept it or not, you’re either taught (a disciple) of God or you’re taught (a disciple) of the god of this world, the prince of the power of the air. Back to the context of Isaiah chapter 54. This is an awesome Messianic chapter that every child of God should read and understand in the context of the New Testament as a whole. Most commentators tie Isaiah 54:4-17 together, those verses communicating a common theme. Here, briefly, are the main points of those verses as comprised by James Smith, a restoration movement teacher and writer in his work, The Old Testament Survey Series: The shame of Zion’s youth (idolatry) and her widowhood (exile) would be remembered no more. For a brief time she was separated from her divine Husband. Now, however, because of His great compassion, He would call her to renew the relationship. That reunion would have eternal implications. God’s new commitment to Zion would be as irrevocable as the covenant he made with Noah after the Flood. Never again would the Lord be angry with Zion (Isa. 54:4-10) In Isaiah’s day Zion was afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted. The New Jerusalem-the community of the redeemed-would be constructed of glorious materials (cf. Rev 21:19f.). The citizens of that place would have superior knowledge of God’s will (cf. John 6:45). Consequently they would enjoy prosperity and peace. God’s people would build upon a foundation of righteousness, and thus they would be secure. Those who might attack Zion would fall. No weapon made by man would be powerful enough to destroy the faithful. Every word spoken against spiritual Zion would be condemned by the truth which abides in God’s people (54:11-17). When Jesus quoted from Isaiah, He was making it clear that He was the “Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel”, whose name is “the LORD of Hosts”. (Isa. 54:5) In Him, to those who would heed His voice and recognize Him as Redeemer, would be this promise: ” ‘For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, but My lovingkindness will not be removed from you, and My covenant of peace will not be shaken,’ says the LORD who has compassion on you.” (Isa. 54:10) Sounds similar to Hebrews 12:26-28, doesn’t it? Disciples who’ve been made according to the Biblical pattern can truly say “shalom” knowing they’re safe in Christ. Amen!