JOY and GLADNESS await the “REDEEMED OF THE LORD”: "But the redeemed shall walk there, 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." (Isaiah 35:9-10)
Isaiah 35 speaks about the future glory of Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem. The underlying message is that God announces His judgment upon sinners. However, God wants sinners to repent so that they will rejoice when they are set free from the bondage of sin (Isa. 55:12–13; Rom. 8:18–25).
Human history began in a garden, but man’s sin turned the garden into a desert. This desert will become a beautiful garden once again in the future (vv. 1–2, 7). The weak will become strong, and the disabled will no longer be handicapped (vv. 3–6). Those who wandered before will never lose their way as they walk safely on God’s “Highway of Holiness” (vv. 8–9), and everyone who were sorrowful will have their sorrows turned into joy (v. 10).
Thus, God will provide a roadway for His redeemed people to return and protect them from all dangers so that they can return to Zion in safety. When they return, they will be in joyful celebration as all their sorrows of their past vanish into oblivion. It is here that everlasting joy shall be their possession, and sorrow and sighing shall disappear forever. Here is the beautiful picture now of the redeemed people of God living in peace, joy, and harmony in the blessed millennial kingdom of the Messiah.
Psalms 126:1-3 describes accurately the condition of the “redeemed of the Lord”: "When the Lord brought back the captivity of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing. Then they said among the nations, 'The Lord has done great things for them.' The Lord has done great things for us, and we are glad."
Let us note that the two Hebrew words “redeemed” and “ransomed” often appear as parallels in Scripture (Jer. 31:11; Hos. 13:14), and are almost synonymous as they are used to describe the Israelites whom God had delivered from the land of Egypt (Ex. 6:6; 15:15). Jehovah God is the “Redeemer” (Isa. 41:14; 49:26) who alone can forgive Israel’s sins and redeem them from destruction (Isa. 44:22; Ps. 103:3, 4).
When we apply this passage to our lives, we can understand that only those who share in God’s holiness by justification through Christ will walk God’s “Highway of Holiness” with joy and gladness. As His redeemed and ransomed children we can eagerly anticipate joy and gladness to replace all our sorrow and worries in the future.
Today, let us join with the psalmist in boldly declaring the following: "You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore." (Psalms 16:11)