Isaiah 25:9: Let Us Rejoice (publ. 2024-04-01)

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."

— Isaiah 25:9 (NASB 1995)


In this hymn of praise to ʏʜᴡʜ, the prophet carries us to a time, yet future, when God's people enjoy peace, security, happiness, and vindication. Due to God's miraculous power and his faithfulness to his promises (verse 1) the great evil powers of the earth have been destroyed (verse 2) and violence and hostility has been removed (vv. 2, 4, 5, 10-12). At that time, all the nations rejoice and feast together in the holy land (verse 6). All death and sorrow are removed (vv. 7-8). God's people will enjoy vindication and honor, in contrast to the stigma and mockery they received while violent, wicked nations held power in the world (vv. 8).

Regarding "God's people", the Jews and the nation of Israel are particularly in view here. But this coming peace, vindication, and joy applies to all who have put their hope in ʏʜᴡʜ and waited for his coming salvation (deliverance).

I believe this chapter is an example of prophetic "telescoping" where aspects of the coming Millenial Kingdom, as well as the following Eternal State of unending bliss, are merged together into one joyful hope. Compare this chapter, which in verse 8 speaks of death and sorrow being removed entirely, with Isaiah 65:20, which describes accursed people in the Kingdom dying at the age of 100. See TBKC on 25:8 for a little more discussion about this.

Hebrew insights

hope and waiting

The Hebrew קִוִּינוּ ל֖וֹ is translated "for whom we have waited" in NASB 1995. The idea here (per HALOT) is "hope directed toward a target... to hope, await". Compare with similar usage in Isaiah 8:17 and 33:2. The core component in the walk of faith has always been trusting in God's faithfulness, eagerly looking forward to the time when God will fulfill the promises and expectations that he himself has given us.


The phrase "that he might save us" is one word in Hebrew, a form of the verb ׳שׁע, the very common word for "to help, save (from danger)" (HALOT). The name "Joshua", rendered as "Jesus" in the NT, appear to be based on this word. See also Matthew 1.21. Evangelicals usually use the word "salvation" to refer to our past deliverance from God's wrath, and the power of sin. This is appropriate, but there is also a sense in which our salvation is a thing yet to come, as we wait for Jesus to return and to deliver or save us from the sorrows and oppression of living in a cursed, ungodly world.

rejoice and be glad

The words translated "rejoice" (גול) and "be glad" (שׂמח) are very similar in meaning. But there are some subtle differences, according to TWOT. The first, it least in its literal usage, refers to the act of rejoicing:

Root meaning is "to circle around" from which such ideas as "to circle in joy" are readily derived. The root meaning is more applicable to vigorous, enthusiastic expressions of joy; but, in the OT, it and its derivatives serve as poetic and prophetic terms for various kinds of joy. ¶ Gil most often refers to rejoicing at God's works or attributes...

The second word, on the other hand, focuses more on inward joy.

The root ś-m-ḥ denotes being glad or joyful with the whole disposition as indicated by its association with the heart... the soul... and with the lighting up of the eyes...


As mentioned above, evangelicals often use the words "saved" or "salvation" in reference to a past event or a present reality. This is not a bad thing; however, it is important to remember that, even for true believers and followers of God, much of the salvation or deliverance that we need and should desire is yet to come, in particular when King Jesus returns and brings God's kingdom to earth. Now we have suffering and grief, but then we will have blessing and prosperity. Now we live under the oppression of evil rulers and violent God-haters, but then evil will be destroyed and replaced by righteous, justice, and truth. Now our faith is mocked, despised, and marginalized, but then God will be exalted, all men will seek to follow his ways, and those who had put their trust in him now will shine brightly and be honored.

Joy, as shown above, is essentially a great inner gladness or happiness that often leads to some outward expression such as celebration, praise, and thanksgiving. But how do we have joy in this life, if our circumstances are dismal, the world around us is evil, and our faith is depised? Some teachers have tried to carefully distinguish between "joy" and "happiness" but this only leads to confusion. Rather, we should understand that our joy is proleptic.

prolepsis: the representation or assumption of a future act or development as if presently existing or accomplished — Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition

That is to say, the Holy Spirit helps us to rejoice and delight in our future deliverance as though it was already an accomplished reality. By faith, we have seen the first glimmers of the morning star, and we know that in a very short time, the sun will break onto the horizon. Purple will turn to red, red will turn to yellow, and finally all the earth and sky will be filled with its brightness.

If this confidence and hope lives within us, then let us go through the rest of this week with God's joy in our hearts, and his praises on our lips.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! — Phillipians 4:4 (NASB 1995)

This work © 2024 by Christopher Howard is licensed under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International.

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Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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