This chapter describes the liberation of Jerusalem after his victory at Armageddon, Israel's shock at the identity of their liberator (Jesus), and the nations' shock at his extreme exaltation.
The liberation of Jerusalem
In chapter 51, the arm of the Lord, symbolic of God's military might, was called to wake up in order to defeat the Antichrist, just as the arm of the Lord defeated Pharaoh in antiquity at the Red Sea. Likewise, Zion was called to wake up from her drunken stupor, having fully drunk the cup of God's wrath. Here in chapter 52, Zion is once again called to wake up. It is time for her to put on beautiful clothes, to clothe herself with strength. Zion is now called God's holy city, and God promises that she will no longer be invaded (v1). Captive Zion is told to take off her chains, for she has been redeemed. According to Zechariah 14:2, when Jerusalem falls to the Antichrist, half will remain in the city, and half will go into exile. Many will escape to a desert safe place when Jesus divides the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:5 and Revelation 12:6). Captive Zion refers to the state of Jerusalem, and those who remain within her, under Antichrist's occupation. Verse 5 speaks of God's people being carried away for nothing, and of them being abused by those who rule over them. So when Jerusalem falls, her occupants seem to be divided into three groups - 1) those who are held captive in Jerusalem, 2) those who are carried into exile, and 3) those who escape to a desert safe place. According to verse 6, Jesus will at that time reveal himself to Israel so that they know his name, that he is the one who says "Here I am". This implies Jesus revealing himself to Israel as Yahweh (Jehovah), which means 'I am' - see Exodus 3:14 and John 8:58.

Verses 7 to 8 portray Zion's watchmen seeing a messenger who comes over the mountains to announce the news of her deliverance, that Israel's God reigns. This portrays Jesus' victory at the battle of Armageddon. Armageddon is Jesus' final battle to defeat the Antichrist and to liberate Jerusalem. Her watchmen shout for joy and will see the Lord return to Zion with their own eyes (v8). In fact, when Jesus is victorious at Armageddon, his power and salvation will be visible to all nations in all parts of the earth (v10) - see also Psalm 97:3, and Isaiah 18:4-6 and 40:5.

Verses 11 to 12 address those who carry the Lord's holy items, and tell them to leave Zion quickly, but not in a panic. Daniel 9:27 tells us that when the Antichrist invades Jerusalem, he will put a stop to sacrifice and offering, implying that the temple will have been rebuilt and Israel's sacrificial system re-instated. In that case, a priesthood must have been re-ordained. These priests who are qualified to carry the Lord's holy items are being sent on an important mission outside of Jerusalem, and must keep themselves pure. God promises to be their rear guard. Connecting these verses with Isaiah 18, it is possible that Jesus sends them on a mission to Ethiopia to bring back the Ark of the Covenant, that is allegedly housed in the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion in Axum, Ethiopia.

The extreme exaltation of Jesus the servant
Verses 13 to 15 describe the extreme exaltation of the servant. This servant was introduced by Isaiah in 42:1-6, 49:1-7 and 50:4-11. When Jerusalem is liberated, and God returns to Zion, the startling truth of their liberator's identity becomes suddenly clear to captive Zion. It is Jesus! He is the gentle suffering servant as revealed by Isaiah, and not only that - Jesus the servant is God himself. This servant will succeed (v13), and the extent of his exaltation will be like the extent of his utter humiliation when he was hung on the cross. Verse 14 describes the horror and shock of those who witnessed his disfigurement on the cross. Likewise, verse 15 describes the shock of the nations and their kings who witness his end-time exaltation. The extent of his exaltation will be beyond anything they had heard about.
Places: Zion, Jerusalem, Israel, Ethiopia
Symbols: Arm of the Lord
Tags: Jerusalem liberated, God returns to Zion, Jesus reveals himself to Israel as God, Salvation revealed to all nations, Millennial reign of Jesus, Every eye will see him, Jesus as the servant, Jesus exalted over the nations, Jesus on the Cross, Nations shocked by exaltation of Jesus, Good news of salvation, Captive Zion, Nations slander God, God reveals his power to all nations
1 Wake up! Wake up! Clothe yourself with strength, O Zion! Put on your beautiful clothes, O Jerusalem, holy city! For uncircumcised and unclean pagans will no longer invade you.
2 Shake off the dirt! Get up, captive Jerusalem! Take off the iron chains around your neck, O captive daughter Zion!
3 For this is what the Lord says: “You were sold for nothing, and you will not be redeemed for money.”
4 For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “In the beginning my people went to live temporarily in Egypt; Assyria oppressed them for no good reason.
5 And now, what do we have here?” says the Lord. “Indeed my people have been carried away for nothing, those who rule over them taunt,” says the Lord, “and my name is constantly slandered all day long.
6 For this reason my people will know my name, for this reason they will know at that time that I am the one who says, ‘Here I am.’”
7 How delightful it is to see approaching over the mountains the feet of a messenger who announces peace, a messenger who brings good news, who announces deliverance, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
8 Listen, your watchmen shout; in unison they shout for joy, for they see with their very own eyes the Lord’s return to Zion.
9 In unison give a joyful shout, O ruins of Jerusalem! For the Lord consoles his people; he protects Jerusalem.
10 The Lord reveals his royal power in the sight of all the nations; the entire earth sees our God deliver.
11 Leave! Leave! Get out of there! Don’t touch anything unclean! Get out of it! Stay pure, you who carry the Lord’s holy items!
12 Yet do not depart quickly or leave in a panic. For the Lord goes before you; the God of Israel is your rear guard.

The Lord Will Vindicate His Servant
13 “Look, my servant will succeed! He will be elevated, lifted high, and greatly exalted –
14 (just as many were horrified by the sight of you) he was so disfigured he no longer looked like a man; his form was so marred he no longer looked human–
15 so now he will startle many nations. Kings will be shocked by his exaltation, for they will witness something unannounced to them, and they will understand something they had not heard about.