The Condemnation of Man’s Kingdoms Isaiah 1-39 , cont’d.
Isaiah 2-4 The Glory of the God’s Kingdom, cont’d.
Isaiah 4:1-So many men will be killed in wars (primarily during the time of the 7 Years of Tribulation) that there will not be enough for women to marry. So, they will be willing to practice polygamy just so that they can say that they are married.
Isaiah 4:2-6-Isaiah describes the Millennial Kingdom…
- it will be led by the “Branch of the LORD” (:2, a descendant, like a branch of a family tree; this is the Messiah, Jesus; cf. Jeremiah 23:5; 33:15; Zechariah 3:8; 6:12 where the same term is used)…He will bring a rule to the earth that is beautiful and productive for all people
- the people who live there will be “holy” (:3)
- God’s very presence, His glory, will be manifested by a “cloud by day” and a “flaming fire by night” (:4-5)
- God will provide protection from the elements for His people (:6).
Isaiah 5 A Parable of the Problems of the Present Kingdoms
Isaiah 5:1-7-Isaiah tells a parable, a story in order to better communicate what has become of Israel. He depicts Israel as a vineyard to which God has given every advantage.
- It was owned by a “well-beloved” (conscientious) person (:1)
- It was planted in fertile soil (:1)
- The land was carefully prepared (:2)
- The very best vines were planted (:2)
- He built a tower in the middle of it so that he could keep careful watch over it (:2)
- With anticipation of a good crop he built a vat to produce wine from the grapes (:2).
Sadly, despite all of this work, the vineyard (Israel) is not only unproductive of good grapes…but, it produces bad grapes.
- Wild grapes: "We are dealing here with something worse than unfruitfulness. The New Testament also speaks of a faith that brings forth fruit, but the fruit is dead works, which pollute the air like a cadaver. The wolfsbane, or wild vine (2 Kings 4:39), does bear beautiful berries, but they are bitter, foul-smelling and poisonous in nature. This is a precise description of the self-willed and false religion of the unfaithful covenant people." (Bultema)
- Clarke on wild grapes: "Poisonous berries … not merely useless, unprofitable grapes, such as wild grapes; but grapes offensive to the smell, noxious, poisonous."
iii. Wild grapes means that the vineyard produced just what you would expect it to produce if nothing had been done to it. All the love, care, time, work, and investment resulted had no result.
David Guzik :: Study Guide for Isaiah 5,
Isaiah identifies six characteristics of people that have caused Israel to be unproductive (:8-25). Each indictment begins with the word, "Woe" (the word “woe” is a pronouncement of judgment)…
- those who only want to accumulate more and more land and houses (:8-10)
- the drunkard (:11-12)…they are so inebriated that they cannot even see the work of God that is right in front of them
- Before he continues identifying the people who have caused Israel to be unproductive…he first describes the judgment for this specific behavior (5:13-18)
- the blasphemer (:18-19)…the picture is that of a man who is pulling his idol (the object of his sin) along behind him with ropes (keeping it close to himself)…as if he is taunting God to judge him, to strike him down
- "They flatter themselves by imagining that what is sin is not sin, or by some excuse or idle pretence they lessen its enormity. These, then, are cords, wicked ropes, by which they draw iniquity." (Calvin)
- "That are not only drawn to sin by the allurements of the world, or by the persuasions of wicked men, being surprised and overtaken by sin, as sometimes good men are … but are active and industrious in drawing sin to themselves, or themselves to sin; that greedily and steadily pursue sin, and the occasions of it, and are not at rest until they have overtaken it; that sin wilfully, and resolvedly, and industriously." (Poole)
iii. "With vain and deceitful arguments and pretences, whereby sinners generally draw themselves to sin." (Poole)
David Guzik :: Study Guide for Isaiah 5,
- those who pervert morality (:20)…they believe that they can define morality for themselves and that they are above the moral obligations of other people
- the arrogant (:21)…those that are conceited and proud
- drunk judges who take bribes (:22-25).
- Again Isaiah stops to speak of the judgment of this specific behavior (:24-25)
Isaiah 5:26-30-God is going to punish Israel...He will use Assyria to do so. The sovereignty of God is seen in the fact that He merely needs to “whistle” (:26) and the most powerful country in the world will leap to His call like a trained dog.
Isaiah 6 The Commissioning of Isaiah
Isaiah 6:1-12- In the year that King Uzziah died (740 B.C.), Isaiah had a vision of God on His throne. He is glorious in appearance.
- There is a throne in heaven, and the LORD God sits upon it as the sovereign ruler of the universe! This is central fact of heaven; that there is an occupied throne in heaven. God does not sit on a chair in heaven. Anyone might sit on a chair. But sovereign kings sit on thrones. Judges sit on thrones. Those with proper authority and sovereignty sit on thrones.
- Isaiah was not alone in seeing God's throne. Almost everyone in the Bible who had a vision of heaven, was taken to heaven, or wrote about heaven spoke of God's throne. The prophet Michaiah saw God's throne (1 Kings 22:19), Job saw God's throne (Job 26:9), David saw God's throne (Psalm 9:4 and 7, 11:4), the Sons of Korah saw God's throne (Psalm 45:6, 47:8), Ethan the Ezrahite saw God's throne (Psalm 89:14), Jeremiah saw God's throne (Lamentations 5:19), Ezekiel saw God's throne (Ezekiel 1:26, 10:1), Daniel saw God's throne (Daniel 7:9), and the Apostle John saw God's throne (Revelation 4:1-11). In fact, the book of Revelation may as well be called "the book of God's throne," because God's throne is specifically mentioned more than 35 times in that book!
iii. The bottom line of atheism or materialism is that they believe there is no throne; there is no seat of authority or power all the universe must answer to. The bottom of humanism is that there is a throne - but man sits upon it. But the Bible makes it clear that there is a throne in heaven, and no fallen man sits on the throne, but the Lord GOD is enthroned in heaven.
- Isaiah may have been depressed or discouraged because a great leader of Judah was no longer on the throne. God in heaven now shows Isaiah, "Don't worry about it, Isaiah. Uzziah may not be on his throne, but I am on My throne."
David Guzik :: Study Guide for Isaiah 6,
All around God are angelic beings. “Seraphim” is plural…meaning that there were many of them.
The seraphim (fiery, burning ones) are angelic beings associated with the prophet Isaiah's vision of God in the Temple when God called him to his prophetic ministry (Isaiah 6:1-7). Isaiah 6:2-4 records, “Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.’ At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.” Seraphs are angels who worship God continually.
Isaiah chapter 6 is the only place in the Bible that specifically mentions the seraphim. Each seraph had six wings. They used two to fly, two to cover their feet, and two to cover their faces (Isaiah 6:2). The seraphim flew about the throne on which God was seated, singing His praises as they called special attention to God’s glory and majesty. These beings apparently also served as agents of purification for Isaiah as he began his prophetic ministry. One placed a hot coal against Isaiah's lips with the words, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for” (Isaiah 6:7). Similar to the other types of holy angels, the seraphim are perfectly obedient to God. Similar to the cherubim, the seraphim are particularly focused on worshipping God.
In the presence of God’s glory and holiness…Isaiah became acutely aware of his sinfulness and says that surely he is about to die! (:5). But God sent one of the Seraphim to cleanse Isaiah of his sin (:6-7). God then asks who should He send to carry out His mission on earth. Cleansed of his sin and inspired by this new vision of the majesty of God…Isaiah volunteers. ”Here am I. Send me!” (:8). God then sends Isaiah on His mission. ”Go and tell…” (:9). He instructs him to go change the world. But there is sad news. Even though Isaiah would tell the people...God says that they will keep on hearing...but will not respond, "lest...they return". In other words, though they “see with their eyes, and hear with their ears,” (:10) they will not respond because they do not want to stop what they are doing, and that would be necessary in order to be obedient to God. Isaiah asks how long this will go on. God tells him that it will continue until they are finally taken into captivity (:11-12, it will be to Babylon).
There were in fact 3 separate years when people from Jerusalem were taken into exile:
- 605 BC - This is when Daniel and other members of Judah's elite were taken into captivity (see Daniel 1:1-6).
- 597 BC - Jehoiakim was taken into captivity (see 2 Chron 36:5,6). Three months and ten days later Jehoiachin, along with other members of the royal family, were taken into captivity (see 2 Chron 36:9,10 & 2 Kings 24:15-17).
- 586 BC - After a siege lasting approximately one and a half years, Jerusalem was conquered and destroyed. Most of the people were taken into captivity, along with articles from the temple. Only the poorest people remained (see 2 Kings 25).
For more information on the Babylonian deportation of the Jews see:
Isaiah 6:13-God says that there will be a remnant, 1/10th of the people, who would be left...and that they would return (after 70 years) to the land. And yet later, there will be another time of “burning” (discipline by God). Israel will be like a tree that has been cut down leaving only a “stump”. Out of it a sprout would grow and live. Israel, though cut down to almost nothing and appearing to be gone…will grow and live, once again.
Prayer: Lord, thank You for allowing me to read of Isaiah’s vision of You. I needed it. To see again…Your splendid glory. To hear again…of Your sovereign rule over all of creation…both on earth and in Heaven. To know that even as Isaiah was cleansed of his sin…I am cleansed of my sin. And to respond to Your call on my life to be on mission…for You. “I saw the Lord, sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the throne of His robe filling the temple.” Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! Go change the world!