The Book of Isaiah – Part 1
This series of studies is an attempt to examine every restoration of Israel passage in both the Major and Minor Prophets. It is a comprehensive study. The series begins with the book of Isaiah.
Almost every Old Testament prophet mentions the RESTORATION OF ISRAEL in his writings, and some prophets major on that theme, particularly Hosea, Zechariah, Joel, Haggai, Isaiah and Jeremiah. Israel has had a checkered history, and nationally they never learned from their mistakes. It was like a constant roundabout of sin, partial repentance, restoration, and then sin again. Israel is just so typical of the instability that is part of the fallen nature that can only be overcome by the work of the Spirit of God. That is why the outpouring of the Spirit on the nation after the Tribulation gets a lot of mention, and we shall see that.
God made large and wonderful promises to Abraham, and even in the darkest periods of national history, those promises were never withdrawn, for God loves that people more than we can understand. He loves that sinful, rebellious people, and they have been judged for their sin. When they lived in the land after exiting Egypt, if they sinned, God allowed their enemies to come, and they suffered; then, when they turned to recognize God, He delivered them, only to have the whole cycle happen again. This was seen in the time of the Judges, who were deliverers God gave His people then, and beyond that time, until God said, “Enough is enough.”
Israel adopted idolatry almost worse than the surrounding nations who practiced it. In fact, so bad was it that Hosea had to say, “Ephraim is joined to idols; Let him alone” (Hos 4:17). That was the Northern Kingdom after the division of Jeroboam, but later on, Judah was just as bad.
God promised captivity for the nation over and over again because of their sin, and then it happened; Israel going to Assyria and Judah going to Babylon. Even though there were partial returns to the land of Israel, it was always under foreign domination right up until 1948. Promises of restoration always looked dim from the human perspective, but God’s promises will not fail, and this people will be brought into amazing blessing. Still, unlike the Church, which is the heavenly people of God, Israel’s promises are in the land and will always be in the land as the earthly people of God.
There have been three returns/restorations for Israel regarding the nation, but none of those qualify for the proper restoration God has planned for the nation. Those three are – the return to the promised land after 450 years in Egypt; the returns to Jerusalem with Ezra, Jerubbabel and Nehemiah after the Babylonian captivity; and the return to Palestine as a nation in 1947/8. We shall now look at the large number of promises and prophecies for Israel’s restoration. The first book will be that of Isaiah.
THE BOOK OF ISAIAH
Isaiah 1:24-28 ” 24 Therefore the Lord GOD of hosts, the Mighty One of Israel declares, ‘Ah, I will be relieved of My adversaries and avenge Myself on My foes. 25 I will also turn My hand against you and will smelt away your dross as with lye, and will remove all your alloy. 26 Then I will restore your judges as at the first and your counsellors as at the beginning. After that you will be called “the city of righteousness, a faithful city.” 27 Zion will be redeemed with justice, and her repentant ones with righteousness, 28 but transgressors and sinners will be crushed together, and those who forsake the LORD shall come to an end.”
This magnificent prophecy stands at the head of Israel’s Restoration in the book of Isaiah.
It is so full of God’s dealings for His nation. In verse 24 the beginning of restoration is set here as the overthrow of all God’s enemies (they are termed as such because they are Israel’s enemies), and this great and final defeat will be the Battle of Armageddon, consisting of the forces of the Antichrist and False Prophet, along with Gog and Magog’s hordes as well as the kings of the east, for they will all be in Israel rallied against God’s people.
Zech 14:2 “for I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished, and half of the city exiled, but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city.”
When that is completed at the Second Coming, then the Lord deals with the Jewish saints for their purification.
They need to be refined, to pass through the fire of tribulation to bring them as a glorious people for God.
The dross and the alloy will be removed through refining and purifying, and that is not a pleasant process; but the Lord will purify the sons of Israel, and they will be pure gold for Messiah. That process starts in the Tribulation, and through suffering will come purity.
Dross (sin, adulterous departure, idolatry) will be forever gone.
The final three verses speak of restoration and blessing. Judges and counsellors will be righteously restored to the nation once the King reigns in Jerusalem. Who today can imagine Jerusalem being called “The city of righteousness” and “A faithful city”? God’s grace, and nothing less, will bring that about. There will be a fuller study in Jeremiah 33:16 of the names for Jerusalem.
Verse 28 states clearly the end of sinners and those who transgress against God, including those who forsake the Lord, but the crowning joy and beauty of Zion will be justice for the redeemed and righteousness for the repentant. Israel will enter the Millennium cleansed, purified, and restored forever.
Isaiah 2:1-4 “1 The word which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
“2 Now it will come about that in the last days, the mountain of the house of the LORD will be established as the chief of the mountains and will be raised above the hills, and all the nations will stream to it, 3 and many peoples will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob that He may teach us concerning His ways, and that we may walk in His paths,’ for the law will go forth from Zion and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
“4 He will judge between the nations and will render decisions for many peoples, and they will hammer their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they learn war.”
In the New Testament the “last days” refer to the end of the Church age as in 1 Tim 3:1, but the expression in the Old Testament must always be connected with Israel, and so in this great restoration prophecy, it is Israel in the Millennium. Their “last days” relates to the last of human history in the existence as we know it now; that will all come to an end when the Lord returns. Isaiah’s vision (for he “saw”) has two parts. The first is that Israel will be the head nation and the earth’s magnet because the Lord and his Bride are there. Jesus as Messiah will dwell in Jerusalem, and the nations are attracted there, wanting to be instructed in the ways of Messiah’s Kingdom.
It talks of the “law” going forth and the proclamation of God’s word from Jerusalem. I don’t think this “law” is the Mosaic Law, but rather the whole precept and way of life in harmony with His Kingdom. What glory this will be when the whole earth wants to learn of God, and Jerusalem will be the heart of that.
“The mountain of the house of the LORD” means kingdom. In prophetic scriptures, “mountain” always means “kingdom” or loosely, “nation.” A very notable example of that is in Daniel 2:35 referring to the Lord’s Millennial Kingdom – “but the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.” Verse 2 declares that Israel will be the chief kingdom on earth, the head of all other kingdoms. I think the difference between mountains and hills in verse 2 is simply large and small nations. This fact, the current United Nations is clueless about.
The second part is this: Not only will Israel come into full blessing, but that flows to all other “mountains”; (kingdoms), and the Lord makes decisions for the nations and settles their problems. Because there will be universal peace, then all instruments of war will revert to practical and beneficial use. This great reversal is in contrast with God’s summons for Armageddon in Joel 3:9-10 “Proclaim this among the nations: Prepare a war. Rouse the mighty men. Let all the soldiers draw near. Let them come up. Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears. Let the weak say, ‘I am a mighty man.'”
Isaiah 4:1-6 1 “1 Seven women will take hold of one man in that day saying, ‘We will eat our own bread and wear our own clothes, only let us be called by your name. Take away our reproach!’ 2 In that day the Branch of the LORD will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth will be the pride and the adornment of the survivors of Israel, 3 and it will come about that he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy – everyone who is recorded for life in Jerusalem.
“4 When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and purged the bloodshed of Jerusalem from her midst by the spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning, 5 then the LORD will create over the whole area of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, even smoke, and the brightness of a flaming fire by night, for over all the glory will be a canopy, 6 and there will be a shelter to give shade from the heat by day, and refuge and protection from the storm and the rain.”
This is, in fact, the entire chapter, but what a chapter it is. It is set entirely, again, in the Millennium when the full restoration of Israel is apparent. The exposition of this passage is huge, but we can only be very brief.
Verse 1 – It is presumed that the warfare and plagues and divine judgments during the Tribulation have rendered men scarce, and women wanting security and a name will be desperate to connect with a man. We can’t speculate beyond that.
Verse 2 – There is a magnificent study on “The Branch” (That will be explored in Jeremiah 33:15), but it shows the Lord in His 4 aspects related to His ministry and, in fact, exactly to each Gospel. The aspect in this verse is fruitfulness; the outflowing of Calvary, for the cross is the place of redemption for the Bride and for Israel and the whole of the Millennial world. The cross is crucial to the redemption and salvation of all mankind.
The Jewish survivors, the remnant, will be the fruit of the Lord, but the fruits of the earth will be the pride and glory of Israel.
Verse 3 – The verse speaks of the Jewish saints who survived the Tribulation; those who are the saved of Israel. It is very hard to decipher how this plays out. In Romans, Paul says, “all Israel will be saved,” but that is generalization in language meaning there will be salvation (for some). Zechariah puts it this way – Zech 13:8-9 “And it will come about in all the land,’ declares the LORD, ‘that two parts in it will be cut off and perish, but the third will be left in it, and I will bring the third part through the fire, refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested.'” Again, the third/two thirds can be shown to be generalized numbers.
Isaiah talks of “he who is left” and “recorded for life.” Other places use “remnant.” Preciseness is most difficult, but the Lord will have His people. See Zech 14:2 and 12:4-5. There is more on this in Isa 10:22.
Verses 4-5 – Glorious restoration verses. Her Lord will wash away all filthiness, and then verse 5 indicates the divine protection and care similar to the way God watched over the nation under Moses in the wilderness. This is another aspect of Isa 1 verse 25.
Verse 6 – this is all about protection, care and love for the Lord’s loved and chosen people in Millennial blessing. God has it all worked out. Nothing will be missed.
Isaiah 9:2-7 “2 The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. Those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them. 3 You shall multiply the nation; You shall increase their gladness. They will be glad in Your presence as with the gladness of harvest; as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. 4 For You shall break the yoke of their burden and the staff on their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor as at the battle of Midian. 5 For every boot of the booted warrior in the battle tumult, and cloak rolled in blood, will be for burning, fuel for the fire.
“ 6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us, and the government will rest on His shoulders and His name will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. 7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.”
This is an amazing passage, often used in connection with the first advent, but its proper interpretation is the nation’s restoration after the Second Coming, not the first one. The Second Coming is contingent upon the First, for without Calvary there could be no Second Advent and no restoration of God’s people.
Verse 2 is the description of the Light of the World coming to His people. In His first advent they rejected the Light of the World, but next time, they welcome Him as Messiah. Throughout Isaiah, Israel’s special relationship with God is confirmed over and over by the use of God’s special name for the nation. That is “The LORD of Hosts.”
Verse 3 speaks of increasing gladness when the Lord will be among them, and forever they are in His presence. The end of the verse – “as men rejoice when they divide the spoil” – in one aspect will actually happen.
Zech 14:1 “Behold, a day is coming for the LORD when the spoil taken from you will be divided among you.”
Verses 4 and 5. These verses harmonize with other scripture passages. Israel will break the yoke of the world’s armies about to extinguish them in the land. It is actually the Lord, as Lord of Lords and King of Kings, who does that at Armageddon, (Zech 14:3 “Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle”), but He does give His people Israel a part in their deliverance as confirmed by these verses – Zech 12:6 “In that day I will make the clans of Judah like a firepot among pieces of wood and a flaming torch among sheaves, so they will consume on the right hand and on the left, all the surrounding peoples, while the inhabitants of Jerusalem again dwell on their own sites in Jerusalem.”
As for the burning of cloaks and boots – Gog, Magog and their allies (see Ezek 38 and 39) will be in Israel on the eve of Armageddon and have Jerusalem by the neck, but at the eleventh hour, God delivers them, and this is then recorded – Ezek 39:9-10 “Then those who inhabit the cities of Israel will go out, and make fires with the weapons and burn them, both shields and bucklers, bows and arrows, war clubs and spears and for seven years they will make fires of them. They will not take wood from the field or gather firewood from the forests, for they will make fires with the weapons and they will take the spoil of those who despoiled them, and seize the plunder of those who plundered them,’ declares the Lord GOD.”
Verse 6. It is a common practice with the prophetic writing of the Old Testament prophets to time jump all over the place, even 2,700 years in some cases, then back to their own time in the next verse. That is one of the essential rules to realize in rightly dividing the word of truth. That is what happens in this verse. Isaiah jumps from the end of the Tribulation in 4 and 5 back to the birth of the Messiah in verse 6, then over to the Millennium in verse 7. In verse 8 he is back in his own time. If careful discernment is not done, then you get all sorts of illogical conclusions. The verse begins with, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us.” That is the first advent.
Then four most wonderful names are given to the “Son,” two of them proving the deity of Jesus; one attesting His character, and one that is always true but will be realized when Israel is restored – Prince of Peace.
Verse 7. The verse is placed in the Millennial Kingdom and follows on immediately from “Prince of Peace.” In the Millennium the Messiah will sit on the throne of David ruling His people, and at the same time, He will be the King over all the earth. Zech 14:9 “The LORD will be king over all the earth. In that day the LORD will be the only one, and His name the only One.” Justice and righteousness will reign throughout His Kingdom as Isaiah has just said, but so too does Zechariah, using “truth” for “justice” – 8:8 and I will bring them back, and they will live in the midst of Jerusalem, and they will be My people and I will be their God in truth and righteousness.”
TO BE CONTINUED IN PART 2