THE BOOK OF ISAIAH – PART 2
This is a study on the restoration of Israel from both Major and Minor Prophets. Every Restoration passage is being covered, and I hope none has been missed. The series began with the book of Isaiah, and this is PART 2 of the series.
Isaiah 10:20 “Now it will come about in that day that the remnant of Israel and those of the house of Jacob who have escaped, will never again rely on the one who struck them, but will truly rely on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel. Isa 10:21 A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God, Isa 10:22 for though your people, O Israel, may be like the sand of the sea, only a remnant within them will return. A destruction is determined, overflowing with righteousness. Isa 10:23 A complete destruction, one that is decreed, the Lord GOD of hosts will execute in the midst of the whole land.”
For some who don’t delve deep enough, this passage does not apply to the restoration of Israel, but they are wrong. They want to make it fit the time of Nebuchadnezzar and then the return from captivity. Let us examine it.
There is a very crucial expression in verse 20 that is used by Major and Minor Prophets uniformly to place the prophecy in context. It is “in that day,” and in fact, is used 7 times in Zech 14. The expression always relates to Israel, and always places the setting in the Tribulation mostly right at the end, or in the Millennial Kingdom. Verse 20, therefore, is future and is the restoration of Israel right at the start of the Millennium. Only a remnant is saved or has escaped (cf Isa 4:3 earlier). How can we be so certain that this time setting is correct?
Firstly, “in that day” seals it, and secondly, the verse is clear that from that time onwards, they will truly rely on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel. They will be forever faithful. That has NEVER happened, but will happen in the Millennium. Just in case a distracted reader missed the import of verse 20, the fact is repeated in the next verse, “A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God,” a great and glorious fact when the true seed of Abraham inherits the great promises given to their forefather.
Verse 22 is most interesting. It sadly tells us that even though the descendants of Abraham be as the sand of the seashore, only a remnant will return, that is, be saved. I find that sad, but I dare say the saved remnant of the Jews is higher percentage-wise than the saved remnant of the Gentiles. God has always left for Himself a remnant, and it may have been small in Elijah’s time, but the remnant is always there.
Let us look at this expression, “sand of the sea” or seashore. It goes back to this – Gen 22:17 “indeed, I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens, and as the sand which is on the seashore, and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies.” Later on, Jacob cited this also when he was afraid Esau might do him in, and reminded God of His promise – Gen 32:12 “for You did say, ‘I will surely prosper you, and make your descendants as the sand of the sea which cannot be numbered for multitude.”
Jacob rightly took half of the expression God gave his grandfather – the sand part because he was applying it to the Jews, which is correct. The other part, “I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens,” does not apply to the Jews. In other words, Abraham has two seeds, one which is Israel, and the other being the Church. Jews are God’s earthly people, hence the sand, but the Christians are a heavenly people, thus the stars. We, and the Jews, are Abraham’s seed through faith. It was faith in Gen 22 that evoked this great promise God gave Abraham to cover all believers (those who exercise faith).
Still in verse 22, it says this, “A destruction is determined, overflowing with righteousness.” We know this righteousness overflows out of destruction, so the setting is easy to pinpoint. The universal righteousness we have been considering earlier follows the Battle of Armageddon where God’s destruction is on the armies of EVERY nation who sent their contingent to Israel to exterminate God’s people (Zech 14:2 “for I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle; Zech 12:3 “and it will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who lift it will be severely injured, and all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it.”)
The Tribulation Jews pass through horrible times, but when their great Deliverer causes destruction on all military forces at Armageddon, He then comforts them with His righteousness, and never again will they turn from the Lord. Amen!
Isaiah 11:11 “Then it will happen on that day that the Lord will again recover the second time with His hand the remnant of His people who will remain from Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Cush, Elam, Shinar, Hamath, and from the islands of the sea, Isa 11:12 and He will lift up a standard for the nations and will assemble the banished ones of Israel and will gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. Isa 11:13 Then the jealousy of Ephraim will depart and those who harass Judah will be cut off. Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah and Judah will not harass Ephraim.
“Isa 11:14 They will swoop down on the slopes of the Philistines on the west and together they will plunder the sons of the east. They will possess Edom and the sons of Ammon will be subject to them. Isa 11:15 The LORD will utterly destroy the tongue of the Sea of Egypt and He will wave His hand over the River with His scorching wind and He will strike it into seven streams and make men walk over dry-shod. Isa 11:16 There will be a highway from Assyria for the remnant of His people who will be left, just as there was for Israel In the day that they came up out of the land of Egypt.”
The passage we now look at is a momentous one, and the changes outlined here are way beyond the capability of man to appreciate. This is an amazing prophetic passage.
The introduction is again that strategic “in/on that day” we spoke of in Isa 10:20. This is the account of the recovery of the Jewish remnant to bring them back to Israel in the great Restoration at the start of the Millennium. Where will these people come from? Surrounding nations are named, 7 of them, which in itself is interesting, as 7 speaks of completeness in the Bible, but then it continues to say, “from the islands of the sea,” which always means in the prophets, all distant countries, all inclusive.
Just to cement that fact that they come from all over the globe, then verse 12 says, “from the 4 corners of the earth.” This will be the greatest ingathering in the history of the world. The Tribulation saints, the redeemed through suffering, are “going home” to be in national fellowship with their Messiah. The Lord lifts up a standard and He will assemble them, and the words used of them are “banished ones” and “dispersed.” Over the millennia, God’s earthly people have been banished and hunted and chased all over the world, but the Lord will correct all that.
Verses 13-14. There are two facts here. The first is that there will be no rivalry among the returned Jews. As far as I know the Jews today, in the main, are not aware of their tribal descent except for some of the Levitical line, so we can understand in Isaiah’s time why he would express it in this way as the division between Judah and Samaria was great. In Isaiah’s day there was war and jealousy and bitterness between the northern kingdom (Ephraim) and the southern kingdom (Judah).
Verse 14. I understand verse 14 as “mopping up” either in line with the enabling of the Jews at the Second Coming – 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,” OR, as the Millennium is starting, but I go for the former option.
Verses 15-16. Here we find details of the geographical changes God will make for His restored people. They will be considerable. In fact, they could be as great as the Millennial changes God will make in Zechariah 14. Assyria is mentioned. Modern-day Iraq and Syria overlap ancient Assyria, but keep in mind, the area that will be Israel’s territory in its restoration – Exodus 23:31 “I will fix your boundary from the Red Sea to the sea of the Philistines, and from the wilderness to the River Euphrates for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand, and you will drive them out before you.” Gen 15:18 “On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, ‘To your descendants I have given this land from the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates.'” That area includes most of current Iraq and Syria, in other words, the old Assyria.
Isaiah 12:1 “Then you will say on that day, ‘I will give thanks to You, O LORD for although You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away and You comfort me. Isa 12:2 Behold, God is my salvation. I will trust and not be afraid for the LORD GOD is my strength and song and He has become my salvation.’ Isa 12:3 Therefore you will joyously draw water from the springs of salvation, Isa 12:4 and in that day you will say, ‘Give thanks to the LORD, call on His name. Make known His deeds among the peoples. Make them remember that His name is exalted.’ Isa 12:5 Praise the LORD in song for He has done excellent things. Let this be known throughout the earth. Isa 12:6 Cry aloud and shout for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.”
12 verses 1-6. The focus is on the people and shows their restored joy. God’s anger has now become Comfort; God is their salvation and their song; They live in joy; Praise rises to the Lord; and verse 6 states the reason why. The Lord is in their midst, the Holy One is in Israel. Zech 2:10 “Sing for joy and be glad, O daughter of Zion; for behold I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,’ declares the LORD.”
Have you ever thought about what it will be like to be in the presence of the Almighty God, the One of Light and glorious majesty? Well, Moses could only see that glory minutely; Peter, James and John only saw it partially. It is interesting if we will ever see the fullest glory of God. Of course, those on earth when Jesus came saw his glory veiled as a man. I dare not speculate how the Lord will be when He will be in the midst of His people Israel. All I know is that it is magnificent. And what of heaven?
Isaiah 14:1 “When the LORD will have compassion on Jacob and again choose Israel and settle them in their own land, then strangers will join them and attach themselves to the house of Jacob, Isa 14:2 and the peoples will take them along and bring them to their place and the house of Israel will possess them as an inheritance in the land of the LORD as male servants and female servants, and they will take their captors captive, and will rule over their oppressors. Isa 14:3 It will be in the day when the LORD gives you rest from your pain and turmoil and harsh service in which you have been enslaved, Isa 14:4 that you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon and say, ‘How the oppressor has ceased, and how fury has ceased!'”
There are some who could say that the passage best fits the return from the Babylonian captivity, but it just will not fit. The blessings that were present after the return from captivity – Joshua, Zerubbabel, Haggai and Zechariah, did not last for long, and the people continued in defeat and sin. Verse 1 seals it; it will be the time when the Lord will settle them, after His compassion showers them, and God chooses the time. All the 4 verses speak of Israel in full restoration.
The reference to Babylon in verse 4 has to be understood in the wide sense. When Isaiah wrote this, Babylon had not defeated Judah, with another 200 years before that event. However, during the Tribulation, this Babylonian system in both religion and commerce will oppress the Jews and will be their enemy. Now with the defeat of Babylon in Rev 17 and 18, Israel can take up its taunt because all oppression has finished as it enters its Millennial Kingdom.
Isaiah 19:16 “In that day the Egyptians will become like women and they will tremble and be in dread because of the waving of the hand of the LORD of hosts which He is going to wave over them. Isa 19:17 The land of Judah will become a terror to Egypt. Everyone to whom it is mentioned will be in dread of it because of the purpose of the LORD of hosts which He is purposing against them.
“Isaiah 19:18 In that day five cities in the land of Egypt will be speaking the language of Canaan and swearing allegiance to the LORD of hosts. One will be called the City of Destruction. Isa 19:19 In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt and a pillar to the LORD near its border,
“Isaiah 19:20 and it will become a sign and a witness to the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt for they will cry to the LORD because of oppressors, and He will send them a Saviour and a Champion, and He will deliver them. Isa 19:21 Thus the LORD will make Himself known to Egypt, and the Egyptians will know the LORD in that day. They will even worship with sacrifice and offering and will make a vow to the LORD and perform it. Isa 19:22 The LORD will strike Egypt, striking but healing so they will return to the LORD, and He will respond to them and will heal them.
“Isaiah 19:23 In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria and the Assyrians will come into Egypt and the Egyptians into Assyria, and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians. Isa 19:24 In that day Israel will be the third party with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, Isa 19:25 whom the LORD of hosts has blessed saying, ‘Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance.'”
This is just an amazing passage. Five times the key phrase is used, “In that day,” which puts the setting in the Tribulation or/and Millennium, but here it is Millennial. We will work through the passage just to see some of the great happenings the Lord will bring about IN THAT DAY.
Verses 16-17. The Lord will take action against Egypt. Egypt will be judged for what it has done to the Jews (see also v 22), but then God will gloriously restore them, and the reason I give is that they nurtured Israel for 400 years. This all goes back to what God promised Abraham – they who bless the Jews will be blessed. Let us not forget the converse is true just as much. We see again the covenant name, “The Lord of Hosts.”
Verses 18-19. I won’t say much about this as it is a little off topic and still has some obscurity about it. What these two verses do is to lead into the deeper prophecies for Egypt that interconnect with Israel in restoration.
Verses 20-22. These verses are not easy. Firstly, it is difficult to put this in a timeframe. I believe it is around the Second Coming, maybe just after that. I know there are problems. What we do know is this:
* Oppressors will afflict Egypt. They will cry to the Lord. God responds by sending them a Champion and Saviour. I would like to think that is the Lord Jesus, but we can’t be sure.
* After their deliverance, they really turn to the Lord, and God turns to them. (Verse 21). The Egyptians vow to the Lord but it does not mean they are sinless or without responsibility. They will need to obey the Lord – Zech 14:17-18 (through the Millennium) “and it will be, that whichever of the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, there will be no rain on them. If the family of Egypt does not go up or enter, then no rain will fall on them. It will be the plague with which the LORD smites the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths.”
* Verse 22 is a simple summary. The Lord will strike Egypt (some sort of judgment) through the oppressors I think; then they turn to the Lord, and He turns to them and heals the nation.
Verses 23-25. These are just remarkable and beautiful verses, and in our 2020 world, an impossibility; but nothing is impossible with God, so that in Israel’s Restoration, so too shall old Assyria and Egypt be blessed. Look at the great events:
* A Highway will pass from Egypt to Assyria (and it must pass through Israel), and the Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together (I think it is understood that Israel will do so as well).
* Three nations will head up the earth in blessing, Israel, Assyria and Egypt, and it will be a tri-nation witness to God. This is the place of restored Israel through the Millennium. Israel, though, must be understood as the chief nation of the earth.
* Verse 25 is just so magnificent, I don’t want to comment on it, but just quote it again for you to absorb it – “whom the LORD of hosts has blessed saying, ‘Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance.'”
Isaiah 25:6 “The LORD of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain, a banquet of aged wine, choice pieces with marrow, and refined, aged wine, Isa 25:7 and on this mountain He will swallow up the covering which is over all peoples, even the veil which is stretched over all nations. Isa 25:8 He will swallow up death for all time and the Lord GOD will wipe tears away from all faces and He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken, Isa 25:9 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, Isa 25:10 for the hand of the LORD will rest on this mountain and Moab will be trodden down in his place as straw is trodden down in the water of a manure pile.”
To get an understanding of this passage, we need to start with verses 8 and 9, then the other verses fall into place.
Verse 8. The immediate reaction to this verse is another verse – Rev 21:4 “and He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there shall no longer be any death. There shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain. The first things have passed away.” The Revelation verse is actually set in eternity after the new heavens and new earth, and the New Jerusalem. This is the eternal state where all the results of sin have forever been eradicated. However, going back to verse 8, we have this expression, “He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth.” That is the reproach of the Jews or Israel; it will be gone forever, so this verse fits entirely with the restoration of Israel, though it goes beyond that to eternity itself. It looks at part of the Kingdom and part of eternity. That is fine in prophetic time jumps.
Verse 9. The key, “in that day” is the setting. It is Millennial, and will be the great voice of redeemed Israel as it looks right back through human history to the God and Messiah they have waited for and will then find consummation in His salvation, which is their cause of rejoicing (with Him in the midst).
Verse 6. Now we go back to the start of the passage. Firstly, “mountain” is always “kingdom” in prophetic writings unless it is specific to a geographical mountain. This mountain to which all peoples (it is plural) will relate is Messiah’s Millennial Kingdom, and like a powerful king of old, He will prepare a superlative banquet for them all. “Choice pieces with marrow and aged wine,” I guess, was about as good as a banquet got in Isaiah’s time. I think it is saying that life in Messiah’s Kingdom cannot get any better.
Verse 7. This verse follows right on from v 6, and the thought is again eradication. It speaks of “the covering which is over all peoples, even the veil which is stretched over all nations.” What is this covering and veil, and remember we are in the Millennial Kingdom? I think it suggests fear, gloom, sadness, even cheating, lying and corruption and gross evil that existed through earth’s history but especially in the 7-year Tribulation. In the nation’s restoration, all that will be gone, and wider too, for all the earth.
Verse 10. Moab’s country will become part of Israel’s promised territory. See 11 verse 14 as that is a parallel verse.
TO BE CONTINUED IN PART 3