Reading through the Bible together
In this chapter, Isaiah changes his focus from the End Time to the people’s choir in Heavenly Zion when they see the strength of the New Jerusalem compared to the earthly one they knew (v. 1). They will sing a song and say that “like a city of strength and protection is our salvation” (v. 1c). Since some like Moses and Enoch are already in heaven, they will sing to the Resurrected Ones arriving with Christ on a cloud from the earth: “Open the gates [of the New Jerusalem] that the righteous nation may enter” (v. 2a). This nation is the faithful resurrected ones arriving and they are “the one that remains faithful, keeping the faith” (v. 2b).
The upright of mind the Lord keeps peacefully during the Time of Trouble preceding this trip to heaven (v. 3a). They trust in the Lord even in extreme conditions. The reason for this trust “in the Lord” is that He is the Rock that is forever. Christ is the Rock-Kingdom that in the dream of Daniel 2 hit all the Kingdoms and filled the whole world. This will happen at the Second Coming when Christ throws down all kingdoms in the dust (v. 5b). The helpless righteous will walk on them (v. 6a-b).
The Upright One levels the path of the righteous (v. 7). They have waited for the way of the Lord’s judgments (v. 8a) and to God’s name and memory was the desire of their soul (v. 8b). Isaiah counts himself in this group doing the trip to the Heavenly Zion. He explains that in the night his soul longs for God (v. 9a) and his spirit within him sought God diligently (v. 9b). Because when the judgments of God come on the earth, those that dwell in the world learn righteousness (v. 9c-d). In contrast to what the righteous learn from God’s involvements with the earth, the wicked do not learn (v. 10a) and see the majesty of the Lord” (v. 10d). Spiritual blindness!
Isaiah says that the wicked will see and be ashamed (v. 11b). Conversion is needed otherwise they will eventually burn up in the Executive Judgment. Isaiah saw this in vision and got homesick for heaven. He wanted to be included when “You will establish peace for us” (v. 12a). Isaiah is now on his knees and prays: “Other lords have ruled over us besides You” (v. 13a). Then he adds, “We acknowledge Your name alone” (v. 13b). He points out the finality of death “the dead will not live, the departed spirits will not rise” for the Lord has punished them (v. 14a-b). Isaiah is so taken up by the power of the Lord that he is on his knees praying for his people.
“Lord, You have increased the nation and extended the ends of our borders” (v. 15a-c). This could mean that the new earth will provide larger borders. But we know that before the Second Coming the faithful will be in trouble (v. 16a-c). The distress time is given as a time similar to the woman in labor, thus nine months may mean that the Time of Trouble may last only 9 months? (v. 17). During this time of trouble there were no births (v. 18).
While Isaiah is certain about the finality of the dead (v. 14), he is equally certain about the reality of the Resurrection. “Your dead will live, their corpses will rise” (v. 19). It is during this time of global Trouble that Isaiah tells the Remnant to hide for a short while (maybe similar to what Ellen White said that people will leave the cities to the country-side) (v. 20a-c). It is definitely the Time of Trouble Isaiah saw here since he says “for look the Lord will come out from His place to visit the evil inhabitants of the earth upon it” (v. 21). The earth will reveal her bloodshed and no longer will her slain be covered (v. 21c-d).
The Second Coming is a time of Resurrection and those who died will be brought forth alive and those killed and hidden will be resurrected. No secrets will be kept in the earth’s dust.
Also we are on our knees. We pray for our people and loved ones. Save us Lord in Your kingdom when You come. Amen.
Koot van Wyk
Kyungpook National University
Sangju, South Korea