Reading through the Bible together

Thursday, March 27, 2014

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Isaiah started this chapter by looking over his shoulder to his own people. Egypt’s interest in Palestine was the trade routes and the wood. The Judeans of Isaiah’s day went down to Egypt to secure speed “horses” (v. 1b); “chariots because they are many” (v. 1c); hire “horsemen because they are very strong” (v. 1d). But, they disconnected from God (v. 1e) and “do not look to the Holy One of Israel for help. Isaiah is not focusing on Judah or on Egypt but on God who is “wise,” and “will bring disaster” on Judah for what the people are doing (v. 2a) and He “does not retract His words” (v. 2b).

God has a plan and will carry it out. God will arise against the evildoers (v. 2c-d). They and their assistants are in trouble with the Lord. Isaiah says that the Egyptians are just humans but God is divine; horses are just flesh but God is Spirit (v. 3a-b). Isaiah is not interested in focusing on Egypt or on Judah. God’s actions are what are important. Christ will stretch out His hand and the assistants will stumble and those who relied on their horizontal professionalism will fall and “all of them will come to an end together” (v. 3c-f). It is the final and absolute end of evil.

Then the Lord used an illustration of a lion attacking a sheep to illustrate how human resistance does not help with shepherds coming, screaming and making a noise. In the same manner God’s battle with evil cannot be stopped (v. 4a-d). The Lord comes and wages war upon Mount Zion and upon its hill (v. 4d). This is not earthly Jerusalem that Isaiah has in mind but the heavenly Jerusalem. It is not the city that needs protection as much as the faithful ones in the heavenly city (v. 5c).

The New Jerusalem will come down from the sky and the Final Battle of God will take place. It is at the end of the millennium as John indicated in the Book of Revelation (20:7-9). Isaiah already knew it. John did not invent a new concept. Isaiah knew about the millennium since he said in Isaiah 24:22d “after many days they will be punished.” The Lord will “come out from His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth” (26:21a). “Indeed fire will devour Your enemies” (26:11c). What the inhabitants of Judah need to do, says Isaiah, is to “return to Him from whom you have defected” (v. 6).

In those days, says Isaiah, every man will throw away all their useless idols of silver and gold that “your hands have made and caused you to sin” (v. 7). Sinful constructions, sinful technology, digital sins, all made by human ingenuity will all be destroyed, but not by human hands. They will fall, not by a human sword, but by the Word of God (v. 8). They will not escape.

The subject of Isaiah is not Egypt or Judea but God. “His Rock will pass over” (v. 9a). Christ is the Rock of Daniel 2 that will come before the millennium with all His holy angels. It is in heavenly Zion and in the New Jerusalem that the Lord also will use fire for the event at the end of the millennium (v. 9c). We know that there never was a fire of such great proportions ever in the history of earthly Jerusalem as there will be at the end of the millennium.

Dear God,
Grant Lord that we will focus like Isaiah on You in the Time of Trouble and not on human machinations and securities. Keep us and protect us we ask in Your Name.  Amen.

Koot van Wyk
Kyungpook National University
Sangju, South Korea