Isaiah’s End-Time Road Map (Chapters 1-8)

Isaiah’s book is God’s message to His end-times people, a spiritual road map that teaches what will come and how to negotiate perilous times:  without it’s wisdom, we will be sorely prepared.  Most interesting, is its continuous and precious promises of God’s divine direction and provision for His people [those that heed His warnings and whose hearts He has prepared] during the last days.  It is full of practical instruction–teaching us how to walk in righteousness during great tribulation–and how to help others also.

What follows is an outline of a study guide that was developed in preparation for a discussion group and study of the book of Isaiah:

Book of Isaiah

The book of Isaiah is the largest of the prophetic books—the one that most consistently and openly declares Christ, for which cause, Isaiah is often thought of as the evangelistic prophet, [his very name means ‘the salvation of the Lord’]—and the prophetic text most quoted in the New Testament.  Generally, it is a call to repentance for the forgiveness of sins:  for it defines man’s sin, God’s standard for holiness, the impending judgment [both earthly and eternal blessing or cursing], and a promise of divine direction and provision to all saints who seek consolation and hope in times of affliction.  Like the other prophetic texts, it is written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come (1 Corinthians 10:11):  to further secure and forever establish the steadfast confidence that we have in Christ (John 20:31).  Through Isaiah, we are presented with a broad overview of the purpose of Christ and the plan of God.  Within it, we find much that is instructive concerning these last days prior to Christ’s return.

Chapter One

[Important note–God grants us an exceedingly precious promise in Isaiah 1:16-20–a covenant–that if we will do good, we will eat of the good of the land [God’s promised provision.]

  • A vision [concerning what shall befall natural Israel and her holy city, Jerusalem [and therefore, by implication, also those engrafted vines], which indicates that Isaiah saw it with his eyes open, as in a trance, like wicked Balaam (Numbers 24:4).  As God’s trumpet, he speaks what he has seen and heard and been assured of (Acts 4:20; 1 John 1:1; 2 Corinthians 4:13.
  • Isaiah quotes Moses (Deuteronomy 32:1-3), and his words (Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth) signify the prophetic nature of his sermon—that God’s words will not come back void, but will accomplish all things as they are purposed (Isaiah 55:11)—and that the times foretold of by Moses were even then upon them (Deuteronomy 31:29).  Simply, what we read of in Isaiah will come to pass.
  • The transgressions of God’s people are so much more egregious because of the great grace which they have received:  for this reason, the end of those who turn away from [forsake] God is worse than their beginning (2 Peter 2:20-22); and there is no hope of their further repentance (Hebrews 10:26-27).  Rebellion is as witchcraft, and as in the days of King Saul, those who do evil within the house of God prefer to do it in His name, even as Saul justified his disobedience with a pretense of piety:  while our earthly repentance may grant us heavenly mercy, it does not necessarily remove from us the earthly penalty for our sins (1 Samuel 15).  Even after David repented of conspiring to have Uriah slain on the field of battle and of laying with Bathsheba, the child which he bore with her died soon after birth (2 Samuel 11, 12:15-20).
  • The people had left their rightful station and proper nature as the children of God, doing righteousness—and were turned to every evil work, as brute beasts made to be taken and destroyed (2 Peter 2:12)—for animals that cannot serve their natural purpose have a natural end.
  • Rather than leaning into their yoke (godly purpose), they have bolted backwards, like a wild beast.  Moreover, the sin of the people is so pervasive that the entire nation is perverted:  for children [who ought to be innocent] are not only corrupted but also corruptors of others.
  • Chastisement is an indication of sonship status, and therefore, the province of paternity (Proverbs 3:12)—for it is the love and honor of the children for their father that make it effectual—and so it ceases when children throw off their father’s authority (Hebrews 12:6-11).
  • The purpose of chastisement is to draw children to the knowledge of God, so that their will can be conformed to His own:  but the wayward child given over to a reprobate mind is beyond correction.
  • When moral decay is broadly advanced in a nation, natural security is compromised, and natural provision withers—and the entire nation would suffer annihilation—except the wicked are preserved in part by the presence of a righteous remnant among them.  And if any be called out by God, they should go, according to His divine directions and in like manner (Genesis 19).
  • They possessed the rudimentary principles of a religion (vain trappings), but not the sincerity of a pure and undefiled religion of chastity and charity (James 1:27).
  • The prayer of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord—He will not hear it—for they have persecuted the righteous and overthrown justice (Psalms 15:8,29).
  • The Lord’s consistent response to man’s sin—to raise a standard of righteousness—and invite men everywhere to repent.  The Lord is faithful to His promise (Deuteronomy 30:1-3).  Principally, the Lord is concerned with justice [and therefore, righteous judgment].
  • That blessing and cursing—and life and death—is bound up in our response to His invitation (Deuteronomy 30:19).
  • The Lord lays the charge for their corrupted state principally at the feet of the princes—elders who have forsaken His covenant for personal profit [in direct contradiction to His command in 1 Peter 5:2)—and so are now found companion to like-hearted, worldly men.  Note, bribery and political gain perverts judgment and justice.  The church has become a mixture of truth and lies led by princes who care not for the sheep (John 10:12-13):  and these false teachers have substituted their own traditions for the practices of God, abdicating their God-given responsibilities (Titus 1:10-16).
  • But God will restore right judgment through righteous men—and take vengeance upon the ungodly—and this includes both those who know the truth but have abandoned it and also those who have never known the way of righteousness (Ezekiel 13; Hebrews 10:26-27).
  • Moreover, they will be judged by their own works and found lacking, publicly shamed, even as they have publicly denied the Lord (Luke 9:26).  The lives of the righteous contain both precious stones (good works of the Spirit) and also wood, hay, and stubble (sinful acts):  but they will be saved by the atoning blood of Jesus and the grace of God (1 Corinthians 3:10-15), even as those whose entire lives are built upon rebellion will be consumed by a fire that punishes them without allowing them to perish (Mark 9:43-48; Revelation 3:18).

Chapter Two

[Important Note:  Isaiah 2:10 commands us to hide ourselves, living humbly and depending fully upon Christ alone (Hosea 10:8; Luke 23:30; Revelation 6:16); also, chapter 4 of the book of Micah uses much of the exact same language as chapter 2 of Isaiah.]

  • The vision continues.  God shows much by visions that words alone may not fully explain, even as John the Revelator turned to see the voice that spoke with him (Revelation 1:12).
  • The holy city of Jerusalem (mentioned more than 800 times in the bible) is a place of divine blessing and protection upon which the Lord’s name will remain forever; and the new heavens and earth will likewise contain a new holy Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 6:6; Psalms 46:4, 48:1-8, 87:3, 122:6, 132:13-14; 33:7).  All bible prophecy hinges upon the central theme of natural and heavenly Jerusalem (Revelation 3:12; 21:2)—for just as God raised a holy people through which the branch of David would arise—so too is He raising a nation of every tongue, tribe, and kindred (Revelation 5:9). Jerusalem is the center of all things.
  • The last days began with Christ’s ascension, or more properly, with the arrival of the Holy Comforter on the day of Pentecost when the gospel came unto men with power—and is even now upon us (1 John 2:18).  And so this vision is more appropriately about heavenly Zion (Galatians 4:26; Hebrews 12:22-24; Revelation 3:12), the church built upon the foundation of the blood of Jesus, which will descend from the clouds upon Christ’s triumphant return.  And so, the chapter begins by looking forward to the time [millennium] described by Zechariah in which all the nations will come up to Jerusalem to pay homage to the King of King and Lord of Lords (Zechariah 14:16; Revelation 20:1-3, all).
  • The means by which the Lord’s house will be established: God is a Deliverer, and He desires to show forth His great power (Exodus 9:16; Romans 9:17) by His dealings with the wicked—for He has called His people forth into the wilderness to serve Him in Spirit and in truth (Exodus 4:22-23)—so that they may enter into a land of milk and honey where He will dwell with them in perfect peace (Deuteronomy 8:7-9; Revelation 21:1-4). Why then will God allow evil men to descend upon and lay siege to Jerusalem (Luke 21:20), killing His people?  He desires to turn them to repentance, so that He can fulfill the covenant He made with Abraham (Genesis 17:1-9; Jeremiah 30:3).  However, because of their great sin, He must increase their afflictions (Deuteronomy 8:5-6) so that they will remember the works He did with their fathers (Deuteronomy 8:11-20)—for the Lord hears the cries of the righteous to deliver them (Psalm 34:15, 17)—and He is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit (Psalm 34:18). Due to their sin, His people have been dispersed among the nations (Daniel 9:7); and the end of these afflictions will be accomplished by the siege of Jerusalem (Daniel 9:20-27).  For in that time, His children will pray as Daniel prayed:  for they will account the Lord as righteous in His dealing with them (Daniel 9:14-15); entreating Him on the grounds of His great mercies, and asking Him to restore their sanctuary from its desolation because His name is upon it (Daniel 9:16-19).
  • Jerusalem’s natural and spiritual influence will reign over the whole world after Christ’s return.  However, we learn something surprising concerning this time from the prophet Zechariah:  “But every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles,” (Zechariah 14:16).  Moreover, it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain (Zechariah 14:13).  Who are these that are left, and why are some rebellious during the Lord’s physical, millennial reign?  Not all of the unrighteous are immediately destroyed at the Lord’s second coming, although many will perish from the great disturbances to the heavens and earth (Revelation 6:12-17):  and, of course, all the armies surrounding Jerusalem will immediately perish (Zechariah 14:12). The following considerations are advanced concerning those who will be on earth during the millennial reign of Christ:
    • Concerning the unbelievers.  Without question, the Lord slays His enemies, the idolaters (Deuteronomy 29:14-20; Isaiah 11:4; Zephaniah 1:14-18; Luke 19:27):  for He will return in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, whose end is hell (2 Thessalonians 1-7-10).  Because they received not the love of the truth, all unbelievers will be given over to a strong delusion prior to the day of the Lord and take the mark of the beast, worshipping the anti-christ (2 Thessalonians 2:8-12):  and for this reason, they cannot escape hell’s terrors (Revelation 14:9-11). However, the Lord is returning to uphold all of the prophecies concerning Israel’s predominance, which were first established in the Abrahamic covenant:  I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great (Genesis 12:2; Zephaniah 3:20).  Moreover, He will rule from the holy mount of Jerusalem—for Israel will declare the Lord’s sovereignty to the nations (Isaiah 45:20-21)—and all who are incensed against the Lord shall be ashamed and forced to bow and confess that He is Lord (Isaiah 45:23-24).   At the Lord’s second coming, He will make Jerusalem a burdensome stone and a cup of trembling to the nations—for in Israel, His might will be revealed to the world (Zechariah 12).  Chapter 25 of the book of Matthew explains this period:  first, the Lord relates two parables—the first, which illustrates that the time of possible repentance will be past upon His return—and the second, which illustrates that all who have neglected His grace (the fruitless) and have no good works to repay His mercies will be condemned to eternal torment.  Immediately thereafter, Jesus explains these parables, speaking of the time in which the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord (Revelation 11:15-19)—when He shall return to judge the world in righteousness and the people with his truth (Psalm 96:13; Malachi 3:16-18)—a time that will be a joy to the righteous and a terror to the wicked (Psalm 1; 2 Corinthians 5:11).  Notice, upon His return He shall gather all nations and divide the sheep from the goats (Matthew 25:31-33).  Remember, the faithful need not see signs and wonders to believe [but hear His word only]; and the wicked will not believe, though He raise the dead (Luke 16:27-31):  for this reason, the wicked living during the millennial reign are condemned already (John 3:18) and can only offer only a compulsory [and feigned] obedience to the Lord upon His return (Psalm 66:3).  Moreover, He will rule them with a rod of iron (Revelation 19:15):  “And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more,” (Isaiah 2:4).  For this reason, the scriptures declare, “As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time,” (Daniel 7:8-12; 2 Peter 2:12).  In fact, the wicked in that day will be the servants of the righteous (Isaiah 61:5-6).
    • Why does the Lord hold off the final judgment of the wicked for a thousand years?
      • To glorify Himself and make Himself known in the eye of many nations (Exodus 9:13-14; Jeremiah 16:19-21; Ezekiel 38:18-23)
      • To pursue His perfect justice (Psalm 73, 107:17; Proverbs 1:30-31).
      • To bear witness and testimony of the righteous (Psalms 32:10; Isaiah 44:7-8, 26, 61:5-6, 65:20; Micah 5:7, Zechariah 8:18-23; Revelation 20:4).
  • Yea, when the Lord returns to reap the souls of this world (Revelation 14:14-20), the righteous shall rejoice and wash their feet in the blood of the wicked, saying He is a God that judgeth in the earth (Psalm 58:10-11).  This is when the Lord will put His enemies under His feet and deliver up the kingdom to the Father by means of His physical rule on earth:  and the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death (1 Corinthians 15:24-26).  After the millennial reign, satan will be unleashed and deceive these wicked once more, whereupon the Lord will judge them according to their works and cast them [death and hell] into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:11-15):  this is the second death and the great, white throne judgment of God.
  • Concerning the Gentile saints.  Notice the wording of 1 Thessalonians 4:17-18:  “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”  We will receive our glorified bodies (1 Corinthians 15:51-53; 2 Thessalonians 1:10).
  • Concerning the Old Testament saints.  These will likewise be glorified, having been justified by faith, works, and the blood of Jesus Christ (Romans 3:21-31, 10:4); James 2:21-26):  for the dead in Christ shall rise first (1 Thessalonians 4:16).
  • Concerning the New Testament Jews (Zechariah 14:13; Isaiah 11:8, 65:19-25), which shall be on earth during the millennial reign.  These are the Jews who shall repent upon the Lord’s return—for the elect of God will be caught up to meet the Lord in the sky, even as He descends and reveals Himself to His people: “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other,” (Matthew 24:30).  When will the hearts of the Jewish people turn toward their kinsman Redeemer?  When they literally see the Lord’s return and are faced with the overwhelming knowledge of the enormity of their sin (2 Corinthians 3:13-16; Revelation 1:7):  and they will dwell in their own land (Ezekiel 37:21-23; Jeremiah 25:5-8) and rule as priests (Isaiah 66:21) after being glorified with the other saints (Zechariah 2:10-11).
  • Of the interaction between the two.  The glorified will have interaction with those not glorified, even as Jesus (in His first, earthly ministry) was first transfigured and then resurrected, but still had place with mortal man (Luke 24:33-53)—and Abraham and Sara entertained angels (Genesis 18:1-10)—as did both prophets and apostles.  The saints of God will rule over the wicked (Revelation 2:26-28, 20:4).
  • As to when New Jerusalem descends [after the millennial reign] and the proofs:
    • When New Jerusalem descends, there is no longer any sea (Revelation 21:1-2), but during Christ’s reign in the millennial kingdom on earth “He …rule(s) from sea to sea” (Ps. 72:8; Zech. 9:10).
    • At the great white throne judgment, which precedes the descent of New Jerusalem, death and Hell are thrown into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:14) and no longer to exist:  but death still occurs during the millennial reign:  For the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed (Isaiah 65:20).
    • Sin [and God’s wrath against it] are evident during the millennial reign (Zechariah 14:17-19; Revelation 20:7-9):  for God will rule them with a rod of iron (Revelation 19:15).  However, after New Jerusalem descends, God’s perfect government will reign eternally (Revelation 21:3-4).
    • And the rest of the chapter is a call to repentance.

Chapter Three

  • The picture here presented is an illustration of what shall befall the whole world:  for judgment must necessarily first begin with the house of God (1 Peter 4:17); and then come upon the whole world (Isaiah 10:12; Jeremiah 25:29; Ezekiel 9:6; Matthew 24:9).
  • The nature of this judgment—a shaking of foundational things (those which support and gird a nation) in general; and a famine [economic hardship resulting in a lack of food] and drought (Deuteronomy 28:23-24; Ezekiel 16:49; Haggai 1:6) upon the land in specific.
  • Everything the nation has laid faith in will be removed:  physical strength and military power and wisdom, justice [law and order] and [vain] religion, worldly wisdom, and length of days.  Moreover, there will be a dearth of godly character and counsel, of sound workmanship, and of intellectual brilliance.
  • The word ‘oppression’ in verse 5 means ‘to compel or urge a laborer to work,’ like a taskmaster or king who ‘demands tribute’ by ‘pressing’ his subjects to toil.  A reversal of the natural order, in which the nation shall be given over to impetuous, petulant rulers who will exercise power in an unjust and immoral manner, as a law unto themselves:  and for this reason, the people will be oppressed by heavy taxation [excessive obligation to special interest groups: for the unrighteous will cry out for the benefits of righteousness]—and as economic woes worsen [think ‘triple digit inflation’], rebellion will increase—and a wholesale reversal in the moral economy of its citizens will occur [see 2 Kings 6:25-30].
  • A poor, wise man can deliver a city (Ecclesiastes 9:5), but in this time, men will follow their own course (rejecting the wisdom of God), crying out for deliverance and attempting to press men into leadership roles for the most superfluous reasons.
  • The nation will be divided into competing constituencies [and every man for himself]:  and those pressed to lead will reject such a role because they have no heart for the suffering of the people, desiring to hoard their substance for themselves.
  • God will cause everything that men rely upon to cease (verse 8).
  • Where men’s actions defy God, their words are soon to follow:  and here, they reap of those things that they have sown into their lives.  Moreover, they mock God and proclaim their sins as an anthem, glorifying themselves, while working that which is unseemly among themselves—not only by their physical sins—but also, by conspiring to do their own will, rather than the will of God.  Remember, it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret (Ephesians 5:11-12).  And they have brought these things upon themselves—for out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks, betraying secret desires, by which actions follow (James 1:14-15)—and by their own words, they are judged (Matthew 12:36-37).
  • A glorious promise in the midst of judgment, even as the goodness of God (Christ’s atoning grace) is best revealed in the midst of the Father’s righteous wrath (Romans 2):  that the wicked will be punished; but the righteous will be sustained!  This is the character of God, as Abraham well knew and understood (Genesis 18:23-25).
  • A complete reversal of the natural order occurs during this time, as a result of the nation’s sins—children are unrestrained because women are rebellious—desiring to rule over men.  And for this cause, the people suffer.  A thorough reading of the Old Testament reveals that female leadership, while present, was not normative (for the accounts are rare): and as such, it conforms to every aspect of the New Testament teachings concerning the role of women within the assembly. First, the very presence of the prophetess Miriam and judge and prophetess Deborah (as two examples) are evidence of the fact that women are (every bit as much as men) New Testament members of our royal priesthood: and not behind men in intimacy and access to the Holy Spirit in any way. Women may still today speak by divine unction, giving a word of knowledge or wisdom concerning any thing, sharing a personal testimony or a spiritual song.  However, one characteristic of the apostate church is a profound lack of elders (spiritually mature males, as defined in 1 Timothy 3:1-7, 5:1-2 and Titus 1:5-9).  (Notice, the apostle Paul refers to himself as an elder in many places [1 Peter 5:1], indicating that those with the equipping functions listed in Ephesians 4:11 and 1 Corinthians 12:28-29 are elders.)  Today, as in Deborah’s time, it is not unusual to find godly women demonstrating more faith within the assembly than many of the men.  Notice in the following account, however, that God’s desire was not for Deborah to lead His army, but Barak.  (God does not press women into roles that He reserved exclusively for men (as teachers and elders exercising authority over men).  Rather, He used Deborah’s faith to bolster the weak faith of Barak.  The simple fact that Deborah does not usurp Barak’s God-ordained role, but merely supports him in his task, is proof of God’s will concerning these things:  that those whom He ordains to rule over the assembly well (by serving God and others) are exclusively male.
    • “And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, when Ehud was dead. And the LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan … and Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time. And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment. And she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kedeshnaphtali, and said unto him, Hath not the LORD God of Israel commanded, saying, Go and draw toward mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun? And I will draw unto thee to the river Kishon Sisera, the captain of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him into thine hand. And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go. And she said, I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for the LORD shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh,” (Judges 4:1-9).
    • It is a sign of the Lord’s displeasure with Israel that He judges them by the prophetess, Deborah: for apostates are often ruled over by ungodly women who desire to rule over men in the flesh (violating the clear command of 2 Timothy 2:11-12), rebelling against what God has ordained. Of course, the apostate church is full of men weak in the faith who refuse to heed the clear commands of the Lord to become sound students of the words of God by much study and prayer–and these invariably turn to their own wisdom–affirming themselves by their own traditions (women elders).
  • The Lord Himself will plead the cause of the righteous (for which cause, they will be delivered) when He stands in judgment against all unrighteousness—and so, we see again, that this is the judgment of God—and not to be feared by the righteous.
  • The terror of the Lord will be revealed against the false teachers and prophets, hirlings who serve for personal profit but desert the sheep in their time of need.  (And in a worldly sense, those wicked leaders who have placed their own welfare ahead of the welfare of the people will be held in contempt by the Lord—for they have overthrown the cause of the just in contradiction to Psalm 8:13-16 and 82:3 (for man is to seek after justice in all things, according to Proverbs 1:1-7).  And this judgment is a type of the judgment to come:  read Luke 12:42-48.
  • A society’s health or demise can be seen in the conduct of its women—whether to it’s honor—or to its shame.  Contrast the conduct of women today (who are as the harlot described in Proverbs 7:10-27) with God’s commandments concerning women professing godliness:  1 Timothy 2:9-15; Titus 2:3-5; 1 Peter 3:1-6.  In all these things, their conduct was a contradiction to Philippians 2:1-8.
  • The end product of this nation-wide, moral decay:  military defeat.  Wisdom cries out at the gates of the city (Proverbs 1:21, 8:3), which are the hearts of men; and here, men are turned to a shameful state.

Chapter Four

  • The humbling of a nation’s women is to its shame.  Just as the fall of man began when Adam neglected his spiritual duty to teach and protect Eve (making room for the devil’s deceptions to take root in her heart), so too does the moral decline of a nation begin with men abdicating their spiritual responsibility to lead [provide for and protect] their families.  A nation’s fall begins with the disobedience of men and ends with the humbling of its women.  Now, the two judgments against the nation mentioned in the former chapter come to pass:  the loss of beauty in its women (due to economic hardship, pestilence, and plagues); and a lack of men (for many are slain in battle).  Such is their state that women will throw off all their natural expectations:  fearing that there will be no man for them (Genesis 19:31), they are willing to set aside the custom of the husband’s provision (Exodus 21:10) and provide for themselves; they will even forgo their natural inclination to be the sole love of a man.  It is a sad account that women will turn to a man on any grounds or conditions when pressed by God to turn to Him in their repentance.  Moreover, a man who will obtain wives in such a casual fashion with no sense of obligation to them or concern for their personal happiness is not fit for marriage.  Thus, this verse is an illustration of severe deterioration of the national character.
  • The book of Judges illustrates the process by which a nation is humbled.
    • The first thing we should notice is that the nation could not fulfill its godly destiny by fully possessing the promised land:  And the LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron (Judges 1:19).
    • When men disregard the words of God, they weaken their nation.  God’s promises are often accompanied by warnings—for He extends His promises as invitations to righteousness—and men must choose between blessing and cursing.  Israel’s ability to possess the promised land [physical security] was clearly tied to their obedience:  I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them (Deuteronomy 30:19-20).
    • What was Israel’s sin?  And the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, Hittites, and Amorites, and Perizzites, and Hivites, and Jebusites: And they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons, and served their gods. And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgat the LORD their God, and served Baalim and the groves (Judges 3:5-6).
    • The men had violated a specific prohibition, which God had given them to fulfill in order to keep their nation strong:  And an angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you. And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this? (Judges 2:1-2)
    • When men abdicate their God-given responsibility to lead by example, the nation is snared by their sin:  Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you (Judges 2:3).
    • Although the nation of Israel still enjoyed some military success during this time, it continued to sink into a state of ever-increasing, moral depravity:  notice, the sin of the men of Israel is mentioned throughout the book of Judges (Judges 3:7,12, 4:1, 6:1, 10:6, and 13:1).  What is interesting to consider is the effect that this prolonged state of sin had upon the leadership of the nation.  In the beginning of the book, three heroic figures are mentioned:  Othniel, Ehud, and Shamgar.  These men embody the ideal of competent, male leadership—courageous and decisive men who are divinely inspired to make right choices in the midst of adversity—and who deliver the nation from its foreign oppressors.
    • In the middle of the book (chapter 4), however, the nation is suffering from a lack of competent, male leadership—for we see a woman [Deborah] judging Israel—and rebuking God’s divinely chosen deliverer [Barak] for refusing to obey the Lord.  In fact, Barak refuses to fight without Deborah’s leadership; and later, it is not Barak, but a cunning woman who slays Sisera [the Lord’s enemy].
    • Next (chapters 6-9), we have the story of Gideon who, like Barak, is full of doubts—he delivers the people of God, but turns to idolatry (8:27) and proves incapable of ruling his own family well—for one of his sons [Abimelech] slays his other children in an attempt to gain control of the kingdom.  When all the men and women of the city are gathered in a fortress, Abimelech comes to conquer them, and as he begins to set fire to the door of the stronghold, a woman throws a millstone down upon his head, mortally wounding him (Judges 9:51-454).  This account shows how the sin of the nation has contributed to the decline of competent, male leadership:  for although all the people are gathered together, it is a woman who demonstrates the courage and initiative to thwart the attack; and even Abimelech admits that it is a shame for a man to be slain of a woman in battle.
    • In chapters 10-12, we have the story of Jepthah, an ordained conqueror of God who, like Gideon and Barak, is also full of doubts.  Jepthah’s lack of faith is seen in the foolishness of a vow (Judges 11:30-31) he makes immediately prior to battle:  although he is able to deliver the people of Israel, he fails at his primary role as a father [to protect his family]—and so we see the continuing erosion of godly character among the men of the land—for if this is the character of the greatest among them, what does this say about the more common of the men of Israel?
    • In chapters 13-16, we have the story of Samson, a divinely anointed, cunning, and fearless warrior of God who possesses supernatural strength.  Samson’s story is proof that godly gifts must be tempered with godly character, if they are to be effectual: for he loves a harlot woman from a foreign nation; and through witchcraft, she conquers him.  Godly character is never overcome by the cunning of a strange woman:  notice, Samson’s fate is like that of God’s enemy, Sisera; the nation’s lack of godly, male leadership has brought it down to the level of its enemies.
    • The willingness to confront what is wrong is a sign of competent leadership, and men are particularly suited by God to serve [endure] in this capacity.  Where there is no male leadership, the people fall [except the Lord lift up a woman to serve them, which is to the shame of a nation and its men].  We see this in the account of Micah:  when he returns money to his mother [that he stole from her], she blesses instead of rebukes him (Judges 17:2).  Women are often a model of faithfulness, chastity, and love in the bible, but they never serve in the role of an ordained conqueror or leader of Israel.  Rather, as in the case of Hannah (1 Samuel 1:11-18), God uses godly women as vessels through which to raise up righteous men of God.
    • When no man raises up a standard of righteousness, the people fall—for a lack of competent leadership in a nation naturally leads to lawlessness and moral relativism—in those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes (Judges 17:6).  In the final chapters of the book of Judges, we find a number of indications that the moral erosion of the nation is complete:
      • We find a priest [Levite] serving for profit a man [Micah] who worshipped idols.
      • Moreover, the priest takes a foreign woman as his concubine.
      • While traveling, the priest decides to lodge in Israel, rather than a foreign nation, considering Israel to be safer territory.  However, when he land his concubine lodge in the house of a man in that city, the house is surrounded by homosexuals (reminiscent of Sodom and Gommorah) who want to know him.
      • The master of that house sends out the concubine who is raped repeatedly throughout the night and dies the next day.
      • As a result of this sin, the nation is divided in civil war, and women are stolen from their families to become wives of the remaining Benjamites because of the vow (Judges 21:1) that Israel had taken against them in the time of conflict.  Notice, the moral depravity of the nation culminates in the mistreatment of its own women.
  • And the rest of chapter four of the book of Isaiah is a picture of what will occur upon the Lord’s return to rule in Jerusalem—that He will be a refuge to His people—and they will be honored among all the nations.

Chapter Five

  • A picture of how God will deal with Israel in the last days.  Judgment begins with the house of God, but it does not end there.  For that reason, some of what we see Israel experiencing in this time will also be seen in the world at large.  This is probably especially true of America, which historically, is a predominantly gentile nation, although it has strayed from the word of God over time.  Certainly, no nation on earth has been a greater defender of or been more intimately linked to Israel than America, historically speaking—(that may change prior to Christ’s return)—and America is the greatest source of Christian aid to the world of any nation in the last two hundred years. Therefore, many saints believe that Isaiah is also a picture of what will befall America [at least, in part].
  • As God sings to His children, so too will His children one day sing to Him (Revelation 15:2-3).  In Luke 19:41, Christ, knowing what would come upon Israel before His return, wept—even as this is a mournful song [a song of sorrow].
  • The Well-beloved is Christ, and Israel is His vineyard.  Notice, it’s preeminence and the care in which it was tended:
    • It is placed on a hill, so that its light extends to the whole world.
    • It is a fruitful hill, full of every natural benefit necessary for the raising of fruitful vines.
    • It is fenced and protected, under the ownership and Name of God.
    • It is carefully tended, watched over and cared for—even the stones removed—with much diligence, the ground has been carefully prepared for the good of the vine.
    • The vines [people] were carefully prepared [chosen]:  to bring forth the righteous branch of David.
    • A tower, indicating that the presence of God would dwell among them.
    • It’s transgression—that it bought forth wild grapes, as if it had not been tended at all, such as were not fit for consumption (Deuteronomy 32:32-33)—these grapes were not after their kind (after the similitude of Christ, the true Vine).
    • The Lord’s sorrow—that no other remedy is available, except judgment—for God always seeks after justice.
  • Israel’s penalty for its sins:
    • The loss of the Lord’s defense—as a hedge taken away and a wall broken down—there will be no more defense for Israel.
    • The vineyard will be eaten up and trampled down:  its resources will be consumed and its people oppressed by a foreign invader.
    • Drought, which is famine, in which only unpalatable plants will flourish.
    • The reason for His judgments repeated:  that the people’s hearts were not concerned with justice—and so began to oppress one another—each one looking after his own selfish gain.  Moreover, the Lord desired to deliver; but He cannot hear the cries of the wicked (Proverbs 15:29).
    • A special judgment against the wealthy and influential of Israel [Read Micah 3].  There is no hope of redemption for those who have been appointed as judges over the people, but who began to beat [oppress] the servants of God (Luke 12:45-46).  They will be like Esau who despised his birthright:  though he sought it carefully with tears, he found no place of repentance (Hebrews 12:17).
      • Their prosperity was the fruit of God’s grace; and therefore, their response to God should have been overwhelming thanksgiving.
      • Instead, they became consumed by greed, loving the compliments of men.
      • Why the houses would stand empty, which is a great plague of death—from famine—and from lack of defense.  (See Luke 6:24-26; 16:19-23)
      • Riotous living leads to want in the day of adversity—for all their substance was foolishly squandered—and nothing was laid up for leaner times (Luke 15:13-16).
  • Multitudes will die from thirst and hunger—from which the leaders of the nation will not be able to deliver them.
  • The common man and the mighty man shall suffer equally—and not only by famine—but at the hands of the heathen:  and those who have turned from God shall suffer in death and hell (Ezekiel 31:10-18).  Even as God’s wrath consumes the wickedness of Israel, so too shall He be glorified in His deliverance of the repentant—for the lambs shall feed after their manner—that is, the righteous shall be upheld by His divine direction and supernatural provision.  When He is glorified, His wrath and mercy shall be equally strong:  His wrath at work in the lives of the wicked; and His mercy at work in the lives of the righteous.  And strangers shall possess the land of Israel.  This corresponds with Zechariah 13:8-9.
  • Those who mock God in Israel, bound by pride and sin, full of self-knowledge and false righteousness, seeking their own gain at the expense of other men’s justice, will be surrounded by the fury of strange nations:  for these are the ordained judgments against Israel.

Chapter Six

  • A vision of God’s mystery and power and intention [concerning what will befall Israel], and by implication, that what shall pass will be:
    • To God’s glory and honor [even as the seraphims were created to glorify God]
    • By divine decree
    • An act of righteousness by a holy God, which will lead to the unveiling of the Holy One [Christ] and His earthly rule
    • A great shaking in heaven and earth
    • A manifestation of the wrath of God
  • Isaiah’s response, and by implication, a description of who this vision will be received and understood by—specifically, those who:
    • Hold no pretense of self-righteousness—discerning the sin that is evident in their own lives—and the leaven that is present among His people
    • Fear the Lord [and are terrified at the prospect of His wrath, even as they are trusting in His mercy and goodness to all who believe]
    • Seek after His righteousness and the kingdom of God
  • The consequence for all who come under conviction concerning [gain understanding of] the Lord’s purpose and plan—they will partake of the Lord’s altar, being cleansed of all unrighteousness, as evidenced by:
    • Their peace in the midst of great turbulence
    • Their ability to clearly receive Divine direction [which is also, supernatural provision]
    • An understanding concerning the end times:
      • That those who minister truth will be rejected by many
      • That blindness among the people of God is a consequence of their sin
      • That warnings will go unheeded, effectually worsening the condition of the people’s hearts.  Why is this?  The consequence of speaking truth in a context in which it is largely rejected [or worse, acknowledged but never actually practiced], is that the listeners learn to despise God, His truths, and those who speak them.
  • What shall befall Israel [and also, the world—for judgment begins in the house of God—but it does not end there]:
    • Depopulation of cities by some means of destruction
    • Entire families destroyed; also, loss of natural kinship
    • A laying waste to the whole land [through some means, yet unidentified]
      • Such that men will flee
      • And find refuge in the remote parts of the land
        • Undesirable areas
        • Nooks and crannies
  • A remnant shall remain [survive], even as God raised up a pure and holy people through which to bring forth the Branch of David, who will be sanctified:
    • By faith in Christ:  “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth,” (Romans 10:4).
    • And through suffering, even unto death:  “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death,” (Revelation 12:11).

Chapter Seven

  • The bible teaches that the anti-christ will have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant (Daniel 11:30):  some in Israel have forsaken the holy way; and others will follow.  (This is also true of gentile believers.)  Like Esau, these are those who reject their inheritance and will find no place of repentance (Hebrews 12:17):  they will conspire [have an understanding] with the anti-christ; their hearts will become one with the evil one.
  • The hearts of the repentant revealed by the looming threat of their brethren’s conspiracy with evil agents:  they wavered [but did not fall], fearing the looming destruction.
  • The Lord’s response to this wavering [a prophetic declaration]:
    • That the repentant need not fear.
    • That God has established a divine boundary, limiting satan’s agency in part
    • And by implication, an admonition to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7):  Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment (John 7:24).
    • That the aim of this conspiracy is a planned attack to occupy Jerusalem and establish the rule of a foreign king who will be pleasing to a foreign god [possess all of the son-ship characteristics of his devilish father].
    • That this demonic reign shall not be accomplished or come to pass—of course, this is not to overthrow the plain meaning of the broad counsel of scripture, which repeatedly declares that an abomination of desolation will be placed in the sanctuary of the people—but rather, that the end result of demonic efforts to overthrow the reign of Christ are futile.
    • Enoch [who was translated, which is a type of the rapture] lived 365 years (Genesis 5:21-23).
    • That all those who place themselves under a false [foreign, demonic] authority will not be established [in the King’s house]; their end is ruin.
  • The signs of the repentant
    • That they understand the character of God
    • Because they understand His nature, they can recognize His actions
    • And all this, because they are fully familiar with His words
  • God’s trust in the repentant, revealed:  that He can pose questions to them, which test their understanding of His nature and character as revealed through His word; and they respond in righteousness:
  • The Lord’s response to such trust:
    • The revelation of His divine plan to the faithful.
    • And by implication, the continued promise that, in due season, the power of His might will be plainly revealed to all in the world-wide rule of King Jesus.
  • Of the example of Christ, Whom we are imitators of by the Spirit
    • Many whom have received God’s inheritance [land] will despise their birthright [a great apostasy will arise, according to 2 Thessalonians 2:3]
    • Apostates reject mature servant-leaders and heap to themselves false teachers, having itching ears:  but these, preaching and teaching for filthy lucre, will desert them in their hour of need—for they are hirelings—and not true shepherds [John 10:11-13; 2 Timothy 4:3; Titus 1:11]
    • Divine judgment, as foretold by Jesus in Matthew 24:21:  the rise of the anti-christ
    • The enemies of Israel, whom are gathered around them, shall descend upon them in hordes—to bite—and to sting.
      • The most fruitful places will be made barren
      • The enemy will seek out every hiding place
        • Occupying the high pastures
        • And the rocky hillsides
        • The shaming of the nation by the agency of the anti-christ and the loss of unity in the land, when every family will be divided against itself [Matthew 10:34-36, 24:10; Luke 12:52-56]
        • But some will in the land will be supernaturally sustained [Zechariah] in spite of the siege and famine:  for honey is like manna that falls from the sky
          • The little livestock that remains will be difficult to keep alive for the fruit of the land shall be made barren by the attack of the enemy:  and by implication, this natural destruction is the result of poisonous darts [demonic intervention]
          • The formerly cultivated places of the country will fall into neglect:  and wandering livestock and wild beasts will browse upon land.

Chapter Eight

  • God enjoins Isaiah to write the vision and make it plain [as did Habakkuk (2:2)], so that all who repent will have record of the coming days:  and this includes chapters 8-12, which are to be taken together, as a whole; and this is a vision of the destruction that the anti-christ (King of Assyria) will bring upon Israel–and the whole world.
  • Of the naming of the vision, Mahershalalhashbaz, which means ‘make speed to the spoil; hasten the prey’ and indicates that Israel’s enemies will come upon her with great speed and destruction in the last days.
  • That the vision is given before two witnesses–who witness its writing–which is proper order, for out of the mouths of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.  And this, as indication of the great worth and significance of the vision, which distinguishes it from all others.  This signifies the divine certainty of the vision’s unfolding–for as two are present at its unveiling–so also are two present at its performance (Revelation 11:3).
  • That the child [of Isaiah (and his wife, the prophetess)] is so named Mahershalalhashbaz as a reminder that in all things and at all times the end should be kept in mind–for all the scriptures are given as a warning to prepare for this time–and therefore, like the name of our children, it should be always before us.
  • The child is symbolic of God’s people–and here, a warning plainly revealed for the second time–of a swift destruction.  It should be noted that swift destructions are unexpected destructions, for which men cannot prepare because they do not see it coming.
  • The rise of the anti-christ who will assert his dominion over the conspiratorial alliance between Israel’s betrayers [led by Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel] and Syria.
  • Idolatry is always the gate by which the enemy enters in to kill and destroy, and these gates are the hearts of men (Proverbs 8:1-3).  If men do not repent, but continue in their abasements, they will are given over to a reprobate mind; and these apostates despise their birthright and inheritance, even the waters of their own land.
  • If they do not love their own waters, God will visit the strength of other waters upon them, a cleansing flood of judgment over Israel’s apostates, even as a former flood cleansed the whole world of wickedness.  The final days are marked by God’s judgment against His own people–for the time is rapidly approaching when all men will be judged according to their deeds–and this season of judgment begins with the house of God/
  • Yokes are placed around the neck (Deuteronomy 28:48), even as enemies stand upon the necks of the people (Lamentations 5:5) and heads are cut off at the neck (Ezekiel 21:34).  By implication, the shadow of the anti-christ’s influence will extend over the whole land like a flood (Psalm 69), but a small remnant [the head] will be protected because God has not granted the evil one power to overflow past the neck (Zechariah 13:8)—for just as God allowed afflictions upon Job but also placed a hedge of protection around his life (Job 1:12)—so too, will the Lord protect His people in that day.  As it is written, the enemy shall come in like a flood, but God will lift up a standard of righteousness against him (Isaiah 59:19).
  • God challenges the wicked, encouraging them to whip themselves to a frenzy, to engage all their resources, counsel, and stirring speeches in coming against Him [for it is truly He who they fight].  No matter how the wicked strengthen one another, they will ultimately fail–for they invade thy land, O Immanuel–and God will not allow the natural root of the branch of David to fail altogether.
  • And so a means of distinguishing the difference between the repentant and the unrepentant appears—for those who cleave to the Lord will be prepared by His Spirit for this time—and will not do as others do, crying out in fear of the unholy alliance that shall arise between Syria and Ephraim.
  • Rather, because the faithful believe the scriptures and realize that all these things must come to pass, they will be comforted, directed, and provided for by the Holy Spirit.  The faithful will fear God—not man—for He is a sanctuary to His people [Isaiah 51:12-13; Ezekiel 11:16; Luke 12:4-5].
  • Therefore, we are to speak the word [of Christ and His gospel] with boldness:  for what is the chaff to the wheat? (Jeremiah 23:28)
  • Notice, we are not to associate with the fainthearted, but rather, to assemble with the faithful to encourage, strengthen, and comfort one another in our afflictions (Deuteronomy 20:8).
    • The reason that these things must come to pass:  to separate the wheat from the tares (Matthew 13:30).  For in this time, many will be offended [be snared by their fear of the anti-christ’s alliance] and betray one another [make peace at the cost of their obedience to God].
    • How the vision is bound and sealed—in our hearts—for these things are foretold by Christ (Matthew 10:34-36, 19:28-29, and 24:9-10), a Stone and Rock [of stumbling and offense] to all who do not believe the gospel (1 Peter 2:7-8).  Moreover, our faith is made evident, in that we wait upon the Lord, as evidenced by the following:
    • Our lifestyle [how we live and act] is conformable to our convictions that all these things will come to pass, i.e. we are actively preparing [spiritually and naturally] for this time.
    • We will recognize these things for what they are when they come to pass   and see the Lord’s purpose in Israel’s pain (Job 19:28-29): as foretold in Zechariah, a remnant of Israel will return to the Lord (Zechariah 12:10, 13:9), even as a remnant of the gentile believers will also repent of their wicked indulgences and vain imaginations.
    • We will hear His still, small voice [receive God’s divine direction and supernatural provision] during this season (1 Kings 19:11-13)—being wholly dependent upon Him, as a little child (Luke 18:17)—for which cause, the Lord rejoices (Matthew 11:25).
    • We will hand the vision down from one generation to the next:  “For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people. Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days,” (Acts 3:22-24).
    • We will be a sign and wonder to the world (Psalms 71:7; Zechariah 3:8; Acts 28:22), even after the manner of Christ (Luke 2:34-35):
      • Because we are a people who fear and obey God and are removed from the world’s ways (1 Peter 4:4).
      • Because the Lord will do many beautiful and splendid deeds to sustain His people, as the scriptures declare (Daniel 11:32; John 14:12).
  • This will be a time of great sorceries, by which many will be deceived and brought down to hell, of which the scriptures warn us (Matthew 7:15-16; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10).
  • When we are confronted with great calamity, oppression, and opposition, the faithful will with patience possess their souls (Luke 21:19-20), not following King Saul and Ahaziah’s evil examples (1 Samuel 28:5-7; 2 Kings 1:1-4)—for the scriptures forbid this (Leviticus 19:31, 20:27). And by implication:
    • Those who love God, love His words, the Holy Scriptures able to teach us of all things (2 Timothy 3:14-17).
    • And if any teach differently [whether by word or example], let them be anathema to us:  for these are children of disobedience, in which there is no light (1 John 1:5-7):  for these, as accursed children, will be continually distressed and hungered; and finding no deliverance in all the earth, they will curse God.
    • And so, we see that there are none in this time who are undecided—but all will fall into one camp [light]—or another [strong delusion].

One Response

  1. […] 1Isaiah’s End-Time Road Map (Chapters 1-8) « The Gathering Storm SUBMIT […]

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