Goto the e-book: The book of Isaiah
In verse 1: we see it’s about the “vision” of prophetic revelation which Isaiah saw in respect of Judah and Jerusalem.
Compare this with: Isaiah 2:1; Isaiah 12:1; and Amos 1:1.
We must clearly keep in mind that it concerns Judah and Jerusalem. As a general principle it should always be remembered to whom it is being specifically referred, and only when it is clear from the text that it is also generally applicable, can it be applied.
In verse 3: the charge is brought against Israel that the ox knoweth his owner and the ass his master’s crib, but that Israel has no knowledge, and the people of God (Israel) do not understand. Hereby the LORD makes known that the ox and the ass know to whom they belong and where their food comes from, but that Israel does not know their God.
It is still so today that most of the people of God know Him not, and do not know who they are or where they came from. The core of the white Western Protestant Nations, are literally the descendants of the literal Israel of the Bible, but go and tell it to them and see if they will believe you. They will even believe you less when you tell them they will have to return to the God of Israel and again set in motion the Divine Constitution should we want to bring back peace and harmony to this world again.
In verse 4: they are accused of leaving and despising the Holy one of Israel. Note that the LORD is called the Holy One of Israel. Nowhere is He called the Holy One of any other nation. It is of fundamental importance to understand the message of the Bible. It is because the people of Israel forsook their God, that the world is in the state it is now. The world will only be restored when God is acknowledged by the true Israel.
This is Isaiah’s message, and should be carefully noted when reading this book. Right in the beginning when the LORD called Israel, He said that He is making her his kingdom of priests and a holy nation – (Exodus 19:5, 6) and that Israel must glorify His name before other nations - (Deuteronomy 4:5-8) God never deviated from this and never will.
In the SECOND PART of Isaiah we shall see it clearly. But it is just as if it is such a glorious expectation for which Isaiah could not find any words that in Chapter 2 we see the first bright vision of the future, and again in Chapter 9 and 11 and in other sections.
Just as the LORD called himself the Holy One of Israel in verse 4, so He calls himself the Mighty One of Israel in verse 24.
In Malachi 3:6 the LORD says:
For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
The LORD changes not, therefore He will also not break his covenant with his people. But He will duly punish them, and remove the wicked ones amongst them. The Bible and history provide sufficient evidence in this respect, let us therefore give due attention to this matter and also endeavour to call our people to repentance.
In verses 5-7: we see sufficient evidence hereof.
In verse 2 the LORD calls heaven and the earth as witness against his people. It brings to remembrance the farewell warning that Moses directed to the people in Deuteronomy 30:19.
But in verse 8 the LORD gives the assurance that Israel shall not be completely destroyed. The daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city. If it were not for this assurance we would have been wiped out as Sodom and Gomorrah, - verse 9. God will not break his covenant; the descendants of Israel will not be annihilated.
Read i.a. the following Scriptures in connection with this:
Twelve unconditional and unbreakable promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob:
Genesis 12:2-3; Gen. 13:16; Gen. 15:5; Gen. 17:2-8, 15-19; Gen. 18:18; Gen. 22:15-18; Gen. 24:60; Gen. 26:4, 24; Gen. 27:28-29; Gen. 28:3, 14; Gen. 32:12, 28; Gen. 35:11.
God promises an everlasting and indestructible throne to David:
2 Samuel 7:13, 16, 25-29; Psalm 89:4-5, 28, 30, 34-38; Daniel 2:35, 44; Daniel 7:14, 18, 27; Luke 1:31-33.
The promise of a remnant in verse 9:
Compare: Isaiah 10:20-22; Isa. 11:11-13, 16; Isa. 37:32; Isa. 46:3; Jeremiah 23:3-8; Jer. 31:7-14; Ezekiel 11:16-21; Joel 2:32; Micah 2:12-13; Micah 4:1-7; Micah 5:3-9; Micah 7:18; Zep. 3:13-20; Zec. 8:6-8, 11-12; Romans 9:25-29; Romans 11:5.
From this we can see that there will always be a remnant in Israel. In the time of Elijah there were 7000 which did not bend the knee unto Baal - (1 Kings 19:18) so we see that in the time of Isaiah (Isa. 1:9) a “small remnant” remained so that God did not destroy Israel as a result of her sins. A remnant shall also remain to enter the millennium, a time of peace, and so form the crux of Christ’s Kingdom on earth - (Zec. 12:6-13:9.).
It can be clearly seen that in Israel God claimed ownership of a people for himself by whom the purpose of God on earth, shall be worked out. The main purpose of this is the institution of a worldwide kingdom. When we now return to Isaiah 1, we see in verses 26 and 27 the future restoration and glorification of Israel. We will see more of this in chapter 2:1-4.
Outward and actual divine worship: (10-20)
The LORD takes no delight in an outward divine worship attended with an inward Sodom and Gomorrah – condition – (Explanatory Bible). God only looks for sincerity, correctness and justice, (VV. 16, 17). We cannot get in God’s favour without making our lives right: we must stop doing wrong and start doing right. “All that is not of faith is sin” - (Rom. 14:23).
Read together with: Joel 2:12-13; Micah 6:6-8; Jer. 7:3-7; 1 Sam. 15:22.
As at that time, Israel is today also more set on outward than inward worship. God does not look on the outward, but the heart. In its true meaning the outward would reflect the inward.
God is willing to forgive if the sinner is prepared to turn from and confess his sins - (V.18).
God has no pleasure in the death of a sinner, but rather that he repents and lives.
Compare: Isaiah 43:25; Isa. 44:22; 2 Peter 3:9.
In verse 9 we see God is only too willing to give us the good if only we would listen;
Compare: Lev. 25:18-19; Lev. 26:3.
But if we do not listen He will punish us;
Read: Lev. 26:25; Jos. 24:15; Gal. 6:7; Isa. 1:20.
The LORD deplores the moral and spiritual decline of his people and promises that He will cleanse them by chastisement and restore them - (V.25).
The LORD promises the people that He shall purify Israel and remove all unrighteousness. A very important matter is brought out here, namely, that God unconditionally promises to cleanse Israel of all her unrighteousness. It comes with the unconditional promise of the LORD, to do so as seen in the following Scriptures:
Psalm 103:12; Isaiah 43:25; Isaiah 44:22-23; Jeremiah 31:31-34;
Ezekiel 36:22-38; Ezekiel 37:11-28; Ezekiel 38:23; Ezekiel 39:22-29;
Micah 7:18-20; Hebrews 10:16-18.
Thereafter the LORD shall again return to Israel their theocratic governing system, and Jerusalem shall be called the city of righteousness. It shall be when the Lord Jesus, the Christ, shall sit on the throne of his father David in Jerusalem and be King over the house of Jacob, the literal twelve tribes of Israel. Those who overcome shall rule with Him.
Read the following Scriptures: Matthews 19:27-30; Luke 1:31-33; Acts 1:6; Acts 3:19-26; Acts 15:14-17; Revelation 3:21; Rev. 20:4-6.
The restoration of Israel according to God’s Covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and with David is the world’s only hope for peace and for salvation. It will still be revealed over and over in Isaiah’s prophecies. But first sin is to be punished and thoroughly stamped out.
It is also emphasized in verses 28 to 31.
Just as God’s people today still willingly follow the ways and practices of the heathen, instead of serving and following the living God conscientiously, so also Israel did in the days of Isaiah. It was the custom of the heathen of those days to worship their gods amongst trees and in gardens.
It was normally coupled with immorality and sexual misdemeanours. It was an abomination in the eyes of the LORD. It would also be to no advantage to Israel, but be to them as a tree of which the leaves wither, and a garden that bears no fruit.
The end thereof would be destruction by fire.
As Paul said so many centuries later “the wages of sin is death” – Isaiah 1:31 and Romans 6:23.
In this section we get a preview of how it will be when the true Israel is gathered again, and the LORD has removed all her sins, has given her a new heart and she completely walks in the ways of the LORD. Then the nations around, which remain, will tell one another to go up to Jerusalem to learn from Israel the ways of the LORD.
Read: Deuteronomy 30:1-8 and Micah 4:1-4.
It was God’s purpose with Israel in the beginning, as seen in Deuteronomy 4:5-8. Israel could however not succeed in this matter under the old covenant, because the law was not yet written on their hearts. It will occur under the new covenant, with the law which will be written on the heart of Israel - (Jer. 31:31-34; Heb. 8:8-12). The kingship of Solomon over Israel, when it was at its culminating point, was a type of preview of this, as we read in 1 Kings 10:23-25.
In Revelation 21 John gives us exactly the same scene.
In verse 26 we read how the glory and honour of the nations are brought into it.
A mountain, in prophetic language, means a kingdom and a hill a smaller kingdom. The last days or the end of the days (verse 2) means the end of the days as far as Israel is concerned, when her punishment period is over, and she is again gathered and glorified, and Jesus, the son of David rules over Israel, and sits on the throne of his father David – (Luke 1:31-33).
It thus points to the millennial reign of peace, that is why verse 4 refers to the beating of their “swords” into “ploughshares”, and “spears” into “pruning hooks”, in other words, the conversion of implements of war to implements of peace. Then nations will no longer learn to make war.
It was never God’s intention that people should kill one another, or manufacture or invent items of destruction. Just think of what a glorious promise it is for humanity. Is there any other religion that can offer this, and any other god that can bring about such, except the living God, the God of Israel? No wonder that the prophet, with this preview, can make a call to Israel as follows: “O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD” - (V5)
In verse 3 we read that out of Zion shall go forth the law and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. Zion was the name of one of the mountains on which Jerusalem is situated. Zion did in the course of time, and also in prophecies, become synonymous with Jerusalem. The Scriptures clearly show that the Lord Jesus shall rule with an iron-rod from Jerusalem, and bring this world to order, peace, rest and harmony again.
That is why He says in Matthew 6:33:
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things - - -
(food, clothes, housing, security etc.)
- - - - - shall be added unto you.
The entire Scripture very strongly emphasizes the principle of righteousness. This again forms an integral part of God’s law. There shall never be justice on earth until God’s law is strictly enforced. It shall be done when Jesus rules over Israel on earth, through whom He shall apply and demonstrate the law. The nations will see this, and begin to march to Jerusalem to go and learn of this.
Read: Psalm 85:10-13; Psalm 72:1-11; Psalm 46:7-11; Psalm 45:6-7; Isaiah 32:16-18; Isaiah 32:1.
Unless we bring out this truth and say without fear what the Bible says concerning God’s plan with his people Israel, we will not have an answer from the Bible for the challenges of today. As long as we blindly and desperately cling to the fact that the church consisting of all races is now the new Israel, we have no message for our time. The precept that God, under the new covenant, has no chosen people anymore, and that the law is done away with, removes the whole message from the gospel. We shall further see in Isaiah that the restoration of Israel and her glorification under the Messiah is the heart of God’s plan and the hope for the world.
Judgement before blessing and glorification:
After this glorious preview that Isaiah could not resist giving, he first has to return to the punishment of Israel and the pronouncement of the judgements of God over his people. It was not a pleasant task for this patriot and man of God. It was also not pleasant for the LORD to pronounce it through Isaiah. God has no pleasure in punishment. When we listen with a spiritual ear, it will break our hearts to hear how God, throughout the Scriptures pleads with his people to convert themselves to him, so that they can live and He need not punish them.
Read for example from Ezekiel 18:30-32.
The explanatory Afrikaans Bible says the following: “The prophecy starts with the statement (because = verily) of the appalling fact (prophetically seen) that the LORD rejected the house of Jacob; literally abandoned it.
Compare: Isa.8:17; Isa. 9:7; Isa. 10:21; Isa. 29:22, the accusation, v. 6b-8, is that Israel in spirit and practice became equal to the heathen. At present they are fully under the influence of their Eastern neighbours who are soothsayers, those that produce divination and practice enchantment;
Compare: Lev. 19:26; Deut. 18:10, 14 etc.
In 1 Sam. 6:2 it seems as if soothsayers as a group existed besides the priests, under the Philistines. Trading, literally: they shake hands as a token of their trading traffic with one another. The political expansion of power under Uzziah and Jotam, cp. 2 Kings 14:22 and 2 Chron. 27:7, resulted in that Judah in world uniformity, forgot her calling as God’s people.
When we look at our own condition today, it’s exactly the same. Together with our trading with the East, which is considerable, also came the eastern practises. The occultism, yoga, karate etc. which left such a tendency with us that many of our serious people become severely offended when warned against such. Many of our people devote more time on practising these customs than studying and practising our Christian faith. Only the justice of God will eventually and finally free us from it.
For most of us, as for Israel at the time of Isaiah, our worldly goods have become a bigger guarantee of security than our belief in the living God. Our God is a jealous God and does not share our love and dependency with other “gods”.
Compare: Isaiah 31:1-3; Isa. 40:6; Deuteronomy 17:16; Jeremiah 17:5; Hosea 10:13; Mic. 5:10.
Just as Israel in imitation of the heathen began to serve idols and kneeled before the works of their hands, so we also do today. Our possessions have become our idols! Our time and thoughts are occupied with these rather than with dedication to the things of God. God’s plan and his word are no longer the centre of our lives. World uniformity, which is nothing less than idol worship, has become our norm;
Compare: Revelation 9:20.
Idols are literally nothingness;
Compare: Isaiah 2:18, 20; Isa. 10:11-12; Isa. 19:1, 3; Isa. 31:7.
The work of their hands;
Compare: Isa. 44:10.
Here the prophet says that man will bow down and be humbled: as a result of his haughtiness and pride and idol worship.
In verses 10-22 we see how it happened there.
The human being will be duly punished and made aware of his own insignificance and dependence on God.
Conditions of great anxiety for man and of the outpouring of the wrath of God are described to us so clearly that it fills us with great respect and awe.
THE DAY OF THE LORD is the last day of reckoning with man for his resistance and revolt against God prior to the advent of our Lord Jesus the Christ. The LORD is going to allow the heathen to become strong and then to stand up against Israel with the purpose of destroying her;
(Read in particular Psalm 2 and Psalm 83).
With this action the heathen will at the same time be used as a rod in God’s hand to punish Israel for her disobedience and thereby bring her to remorse and repentance;
(Read in particular Ezekiel 38:4, 8, 16-17; Ezekiel 39:2; Joel 2:25).
But at the same time the heathen will also be gathered for God to pour out his wrath upon them and glorify himself in them;
(Read among others Ezekiel 38:16, 23; Ezekiel 39:7-8, 23).
We shall still find plenty more of this in future chapters of this Book.
Read in particular Chapters 24-27, named by some commentators as the apocalyptic chapters of Isaiah.
Here are more Scriptures in respect of THE DAY OF THE LORD;
Isaiah 34:8; Isaiah 63:1-6; Ezekiel 30:1-3; Joel 1:15; Joel 3:14;
Amos 5:18-20; Zep. 1:7-8, 13-18; 1 Thess. 5:1-3; Rev. 19:11-21.
In this time (September 1982) it is particularly remarkable to note that verse 20 says:
In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship to the moles and to the bats.
Man bases his security on his possession of gold. Just when there is deterioration in international conditions, the price of gold rises. It’s also applicable to diamonds and precious stones. Man relies on it to carry him through times of crises.
These are the idols on which man relies.
THE DAY OF THE LORD, the day of the final reckoning, will, however, be so severe that man will clearly see that those idols on which he fixed his hope will be of no value to him and discard them with contempt. Many in Israel will then realise that there is but only one hiding place, and that is the LORD, the Rock of Israel.
The last verse of this chapter, verse 22, admonishes man not to trust in man because he is worth little, breath is in his nostrils and can easily be taken away.