I dedicate this website to the memory of my dear mother Doris Harmon, seen here in one of her high school pictures.  I expect to see her again.


To my sweet wife Gloria who is a great source of joy to me every day.




 Isaiah 1:1 The Vision of Isaiah


We begin today a rather long journey proceeding consecutively, long not only because this book is comprised of 66 chapters, but we journey into the prophetic section of the Bible which begins here and carries through to the end of the Old Testament. Historically, of course, the Old Testament concludes with Nehemiah and the return of Israel to the land after 70 years of captivity. From that point everything is recapitulation. The poetic books consisting primarily of the work of David and Solomon fit into their respective time frames and the books of prophecy likewise into that of their authors.

We begin today a rather long journey proceeding consecutively, long not only because this book is comprised of 66 chapters, but we journey into the prophetic section of the Bible which begins here and carries through to the end of the Old Testament. Historically, of course, the Old Testament concludes with Nehemiah and the return of Israel to the land after 70 years of captivity. From that point everything is recapitulation. The poetic books consisting primarily of the work of David and Solomon fit into their respective time frames and the books of prophecy likewise into that of their authors.

The prophetic books are historical in that they fit into a given historical period and reflect upon the events of that period but due to the nature of prophecy they are not confined in their scope to that period as we shall see. The exciting feature of prophecy is the fact that supernaturally it transcends the common everyday aspect of things and projects into the future, speaking of events that were then yet to come for Israel and some that are still to come both for Israel and also for us.

As believers we are very interested in the fulfillment of prophecy regarding Israel as it magnifies our great and sovereign God and since much of prophecy is related to the coming of the Messiah and the setting up of His kingdom we find ourselves as Christians very much involved.

Isaiah has so much to say about this subject that he is thought of as an evangelist as well as a prophet. We shall try to emphasize this aspect of his writings as we travel through this book.

Note that the first verse gives the historical setting which involves the kingdom of Judah and though the conditions at that time are not so grievous to Jehovah as those in the Northern Kingdom, they are bad enough as seen in verse 3. Verse 18 is directed to the sinful nation but is often universally applied. The word "scarlet" means "double dyed" and speaks of the great depth of sin. Ours like Israel’s may only be washed white as snow through the blood of our crucified Savior the Lord Jesus. Thank you Lord! 


Isaiah 2:3 Walking in His Paths


I have several books in my library that I shall use as we proceed. One of the best is by J.A. Alexander, a volume of about 500 pages. I hope to become more familiar with his writing as we go along, but his introduction was nearly 80 pages long and was tough sledding, so we shall see. One thing is certain, he does not hold with the view of higher criticism that there were two Isaiahs and that the latter half of the book was of a much later date, etc. etc. This, of course, is sheer nonsense and is perpetrated to account for the supernatural aspect prevalent in Isaiah’s prophecies.

John Calvin has an excellent but short introduction which I have found helpful. It is less than 3 & 1/2 pages - very concise and readable. His explanation of the reason for the abrupt changes of subject makes sense. He believes that the discourses by the prophets after being given orally, were written in brief abstracts and posted at the temple gates for a certain period of time. They were then removed and placed in the treasury as a permanent record. He cites the 2nd chapter of Habakkuk along with Isa. 8 to support the view that these prophetic books were made up of these various transcriptions and explains their lack of regular order, stating, "the roll was made up as the occasion served."

H.A. Ironside speaking of chapters 2-5 calls it a "soul stirring message addressed to Judah and Jerusalem," but thinks that there is "no apparent connection between verse 6 and what has gone before," therefore he thinks these first verses to be parenthetical. Calvin’s explanation would tend to explain this phenomenon.

Perhaps, by man’s (surely, God’s) design, the messages of woe upon Judah because of their sins are interspersed with messages of hope in the future. Kingdom blessings are certainly envisioned by Isaiah in these first four verses. Then, but not until then, will these things take place. In the meantime, as we live in this dispensation of grace, we can assemble in the house of the Lord and be taught His ways so that we can "walk in His paths."


Isaiah 3:24 Burning Instead of Beauty


Calvin shares some very helpful words concerning our understanding of the prophets in his introduction to Isaiah and I pass it on in order to be as helpful as possible in our long journey ahead if you are attempting to use this part of the Bible for your daily devotions or using these notes as you read through your Bible as a spiritual exercise.

He says that we should recognize that the prophets derive their doctrine from the Mosaic law and they may be seen as its interpreters, for says he, they "utter nothing but what is connected with the law. Now the law chiefly consists of three parts: first the doctrine of life; secondly, threatenings and promises; thirdly, the covenant of grace." This last being founded on Christ. He points out from Deut.18:15 that God promises that Israel will always have prophets.

The problem is that Israel would not listen to the prophets. The last Prophet was and is the Lord Jesus Christ and they will not hear Him.

For an example see how Isaiah goes back to the Pentateuch as he makes the opening statement in this chapter (Leviticus 26:26).

What a wonderful life was promised to Israel if they would only obey the voice of the LORD and observe to do all His commandments (Deut.28:1-13). Each prophet seeks to apply the threatenings to his own time and circumstances. There is not much promise in this chapter, but it will come in the next so be watching for it.

There is, however, one bright gleam of light. "Say ye to the righteous that it shall be well with him." No matter how bad things get righteousness will always pay off. Read and explain to your daughters and granddaughters what God thinks of young girls who go to the malls to flirt and show off. They may not realize how He hates haughtiness or even what it is. Discuss what is meant by the thoughts in v.24, esp. "burning instead of beauty" (compare 4:4). 





Isaiah 4:2                                          “In That Day”

  Martin Luther says, in commendation of Isaiah: “He is full of loving, comforting, cheering words for all poor consciences, and wretched, afflicted hearts.” He goes on to say, of course, that there is in Isaiah no want of severe reproofs and threatenings, otherwise he would not have been a true prophet. But, says Hengstenberg in his Christology of the Old Testament, “ the threatenings never form the close in Isaiah; they always at last run out into the promise” and unlike the prophecies in Jeremiah where the promises are usually short and sometimes only hinted at, “in Isaiah the stream of consolation flows in the richest fulness.”

Now this is something to be watching for as we read through the book. Don’t forget the three aspects of prophecy. The law, the judgements and the promise. Hengstenberg says that in the end of this book (ch.40-66) “promise absolutely prevails.” I am looking forward to that, for it will be much easier to find something inspiring about which to write.

Promise provides a corollary around the descriptions of prevailing corruption, the exhortation to repentance and the threats of divine judgement. This has been preceded (2:2-4) by a picture of the millennium which Isaiah saw (2:1) with his prophetic eye wherein Judah and Jerusalem would be a place of blessing for all nations (see also Micah 4:1). Of course, this has yet to become a reality but do not be mistaken, it shall be.

Here in our present chapter “in the midst of the deepest abasement of the people of God, God raises from out of the midst of them the Savior by whom they are raised to the highest glory,” (Hengstenberg) thus promise completes the picture!

This Branch is our “beautiful and glorious” Lord Jesus Christ, the most precious fruit the earth ever produced (Jer.23:5; 33:15; Zech.3:8 and 6:12). It is He Who has purged us from the filthiness of our sins and provided a refuge from the storms of life. All of God’s promises are centered in Him both for us and for Israel, His chosen people.




Isaiah 5:1                                          His Vineyard


 My Beloved likes vineyards. In fact, I know of two . The first one was not very successful, at least the last I heard. It was a lot like my tomato garden last summer. The plants were given to me by a friend and they looked okay when I planted them, but they developed some sort of blight and were a complete disaster. Well, my Beloved’s garden was almost as bad but I hear He has a plan so that in the end He will have some fruit but that’s a long way down the road.

In the meantime my Beloved has another vineyard under cultivation only this time the Vine has God’s very Life in it and the branches share that Life. It is a great idea and it is easy to see that it is working! You guessed it, the reason why it is easy for me to see is because I have become a branch and since that time I have realized that it is no longer my life but His that is producing the fruit. Isn’t that neat!

I will let you in on a little secret. It all has to do with a special word. No, it is not “Miracle Grow” but that wouldn’t be such a bad idea really, for it is certainly miraculous and growth is obviously part of the mix. The word is abide. Now whoever would have thought of a word like that being important. What does it mean anyhow?

Well, the Husbandman (He’s the Chief Gardener and Vinedresser) says it refers to the simple process of life-flow. With it there is fruit and without it there is removal from the Vine. If there is life in the Vine there must be also life in the branches else they are dead. When the branch is alive it will bear some fruit though it may be a bit sour. When the branch is pruned it will begin to produce fruit that is sweeter. The Chief Gardener is very pleased when the branches are laden with an abundant harvest. In contrast to His first vineyard, His second is doing quite well though there is always room for improvement (John15) .

( note- see in the Old Scofield Reference Bible at John 15, an excellent definition of the word “abide”.)




Isaiah 6:8                                 Here Am I, Send Me


 The question naturally arises as to why this momentous experience of Isaiah’s comes into the text after several chapters recording his ministry as a prophet. It may be just another verification of the seeming lack of order throughout the book. Yet, the reference to this coming in the year Uzziah died and it being stated from the beginning that he prophesied during the reign of Uzziah might, though not conclusively, indicate that his ministry had been in progress for a time before this experience discussed here.

It is not at all unusual for the servant of the LORD to be involved in ministry for a period of time before a more profound sense of the worthiness of his God is developed and thus, contrariwise, of his own unworthiness.

John Wesley came from England to America to serve God as a missionary but after failing miserably he returned home to undergo an experience of conversion at Aldersgate.

The Apostle Paul after his conversion needed to go into Arabia for a period of time before he began his ministry. Peter underwent as amazing transformation at Pentecost which came sometime after his involvement in service as one of our Lord’s disciples.

In my own case, it was a year or two after becoming a pastor that I became aware of a deficiency in my ministry about which I sought the Lord’s enabling. He used various means to open my eyes to a better understanding of my position in Christ. I remember particularly receiving a book entitled “The Enthroned Believer” by Huegel from Earl Tygert, a missionary in Japan, which helped me immensely.

I am sure my experience did not compare with this of Isaiah, but it transformed my ministry and I would recommend after reading this chapter along with meditating in Roman 12: 1&2 that my readers might take this opportunity of yielding afresh to the Living God and to say with the prophet, “Here am I, send me.”





Isaiah 7:14 The Birth of Immanuel


 Do you know what Tamanrasset and Iferouane have in common? They are both oases in the midst of the mighty Sahara and places where surprisingly, as if bubbling up from such an unexpected source, has come that Living Water which some have tasted there. We should not, however, be surprised for did not our Lord and Savior tell the church, “all the world?” But even as the presence of precious water is accentuated by the forbidding surroundings of the desert, likewise as we travel through difficult Biblical passage ways let us be on the lookout for those tanks and seeps, yea, even boiling springs that bless our journey.

Mrs. Cowman called her writings “Streams in the Desert.” Traversing the Old Testament it is only very occasionally that one encounters a little seep of that water that promises to be a fountain, a well, yes, even a river of Life some day, but today in our chapter we pause by a veritable oasis.

Commentators have puzzled over the context greatly but I think Calvin has hit on the right idea. It was in the presence of a king of Judah whose life was a spiritual wasteland that the promise of the virgin birth of the Messiah was given. Ahaz in typical Israelite unbelief of the hour, hypocritically and stubbornly refused the tremendous privilege afforded him of asking a sign from Jehovah that would confirm the promise of the great deliverance Isaiah conveyed to him (v.11). God, in that day, seemed to enjoy granting miraculous confirmation of His sovereignty as evidenced on certain occasions (Moses-Ex.4:8; Joshua 10:12 and Hezekiah -I Kings 20:11). Now at such a time and in the face of such unbelief a gushing stream of prophecy suddenly issues from the prophet directed to the house of David (v.13) not to Ahaz.

A major miracle, a virgin birth would produce a Son Who would be called Immanuel and at which glorious moment in time the grandest Spring of Life would be opened on earth (Zech.13:1). Would the house of David believe this sign which would be vouchsafed to shepherds by angels and magi by a blazing heavenly satellite? No and most intellectual Protestantism also would ignore this startling prophecy which Matthew rightly testifies was fulfilled by the miraculous birth of Jesus as he quotes this verse (1:23).

Calvin also gives a satisfying explanation of verse 16.





 Isaiah 8:10                                             “God is With Us”

There are two problems facing us as we launch out into this formidable Sahara-like terrain of literature. It will take perseverance to find one’s way through and the best route may not be readily discernable. The intrepid explorers of the “deep, deep mine” will no doubt be few but let us try to be of some help though that be the case.

As to the historical setting it would help to read up on Ahaz a bit and to remember that he is the father of Hezekiah whose story also is important to an understanding of Isaiah’s prophecy unfolded here (II K.17-19; II Chr.28-32, esp.32:1-20; Isa.37).

There are four nations involved: Syria, Ephraim (Northern Israel), Judah (Southern) and Assyria with Egypt in the offing. To summerize, Ahaz is faced with destruction by a coalition of Syria and Ephraim and chooses to ally himself with Assyria which is an emerging world power representing anti-Christ, in effect. Knowing his history it is not surprising that he rejects the supernatural intervention of Jehovah represented by Isaiah but, since he is the king of Judah which God can in no way abandon totally and at this point in time is preparing a temporary reprieve (revival under Hezekiah) and a permanent deliverance in the ultimate salvation of Israel, he is offered God’s help. Isaiah’s two children’s names are prophetic of this (8:18).

This baby killer king wants nothing to do with Jehovah, as we have already seen in chapter 7, but in His grace He has not given up on “the house of David” (7:13) promising a virgin born Messiah who will crush the Anti-Christ of future times and in the spirit of Immanuel also promises an immediate delivery from Assyria though Israel would be up to its neck (8:8) in trouble before it would come (v.7). Had Ahaz asked a sign a miracle could have been forthcoming just as easily as that of the amazing destruction of Sennacherib’s army (II K.19:35).

“Counsel” and “confederacy” is not the way (vs.10&12) nor necromancy (v.19) but rather the Word of God (v.20) and the promise and Person of Immanuel (vs.8 &10) for “God is with us,” so sanctify Him in your heart and “let him be your fear and let him be your dread.”





Isaiah 9:6                                       Unto Us – Israel

 J.A. Alexander is so convinced that the first verse of this chapter actually belongs to the previous one that he calls it 8:23, and says that the first seven verses really belong with the prophecy as well.

As Isaiah speaks about darkness (8:22), his prophetic eye looks down thru time and he sees a picture of the northern part of the land of Israel, the area around what we know as the Sea of Galilee. Why, it might well be wondered, should his thoughts be focused on an area so far removed from the center of Jewish life? The same question might be asked as to why angels should sing of the glory of God to lowly shepherds or why the King of kings should have been born in a stable. God’s ways are certainly different and He knows how to capture our imagination. Will fishermen be enlisted to tell the story of redemption to the world? And from whence cometh these lowly servants? They were dug from a pit and strangely we might recognize the clay from whence the Potter also found us. Matthew (Lk.5:27) had himself come out of just such a hole (5:11) and as he saw what was transpiring around him recalled this prophecy of Isaiah that “the people which sat in darkness saw a great light; and to them which set in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up” (Sept. version of Is.9:2.)

If one would expect harvesters to be joyful (v.3) it would be nothing compared with what the multitude felt as they followed Jesus. What spoils were laid at the Father’s feet as the multitudes sought the blessed feet of Him Who brought glad tidings of peace. (Don’t let the not in verse 3 disturb you for Barnes tells us that 11 manuscripts, 2 of which are ancient, have rendered it “to it increased the joy, etc.” Plus there are many alternate explanations among many commentators.)

As the prophet unfolded the familiar words of verse six one can only guess what he was feeling - this child of the virgin is the Son of God and as the awesome words tumbled from his lips perhaps even he might have had difficulty getting his mind around such a prophecy. And it must have been with jarring solemnity that ere the chapter end he would repeat a trinity of woe upon the current scene, “For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still,” so quickly is he transported from scenes of joy to those of hypocrisy and unbelief.





Isaiah 10:24                                             Be Not Afraid

      Now back to the present reality. Ahaz had employed the services of the Assyrian, probably not realizing the ambition of Tiglathpileser to become a world ruler. Ahaz, having greatly offended Jehovah passed off the scene and Hezekiah his son reigned in his stead. At first he kowtowed to the Assyrians then ruled by Sennacherib (I Kg.18:13-16). Later we shall return to this story.

      In the meantime God is encouraging the remnant to stay true to Him by sending Isaiah to tell them not to be afraid of the Assyrians even though he smites them with a rod (v.24). The fact is, says Jehovah, the Assyrian is my rod against unfaithful Israel (v.5) not to exclude Jerusalem (v.11) but though the Assyrians think that it is their own strength and prowess that has gotten them the victories, they are soon to learn the truth of the matter. They are only the axe and saw in My hand (v.15).

      Jehovah tells them that soon His indignation against Israel will be over and miraculously they will be delivered much like they had been delivered from the Midianites under Gideon (9:4; 10:26; Judges 7:25). The yoke will be taken from off their neck and even though the Assyrian army will have a successful march through the land all they will be able to do is shake the fist at the daughter of Zion (v.32). The Lord, the LORD of hosts will humble them.

      This situation like so many in Scripture, should serve to instruct us that we must simply trust the Lord and “lean not to our own understanding” (Prov.3:5&6). Psalm 91 is a great source of comfort when we find ourselves in similar straits.

      We close with a promise found in Isaiah 54, verse 17, “no weapon that is formed against thee shall proper and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgement thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD”.


Isaiah 11:1                                                 The Branch

      Perhaps you will remember that we have been told that synopses of Isaiah’s prophecies were recorded and preserved in the temple to be posted when appropriate. If this be true, this would account for the apparent chronological disparities. We should be reminded, however, that the same Holy Spirit who inspired the prophet was also capable of seeing to the publicity of his utterances.

      Historically, the prophecy concerning the Assyrian army being destroyed was uttered well in advance of its fulfillment, it would seem, since it did not take place until several years into the reign of Hezekiah as we have seen in our studies (II Kg.18:13; 19:35-37). We note, for example, that the prophecy “against the king of Babylon” in chapter 14:4 is given long before the Assyrian menace is off the scene (v.25) and even before Ahaz died (v.28). We remember that it was after Hezekiah’s sickness and miraculous healing that the king of Babylon sent presents to him and an ambassage to which Hezekiah had showed his treasures and armaments and concerning which Isaiah told him in apparent displeasure of what he had done that the day was coming when all they saw in his house would be carried to Babylon (II K.20;12-19).

      The point is that God was using Isaiah to prepare the people for what was coming “down the pike.” Fauset in J.F.B. speaks of the Assyrian as a type of the Anti-Christ which is a mighty long way “down the pike.” Keeping the chronology straight concerning Israel’s immediate problems is one thing, but having the Holy Spirit interject into the prophetic picture the long term events makes it seem even more confusing to the casual reader. This is where the exhortation to study the Bible rather than just read it proves important!

      To conclude, much of this chapter is also about events a long time in the future (for the immediate audience-not so long for us we hope). The dispensational student of the Word is treated to a wonderful preview of the millennial reign of Christ (the Branch). The sad fact is that thousands of believers who have been taught not to take this literally (Reformed Theology) miss the blessing. For those who are still waiting for the Church to usher in the kingdom and for wolves and bears in our society to gentle down to live peaceably with those of us who are lambs, which is Calvin’s take on these verses may I simply say, good luck and don’t hold your breath!

Isaiah 12:3                                                   With Joy

      In thinking about the phrase “in that day” with which this chapter begins I was directed back to 2:11&12 where it seems the day referred to there was the day of the LORD of hosts. Whether it always does or not I have not determined, but on checking some of the many instances of its use there does seem to be that sense. Of course, the day of the LORD does not refer to one particular 24 hour day, but rather carries the meaning that the LORD will indeed have His day when He shall consummate His plan in its many aspects.

      It would be interesting to know whether Jehovah gave Isaiah an overall view of His great eternal plan or whether he was just given bits and pieces as he went along. Does anyone have evidence to sustain a viewpoint on this? At any rate, I suggest you take a quick peek at the last two chapters regarding his view on the millennium (65:20-25; 66:23-24), having just read about the wolves and lambs in chapter 11 and note also his reference to new heavens and a new earth which are spectacular.

      I believe Isaiah has Israel in mind when he speaks about Jehovah’s anger being turned away. What a wonderful day that will be when He thus comforts His people (40:1&2).

      Of course, we, with them, can appreciate all these blessings and certainly we do, but how greatly He will be magnified when the actual inhabitants of Zion will cry and shout His praise with the Holy One of Israel in their midst again like the Shekinah. (Be sure and refer back to 4:2-6.)

      As we began this book I suggested that at times the inspirational material along the way might indeed be sparse but that from time to time just as in the driest wilderness there is an occasional spring or oasis, so we will find refreshment for our souls at special watering places in Isaiah. Here we are at one of these today and I advise you to drink deeply for the area ahead through which we traverse is apt to be exceptionally dry.

      So, with joy let us draw water from the wells of salvation and remember, the deepest and most satisfying is one from which you have drunk many times. It is Jesus and He is the Spring of Living Water that never shall run dry.


Isaiah 13:6                               The Day of the LORD is at Hand

      Before us now we have a section of Isaiah in which he sets forth prophecies that are termed, burdens relating to nations that bear on Israel’s history. In chapters 13-23 we will encounter these utterances concerning Babylon,13-14; Moab, 15-16; Damascus (Syria), 17; a power west of Ethiopia, 18; Egypt, 19 and Ethiopia, 19&20; Edom, Arabia and Tyre 21-23. Interspersed are those designed for Israel as well.

      References to Babylon in the Bible start with the building of the tower of Babel and end in Revelation 18 and though they all do not specifically refer to the same exact spot on planet earth, they do relate to one another symbolically as representing an organized defiance of Jehovah. Some think it is important enough as a system to warrant Satan himself being its shadow king as we shall see in our next chapter.

      I think that the way God relates to time affects much of what we encounter in prophecy. Perhaps the term “day of the LORD” may serve to help us see this phenomenon. When God brought destruction upon the Assyrians and Babylonians of Isaiah’s day it was but the forerunner of all the wrath which He would ultimately pour out upon the Anti-Christ and the world system during the great tribulation. Reference to the Medes in v.17 demonstrates the beginning of a pattern which will culminate in an overthrow that will actually involve the heavenly hosts as indicated in verse 10 and may be seen more fully in the book of Revelation. It is in these words that punishment of the whole world is foreseen by Isaiah (vs.9-13).

      To say that Babylon would never be inhabited after the earth had been destroyed would make no sense, but when we think of that area today we can understand the full thrust of Isaiah’s prophetic word. Perhaps even the overthrow of Saddam Hussein was a part of God’s plan in this regard since in 2003 he began to build on “Saddam Hill” a modern palace, each brick bearing the imprint of his name as they did of Nebuchadnezzar of old. Of course, he was not allowed to complete it. We have found that Jehovah says what He means and means what He says in similar instances, for example, regarding the rebuilding of the city of Jericho (Joshua 6:26 and I Kings 16:34).

Isaiah 14:4                         A Proverb Against the King of Babylon

      There is very little in this chapter to inspire us. It starts out on a good note of promise to Israel whom Jehovah will set “in their own land.” When captivity is taken captive it will be a great day of rest from bondage and sorrow whether it be at the end of the 70 years captivity or the millennial rest yet to come.

      Most of the chapter, however, has to do with a proverb (or taunting speech) against the king of Babylon but ends with an oath against the Assyrians relevant to Ahaz’ day (vs. 24-28).

      It is the subject in the middle of our present text that I believe we should spend some time upon today. Is Lucifer here a reference to Satan? Most modern writers feel that it is, but it is in the interest of careful exposition that I would urge caution here. Let us hear what John Calvin has to say. “The exposition of this passage, which some have given, as if it referred to Satan has arisen from ignorance; for the context plainly shows that these statements must be understood in reference to the king of the Babylonians. But when passages of Scripture are taken up at random, and no attention is paid to the context, we need not wonder that mistakes of this kind frequently arise. Yet it was an instance of very gross ignorance to imagine that Lucifer was the king of devils, and that the Prophet gave him that name.”

      We do not follow Calvin when dispensationalism leads us away, but we do well to, otherwise, pay attention to his commentary as Spurgeon highly recommends in his Commenting and Commentaries pgs.4&5. In rightly dividing Scripture we must be careful to distinguish between interpretation and application and we must not base our doctrine on controversial passages of which this obviously is one. J.A. Alexander, in fact, questions the very translation of the word, Lucifer.

      That there is a substrata of superhuman beings guiding the affairs of nations and under the rule of the prince of the power of the air, we must all agree is shown in Daniel 10:12-21 and there must certainly have been one behind the king of Babylon, whom perhaps Isaiah saw. Furthermore there is no doubt that the words attributed to the king might well have expressed the prideful heart of Beelzebub. The error is making such the interpretation of this text.

Isaiah 15:1                                           The Burden of Moab

      Moab was a small desolate country located near the southern tip of the Dead Sea and sandwiched between Edom and Ammon across from the burnt land of Sodom and Gomorrah. It takes its name from the descendents of Lot and his firstborn daughter (Gen.19:37). According to Deut.23:3-6 Israel was forbidden to wish peace or prosperity to Moabites or Ammonites forever nor allow them into the congregation of the LORD “even to their tenth generation” because of at least two negative encounters. These both related to Israel’s passage thru their land enroute to Canaan.

      The hap of the Moabite was not very bright as may be seen in the story of Balaam (Num.22-25) but was it not that they continually came down on the side of Baal-peor or Chemosh rather than Jehovah? If Mesha could manage to get along with Ahab one would think he might have at least tried with Jehoshaphat (especially since Elisha might have encouraged him) and one might think that a shepherd king with 100,000 lambs might apply to the grace of God with one of his best. But no, Moabite that he was, he took his best lamb, his eldest son and offered him for a burnt offering to his god (II K.31:4-27). With characters like Mesha and Balak around it was no wonder that there was no room for fellowship with Moab.

      Moab has had so many ups and downs throughout its history that commentators are not at all certain when the specific judgements befell it that are issued in these chapters. Jerome says that when he was a boy an earthquake leveled Ar, the only real city in Moab. J.A. Alexander in his mid 1800's commentary says that it was then in ruins. Of course, in Jehoshephat’s day the whole land was destroyed, the wells stopped up, all the trees felled but this was before Isaiah’s time.

      In the midst of a sad story, there was one real bright spot. Her name was Ruth and what a wonderful story of grace extended to this dear Moabite girl. Have you read it recently? It has only four chapters. Was this an example of the heart cry of Jehovah for a people over whom He must from time to time have been found to weep as well as they (v.5)?

Isaiah 16:7                          Therefore Shall Moab Howl for Moab

      While the details of these twenty-three verses of Moab’s burden seem quite beyond us, lost or obscured in historical shadows and idiomatic bewilderment even to the extent that our most dependable commentators grope as if in darkness unable to agree on hardly a phrase of the text, one thing comes across to us as a very definite message, it is a solemn matter when Jehovah is your adversary. These people are in deep trouble.

      In fact they have been in trouble almost every time God has pulled back the curtains and allowed us a little glimpse of their story. Yet even as our friend the prophet unloads upon them the judgements of an angry Deity there seems to be compassion in his demeanor which surely betrays the anguish of God’s heart, for never let it be said that a man excelleth his Maker in any redeeming quality. In 15:5 a heart cries out for Moab and in 16:9 the speaker waters Heshbon and Elealeh with tears. The deep internal groanings are heard for Moab in verse 11 and though the multitudes of Moab are condemned, yet a remnant survives though “very small and feeble” (V.14).

      What a strange request seems to trickle out from around the edges of a lamentable condition depicted later, “Let mine outcasts dwell with thee Moab; be thou a covert to them.” This while gladness, joy, singing and shouting in harvest, are all made to cease, the wandering birds have been cast out of their nest, they flee across the fording place in Arnon that separates their homeland from the northern Amorites. And what is the promise of mercy and truth in the “tabernacle of David” but some fore gleam of future blessing (v.5)?

      Robert Murray McCheyne in one of his poems, Jehovah Tsidkenu depicting his spiritual quest speaks of reading “Isaiah’s wild page.” I would say that this must be one of them.

      No wonder Moab shall not be heard when he prays (v.12) for on his high places he usually worshiped Chemosh. Let us come rather to “the mount of the daughter of Zion” with a lamb.

Isaiah 17:7                                              Israel’s Maker

      This prophecy was probably given by Isaiah at the time when the 10 tribes had joined together with Syria (Damascus being the capital) but representing the whole country to fight against Judah. The purpose is simply to warn of God’s judgements against Israel.

      I think the most interesting verse in this chapter is verse seven. The day being referred to probably has a dual sense as do many prophecies concerning Israel, one relating to the immediate situation and one that relates to the great day of the LORD, yet future.

      What is especially a blessing here is the term Maker used in reference to Jehovah. There are several words translated by the word maker in our King James Version but there are only 5 passages where this particular word is capitalized thus accentuating the concept of Deity. They are: Proverbs 14:31 and 17:5; Isaiah 17:7 and 54:5 and Hosea 8:14. This word simply means to do or make in the broadest sense and the widest application with well over 50 translated meanings. Let’s try a few. God is our Accomplisher; our Warrior; our Performer; our Fulfiller; our Gatherer; our Bestower; our Maintainer, etc. According to the other Isaiah passages, great blessings are attached to the fact of Jehovah as Israel’s Maker being seen as her Husband. The Proverbs passages are interesting in that they emphasize the fact that we honor our Maker when we have mercy on the poor and do not mock or oppress them.

      The remainder of the verse is likewise rich in meaning as it states, “his eyes shall have respect to the Holy One of Israel.” These italicized words are also the exact words for a vulture - like bird of prey known for its sharp sightedness (see Strong # 7201).

      It will be a wonderful day when the remnant (v.6) of Israel will once again get her eyes fixed on the Holy One as the widow whose Maker has become her Husband. Certainly He is all of this to us and more Who is also the “God of (our) salvation” and “the rock of our strength” (v.10).

Isaiah 18:7                                        A Present for Jehovah

      First, let me urge you again not to be discouraged, having read this chapter, to find yourself at a loss to understand. Let me show you a bit of what we are up against. Take for example, the first word, Woe. This is the same word as begins Isaiah 55 only there it is translated, Ho and is rendered such here by Alexander. “Ho! land of rustling wings, which art beyond the rivers of Cush.” J.F.B. skirts that issue but follows with the comment, “land of the winged bark, i.e. barks with wing-like sails. Calvin begins his comments, “I cannot determine with any certainty what is the nation of which Isaiah speaks.”

      Later commentators feel that these words may somehow speak of nations beyond the seas like the United States and Great Britain and if so it is no wonder that poor Isaiah was at a loss for words. About all he could say to describe them was that they were somewhere out there “beyond the rivers of Ethiopia” which certainly would be true enough!

      We can be certain that Jehovah was speaking to Isaiah (v.4) and that it was a message for “all ye inhabitants of the world and dwellers on the earth.” A pretty wide scope for sure! When He unfurls a banner (ensign) and blows a trumpet, it must be to get everyone’s attention (v.3) “see ye – hear ye.” Sounds a bit like some of our battle hymns doesn’t it? (There’s a Royal Banner Given For Display)

      Finally, when we read the last verse we are being reminded that Israel, a nation that has suffered greatly and been scattered everywhere, will be brought one day as a gift to Jehovah to Mount Zion. This we can understand and look forward to with great anticipation but also a similar experience ourselves for Hebrews 12:22 says, “But ye are come to Mount Sion and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem,” etc. where we too will be presented to Jesus as a love gift from the Father (John 17:24).


Isaiah 19:25                                          Egypt My People

      So far most of what seemed on the surface to be nothing but dry desert land has, upon closer inspection, been found to yield up surprising springs of refreshment and this chapter is no exception. Of course, we expect to encounter words of judgement as Isaiah unloads his burden on Egypt. Everywhere we turn in the Bible we find Egypt to be a good place to stay away from. Joseph didn’t even want his bones left there (Gen.50:25). Abraham got into trouble going there; Isaac was warned by God not to go there (Gen.26:2). Moses and all the Israelites just barely made it out. There seems to be hundreds of references to their being brought out of what God called the iron furnace (Deut.4:20) and in Matt.2:15 we even find reference to Jesus being called out from there. 

      So, it really doesn’t surprise us to find Egypt coming in for its share of judgement in these chapters in Isaiah, does it? But, have you read verses 18-26? Did we expect the thief on the cross to be converted? Or did you ever expect to hear such words as these about Egypt? Egypt speaking the language of Canaan (Hebrew); an altar to the LORD there; a witness; Egyptians shall know the LORD; shall sacrifice to Him; shall vow to Him.

      In fact, this chapter ends with what Alexander calls “one of the clearest and most striking predictions of the calling of the Gentiles that the word of God contains” (his work on Isaiah, pg.364). He is referring to verse 25 where equal blessing is pronounced on Egypt and Assyria as they are classed with Israel. “Blessed be Egypt, my people” etc. Wow, wow, wow!

      The highway in verse 23 is considered by most commentators to be figurative. The only way God’s real blessings can reach these ultra enemies of truth is by that new and living way of which our Lord Jesus Christ truly is (John 14:6). See Z eph.3:9-20 “all people of the earth.” Also Ps.68:31: Malachi 1:11 and Acts 8:27.

      So going back to Isaiah18:1 perhaps it is Ho instead of Woe after all - especially with the words “Go ye” in the middle of verse 2!

Isaiah 20:1                                       Sargon, King of Assyria

      Though we do not need historical and archeological evidence to shore up our faith in the sacred record of scripture, nevertheless it is a blessing when we hear of such confirmation. Ironside tells us that Sargon the king of Assyria was completely unknown until in our time his name was found upon newly discovered or deciphered monuments.

      I have recently been rereading Rivers in the Desert, the Exploration of the Negev, An Adventure in Archeology by Nelson Glueck, published in London (1959) in which I have highlighted the following: “As a matter of fact, however, it may be stated categorically that no archeological discovery has ever controverted a Biblical reference” (pg.31). An index of hundreds of Biblical references appear in the back of this book. This is quite a statement in light of the amazing number of discoveries which have been made in the last two centuries by archeologists who have attacked the Holy Land with pick and shovel. Of course, though not all of them would probably be as ready as Glueck to support the scriptures there are a great many who would.

      At Providence Bible Institute we had an Old Testament teacher, Mr. Graybill, who certainly did his best to fire up his students’ interest in the subject and Nelson Glueck was one of those he often referenced.

      Halley’s Bible Handbook which by 1957 had about 800,000 copies in circulation is an interesting source of archeological information readily available to the layman and I heartily recommend it. I am sure it is available on the internet and used copies must be very inexpensive. Reference is made on p.42 to the discovery of the magnificent palace of Sargon at Khorsabad and also at Nineveh and Caleh of theruins of the palaces of five of the Assyrian kings named in the Bible along with the great library of Assur-banipal which is estimated to have contained 100,000 volumes.

      “Thus while learned men were loudly proclaiming that there was no such thing as writing til long after the days of Moses, God, in His Providence used the spade of the archeologists to bring to light hundreds of thousands of books that were written long before the days of Moses. And not only so, but those same books, in many things, confirm Biblical records” (Halley, pg.933). 


Isaiah 21:17                                    God Hath Spoken

Alexander says of this particular prophecy that it is "one of the most striking instances of strict agreement between prophecy and history." In other words it is, he says, a great example of God’s use of the prophetic word. He believes we should take the chapter as a unit and not treat it as three separate statements as do some because of the three occurrences of the word burden.

Elam (v.2) is another word for Persia and this is a prediction of the taking of Babylon by the Medes and Persians. Calvin tells us that when Isaiah foretold these things there was no apprehension of this calamity and that it didn’t happen until he had been dead a hundred years.

Thanks guys, I wouldn’t have realized that this is another version of the"night of pleasure" that suddenly turned into a frightful experience which Daniel gave as a warning to Belshazzar (Dan.5:30), who was so frightened it was likened to a woman in the pangs of childbirth (v.3).

Again I think we can see here the great sweep of prophecy. Israel was told that God’s judgement would begin soon in Dumah and Arabia and in a few years would overtake their land in treachery and spoilation.

Verse 9 is exciting as the prophet speaks about Babylon’s fall in the very words later used by the angel in Revelation 18:2, "Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen" as God deals a final blow to the wicked world system prefigured by that ancient foe.

One is tempted by the beauty of the language in verses eleven and twelve to give them an evangelic twist as is often done, however, we will resist, stating that the strict interpretation does not seem to support it. We can, however, be certain that Isaiah was Jehovah’s spokesman and thankful for what "the LORD God of Israel hath spoken" (v.17).



Isaiah 22:24                              Hooked on a Really Great Nail

This chapter is divided into two almost equal parts. The first has reference to the conduct of the people of Jerusalem but was a representation of all of Judah spoken of as the valley of vision surrounded as it was by mountains. It can have reference to the siege by Sennacharib during Manassah’s reign but seems also to be a generic picture of more than one occasion that might be cause for the prophet to weep over the spoiling of the daughter of my people.

Especially symptomatic of the carelessness of the people was the fact that instead of repenting and looking unto their Maker (v.11) they engaged in revelry (v.15) and coined the words "let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we die," an attitude the Apostle Paul would incorporate in his thoughts on the resurrection (I Cor.15: 32).

Ironside commenting on this passage reminds us that it would yet be two centuries before Jerusalem would actually be destroyed by the Babylonians, this judgement being deferred by the faithfulness of Hezekiah and Josiah. The judgement was so far away that it was difficult for even Hezekiah to get serious about it (II K.20:19).

The second part of this chapter contains the only prophecy directed by Isaiah against an individual. Shebna, who according to Calvin was a "treacherous scoundrel," shows up again in chapter 37. In one place he is called a "steward of the house" and in the other a "scribe." He had built a fancy tomb that he would never occupy (v.16). He personified the many scriptures that warn the proud doer of his downfall. Commentators believe the last verse reverts to him.

On the other hand there is Eliakim about whom is said things that certainly remind us of the Lord Jesus whether or not he is a classic type. Who else but He really has the key to the house of David; has the government upon His shoulder; can shut and none can open and open and none can shut; is like a nail in a sure place, etc.? (See Rev.3:7).

I know a number of people like Shebna who at present are riding pretty high but who sadly will soon be pulled from their place and tossed like a ball into Hell. I am sure glad to be in Christ, though a vessel of small quantity I am hooked on a really great Nail. Are you?

This chapter is divided into two almost equal parts. The first has reference to the conduct of the people of Jerusalem but was a representation of all of Judah spoken of as the surrounded as it was by mountains. It can have reference to the siege by Sennacharib during Manassah’s reign but seems also to be a generic picture of more than one occasion that might be cause over which the prophet shoud weep. 


Isaiah 23:3 A Mart of Nations


Tyre claims the ignominious distinction of being the last in the list of Isaiah’s burden judgements. It supposedly represents the world as a great commercial system much as Babylon suggests a religious system. Interestingly these two historic entities seem placed as book ends (chapters 13-23) in which the prophet delivers this series of "grievous visions" as Jehovah rides in fury "upon a swift cloud" with the "weapons of his indignation."

Tyre claims the ignominious distinction of being the last in the list of Isaiah’s judgements. It supposedly represents the world as a great commercial system much as Babylon suggests a religious system. Interestingly these two historic entities seem placed as book ends (chapters 13-23) in which the prophet delivers this series of "grievous visions" as Jehovah rides in fury "upon a swift cloud" with the "weapons of his indignation."

As Ironside puts it, "This is the pervading aspect of the world as we know it today, when nation after nation is reaching out for commercial gain and people are living on a luxurious scale such as has never been known in previous centuries. But the day is soon coming when all these things upon which men have set their hearts shall be destroyed and the present world system pass away. We may see a prediction of this in the prophecy relating to the doom of Tyre."

The commentators are not agreed as to which specific period these words may refer for, "Tyre is remarkable in history for two things, its maritime trade, and the many sieges it has undergone" (Alexander), however, they seem to lean toward that of Nebuchadnezzar. It is probable that the prophecies are generic encompassing aspects of the many assaults upon this island bastion which is located on the Mediterranean coast just a bit south of Beirut.

This is the land of Hiram from whence came the "cedars of Lebanon," trading in the merchandise of Tarshish, serving the wants even of King Solomon (I K.10:22; Ps.45:12). (Note: the terms Mart and Merchandise come from the same Hebrew word ) Ezekiel 27 uses a different word but stresses the theme.

This prophecy like that concerning Egypt (ch.19) ends on a positive note and seems to reflect a change which can only come about in the millennium. The vivid picture is that of an old harlot seeking to relive her inglorious past only to find that even that which characterized her past is somehow made to glorify the LORD. How He can say "blessed be Egypt, my people" (19:25) is beyond our ken. Tyre, the harlot, like Rahab will find a place in God’s future plan and like the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31, her merchandise will be perceived as good. Amazing!




Isaiah 24:3 The LORD Hath Spoken This Word

It is thought by some that from this chapter to the thirty-fifth the prophet is addressing Judah now that he has spoken to all the various other nations in the preceding chapters and though it is difficult if not impossible to see any systematic development in this section, it does seem perhaps that chapter 24-27 belong together.

If so, perhaps the use of the term in that day (26:1; 27:1, 2, 12 and 13) may serve to guide us, especially since verse 13 of chapter 27 seems to be a concluding statement. It will be noted that following this point there are a series of chapters that begin with the word woe, ending with another concluding statement occurring (35:10) before there is an obvious change in the subject. I hope these rather superficial observations may be helpful as we slog through. Before you criticize my use of the word "slog" be sure and look it up in Webster. There will be some refreshing springs in this desert such as 26:1-4 and I can hardly wait to get there!

You see, as meateaters we are supposed to be studying the Scriptures not just looking for a text that we can take out of context to use as a pretext; we are to be "rightly dividing" the Word. Do we look for a theme i.e. how many times the word earth appears in this chapter? Does the prophet mean the whole earth or only that part where he lives? Can we separate the generic prophecies from the specific? Is Isaiah speaking of events at the end of the age or a certain city or country being judged (v.10; see 27:12&13)? Can we distinguish hyperbole from reality? He can shake the earth (v.19) but will He actually turn it upside down? Can we discern the difference between simile (v.13) and metaphor? Will the sun be ashamed (v.23)? Do we try to understand the difficult verses (v.15)? What is "the everlasting covenant" (v.5)? What do we learn from this chapter?



Isaiah 25:9 Lo, This is Our God

Take the last verse of chapter 24 and put it together with the first verse of chapter 26 and think of the chapter between as the words of a song being sung as one of the songs referred to in 24:16 entitled "Glory to the Righteous." Perhaps this is one of the songs that will be sung in triumph during the millennium.

One of the themes that Israel will sing will be about the way our God has laid waste the defenced cities of all their enemies like Babylon and all countries like Moab (v.7). They shall say – "see, this is what our God can do – we have waited a long time for this!"

Israel has certainly waited a long time (v.9) and still must wait until after the tribulation to "rejoice in His salvation." The prophet must be seeing that time and the use of the expression "in that day" would seem to indicate that future blessing. Seeing, with the eye of faith the ultimate overthrow of enemies like the Babylonians must have caused his burst of praise (v.1).

The apostle Paul grabbed one of Isaiah’s thoughts when he was writing to the Corinthians about the resurrection, "He will swallow up death in victory." For death to be "swallowed up" indicates that it would be totally abolished (II Tim.1:10) which even we today have a bit of a struggle getting our minds around so it must really have been a stretch for Isaiah. John in Rev. 21:4 put the thought of "no more death" together with the wiping away of tears but here Isaiah beats him to it (v.8)!

We can certainly join the prophet in his words of praise for the LORD is our God too so let us praise His name for He has "done wonderful things" for us. His counsels to us in His word are true and His mercies (v.4) are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness!




Isaiah 26: 3 Perfect Peace

Remember, Isaiah lived during the time when the Assyrians carried away captive all of northern Israel and was making serious incursions into the southern kingdom of Judah. During that time they destroyed 46 walled cities and carried away 200,000 captives (Halley, p.254). Exactly when this song of praise was composed and sung is probably impossible to determine but he is no doubt prophesying the survival of Jerusalem as an encouragement to the besieged inhabitants and, of course, Sennacherib did not succeed taking it though he boasted (37:24) that he would.

One can imagine, as reports of defeat poured into Jerusalem daily, how ridiculous the words of Isaiah must have sounded to some of his skeptics. But, he would urge,"We have a strong city" and what makes us so? Our fear of Jehovah (25:3)! Do you forget how He has been such a strength to the poor; such a strength to the needy in his distress? "The LORD’s our rock, in Him we hide, a shelter in the time of storm, secure whatever ill betide," etc. When those terrible Assyrians are assaulting us as a storm blast against our walls (25:4) just remember that we have Jehovah’s salvation promises for our "walls and bulwarks" (60:18).

Under such conditions, we are going to "Trust in Him ye saints forever, He is faithful, changing never, neither force nor guile can sever those He loves from Him" (Thomas Kelly–Praise the Savior).

Did Isaiah’s usual long range antenna kick in all of a sudden and for a minute did he see the great  tribulation as he said, "Come my people, hide for a little moment until the indignation be over past"?

The promise of resurrection (v.19) would certainly help, under the pressure of whatever travail comes, to keep us "in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee because he trusteth in thee" (v.3).



Isaiah 27:13 At Jerusal

In the effort to assist our readers to keep the correct perspective as we spend our time writing these devotionals I try to offer a few guidelines. This chapter affords us an excellent opportunity, we trust, for making some helpful points.

First and foremost we assume that you will not fail to carefully read the entire short chapter at one sitting, praying that the Lord will open your eyes to understand His Word and will use its teaching to strengthen your faith and aid in your growth.

Why are you reading the prophet Isaiah? Probably it is because you are reading systematically through your Bible and though you are tempted to skip the prophecy section and get to the New Testament, your conscience won’t let you do that. If, on the other hand, you pick and choose what book you are going to read for your devotions, perhaps you have chosen to read in the prophets because it is the part of your Bible that you understand the least. There might even be someone out there who has picked up a commentary or two and is trying, by God’s grace, to study the book!

In a way, I envy the latter person or persons and sincerely wish I could join you in research and discussion; what a great time we could have! Unfortunately most of us find ourselves in the former classification, with lack of time being our major difficulty. It is primarily to you I would address these thoughts.

You probably have noted that there is a common phrase in the first two and the last two verses; "In that day." To what day is the author referring? As you know by this time Isaiah shifts often from present to future and to far future. Here it would seem that it is far future even though he does refer in verse 13 to Assyria. Notice the dragon (Satan) is being slain (v.1); Israel is filling the world with fruit (v.6); Israel is to be gathered one by one (v.12); and there is to be the blowing of "the great trumpet" (v.13).

You could go back and re-read the whole section (ch.24-27) and you could go to Joel and compare the prophecies. It is in the midst of all of these last day events that Israel is taught to sing the song of 26:1-4. See how much more meaningful these words are when taken in their context.




Isaiah 28:23 Hear My Voice

We begin a new section consisting of six chapters, five of which open with the word Woe so you know that it will be quite negative. It will be a warning to Ephraim (Israel), it will condemn the folly of Judah, it will discourage all intercourse with Egypt, Assyria will be a threat to be reckoned with. It was written before the fall of Samaria which was a beautiful city spoken of here as having "glorious beauty" which "the mighty and strong one" (the Assyrian) would "cast down to the earth."

Next we have a passage usually taken out of context, which is extremely difficult of interpretation. Having read everything I have on the subject and having spent all the time I can spare, I cannot even come close to what I would consider a satisfactory explanation. So, I must leave it (vs. 9-13).

We are all saddened to know of friends and loved ones who fit into verse fifteen. Their covenant with death is just not to think about it, their agreement with hell is that their friends are there. They take refuge in the lies of evolution and hide under the false views of religion.

We are thankful to have built our beliefs on the precious cornerstone of the Lord Jesus Christ and we shall not "be confounded" (I Peter 2:6).

"What is any better than a good night’s rest," they say. Well, try to get it when your feet hang out over the end and someone else has all the covers! Perhaps we could go back from verse 20 to verse 12. God has the answers in His word and we will find rest and refreshment there. This is apparently something Isaiah’s hearers were unwilling to do. He closes with a simple argument. The farmer has the good sense to use discretion, being taught of the LORD, how and when to plant and harvest. We would do well to listen to Him Who "is wonderful in counsel and excellent in working."




Isaiah 29:14 A Marvelous Work and a Wonder

?Straight to the heart of God’s people is this woe-ridden prophecy sent. A new name for David’s city, Jerusalem, appears here, used just five times in the Bible, four here in this chapter and once in Ezekiel. Ariel. This word presents a good opportunity to show how difficult it is sometimes for translators to know what to do. You know, most Jewish names are simple concepts made proper in usage, often developed from a compound word containing God’s name, for example Joshua, a compound of Jehovah and the Hebrew word for saves or salvation. Ariel, it would seem is a combination of the word for lion and, of course, the el, which is most commonly translated God. The problem is that there is another word pronounced the same but which has a tiny mark in the Hebrew lettering which changes the word to mean an altar.Calvin, usually an extremely cautious translator, holds to the latter in this case while Ironside calls it a toss up. Reference to the killing of sacrifices in the first verse and saying in the second, "it shall be (the city) unto me as an altar"– possibly changing the words from the proper noun Ariel to the literal meaning of the word. (Lion would make no sense here.) Just a thought and obviously of little consequence.

The fact is that Jehovah is about to make of His city that He had chosen as the place of His habitation (Ps.132:13) an altar whereupon He will offer, as it were, the heart of the nation to be destroyed by Babylon. The visitation will be as a bolt of lightening, a devouring flame as thorough as that which licked up the very stones of Elijah’s altar on Carmel (v.6).

Why would Jehovah do such a thing? Woe unto those whose "works are in the dark" (v.15). He hates the works of darkness and cannot abide a nation of hypocrites who honor Him with their lips but whose heart is far from Him. The Lord Jesus recognized the similarity between the nation of Isaiah’s day and the hypocrites of His when He applied this prophecy to the Pharisees (Matt.15:7-9).




Isaiah 30:15 And Ye Would Not

Next time we shall think about Israel’s failure in going down to Egypt, but now we shall think about what they should have done. I have the words "how sad" written in my Bible at the end of verse 15. Actually, the words of this verse are wonderful words and are certainly often quoted.

"In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength." It is too bad that the verse does not end there! But, unfortunately it doesn’t, and that is what this book of Isaiah is all about. The affect of reading these prophecies is that we should be caused to weep as did Jeremiah over the stubbornness and rebellion of Israel. What they could have had were they only willing to "trust and obey."

Oh for the day that Isaiah saw in the future when Jehovah will graciously gather His people (note that word in 18 &19).

What a difference there was between what lay in store for them when they would hear a voice behind them saying "this is the way, walk ye in it," and what the Assyrians would hear from Him whose "lips are full of indignation and his tongue as a devouring fire" (v.27). This but a foretaste of what awaits all of the enemies of Jehovah who of old prepared the lowest hell, Tophet, where, as Ironside says, "will be cast the last enemies of God as the day of the LORD is ushered in and man’s day comes to a close."

In the meantime back to a nation that will learn nothing from all of this that would soon come upon them. Would they return and rest in a gracious Saviour? We have but to turn to Matthew’s gospel (23:29 and following) to hear the eighth in the series of woes from the lips of God’s gracious Son pronounced upon those who killed the prophets like Isaiah. " O Jerusalem, Jerusalem thou that killest the prophets and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings and ye would not!"




Isaiah 31:1 Egypt’s Horses and Chariots

It is typical that when we speak of going in a southerly direction we say "down." We go down to Portland, up to Bangor. But going down to Egypt was not only to go south, it was to go in the wrong direction. It was, of course, merely coincidental that the way to Egypt was down for it would have been just as wrong for them to look that wayfor help even if it were sought upon the highest mountain or even among the stars!

Egypt! What memories it conjured up. Every year when Nisan, the first month, rolled around, the stark contrast of the crimson blood on the snow-white neck of an innocent lamb, the bitter herbs, a reminder of the sweat and tears, of the grinding labor to make bricks without straw. Of these things they could only read now, but from the scroll one could sense the anguish the great cry arising as from a single Egyptian throat "for there was not a house where there was not one dead" (Ex.12:30).

Egypt, the iron furnace, 400 years of suffering, of prayer for deliverance, of longing for unfulfilled promises and then, finally, amazingly, they stood on the bank of the sea as it washed triumphantly over "horse and rider" (15:1). How could they ever forget it? "Who is like unto thee, O LORD among the gods? who is like unto thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?" (V.11).

And yet, they had apparently forgotten. Unbelievable! Do they not understand that the Egyptians are but men and what are they in comparison to the Almighty, the LORD of hosts! And what these horses of flesh when compared with those that surrounded Elisha at Dothan (II K.6:17). "O fools and slow of heart to believe..." (Lk.24:25). The heart of Jehovah beats in the breast of our Lord Jesus Christ and it must likewise grieve over us when we "seek first to the physician" or depend on the arm of flesh, forgetting that our strength is still in "the Holy One of Israel" (31:1) and it is in Him that we are to trust.

Years ago I jotted down next to Psalm 20:7 "some trust in chariots and some in horses" and some in mailing lists "but we will remember..." I hope we will.




Isaiah 32:17 The Work of Righteousness

Ah, let us linger on these pages, sifting out the precious from the vile. What is more vile than those who would cause their sons and daughters to be burned alive as an offering to Molech (Jer.32:35). Could such a thing be happening in Jerusalem? Yes, (v.31) it had been for some time and Jehovah’s fury is building. Soon He would bring upon it such a blast of the heat of His anger as to "remove it" from before His face.

But not yet! There are still a few good men. Thank God for them. The liberal of verse eight is, in this context a magnanimous person. Soon to come will be Manassah who brought such evil upon Jerusalem and Judah that it made the ears tingle of those who heard of it (II K.21:12). Such was the one soon to come out of the loins of his father, but not yet! Before this happens, "a king shall reign in righteousness" and in concert with him "princes shall rule in judgement." Such a king was Hezekiah! It is said of him that there "was none like him" before or after him.

He is the one being spoken of in this chapter. That is the interpretation. As for the application, it is fortunate that Isaiah wrote these words or else our modern hymn writers would have lacked much poetic language that they could apply to our Lord Jesus and His work of righteousness. It is for certain that we can hide in Him for He is a "rock in a weary land." It is the effect of His righteousness that produces "quietness and assurance forever" (v.17).

It was, however, Manie P. Ferguson (19th century) who really capitalized on Isaiah’s words in his hymn Blessed Quietness. Several of the stanzas of this great hymn have thoughts and phrases adapted from this chapter and the next. Praise God that indeed we do dwell in "a peaceful habitation and a quiet resting place."




Isaiah 33:22 He Will Save Us

What goes around comes around. Assyria was now the spoiler but it would not be long before Nineveh would be itself overthrown by the Babylonians and would suffer in turn being spoiled. Thus it is always among the nations as God uses the one to mete out justice against the other.

It is even so with individuals for the very worst treatment that can ever come upon us at the hand of our enemy can only result in physical death whereas those who mistreat us will suffer for their sins for all eternity. That may not seem like much of a comfort when pain wracks the body of the martyr but even in such an extremity some are given grace to pray for their enemies who not only "know not what they do," but in fact know not where they are headed. Witness Stephen who took his pattern from our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 7:60).

Verse six, in the short term, speaks of the stability of the times yet to be had under Hezekiah, though long term, it speaks of the wonderful treasure it is to His people of any time to know and appreciate the fear of the LORD. (Calvin sees Hezekiah as a "figure of Christ").

Both the enemies that attack from without and the hypocrites within the walls of the city should fear the devouring fire of Jehovah, yea all except those described in verse fifteen. Need the gold and silver fear the heat which only cleanses and makes more pure its substance?

It is these who "walketh righteously" whose "eyes shall see the king in his beauty." Though it even yet is a "land that is very far off," yet, though we can hardly believe it, Zion will be "a quiet habitation" and there we shall forever behold "our glorious LORD."


Isaiah 34:8 The Day of The LORD ‘s Vengeance

Chapters 28-33 comprised a section characterized by the word Woe. These seems to relate primarily to the immediate threat of the Assyrian army. At least the prophecies would begin by speaking of relevant subjects: Ephraim; Ariel, David’s city; going to Egypt for help; king Hezekiah.

Now, the subject is more encompassing. Let the earth hear; all nations are to be destroyed; all the host of heaven dissolved. Note the sense of finality: the nations are utterly destroyed (v.2); it shall not be quenched; none shall pass through it for ever and ever (v.10); the wild beasts shall possess it forever (v.17).

Thinking back we will remember that whenever the judgements upon Israel were mentioned there would always be mercy and blessing at the end for her. But now we are dealing with the judgements of the last days. The earth is being reaped. It is the day of the LORD’s vengeance (v.8).

Ironside says "this prophecy (1-3) is in perfect harmony with Revelation 19:19-21. In fact these words of Isaiah might be looked upon as a commentary on, and explanation of, the vision found in the Apocalypse. It coincides also very closely with the first part of the 14th chapter of the book of Zechariah." This refers to that time in the tribulation period when the nations shall be gathered together against Jerusalem.

He says that the judgement mentioned here in v.5 on Idumea has never yet taken place but that it will be literally fulfilled at the time spoken of here and he thinks that Edom will be inhabited by these fowls throughout the millennium as a reminder of how God judged a rebellious people. We shall see.

In the meantime, we have the wonderful promise of the next chapter and one of the most wonderful promises ever heard by mortal man.

The world can only look forward to God’s vengeance, but we await His richest blessings. Praise the Lord!


Isaiah 35:10 Shades of Handel

Well, there is no doubt about this chapter which some have likened to a poem or song. The theme is the millennium reign of Christ on earth. The "book of the LORD" is full of information about this event especially the prophets (34:16) and among God’s creatures there shall be great rejoicing when that time comes. We often sing about it during the Christmas season. "Joy to the world, the LORD is come, let earth receive her King, let every heart prepare Him room and heaven and nature sing." When He comes the effect of His kingdom will be observed in every place where previously the curse of sin has abounded. Even the wilderness and the desert will rejoice and blossom as the rose.

Ever since man sinned, the prevailing winds have blown upon Israel from the east. Once they shift to the west, clouds larger than a man’s hand will begin to drop much rain upon Carmel and we remember with amazement and relief how God thus turned the tide and the tables of Jezebel there once before. The abundance of rain is all it will take for the whole Sahara desert to burst forth and blossom.

What did Christmas have to do with all of this? Much every way. Do you remember what our Lord Jesus sent as a soothing message to John the baptizer? Tell him that the blind see, the deaf hear, the lame leap, etc. (Matt.11:5). He did not say that the dumb sang, but the verses He had in mind do, for He certainly had reference to Isaiah’s prophecy, and what is it that causes the song but those "streams in the desert" (v.8)? His first advent presaged the second!

What hallelujah singing will resound from the highway of holiness as the ransomed return to Zion with songs of gladness and indeed, "sorrow and sighing shall flee away!"




Isaiah 36:21 Not a Word

Suddenly we are whisked back from the glorious future to the startling reality of the present. Sennacharib has invaded Judah - his general is at the gates of Jerusalem. (This is not to say that there is any relationship between chapters 35 and 36. There probably is not.)

It is very important at this point that we keep straight in our minds the fact that we will be dealing from now on with two major nations which are attacking Israel and Judah. The first is Assyria whose king is Sennacharib who succeeds in conquering the 10 tribes of Israel, carrying them off captive from whence they shall never return. He also captures 46 cities of Judah and 200,000 of the people as well. The important thing to remember is that they were unable to defeat Jerusalem!

The second nation to keep in mind is Babylonia whose king Nebuchadnezzar (inter changeably with Nebuchadrezzar) did succeed in capturing and destroying Jerusalem 125 years later.

What is of special interest to us is seeing the way God worked in these two situations. In the first, He delivered Jerusalem from being captured and we have a wonderful account of that deliverance here in this chapter of Isaiah and the next. This was during the reign of Hezekiah and it was in answer to this godly king’s prayer that the city was spared. (See devotionals on II K. 18 & 19; II Chr. 29 - 32.)

Later, especially in Jeremiah’s prophecies, we shall see a completely different picture when, because of Judah’s sin, it becomes God’s will to destroy Jerusalem and a totally different scenario unfolds which catches Jeremiah in an imbroglio from which he barely escapes with his life (Jer.38:9). ( It’s a great word, check it out in Webster!)

The encouraging message of this chapter is that no matter how successful the enemy is at what he does, he is absolutely powerless against us when we have Jehovah on our side (Ps.91:1 -7). Behold what threatening, "but they held their peace and answered him not a word."


Isaiah 37:31 Taking Root and Bearing Fruit

Other than a slight difference in the verse numberings, this chapter is exactly the same as II Kings 19, a fact which goes to show that this is the point where history and prophecy touch and flow together for a bit. If you have access to what I wrote in II Kings I suggest that you might go back and read it. Also, it is available on my website: www.oldmainepastor.com.

The time will come all too soon when another king of another nation will succeed where here Sennacharib fails. If Hezekiah was one of the best kings Judah had, his son Manasseh was one of the worst and though he repented at the end of his life and though his grandson Josiah was a revivalist king, the wickedness of the nation had ripened to the point of no return. But again, as we have previously stated, that is about 125 years down the road, and if you think the chronology of Isaiah is a challenge, just wait until you get into Jeremiah.

Hezekiah’s is a most wonderful prayer (vs.16-20) and can be a pattern for us when we have a stressful situation that needs to be "spread before the LORD." Can we really believe that we have the ear of the God of all the kingdoms of the earth and that it is He Who made heaven and earth? Yes, as much as he believed it and certainly experienced the reality of such astounding deliverance from Sennacharib’s powerful army. The LORD will hear us for the same reason that He heard Hezekiah, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that He is the LORD.

At a time when most of those around us believe that evolution is the answer to the riddle of life let us be ready to stand fast in the faith portrayed in this chapter. It is only a remnant that continues to sink its roots into the unchanging truth of Scripture, but as we do so, we shall certainly "bear fruit upward."




Isaiah 38:19 "As I do this day"

If there is opportunity, a backward glance at the events taking place here in Hezekiah’s life as recorded in II Kings 20 and II Chronicles 32 would be rewarding. It is in II Chronicles 32:32 that the inspired text states that "the rest of the acts of Hezekiah and his goodness" are to be found written in Isaiah and the Kings. We have already made reference to the tribute made to him in II Kings 18:5 where it says, "He trusted in the LORD God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him."

Therefore, before we leave this man behind in the dust of history and the grave, let us spend a few moments thinking about the great physical trial that came into his life and how it affected him. Here we see how human he was as he asked God to be delivered from the sentence of death dispatched to him by Isaiah. Any of us could hear that same sentence the next time we see our doctor. If and when that time comes, it would be well for us to be able to say as Hezekiah did, "Remember now, O LORD, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart and have done that which is good in thy sight."

Something that we are in a much better position than Hezekiah to understand is that the LORD has indeed undertaken for us (v.14). He has, in love to our soul, delivered it from the pit of corruption (Hell). He has cast all our sins behind His back! The living, yea, the living "he shall praise thee as I do this day" (v.19). May we pass these truths on to those who come after us (our children) and may we be found singing songs of praise for all eternity. (For I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever- Ps.23:6). Hallelujah!


Isaiah 39:4 What Has He Seen in Our Hearts

The story of the Babylonian visitors is a rather strange one. There is nothing to say that they were spies, though they might have been. Hezekiah was "glad" to see them and show them around. What was so wrong in that? It was what we might think of as a common courtesy. These foreign ambassadors seemingly were innocent enough and they had come "from a far country," the least he could do was be hospitable.

In fact, it must have been while showing his treasures and his armaments that momentarily the sin of pride creptin and just at that moment as it was His way to do at times, the Spirit of God left him, perhaps grieved to think that little did he know but that all these things that he had amassed would be carted off to Babylon sooner that he might realize. Babylon was not that far away.

So we are privileged to peek with God (II Chr. 32:31) inside the great king’s heart. It is only in the historic pages of inspiration that such a glimpse is ever given. Who would guess at that moment in time that there was anything wrong in what he did. In fact, were we not given the inside story, we might be prone to think quite positively about the good man’s effort at witness for it did seem that it was word of the miracle that had prompted them to come. In fact it may have been in that very thing that he had been disobedient in not giving glory to God about the sun going back.

About such things we may only speculate, but what we can do is watch carefully our own hearts and hold lightly those things upon which it often sets great value for we will all too soon be separated from them and all we will have is whatever treasure we have laid up in heaven. No Babylonian thief can get that (Matt.6:20)!


Isaiah 40: 3 The Voice in the Wilderness

Of Course the voice crying in the wilderness belonged to John the Baptizer and all of the four Gospels acknowledge that this reference relative to preparing the way of the Lord is the one that we have here before us in Isaiah, (Mt. 3:3, Mk. 1:3, Lk. 3:4 and John 1:23).

I take the liberty of reproducing what was written on the Luke passage.


Luke 3:12 What Shall We Do?

Where is the meat in this chapter? Perhaps it is in what Isaiah the prophet wrote in anticipation of John’s coming as the fore-runner of our Lord Jesus. We might call him John the bulldozer as he sought to prepare the way for the Lord. Can’t you see him cutting a wide swath through the Judaistic swamp? With the law of Moses as the surveyor’s instrument anything below par must be brought up to grade level, those above the law humbled, crooks brought to justice and character flaws exposed to the cutting edge of the blade of truth. We would do well to ask the question of the day "what shall we do then?"

The answer comes back to us in the call for repentance which means a change is in order. Whatever it takes to straighten out our thinking, for that is essentially what is meant by the word repentance. It involves a word that we usually don’t like to hear..change. But we are saved, we don’t need to listen to John. Not necessarily true! Israel’s voice in the wilderness has its counterpart for the church, the Holy Spirit. He it is who calls us to repentance to change our minds concerning sin. The evidence that we have responded to the Spirit by receiving the One who baptizes us into the body of Christ (I Cor.12:13) lest we be among those cast into unquenchable fire is the attitude of being willing to change and keep on changing as the Sword of the Spirit does its necessary work.

Are we sure we don’t have a few low places in our thinking that are below grade level when it comes to holiness, perhaps a hill or two of pride that needs knocking down? Lord, expose my crooked ideas and smooth out my character until I think and act like You.


Isaiah 41:14 Fear Not Thou Worm

There is a recognizable change that takes place in Isaiah when we reach the fortieth chapter. That is one reason why the so called "higher critics" postulate a second Isaiah. Of this Halley in his Bible Handbook states "the book of Isaiah in our Bible and in Jesus’ day, was ONE book not two. It is not a patchwork, but, from the beginning to end, it is characterized by a unity of thought, set forth in the sublimest of language, that makes it one of the grandest things ever written."

J.A. Alexander, however, as most of the commentators, divides the book at this point and in fact has a very helpful outline of the latter section in a chapter by chapter format. Ironside calls this the third section of the book dividing the first 39 chapters into a prophetic section and an historical-typical section. Interestingly F.B. Meyer has done a special work on chapters 40 - 55 entitled Christ in Isaiah.

You will note that starting with this chapter the word redeemer appears often (13 times) and redeemed another 10 times in 43 -63.

After pronouncing such a thorough-going judgement on Israel in chapter 39 perhaps it was felt that it was time to comfort His people (40:1) which He does now in numerous ways.

While the nations are encouraging themselves by sprucing up their idols (vs.6&7) Jehovah comforts Jacob by reminding him that He has chosen him to be His servant and refers to Abraham as His friend (v.8). What a wonderful and comforting statement is verse 10 as Israel is told "Fear thou not for I am with thee: be not dismayed for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness." We enjoy applying this promise to our own hearts as believers, but we must remember that it was said to comfort Israel at a very difficult period of their history. Another "Fear not" is found in verse 14 where Jehovah identifies Himself as their "redeemer, the Holy One of Israel."


Isaiah 42:6 A Light of the Gentiles

As we have indicated, Isaiah is Jehovah’s mouthpiece to speak comfort unto the nation Israel now that the destruction of Jerusalem has been announced. If we may, let us attempt to follow the train of thought from the preceding chapter as God is apparently introducing several interrelated themes. He will be emphasizing His omniscient ability to foretell the future in contrast to the deaf and dumb idols (41:22&23); this will lead to His plan to produce a great leader (Cyrus, 41:2&25) who will orchestrate the return of Israel to the land after the 70 years of Babylonian captivity. This, of course, is good tidings to Jerusalem though Jehovah could not find a counselor among His own people to make the proper announcement (41:28).

It is in thinking about this that Jehovah is led to speak again of His ultimate plan to be Israel’s redeemer(41:14).

In the fulness of time Jehovah’s Servant, the Lord Jesus Christ would come. This is the message of our present chapter. There can be no doubt about Who this great Comforter would be for Matthew 12:17-21 spells it out clearly. This is Jehovah’s elect Servant "in whom my soul delighteth" (42:1). God, the Father is spoken of in II Cor.1:3 as "the God of all Comfort;" in John 14:16 Jesus identifies Himself as the Comforter and at the same time promises the Holy Spirit Who will be "another Comforter (of the same kind-Greek) Who abides with us forever, i.e. maximum comfort!

Though they were too blind to see or appreciate the fact, it should have been a great comfort to the Jews that through them Christ would bring the light of salvation to the Gentiles (note: the Septuagint version of the isles shall wait for his law as translated in Matthew 12:21 "and in his name shall the Gentiles trust").

Finally, in the Kingdom His work of comfort will be fully realized as He sets "judgement in the earth" (v.4). Hallelujah!




Isaiah 43:4 I Have Loved Thee

Before we apply the wonderful verses in our chapter to ourselves let us stand in awe of the interpretation of this passage. That such things could possibly be said to Israel is a cause for the greatest of wonder and consequently of admiration for our Jehovah God Who is portrayed in extravagant language as their gracious redeemer as He seeks to comfort them.

One hardly knows where to start when launching into the overwhelming depths of grace portrayed here. Let us be sure we have at least tried to grasp what abundant mercy, what loving kindness is being poured out upon a people "who would not walk in his ways neither were they obedient unto his law" (42:24) which words are hardly out of the mouth of the prophet when we abruptly encounter the words of 43:1, "Fear not for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name, thou art mine."

Again, I reiterate, think about the fact that these things are being said to Israel, not of us, though we may delight to apply them. If we fail to interpret the fact that this is addressed to Israel, we basically miss the purpose for which it was written under Jehovah’s direction. Let us rather take a moment to sigh, yea, weep for a people who spurn such love. This will help put us in tune with Jesus and Paul. Not bad company.

What we see here in Jehovah baring His heart, not for us as N.T. believers, but for Israel which has not ceased to be precious to Him though we wonder why. But once we have really seen His grace to Israel we will never ever question the security of our redemption in Christ. All of grace, all of grace, all of grace, let us never doubt it or forget it!


Isaiah 44:8 "I know Not Any"

Remember now what Jehovah has instructed Isaiah, the servant of the LORD, to do at this point in time, "Comfort ye my people"(40:1) and the people primarily in view would be Israel. The reason is because of His judgement upon them beginning here with reference to the destruction of Jerusalem but extending forward to the day in the future when that holy city would be surrounded with armies (Lk.22:20; Dan.9:26) and "all things which are written (will) be fulfilled." His glittering sword of judgement is sharpened and furbished and in this Ezekiel passage as Jerusalem is destroyed, the crown is seen as taken from the present king (Zedekiah– Ez.21:26) and there would be no more kings until the crown will be given to the One to come "whose right it is" and to Whom it will be given (v.27) by Jehovah, even the Lord Christ.

In the meantime, how do you comfort a people who have brought upon themselves the horrible judgement foretold in Deuteronomy 28:47-68? For most of them, unfortunately, there would be no comfort for what hope could there possibly be for a nation so blind as to worship and serve idols? The description of foolish idol-worshipers in this chapter is quite ridiculous and might be humorous if it were not sadly true.

For the remnant who would believe there are found in this chapter great words of comfort. In fact this whole section, especially chapters 40-44 are packed solid with promises which most of us have underlined in our Bible. There are 7 "Fear not" verses - in the section which in itself is striking. Redemption verses also abound like verse 22 which sounds so evangelic.

Best of all, and here we have a bit of humor which we really can enjoy, when God reminds Israel that there is no other God beside Him – I love it, when He says, as if looking all around the universe, "I know not any" (vs.6-8)!

And Father God, neither do we!




Isaiah 45:22 I Am God and There is None Else

Isaiah the prophet ministered from about 740 to 698 B.C. and Cyrus conquered Babylon in 538, so the fact is there were over 150 years between the two. This is what makes this passage so remarkable and why the liberals have done so much to try to discredit it postulating a second or Deutero Isaiah. If, however, this was written after the fact, as claimed by these unbelievers, what we have is a very fraudulent piece of work intending to deceive by claiming the foreseeing of the future, naming Cyrus years before he was born and declaring him as the one who would rebuild Jerusalem (vs.4 and 13).

Furthermore, the alleged reason for Jehovah telling the nation these things is for the purpose of comforting the captives assuring them that He had a plan that He was developing and concerning which He was so much in control that He had the end all planned! He refers to Cyrus as His shepherd who will build Jerusalem and the temple (44:28). In these things He makes the claim of declaring it "before it came to pass" as an evidence of His transcendence over their graven and molten images (48:5).

If these things are not truthful as indicated then not only is the Isaiah writing them a fake, the One about Whom he writes is even a bigger one!

It is significant, I believe, that in this chapter alone Jehovah reiterates six times the statement that He is the LORD and that there is none other. (Check them out for yourself!) He indicates that He is girding Cyrus even though Cyrus does not know Him that it may be known from sun to sun that He is God and the day will come when every knee shall bow to Him and every tongue shall swear it, indeed all of the seed of Israel shall be justified (23-25). Hallelujah ! (Phil.2:10&11)!



Isaiah 46:10 My Counsel Shall Stand

Calvin brings up the minor question as to whether this chapter belongs with the previous or the following one. My observation, for what little it is worth, is that it goes with the former, and I mention it for the purpose of encouraging readers to look for helpful repetition when studying. The student might think it strange that the phrase "I am God and there is none else" occurs but six times as in ch.45 when so often, as we know, we are used to experiencing the number seven. Well, here is number seven in this chapter (v.9) and we know, of course, that chapter divisions are not in the original text. We might have expected as much.

Then too, it is enjoyable to see the irony here regarding idolatry. Sarcastically God speaks of the ridiculous picture as the nation’s idols are loaded onto beasts of burden to be carried out of Jerusalem and into captivity along with the people (vs.1&2). This is followed by God speaking of how He has carried His people and will continue to do so in verses 3&4 and continued in the following sections as God discusses what He is like in contrast to dumb idols.

Here He reminds them again of His ability to declare "the end from the beginning." How important to get those two words right for I have often heard them confused (and Satan claps his hands).

Finally, this interesting chapter closes with more reference to Cyrus, further attesting that these two chapters belong together. The four letter Hebrew word translated "ravenous bird" was the translator’s choice for a swift bird of prey and probably the concept of swiftness in conquest is being implied. Actually, we are told, Cyrus was "beak nosed" and his ensign was a golden eagle with opened wings on a high spear. One thing is certain, though he didn’t know it, he was certainly raised up by God to do "the counsels of his own will" (Eph.1:11). (That is God’s will, of course. I always use capitals when referring to diety except when quoting a version that does not - and here it seemed confusing). ?


Isaiah 47:1 O Virgin Daughter of Babylon


George Rawlinson, M.A. in his 3 volume work entitled The Five Great Monarchies of the Ancient Eastern World tells us on page 510 of Vol. II that "Babylon the capital of the Fourth Monarchy was probably the largest and most magnificent city of the ancient world." The historian Herodotus, an eyewitness, claimed that the city was a square, 14 miles on all 4 sides with streets cris-crossing at right angles to 25 gates on each side. The Euphrates river ran through the middle guarded by walls of brick on either side. A hundred yard bridge crossed at one point and ferries served the others. Ostensibly there was also a tunnel 15 feet wide (Diodorus Sic. II. 8 par.2) beneath the river.

The most conservative estimate of the length of the surrounding wall was 41 miles. Various estimates of its height are from 335feet to 75 feet and of its width 85-32. (Herodotus gives the larger numbers.) Teams of four horses wide could swing and turn on the wall.

The outstanding feature of the city was the hanging gardens, 400 feet on each of four sides, it towered 75 feet in height. Sheets of lead interposed between burnt brick cemented with gypsum were employed to prevent the moisture’s destructive force. In front of it was a large reservoir fed by a canal from the river whose waters were lifted by machinery housed within the structure to water the garden which contained trees with trunks 12 feet in diameter.

We remember from Daniel’s story how proud Nebuchadnezzar was of this vast and magnificent city that he had built.

Rawlinson writing some 150 years ago says, " we are struck with astonishment at the small traces which remain of so vast and wonderful a metropolis." He quotes Jer.51:37 "and Babylon shall become heaps" as he speaks about the fact that only shapeless heaps and unsightly mounds is all one sees.

It would be 100years before Nebuchadnezzar would rebuild Babylon after Sennacharib so utterly destroyed it that traces of that period of its existence can hardly be found. Once again it was rebuilt and once again destroyed. After Jeremiah pronounces God’s wrath against Babylon in chapter 50 and 51 God tells him to tie a rock to what he had written and throw it in the Euphrates saying, "thus shall Babylon sink and shall not rise from the evil that I will bring upon her."

Such is the future that Isaiah sees for the virgin daughter of Babylon.


Isaiah 48:20 The LORD Hath Redeemed His Servant Jacob


Just in case it might occur to you, as my child, to settle down and feel comfortable at home in Babylon, I have now showed you (in the previous chapter) what I am going to do with that little insignificant piece of dirt which I will blow away much as you might blow the dust off the scales before weighing out some piece of merchandise (40:15).

Now child of mine, you are that piece of merchandise; you are to Me, Jehovah God, as the "house and lineage of David," "of the stock of Israel" and "are come forth out of the waters of Judah," in other words, pretty special.

This is what Isaiah was saying to the house of Jacob as he opened this particular prophetic utterance.

You are special to Me but unfortunately, I am not so to you. Oh, yes, you give me lip service but there is no truth in it and your righteousness is as a "morning cloud" (Hosea 6:4).

And this in spite of the fact that I have demonstrated my omniscience by showing you future things before they take place (v.5), yea, I have showed you new things even hidden things and have created new

things – but are you impressed? No, you paid no attention, in fact you are true to your Jacobean character, "a transgressor from the womb" (v.8).

The only thing that stands between you and judgement as great as I will bring upon Babylon is My name which shall not be polluted (v.11). If only you had listened to me and done as I told you it would have been well with your soul and you would have been singing "when peace like a river attendeth my way," etc. There, however, is an option open to you. I would like to hear you sing when you come forth from captivity so they hear it "to the end of the earth. Say ye, the LORD hath redeemed his servant Jacob."



Isaiah 49:26 The Mighty One of Jacob

The big question as we launch into this chapter is, who is this servant of the LORD? At first glance it seems that it might be Isaiah himself who, like Jeremiah (1:5) has been called from his mother’s womb. Or, is it Israel, as seems so evident in verse three.

I am convinced, especially after studying Hengstenberg on the subject, Christology of the Old Testament Vol.1, pg.551ff, that the whole passage relates to the Messiah.

I began to get the picture when Hengstenberg took me back to chapter 42 (pg.529) where, as he says, "the Servant of God is first to be introduced." There He is spoken of (vv.1-4); then to (5-7) but here is Himself doing the speaking. All of this, along with the revelation of Cyrus as a type of servant is to ultimately give comfort to those who are facing 70 years of exile in Babylon. This we have indicated right along. Hengstenberg puts it this way, and I quote, "The 40th chapter has an introductory character. It comforts the people of the Lord by pointing, in general, to a Future rich in salvation." We shall soon see just how rich as we come to the 53rd chapter.

The Messiah is Israel personified (v.3), a usage similar to that often employed in secular literature. Who else could this be? The Light of the Gentiles, the Savior for the ends of earth. Step back, as it were, and look at the whole chapter before examining the details.

And if any further evidence is needed, check out what Simeon thought when he embraced the baby Jesus, he who was still waiting for the consolation of Israel (Lk.2:25-33). Note also the quotation in Acts 13:47 and Paul’s use of verse 8 in II Cor.6:2.

So wonderful is the prospect of Jehovah’s great mercy (v.10) that both the heavens and earth are pictured here as breaking forth into joyful song because He has comforted His people. True, they will experience affliction and perceive of themselves as forgotten by Him, but He declares that they shall not be ashamed that "wait for me" (v.23) and He promises in the end that all flesh shall know that He, Jehovah, is their Savior and Redeemer, "this mighty One of Jacob" (v.26).



Isaiah 50:7 The Lord GOD Will Help Me

I think that because of Jehovah’s allowance of Jerusalem to fall to the Babylonians, the Jewish leaders were thinking that He had abandoned them. It seemed unthinkable to them that He would ever allow such a thing to happen even in spite of their disobedience. Here God is using the metaphors of marriage and servitude to indicate to them that His treatment of them is their fault and not His. How often He had called them to repentance and obedience and they had failed to respond.

God then assures them that their situation is not due to a lack of ability on His part to deliver them. He refers once again to the crossing of the Red Sea and His provision of water from the rock as evidence of providential care of them and assures them that His hand is not shortened "that it cannot redeem." Chapter 59 verses one and two clearly state why it is that He has failed to deliver them as He reminds them that their "iniquities have separated between (them) and (their) God."

Verses 4-9 are thought by Hengstenberg to be a return to the monologue of the Servant of Jehovah but this is argued against by Calvin who thinks it is Isaiah speaking personally but representing all of God’s servants. He makes quite a point out of the idea that the one who would speak for God must be one who has first learned from Him.

It is significant that twice (7&9) it is stated here that "the Lord GOD will help me." This seems to be promised especially to those who are undergoing persecution. This passage must be particularly comforting to the many servants of the Lord who are going through such terrible suffering for the faith (v.6).

The chapter closes with a wonderful admonition about trusting the LORD during dark and difficult days and a warning not to "kindle your own fire" in such times.



Isaiah 51:11 Everlasting Joy

It is obvious from this chapter that Jehovah wanted His people to pay attention to what He was saying to them. "Hearken" He says, we say today "listen up." We can picture a parent giving the child a little shake when attempting to get their attention. Listen intelligently, listen obediently! "I will comfort you,(40:1) but you must listen to me." He uses a different Hebrew word in verse four, perhaps for emphasis.

"Think about where you have come from and don’t let your circumstances fool you. Babylon may not be the garden of Eden, but if you keep your eyes on Me, you will find joy and gladness there. In contrast to the garden of the LORD it may seem like a waste wilderness, but you will find reason for thankgiving there and soon you will be singing."

Notice the emphasis in verses 4-8, My people; My righteousness; My salvation; My law – but especially note how many times His righteousness and salvation are mentioned!

Next, notice the reference in verse 10 to the Red Sea experience. This seems to be Jehovah’s Old Testament signature. I have notes that indicate in verse 9 that Rahab refers to Egypt and the wounded dragon to the Pharaoh.

Now, see that there are three verses that start with the words, Awake, awake! - (verses 9,17 and 52:1). Here we are reminded not to forget "the LORD thy maker" Who longs to comfort them (v.12) by reminding them not to fear what man can do but again to remember the LORD of hosts Who "divided the sea."

What a great verse is verse 11! One that has been put to music by the church. It speaks of great victory, of singing, of joy and of gladness and of course, for Israel looks forward to the redeemed returning to Zion, which is what this chapter is really all about! (See the next chapter.)?


Isaiah 52:11 Thy God Reigneth

It is evident that chapter 51 and 52 belong together. In fact, it seems that the break might better have come at 51:17. From that point note how many times the city of Jerusalem is spoken of. These words are certainly intended to comfort Israel regarding the future loss of their capital upon which Jehovah would soon pour "the cup of his fury" (51:17) but now promises that they will "no more drink it" (v.22) but rather it will be given "to them that afflict thee."

In contrast now in this chapter, "the captive daughter of Zion" is told to act as if they were already delivered though it was not yet accomplished. "Put on strength; put on thy beautiful garments" (v.1). This sounds like the N.T., put on Christ. We must keep in mind that the city had not yet fallen to Babylon when these prophecies were given. They had been struggling against Assyria and the city had been spared. They probably felt as if it was invincible. How important to them would be these words when they were being carried into captivity by Babylon.

If we might have the tendency to think it strange that these events were being anticipated and being treated as though they had already taken place, just think about the fact that most of the 53rd chapter is written in the past tense!

Again, as we read verses 7-10 we must keep in mind that Isaiah is not speaking primarily about the "good tidings" of the gospel message nor the salvation that is in Jesus Christ, but rather of the future deliverance of Israel from the 70 years captivity during which they should remember that "thy God reigneth." He is comforting His people (40:1). There is no doubt, however, but that it has implications reaching far into the future (v.10) when the nations gathered around Jerusalem to destroy it "shall see the salvation of our God."

It is also significant that the apostle Paul makes use of verse 7 as he applies it to the preaching of the good news of the gospel of redemption in Christ (Rom.10:15). The true and singular interpretation, however, of the watchmen seeing "eye to eye," the singing and the (by faith) statement, "the Lord reigneth" all have to do with the Babylonian captivity. We simply apply the principle when we declare, in the midst of difficult circumstances, Praise God, in spite of everything, we know He reigns!


Isaiah 53:11 He Shall Be Satisfied

This is the Mount Everest of Biblical prophecy. The air is rare, the sights are grand and who that has once ascended its majestic pinnacles has not returned again and again to be inspired with some new view. I know we shall not be disappointed as once more we make the trek.

As we wend our way over rough stony ground we note the flecks of crimson that keep leading us higher (52:13) while perhaps at times we hear the strains of music; "I must needs go on in the blood-sprinkled way, the path that the Savior trod;"- if ever I climb these sublime heights from which we can survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died. Strangely the higher we go the deeper lies His path, the One who is carrying the burden of our griefs and sorrows yea, even all of our iniquities we see are "laid on him."

"Oh sacred Head now wounded with grief and shame weighed down, how scornfully surrounded with thorns thine only crown – mine, mine was the transgression, but thine the deadly pain" (Paul Gerhardt).

Annie B. Cousin has captured in song a view of the high mountain peak of redemption or is it the lowest valley of the death Christ died when it pleased Jehovah to bruise Him as He lifted up His rod: "O Christ it fell on thee! Thou wast sore stricken of thy God; there’s not one stroke for me. Thy tears thy blood beneath it flowed, thy bruising healeth me. For me Lord Jesus, thou hast died, and I have died in Thee: thou’rt ris’n my bands are all untied; and now thou liv’st in me...." (O Christ, What Burdens Bowed thy Head.)

But let us listen, in closing, to the words of the inspired Isaiah as we come in sight of the highest peak of all. Yes, Messiah shall see His seed and shall be satisfied. "My servant shall... be extolled" (52:13) for He, my righteous servant, has justified many. "When purified, made white, and tried, thy glory then for me." No, Annie, for Him, yes indeed for Him,-- for Him!


Isaiah 54:2 Lengthen Thy Cords 

In God’s economy 70 years may be "a small moment" (v.7) but to those who feel "afflicted, tossed with tempest and not comforted" it is a lifetime. What a wonderful chapter we have before us filled with encouragement and promise.

The question is, will the "everlasting kindness" outweigh the "small moment" that Jehovah’s face seemed hidden? Did the sorrows of Moab mean anything to Naomi when she held Obed to her bosom? What would make Elizabeth forget her long years of empty arms? Do you think that outfitting a nursery for little John (who would one day be John the baptizer) might do it? Could she have seen the future would it have made a difference? How would Naomi have reacted to knowledge that she was changing the diaper on the grandfather of the greatest king God’s people ever had or ever would have until He came Who would fulfil the type?

What is the point? Israel will have such a house full of children that she will have to build a bigger tent. She will completely forget the days of her widowhood when her "seed shall inherit the Gentiles" (v.3).

What woman wouldn’t like to have a husband like Jehovah Who can lay the world at her feet? Someone Who would take over all training of the children and Whose very presence would bring a peaceful solution to every problem (v.13), Who could absolutely guarantee deliverance even from the tongues of the judgmental (v.17). His kindness would be more steadfast than the mountains and His mercy would last forever. The foundation of the house He is building you, O Israel, is laid with sapphires.

Back to the question. Can Israel wait for the reign of the Messiah? In the meantime, the Church can enjoy spiritualizing these great promises as she appropriates her espousal to the King’s Son and basks in the love of her coming Redeemer-Husband. Can we wait? Faithfully?


Isaiah 55:1 Ho, Everyone That Thirsteth

The temptation when reading this chapter is to assume, due to its evangelical flavor, that it was written to the Church. Paul, however, makes it clear in Ephesians three that the concept of the N.T. Church was hidden from the O.T. writers and that it was given to him to be the one to reveal it.

Therefore the obvious interpretation is that the prophet is speaking of the kingdom reign of the Messiah. The principle is much like that of understanding the Sermon on the Mount. Dispensational interpretation would say that it relates to the Millennium Kingdom but that when the King reigns in the life of the believer he lives out these principles in his daily life.

Of course, it was probably the case that much of what the prophet spoke, he did not understand, especially in its evangelical sense, yet, the Holy Spirit clearly overruled the prophet’s faculties from time to time and gave us wonderful passages that seem tailor made for us today and we do not hesitate to make the application.

The LORD will be physically near His people during the kingdom reign (v.6), but by His Spirit He is near at hand today as He convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgement. Of course, it is true in every dispensation that God’s word shall not return unto Him void (v.11). We make the application when we think of the Bible as His word, or even when we think of our mouths as being His mouth when we are yielded to Him.

Thirst for water is also true in every dispensation and is used metaphorically to depict a desire for God and His word. They of the captivity would be wise to pay whatever price necessary to incline their ear to it. So too the woman of Samaria. We do not know what it cost the Philippian jailor to embrace the gospel message but we can guess that truth did not come cheap.

We don’t "return unto the Lord" as Israel must do, but we are blessed with an "abundant pardon." Praise the Lord!


Isaiah 56: 3 Eunuchs

If we are able to receive it (Matt.19:12) there is apparently something to be said positively about being an eunuch, or the Lord Jesus would not have brought it up in response to His disciples’ question relating to marriage. Let us think on it for a bit.

First, in His treatment of it He likened a person who did not marry, to an eunuch. In such a case, as in our present text, an eunuch would be a person without issue i.e. "a dry tree." To those, Jehovah says, through the prophet, to put it is Jesus’ words, as have made themselves such for the kingdom of God’s sake, He will give in His house "a name better than of sons and of daughters."

In our Christian circles today, much is made over family and, of course, there is certainly place for that, but we do need to stay balanced. There are those who, because of their service to the Lord do not have any physical children or grandchildren to gladden their hearts and brighten their days. There might be a tendency for such to lament the dryness of their situation and it is to them, it must be, that these encouraging words of the prophet are directed (v.5).

This message has at least two prongs. Children and grandchildren are certainly the Lord’s heritage, but a real blessing only if they are led to Christ and lead a fruitful Christian life. Let the house of prayer be frequented regularly by concerned parents and grandparents (v.7). Secondly, as we spiritualize the thought in 54:1, let us rejoice over the sons and daughters of the faith who will be in heaven, in many cases, because of those who chose "the things that please" God and in doing so had to put home and family on the back burner, so to speak. With such sacrifices, obviously, God is well pleased and eternity will yield the joyful reward to those who must wait to enjoy it (I Thess.2:19).



Isaiah 57:14 Prepare the Way

Here again, a typical prophetic message to Israel. Verses one and two are designed to comfort those who see good men, possibly leaders like Hezekiah and Josiah taken away from among them when their presence seems most needed. Such, states the prophet, are simply being spared having to live through the evil times that lay ahead. The Psalmist called the event "precious" that ushered the righteous into that far better land called Abraham’s bosom(Ps.116:15). For us it is to be present with the Lord which is far better.

Next comes the warnings to the wicked (v.3). Idolatry and baby killing being the leading crimes. As usual these were couched in language which spoke of unfaithfulness to their matrimonial relationship with Jehovah (v.8).

How comforting, in midst of all their fears and frustrations to be reminded of their rich heritage and promised blessing; "but he that putteth his trust in me shall possess the land and shall inherit my holy mountain" (v.13).

Through saviors like Cyrus and Darius would God level the road, though unknown to them at this time, and through their agency He would "prepare the way" and miraculously remove the stumbling blocks out of the way of His people (v.14; Calvin).

The author of this prophecy, of course, is not Isaiah, but He "whose name is Holy." What a great God they had, high and lofty, Who inhabits eternity. Wow! And yet One Who delights to condescend to dwell among those of a humble spirit and a contrite heart. Such may we ever be! Amen.


Isaiah 58:13 The Sabbath a Delight

The prophet is here instructed to cry against the hypocrisy of the people. He speaks especially of the need to take care of the poor and to stop oppression. He ends with a special plea for Sabbath-keeping. The promise of God’s blessing will then be their experience (v.8) and He will answer their prayers (v.9). They were to "honor him not doing thine own ways" etc. (v13).

The principles are the same for us in our present dispensation. The difference is that our holy God indwells us and certainly as we yield to Him we will be like Him and all of these works should be as natural for us as breathing.

Calvin on the phrase "If thou shalt turn away thy foot from the Sabbath" thinks that it means "If thou cease to advance thy course, if thou shut up thy path, walk not according to thine own will," or, in other words, live in a manner pleasing to God. In this he comes very close to the dispensational application of Sabbath-keeping, i.e. that every day is the Sabbath for us for we are resting in the finished work of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The believer who understands the death-life principle as set forth clearly in the epistles of our N.T. and who, on that basis obeys Romans 12:1 walks the "Calvary road" every day, not just on weekends. When, as I Cor.6:20 indicates we should, we glorify God in our body recognizing that it belongs to God, we will be glorifying Him every day of the week!

So exactly what are we to do? Study the Bible to know who God is and what He wants us to do, examine our lives constantly to see where we fall short, confess as sin everything less than the character of Christ, reckon ourselves dead to it, take our position by faith, appropriating the power of the resurrection and rest in the finished work of Christ on the cross. This is our Sabbath-rest, our delight.


Isaiah 59:20 Turn From Transgression

"For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." With this familiar verse Paul concludes his well know description of the guilty world having proved that "both Jews and Gentiles are all under sin." As it is written, etc.It is obvious as we look at the center column references in our Bibles that he chose to use verses mostly from the Psalms to put together this list (Rom.3:10-18), however, and I find this interesting, he also drew heavily upon this chapter. (Compare vs.7&8 with Rom.3:16&17.)

Certainly, we are not surprised to hear that the world is guilty of such a list of sins, but we are deeply chagrined to see such a list here and attributed to God’s people. It is for such sins, the prophet laments, that God has hid His face from you that He will not hear you when you pray to Him.

I think that one of the most sobering experiences that comes of reading these prophetic books is to see how far these people had fallen from the grace of their position as the chosen of Jehovah. All of these sins in this chapter might seem to belong more to Roman three, but not in Isaiah 59!

Soon, we hope, God will put on righteousness as a breastplate and salvation as an helmet and deal in vengeance and zeal with His enemies, but first must come those conditions that will produce repentance in His people. The tribulation is the time of Jacob’s trouble and is designed to cause him to "turn from transgression" (v.20) to the Redeemer Who shall come to Zion and rescue him (Jer.30:7; Zech,12:3-11 and Luke 21:20).

We must be aware that when we pray for the peace of Jerusalem, there is no peace for the wicked (57:21) therefore, all of this wickedness we see in this chapter must be dealt with until the people are brought to mourn for their sin and realize what it has cost to redeem them.


Isaiah 60:19 The Everlasting Light


The subject of this chapter is Zion, the city of the LORD. If I counted correctly, 50 times, less one, do the pronouns, thy, thine, thee and thou appear and in every case refer to this subject. The city of Jehovah is, of course, Jerusalem and in this case the millennial Jerusalem. The Lamb is the Light in the city of God (Rev. 21:23) and the glory of that remarkable place (II Cor.4:6). Its walls of jasper are called Salvation and thinking about these walls got me started on a subject that has been a favorite of mine for years. Back in the early 1960's I received regularly a periodical called the Defender. Its editor at the time was a brother Armstrong (no connection to the Armstrong cult). In one issue the editor propounded a theory relative to the millennial city in which he pictured it pyramidal in shape. I bought into his idea and have never since been able to conceive of it otherwise.

God’s Word has given us quite a few details in Rev.21 about this city so I think it is fair to say that there is nothing wrong in a bit of speculation or interpretation.

The most difficult fact is its height which is equal to its length and breadth. My center column reference Bible says that a furlong is 1/9 of a mile making this measurement 1080 miles. The Thompson Chain Reference Bible calls it 1200 miles. At any rate, it is a mighty long distance and it is hard to get our minds around it. Let’s go with the latter figure for round numbers. We are talking about the distance roughly from Maine to Florida along one dimension. Thinking of a pyramid instead of a cube doesn’t change the height, only the shape. Armstrong put the throne room at the apex which makes good sense especially when it come to lighting evenly.

To have the foundations on top of each other in layers makes no sense, but seeing them as 12 stories in a parking garage arrangement does. No mention is made of a super structure holding it all of this together but that problem would be the same whether the shape was cubical or pyramidal.

The walls have a measurement of 216 feet (18 inches to a cubit) which must refer to their height. This is probably more like a crystal shield (Rev.21:11&18) which would provide a reflector for the light from the throne (vs.11,23 and 22:5).

It was certainly a wondrous sight when John saw this spectacular city coming down from heaven (Rev. 21:2) looking like a golden crystal satellite of immense proportions. And what is the source of all this reflected and refracted light? The Lamb of God shall be "the everlasting light" of the new Jerusalem!

Isaiah 61:3 Trees of Righteousness

This is a wonderful text to demonstrate the beauty of a Messianic prophetic announcement. Would not those immediately threatened with being led away from Jerusalem as captives be heartened to hear the "good tidings" of these verses, for example, that the old waste places be rebuilt (v.4), etc.? Yet, would this be anything compared to the "everlasting joy" (v.7) for which they longed when "righteousness would spring forth before all nations?" No, they must look forward for that time when Christ would reign on earth in the kingdom of which the previous chapter had so much to say.

With all of this, we have not begun to make the spiritual application of this passage. But wait, Who is this Who steps to the forefront of our Galilean synagogue on this Sabbath day as any Jewish male is free to do? Where shall He turn this day and from whence shall He teach us? Ah, He takes Isaiah, He unrolls the scroll carefully to the text and reads in a strong assuring voice, "the Spirit of the LORD is upon me..."

Thus read He our text to these His familiar countrymen and coming to the words, "to preach the acceptable year of the Lord," He closed the book, gave it back to the minister and sat down saying, "this day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears" (Luke 4:18 &ff).

He stopped where He did in the midst of the passage because the remainder of it yet awaits the 7 years of tribulation when "the day of vengeance" will come.

As a tree of righteousness I have been planted in God’s house and He is glorified. I already have everlasting joy for He has "clothed me with the garment of salvation." I am a "Priest of the LORD." Hallelujah, what else can I find in this chapter to revel in?



Isaiah 62:4 Beulah

"A thousand years as one day" (II Peter 3:8). This is all I could think of as I studied this chapter. Also the words "how long O Lord, how long?"

The LORD has said that He will not rest or hold His peace until He makes Jerusalem "a praise in the earth." The watchmen on her walls must be angels, for only they could endure so long. In the center column reference they are called "ye that are the LORD’s remembrancers!

Oh LORD, hasten the day when she shall indeed be a crown of glory in Your hand, even a royal diadem.

Jehoshaphat’s mother must have been born into a difficult situation for her mother to give her the name of Azubah (I Kings 22:42) which means deserted. We can only imagine that her husband had run off and left her to bring this little girl into the world unwanted by her father. When, in turn, Azubah brought a man child into the world, she probably named him, as she did, Jehoshaphat, thinking and rightly so, (about the meaning of his name), God will plead my cause as my righteous Judge. If she lived to see it, she must have indeed felt vindicated when her son was placed on the throne of David.

Now, Jehovah says to Jerusalem,the day is coming when I will vindicate you and your land will no longer be called desolate (Azubah in Hebrew) but rather Beulah.(married). Every time we sing the song "Oh Beulah land, sweet Beulah land" we are singing about God’s promise to Jerusalem.One of these thousand year days soon we shall see the promises fulfilled and we too will rejoice in our eternal home, the new Jerusalem.


Isaiah 63:3 The Winepress of God’s Wrath

Who is this that cometh from Edom? Commentators do not agree, but again, we need to put on our thinking caps and use our common sense. Calvin strongly says it is not Christ, wet with His own blood shed on the cross as so many are tempted to interpret. He says it is Jehovah reassuring His people that the Edomites, their vicious enemy from within (remember they were circumcised relatives from Esau’s branch) who forwarded the persecution in the day of the destruction of Jerusalem (Ps.137:7), will yet be judged.

The judgement pictured is vividly portrayed. Jehovah is seen "traveling in the greatness of his strength" with garments dyed red, drenched as it were with the blood of His enemies. He comes from Bozrah, a land that was known for its vineyards. He wants His people, who will soon experience a bloodbath by Babylon, to be comforted in knowing that their day too will come. It is a message found often throughout the prophets and elsewhere as seen in the aforementioned Psalm.

As to verse three where we read "I have trodden the winepress alone," again, Alexander, recoiling at making this a description of Christ’s passion says "the impossibility of such a sense in the original passage cannot be too strongly stated," yet he agrees that the figure may be used (the treading of the winepress) so long as "we are careful to avoid confounding such accommodations with the strict and primary import of the passage" (italics mine).

In other words, if we are going to see this as if it were Christ treading the winepress, it must be seen as a picture of His involvement in judgement of the nations as in "the day of vengeance" (v.4 and also 61:2).

The figure of the winepress of God’s wrath is one that is used frequently in the Scriptures, especially in Revelation (14:19&20) where Christ is spoken of as treading "the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God." Also note v.13 where it speaks of His vesture "dipped in blood."



Isaiah 64:4 We Are All Thy People

This kind of praying is appropriate for every dispensation. The current state of the temple worship was obviously deplorable as indicated by the necessary reform under Hezekiah (II Chr.29:5-6). Perhaps this was a sample of the prayers of Isaiah and his king (32:20). That prayer was answered and during the reminder of Hezekiah’s days there was peace (v.26). Isaiah certainly was aware that more trying days lay ahead (II Kings 20:17) and could well have been shown by God the "desolation" of Jerusalem and the burning of the temple (Is.64:10-11; II Chr.36:19), something that definitely happened when Titus destroyed Jerusalem in 70 A D. The prayers of Daniel on behalf of the remnant (Dan.9:19&20) were on the order of what we see here and we can imagine that the cry of Nehemiah (1:5-11) might have been inspired by these words.

Ironside (p.354) calls this the heart cry of the remnant in the last days as they suffer under the Beast and the Anti-Christ.

I am not even going to try commenting on verse four and Paul’s use of it. If you are interested in the problem, you might read Alexander on Isaiah and also Adam Clark’s commentary by Gary Gallant. The solution to the problem lies in the fact that Paul was inspired wherever he got the quote if it was a quote. Of course, some part of it was.

Again, the thoughts about our righteousness being as filthy rags and the beautiful figure of God our Father being a potter and we the clay are fitting ones in any dispensation as well. There is no need for help in making adequate application. For a short chapter, there is much to meditate upon and pray about if we will do it.


Isaiah 65:19 I Will Rejoice in Jerusalem

What great news, Jehovah is creating new heavens and a new earth! Could One Who calls Himself "the God of truth" twice in the verse preceding this announcement (v.16) not come forth with a literal fulfillment of such a promise? Absolutely not, but the big question as we read carefully the details of this prophecy is, to what exactly is Isaiah referring, the millennium or heaven? The problem is obvious, at first it sounds like the latter, but as one reads down through the passage, we become convinced that he can’t be talking about heaven when he speaks about people dying (v.20). There will be no death in heaven (Rev.21:3).

Several possibilities are put forward by the commentators. Walvoord introduces the concept that the new Jerusalem might hover over the earth during the 1000 years of Christ’s reign here and be the home of the resurrected saints during that time. This is only one of several theories set forth in his book the Millennial Kingdom . (p.827–bottom).

McClain, The Greatness of the Kingdom (p.138), suggests that Isaiah saw both events "on the screen of prophecy" but expands the millennial aspect because it is the "nearest coming event" and leaves the Eternal Kingdom for a fuller description in a later N.T. revelation.

The fact of the matter is that the prophetic vision of the future was indeed limited for they certainly did not see the church age as occurring between the 1st and 2nd comings of Christ (Eph.3:5). If the glass of the future is dark for us, it must have been even darker for them (I Cor.13:12).

In comforting the people, the prophet’s purpose was to create an atmosphere of hope which he certainly was emphasizing in verses 21-24, while 20 and 25 could only refer to the Kingdom, an event about which he was probably somewhat in the dark.





Isaiah 66:5 Hear the Word of the LORD

Mostly what we see in this chapter has to do with the great changes that are to take place in Israel’s future. Most people do not like change and that has been especially true of the Jews. Essentially what Jehovah is telling them is that the days of worshiping Him in a temple are over. What is a building to Him Who made the worlds (v.2)? The Father seeketh those who will worship Him in spirit (John 4:23) and who respect His word.

The four contrasts in v.3 must be studied to be understood but J.A. Alexander indicates that they speak of a change regarding the sacrificial system. No one was hated more by His brethren than Jesus (v.5) but that day will come when those so treated will be vindicated.

One of the greatest changes for Israel has been the opening of the gospel to the Gentiles and, as we know, it is one that they have stubbornly refused to accept. What a great day is coming when they realize that "the casting away of them" has resulted in "the reconciling of the world" (Rom.11:15) and when theDeliverer comes out of Zion and turns away ungodliness from Jacob (v.26).

What of the rebellious people described here and especially in 65:2-7? They "shall be consumed" (66:17) together with "all flesh" that will be "slain of the LORD" when He comes with fire to rebuke "his enemies" (14&15).

The book ends on a solemn note and we cannot read it without thinking of the words of our Lord Jesus in Mark 9:43-48 where three times He spoke of Gehenna, that constantly burning dump near Jerusalem "where their worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched," a picture of hell.

What a contrast! Some in the new heavens and the new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness (II Pet.3:13), others in the place of unquenchable fire. Like the end of the last book of the Bible – the 66th book!