Isaiah 2:1 - 4:6
Dr. S. Lewis Johnson expounds a lengthy passage of the Book of Isaiah that sets forth God's vision of his kingdom on earth.
[Prayer] Let’s begin with a word of prayer. Father we thank Thee again that we’re able to turn to the word of God and we pray that as we consider the great prophecy of Isaiah, that the Holy Spirit may take of the things that concern the Redeemer and bring them home to our understanding. We pray O Lord that not only shall we understand the facts of the Book of Isaiah, but may it also point us to the Lord Himself and may our lives be transformed through the study of the Scriptures. We commit ourselves to Thee with thanksgiving and praise in the name of the One who loves us and has loosed us from our sins in His own precious blood. Amen.
[Message] The subject for tonight is “The Two Jerusalems: Past and Future.” And will you turn with me to the second chapter of the Book of Isaiah? For those of you who were not here last Monday night, we are of course taping all of the messages and if you have a tape recorder and you would like to obtain the tapes as soon as I think the fourth one is made, then you may contact Mr. Golden Wheeler in the hall who supervises the tape ministry and make arrangements to get a copy so that you can catch up.
We are turning now to the second chapter. Prophecy provides not simply satisfaction for curious men, but also consolation and edification from the knowledge of the future. It is I think extremely important to remember that when we study prophecy we are not studying it simply to satisfy our curiosity about the future. Naturally we all wish to know what is going to happen, if we can really be sure we would all be rich. Because if we could just be absolutely positive what General Motors would be next week, we would have our fortunes already made. We do not study prophecy in order to satisfy our curiosity. Prophecy has great conciliatory value. In fact, in the fourth chapter of the Book of Thessalonians, when the Apostle Paul is setting forth the truth concerning the coming of Jesus Christ for the church he concludes remember with the words in the eightieth verse of that fourth chapter, “Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” So that prophecy is designed to console the Christian.
In the fifth chapter when he speaks of the coming of Jesus Christ he states that not only is this a comforting truth, but it is an edifying truth. It is a truth that builds us up in our faith and I do feel sure that if we are convinced in our own minds that the coming of Jesus Christ might be at any moment, might be imminent, then our lives are different. Or I do not think that any of us are going to live perfect lives if we were really believing that Jesus Christ’s coming was imminent, for we do have our own natures, but it would make a tremendous difference if we really had a deep conviction that Jesus Christ was coming and also the assurance that he might come at any moment. Prophecy is designed not only to satisfy our curiosity it is designed to strengthen us and to console us and build us up in our faith. I think also it has great value in the present day particularly and that it enables us to look at the affairs of men with a great deal more discern with an understanding.
Last week I read a sermon by E. Skylar English, the editor of the New Scofield Bible, and he began it with an interesting little story of a friend of his. He says he has a friend who is very well versed in the Scriptures, but almost as well versed in Shakespeare as he is in the Bible. And he said that he was discussing the facts of Shakespeare with his friend once and his friend said, “You know if I were able to go to Stratford on Avon where the Shakespearian plays are given each summer and if I were able to go back behind the curtain, and if I were just able to stay there for just about ten minutes, I could be sure from the observation of the props and what was going to be put on that stage the precise play that would be given that night.” Mr. English said he expressed some interest in it and he asked him to explain what he meant.
And he said, let’s suppose that I go behind the curtain and observe scene shift is setting to stage for the play and the back drop is a medieval castle with gray stone walls. Immediately, Mr. English’s friend said, “I would eliminate Macbeth because its opening scene is a desert place. Romeo and Juliet begins in a public square, so that’s not the play. Neither can it be the Merchant of Venice or Othello because there is noting about Venice in the props. There is no ship so the Tempest must be excluded and the opening scene of Anthony and Cleopatra takes place in a palace room not a wall. Now only a few Shakespearian plays are left. Mr. English’s friend said.
He said, “I turned and I see some of the actors getting ready to go on the stage none of them wears a Roman toga, so I know that Julius Caesar will not be played tonight. But then I observe a couple dressed in royal apparel, another actor appears in a costume, which simulates a ghost and then I’m about to make my decision when it clenched for me because leaning over against the wall adjacent to the entrance to the stage are some shields, which are embossed with the arms of Demark. He said, “I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that the play to be set forth that evening is Hamlet.”
Now I think that as we look at the word of God we have much the same situation. For you see God has given us in the word of God all of the props for the drama that is to be played before the eyes of everyone of us. We shall be alive at the time and as we observe the teaching the of the word of God, and as we observe the men behind the scenes who are moving the props about, getting things ready for the last days, if we know the scriptures we’re able to understand what is happening with a great deal of more significance. And we’re also able to guard our own steps by the help of the Holy Spirit in a way that is much surer to bring praise and glory to our Lord Jesus Christ.
So, when I read the prophetic I always read it in the light of the front page of the newspapers. Because the front page of our newspapers and our magazines tell us the way in which God and His providence is moving men to set the stage for the events that are to be played out in the last days. Now we know the events, we know the play from the word of God. But as we observe the history about us current events we’re able to see the preparations. And I think the time is coming to when those who know the Bible we’ll be able to discern some very significant signs. Now we in the church of Jesus Christ of course we look for Jesus Christ to come and to be caught up to meet Him in the air. But for us, coming events cast their shadows before them, and I think even in this present day it is possible that we shall see some moving of furniture on the stage that might indicate that much surer that soon coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Well the times of Isaiah then were as we said last week very much like ours. On the international scene, Isaiah lived to see the rise and world rule of Assyria, the cruel and terrible nation that reminds us so much of some nations that we’ve known in our life time. On the national scene he lived through the experience that many of us live through. He lived through the experience of good rulers and bad rulers. He lived as far as we can tell in the lifetime of five men who ruled over the country of Judah. Isaiah was from Jerusalem and Jerusalem was the capital of Judea. Judah had five kings that Isaiah knew. He knew King Uzziah, a good king. He knew King Joseph, a good king. He knew King Ahaz, a bad king. He knew King Hezekiah, one of the greatest kings that Judah ever had. And then he knew also we feel sure Manasseh, a bad in fact the worst of Judah’s kings.
Isaiah was born during the reign of King Uzziah. Uzziah began to reign about 767 BC. Isaiah was probably born about 765 BC. He was called to the prophetic office in 740 BC the year that King Uzziah died, so he was a man of 25 years of age. He was a man who knew Judah as it had existed under Uzziah. Now Uzziah had been a great king. Uzziah had been a king who had strengthened Judah politically. He had managed to obtain for Judah an outlet on the sea. The little city of Elath, which by the way is in our news today. It was Judah’s port to the sea, to the east.
He had obtained that for them, he had built up a navy, he had built up an army of over 300,000 men. In addition, he had strengthened the defenses of the country. It was a time of great prosperity, King Uzziah’s reign. In fact in the chronicle, the 2 Chronicles in the 26th chapter in the 15th verse we read these words and he made in Jerusalem engines invented by skillful men, siege artillery to be on the towers and upon the boyleworks, to shoot arrows and great stones and then listen. And this is of King Uzziah, and his name spread far abroad, for he was marvelously helped till he was strong. Here was a man who was marvelously helped by God until he was strong and Judah the little country had become a strong land by the ministry of King Uzziah.
But now something happened to Uzziah spiritually. Uzziah went into a spiritual tail spin 12 years from the end of his reign. He committed a very serious sin. In the 16th verse of 2 Chronicles 26 we read, “But when he was strong his heart was lifted up to his destruction for he transgressed against the Lord his God and went into the temple of the Lord to burn incense upon the altar of incense. You know there are some people who can take adversity a great deal better than they can take prosperity, and Uzziah was just such a man. He was marvelously helped until he was strong, but when he was strong his heart was lifted up to his destruction.
Have you noticed that about Christians? We can take adversity a lot better, some of us, than we can take prosperity. Adversity causes us to lean on the Lord. Adversity causes us to think about spiritual things. Adversity turns us to the word of God. Adversity turns us to prayer, but prosperity makes us feel that we do not need God or we wouldn’t say it that way so blatantly, but nevertheless it’s true. There is somehow or other the sense of independence when financially we’re in good condition, when there is noting happening to us and everything is smooth sailing all how the all major tints to trust in itself. And Uzziah great king though he was, committed a very serious sin when he went in the temple.
Now as he went in the temple the text states that the priests tried to tell him not to do it. They withstood Uzziah, but they didn’t really know what to do about it because after all he was the king and they were just priests, but there is someone who knows what to do about it and that is God. And God acted, and the text says that Uzziah was wroth or angry with the priests, and he had a censer in his hand to burn incense, and while he was angry with the priest the leprosy even rose up in his forehead before the priests in the house of the Lord and beside the incense altar. God did something about it and the sin, which was in his heart, was seen in his forehead in the leprosy that came.
Now the sticking thing about Uzziah is this. According to Jewish law, Uzziah from that time on must live in a separate house and so the text states in verse 21 of 2nd Chronicles 26 and Uzziah the King was a leper until the day of his death and dwelled in a separate house being a leper. Now notice, for he was cut off from the House of the Lord. In other words, he could not enter into the temple because he had entered into the temple and offered the incense, which he should not have offered only priests should do that. He now was prevented from entering the house of the Lord.
Now the same Prophet Isaiah will write in the sixth chapter in the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord. Where did Isaiah see the Lord? Well he saw the Lord in the temple or in the House of the Lord. And you see the sin that Uzziah has committed was a sin that caused him to miss the opportunity to see the glory of God. Now Uzziah was a great king but Uzziah went into a tailspin. Now the text of scripture tells us of course that Uzziah was a great king and the Lord blessed him but it also says something else about Uzziah. It said that Uzziah allowed the worship of the false God’s to continue and so while Uzziah himself was a great king in spite of his final failure. Still apostasy was eating at the heart of the nation.
Uzziah was succeeded by Jotham. Jotham too is called a good king. He is a man who prepared his heart before the Lord. In fact, Jotham went out of his way to be sure of that his own house and the House of the Lord were closely connected. But Jotham too, though a good king, was a king who allowed the apostasy to continue. The false worship of the false gods continued even though the king was a good man. Now Isaiah began his ministry during the time of Uzziah and Jotham. In Isaiah chapter two through Isaiah chapter four, as in my opinion, scholars differ over this, but as in my opinion written against the background of these two kings, Uzziah and Jotham.
It was a day of outward prosperity and ease, but it was a day of inward apostasy and sickness. I wonder if there is not a parallel with the situation in the United States of America today. If a nation has ever been prosperous outwardly, we are. Now we are not a theocratic nation as Israel was and I’m not trying to draw an exact parallel between them. But Americans have made a great deal of confession as to their trust in God. But I think if you look at what is really happening in the United States today in the midst of the greatest of prosperity, in the midst of the greatest ease, there is inward apostasy and sickness, and I think it manifests itself not only in the things that are happening in our streets but it manifest itself in the things that are happening in the Christian church. And if I may be so bold as to say this, and I am going to say it constantly anyway, it seems to me that it is the same type of thing that is happening in our evangelical churches, too, for we are outwardly prosperous and outwardly making progress and growing in numbers, but inwardly, I am really seriously wondering in my own heart, if we are not moving away from God, spiritually.
Now Isaiah, as he looks at the life about him under King Uzziah and Jotham, there is impressed upon his heart by God, the Holy Spirit a message for Judah and for Jerusalem. Now, last week we looked at the first chapter in which to sum it up Isaiah’s message was wickedness and worship. Though there was a great deal of worship, a great deal of outward display of religious activity, it was inwardly wicked because there was no vitality and reality in it. Now Isaiah is going to look at Jerusalem itself and you will notice that there are two pictures of this city of Jerusalem and Judah. There is one in the second chapter and in the first five verses and there is one in the fourth chapter in verses two through six.
In the first, we have prophetic Jerusalem before the world. Isaiah looks at Jerusalem, as Jerusalem shall be in the future before the world. Then he moves from tomorrow back into today at verse six of chapter two and through chapter four and verse one he writes of the situation in Jerusalem in his day and all what a difference there is between Jerusalem now and Jerusalem to come. And finally, he concludes in verses two through six of the fourth chapter with a picture of prophetic Jerusalem, as she shall be before God in the final days. It’s very simple. By the way, and you’re reading of Isaiah did you notice that? Remember I exhorted you last week to read this prophecy and some of you have been doing it. Now I am wondering about the others of you and I’ve been trying to exhort you now, read this prophecy over and over again. Somebody came to me tonight and said, you know I’ve been reading this, but I am not understanding everything in it. But I am glad you are reading it. So keep reading it and as you read it soon you will begin to grasp what is driving it.
Let’s look now at chapter two, verses one through five and let me read these verses.
“The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall come to pass in the last days that the mountain of the Lord’s House shall be established in the top of the mountains and shall be exhorted above the hills and all nations shall flow into it and many peoples showed go and say, Come ye and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the House of the God of Jacob and he will teach us of his ways and we will walk in his paths. For out of Zion shall go forth the Lord and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem and he shall judge among the nations and shall rebuke many peoples and they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord.”
Now the word that Isaiah saw, you don’t ordinarily see a word, do you? But he saw a word, what he means when he says the word that Isaiah saw is not a reasoned argument. Isaiah does not give us that, he does not mean an ecstatic dream. He does not say he dreamed and saw, but he refers to a prophetic vision when he says the word, which I saw. Now this Hebrew word kaza which is translated saw here is a word that originally had the meaning to cleave or to split and as a result it comes to mean to see in the sense of to see into and so it expresses spiritual perception. The word, which Isaiah saw, is the word, which the Holy Spirit brings to his spiritual understanding, the word, which he saw.
Now, remember this about prophets. Prophets had a two-fold ministry. Prophets were men who had four sight, that is by God’s spirit they were able to look down into the future and they were able to put down upon paper or preach the things that the Holy Spirit gave them concerning the future. They were able to predict, they had four sights. But the prophets did not always prophecies in that sense. They also possessed insight that is they were given by God the ability to look at the affairs of individuals and nations and they were enabled to see the spiritual issues that were at stake in those affairs. The prophets were told not only fore told but they forth told; that is, they gave us God’s word. In that day, the prophets were known as men who gave revelation from God. The revelation might have to do with us now or it might have to do with the future but it was all prophetic revelation. So they have four sights, they have insight now you can see Isaiah’s four sights here for he is looking down into the future and he is seeing the further in the light of God himself.
Will you look at the eighth verse of the third chapter for just a moment? Isaiah says for Jerusalem is ruined and Judah has fallen because their tongue and their doings are against Lord and to provoke the eyes of his glory. In other words, Isaiah is one who sees with the eyes of the glory of God and as God looks into men and sees them as they are, so he gives the prophet of God the ability to see men as they are. It is God, who sees thought the prophet. Let us not forget as we read the word of God, that it is not just a prophet, who thousands of years ago gave us what he thought was God’s word. It is God who has spoken through Isaiah. It is God who gives us through Isaiah his message; it is the eyes of the glory of God that Isaiah depicts for us.
Now let us notice the content, he says that his concerns Judah and Jerusalem and that’s what you would expect from Isaiah he writes very little about Judah, Judah was the French about Jerusalem and he was a citizen of Jerusalem and Isaiah’s Jerusalem colors all of his prophecy. Everything that he writes is written from the vantage point of Jerusalem. Oh, I know later on as you read along you will discover that Isaiah climbs a fairly high mountain and he looks out over the nations that are about, but always it’s from the vantage point of Jerusalem. He is preeminently the prophet of Jerusalem and Judah and even when he speaks of the nations it is with them in mind. If Demosthenes was greatly influenced by Athens, and juvenile by Rome, Isaiah was even more influenced by Jerusalem. And it shall come to pass in the last days. Now whenever you see the term the last days we have messianic days. This is an expression by acharit hayami, which is often found in the Old Testament and in almost all of occurrences of this word it refers to the messianic days the days that surround the advent of the Lord Jesus and it shall come to pass in the last days that the Mountain of the Lord’s House.
Now, If you have a Scofield Edition, you will notice down at the bottom of the page in note four in the new edition, a mountain and scripture symbolism means a kingdom, authority or rule. Now, that note is true, but unfortunately, I don’t think it applies at this point. When we read that the mountain of the Lord’s House, that is the mountain of the Lord’s temple, that is the house of God and I think that what Isaiah means is that, it should come to pass in the last days that the mountain upon which the Lord’s house shall be, shall be established in the top of the mountains. In others words, he is not referring to the Messianic kingdom, though that is of course implied in this context, but he is rather referring to the topographical changes that take place when Jesus Christ comes. As Zakaria, the prophet sets it forth, when Jesus Christ comes, there is a great earthquake and topographical changes take place, so that the mountain of the Lord’s House, the mountain upon which the temple shall be placed, will be up above the mountains of the nations and so as a result of the topographical changes, the mountain of the Lord’s House shall be established in the top of the mountains and shall be exalted above the hills and all nations shall flow on to it. In other words, the messianic worship shall be established in the mountain of God, above the mountains of the earth.
Now that is not of course the important thing, the important thing is the establishment of the worship and will you notice the third verse, “And many people shall go and say come ye and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob and he will teach us of his ways and we will walk in his paths for out of Zion shall go forth the law and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” You see, in Isaiah day, men thought that Jehovah was another little god like Kimosh of the Moabites, but Isaiah says the day is coming, when the nations of the earth are going to make their way to Jerusalem and the Messianic worship shall be established in the city of Jerusalem as the spiritual capital of the whole of the earth.
Now of course, this supposes the coming of the Messiah, but Isaiah does not say anything about that at this point. He will say a great deal about that in a few more chapters of his book and we will deal with it when we come to it. But you can see from this statement here that Jehovah is to be supreme in the earth. He also states that out of Zion shall go forth the law is almost a reversal of Babylon. At Babylon, the nations came together and said let us build us a name and a tower which will reach to heaven and in seeking to comfort one another, they lost their sense of dependence upon God, they abandoned him and so God scattered them the to the four corners of the earth and Babylon, became known as the place of confusion. But now as the result of the second coming of Jesus Christ, the worship of Jehovah is established in the city of Jerusalem and all the nations come to Jerusalem and Babylon is reversed. But also notice this, God considers it of extreme importance that men know the law of the Lord. If I may put that in language suitable for us today, what that means is simply this, that even in the kingdom period, men are going to be taught the dark trends of the word of God.
Now you of course are here on Monday nights to learn the teaching of the world. And so, I am not going to belabor you with obvious truths, but since these messages are taped, they are going to be others who are not and I want to see this for the benefit of each one of us that it is of supreme importance that we know the teaching of Holy Scripture. It isn’t enough to read the Bible to get a nice sweet thought, to have a devotional idea, to be inspired so that you feel like you are walking upon air, until you meet reality. It is far and more important that you learn the truths of holy Scripture, for it is in them, those promises, those doctrines that we really have something from God that will sustain us, instead when we fall into difficulty, when we fall into trail, when we fall into perplexity, it is the truth that sustains us. And so, it is important that we know doctrine, and I think it is rather interesting that, even in the kingdom age, doctrine is going to be taught or the nations need to know it.
I don’t know whether we are going to have Bible classes like this in heaven, I know one thing is going to be different, the teacher. I am going to be sitting out there and Paul and Peter and our Lord and others, if we are going to have teaching in heaven, I assure you. But, I do believe that in the kingdom period, there is a great stress on Bible doctrine and if there is stress then, all, how much stress there are to be today. This is the one thing that we need to really grasp, what does God’s words say, what are the doctrines of Scripture? What does reconciliation mean? What does redemption mean? What does propitiation mean? What does ontological mean? What does teleological mean? Et cetera. These are the things that we should know, because they are very practical, we shall see that I think.
The fourth verse states that he shall judge among the nations. Don’t forget that God is the God who judges. Often we think of a God’s simply as a God who loves, as a God who forgives, as a God who pardons. How wonderful it is to have a God like that. But he is also a God who judges and judgment is necessary. He shall judge among the nations. For all Khrushchev – in 1957 Khrushchev said, “we will bury you.” You know, I have this noticed this about the men who speak with the loudest tongue. The great leaders of the nations whose mouths speak great things, they almost always say things that are so directly contrary to the word of the God that the contrast is startling. It’s almost as if their tongues are controlled by God.
So, that we can see the contrast and laugh over it. I feel very sorry for Mr. Khrushchev from all I know of him but you know he said, “We will bury you,” and little does he realize that very language is used by God of the nations of the earth for when Jesus Christ comes again to the earth, the thing the Scriptures state in both the Old Testament and the New Testament is that the conflict is going to be so severe and our Lord is going to be so completely win that battle that they’re going to have to spend months burying people as a result of the coming of Jesus Christ.
No, Mr. Khrushchev you shall not bury us, God shall bury you. He shall judge among the nations. And then men, young men there is going to be no more draft but not until then and they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears and the pruning hooks, nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. Messianic peace when Jesus comes not until then, not until then no peace until Jesus comes. Don’t be misled, the nuclear proliferation treaty will not bring us peace, test ban treaties will not bring us peace, there will be no peace until Jesus Christ comes, Czechoslovakia and Hungary shall continue to occur until Jesus Christ comes.
Now I’ve spent a great deal of time on these verses because they are of considerable significance. At verse six, through the first verse of the fourth chapter Isaiah turns from the last days to his today. Now, I want you to notice the contrast. And if you didn’t get this when you read Isaiah go home tonight and read it and you’ll notice it. In the first few verses of the chapter he has looked into the distant future and he sees Jerusalem as it shall be before the world when Messiah is here but now he looks at the city as he knows it.
In the first case, God’s truth overflows to the world. Here, man’s hearses penetrate even to Zion, even to the home of the Messiah, the home to be. There God alone is worshiped in the Kingdom. Here the city has crowded with idols. There men beat their swords into plowshares, here King Uzziah and Jotham are inventing engines for destruction. There Jerusalem is full of spiritual blessings with the word of God being taught, here Jerusalem is full of materialism and the spoils of trade. What a difference between the future and the present? You see the prophet who is a visionary, the prophet who exercises foresight is the prophet who now exercises insight by God’s grace.
Now, he looks at conditions as they really are. I wish we had time to talk about all of these things that are found here but you know if we did, we’d be on Isaiah until that kingdom comes. [Laughter] But read it for yourself, you’ll notice that he attacks materialism, their land is full of silver and gold, neither is there any end of their treasures, their land is also full of Cadillac’s neither is there any end of their Continental’s. All those are just different words for chariots, aren’t they? Now there is nothing wrong with that of course. I’ve even known some creatures who Coveted Continentals and Cadillacs. I don’t, just a large Buick will do for me. [Loud laughter] There is not a thing wrong with having these things; it’s just when you set your heart upon them that it really matters. Go ahead and buy that Continental, go ahead and buy that Cadillac, it’s perfectly alright, providing God is first.
If God is first, then alright and I’d be the last to criticize and we shouldn’t, Christians, because it’s possible to have a Continental and have God first. I’ve known some people who really do covet the fellow who has the Continental. They really do talk about them too. But God is not first in their life even and if they had the money that probably have two or three. Materialism, worldly policy, they are filled with customs from the East, Israel is coming under the influence of Babylonianism brought in by Assyria, coding the friendship of the nations, of the world instead of leaning on God. Woe to the man that goes down to Egypt for help — adultery — and then our temptation particularly among the women. All of these things Isaiah says something about. Will you notice the fourth verse and 12 verse of the third chapter? And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them. Verse 12. As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they who lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths. The anarchy that is produced by childish rulers has produced the situation that Isaiah describes.
I think on Isaiah’s day there were people who went around saying you know we don’t have any statesman anymore. We don’t have any statesman anymore. Have you ever heard Americans say that? We don’t have any statesmen anymore, we don’t have any Lincolns, we don’t have any Robert E. Lees, Stonewall Jacksons and others. I said that because I’m a Southerner, just added Lincoln, just to get you off the track. But you see when a nation apostatizes from God, when our nation departs from God, it will sooner or later be seen in and among its people. And Isaiah singles out the leaders too, the upper classes, the one’s who are in control as the first part of chapter three indicates.
And finally he says in verse eight, Jerusalem is ruined and Judah is fallen because their tongue and their doings are against the Lord to provoke the eyes of his glory. I want to tell you it must have caused Isaiah something to say this too. Isaiah was a very patriotic man and for him to say that Jerusalem is ruined. It must have seemed to even to him to be treason to say that and for him to say that Judah is fallen. Oh what it must have meant to his enemies for they would have said this man is a heretic. He is not spending up for Jerusalem and he is not spending up for Judah.
What I’m saying has no reference to what so ever to the 1968 political campaign, but let me tell you something that there comes a time when if we are at the stand up for the United States, we must stand up and tell the truth as it really is in the United States. And Isaiah had the guts — that’s what it was — it was the spiritual guts to get up and say to the people of his day, people whom he loved, a nation that he loved to say that they were ruined and that they were fallen and that they had departed from God. We need that today too. Well what do you do? As our Lord says in the 14th chapter of the Book of Luke in the 34th verse, salt is good but if the salt has lost its savor, with what shall it be salted? It’s good for nothing to be trodden under foot and so what is to be Judah’s and Jerusalem’s future? Well, there is only one thing. Judgment.
Now if you will read through the section in chapter two, verse six through chapter four, verse one you will notice that seven times Isaiah refers to that day. And he also helps us to understand what that day is, when he speaks about judgment and connection with it. Will you notice the 19th verse of the second chapter and they shall go into the caves of the rocks and into the holes of the earth for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of His majesty, when he arises to shake terribly the earth in that day. Verse 21, To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of His majesty, when he arises to shake terribly the earth.
I came out of my house tonight and as I walked out of my front porch, I felt something like a spider web. Now on Monday, I very rarely go out the front door and spiders have time to build all kinds of web because Monday is my day off, I stay in my pajamas until about 4 o’ clock in the afternoon, don’t call on me on Monday. And I felt the spider web and as I went out I turned around and there was spider. It was up above the door and when I looked at it, they have a fear of preachers. When I looked at it, it immediately ran for its hole.
Now you know when God arises to shake terribly the earth, that’s precisely what’s going to happen to the men of the earth. They’re just going to be like so many spiders, they’re going to run for their holes because of the terror of the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. It’s a horrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God. So, Isaiah as he looks then at Jerusalem today says that the only hope for Jerusalem is judgment.
Now we move on to the fourth chapter because we are just about near the end of our hour. And here we have the last picture of Jerusalem, prophetic Jerusalem but this time before the Lord. Is there no hope for Jerusalem? Yes, there is hope for Jerusalem after the Judgment and so here, the city is presented again but this time the Lord is more prominent than the city. In chapter 2, the city was more prominent than the Lord. Beginning with the 2nd verse we read in that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and splendid for those who are escaped of Israel.
Now lets just for a moment take a look at that expression the branch of the Lord. What is that? Well, now the branch of the Lord is a term that is used for the Messiah. It’s one of the interesting terms because you see it expresses our Lord it describes Him as one who is a shoot of Jehovah himself. It is a term that therefore stresses the divine nature of the Lord Jesus. Jeremiah speaks of a branch, Zechariah speaks twice of a branch. And if we had time to look at these four places in which the term branch is used more than four but four types of places, you would discover that these four pictures of the branch are four pictures of our Lord Jesus, which reoccur in the New Testament.
For example, in Jeremiah he is called “the Branch of David.” He is the king, whose is the branch and Jeremiah on chapter 23 and verse five we read, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the earth. In the Book of Zechariah, in the third chapter he has referred to as the branch and there, Behold, I will bring forth my servant the branch. In the sixth chapter, we read of the man whose name is the Branch and here the Branch of the Lord, a righteous Branch, a king, the Branch who is the servant, the man whose name is the Branch and the Branch of Jehovah.
In the New Testament, we have four gospels, the gospel according to Mathew in which Jesus Christ is presented as the King. Jesus is there, the Branch of David. The Gospel of Mark in which our Lord Jesus is presented as the servant, my servant the Branch. Jesus is seen as one who does the will of God, so the Messiah. He is called the servant of Jehovah, the Branch. Luke, our Lord presented as the man, a man is the Branch and then John, the Gospel that has no genealogy for the man who is the Son of God does not have any genealogy. He is God’s son. He is the Son of God; Isaiah speaks up the Branch of Jehovah. In other words, is divine nature. Now the text also says that the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and splendid.
Now if I were translating this, I would capitalize the fruit of the earth, for that too is the Messianic title. He is the Branch of Jehovah in His divine nature. He is the fruit of the earth in His human nature. He is the perfect product of God in this divine nature, he is the perfect expression of humanity in this human nature. He is the Branch from Jehovah and the Branch of Jehovah he is the fruit of the earth, the perfect fruit of the earth and so here in this we find express the two-sided origin of our Lord Jesus. The Seed of David according to the flash the Son of God by his divine nature.
Now Isaiah continues and it shall come to pass that he who is left in Zion, and he who remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem. Yes, I saw it, the Jew, even everyone that is written, even everyone that is chosen. That’s what it means. Even everyone that is chosen there would be nobody in heaven who is not chosen, did you know that? Did you know that? Does that kind of stir you up? It’s true, nobody in heaven who is not chosen, that’s right.
Are you chosen? Are you? One person nodded their head. [Laughter] Notice the moral purity of those who are in that city. When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of daughters of the Zion and shall purge the blood of Jerusalem from the midst by the spirit of justice and by the spirit of burning — purification by judgment or you’ll see — when the kingdom comes and men enter into that kingdom, it is for Israel the kingdom after judgment for The Great Tribulation period that precedes has the means of their purification, and the chapter concludes with an expression of the mighty protecting hand of God over Jerusalem, Judah, the Remnant, and all who are in that kingdom and there shall be or it. Judah, now Zion shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from the storm and from rain. And so as Isaiah has looked out over Jerusalem, he has seen the glorious future, he has looked at the terrible present and then in spite of the present he has looked again into the future and sees that by God’s wonderful grace he is going to bring those are written into the place of blessings.
If you are here tonight and you have not believed in Jesus Christ, may I urge you to put you trust in him who died for you and the moment that you believe in him, you pass from death into life, from darkness into his marvelous light and you discover that you’ve been elect from the foundation of the world. May God help you to make that decision. We will not meet remember next Monday night about two weeks from tonight, and we shall study then the vineyard of Jehovah or the problem of lawlessness, one of the greatest of Isaiah’s prophecies. Let’s bow in prayer.
[Prayer] Father we thank thee for the privilege of the study of the word of God. May it’s true sink deep into our hearts for Christ’s sake. Amen.