Early Messages Of Isaiah (2-5)
OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS SECTION
1) To survey several messages of Isaiah, possibly presented in the early years of his ministry
2) To consider the first prophesy that looked forward to the age of the Messiah in which we now live
3) To introduce "foreshortening" and "figurative language" as concepts to understanding Biblical prophecy
Chapter one (Introduction To The Entire Prophecy) provided an example of the message God gave Isaiah to proclaim to Judah. The next four chapters (2-5) contain messages which speak of both the future and present of Judah and Jerusalem. Edward J. Young (The Book Of Isaiah) proposes that they were Early Messages Of Isaiah presented near the beginning of his ministry.
The first message is one of great hope, in which Zion's Glorious Future is foretold. The mountain of the Lord's house will be established in the latter days, in which the word of the Lord will go forth from Jerusalem. Many will want to go up to the mountain of the Lord to learn of His ways and walk in His paths of peace. This message is clearly Messianic and its fulfillment began with the coming of Christ (cf. Lk 24:46-47) and the establishment of His church, the house of the living God (cf. 1Ti 3:15; also He 12:22-25). The culmination of the prophecy may extend even beyond the second coming of Christ, to the eternal destiny of the redeemed, depicted in Revelation as the New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven (Re 21:1-7,10-11,23-27). If so, then we have an example of what has been described as "prophetic foreshortening", in which events far removed in the future are spoken of as if they were close together (like looking at distant mountains; they may appear close together, but actually be far apart). It is in the fulfillment that we learn various elements of a prophecy may be separated by a long period of time (e.g., Joel 2:28-32). Even so, the prophecy like Zion's Glorious Future would encourage those of Isaiah's day to look forward with hope (2:1-4).
The future hope of Zion (Jerusalem) is tempered, however, by Isaiah's message concerning Zion's Inglorious Present. The people of Judah in Isaiah's day were being forsaken by God because they had left him to go after worldliness, materialism, and idolatry. Thus the "day of the Lord" was about to come upon them, a time in which the arrogant would be humbled, good leadership would cease to exist, and the women of Israel disciplined for their wantonness. Yet the purpose of this judgment was to purify, and the remnant could look forward to blessings of "The Branch" (the Messiah, 11:1), described in figurative terms that could be understood by and give hope to Isaiah's original audience (2:5-4:6). The reality of impending judgment is driven home by a message that begins with a song depicting the relationship between God And Judah. The Beloved (God) has built a vineyard and planted a choice vine (Judah) that produced "wild grapes" (sin). The Beloved is therefore forced to lay waste the vineyard. After categorizing the sins of the people upon whom woe is to befall, judgment is described as nations from afar coming to carry them away (5:1-30).
OUTLINE I. ZION'S GLORIOUS FUTURE (2:1-4) A. THE MOUNTAIN OF THE LORD'S HOUSE... 1. A message pertaining to Judah and Jerusalem - 2:1 2. Events to occur in "the latter days" - 2:2a; cf. Dan 2:28, 44-45; Ac 2:16-17; He 1:2 3. The mountain of the Lord's house to be established - 2:2b a. On the top of the mountains b. Exalted above the hills c. All nations shall flow to it - cf. He 12:22-25 B. THE WORD OF THE LORD FROM JERUSALEM... 1. Many will want to go up to the mountain of the Lord - 2:3 a. To the house of God Jacob - cf. Ac 15:14-17 b. To learn of His ways, to walk in His paths - cf. Mt 11:28- 30; 28:20 2. Out of Zion shall go forth the law - 2:4 a. The word of the Lord from Jerusalem - cf. Lk 24:46-47; Ac 2,8 b. He shall judge between the nations, rebuke many people 1) They shall beat their swords into plowshares, spears into pruning hooks 2) Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, nor learn war anymore - cf. Ep 2:11-22; Col 3:11; Ro 12:18; 14:17, 19; also Re 21:10-11,23-27 II. ZION'S INGLORIOUS PRESENT (2:5-4:6) A. DESCRIPTION OF THE PEOPLE... 1. Perhaps in view of the glorious future, a plea to walk in the light of the Lord - 2:5 2. For God has forsaken them, and for good reasons a. They are infatuated with pagan customs and peoples - 2:6 b. They are filled with symbols of wealth and power - 2:7 c. The land is filled with idols, to which they worship and bow down - 2:8-9a 3. Even Isaiah has lost his patience - 2:9b B. THE COMING OF "THE DAY OF THE LORD"... 1. Coming upon all that are haughty and their idols - 2:10-18 2. The fate of the people and their idols - 2:19-21 3. An admonition to cease trusting in man - 2:22 C. THE REMOVAL OF GOOD LEADERSHIP... 1. The Lord will deprive the nation not only of supplies, but of good leaders - 3:1-7 2. Because of Judah and Jerusalem's blatant wickedness - 3:8-9 3. The righteous will be cared for, but not the wicked! - 3:10-11 4. So poor leaders will be given to the people, and leaders who misused their power will be judged - 3:12-15 D. THE WOMEN AND THEIR COMING TRAGEDY... 1. Judgment to come upon them for their haughtiness and wantonness - 3:16-17 2. A detailed description of their loss - 3:18-4:1 a. The Lord will take away their finery b. Their men will fall by the sword and war c. They shall be left desolate, and desperate to remove their reproach E. THE RENEWAL OF ZION... 1. "The Branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious" - 4:2 a. "In that day" - in the time of the Messiah b. For the Messiah is often depicted as a "branch" - e.g., Isa 11:1; Jer 23:5; Zech 6:12 2. Blessings for the remnant, in figures giving hope to Israel - 4:3-6 a. The fruit of the earth shall be excellent and appealing b. They shall be holy when the filth and blood has been purged by judgment c. Above every dwelling place, a cloud of smoke by day, shining fire by night, a covering over all the glory d. A tabernacle for shade in the daytime heat, a place of shelter from storm and rain III. GOD AND JUDAH (5:1-30) A. THE SONG OF THE BELOVED AND HIS VINEYARD... 1. The Beloved planted a vineyard, but it produced wild grapes - 5:1-2 2. The Lord tells Judah and Jerusalem that He will lay waste His vineyard - 5:3-6 3. The vineyard identified as the house of Israel and the men of Judah; what the Lord wanted was justice and righteousness, what He got was oppression and cries for help - 5:7 B. WOES TO THE "WILD GRAPES"... 1. The rich who overbuild the land, they shall become desolate - 5:8-10 2. The pleasure seekers, who shall go into captivity; they shall be humbled while the Lord will be exalted - 5:11-17 3. The blatant sinners, who dare the Lord to do anything - 5:18-19 4. The confused moralists, who call evil good and good evil - 5:20 5. The arrogant and self-righteous - 5:21 6. The mighty at drinking wine, taking bribes, depriving the righteous of justice - 5:22-23 C. THE IMPENDING JUDGMENT... 1. For rejecting the law of the Lord, and despising His word - 5:24 2. The Lord's anger is aroused against His people, He has already struck the land - 5:25 3. He will call for mighty nations to invade the land - 5:26-30 a. Nations from afar, that will not stumble nor sleep b. Whose weapons are ready, and will devour like the lion c. Who will take them away, while the land is left in darkness and sorrow REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THIS SECTION 1) What do chapters 2-5 likely contain? - Early messages of Isaiah 2) What is foretold at the beginning of this section? (2:1-4) - Zion's glorious future 3) When will it happen? When did it begin? (2:2) - In the last days - With the coming of Christ and the outpouring of the Spirit (Ac 2:16-17; He 1:1-2) 4) What will happen in those days? (2:2-3) - The mountain of the Lord's house will be established on the top of the mountains - All nations will flow to it, to learn the ways of the Lord - Out of Zion shall go forth the law, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem (Lk 24:46-47) 5) What will the Lord do? What will His people do? (2:4) - Judge many nations, rebuke many people - Beat their swords into plowshares, their spears into pruning hooks 6) What does Isaiah describe in the rest of chapters 2-4? - Zion's inglorious present 7) What was the moral condition of the people in Isaiah's day? (2:5-9) - They are infatuated with pagan customs and peoples - They are filled with symbols of wealth and power - The land is filled with idols, to which they worship and bow down 8) What was coming, and upon whom? (2:10-22) - The day of the Lord of hosts - Those who were haughty and trusting in idols 9) What would the Lord take away from them? What would He give them in return? (3:1-12) - Good leaders; inexperienced and weak leaders 10) What is said concerning the righteous that is comforting? (3:10) - It shall be well with them, they shall eat of the fruit of their doings 11) Whose is then condemned by the Lord? Why? (3:16-23) - The daughters of Zion; for their haughtiness and wantonness 12) What will happen to them? (3:24-4:1) - Their finery will be taken away, their men will fall by the sword 13) What is promised for the remnant who survive? (4:2-6) - The Branch of the Lord will be beautiful and glorious - The fruit of the earth shall be excellent and appealing - They will be called holy - Above every dwelling place of Mount Zion and her assemblies, a cloud of smoke by day and a flaming fire at night - A tabernacle for shade in the daytime heat, a shelter from the storm and rain 14) What song does Isaiah then sing? What is it about? Who is it about? (5:1-7) - A song of his Beloved and His vineyard - His Beloved built a vineyard and planted the choicest vine, but it produced wild grapes - His Beloved would therefore lay waste the vineyard - The house of Israel and the men of Judah 15) Upon whom were "woes" to come? (5:8-23) - The rich who overbuild the land - The pleasure seekers - The blatant sinners - The confused moralists, who call evil good and good evil - The arrogant and self-righteous - The mighty at drinking wine, taking bribes, depriving others of justice 16) In summary, what was the reason for their impending judgment? (5:24) - For rejecting the law of the Lord, and despising His word 17) How was the Lord's anger aroused against His people? (5:25-30) - He has already struck the land - He would call for mighty nations to invade the land
The future house of God
[Isa 2:1-22 NKJV] 1 The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. 2 Now it shall come to pass in the latter days [That] the mountain of the LORD's house Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it. 3 Many people shall come and say, "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths." For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4 He shall judge between the nations, And rebuke many people; 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.
Day of the Lord
5 O house of Jacob, come and let us walk In the light of the LORD. 6 For You have forsaken Your people, the house of Jacob, Because they are filled with eastern ways; They [are] soothsayers like the Philistines, And they are pleased with the children of foreigners. 7 Their land is also full of silver and gold, And there is no end to their treasures; Their land is also full of horses, And there is no end to their chariots. 8 Their land is also full of idols; They worship the work of their own hands, That which their own fingers have made. 9 People bow down, And each man humbles himself; Therefore do not forgive them. 10 Enter into the rock, and hide in the dust, From the terror of the LORD And the glory of His majesty. 11 The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, The haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, And the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. 12 For the day of the LORD of hosts [Shall come] upon everything proud and lofty, Upon everything lifted up--And it shall be brought low-- 13 Upon all the cedars of Lebanon [that are] high and lifted up, And upon all the oaks of Bashan; 14 Upon all the high mountains, And upon all the hills [that are] lifted up; 15 Upon every high tower, And upon every fortified wall; 16 Upon all the ships of Tarshish, And upon all the beautiful sloops. 17 The loftiness of man shall be bowed down, And the haughtiness of men shall be brought low; The LORD alone will be exalted in that day, 18 But the idols He shall utterly abolish. 19 They shall go into the holes of the rocks, And into the caves of the earth, From the terror of the LORD And the glory of His majesty, When He arises to shake the earth mightily. 20 In that day a man will cast away his idols of silver And his idols of gold, Which they made, [each] for himself to worship, To the moles and bats, 21 To go into the clefts of the rocks, And into the crags of the rugged rocks, From the terror of the LORD And the glory of His majesty, When He arises to shake the earth mightily. 22 Sever yourselves from such a man, Whose breath [is] in his nostrils; For of what account is he?
Judgment on Judah and Jerusalem
[Isa 3:1-26 NKJV] 1 For behold, the Lord, the LORD of hosts, Takes away from Jerusalem and from Judah The stock and the store, The whole supply of bread and the whole supply of water; 2 The mighty man and the man of war, The judge and the prophet, And the diviner and the elder; 3 The captain of fifty and the honorable man, The counselor and the skillful artisan, And the expert enchanter. 4 "I will give children [to be] their princes, And babes shall rule over them. 5 The people will be oppressed, Every one by another and every one by his neighbor; The child will be insolent toward the elder, And the base toward the honorable." 6 When a man takes hold of his brother In the house of his father, [saying], "You have clothing; You be our ruler, And [let] these ruins [be] under your power," 7 In that day he will protest, saying, "I cannot cure [your] ills, For in my house [is] neither food nor clothing; Do not make me a ruler of the people." 8 For Jerusalem stumbled, And Judah is fallen, Because their tongue and their doings [Are] against the LORD, To provoke the eyes of His glory. 9 The look on their countenance witnesses against them, And they declare their sin as Sodom; They do not hide [it]. Woe to their soul! For they have brought evil upon themselves. 10 "Say to the righteous that [it shall be] well [with them], For they shall eat the fruit of their doings. 11 Woe to the wicked! [It shall be] ill [with him], For the reward of his hands shall be given him. 12 [As for] My people, children [are] their oppressors, And women rule over them. O My people! Those who lead you cause [you] to err, And destroy the way of your paths."
Oppression and luxury condemned
13 The LORD stands up to plead, And stands to judge the people. 14 The LORD will enter into judgment With the elders of His people And His princes: "For you have eaten up the vineyard; The plunder of the poor [is] in your houses. 15 What do you mean by crushing My people And grinding the faces of the poor?" Says the Lord GOD of hosts. 16 Moreover the LORD says: "Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, And walk with outstretched necks And wanton eyes, Walking and mincing [as] they go, Making a jingling with their feet, 17 Therefore the Lord will strike with a scab The crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, And the LORD will uncover their secret parts." 18 In that day the Lord will take away the finery: The jingling anklets, the scarves, and the crescents; 19 The pendants, the bracelets, and the veils; 20 The headdresses, the leg ornaments, and the headbands; The perfume boxes, the charms, 21 and the rings; The nose jewels, 22 the festal apparel, and the mantles; The outer garments, the purses, 23 and the mirrors; The fine linen, the turbans, and the robes. 24 And so it shall be: Instead of a sweet smell there will be a stench; Instead of a sash, a rope; Instead of well-set hair, baldness; Instead of a rich robe, a girding of sackcloth; And branding instead of beauty. 25 Your men shall fall by the sword, And your mighty in the war. 26 Her gates shall lament and mourn, And she [being] desolate shall sit on the ground.
[Isa 4:1-6 NKJV] 1 And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, "We will eat our own food and wear our own apparel; Only let us be called by your name, To take away our reproach."
The renewal of Zion
2 In that day the Branch of the LORD shall be beautiful and glorious; And the fruit of the earth [shall be] excellent and appealing For those of Israel who have escaped. 3 And it shall come to pass that [he who is] left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy--everyone who is recorded among the living in Jerusalem. 4 When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and purged the blood of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning, 5 then the LORD will create above every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and above her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night. For over all the glory there [will be] a covering. 6 And there will be a tabernacle for shade in the daytime from the heat, for a place of refuge, and for a shelter from storm and rain.
God's disappointing vineyard
[Isa 5:1-30 NKJV] 1 Now let me sing to my Well-beloved A song of my Beloved regarding His vineyard:
My Well-beloved has a vineyard On a very fruitful hill.
2 He dug it up and cleared out its stones, And planted it with the choicest vine. He built a tower in its midst, And also made a winepress in it; So He expected [it] to bring forth [good] grapes, But it brought forth wild grapes.
3 "And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, Judge, please, between Me and My vineyard.
4 What more could have been done to My vineyard That I have not done in it? Why then, when I expected [it] to bring forth [good] grapes, Did it bring forth wild grapes?
5 And now, please let Me tell you what I will do to My vineyard: I will take away its hedge, and it shall be burned; [And] break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down.
6 I will lay it waste; It shall not be pruned or dug, But there shall come up briers and thorns. I will also command the clouds That they rain no rain on it."
7 For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts [is] the house of Israel, And the men of Judah are His pleasant plant. He looked for justice, but behold, oppression; For righteousness, but behold, a cry [for help].
Impending judgment on excesses
8 Woe to those who join house to house; They add field to field, Till [there is] no place Where they may dwell alone in the midst of the land! 9 In my hearing the LORD of hosts [said], "Truly, many houses shall be desolate, Great and beautiful ones, without inhabitant. 10 For ten acres of vineyard shall yield one bath, And a homer of seed shall yield one ephah." 11 Woe to those who rise early in the morning, [That] they may follow intoxicating drink; Who continue until night, [till] wine inflames them! 12 The harp and the strings, The tambourine and flute, And wine are in their feasts; But they do not regard the work of the LORD, Nor consider the operation of His hands. 13 Therefore my people have gone into captivity, Because [they have] no knowledge; Their honorable men [are] famished, And their multitude dried up with thirst. 14 Therefore Sheol has enlarged itself And opened its mouth beyond measure; Their glory and their multitude and their pomp, And he who is jubilant, shall descend into it. 15 People shall be brought down, Each man shall be humbled, And the eyes of the lofty shall be humbled. 16 But the LORD of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, And God who is holy shall be hallowed in righteousness. 17 Then the lambs shall feed in their pasture, And in the waste places of the fat ones strangers shall eat. 18 Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of vanity, And sin as if with a cart rope; 19 That say, "Let Him make speed [and] hasten His work, That we may see [it]; And let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw near and come, That we may know [it]." 20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! 21 Woe to [those who are] wise in their own eyes, And prudent in their own sight! 22 Woe to men mighty at drinking wine, Woe to men valiant for mixing intoxicating drink, 23 Who justify the wicked for a bribe, And take away justice from the righteous man! 24 Therefore, as the fire devours the stubble, And the flame consumes the chaff, [So] their root will be as rottenness, And their blossom will ascend like dust; Because they have rejected the law of the LORD of hosts, And despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. 25 Therefore the anger of the LORD is aroused against His people; He has stretched out His hand against them And stricken them, And the hills trembled. Their carcasses [were] as refuse in the midst of the streets. For all this His anger is not turned away, But His hand [is] stretched out still. 26 He will lift up a banner to the nations from afar, And will whistle to them from the end of the earth; Surely they shall come with speed, swiftly. 27 No one will be weary or stumble among them, No one will slumber or sleep; Nor will the belt on their loins be loosed, Nor the strap of their sandals be broken; 28 Whose arrows [are] sharp, And all their bows bent; Their horses' hooves will seem like flint, And their wheels like a whirlwind. 29 Their roaring [will be] like a lion, They will roar like young lions; Yes, they will roar And lay hold of the prey; They will carry [it] away safely, And no one will deliver. 30 In that day they will roar against them Like the roaring of the sea. And if [one] looks to the land, Behold, darkness [and] sorrow; And the light is darkened by the clouds.