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Isaiah 62:6, 7 says,
6 On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen, all day and all night they will never keep silent. You who remind the Lord, take no rest for yourselves; 7 and give Him no rest until He establishes and makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.
Earlier, in Isaiah 60:18 the prophet wrote: “But you will call your walls salvation and your gates praise.” To go through the wall into the outer court of the temple, they had to pass through the main gate, which is part of the wall. Hence, Psalm 100:4 says, “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise.” One must enter the gate of praise and thanksgiving to approach God in His sanctuary.
Judah’s name means “praise,” but in the case of the New Jerusalem, John tells us that the twelve gates were named for the twelve tribes of Israel (Revelation 21:12). Likewise, the wall had twelve foundation stones, each named for a different tribe of Israel (Revelation 21:16).
Isaiah was using the earthly city of Jerusalem as a type and shadow to picture the New Jerusalem. This was how John interpreted it (Revelation 21:2).
The watchmen on the walls were called to pray continually and watch diligently. Watchmen were not supposed to fall asleep, but in this case they were to, “give Him no rest.”
God, of course, needs no one to keep Him awake, for Psalm 121:3, 4 says,
3 … He who keeps you will not slumber. 4 Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
If the watchmen were to talk to God continually, they would not fall asleep. Hence, Paul says, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). In those days, a soldier standing guard on the wall occasionally would take off his outer garment, lie down, and fall asleep. The commander often made his rounds on the wall, and if he found a watchman sleeping, it was customary for him to take his garment and burn it. This was the biblical word picture behind Revelation 16:15,
15 (“Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked and men will not see his shame.”)
Seeing as how Isaiah had just talked about being clothed with “the garments of salvation” (Isaiah 61:10) and dressing up for a wedding (Isaiah 62:5), it is clear that the prophet still had garments on his mind, though he put this theme into a new context of watchmen on the walls.
The watchmen were supposed to remind God continually of His promise to make Jerusalem “a praise in the earth.” To “remind the Lord” is not about helping God remember what He has forgotten. Does God have a faulty memory? Does He really need to be reminded of anything? Of course not. Yet Scripture often speaks of God remembering something which, by human standards, He forgot.
The word, however, has a legal meaning, “to record,” as in a court of law. In that context, to remember something means to bring to mind, or to make an appeal that is based on a promise made in the past.
For example, in the law of tribulation, God said that if and when the Israelites forsook His law and broke their covenant (vow), He would send them into captivity and, presumably, forget them. But “if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their forefathers… then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and I will remember also My covenant with Isaac, and My covenant with Abraham as well” (Leviticus 26:40, 42).
It is not that God has trouble remembering what He had promised in the past. Rather, it is a legal remembrance, which essentially means that it has been brought up again in the divine court so that the Judge can make a ruling on the matter. In other words, Israel is pictured as the defendant who is confessing his violation of the law and begging for mercy. Israel confesses humbly that he has failed to keep his Old Covenant vow (Exodus 19:8), and that is when God remembers His own New Covenant vow, which He made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Sinners are thus instructed to confess their own sin and inability to satisfy the divine standard of righteousness, and then to remind God of His own vow to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Old Covenant vow is therefore the basis of repentance and humility; but God’s New Covenant vow is the basis of salvation and praise, knowing that He cannot lie nor will He fail.
Ultimately, then, all will indeed appeal to the New Covenant so that they can be saved. But history is full of examples where men did not do so in their lifetime. Hence, every knee will bow at the Great White Throne judgment, and every tongue will confess/profess Him. This will be a New Covenant profession of faith, recording it permanently in the court records.
Isaiah puts this idea into the context of a watchman who is in constant contact with His Commander. The “wall” on which he stands is the law, the moral boundary of the city, the nature and character of God Himself. Not only does the watchman search for evidence of lawbreaking (i.e., sin), he also reminds God of His New Covenant vow, by which the earth will be saved.
Isaiah 62:8, 9 says,
8 The Lord has sworn by His right hand and by His strong arm, “I will never again give your grain as food for your enemies; nor will foreigners drink your new wine for which you have labored.” 9 But those who garner it will eat it and praise the Lord; and those who gather it will drink it in the courts of My sanctuary.
This is a New Covenant vow, because “the Lord has sworn.” Whoever swears an oath is the one required to keep it, no matter what others may do. God’s vow does not say, “If men will obey Me, then I will do this,” for that would be an Old Covenant vow that depends as much upon the will of man as the will of God.
No, this oath, like all New Covenant promises, depends only upon God and His ability to keep it. Neither did He say, “I will give men opportunity to do this by the power of their own will.” If God cannot overrule the will of man, then He should never make such vows. Only a sovereign God can make a New Covenant vow without reservation.
The underlying nature of captivity and slavery is that men’s right to enjoy the fruits of their own labor is violated. When the fruit of one’s labor is taken from them, either by neighbors or governments, it is evidence of captivity. So the prophet tells us that God swears an oath to end this slavery.
Of course, God again takes credit for enslaving Israel on account of their sin. Slavery is a biblical judgment, not only for our own sin but for the sin of our forefathers as well. In Isaiah’s day, Israel was exiled to Assyria and enslaved for casting aside God’s law. Judah was spared for the moment, but a century later, Jerusalem too was captured, and the people were exiled to Babylon.
In captivity, the fruit of their labor was taken in high taxes to support ungodly governments. The law of God specifies a tax of ten percent, which is called a “tithe.” The tithe was based on payment for God’s labor. God labored six days to create land, water, rain, sunshine, atmosphere, and all the tools by which the earth could become productive and fruitful. God then contracted with man in a business relationship, where a working man could keep ninety percent of what he produced, while giving God ten percent for His labor.
Hence, the tithe was owed to God when men used God’s labor to produce wealth. Not all “income” was taxable. Leviticus 27:30-32 says,
30 Thus all the tithe of the land, of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s; it is holy to the Lord… 32 For every tenth part of herd or flock, whatever passed under the rod, the tenth one shall be holy to the Lord.
Tithe is owed specifically on “the seed of the land” and “the fruit of the tree,” as well as on the increase of the “herd or flock.” The spirit of the law extends this to lumbering, fishing, or even hydroelectric, nuclear, and solar power, for this is all from God’s labor.
By demanding a tithe, God was not stealing ten percent of man’s labor. He was merely collecting the fruits of His own labor in this business partnership. But the governments of men do not base their tax rates on God’s labor. They base it on their own perceived “right” to tax at whatever rate they wish. God vowed to put an end to such slavery.
Though God Himself had sold them into bondage according to the law in Exodus 22:3, this was only for a specified amount of time. This judgment was imposed because men failed to keep the Old Covenant vow that was made in Exodus 19:8. The restoration will be decreed because God is able to keep His New Covenant vow.
The long captivity of Israel and Judah is now ending after “seven times” (7 x 360 years). The prophets speak of various changes that will come about when the ungodly governments of men fall and when the New Jerusalem becomes “a praise in the earth.” Isaiah 62:8 and 9 tells us specifically that when the captivity ends, men will be able to eat the fruit of their own labor.
That means God’s labor laws will be respected and observed by every nation that recognizes Jesus Christ as the King of Kings. Socialism, which steals men’s labor to redistribute it to others, will become a thing of the past. The poor will be sustained by those who voluntarily give of their labor and by charitable organizations.
Socialism, which claims to establish fairness through theft, is the government of choice in recent centuries among the nations of Mystery Babylon. But the age to come will see the rise of the Kingdom of God, whose system of law will establish true justice.