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Isaiah: Prophet of Salvation Book 2

Isaiah is the prophet of Salvation. He is also known as the truly "Universalist" prophet, by which is meant that He makes it clear that salvation is extended equally to all nations and not just to Israel. He lived to see the fall of Israel and the deportation of the Israelites to Assyria, and he prophesied of their "return" to God (through repentance). He is truly a "major prophet" whose prophecies greatly influenced the Apostle Paul in the New Testament.

Category - Bible Commentaries

Isaiah 10: Assyria, God’s Instrument

Chapter 19: As with Gideon and Moses

Isaiah gives hope to Israel, because even though the nation was being destroyed and the people sent into exile, the remnant were to “return” to fulfill the promises of God. God’s plan has always been to choose the few to bless the many. Further, God’s promises are usually fulfilled in unexpected ways, for God speaks truth but blinds men to the actual manner in which He intends to fulfill His word.

Hence, while it appeared that the remnant would “return” to the old land, God made it impossible legally for them to do so, for God divorced the House of Israel (Jer. 3:8). The law of divorce in Deut. 24:1-5 forbids a man from taking his divorced wife back into his house after she has remarried. Israel was sent out of the house into exile. She married other gods and cannot be remarried to her original Husband that she had married at Mount Sinai.

Yet as we will see later in Isaiah 62, God will find a way to remarry His former bride without violating His own law. But this could be accomplished only through death, because death ends all marriage contracts. Hence, when Jesus died on the cross, He became eligible to remarry whoever He wanted, because in the eyes of the law, He was a new creation, a different Person.

The only other impediment was that Israel herself had remarried and was not eligible to marry Christ yet. It is only after she divorces her false gods that she becomes single again and is eligible to remarry, according to the law (Deut. 24:1, 2, KJV).

(Actually, the law forbids a man from claiming her again after he has given her a written bill of divorce. She, however, retains the right to remarry and even to remarry her former husband, if she so desires. The right to decide is hers, not his. The law establishes rights.)

That is why no one can be married to Christ without first repenting and returning to Him. Genealogy is not what gives people the right to be married to God. The law, not biology, governs such matters.

For this reason, God would not allow Israel to return to the old land. Even if it were possible for the people to return from exile, the law stood in their way, at least until the first century when Jesus died on the cross. When He did, the path opened up to “return,” but by then it became clear that “return” meant repentance and that this applied to the entire world, not just Israelites.

So Hosea 2:6 says of Israel,

6 Therefore, behold, I will hedge up her way with thorns, and I will build a wall against her so that she cannot find her paths [back to the old land].

The divine plan from the beginning is explained in the story of Abraham, who, though promised the land of Canaan, confessed that he was just a stranger in that land. Why? Because, says Heb. 11:14-16, Abraham looked for “a better country, that is, a heavenly one.” The old land of Israel was not the real inheritance.

14 For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. 15 And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they [Israelites] went out [i.e., were exiled], they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.

Hence, the Israelites were unable to return, because the old country was not what God had promised Abraham. God had provided something “better,” a “heavenly” country with a heavenly Jerusalem that is represented by Sarah, our true mother (Gal. 4:26).

The modern Zionist movement is a fleshly attempt by children of the flesh (spiritual Ishmaelites) to fulfill the promises of God, while pretending to be Israelites. But the Jews are not Israelites. Jeremiah 18, 19 show us the clear distinction between Judah and Israel, for each is represented by a clay vessel (jar), and each has its own destiny. The wet clay of Israel in Jer. 18:1-10 is rebuilt into another vessel; the hardened jar in Jer. 19:1 is broken beyond repair (Jer. 19:10, 11).

The Zionist movement is based on the idea that flesh and blood will inherit the kingdom of heaven, that genealogy makes one chosen, that the earthly Jerusalem is the mother of the inheritors, and that the Old Covenant can save people. That project will fail, for the word of God cannot be broken, but the earthen jar of Jerusalem will certainly be broken beyond repair.

The Gideon Factor

The remnant will be used to destroy the oppressive beast systems of men’s governments at the appointed time of the end. Isaiah 10:25 says,

25 For in a very little while My indignation against you will be spent and My anger will be directed to their destruction.

God’s sentence upon Israel, like all of God’s judgments, are temporary. In the bigger picture, this long cycle of tribulation was set as “seven times” (Lev. 26:18), which Dan. 7:25 interprets as a specific time cycle. Daniel refers to half of this “seven times” cycle in terms of “a time, times, and half a time.”

Revelation 13 gives us actual numbers to define a “time.” That, of course, is a much longer study, which I did in my commentaries on Daniel and Revelation. For now, it is enough to know that God’s judgments are temporary and that the lost House of Israel was to be resurrected in a new form, a new body, called the remnant. They, in turn, were to be used by God to do a greater work to bring in others at the second resurrection.

The deliverance of Israel was prophesied in the stories of Moses and Gideon, who each delivered Israel from captivity in earlier history. So Isaiah 10:26, 27 tells us,

26 The Lord of hosts will arouse a scourge against him [the oppressor] like the slaughter of Midian at the rock of Oreb; and His staff will be over the sea and He will lift it up the way He did to Egypt. 27 So it will be in that day, that his burden will be removed from your shoulders and his yoke from your neck, and the yoke will be broken because of fatness [shemen, “fat, oil”].

The prophet’s reference to “the slaughter of Midian at the rock of Oreb” was Gideon’s deliverance, where the Midianite leaders were killed. Judges 7:25 says,

25 They captured the two leaders of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb, and they killed Oreb at the rock of Oreb, and they killed Zeeb at the winepress of Zeeb, while they pursued Midian; and they brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon from across the Jordan.

Gideon defeated the Midianites and their confederates with just 300 men representing a small remnant. These were chosen out of 32,000 volunteers. The number 32 is the biblical number of covenant; hence, these represented those who were in covenant with God. Prophetically speaking, in our time, they must be of the New Covenant, for that is the only covenant that has any validity today.

But being of the New Covenant was insufficient. God instructed Gideon to tell the people that if any of these Covenant People were fearful, they should go home. This instruction was in accordance with the law in Deut. 20:8,

8 Then the officers shall speak further to the people and say, “Who is the man that is afraid and fainthearted? Let him depart and return to his house, so that he might not make his brothers’ hearts melt like his heart.”

So 22,000 fearful Israelites went home that day, leaving just 10,000 (Judges 7:3). The 10,000 represent those who are law compliant, those who respect the law and have not cast it aside. The number ten is the biblical number of divine order, and there are Ten Commandments to establish the lawful order. But even this requirement was insufficient, for more was required of the remnant. So God put these to the test to see how they would drink water from the brook.

The water represents the word of God, and the manner in which they drank water revealed the manner in which they studied the word. If they put their face into the water to drink, they were disqualified. Those who drank water blindly, without seeing if it contained debris and critters, were disqualified. If they scooped up water in their hands so that they could discern what they were drinking, they were acceptable. Many law-abiding Israelites failed the test.

Only 300 passed this final test, and these became part of the remnant, as Isaiah called them. The length of Noah’s ark of safety was 300 cubits (Gen. 6:15). The ark pictured the surviving remnant who were divinely protected through the flood (tribulation). Therefore, Gideon’s army of 300 represented the divinely-protected remnant.

How to Overcome

God instructed Gideon to give each man a clay jar and to put a glowing torch inside of it. The battle was to be fought during the night. When the trumpet was blown, the men were to break the jars and hold up the torches, which, when exposed to the air, suddenly burst into flame. This they did, and the Midianites were thrown into a state of confusion, killing each other, and so the battle was won.

God’s instructions revealed the prophetic meaning and purpose of the autumn feast days: Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles. The feast of Trumpets signals the resurrection from the dead (1 Cor. 15:52). This is followed by the Day of Atonement, a day of repentance and fasting, which breaks the clay vessels of our flesh and prepares us for the feast of Tabernacles.

The feast of Tabernacles is the time when the living overcomers are changed or transformed, for Paul tells us, “we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed” (1 Cor. 15:51). Paul tells us in 2 Cor. 4:6, 7,

6 For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves.

Hence, we are the “earthen vessels” whose flesh must be broken in order for the Light to shine forth into the darkness. This was Paul’s interpretation of the breaking of the vessels in the battle of Midian. He tells us that the Light of Christ is a “treasure” within our hearts that is released after the flesh is broken through the Day of Atonement.

Isaiah tells us that the yoke of captivity will be broken, and the bondage removed because of the oil (shemen) whereby God has anointed the remnant of grace.

Moses’ Staff

Isaiah also compares this day of deliverance to the day that Moses delivered Israel from Egypt. This is a reference to the spring feasts (Passover, wave-sheaf, and Pentecost), which are also necessary for our deliverance.

The staff of Moses was used to bring the ten plagues upon Egypt, culminating at Passover. Then the same staff was used to part the Red Sea, which was later commemorated by the wave-sheaf offering. Finally, Pentecost commemorated the day God spoke the Ten Commandments from the fire on Mount Sinai.

From these prophetic examples, Isaiah reveals the importance of the feast days in prophecy. We ought to understand the meaning of these feast days and how they prophesy each aspect of delivering those who drink the word of God with understanding. They are the remnant that is able to take part in the historic days in which we now live.

Isaiah makes it clear that regardless of what others do or what roles they play in this deliverance, it is the remnant that plays the decisive role.

So let us learn the word and discern its meaning.