A Bible Study by Jack Kelley
In this installment of The End Times According To Isaiah, we’ll look at chapters 26-27 which will complete the four chapter prophecy we began last time.
Isaiah 26. A Song of Praise
In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: We have a strong city; God makes salvation its walls and ramparts. Open the gates that the righteous nation may enter, the nation that keeps faith.
You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.
He humbles those who dwell on high, he lays the lofty city low; he levels it to the ground and casts it down to the dust. Feet trample it down- the feet of the oppressed, the footsteps of the poor. The path of the righteous is level; O upright One, you make the way of the righteous smooth.
Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts. My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you. When your judgments come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness. (Isaiah 26:1-9)
Those speaking are Jewish Tribulation believers, obedient to the Old Covenant. They place in contrast two symbolic cities. The strong city symbolizes Jerusalem and houses the righteous nation, the believing remnant that trusts the Lord and receives perfect peace in the midst of chaos. But the lofty city, symbolizing Babylon, is full of unbelievers, and is brought low. The oppressed and poor within it rebel against their unjust leaders and help to trample it down, into the dust.
The believing remnant longs for the LORD’s return, knowing that His judgments are bringing righteousness back to Earth. It’s important to remember that in the last days, Israel will once again be an Old Covenant nation, under the Law. Otherwise they would neither need nor want a Temple, and admonitions like “Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on a Sabbath” (Matt. 24:20) would be unnecessary. Only Old Covenant Jews are forbidden to travel on the Sabbath.
Notice the word LORD is all in capital letters. That means in Hebrew it’s JHVH, the tetragrammaton, the 4 initials of God’s Old Covenant name. They don’t yet know their Messiah’s name, even though the Hebrew word for the salvation that makes up the strong city’s walls and ramparts is Yeshua, the name of Jesus. Not until the Great Tribulation is almost over will they look upon the One they have pierced (Zech 12:10) and recognize Him, even though He’s been protecting them all along.
Though grace is shown to the wicked, they do not learn righteousness; even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil and regard not the majesty of the LORD. O LORD, your hand is lifted high, but they do not see it. Let them see your zeal for your people and be put to shame; let the fire reserved for your enemies consume them. (Isaiah 26:10-11)
Even in wrath, God remembers mercy. (Habakkuk 3:2) In the midst of totally destroying the nations among which they had been scattered, the Lord extends grace to His people giving them one last chance. But the wicked refuse to see it and will suffer the consequences. The Great Tribulation has been called the refiner’s fire. In it all of Israel’s impurities will be brought to the top and skimmed off to suffer the fate of God’s enemies.
LORD, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us. O LORD, our God, other lords besides you have ruled over us, but your name alone do we honor. They are now dead, they live no more; those departed spirits do not rise. You punished them and brought them to ruin; you wiped out all memory of them. You have enlarged the nation, O LORD; you have enlarged the nation. You have gained glory for yourself; you have extended all the borders of the land. (Isaiah 26:12-15)
Admitting their previous idolatry, the remnant once again swears fidelity to God alone, now and forever. Their other gods are dead and gone, never to rise again. They finally confess that it was He who enlarged their nation and extended their borders. This likely refers to a battle still in our future, foretold in Psalm 83, where the Lord will give the Jews victory over their next door neighbors, resulting in an expansion of their territory to an area more consistent with the original borders of the Promised Land.
LORD, they came to you in their distress; when you disciplined them, they could barely whisper a prayer. As a woman with child and about to give birth writhes and cries out in her pain, so were we in your presence, O LORD. We were with child, we writhed in pain, but we gave birth to wind. We have not brought salvation to the earth; we have not given birth to people of the world. (Isaiah 26:16-18)
One of the things God chose Israel to do was to bring His salvation to the Gentiles, and here they admit their failure. God, who doesn’t miss opportunities even then we fail in our calling, had Isaiah prophesy that He would accomplish this for them in the person of the Messiah. (Isaiah 49:1-6)
But your dead will live; their bodies will rise. You who dwell in the dust, wake up and shout for joy. Your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead. Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until his wrath has passed by. See, the LORD is coming out of his dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins. The earth will disclose the blood shed upon her; she will conceal her slain no longer. (Isaiah 26:19-21)
While the believing dead of the Old Testament will be resurrected, it won’t happen until the end of the Great Tribulation (Daniel 12:2). And while the living remnant will flee into the mountains of Judea at it’s beginning (Matt. 24:15), the actual order of these events will be the opposite of their mention here. And besides, Rev. 6:17 shows that God’s wrath begins several years before the appearance of the Abomination of Desolation, the sign Jesus gave the Jews as a signal to flee. Not by any stretch of the imagination has this passage been literally fulfilled in the past, nor will it be by the Jewish remnant.
This is an End Times prophecy that first promises a resurrection of the dead, followed by the hiding of God’s people while His Wrath is unleashed on the people of Earth for their sins. It’s so startlingly similar to Paul’s message to the Church In 1 Thes. 4-5 that I’m convinced it’s “the Lord’s own word” that Paul referred to as his authority in writing it. Let’s read it.
According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. (1 Thes. 4:15-17)
While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. (1 Thes.5:3)
Of course, no one knows for sure that this is the passage Paul was referring to, but scholars have searched the New Testament in vain for any teaching by Jesus to justify Paul’s claim. There is none. Let’s compare the two passages.
Isaiah: But your dead will live; their bodies will rise. You who dwell in the dust, wake up and shout for joy. Your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead.
Paul: The dead in Christ will rise first .
Isaiah: Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until his wrath has passed by.
Paul: After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.
Isaiah: See, the LORD is coming out of his dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins.
Paul: While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
The wording is a little different, but it sure looks to me like they’re describing the same event. In further support of this, the Hebrew word translated “go” in the phrase “Go, my people” is translated “come” in the KJV, recalling the command to John in Revelation 4, “Come up here!” It also means depart, and vanish. Interesting.
Isaiah 27. The Deliverance of Israel
In that day, the LORD will punish with his sword, his fierce, great and powerful sword, Leviathan the gliding serpent, Leviathan the coiling serpent; he will slay the monster of the sea. (Isaiah 27:1)
It doesn’t make sense that Isaiah would be speaking of a literal sea monster here. I believe this verse makes reference to Satan’s destruction. If so it confirms the earlier prophecy of Satan’s doom in Isaiah 14.
In that day- “Sing about a fruitful vineyard:
I, the LORD, watch over it; I water it continually. I guard it day and night so that no one may harm it. I am not angry. If only there were briers and thorns confronting me! I would march against them in battle; I would set them all on fire. Or else let them come to me for refuge; let them make peace with me, yes, let them make peace with me.” (Isaiah 27: 2-5)
Isaiah compares God’s protection of Israel to that of a farmer watching over his vineyard. As a demonstration of His mercy the enemy, represented by briers and thorns, has the choice of being consumed in the fire or making peace with Him.
In days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will bud and blossom and fill all the world with fruit. (Isaiah 27:6)
Since its rebirth in 1948 Israel has become a major exporter of fruit, vegetables, and fresh flowers, until recently supplying much of Europe’s needs. Lately, political differences have caused some European and Middle Eastern countries to boycott Israeli exports. But this verse has a spiritual fulfillment as well. Because of Israel the Gospel will bear fruit in all the world.
Has the LORD struck her as he struck down those who struck her? Has she been killed as those were killed who killed her? By warfare and exile you contend with her- with his fierce blast he drives her out, as on a day the east wind blows. By this, then, will Jacob’s guilt be atoned for, and this will be the full fruitage of the removal of his sin: When he makes all the altar stones to be like chalk stones crushed to pieces, no Asherah poles or incense altars will be left standing. (Isaiah 27:7-9)
As if anticipating the false teaching of replacement theologians who question Israel’s right to exist, the prophet asks if the judgments that destroy the world will destroy Israel as well. We see the Lord’s response In Jeremiah 30:11.
I am with you and will save you,’ declares the LORD. ‘Though I completely destroy all the nations among which I scatter you, I will not completely destroy you. I will discipline you but only with justice; I will not let you go entirely unpunished.’
Having so far refused the Messiah’s offer of pardon, Israel has chosen to remain accountable under the Old Covenant and must endure the punishment of a people out of fellowship. But God will not abandon them. The discipline of End Times judgments will awaken them, and they will seek the Lord. Hear the words of Isaiah’s contemporary, the Prophet Hosea.
“Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence.” (Hosea 6:1-2)
After 2 millennia they’ve been revived. As the 3rd begins, they’ll be restored and He’ll come to live with them again. The most precious fruit of all will be the the removal of Israel’s sins.
The fortified city stands desolate, an abandoned settlement, forsaken like the desert; there the calves graze, there they lie down; they strip its branches bare.
When its twigs are dry, they are broken off and women come and make fires with them. For this is a people without understanding; so their Maker has no compassion on them, and their Creator shows them no favor. (Isaiah 27:10-11)
It’s a different story for Babylon,whose people,after all these centuries, remain without understanding and are beyond compassion.
In that day the LORD will thresh from the flowing Euphrates to the Wadi of Egypt, and you, O Israelites, will be gathered up one by one.
And in that day a great trumpet will sound. Those who were perishing in Assyria and those who were exiled in Egypt will come and worship the LORD on the holy mountain in Jerusalem. (Isaiah 27:12-13)
The Lord will go through the Promised Land and gather up His people, not missing any. Isaiah also made it clear in that in the Kingdom Age Egypt and Assyria will again be prominent nations on Earth, along with Israel.
There will be an altar to the LORD in the heart of Egypt, and a monument to the LORD at its border. It will be a sign and witness to the LORD Almighty in the land of Egypt. When they cry out to the LORD because of their oppressors, he will send them a savior and defender, and he will rescue them. So the LORD will make himself known to the Egyptians, and in that day they will acknowledge the LORD. They will worship with sacrifices and grain offerings; they will make vows to the LORD and keep them. The LORD will strike Egypt with a plague; he will strike them and heal them. They will turn to the LORD, and he will respond to their pleas and heal them. (Isaiah 19:19-22)
Zechariah 14:18-19 explains that Egypt’s affliction will be caused by a refusal to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles in the Millennium.
In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth. The LORD Almighty will bless them, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance.” (Isaiah 19:23-25)
Today a gigantic monument sits at the only spot on Earth that is both in the heart of Egypt and on its border. (The Biblical name for Egypt is Mizraim and literally means 2 Egypts since it’s the dual form of its root, Matzor.) It’s in a place called Giza, which is an Arabic word that means border. Giza is located on the border between Upper and Lower Egypt (the 2 Egypts) and is at the point of an arc that circumscribes the Nile Delta region. So it’s on the border, but also in the heart of Egypt. The monument is called the Great Pyramid, and it’s the most remarkable edifice on the face of the Earth. The unique characteristics of the Great Pyramid’s location, its construction, and its dimensions would challenge the limits of human capability even today, and yet it was built 4,000 years ago. Who built it, and for what purpose? Is this the monument of which Isaiah spoke? Many who’ve studied the Great Pyramid are convinced that the answer is yes. (Read more about The Great Pyramid of Giza)
As promised, in this 4 chapter glimpse of the End of the Age, we’ve seen the Earth judged, Babylon destroyed, the Messiah revealed, the Church Raptured, Satan judged, Israel restored, and have even gotten a glimpse of Eternity. And believe me, we’ve just begun. The most detailed and descriptive pictures of Earth in the Kingdom Age are in Isaiah, and they’ll take your breath away. More next time. 02-21-09