Shall we turn to Isaiah chapter 26 as we begin our study this evening.
Now Isaiah 26 goes right along with Isaiah 25 because it declares,
In that day (26:1)
In what day? In the day that the things are transpiring that he wrote about in chapter 25. And what are the things that he was writing about in chapter 25? What are the days that he was writing about? Verse 8, “He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of His people shall He take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it. And it shall be said in that day, ‘Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation” (Isaiah 25:8-9). So it is the day that Jesus establishes His kingdom upon the earth. That day for which we’ve been praying when we pray, “Thy kingdom come” (Matthew 6:10). So in that day when His kingdom is established.
this song will be sung in the land of Judah; We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for the walls and bulwarks. Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keeps the truth may enter in. For thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength (26:1-4):
Beautiful verses of Scripture. I love that promise! “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee.” In the New Testament Peter speaks about the peace that passes human understanding. The world cannot understand the peace that we have in Christ Jesus. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you. Not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). And the effect of righteousness, the Bible says, is peace. There is one characteristic or quality that we as Christians should possess, and that is the peace of God in our hearts and lives.
Now in order to have the peace of God, it is first of all necessary to have peace with God and this is only possible through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. For the Scripture said, “For He hath made peace through His blood” (Colossians 1:20). He has made a basis for you to have peace with God by the shedding of His blood and thus the forgiveness of our sins. So that is first and basic that you experience peace with God. No longer rebelling against the law of God, but now seeking to submit to God’s law. No longer running from God, but yielding to God. And you then have peace with God as you surrender and receive Jesus Christ.
But it is sad that there are many, many Christians who have peace with God that’s been established through Jesus Christ, but they have never entered into that experience of knowing the peace of God as it keeps their hearts, their minds, their lives steadfast in Christ. So it is important that you have more than just peace with God; it is important that you experience the peace of God. Now this is a reference to the peace of God, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace.”
How can I know that perfect peace of God within my heart living in a world that’s so filled with chaos, turmoil, strivings? How can I know that peace? “Whose mind is stayed on Thee.” Now you can’t really experience the peace of God as you’re getting, looking constantly at the things of the world. You have to look away from the trials. You have to look away from the madness of this world and looking to Him. Keep your mind steadfast upon Him. How many times the Lord has to bring my mind back to Him. I start getting all upset. I can so excited, in turmoil. “Look what they’re doing! They can’t do that. I’m not...” The Lord says, “Hey, wait a minute. Who’s running this thing?” “You are, Lord.” “Then what are you all excited about?” “I don't know. Just like to get excited, I guess.”
But you learn to turn it. You bring the thoughts into captivity unto the obedience of Jesus Christ. And God so often will stop you. You start getting all disturbed over an issue. And God will stop you and say, “Hey, wait a minute. I’m on the throne. I’m in control.” And as your mind is turned then towards Him, then the peace of Christ begins to fill your heart and fill your life. Oh, this is such a glorious experience, the peace of God. That perfect peace, that complete peace as my mind is stayed on Him. I just know He’s going to take care.
So many, many times the Lord reminds me that this is His church. Problems will come up. I begin to wonder, “Oh, what are we going to do about this? Oh maybe we ought to do this, maybe we ought to do that.” And the Lord will speak to me and say, “Whose church is it?” “It’s Your church, Lord.” He said, “Then just leave it alone. Let me run it. It’s My church. Don’t worry about it. I’ll take care of it.” All right! How easy can it be to pastor His church. If I try to pastor my church I’d go absolutely wild. It would be impossible! But it’s His church, and as long as I remember that, I’m in good shape. When I forget it, then I really start in a tailspin until the Lord reminds me, “Whose church is it?” And we need to remember that. “Thou will keep him in perfect peace whose mind...” It’s His ministry. It’s His work. “Whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusts in the Lord.” And then the commandment, “Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord Jehovah is our everlasting strength.”
For he brings down them that dwell on high; the lofty city, he layeth it low; he layeth it low, even to the ground; he bringeth it even to the dust. The foot shall tread it down, even the feet of the poor, and the steps of the needy. The way of the just is uprightness: thou, most upright, dost weigh the path of the just. Yea, in the way of thy judgments, O LORD, have we waited for thee; the desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee. For with my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness (26:5-9).
So he begins to speak of the judgments of God. Now he looked forward to the Kingdom Age, the glorious day of the Lord. In that day the perfect peace that we will experience. But before that day of the Lord does come, there is coming a day of judgment, God’s judgment upon the earth. And when God’s judgments are upon the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. God is going to bring down in judgment those that dwell on high. And so he declares,
Let favor be showed to the wicked (26:10),
And this isn’t a request. It’s actually just saying, “If you show favor to the wicked.”
yet they will not learn righteousness (26:10):
In other words, people, it seems, do not really grow so much in good times as they do in bad times. It seems that when people are blessed, when a nation is blessed, that they forget God. They no longer call upon the Lord. But when hard times begin to come, then people are turning to the Lord. It’s so easy to trust in your material prosperity. It’s so easy to look at a nation that is strong and prosperous and say, “Well, look at what free enterprise has done for the United States!” And begin to attribute the blessings of God to certain attributes of our nation. Our nation is strong, our nation is powerful, our nation is great because God made it strong and powerful and great; not because we have some superior system to the rest of the world. It isn’t a victory of democracy over a dictatorship. And we make a mistake when we look to the characteristics of free enterprise or other things and say, “Well, that’s why our nation is strong.”
Now in the time of favor, in the time of blessing, the wicked really don’t think about God. They don’t turn to God. But it’s in the time of adversity when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. So, “Let favor be showed to the wicked,” that doesn’t mean… that isn’t a prayer. “Let favor be showed.” Like that verse of Scripture, “Spare the rod and spoil the child.” My son thought that was a commandment. And when I started to use the rod, he said, “But the Scripture says, ‘Spare the rod and spoil the child.’” But that’s a statement. If you spare the rod, you’re going to spoil the child. It isn’t something that… It’s not a commandment, something you’re supposed to do. It’s a statement of what will happen if you spare the rod. And so here, this is just a statement. “If favor is showed to the wicked, he will not learn righteousness.”
in the land of uprightness he will he deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the LORD (26:10).
He will fail to see the glory of God. He won’t maintain righteousness.
LORD, when thy hand is lifted up, they will not see: but they shall see, and be ashamed for their envy at the people; yea, the fire of thine enemies shall devour them. LORD, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works in us. O LORD our God, other lords beside thee have had dominion over us: but by thee only will we make mention of thy name (26:11-13).
Now this is Israel speaking to the Lord concerning God’s dealing with Israel when God’s judgment came in the land; He taught the people righteousness. In the time of their prosperity they forgot God. They turned their backs on God and they were devoured by their enemies. Now they are saying, “Lord, other lords beside Thee have had dominion over us.” They had been ruled over by other nations; other forces had come in. “But by Thee only will we make mention of Thy name.”
For these nations [that once ruled over us] are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise: therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish (26:14).
That is, the nations that once lorded over Israel. Now there are some people who use this particular verse to teach the annihilation of the wicked, that God is going to ultimately just annihilate them all. There are other Scriptures which would seem to indicate otherwise, especially those in the gospels, the references that Jesus Christ made to Gehenna.
Thou hast increased the nation, O LORD, thou hast increased the nation: thou art glorified: thou hadst removed it far unto all the ends of the earth. LORD, in trouble have they visited thee; they poured out a prayer when thy chastening was upon them (26:15-16).
So in the time that God began to chasten them, they turned to God. They began to pray.
Like as a woman who is in travail, drawing near the time of the delivery of her child, and she cries out of her pangs; so have we been in thy sight, O LORD. We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were brought forth wind; we have not wrought any deliverance in the earth; neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen (26:17-18).
Now God responds to them and declares,
Thy dead shall live, with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out her dead (26:19).
Now this verse is difficult of understanding and that is why the translators have added some words which are written in the italics. But those words that are in italics are words that the translators have added in order to try to bring some understanding to this particular Scripture. As God is responding and saying, “Thy dead,” the translators have added men; “shall live,” and they’ve added together with; “my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.”
Now when Jesus died upon the cross, He descended into hell. This is what the Scriptures declare to us in Acts the second chapter. For the promise of God was given to Him, “Thou will not leave my soul in hell, neither will you allow the Holy One to see corruption” (Psalm 16:10). When they asked Jesus for a sign, He said, “A wicked and an adulterous generation seeks after a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40).
Paul the apostle tells us in Ephesians 4 that, “He who has ascended [Christ] is the same one who first of all descended into the lower parts of the earth. And when He ascended, He led the captives from their captivity” (Ephesians 4:8-9). Now prior to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, until the price was paid for man’s sin, those righteous of the Old Testament period could not enter into heaven when they died, but were kept waiting in the grave.
The best description for this is given to us in Luke’s gospel, chapter 16, by Jesus Christ as He told us of a certain rich man who fared sumptuously every day. And the poor man that was brought daily and laid at his gate, full of sores, the dogs came and licked his sores and he survived off of the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table. And the rich man died. “The poor man died,” He said, “and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom. Moreover, the rich man also died and in hell, he lifted up his eyes being tormented and seeing Abraham afar off. And Lazarus there, the man that he had recognized, the beggar that had been at his gate being comforted by Abraham.”
He said, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me and send Lazarus that he might take his finger and dip it in water and touch my tongue. I’m tormented in this heat.” Abraham said, “Son, remember you in your lifetime had good things. Lazarus evil. Now he is comforted while you are tormented. And beside this, there is a gulf that is fixed between us. And it is impossible for those that are here to come over there; or those over there to come over here.” Now that’s pretty straight statement for any of you that are hoping for a second chance after you’re dead.
Jesus declared that it was an impossibility to cross that gulf once you were dead. And so he said, “I pray you then, if he can’t come to me, send him back that he might warn my brothers. I don’t want them to come to this horrible place.” And he said, “They have Moses and the prophets. And if they won’t believe Moses and the prophets, neither will they believe if one should come back from the dead.” So Jesus describes to us what hell was like. The grave, Sheol, Hades.
Now when Jesus died, He descended into Sheol or Hades. And there He preached to those souls that were being held in prison. But here in Isaiah, chapter 61, a prophecy concerning Jesus Christ declares, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord hath anointed Me to preach good tidings to the meek; He hath sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those that are bound” (Isaiah 61:1). Those that were bound in the grave, in the prison, He proclaimed liberty to them. So when He ascended, He led the captives from their captivity.
You see, we are told that those men of faith in the Old Testament all died in faith but they did not receive the promise of resurrection. God having reserved some better thing for us that they apart from us could not come into the completed state. So Abraham and all of those of the Old Testament believing died in faith. But yet, because their sins were not put away, they couldn’t enter into the heavenly scene. It took the sacrifice of Jesus Christ to put away sins. Now the blood of bulls and goats could make a covering for sin. It was a temporary covering that looked forward in faith to the work that God was going to do. But it was impossible that the blood of bulls or goats could put away sin. That took the blood of Jesus Christ. And so Jesus, when He shed His blood, made the provision for all men to come unto God and He went down and first of all took those who had died in faith believing and trusting God to send the Messiah and the Savior. He preached to them God’s deliverance and God’s redemption. And when He ascended, He led them with Him, the captives from their captivity.
And in Matthew’s gospel, chapter 27, it said, “And the graves of many of the saints were opened; and they were seen walking through the streets of Jerusalem after His resurrection from the dead” (Matthew 27:52-53). And so I believe that this particular verse is a prophecy that is making reference to that event. That beginning of resurrection when Jesus led the captives from their captivity. And “Thy dead shall live, with my body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out her dead.” And that took place at the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Now the Bible says that, “He who lives and believes in Me,” Jesus said, “He who lives and believes in Me shall never die” (John 11:26). “Behold,” Paul said, “I’ll show you a mystery. We’ll not all die, but we’ll all be changed, in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye” (I Corinthians 15:51-52). A metamorphosis is going to take place with each of us. “For we know that when the earthy tabernacles or the tents, the bodies in which we presently live, are dissolved, that we have a building of God, that is not made with hands, that is eternal in the heavens” (II Corinthians 5:1). Now I’m living in this ragged, worn out tent. I’m getting tired of it. But that’s all right. One day I’m going to move out of this ragged, worn out tent and I’m moving into a beautiful mansion.
Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: and if it were not so, I would have told you. And I’m going to prepare one for you” (John 14:2). And so Paul said we have a building of God, a mansion, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. “So then we who are in these bodies do often groan earnestly desiring to be delivered from them” (II Corinthians 5:2). See, the Bible teaches that the real me is spirit, not the body. The body is only a tent in which I’m dwelling temporarily. But the real me is spirit. The body is the medium by which my spirit expresses itself. But I’m looking for the new body. The building of God not made with hands that is eternal in the heavens. “So we know that when this tent is dissolved, we have a building of God not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. So then we who are in this body do often groan earnestly desiring to be delivered. Not that I would be an unembodied spirit, but that I might be clothed upon with the body which is from heaven. For we know that as long as we are in this body, we are absent from the Lord. But we would choose rather to be absent from this body, and to be present with the Lord” (II Corinthians 5:1-2,6,8).
So that glorious day when I move out of my tent into my house where I’m to dwell forever. A new building of God that cannot experience pain. Doesn’t know what weakness is. Won’t need sleep and many other things. So it’s exciting to anticipate just what kind of a body will I have. Paul the apostle said, “Some of you will say, “But how are the dead raised and what kind of a body will they have?” And then he gives you the illustration of the difference between planting a seed and the body that comes out of the ground. He said when you plant a seed in the ground, all you plant is the bare grain. But God gives it a body that pleases Him. And the body that is to be is not the body that you planted. All you plant is a bare grain. God gives it a body that pleases Him. So the grain may be wheat or some other grain, but the body that comes forth is not the body that is planted. He said, “So is the resurrection from the dead. We will be planted in weakness but will be raised in power. We are planted in corruption, raised in incorruption. Planted a natural body, raised as a spiritual body” (I Corinthians 15:42-44). And so it’s quite exciting to me the anticipation of moving into this new house, the building of God that He’s been preparing for me. That He’s promised that He was going to come and receive me unto Himself. That where He is I can be, too.
Now I couldn’t be there in this body. This body wasn’t made for that. I wouldn’t want to be there in this body to tell you the truth. I don’t want to wear glasses forever. I hate glasses. And there’s just a lot of things about… Now it’s not…I appreciate the body that God gave me. God gave me a strong, healthy body and I appreciate that. I appreciate the fact that I’m rarely ever sick and all. But I can see myself going to pieces. I can see the deterioration that’s taking place. I don’t have the same strength or stamina anymore. I’m just not what I was. But thank God I’m not what I’m going to be, either. For God has a new body, a building of God not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. So this is a reference to that time of the resurrection of Jesus when He led the captives from their captivity and brought them on in to the glorious heavenly scene now waiting for us.
And so here is an interesting verse now in verses 20 and 21, as God said,
Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain (26:20-21).
Now this is definitely a reference to the Great Tribulation period, the last three-and-a-half years before the return of Jesus Christ. The period when the earth will be under the power and the control of the antichrist and God’s wrath is being poured out upon this earth for its iniquity. “The Lord coming out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity.” Now what does God say to His people during this period of time? “Come, My people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee. Hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation [or the Great Tribulation] is over. For God is coming out of His place to [What? to] punish the inhabitants of the earth.”
Now the fact that this time of God’s indignation and wrath is a punishment of the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity precludes the church bearing a part of it. For we are told, “God has not appointed us unto wrath” (I Thessalonians 5:9). So when God comes out of His place to punish the earth for its iniquity, He tells His people, “Come into thy chambers. Shut the doors. Hide thyself for a little while until this indignation is over.”
This can have one of two possible interpretations. It is possibly God speaking to the nation Israel, the faithful remnant of the nation Israel that He is going to bear down to the wilderness place that He has prepared for them where they are to be nourished for three-and-a-half years until the Great Tribulation is over. Or it could be a reference to the church. And there is no way by which you can possibly say it is one or the other unless you look at it with a presuppositional view that the church is going through the Great Tribulation and then you’d say it doesn’t refer to the church, it refers to Israel. But that’s only interpreting from a presupposition position, which I feel is wrong.
So having a presupposition that the Lord is going to take His church out before His judgments and His wrath are poured out upon the earth, I can possibly interpret this as a reference to the church. Where the Lord is saying, “Come, into your chambers! Shut the door.” As in Revelation, fourth chapter, “And I saw a door open in heaven: and the first voice I heard was that an angel as of a trumpet; saying, Come up hither, and I will show thee things which must be after these things” (Revelation 4:1). So hide yourself. And the church there with the Lord in heaven while the indignation and the wrath of God is being poured out upon the earth. That is very possible. There’s no way you can deny that that is not true. It may refer to Israel. I don't know which it refers to. It could refer to both. But at any rate, a very fascinating passage of Scripture whereby God indicates that the time of the Great Tribulation is a time of God’s punishment for the iniquity.
Now God has punished my iniquities already. So it is not consistent that God would punish me for my iniquities, because He has already punished His Son for my iniquities. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we turned every one to our own ways; and God hath laid on Him the iniquities of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). Christ bore the punishment for my iniquity. And therefore, it would not be consistent that God would punish me for my iniquities. That’s what salvation and the gospel is all about. You don’t have to bear the punishment of God for your iniquities. Jesus took it for you. That’s the good news that we have for this dying world.
So, “Come, My people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut the door until the time of indignation is over. Hide yourself for a while.” So I take great comfort in that. I take great delight and pleasure. Those who have a post-Tribulation view get no comfort, no pleasure, no joy out of that verse of Scripture.
In that day (27:1)
Now what day? In the day in which God is bringing the Great Tribulation upon the earth.
In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent (27:1);
and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea (27:1).
You saw the beast coming out of the sea in Revelation having ten horns and so forth and with a mouth of a dragon, the antichrist, Satan, the power of darkness.
In that day sing ye unto her, A vineyard of red wine (27:2).
Chapter 27 really goes back with those of twenty-six. “Now in that day sing unto her,” that is, to Israel, “a vineyard of red wine.”
I the LORD do keep it; I will water it every moment: lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day. Fury is not in me: who would set the briers and thorns against me in battle? I would go through them, I would burn them together (27:3-4).
You can’t put a barbed wire to keep God out.
Or let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me. He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root: Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit (27:5-6).
Now here is just a neat little prophecy tucked in God’s statement of how He’s going to again bless the nation Israel. How He again is going to make them His vineyard. It’s quite a contrast with chapter 5 where God speaks out the woes against His vineyard. How He had taken care of the vineyard and all but it didn’t bring forth fruit. Brought forth just wild grapes, and so He let the vineyard go. Now God says the day is coming when He’s going to take again His vineyard and watch over it and keep it and water it and dress it. And, “He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root. Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit.”
Already we are seeing this prophecy fulfilled. Israel is blossoming and budding and filling the earth with fruit. Israel is the fourth largest exporter of fruit of any nation in the world. United States leads in the exporting of fruit. But Israel is the third largest fruit-exporting nation in the world. And yet it is smaller than the state of California. But not only has Israel gone into the exporting of fruit, all over Europe. Actually, there are these jumbo jets that are flying out of Tel Aviv every night to the major cities of Europe taking fruit and taking flowers.
In the wintertime you can buy fresh flowers in the flower shops throughout all of Europe. Where do they come from? They come from Israel. They grow the flowers year-round down in the Jordan Valley and they ship them out overnight on these jumbo jets to the markets of Europe. And the same with the fruit. You buy the oranges and the fruit from Israel in the markets of Europe. It is blossoming. It is budding, filling the earth with fruit and also with flowers. The interesting blossoming bud.
Hath he smitten him, as he smote those that smote him? or is he slain according to the slaughter of them that are slain by him? In measure, when it shooteth forth, thou wilt debate with it: he stayeth his rough wind in the day of the east wind. By this therefore shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged; and this is all the fruit to take away his sin; when he maketh all the stones of the altar as chalkstones that are beaten in sunder, the groves and images shall not stand up. Yet the defensed city shall be desolate, and the habitation forsaken, and left like a wilderness: there shall the calf feed, and there shall he lie down, and consume the branches thereof (27:7-10).
In other words, the bareness that would happen to the nation Israel, which did happen. The cities were destroyed and the land was a wilderness for so long.
When the boughs thereof are withered, they shall be broken off: the women come, and set them on fire: for the people of no understanding: therefore he that made them will not have mercy on them, and he that formed them will show them no favor. But it shall come to pass (27:11-12)
They went through this barren wilderness.
But it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall beat off from the channel of the river unto the stream of Egypt, and ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem (27:12-13).
God’s regathering of His people back into the land.
Chapter 28. Now the prophet turns to the local present issues. He is now… he’s gone off down the road to the end of things. Now he comes back and he begins to speak of the Northern Kingdom, the major tribe was Ephraim there in the Northern Kingdom. And so the nation of Israel is addressed as Ephraim, its major tribe.
Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower, which are on the head of the fat valleys of them that are overcome with wine! Behold, the Lord hath a mighty and strong one, which as a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, shall cast down to the earth with the hand. The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet (28:1-3):
So Isaiah is here predicting the invasion of the Northern Kingdom by Assyria. The Northern Kingdom was filled with pride. The Northern Kingdom was filled with prosperity. The fat valleys. The Northern Kingdom was filled with a careless attitude as people were seeking mirth and merriment and pleasure, rather than God, and judgment was hanging over their heads. And yet they were giving themselves just to drunkenness. Here they were standing in a critical place in their history. They’re about to be devoured by their enemies. The nation is at the end of the road. They’re not going to go any further. And yet the attitude of the people is not a serious attitude of repentance towards God and seeking God, but it is an attitude of just seeking pleasure and just drinking and trying not to think of the heavy judgment that was hanging over them.
It seems that people are always oblivious. That is, the general public is oblivious, though doom is hanging over it. And so it will be when Jesus comes. Jesus said, “As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be at the coming of the Son of man” (Luke 17:26). For the days of Noah, the people were just eating, drinking, the same thing of just going on and pretending like there’s nothing wrong. Not realizing that the judgment of God is hanging over them and they’re about to be destroyed. Right until the day that Noah went into the ark, the people were going on with just things as usual, drinking and partying and the whole thing. Until Noah was in the ark and it began to rain. And suddenly they woke up. But then it was too late.
Now here is Ephraim. Judgment is hanging over them but they’re going on in drunkenness. In their pride and all. And not until Sennacherib comes down with the Assyrian forces, and then it’s too late.
We look at the world today and we see people that are just so oblivious to the impending judgment of God that is hanging over the world today. We see all of these forces of evil. We see people so outspoken with their evil, so brazen in their display of evil. Things that people used to be ashamed of and would seek to deny or hide from, now they are parading in the streets with banners. Advertising their sin. And we are ripening towards judgment. And the heavy hand of God is hanging over us and God’s judgment is about to fall. And yet people seem to be totally oblivious to it. Going on seeking pleasure. Going on in their pride. And seeking the prosperity not realizing that suddenly it’s going to come and God’s judgment is going to strike.
So the sad picture of Ephraim and the prophet speaks out against it. Ephraim’s going to be trodden underfoot. And within three years from the time of this prophecy it happened. The great and glorious nation that God had favored and blessed was destroyed. And I really feel that the United States is in much the same position. A great and glorious nation which has been blessed of God, but I believe that the heavy cloud of God’s wrath hangs over us because of the things that we have allowed and promoted in this land. And it speaks of
The glorious beauty, which is on the head of the fat valley, shall be a fading flower, and as the hasty fruit before the summer; which when he that looketh upon it seeth, while it is yet in his hand he eateth it up. In that day the LORD of hosts will be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of his people (28:4-5),
But here they were glorying in the crown of glory of the fat valleys and so forth, but they’re going to be wiped out. Now even those that were being warned by the prophet just made fun of the prophet.
But they also have erred through wine, and through the strong drink they have gone out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in their vision, they stumble in their judgment (28:7).
And God speaks out against the drinking and how it has perverted their minds. Deadened and dulled their senses. And has turned them out of their way bringing them into error. Causing them to err in their vision and in their judgment. Drinking, it seems, always clouds a person’s vision and actually destroys good judgment. Destroys your inhibitions. People do the dumbest things when they’re drunk. Things that they would never do when they were sober. But it just always messes up your judgment.
You don’t have good judgment when you’re drinking. And we recognize that. Our laws recognize that. That’s why we have laws that you’re not to drive when you’ve been drinking because it messes up your vision. It messes up your judgment. And yet, here the people were they were giving themselves over to this. Messing up their lives. And God’s heavy hand when you need to have clear insight, when you really need to see what’s going on, you can’t see because you’re into the liquor. When you need to have good judgment and make the right moves, you don’t have the ability to do so. The liquor has clouded your minds. The prophet speaks very graphically of them.
For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, there isn’t a clean place [around them] (28:8).
But yet they mock at the prophet of God. They say to the prophet of God,
Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts (28:9).
In other words, who is he going to teach? He ought to go down and teach the little babies that have just been weaned from the breasts. Let him teach the preschoolers. Who is he going to teach? For his teaching
Precept is upon precept; line is upon line; here a little, there a little (28:10):
But the prophet declares that God has declared:
For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear (28:11-12).
Now interesting this verse is couched in here and you wonder what in the world is that verse about and what does it have to do with the context? As he’s talking about Ephraim and the judgment that is coming and the blurred vision and the distorted judgment because of their drinking and all. And their mockery of his teaching methods saying you ought to be teaching kindergarteners for his teaching is so simple. Line upon line, precept upon precept. And then out of the middle of this, “For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. To whom he said, ‘This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing,’ and yet they would not hear.”
Now, Paul the apostle in writing to the Corinthian church about the abuse of the gift of tongues, as he speaks to them of this gift of tongues, he picks out this little verse and says this is what God was talking about when in Isaiah He said, “For with stammering lips and another tongue will I speak to this people. And this is the rest wherewith I will cause the weary to rest.” Interesting. Paul picks that out and interprets that as a reference or a prophecy of the gift of speaking with other tongues that God would pour out upon the church. And that the gift of speaking in tongues would be a restful experience to those who exercised it. “This is the rest wherewith I will cause the weary to rest.” And so it would be a very restful experience to those who would exercise the use of that gift. Very interesting, very fascinating.
And I have found that in my own devotional life, when I have a problem and I don’t know how to pray over a particular situation, or I have a problem and I want to praise God and I feel a total inadequacy in English, that as I begin to praise the Lord in the Spirit or I begin to pray in the Spirit that it is such a restful experience. And I just find great rest in it. Great peace in it. And so Paul picks this out as a prophecy concerning those that would exercise that gift in their personal devotional life that it would be just a restful experience. And then he gets right back into the subject again.
But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken (28:13).
In other words, it was so simple that they would stumble over it. They wouldn’t hear it. They wouldn’t obey it. And thus, they would be snared and taken.
Wherefore hear the word of the LORD, ye scornful men, that rule the people (28:14)
And it not only is Samaria, but now,
in Jerusalem. Because you have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come to us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood we have hid ourselves: Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place. And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then you shall be trodden down by it (28:14-18).
You may say, “Well, we’ve made an agreement with hell or death and we’re in agreement with hell. It’s not going to touch us. You warn us, you say judgment; not going to hit us.” And made refuge your lies. But God’s going to sweep away your refuge and the judgment shall come and you’ll be overthrown by it. But in the midst of it, the Lord has set for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone. That’s a sure foundation. That’s something that won’t let you down. That’s something you can rest in. The sure foundation that God has established. Jesus Christ, the precious cornerstone which was set at naught by the builders, but the Lord has made Him the chief cornerstone.
Now these people are mocking the prophet. They said, “Hey man, don’t try to scare us with hell. We’ve got a covenant with hell. We got an agreement. We’ve made a covenant with death. And we’re in agreement with hell. It doesn’t bother us.” The prophet says, “Your covenant is not going to stand. It’s going to be broken.
For [he said] your bed is shorter than what you can stretch yourself upon it: and your coverings are narrower than what you can wrap yourself in it (28:20).
There are people who like to mock God and like to scoff at the warnings of God. There are people who seek to find rest in philosophy. There are people who seek to find rest in religion. There are people who are seeking rest in liquor, in pleasure. There are people who are seeking rest in prosperity. But of all of these things it must be said the bed is too short and the blankets are too narrow; you can’t find real rest in these things. You’ll never find satisfaction in prosperity. You’ll never find peace in pleasure. There’s only one place of real rest and peace and that is in the sure foundation that God has set. The precious cornerstone, Jesus Christ. The only place you’ll ever really find rest is resting in Jesus. In His finished work for your salvation. You’ll never find rest in religion.
Now here he speaks about the religious leaders getting drunk. And thus not seeing clearly, their judgment perverted. I think that drinking among the clergy is an abomination. Paul said to Timothy that if a man was to be an overseer in the church, that he was not to be given to wine. And I think that that applies to every minister of God. God said to Moses, “When Aaron and his sons come in before the altar, make sure that they haven’t been drinking. For they must be clean who bear the vessels of the Lord.”
There’s an intimation that the two sons of Aaron that were killed by the fire of God that came out of the altar were killed because they were a little under the influence. When they saw the fire and got all excited, everybody was shouting and they grabbed the little incense burners and took the coals off the fire and began to offer strange fire to God, the fire of God came out from the altar and consumed them. Their judgment was twisted because of their drinking. And thus the warning came after that. And after the death of the two sons, the word of the Lord came to Moses saying, “Go unto Aaron and say unto him, ‘Tell your sons and all that when they come in before the Lord that they’re not to be drinking.’” God doesn’t want any service out of false stimulation, false fire.
So today people are trying to find rest in religious experiences and it is a tragedy that there are churches that will tell you that you can rest in your infant baptism. “You don’t have to worry about being saved. Were you baptized when you were a baby? That’s all it takes. You were saved when you were baptized.” The bed’s too short. You can’t rest in that. It takes more than having water sprinkled in your face and words mumbled over you when you were a child to save you. It takes an active, believing, trusting faith in Jesus Christ to bring salvation. He that believeth shall find the rest. He’ll not be making haste or in frenzy.
Those who tell you that you had an emotional experience twenty-five years ago, you came forward in an altar call, and you wept, that that emotional experience is sufficient. You were saved. I don’t care what happened to you twenty-five years ago; I want to know what is your present relationship with God. You can’t be saved by past experiences. You are being saved by your present relationship with Him. Past experiences are just that—past experiences. Unless they have been transmitted into my present relationship.
Paul the apostle speaks of his experience on the Damascus Road saying, “Those things which were gain to me, I counted loss” (Philippians 3:7). He was writing thirty years later to the Philippians. I counted them loss there on the Damascus Road. The whole past, man, is junk. And he said, “Yea, doubtless, I do count them thirty years later as I’m writing to you now, those old things which were once gain to me, which I counted loss on the road to Damascus, I still count them but refuse that I may know Him.”
But you see, a lot of people twenty-five years ago counted the old life as loss when they came to the knowledge of Jesus Christ. But then in the meantime, they’ve gone right back. And they’re living the old life. They’re not serving the Lord. They’re not walking with Jesus. They’re not living in the Spirit. You ask them about their salvation, “Oh, I had the most glorious experience. I felt this glorious peace and this wonderful warmth that came all over me. And a tingling down my spine and I just sat there and wept before the Lord.” What about now? “Oh well, you know, I haven’t been to church for years and I really don’t see any need of having Christ in my life because, after all, I had that glorious experience then.” Oh no, you can’t rest in some past experience. You need a vital, living relationship with Jesus today. Jesus said, “Abide in Me and let My words abide in you. For if any man abides not in Me, he is cut off, cast forth like a branch, and is withered; and men gather them together, and cast them into the fire” (John 15:4,6). “Abide in Me and let My words abide in you.”
So he goes on.
For the LORD shall rise up as in mount Perazim (28:21),
That’s where David at mount Perazim smote the Philistines and called the place Perazim because God made a breach there against the Philistines.
he shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon (28:21),
That’s where Joshua said, “Sun, stand still” (Joshua 10:12), in order that they might have enough time to wipe out their enemies.
that he may do his work, his strange work; and bring to pass his acts, and his strange acts. Now therefore be ye not mockers, lest your bands be made strong: for I have heard from the Lord GOD of hosts a consumption, even determined upon the whole earth. Give ye ear, and hear my voice; hearken, to my speech. Doth not the plowman plow all day to sow? (28:21-24)
In other words, hasn’t God made all of this preparation and will He not go ahead and carry the thing through? And the whole idea is, yes, God will carry the whole thing through.
Chapter 29, the woe unto Jerusalem. Ariel means the lion of God. It is one of the names for Jerusalem.
Woe to Ariel, to Ariel, [the lion of God] the city where David dwelt! add ye year to year; let them kill the sacrifices. Yet I will distress Ariel, and there shall be heaviness and sorrow: and it shall be unto me as Ariel. I will camp against thee round about, and will lay siege against thee with a mount, and I will raise forts against thee (29:1-3).
Talking about the coming Assyrian invasion.
For thou shalt be brought down, and thou shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust (29:4),
And so forth.
Moreover the multitude of thy strangers shall be like small dust, and the multitude of the terrible ones shall be as chaff that passeth away. Thou will be visited of the LORD of hosts with thunder, and with earthquake, and great noise, with a storm and a tempest, and the flame of the devouring fire. And the multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel, even all that fight against her and her munition, and that distress her, shall be as a dream of a night vision. It shall even be as when an hungry man dreams, and he dreams that he is eating; and then he wakes up, and his soul is still empty: or as when a thirsty man is dreaming, and he dreams that he’s getting a drink of water; but he wakes up, and his soul still is faint, and he has appetite: so shall the multitude of all the nations be, that fight against mount Zion. Stay yourselves, and wonder; cry ye out, and cry: they are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink. For the LORD hath poured upon them the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered (29:5-10).
And so the lethargy, the spiritual blindness that has overcome the people. Here they are living in the shadow of the coming judgment but blind to the fact, even as is much the case today. The world is living really under the shadow of this great judgment of God. And yet they seem to be so blind to it. For God said,
the people [verse 13] are drawing to me with their mouth, and with their lips they are honoring me, but their heart is far from me, and the fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and the works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us? Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter's clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He hath no understanding? (29:13-16)
Here Isaiah shows again in this figure of the potter and the clay how that it is so ridiculous for man, the clay, to say to the potter, “He didn’t make me. I evolved.” To say of God, “Well, God doesn’t have any understanding.” That’s ridiculous. How can you look at the human body and say that God doesn’t have any understanding? The intricate system of the human body, the bloodstream, and just take that alone, the heart and the bloodstream. And how can you say that God has no understanding? The nervous system and its functions, the brain and the messages that it codes and sends and so forth and decodes. And how can you say that God has no understanding or that God didn’t make me? And yet here we listen to these little bits of intellectual clay boasting against God, against the Creator. Exalting themselves and their own intellectual prowess. How stupidly ridiculous!
At the end of the chapter here he talks about God’s going to crack the claypots.
Is it not yet a very little while, and Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be esteemed as a forest? And in that day shall the deaf (29:17-18)
And now again God’s glorious day that is coming, the day when the deaf will
hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness. The meek also shall increase their joy in the LORD (29:18-19),
“For the meek shall inherit the earth” (Psalm 37:11).
and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. For the terrible one has been brought to nothing, the scorner has been consumed, and all that watch for iniquity have been cut off: That make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gates, and turn aside the just for a thing of nothing. Therefore thus saith the LORD, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob, Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale. But when he seeth his children, the work of mine hands, in the midst of him, they shall sanctify my name, and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear the God of Israel. They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine (29:19-24).
Woe to the rebellious children, saith the LORD, that take counsel, but not from me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my Spirit, that they may add sin to their sin (30:1):
Now these people, the judgment was coming. They knew that Assyria was marching. But rather than turning to God for counsel and for help, they were sending ambassadors down to Egypt to make a mutual defense pact with Egypt so that they could hire the Egyptians to come and to help defend them against the Assyrians. But the prophet said it’s stupid to call on Egypt for help, because Assyria’s going to wipe out Egypt. But Assyria’s not going to wipe out you. Now your strength is just to stand still and do nothing but trust in the Lord. And woe unto those that are seeking counsel but not from God. “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly” (Psalm 1:1).
People today are seeking counsel, but not from God. They are many of them going to ungodly psychiatrists who are filled with humanism and Freudism. And they are giving you the garbage and charging you a hundred dollars an hour for garbage. That’s ridiculous! Woe unto those that take counsel but not from God. That seek to find a covering but not from the Spirit.
That go down to Egypt, and have not asked from God; [they seek] to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and they trust in the shadow of Egypt! (30:2)
But there’s no real substance to Egypt. It’s a shadow. It’s going to decline. It’s going to fall.
Therefore shall the strength of Pharaoh be your shame, and your trust in the shadow of Egypt will only bring you confusion. For the princes were there at Zoan, and the ambassadors they came to Hanes [the major cities of Egypt in that day]. They were all ashamed of a people that could not profit them, nor be able to help nor profit, but a shame, and also a reproach. The burden of the beasts of the south: To the land of trouble and anguish, from whence come the young and old lion, the viper and fiery flying serpent, they carry their riches upon the shoulders of young donkeys, and their treasures upon the bunches of camels, to a people that shall not profit them. For the Egyptians shall help in vain, and to no purpose: therefore have I cried concerning this, Your strength is just to sit still (30:3-7).
Now this is what the prophet Isaiah kept telling Hezekiah, “Don’t worry about it. God’s going to defend you. You don’t have to worry about the Assyrians and their invasion, because God is going to take care of you. You’re not going to have to fight the battle. God is going to fight for you. Now just trust in the Lord.” And here he is saying, “Your strength is just to sit still and trust in God.”
Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever (30:8):
Write it down for them so that when God does, you can take the book out and say, “Look, this is what I told you. See? There it is.”
That this is a rebellious people, they are lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD: Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Don’t prophesy to us right things, but speak smooth things, prophesy deceitfully (30:9-10):
Only tell me good things about me. Don’t tell me the truth. I don’t want to hear that. They say to the prophets,
Get out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us. Wherefore thus saith the Holy One of Israel, Because ye despise this word, and trust in oppression and perverseness, and you’re resting on it: Therefore this iniquity shall be to you as a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall, whose breaking cometh suddenly at an instant. And he shall break it as the breaking of the potters' vessel that is broken in pieces; he shall not spare (30:11-14):
God’s going to crack all of these pots.
This takes you out to the book of Revelation where it talks about the reign of Jesus Christ, who as with an iron, will pop the clay vessels and shatter them to pieces. Those that have exalted themselves, He’ll pop them.
so that there shall not be found in the bursting of it a sherd to take fire from the hearth, or to take water withal out of the pit (30:14).
There won’t be enough left to even take water out.
For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall you be saved (30:15);
Don’t go to Egypt. Just return and rest in the Lord and there you’ll be safe.
in quietness and confidence shall be your strength: but you won’t listen [you will not hear]. For you said, No; we will flee upon horses (30:15-16);
“We’ll get away from the Assyrians. We’ll get on horses and we’ll flee.” But he said, “Those who are chasing you will have faster horses than you do.”
And a thousand will flee from one man; at the rebuke of five you will flee: till you are left as a beacon upon the top of a mountain. And therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him (30:17-18).
Now some of the more wealthy people were escaping to Egypt when they saw this Assyrian invasion coming. Get on their horses, head to Egypt, escape from. But Egypt fell to Assyria. However, Jerusalem stood. Those that stayed there in quietness and confidence trusting the Lord. The Lord wiped out the Assyrian army. The children of Israel didn’t have to fight them. God delivered them. And we’ll get to that as we move along here in Isaiah. God’s judgment upon the Assyrians as He wiped out 185,000 in one night of the first line fighting troops. But here the prophet is telling them all along, “Quiet and confidence shall be your strength. Don’t run. They’ll chase you. They’ll be faster than you are. They’ll overtake you. But those that will wait upon God will be delivered.”
For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem: thou shalt weep no more: he will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when he shall hear it, he will answer thee. And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers: And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left (30:19-21).
How glorious to be led of the Spirit and having God say, “This is the way, walk in it.” What is the way? The way of waiting upon God and trusting in Him.
You shall defile also the covering of thy graven images of silver, and the ornament of thy molten images of gold: thou shalt cast them away as a menstruous cloth; thou shalt say unto it, Get thee hence. Then shall he give the rain of thy seed, that thou shalt sow the ground withal; and bread of the increase of the earth, and it shall be fat and plenteous: in that day shall thy cattle feed in large pastures. The oxen likewise and the young asses that ear the ground shall eat clean provender, which hath been winnowed with the shovel and with the fan. And there shall be upon every high mountain, and upon every high hill, rivers and streams of waters in the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall. Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the LORD bindeth up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke of their wound (30:22-26).
Sounds like the sun will go into a supernova.
Behold, the name of the LORD cometh from far, burning with his anger, and the burden thereof is heavy: his lips are full of indignation, and his tongue as a devouring fire (30:27):
Again, we’re getting into the day of His indignation, getting into the day of the great wrath, and this moon shall be as light as the sun and the sunlight seven times increased. It reminds us of the book of Revelation, chapter 16, as the Lord is pouring out the vials of His wrath upon the earth. In the fourth vial He gives power unto the sun to scorch men who dwell upon the earth. And men will be scorched by the sun during that time. And so the sun increased in its brightness to a seven-times intensity so that the moon reflecting the sun at night under a full moon, it would be as bright on the earth as it is usually during the daytime. And it does sound like the sun will go into a supernova state. And there are a lot of interesting implications to the sun going into a supernova state of the effect that it would have upon the earth and so forth. Of course, it would be devastating to the earth if the sun went into a supernova state.
The astronomers believe that when stars are about to die that they go into the supernova state. And supernova is a phenomena that we observe in the universe. We’ve observed many stars as they are about to die. They go into this tremendous intensity of light and they call them the supernovas because it gets so bright and they begin to emit so much radiation and all. And the astronomers have watched these stars in supernovas. If the sun should go into supernova, it would just about do in the earth. But it sure sounds like it here. The sun being seven times brighter, the moon being as bright as the sun and the sun becoming seven times brighter. Sounds like a supernova. But it speaks about “the name of the Lord comes from far, burning in his anger, and the burden thereof is heavy: his lips are full of indignation.”
In Revelation it says for the cup at the time of the sun giving power. The sun to scorch men who dwell upon the earth, it says, “Woe to the inhabitants of the earth for the cup of His indignation overflow and is pouring out the cup of the wrath upon the earth” (Revelation 14:10). And so here His indignation, “the tongue as a devouring fire.”
And his breath, as an overflowing stream, shall reach to the midst of the neck, to sift the nations with the sieve of vanity: and there shall be a bridle in the jaws of the people, causing them to err. Ye shall have a song, as in the night when a holy solemnity is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one goeth with a pipe to come into the mountain of the LORD, to the Mighty One of Israel. And the LORD shall cause his glorious voice to be heard, and shall show the lighting down of his arm, and the indignation of his anger, and with the flame of a devouring fire, with scattering, the tempest, and hailstones. For through the voice of the LORD shall the Assyrian be beaten down, which smote with a rod (30:28-31).
Now we’re coming back to the local situation. God’s going to wipe out the Assyrian. However, the Assyrian here could also be a type of the antichrist who will be destroyed by the sword that goes forth out of the mouth of Christ when He returns.
And in every place where the grounded staff shall pass, which the LORD shall lay upon him, it shall be with tabrets and harps: and in battles of shaking will he fight with it. For Tophet [interesting Scripture, Tophet] is ordained of old (30:32-33);
Tophet is hell. It is actually the Gehenna of the New Testament. And Hades is hell; Gehenna is another place. “Tophet is ordained of old.” Jesus said that Tophet was prepared by God for the devil and his angels. It has been ordained of old, a place that God has ordained. The word means the place of a burning fire. In the New Testament it is described as the place that burns with fire, the lake of fire. And Tophet is ordained of old.
yea, for the king it is prepared; he hath made it deep and large: the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of the LORD, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it (30:33).
David said, “Where can I flee from Thy presence? If I ascend into heaven, Thou art there. Yea, if I descend into hell, lo, Thou art there.” Here very graphically it describes this place known as Tophet; in the Greek, Gehenna. The final place of the wicked dead. Hell is not a place of eternal punishment. Hades. Death and hell are going to give up their dead which are in them. Revelation, chapter 20, when he sees the great white throne judgment of God, “and death and hell delivereth up their dead. And those whose names are not found written in the book of life are cast into the lake that burns with fire” (Revelation 20:13,15). Gehenna, Tophet, this is the second death.
So hell will come to an end. When it gives up its dead to stand before God at the judgment bar. And then they will be cast into Gehenna. Now of Gehenna, the Scripture declares, “And the smoke of their torment ascendeth from the ages through the ages” (Revelation 14:11). “Aionios posto aionios” in the Greek, the strongest term there is for expressing eternity--from the ages through the ages.
Jesus said of Gehenna, “Where the worm dies not, neither is the fire quenched” (Mark 9:44). Now there are those who say, “Well, hell is not a place of eternal punishment.” We get, “Oh, but the Bible says.” “No, the Bible does say that,” and they can show you Scriptures where hell is not a place of eternal punishment. Death and hell would give up the dead that are in them, Hades. But when you talk about Gehenna, you’re talking about something else; Tophet, it’s been ordained of old. And according to the Scriptures, the smoke of the torment will ascend forever and ever. Jesus said, “Where the worm dies not, neither is the fire quenched.”
You can read into that whatever you want. You can read out of that whatever you want. I personally just leave it alone. I have no intention of being there. And whether they are consumed and their smoke ascends forever and ever. But Jesus said, “Where the worm dies not.” So to me the strong indications are that it will be an eternal separation from God and whether or not conscious, that’s something that’s in God’s hands. I don’t worry about that. I don’t mess with that. It’s out of my territory. That’s in God’s hands. And God will do what is right and what is fair.
But my great concern is with that new model that He’s preparing for me. The new building of God that is eternal in the heavens. That’s where I can get excited and really get into the glorious future that I have with Him. My eternal future with the Lord, that’s the thing that can really get me excited.
Go ahead and read your next five chapters. You’ll have a little while to read them. Some very interesting things. We get to the destruction of the Assyrian army that he has been predicting and chapter 33. And then chapter 35, the glorious light at the end of the tunnel after the earth goes through the Great Tribulation of chapter 34, coming into chapter 35, glorious Kingdom Age. I can hardly wait.
Shall we stand. May the Lord be with you and bless you and keep you in His love and grace. May the Lord watch over you and may you be filled with His Spirit and walk in the strength and the power of the Spirit of God as He anoints you day by day. May you be enabled by Him, and may you enter into that fullness that He has for you. Walking with the Lord. Loving the Lord. Listening to the Lord. Alert unto the Lord in these last days when the world around you is walking in its drunken stupor. May your mind and heart be clear, sensitive to God and to the things of the Spirit. In Jesus' name.