<< Start at Isaiah 1
The "ER" numbers below reference an Exhaustive Reference which will be made available when completed.
Sometimes when studying the Word of God we come across passages which are very difficult to pinpoint within the sequence of events of that Day. This is one such chapter, or at least the first eight verses. While verse nine takes place about one year before the fall of end-time Babylon, the preceding verses seem to indicate the period of time after Gog is defeated when God pours out his Spirit on Zion. After laboring over these words I’ve come to the conclusion there is more reason to believe the majority of this chapter speaks of the time leading up to that last year of Babylon. A parallel passage is found in Micah 7 as it also speaks of the day of their watchman and perplexity.
Summary by Section
1. (v.1) [ER 188.8.131.52, 11]
“Behold, a king will reign in righteousness.” From the very beginning of this chapter we are being pointed towards the return of Christ. But few might realize Yahshua (Jesus), though not physically seen, begins to reign on the first day of Tribulation. As we’ve seen, he begins to rise up in judgment. The first day marks his ascent to the throne. But before taking that throne he must first bring down the kingdoms of this world, the haughty of the earth, and their rulers. But when that Day is finished he will return to earth to reign in righteousness. Though princes now rule with wicked hearts and evil schemes, then others will rule with justice.
2. (v.2-4) [ER 4.3, 5.3]
“A man will be as a hiding place from the wind, and a cover from the tempest.” This passage caused me some difficulty. Is this speaking about the watchman of Isaiah 21 and 28 or is it speaking of the teachers who “will not be moved into a corner anymore” (Is. 30:20) when God establishes Zion and restores right teaching after the defeat of Gog? Some might even think this is Yahshua being spoken of, as he was shown in the first verse. But the word for man (H376) is speaking of a singular, ordinary man, or mortal, or even a male person. While he came as the Son of Man, he returns as the Son of God. Furthermore, while his power is clearly manifested during the Tribulation, he does not physically return until the end of that Day.
So if this is speaking of only one singular man, and that man is not Yahshua, who is he? Notice how he’s described. He’s as a hiding place and a cover from the wind and tempest. The wind and tempest are words denoting a very violent, overflowing storm. We’ve already seen these words used many times to describe the first day of Tribulation when that sudden destruction overwhelms the earth and one prominent nation, in particular. That nation, Babylon, becomes the focal point of his speech beginning in verse 9.
“As rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.” But notice how else this man is described. He is as water in a dry land. We must understand that there is most always spiritual application to these prophecies as well as natural application. One of the lesser judgments being poured out on Babylon at this time is drought. (Amos 4:7-8) America is experiencing severe drought in some regions today. Drought is one warning sign from Deuteronomy that a nation is under God’s curse. God is trying to wake us up before it’s too late. But the spiritual application of dryness has to do with God’s Word. As we saw from the opening chapter of Isaiah, God’s people are not pleasing in his sight. Even the shepherds are corrupt. They are not binding the wounds of the people. The whole land is given over to idolatry. Though we continue to worship, we are described as a people who don’t really know the God we serve. Spiritual dryness has swept the land because his Word is not being taught in truth and righteousness. Water represents the knowledge of God according to his Word. “For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.” (Is. 11:9) When Gog is defeated during the opening months of the Tribulation, God will pour out his Spirit and his power will be evident in all the earth. But before the Tribulation, there is at least one messenger proclaiming God’s truth according to his whole Word. That truth goes forth like rivers of water in a spiritually dry place. His message of truth goes forth during a time of great spiritual dryness after the actual drought is over. (Amos 8:11) His ministry is like the shadow of a great rock (heavy fortress). Remember that teaching against sin acts as a strong wall of defense to the people. The flimsy wall of the prophets of peace will be easily torn down by the events of that first day. (Ez. 13) But right teaching according to the whole truth of God’s Word acts as a strong defense in that Day of judgment as people heed that message. The watchman of Isaiah 21 is allowed to see many chariots (or doctrines) of truth as he looks intently and diligently into the Word of God. He’s also allowed to declare what he sees. This is most likely the same man being spoken of here.
For lack of a more specific name, let’s call him Elijah. Many understand that Elijah will return before the Tribulation begins. (Mal. 4:5) But many may not realize this is not actually Elijah but a type of Elijah, just as John the Baptist was a type of Elijah. (Mat. 11:14, 17:11-13, Is. 49:8) While we can’t say for sure now, it’s very likely the same person is being discussed in all of these passages. We saw him as early as chapter 6 when he volunteered, “Here I am, send me!” We saw him again in chapter 25 as he saw the great harlot Babylon fall, in the past tense, and he declared the counsel of old to be faithfulness and truth. We read about him in chapter 21 and 28 and will see him discussed here and there throughout the prophets. Hosea calls him the watchman of Ephraim. (Hos. 9:8) Micah refers to him as their watchman. (Mic. 7:4) He sets himself upon his post in Habakkuk chapter 2. Then he begins to write the vision of the end-times and tries his best to make it plain for the people to understand, that whoever reads it may hurry up (run, make haste) and do whatever they need to do before time runs out.
“The eyes of those who see will not be dim, and the ears of those who hear will listen.” We already know the majority will not see and hear and understand and return and be healed. (Is. 6:10) But here we see some will. Those who have eyes to see and ears to hear will truly understand. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Rev. 2-3) In the book of Revelation these messages to the churches precede the Tribulation, just as we read here in Isaiah 32. And they will not understand just partially, dimly. They will understand a great deal. They will see very clearly. Remember all the chariots this watchman was allowed to see. He was given great revelation of God’s Word in the context of the latter days, our day. He knows the day Babylon will fall because he sees it in the Word, or Logos or Dabar, of God. This chapter confirms that he does, in fact, know the precise day Babylon falls.
“Also the heart of the rash will understand knowledge, and the tongue of the stammerers will be ready to speak plainly.” It’s important to understand what’s happening in Babylon at this point in time. The time being spoken of here is a time of repose. It’s a time of peace and safety. All the world is quiet. Wars have ceased, troops have been brought home, rain is falling again, the crops look good, and even natural disasters have quieted down. But it’s also a time of great spiritual drought. The people of God are being assembled in stadiums all across the land to hear what this man of God has to say. (Zeph. 2:1-2) But the only reason this wicked generation bothers to listen is because of the great miracles they witness at those meetings. (John 14:12, Mat. 16:4)
His message consists of two things: great signs and wonders and a hard preaching against sin, especially in the Church, his primary audience. This is why Malachi says, "But to you who fear My name the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings." (Mal. 4:2) Read the rest of the passage. It happens before they “go out” of that land. Furthermore, Hosea says, as correctly translated only by the Young’s Literal Translation, "When I give healing to Israel, then revealed is the iniquity of Ephraim, and the wickedness of Samaria." (Hos. 7:1 YLT) Read what follows this. After that point in time the thief and destroyer arrives to destroy the land. In the chapter following one of the few chapters devoted to the downfall of latter-day Babylon, Isaiah writes, "The LORD loves him; he shall do his pleasure on Babylon, and his arm shall be against the Chaldeans." (Is. 48:14) The word pleasure (H2656) means a good and valuable thing. The Lord loves him and his message is from the Lord. (Is. 28) Because the Lord loves him the Lord is doing the things he asks of the Lord, that the Father would be glorified as he works miracles in the name of the Son. (John 14:13) He has found favor in God’s eyes, therefore God grants all his requests. The servant is asking the Lord to heal the people who fear the Lord. The Sun of Righteousness arises with healing to those who fear him. That healing is in his wings. Who is found in his wings but this servant who abides under the shadow of his wings? (Ps. 91)
But his strength is against us to declare to us our sins. "But truly I am full of power by the Spirit of the LORD, and of justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin." (Mic. 3:8) Why declare sin other than for the purpose of repentance? At this point in time the destruction of America is only a year away and the months are ticking away fast as he delivers this message to the land. This is the last chance for repentance for hundreds of millions of people. After the land is destroyed all hope is gone for them. So God sends this messenger with signs following. “Why should you be stricken again?” The lesser judgments have ceased for a time. “His kindness leads us to repentance.” This period of rest and healing and signs and wonders is God’s last act of kindness towards a wicked, defiled, treacherous harlot called Babylon. In a year and a few days trouble will come. “Behold, in the eventide, trouble! And before the morning he is no more.” (Is. 17)
“Also the heart of the rash will understand knowledge, and the tongue of the stammerers will be ready to speak plainly.” Now, after laying that runway, I can tell you what this means. During this time people are being healed of all sorts of infirmities. In this way God confirms the words of this servant. (Is. 44:26) There is both a spiritual application as well as a physical application. People are repenting and being healed in heart and also in body. Eyes are opened spiritually and healed physically. Limbs are growing back on people before tens of thousands of onlookers. Burn victims are being given new skin like a baby. Severe afflictions are being healed instantly. Some are even being raised back from the dead. Whatever this servant asks in the name of Yahshua is being performed by the Spirit of God, the Sun of Righteousness. They only need fear God and ask in faith, the same requirement Yahshua had when he did great miracles. (Mat. 13:58)
As if this isn’t enough already, what I’m going to tell you next is going to sound as crazy as the day is long. But know I have my wits about me and I believe I have the Spirit of God as I understand this. I like the “Keil and Delitzsch Commentary” because they go into great detail regarding the origin and use of individual words. Look how they describe this passage:
The form תּשׁעינה is not the future of שׁעה here, as in Isaiah 31:1; Isaiah 22:4; Isaiah 17:7-8 (in the sense of, they will no longer stare about restlessly and without aim), but of שׁעה equals שׁעע, a metaplastic future of the latter, in the sense of, to be smeared over to closed...
The nimhârı̄m are those that fall headlong, the precipitate, hurrying, or rash; and the עלּגים, stammerers, are not scoffers (Isaiah 28:7., Isaiah 19:20), as Knobel and Drechsler maintain, but such as are unable to think and speak with distinctness and certainty... (http://bible.cc/isaiah/32-3.htm)
Though the authors state that physical healing is not indicated here, I disagree on this point. Both spiritual and physical manifestations are present at this time. But who are these stammerers?
In studying the ministry of this latter-day Elijah, we happen upon one prophecy which is very difficult to understand: "And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers. (Mal. 4:6) What could it possibly mean? Why are fathers and their children singled out by this man of God for healing? (The YLT translates children as sons.) Understand there is one affliction today which is diabolical in its manifestation, is pervasive today and seems to be unique to this generation, afflicting both genders but mainly sons. The treatment of, or even the ability to cope with, this affliction has torn marriages apart and even driven some to murder. As I said, it is diabolical. And although there is no doubt a scientific reason for it, the conception of it must have been straight from the gates of hell.
The affliction I describe concerns the relationship of children to their parents and fits the description of Keil and Delitzsch. It is autism. Metaplasia is a medical term to describe the unnatural alteration of cells from normal to abnormal. Consider the phrase, “stare about restlessly and without aim” as it applies to autism. Also, “such as are unable to think and speak with distinctness and certainty.”
The day is soon coming when the man of God will speak a word and those cells will instantly return to normal and the eyes of the children will look up into the eyes of their parents and the eyes of the parents will peer into the eyes of their son or daughter and perceive a restored connection to the heart of their child. The hearts of the children will once again turn to the fathers and the hearts of the fathers will turn to their children. It is the good pleasure of the man of God to restore all things as they should be by the power of God working in him and through him. (Mat. 17:11)
3. (v.5-8) [ER 4.3, 4.7]
“The foolish person will no longer be called generous.” To explain this passage, I turn again to Keil and Delitzsch for their understanding. They aptly summarize this as “the naming and treating of every one according to his true character.” (http://bible.cc/isaiah/32-5.htm) They go on to describe this passage in detail as it is understood by the use of the words herein. One might wonder why we are being shown this in the context of this latter-day Elijah. Notice how verse 8 creates a contrast with verses 5 to 7. At the same time this Elijah is rising to his calling, others are being brought down. This passage indicates an uncovering of deeds done in darkness. Only in this way can the perception of certain individuals be changed from light to dark. Everything that can be shaken is being shaken.
They practice evil in dark, therefore they are actually evil. But the perception of them by the public is that they are good. “So now we call the proud blessed, for those who do wickedness are raised up.” (Mal. 3:15) This will not stand. Their deeds will be exposed and people will begin to see them according to truth. While seemingly good men have always been exposed for what they are, we should note a greater frequency of this in the years preceding the Tribulation. Conversely, the man of God, who remains hidden at this time, will arise to his position in the public eye. "Also He said to them, 'Is a lamp brought to be put under a basket or under a bed? Is it not to be set on a lampstand? For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light.'" (Mar 4:21-22)
I noted in chapter 6 the heart of the volunteer: “Here I am, send me.” The word “stand” means to rise up. At the same time the crooked are falling, this one is rising up. This provides a segue to the beginning of his public ministry, as shown in the next verse.
4. (v.9-14) [ER 2.2, 3.1.15, 3.1.6, 3.2, 3.5.2, 4.3, 5.4]
“Rise up, you women who are at ease.” It is no coincidence that verse 8 ends with the word meaning to rise up (H6965) and verse 9 begins with the same word. When this Elijah finally rises to the fullness of his time, he will then begin to go before the people whom God assembles at this time. “Hear my voice…Give ear to my speech.” The declaration indicates he is now standing before the people in a very public way. That the people are called women is a bit of an insult. Not that he dislikes or disrespects women, but that he is calling out the general weakness of the people, as the muscle of a man, in general, is much stronger than that of a woman. We already know the people are overfed (Is. 10:16, 16:1, 17:4). Furthermore, Jeremiah makes the same observation: "Ask now, and see, whether a man is ever in labor with child? So why do I see every (potbellied) man with his hands on his loins like a woman in labor, and all faces turned pale?" (Jer. 30:6, text in parentheses mine)
But all flesh is as grass and will quickly fade away. The real truth to his statement lies in the spirit of man. These people are very weak spiritually, as we saw as early as chapter 1. Furthermore, they are at ease and living carelessly. They simply do not believe trouble is soon coming. "Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: she and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy." (Ez. 16:49) She is oblivious to the coming day of reckoning. She despises the Word of God. It sits on the shelf collecting dust. She does not delight in it. (Jer. 6:10)
“In a year and some days you will be troubled.” The man of God knows the precise day America will fall. Likely he now begins his public ministry one year and a few days before that date. “For the vintage will fail, the gathering will not come.” If he knows the actual day then why bother telling us about the time of year? God is allowing us to make a connection to other passages which, as we have already seen, indicates this trouble comes in the spring. Though seed has been sown, yet the “gathering will not come.”
“Be troubled, you complacent ones…gird sackcloth on your waists.” The prophet tries with all his might to stir up the people to repentance. We see a parallel to this in Joel 2 and Isaiah 22. Now is the time for repentance before that overflowing scourge begins. “The forts and towers will become lairs forever.” We read here of the complete and final overthrow of the joyous city, or nation. She will not rise again. The day is soon coming when America will cease to exist as a nation forever. “On the land of my people.” This is the same nation Isaiah has been discussing since chapter one. She is called Babylon. She is America. This Elijah was born and raised in America. He is the same watchman of Isaiah 21.
5. (v.15-20) [ER 3.2, 7, 8.1.1]
“Until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high.” This statement tells us two things. Connected with the previous statement it means whatever roams freely on the land after she is made desolate will do so until the remnant receives the outpouring of the Spirit, which we read about in chapter 2. As we saw in chapter 3, lawlessness will run wild for a time after America is destroyed. The prophet also gives us hope with this statement. He points to a time when things will get better. We have studied this extensively already. This time of outpouring and refreshing comes after Gog of Magog is defeated.
“And the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is counted as a forest.” Though the land of Zion will respond with abundance, the deeper things mentioned here speak of the people of Zion themselves. Though she is a desolate wilderness now, soon she will thrive and flourish after her idols are stripped away and she begins walking in righteousness.
“Though hail comes down on the forest, and the city is brought low in humiliation.” The KJV renders this “shall be low in a low place.” We saw a similar phrase in chapter 25 verse 5: “As heat in a dry place.” Often when we read of Babylon’s demise, it comes in a double portion. How much dryer can a desert become? How must lower can a low place go? Her judgment is final and severe. She will not rise again. The forest is speaking of the people of God. Though we partake in her judgment, “My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation.” God will pardon and preserve his remnant, his holy stump. (Is. 6)
“Blessed are you who sow beside all waters, who send out freely the feet of the ox and the donkey.” Remember the context is the remnant who supernaturally survive a nuclear holocaust in their homeland. Swedenborg has an interesting take on this verse. “They that sow beside all waters denote those who suffer themselves to be instructed in spiritual things. That waters are spiritual things, thus intellectual things of truth, …. They that send forth the foot of the ox and the ass denote natural things which are to do service. The ox is the natural as to good …. The ass is the natural as to truth.”
(http://biblemeanings.info/Words/Animal/Ass.htm) The prophet is pointing us back to those who have eyes to see and ears to hear. They are blessed as they look into these matters and take heed to them.
1. The return of Christ is near!
2. One is coming to prepare the way. Listen up!
3. Sinners will be exposed but this one is rising up.
4. Trouble is coming. Repent before it’s too late.
5. God will preserve and bless the faithful remnant.
End of Age Context
As it has been from the beginning of Isaiah, the context is the return of Christ at the end of this age. Once again Isaiah uses the fall of Babylon as a marker for the discussion of these events.
End of Age Themes
- The return of Christ.
- Elijah will prepare the way, just as John the Baptist.
- Everything hidden will be exposed.
- Babylon will be destroyed.
- God will preserve a remnant.
- A call to repentance before that Day begins.
- A time of rest and healing before the Day begins.
Sequence of Events
Before the Tribulation begins there will be a time of repose, a time of peace and safety. The ministry of Elijah is connected to this time as he rises up before the people to deliver a message of sin and repentance and also heal many of severe afflictions. Then Babylon (America) will be destroyed. The remnant will be preserved and eventually blessed (after Gog is defeated) in Zion.
“Rise up, you women who are at ease.” Just as this Elijah rises up, he calls to the people, ‘Rise up!’ Blessed are those who have eyes to see these things and ears to hear them. Blessed are those in God’s Church who have not succumbed to the spirit of deep sleep in this critical hour. (Is. 29:10)