Isaiah's Little Apocalypse, Chapters 24 through 27, Part 5
by Karl Kemp
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We will discuss Isaiah chapter 27 here in Part 5. We will also discuss Isa. 10:20-23 and Rom. 9:27-29 in a verse-by-verse manner, passages that prophesy of God's saving the repentant remnant of Israel after He judges Israel at the end of this age.
ISAIAH CHAPTER 27.
"In that day the LORD [Yahweh] will punish Leviathan [cf. Job 3:8; 41:1; Psalms 74:14; and 104:26] the fleeing serpent, With His fierce and great and mighty sword, Even Leviathan the twisted serpent; And He will kill the dragon who lives in the sea. [[There is widespread agreement that this verse goes with chapter 26. This viewpoint makes it even easier to see that Leviathan is a symbol for Satan here (or, Satan and his kingdom). In this context (with Isa. 26:20, 21; 27:2-13, verses that deal with end-time judgments that will be completed by the time the millennial kingdom begins), we tend to expect that the judgment spoken of in this verse will also be completed at that time, but this is not the case. ((I had a footnote: As I have mentioned (see under Isa. 25:8), it is common for these prophetic chapters (chapters 24-27), and for many other prophetic passages, to not distinguish (or, in some cases, to not carefully distinguish) between things that will come to pass at the end of Daniel's 70th week and the beginning of the millennial kingdom and things that will come to pass at the end of the millennium, or after the millennium. The concept of the millennial kingdom was not clearly taught before the book of Revelation. I'll list the verses from Isaiah chapters 24-27 that mention things that won't come to pass, or won't fully come to pass, until the end of the millennium: Isa. 24:22, 23; 25:6-8; 26:17-19; and 27:1.)) God will cast Satan into the abyss at the end of Daniel's 70th week and keep him there for the duration of the millennium; He won't cast him into the eternal lake of fire until after the millennium. See Isa. 24:21, 22; Rev. 20:1-3, 7-9.]] (2) In that day [[The time setting here (for verses 2-6) is at the end of Daniel's 70th week, right after God's end-time judgment of the world, in which He will save the elect end-time remnant of the people of Israel (they will become Christians) and leave a remnant of the nations. As in Isa. 2:2-4, for example, it is now time for the remnant of the nations to submit to God.]], 'A vineyard of wine, sing of it! [[The "vineyard" here refers to God's people, (true) Israel (cf. Isa. 5:1-7; 26:8; Psalm 80:8-19; and Jer. 2:20-25). Incorporating what I learn from the New Testament, I don't believe there will be any substantial difference between the end-time remnant of Israel, after they become Christians through new-covenant salvation, and all the other true Christians. All the people of true Israel will be glorified and reigning with the Lord Jesus Christ (and God the Father) throughout the millennial kingdom and then forever in God's new Jerusalem.]] (3) I, the LORD [Yahweh], am its keeper; I water it every moment. So that no one will damage it, I guard it night and day. [Contrast God's former judgment/chastening of the people of His vineyard because of their sinfulness in Isa. 5:3-7; Psalm 80:12, 13, 16.] (4) I have no wrath. [It is time for peace, but the potential for rebellion will still exist for the remnant of the nations left after God's end-time judgment of the world (cf. Dan. 7:12; Zech. 14:16-19; and Rev. 20:7-10).] Should someone give me briars and thorns in battle, Then I would step on them, I would burn them completely. [[God will have no more wrath against His people (Israel); there is no more basis for wrath; all the members of true Israel will be walking before Him in truth, righteousness, and holiness. But the idea here is that God isn't holding any enmity against the remnant of the nations. He is inviting them to submit to Him (also in verse 5), but there is a strong warning here in verse 4 against further rebellion by trying to attack His vineyard. Formerly, when God was chastening Israel, His judgments led to "briars and thorns [coming up in His vineyard]" (Isa. 5:6; cf. Isa. 32:13). Any attempted attack against His vineyard now by those with "briars and thorns" will lead to God's quickly crushing the attackers.]] (5) Or let him rely on My protection ["come to me for refuge" NIV], Let him make peace with Me, Let him make peace with Me.' (6) In the days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will blossom and sprout, And they will fill the whole world with fruit. [[Compare Isa. 35:1, 2; 37:31; and Hos 14:5-7. In other words, the kingdom of God (which will be centered in Jerusalem throughout the millennial kingdom and forever), with its worship of the one true God, will expand to fill the earth as the remnant of the nations worldwide submit to Him (cf., e.g., Isa. 2:2-4; 11:10; 19:23-25; 24:13-16a; 25:6; 26:9; 42:10-16; 49:6-23; 60:3-17; and 66:18-24).]] (7) Like the striking of Him who has struck them [referring to God's total destruction of the unrepentant wicked who had struck Israel; it should be mentioned that God often chastened Israel through the nations, but that didn't mean that the nations were innocent for attacking Israel, far from it], has He struck them [has God struck Israel]? Or like the slaughter of His slain [where "His slain" refers to the unrepentant wicked of the nations who were totally destroyed by God], have they [the people of Israel] been slain? [[God's striking (His chastening judgments) of the nation Israel/Judah will result in the repentance, salvation, and exaltation of the end-time remnant of His people. His striking (cf. Isa. 11:4) of the city of this world, which had been striking His people, is different: The city of the world will be totally destroyed in God's end-time judgment, leaving only a humbled, repentant remnant of the nations that will submit to God. (I had a footnote: Isaiah chapter 19 shows that God's end-time striking of Egypt will lead to healing in that the remnant of Egypt will return to God (especially see 19:22). What will be true for Egypt will also be true for other nations. Isaiah 19:4, 16-25 are discussed in my 112 page paper on Isaiah on my internet site.) God will totally destroy the wicked end-time kingdom headed up by Antichrist with all his followers and forces (cf. Rev. 14:9-11; 19:10-21), even as He will totally destroy Babylon the great harlot (cf. Rev. 14:8; 16:17-19:3) in His end-time judgment of the world. It is interesting that God will judge Babylon through Antichrist and the ten horns (Rev. 17:16, 17).]] (8) You contended with them [Israel/Judah] by banishing them, by driving them away. With His fierce wind He has expelled them on the day of the east wind [cf. Job 27:21; Psalm 48:7; Ezek. 19:12; and 27:26]. [[Compare Isa. 50:1; 54:7 with 54:1-7; Jer. 18:17; and Hos. 13:15. These words speak of God's chastening Israel/Judah. The judgments in view start with the overthrow of the northern kingdom (sometimes called Israel) and the exile of many of its people at the hands of the Assyrians and the subsequent overthrow of the southern kingdom (sometimes called Judah) and the exile of many of its people at the hands of the Babylonians. But the primary judgments in view here are the end-time judgments (much of this end-time judgment will take place during the days of the short great tribulation that will start about the time of Antichrist's abomination of desolation and be over before the Lord Jesus returns in the middle of Daniel's 70th week) that will reduce Israel/Judah to a humbled, repentant remnant. ((I had a footnote: Several other factors (besides God's chastening judgments) that will lead to the repentance of the end-time remnant of Israel/Judah are the convicting and enlightening work of the Spirit, the ministry of the two prophets of Rev. 11:1-13; seeing the mid-week rapture of the saints; and seeing the Lord Jesus Christ Himself at the time of His return (mid-week).))]] (9) Therefore through this Jacob's iniquity will be forgiven; And this will be the full price of the pardoning of his sin: When he [He] makes all the [pagan] altar stones like pulverized chalk stones; When Asherim [In the margin the NASB has, "i.e. wooden symbols of a female deity."] and [pagan] incense altars will not stand [cf. Ex. 34:13; Deut. 12:3]. [[The result of God's judgments that is emphasized in this verse is the removal of the sinful idolatry and worship of pagan gods by the people of Israel/Judah. Although this very serious sin is singled out here, God will remove all sin from the end-time remnant of Israel/Judah. His chastening of Israel/Judah plays an important role in the sanctifying of His people, but the Bible makes it very clear that new-covenant salvation (which is centered in the atoning death of the Lamb of God and the work of the Holy Spirit) is required to fully remove the sin from the hearts and lives of people (cf., e.g., Isa. 32:14-18; 53:4-12; Jer. 31:31-34; Ezek. 36:26, 27; Zech 12:10-13:2; Matt. 1:21; Rom. 11:26, 27; 1 Pet. 1:13-25; and Rev. 1:5 [and there are many more such verses]).
I'm not satisfied with the translation "will be forgiven." I'll quote what the BDB Hebrew Lexicon (under "kaphar") said regarding the meaning here, "by this shall the iniquity of Jacob be covered over...namely by the destruction of the idolatrous objects." The iniquity will be covered over in the sense it will be removed - the remnant of God's people will no longer be committing iniquity. I could be satisfied with the KJV's "shall be purged." Compare Isa. 1:25.
I'm even less satisfied with the translation "this will be the full price of the pardoning of his sin." I believe the translation of the NIV is far better, "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." In the margin the NASB comments that "all the fruit" is the literal translation of the Hebrew words used here, not "the full price" and that "removing" is the more literal translation of the Hebrew word used here, not "pardoning." When God is done there will not be any pagan altars, Asherim, or pagan incense altars left in Israel/Judah; the end-time remnant of Israel will not be sinning against God through pagan religious practices, or any other way.]] (10) For the fortified city is isolated, A homestead forlorn and forsaken like the desert; There the calf will graze, And there it will lie down and feed on its branches. [This verse and the next verse picture Israel/Judah after God has poured out His threatened judgments upon them. Compare Isa. 32:13, 14.] (11) When its limbs are dry, they are broken off; Women come and make a fire with them, For they are not a people of discernment [cf. Deut. 32:28; Isa. 1:3; 5:13; and Jer. 8:7], Therefore their Maker will not have compassion on them. And their Creator will not be gracious to them. [[That is, God will not have compassion on Israel/Judah and be gracious to them until He saves the humbled, repentant remnant of the nation in the last days through the Lord Jesus Christ. This verse skips over those times that God had compassion on the Israel/Judah by restoring them from the Babylonian captivity, by giving them victory in the days of the Maccabees, by sending the Messiah to them at His first coming, etc.]] (12) [[The format of the NASB and NIV indicate that Isa. 27:1-11 are poetry in the Hebrew, but that 27:12, 13 (the last two verses of the chapter) are prose. Isaiah 27:12, 13 look to the end of the age when God will be gracious to the humbled, repentant remnant of Israel/Judah. It seems that we have enough information in these two verses to locate the time of transition from God's chastening judgments of Israel/Judah to His beginning to gather and save them to the middle of Daniel's 70th week. They, in repentance and faith, will begin to submit to the Lord Jesus Christ about the time of His mid-week return. In the month preceding His mid-week return (this month will start with the abomination of desolation), the nation of Israel/Judah will experience a period of unprecedented shaking during the short great tribulation, which will leave a humbled, repentant remnant. See, for example, Isa. 10:20-23 and Rom. 9:27-29; Isa. 59:20, 21 and Rom. 11:25-27 (I had a footnote: Isaiah 10:20-23 and Rom. 9:27-29; Isa. 59:20, 21 and Rom. 11:25-27 are discussed as we continue); Dan. 11:41; 12:1; Zech. 12:10-13:1, 8; 14:1-5; and Matt. 24:15-22. (I had a footnote: Daniel 11:41; 12:1 and Zechariah chapters 12-14 are discussed in chapters 9, 10, and 15 of my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture." Matt. 24:15-22 are discussed in my paper on Matthew chapters 24, 25 on this Christian article site.)
Although the gathering of the end-time remnant of Israel/Judah will begin when Christ returns in the middle of Daniel's 70th week, we can probably say that the scene pictured in Isa. 27:13 (where the scattered end-time remnant of Israel/Judah come to Jerusalem to worship God) will not come to pass in any full sense until the end of Daniel's 70th week (after their enemies have all been overthrown).]] In that day the LORD [Yahweh] will start His threshing from the flowing stream of the Euphrates to the brook of Egypt [[The boundaries mentioned here, within which God will gather up the sons of Israel, are interesting: These are the expansive boundaries for the land of Israel mentioned in Gen. 15:18; Ex. 23:31, boundaries far beyond what the nation typically realized. The boundaries realized in the days of King Solomon were the exception (cf. 1 Kings 4:21, 24).]], and you will be gathered up one by one, O sons of Israel. [[The next verse mentions Yahweh's gathering the (humbled, repentant) sons of Israel/Judah living beyond the boundaries mentioned here in verse 12, from Assyria and Egypt. I assume we are to also see the remnant's being gathered worldwide (that is, from beyond Assyria and Egypt too). Compare Deut. 30:1-5; Isa. 11:11; 17:6; 24:13; and 56:8.]] (13) It will come about also [I would skip the word "also," which is not included in the Hebrew; it is not included in the KJV, NKJV, or the NIV.] in that day that a great trumpet will be blown, and those who were perishing in the land of Assyria and who were scattered in the land of Egypt will come and worship the LORD [Yahweh] in the holy mountain at Jerusalem." [[I assume this "great trumpet" is to be equated with the "great trumpet" of Matt. 24:31. (See the discussion of Matt. 24:31 in my paper on Matthew chapters 24 and 25 on this Christian article site.) This trumpet will sound in the middle of Daniel's 70th week; it will signal the return of the Lord Jesus and the resurrection, glorification, and rapture of the saints; it is the same trumpet as the trumpet of 1 Cor. 15:52; 1 Thess. 4:16; and Rev. 11:15 (and apparently also of Isa. 18:3; Zech. 9:14 [Isaiah chapter 18 is discussed in my paper on Isaiah on my internet site; Zechariah chapter 9 is discussed in chapter 13 of my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture"). This same trumpet will also signal the time that God begins to gather and save the remnant of the nation Israel/Judah on the earth - that is what is in view here in Isa. 27:12, 13. The end-time remnant of Israel will not be converted in time to be taken in the rapture. This trumpet will also signal the beginning of God's day of judgment of the world (when Christ returns in the middle of Daniel's 70th week).
This verse speaks of the scattered remnant of Israel/Judah coming to Jerusalem to worship, but as we have seen in many other prophetic passages in this paper, the remnant of the nations will also come. Quite a few verses even speak of the remnant of the nations bringing the remnant of Israel to God at Jerusalem (see under Isa. 11:12 in the paper on Isaiah on my internet site).]]
ISAIAH 10:20-23 AND ROMANS 9:27-29.
In Rom. 9:27, 28 the apostle Paul loosely quotes Isa. 10:22, 23 from the Septuagint (the Old Testament translated into Greek), which is somewhat different than the Hebrew of those verses. In Rom. 9:29 he quotes Isa. 1:9 from the Septuagint, which is quite close to the Hebrew of that verse.
Isaiah 10:20-23. "Now in that day the remnant of Israel, and those of the house of Jacob who have escaped ["Those of the house of Jacob who have escaped [escaped the end-time judgment of God, which comes through the "world" kindgom/nations (cf. Isa. 10:1-19, 24-27)] equals "the [end-time] remnant of Israel."], will never again rely on the one who struck them [The one(s) who had struck Israel were the "world" kingdoms/nations like Assyria, Babylon, Greek, Roman, and the revived Roman Empires.], but will truly rely on the LORD [Yahweh], the Holy One of Israel. [[This verse demonstrates that these verses, like so many other verses in the prophecies of Isaiah, look to the end of this age. (I had a footnote: Assyria is the "world" kingdom mentioned in Isaiah chapter 10, but a "world" kingdom like Assyria or Babylon can, and often does, represent the final "world" kingdom of Antichrist.) "In that day" (which will start about the time of Christ's mid-week return), the humbled, repentant remnant of Israel will begin to look to God, and to Him alone. Israel was often guilty of looking to other nations (and to some extent to their gods) to save them (cf., e.g., 2 Kings 16:5-16; Isa. 30:1-5). For Israel to rely on other nations (Assyria, for example, which is spoken of in Isaiah chapter 10 and 2 Kings 16:5-16) constituted serious unfaithfulness to God. Furthermore, it was to "rely on the one who struck them."]] (21) A remnant shall return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God. (22) For though your people, O Israel, may be like the sand of the sea, Only a remnant within them [[I prefer the KJV, NKJV's "remnant of them," or the translation of the NIV, which does not include the last two words ("within them").] will return [[Some important cross-references that speak of this humbled remnant of Israel returning to God are Joel 2:32; Micah 5:3; Zech. 12:10-13:1; and Rev. 11:13. (These verses are discussed on pages 157, 158, 251-253, 223-225, and 288, 289 of my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture." They are also discussed in my 24 article "The Mid-Week Rapture" series on this Christian article site; see the listing of passages discussed in "Twenty-Four Articles on the Mid-Week rapture on my internet site.)]; A destruction is determined, overflowing with righteousness. (23) For a complete destruction, one that is decreed, the Lord GOD of hosts will execute in the midst of the whole land." [[This "destruction" will reduce Israel to the repentant remnant. The land of Israel is in view here, but God's end-time judgment will cover the earth. The NASB, NIV, KJV, and NKJV all translate "land" here, and I prefer this translation, but the Hebrew noun ("erets") is also often translated "earth."]]
Romans 9:27-29. "Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, 'THOUGH THE NUMBER OF THE SONS OF ISRAEL BE LIKE THE SAND OF THE SEA, IT IS THE REMNANT THAT WILL BE SAVED; (28) FOR THE LORD WILL EXECUTE HIS WORD UPON THE EARTH [[The Greek noun ("ge") with the definite article, which was translated "the earth" here, could also be translated "the land." (See under Isa. 10:23 above.) The spotlight will be on the land of Israel (where the abomination of desolation and many other prophesied events will take place), but we can also think of the remnant of the Israelites worldwide, not limiting the remnant to those who live in Israel. (The Jews were scattered across the world in Paul's day, as they are today.) It is the remnant of Israel (not the remnant of all nations) in view here in Rom. 9:27-29 (and in Isa. 10:20-23).]] THOROUGHLY AND QUICKLY.' (29) And just as Isaiah foretold, 'EXCEPT THE LORD OF SABAOTH HAD LEFT TO US A POSTERITY, WE WOULD HAVE BECOME LIKE SODOM, AND WOULD HAVE RESEMBLED GOMORRAH.' [[There was no remnant for Sodom and Gomorrah when God judged those ancient cities (unless you count Lot and his two daughters). "The [end-time] remnant [of Israel] that will be saved" (Rom. 9:27) are the humbled, repentant remnant that become born-again Christians in the last days, but not in time to be taken in the mid-week rapture. (See above under Isa. 27:12, 13, and see the cross-references cited above under Isa. 10:22.)
The apostle Paul (in Romans chapters 9-11) didn't speak only of the end-time elect remnant of Israel (though his "quotations" from Isaiah in Rom. 9:27-29 deal with the end-time remnant, and his important summarizing verses, Rom. 11:25-32, also look to the end-time remnant). He also made the point that God had always kept a faithful remnant for Himself throughout the history of the nation. He pointed out that those sons of Israel (including Paul himself) who had submitted to the Lord Jesus Christ constituted the faithful remnant of his day (see Rom. 11:1-7, especially verse 5). (Romans chapters 9-11 are discussed verse-by-verse on this Christian article site.)
It is clear that Paul knew about Antichrist and his abomination of desolation in the temple at Jerusalem (see 2 Thess. 2:3-12, especially verses 3, 4), and he undoubtedly knew that this event would signal great end-time destruction for the people of Israel (as taught in Matthew chapter 24, for example).]]
We will finish this verse-by-verse study of Isaiah chapters 24-27 in Part 6, with a verse-by-verse study of Isaiah 59:19-21 and Romans 11:25-27.
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