Isaiah 2–4. Jerusalem Once and Future.
Key Notes: King of the Day: Amaziah.. Jerusalem will be a center of international justice and peace. But for now judgment and destruction. Jerusalem will be the holy city, with Christ its beauty and shelter.
Amaziah is our "king of the day." 796–767BC. (II Chron.25).
Amaziah was the son of Joash, and father of Uzziah, the first king Isaiah served under. Amaziah was 25 when he became king and reigned 29 years. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, at least at first. He killed the servants who had assassinated his father Joash. Then he set out to subdue the Edomites who lived south of Judah. He had 300,000 of his own troops and hired 100,000 mercenaries from Israel, the Northern Kingdom. A prophet warned him not to ally with Israel because the Lord was not with Israel, so he discharged the Israelite army. The soldiers were furious and rampaged through Judah on their way home from the front.
When Amaziah had defeated the Edomites, he foolishly adopted the gods of Edom. A prophet chided him for going with gods that could not protect the Edomites, but the king forced the prophet into silence on threat of death. The prophet then was convinced that God would destroy Amaziah.
Amaziah sent an invitation to Jehoash, King of Israel, to fight, but Jehoash warned him away. Amaziah would not listen and was defeated. Amaziah's Jerusalem was invaded and looted of gold and silver from the temple, treasure from the king's house and hostages. Jehoash also demolished 600 ft. of the city wall.
Amaziah survived 15 more years, but was assassinated by his own people at Lachish.
Amaziah made three mistakes:
•hiring mercenaries who were not under the Lord's approval.
•worshiping Edomite gods.
•provoking a useless war with Israel.
In two of these three instances, Amaziah refused to accept advice. The warning against foreign alliances is repeated often in Scripture.
Worshiping Edomite gods proved to be Amaziah's undoing.
The second vision of Isaiah's runs through chapters 2,3,and 4. The theme can be run from beginning to end or backward, as a kind of palindrome. It starts with Jerusalem in the Golden Age to Come and returns to that theme in chapter 4, sandwiching Jerusalem the Tawdry in the middle. Chapter 2 looks externally, to the nations of the world coming to Jerusalem for worship. Chapter 4 looks internally, to Jerusalem. Jerusalem the Golden.
2:1–4 The hope of the world for peace and justice will come from Jerusalem when God is there. People will stream in from all over the world to learn His Law and He will judge the nations. They will turn their weapons of war into implements of agriculture. War will be no more. [How long, Oh Lord, how long?] In this first view, Jerusalem is reaching out and bringing the nations of the world together in peace and justice.
2:5 Isaiah invites Israel to walk in the light of the Lord now.
2:6–11 But alas, Israel uses astrologers and foreign alliances, accumulates capital and armaments--and bows down before idols. God will bow Israel down in humiliation so that people will crawl into holes to escape.
2:12–21 The pride of natural beauty (trees and mountains), of fortified towers, of ships and handcraft, of gold and silver idols will be brought down. People will be terrified. Only the Lord will have the glory. (Isaiah is predicting the Assyrian invasion.)
2:22 Do not put your trust in human beings; they are as weak / shallow / nebulous as the air they breathe.
3:1–15 God will take away even bread and water, as well as the army and the advisors, judges and prophets, diviners and magicians. It will be hard to find any competent leadership. Sin is the root cause. The leaders are misdirecting the people. The princes crush the poor. Nevertheless the righteous will be all right. The wicked will receive the reward of their deeds.
3:16–4:1 If men are killed in war, women in their pride will also suffer. They will be shamed, stripped of their finery--a list of 22 items of clothing and jewelry-- grieving for their lost men, competing for the affection of a rare male survivor. Jerusalem the Taudry.
4:2–6 But in the end--"That Day"-- The Branch, a Messianic name, will be beautiful and glorious in Jerusalem. "The fruit of the land" is not easily interpreted. Since it rhymes in Hebrew with The Branch, the fruit of the land may mean Messianic believers. The survivors in Zion will be holy, with their names recorded [?in the Book of Life]. God will wash away their sin by a spirit of judgment and burning.
There will be a cloud by day and fire by night like the pillar of cloud and fire of the Exodus. (Ex.13:21). The canopy is usually referred to as a wedding ornament, and suggests a festival atmosphere. It appears that heat, storm and rain continue in that day. In this second view of Jerusalem , God is purifying the remnant.
Note these comparisons between the nations later and Israel now:
2:2b The nations are drawn to Zion. || 2:6 Israel imitates the Philistines.
2:3 The nations will seek the Law. || 2:7 Israel heaps up money.
2:4 The nations will seek peace. || 2:7b Israel is full of war chariots.
2:3 The nations will want to know God's ways. || 2:8 Israel bows down to idols.
2:4 The nations stand under God's judgment. || 2:12–22 Israel is not forgiven.
Some contrasts within Israel:
2:21 God's glory terrifies. || 4:5 God's glory protects.
3:17 The daughters of Jerusalem are scabby.|| 4:4 Filth will be washed away.
3:18 The daughters of Jerusalem are haughty. || 4:3 They will be holy.
3:2 Leadership fails. || 4:5 God's pillar of cloud and fire directs and protects.
3:17 Adonai (Lord), JHWH (LORD) smites.|| 4:4,5 Adonai, JHWH saves.
Israel's generic sins were astrology, 2:6; foreign alliances, 2:6; accumulation of capital and armaments, 2:7; worship of idols, 2:8; pride, 2:17; and oppressing the poor. 3:15
Israel's spiritual sin: "Their speech and their deeds are against the Lord, defying His glorious presence. Their partiality witnesses against them; they proclaim their sin like Sodom, they do not hide it." (3:8–9).
We find such sin in our own country.
Advice to Israel:
2:5 "Come let us walk in the light of the Lord."
2:22 "Turn away from man. Of what account is he?"
3:10 "Tell the righteous it will be well with them for they will eat the fruit of their deeds.
Woe to the wicked. It will be ill with him, for what his hands have done shall be done to him."
3:12 "My people, your leaders mislead you and confuse the course of your path."
When is "That Day" or "The Last Days" or "The Day of the Lord"? The Biblical answer is not simple.
•Isa.3:18 "That Day" refers to the Babylonian captivity 597BC.
•Acts 2:17 "In the Last Days" refers to Christ's First Advent (Heb.1:2) and the Day of Pentecost.
•Isa.4:2 "That Day" refers to Christ's Second Advent.
*IPet.1:5 refers to the "last days" when salvation will be revealed.
It appears that "That Day" refers to a series of summary times of judgment and salvation.
Will Jerusalem be the highest mountain? Does Isaiah speak of a literal formation? The same text is in Micah 4:1–3. Ezekiel in his vision of the future temple stood on a very high mountain overlooking the temple. (Ezek.40:2). Zech.14:10 says all the land around Jerusalem will be flat. We will assume that the prophet speaks of literal times, places and events unless we are compelled to think otherwise.
What of The Branch that will be beautiful and glorious? (4:2)
"There shall come a shoot from the stump of Jesse and a branch shall grow out of his roots, and the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him...." (Isa.11:1–12)
"Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and He shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land....And this is the name by which He will be called: The LORD our Righteousness." (Jer.23:5)
Jesus, the Branch from the stump of Jesse, is the Messiah, the King, and He is the LORD our Righteousness.