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Book of Isaiah
Isaiah Chapter 33
This section of Isaiah (Ch.28-33) began with the topic of Israel (Ephraim) and so it ends rightly with the topic of Assyria, Ephraim’s judge.
God is bringing an exciting hope to His people. Their great menace is going to be put aside. Assyria not only became a tool for God to judge the northern kingdom, He was also going to use them to warn the southern kingdom of Judah of the consequences of sin.
Isaiah further encourages Judah to respond by portraying the ideal future kingdom life. Hopefully, they would no longer consider their personal sin a small matter but instead realize that it was a very serious sin that demanded their repentance.
Chapter 33 pronounces a woe on the spoiler (v. 1), the Assyrian ruler Sennacherib. A division is drawn between the nation as a whole and the godly remnant. It is the remnant that speaks in verse 2. The miraculous deliverance brought by the Lord after the blasphemous statements of Sennacherib and his chief spokesmen is described in the historical section, Isaiah chapters 36-37, and also in 2 Kings chapters 18-19.
Since Assyria was the great enemy of God's people in Isaiah's time, victory over that power was a prediction of Christ's future worldwide dominion over the nations. There is a constant acknowledgment in the prophecies that deliverance comes through the direct intervention of God (vs. 22).
God uses everything possible to bring His people to be completely faithful to Him. This was to be expected because Israel was God’s covenant people. However, they were not to take God’s grace for granted. A great warning of persistent sin is clearly seen from Assyria’s destruction of Israel in the north (Isa.28). God is always very serious. It is complete obedience that God wants from the Jews and Gentiles.
God clearly shows them just how foolish they were, by their:
#1. Hiding plans from God (Ch. 29);
#2. Rejecting God’s plans (Ch. 30); and
#3. Applying their own plans (Ch. 31-32).
They clearly show the gradual steps they take AWAY from a true love towards God. God calls them blind and rebellious. Partial moral reforms are NOT good enough! The desire of God is to penetrate into every part of our life. God wants His people to live holy and to represent before the nations the greatness of this Mighty God.
THEME: The final woe is pronounced on all who spoil God's people and land.
This chapter, in particular, pronounces a judgment upon those who seek to destroy God's people and lay waste His land. It refers to the Assyrians in the immediate view but it extends to the final enemy of the last days. The chapter represents the Earth as the center of the Universe. The land is the thing of primary importance.
Prayer of the Remnant for Deliverance (33:1-2)
Isaiah 33:1 Woe to thee that spoilest, and thou wast not spoiled; and dealest treacherously, and they dealt not treacherously with thee! when thou shalt cease to spoil, thou shalt be spoiled; and when thou shalt make an end to deal treacherously, they shall deal treacherously with thee. (KJV)
Woe to thee that spoilest, and thou wast not spoiled . . . to thee that spoilest, to Sennacherib, who wasted the land of Judah. Thou wast not spoiled, he did not meet with any considerable opposition, but was victorious over all his enemies, of which the Assyrian boasted (Isa.10:8; 36:18-19).
And dealest treacherously, and they dealt not treacherously with thee . . . dealest treacherously . . . as Sennacherib did with Hezekiah (2 Ki.18:14, 17). They dealt not treacherously with thee . . . none of his enemies could prevail against him, neither by force, nor by treachery, as here. Hezekiah did not deal treacherously with him, not in breaking his faith, nor rebelling against him. Hezekiah neither promised nor owed him any service or subjection. What was done in that kind was done by Ahaz only; and he only begged his assistance for a particular work, and paid him well for it (2 Ki.16:7-8), and the king of Assyria did not keep his conditions with him; for he distressed him, but strengthened him not (2 Chron.28:20).
When thou shalt cease to spoil, thou shalt be spoiled . . . when you have performed the work of chastening my people, for which I sent thee, you also shalt be spoiled by your enemies.
shall hate the whore, eat her flesh, and burn her with fire (Rev.17:16).
When thou shalt cease to spoil, thou shall be spoiled. . . when the time comes that the Antichrist shall be no longer be permitted to ravage in the Earth, and spoil the bodies, souls and substance of men, then shall he himself be removed of his power and authority and riches and grandeur. His plagues shall come upon him all at once, fire, famine and death . . . for his end of spoiling will not be his idea, nor the fruit and effect of repentance and reformation, but will be because of the sovereign power of God in restraining him.
And when thou shalt make an end to deal treacherously, they shall deal treacherously with thee . . . the coming of the Antichrist was with lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness (2 Thes.2:9-10). He shall have the appearance of a lamb, but speaks as a dragon (Rev.13:11). He will use many wiles, arts, tricks and treacherous methods to deceive and impose on men, and to ensnare and trap them (Eph.6:11); and when the time comes that he will not be permitted to proceed any longer in his deceitful practices, the Antichrist and the kings of the earth, who have been deceived by him, will receive just payment by the powerful Hand of Christ (Rev.19:19-21).
*****Verse 1, is Isaiah's way of expressing the great spiritual values, which God put down from the time man sinned. The apostle Paul states it very well in: Gal. 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. (KJV)
The spoiler is Sennacherib who came against Jerusalem during the reign of King Hezekiah (Isa.ch.36-37). Most commentators agree with this. This is also a picture of the last days after God has revived the Roman Empire, and Antichrist will destroy the land of Israel again. Christ Jesus will take care of him at His Second Coming (Zec.14:1-5; Rev.19:11-21).
Isaiah 33:2 O LORD, be gracious unto us; we have waited for thee: be thou their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble. (KJV)
O Lord, be gracious unto us . . . this is a prayer of God’s people under the persecutions of Antichrist, pleading for the grace and favor of God in their miserable and distressed situations. They shall desire His gracious help, assistance, and deliverance. They plead not on any merits of their own, but cast themselves on the mercy and loving-kindness of God:
We have waited for thee . . . time after time, hoping for signs of God’s Presence to them, expecting help and salvation, believing the time will come when His favor will be shown.
Be thou their arm every morning . . . when they pray unto thee, the morning being the time of prayer; and also be their arm all the day long, to lean and depend on, to support, protect and defend them. There is a change of person from the first to the third, which is common in prophetic writing: some take them to be the words of the Old Testament church, praying for the New Testament church; and others a prayer of the church for her members.
Our salvation also in the time of trouble . . . these are the words of the righteous remnant who were waiting for God to deliver them from their oppression.
Isaiah 33:3 At the noise of the tumult the people fled; at the lifting up of thyself the nations were scattered. (KJV)
At the noise of the tumult the people fled . . . the noise which the angel shall make in destroying the army. Some think that it was Gabriel; and many interpret the words when the angel descended, and killed a vast number of them, at which the remnant, being frightened, fled (2 Ki.19:35). The people are those of the army who escaped.
At the lifting up of thyself, the nations were scattered . . . so it has been in times past, when the LORD has lifted up Himself, and appeared on behalf of His people, and displayed His power; and so it will be again, when the Lord shall lift up His Hand, and pour out the vials of His wrath upon them (Rev.16). The nations is the people of various nations, which made up Sennacherib’s army.
Isaiah 33:4 And your spoil shall be gathered like the gathering of the caterpiller: as the running to and fro of locusts shall he run upon them. (KJV)
And your spoil shall be gathered like the gathering of the caterpillar . . . this is the answer of the Lord to the prayer of His church, signifying that their enemies would flee, be scattered and perish, and that they would be victorious and enjoy the spoils of them; which they would gather as easily as the caterpillar or locust, which gathers and consumes herbs, and every green thing. Most understand this of the Jews going into the camp of the Assyrians, after the destruction of them by the angel, and gathering the spoil.
As the running to and fro of locusts shall he run upon them . . . or upon it (the spoil) as these locusts (Rev.9:3) run to and fro, and plundered them in times past, as the locusts, to whom they are compared, run to and fro and destroy the fruits of the Earth, so now everyone of the followers of Christ shall run and seize upon the spoil of the anti-Christian states.
***** The spoil of the Assyrian camp is seized, by way of revenge, for all the desolations of the defensed cities of Judah. The spoil shall be gathered by the inhabitants of Jerusalem, like the gathering of the caterpillar, and as the running to and fro of locusts, meaning that the spoilers shall easily make themselves owners of the riches of the Assyrians, just as an army of caterpillars or locusts make a field or a tree totally bare. It seems that in the last days, the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just and Israel is enriched with the spoil of the Egyptians. Some make the Assyrians (the Romans in the Great Tribulation) to be the caterpillars and locusts, which, when they are killed, are gathered together in heaps, as the frogs of Egypt (Ex.8:14), and are run upon, and trodden to dirt. The anti-Christian locusts or caterpillars are here meant, whose substance shall fall into the hands of the followers of Christ, when they shall have gotten the victory over them; this being the flesh of the whore, and her worldly substance, which the kings of the earth shall eat or enjoy (Rev.17:16).
Isaiah 33:5 The LORD is exalted; for he dwelleth on high: he hath filled Zion with judgment and righteousness. (KJV)
The Lord is exalted . . . these are the words of TRUE believers, praising and glorifying God, because of the victory and spoil of their enemies; by which the Lord is exalted, magnified and honored . . . as He will be in the hearts and mouths of His people when these times shall come (Rev.11:15). This will be true of Christ Jesus, and without a doubt this will be the time when He, and He alone shall be exalted (Isa.2:17-19).
For he dwelleth on high . . . He dwells in the highest Heaven, and is far above His greatest enemies, and can and will pour down His wrath and vengeance on them, for He is FAR superior to His enemies, both in place and power. He dwells in Heaven, where He can easily and powerfully pour down judgments upon His enemies.
He hath filled Zion with judgment and righteousness . . . the Millennium Kingdom, where Christ her King will reign in absolute righteousness, and where all His kingly power and government will be just and true . . . and where His Word shall be faithfully preached, and His orders duly administered (Psalms Ch.1-8); and when all His subjects and people shall be righteous and live soberly and righteously.
Isaiah 33:6 And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD is his treasure. (KJV)
And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times . . . Wisdom and knowledge are needed to govern, and shall be the stability of His times; of His reign; thy times being often put for things done in those times (1 Chron.12:32; Ps.31:15; 37:18). Some take these words to be directed to Hezekiah; but I think they instead refer to the Messiah, and look to the latter days, when many shall run to and fro, and the knowledge of Him shall be increased, and the Earth shall be covered with it, as the waters cover the sea (Isa.11:9; Hab.2:14). There shall then be a great increase of spiritual wisdom and knowledge after the destruction of the Antichrist by the Lord Jesus (Rev.19:11-21); by which there would be settled times of peace, joy and comfort to God’s people.
And strength of salvation . . . the saving strength, or the strong or mighty salvation by Jesus Christ, and complete deliverance from the Antichrist, and from every other enemy. Together with spiritual wisdom and knowledge of Christ and His Gospel, there will be stability of those happy times, which will make up the spiritual reign of Christ.
The fear of the Lord is his treasure . . . and although they shall have great treasures of gold and silver, their main treasure and delight is in promoting the fear of God (Ps.111:10; Pro.9:10), and worship of Him; which shall be a great honor and safeguard to the people. What is YOUR greatest treasure in this world? It should be the fear of the LORD, or you are on the wrong path!
Isaiah 33:7 Behold, their valiant ones shall cry without: the ambassadors of peace shall weep bitterly. (KJV)
Behold, their valiant ones shall cry without . . . behold, see, watch . . . that the mercy here promised might be properly magnified. Their valiant ones; either, #1. Those whom the king of Assyria sent to Jerusalem (2 Ki.18:17). Or #2. Those whom Hezekiah sent to treat with the Assyrian commissioners (2 Ki.18:18), as the next clause shows. Isaiah paints a vivid picture of their great danger and distress, in which it found them. Some think this is the two witnesses that prophesy in sackcloth openly and publicly, and who will be slain, and their bodies lie unburied in the street of the great city (Rev.11:3).
The ambassadors of peace shall weep bitterly. . . most interpreters think this is the ambassadors that Hezekiah sent to the king of Assyria to obtain peace, but did not succeed, because of which they are said to weep bitterly; but the character of ambassadors of peace so well agrees with the ministers of the Gospel, who are ambassadors in Christ's stead, and whose work it is to encourage and urge people to be reconciled to God, and to preach the Gospel of peace to sinful men. These ambassadors will weep bitterly when they are silenced, and not allowed to deliver their messages of peace, to comfort of the Lord's people, and bring glory to His Name; which will be the case at the time of the slaying of the witnesses.
*****The silencing of the Lord’s ambassadors has already begun! And already in some countries, killing them does happen. So far the United States does not kill them, but it certainly DOES severely restrict their massage of Truth!
http://www.heisnear.com/BanOnJesusName.html . . . There are many more sites!
Isaiah 33:8 The highways lie waste, the wayfaring man ceaseth: he hath broken the covenant, he hath despised the cities, he regardeth no man. (KJV)
The highways lie waste . . . no man walking in them, for fear of the enemy; the ways of Zion, which are said to mourn, because none come to the solemn feasts (Lam.1:4), none daring to attend the ministry of the word and ordinances (Isa.35:8). The highways lie waste, because the Assyrian soldiers possessed and filled the land.
The wayfaring man ceaseth . . . means the traveler rests or stops; he does not proceed on his journey. There is a total end of religious worship; a Sabbath is kept, but not a religious one. He that would walk in Zion's ways is forbidden, and is forced to sit still. The wayfaring man ceaseth, because the Assyrian soldiers possessed and filled the land.
He hath broken the covenant . . . some interpret this of the Jews' complaining that God had broken His covenant with them (Ps.89:39), but others think this was Sennacherib's breaking his covenant with Hezekiah (2 Ki.18:14) . . . but instead, I think this is to be understood of the Antichrist, whose doctrine is that faith is not to be kept with heretics, and which will abundantly appear at this distressing time.
He hath despised the cities . . . just as Sennacherib hated the fenced cities of Judah; he also hated their fortifications, and took them easily, and treated the inhabitants with disdain and contempt . . . so too will the reformed Protestant cities and countries be invaded, seized upon, and insulted, by the Roman Antichrist.
He regardeth no man . . . the Antichrist will NOT have compassion on them, nor spare them, for he will fear neither God nor man.
Isaiah 33:9 The earth mourneth and languisheth: Lebanon is ashamed and hewn down: Sharon is like a wilderness; and Bashan and Carmel shake off their fruits. (KJV)
The earth mourneth and languisheth . . . all Christendom, now being under the power, dominion and tyranny of the Antichrist, and with the church's faithful witnesses slain, and a stop put to all Gospel ministries; therefore the church was in a very languishing and weakened condition, with a good reason for mourning. The earth mourneth, being desolate and neglected.
Lebanon is ashamed, and hewn down . . . being stripped of its stately cedars; the Protestant church, compared to that stately mountain Lebanon, will be deprived of its able ministers, which were like tall and spreading Cedars, for their gifts, grace, strength, and usefulness.
Sharon is like a wilderness. . . Sharon was a pleasant and fruitful place (Isa.35:2; 65:10), for the Gospel and Gospel ordinances, in the purity of them, and for professors of religion, being fruitful in grace and in good works . . . but would now be like a desert; there being no ministry, no ordinances, nor any that dared to make an open profession of the true religion (Rev.13:15).
And Bashan and Carmel shake off their fruits . . . Bashan and Carmel; two places well-known for fertility, and good pastures (Deut.32:14; 1 Sam.25:2), which are here symbolically put for all such places. No man had any profit from the grounds. These fruitful, productive areas would become deserts. Lebanon was known for its huge cedars. Sharon was very fertile. Bashan was very productive in grain and cattle. Carmel was thickly forested. Now the enemies of Israel eat them up, or tread them down: it mourns. I think this also means as before, such spots in Christendom where the Gospel had most flourished, would now be like barren, desert places.
Isaiah 33:10 Now will I rise, saith the LORD; now will I be exalted; now will I lift up myself. (KJV)
Now will I rise, saith the LORD . . . at the farthest point, when things come to a crisis; people’s interest in the Lord shall be at the lowest, and the kingdom of the Antichrist at its highest pitch. The whore of Rome shall triumph over the slain witnesses (Rev.11:7-10), and boasting she was a queen, and knew no sorrow (Rev.18:7). Dear one, this will be God's perfect time to exert Himself, and get Him honor and glory! He was before as One asleep, as if He were quite negligent and careless about His honor and interest, but now He shall rise up, and show Himself strong on behalf of His honor and the needy (Ps.12:5).
Now will I be exalted . . . meaning in His power, by the destruction of the enemies of His church. His honor and glory shall once again be in the hearts and mouths of His people, because of their deliverance from evil.
Now will I lift up myself . . . the Lord shall show Himself far above His enemies, He shall be much higher and greater than they are, and He shall reduce them to a low estate and condition. The prophet’s repeating the word ‘now’ has importance; and is intended to observe the TIME of God's appearing in the cause of His people, and the fit and correct time of it. Repeating now opens their attention to it, as well as expressing the certainty of it, and the firmness of the Lord’s determination to do it without delay, and the forcefulness and passion with which He would do it.
***** When things are brought as low as it seems they can go, our Almighty God will magnify Himself. He may have seemed to sit by as an unconcerned spectator, but that shall change! He will not only demonstrate that there IS a God that judges in the Earth, but that He IS God over ALL things! He shall show that He is higher than the highest ever was! He will I lift up Himself, He will prepare for action, He will act forcefully and strongly, and He will be glorified in it. God's time to appear for His people is when they are reduced to the lowest ebb, when their strength is gone and there is none shut up nor left (Deut.32:36). When all others fail, then is when God shall come to the rescue!
Just as God destroyed the Assyrian army by the angel (Isa.37:36); it was like the burning up of thorns to Him. So too it shall be with the Antichrist and his army in the Great Tribulation (Rev.19:11-21). The burning of that army shall enlighten the world with the knowledge of God's power and make His Name shine brightly.
Isaiah 33:11 Ye shall conceive chaff, ye shall bring forth stubble: your breath, as fire, shall devour you. (KJV)
Ye shall conceive chaff, ye shall bring forth stubble . . . the Assyrians shall be as chaff instead of good grain. Their great hopes and plans will be utter disappointment, so too all the counsels, designs and schemes of the Antichrist to continue in his present state, and save himself from ruin will fail (Rev.13). He was determined to utterly to destroy any interest of Christ, but all efforts would be weak, vain and fruitless. His ideas and actions, his purposes and attempts, would fail, like chaff and stubble, and only serve as such for his own destruction.
Your breath as fire shall devour you . . . his rage against God’s people shall bring utter ruin. The Targum says: you have thought for yourselves, O ye people, thoughts of wickedness; ye have done for yourselves evil works; because of your evil works, my Word shall destroy you, as a whirlwind the stubble.
Isaiah 33:12 And the people shall be as the burnings of lime: as thorns cut up shall they be burned in the fire. (KJV)
And the people shall be as the burnings of lime . . . like chalk stones that are burnt to make lime; which may mean not only their hardness and stubbornness, which brought upon them the wrath of God; but the miserable condition into which they are brought, and the torture they would be put to . . . maybe this refers to the casting of the beast and false prophet alive into the lake burning with fire and brimstone (Rev.19:20).
As thorns cut up shall they be burned in the fire . . . thorns are a fit symbol to express the unfruitfulness, uselessness and harmfulness of wicked men, especially the children of the devil (1 Jn.3:10), the followers of the Antichrist; and these cut up, and so not green and moist, but dry, and fit fuel for the fire, which burn the more easily and quickly, makes the symbol more agreeable. The burning of Rome seems here to be meant here (Rev.17:16; 18:9).
Isaiah 33:13 Hear, ye that are far off, what I have done; and, ye that are near, acknowledge my might. (KJV)
Hear, ye that are far off, what I have done . . . I don’t think this means the destruction of the Assyrian, as this is commonly interpreted; but the ruin of the Antichrist, the beast and false prophet, and the burning of the city and whore of Rome (Rev.17:16); for, whoever will be the instruments, the work is the Lord's, and therefore it will be done: she shall be utterly burnt with fire, for strong is the Lord who judgeth her (Rev.18:8). This shall be heard of far and near, who shall applaud the mighty work, and give God the glory of it (Rev.19:1).
And, ye that are near, acknowledge my might . . . the omnipotence of the Lord which will be seen, observed, and finally owned by multitudes, who will say, Allelujah, for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth (Rev.19:6) . . . BUT there will be some that will be nigh, that shall stand afar off, lamenting her case, and will not own the Hand of God in it (Rev.18:9), but wise ones will know the truth.
*****God’s power and justice in destroying the Assyrians in Isaiah’s time shall be so evident, that people, both far and near, shall be forced to acknowledge it. So too, shall it be when the Assyrian, the Antichrist (Isa.10:5-6; Mic.5:5-6), and the people shall also be forced to acknowledge it.
Isaiah 33:14 The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? (KJV)
The sinners in Zion are afraid, and fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites . . . this speaks of the Jews, as appears both from the words and from the following verses. The prophet had foretold the deliverance of God's people, and the ruin of their enemies (vs.10-12). This gives us a good idea of the dismal and dreadful condition of the Jews, before deliverance came . . . they were ungodly and unbelieving. They pretended to be religious, desiring to flee to Egypt (Isa.30:2-3; 31:1), trusting in Pharaoh, not in the Lord. They were seized with dread and terror when the Assyrian army overwhelmed them, and then when it was so terribly destroyed by the angel in the night (Isa. 37:36). A great part of the Assyrian army felt the visible and immediate Hand of God. They might fear that like judgment would fall upon them for their hypocrisy. This seems to look forward to the last day, having only a form of godliness but denying the power thereof (2 Tim.3:5), who shall pretend to be Christians, though they are not; when they shall see the city of Rome in flames (Rev.18:4-9), and the vials of God's wrath poured on the world (Rev.16). They dread the vengeance of eternal fire, which is expressed in the following words.
Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? . . . meaning the wrath of God in Hell, which is the fire that feeds upon and devours sinners without Christ; which shall never be quenched (Mk.9:43,45) and is called everlasting fire (Mat.18:8; 25:41), where the followers of the Antichrist will be tormented for ever (Rev.20:10); and the smoke of which will ascend for ever and ever (Isa.34:10; Rev.14:11; 19:3). Although the godly Jews were supported by the sense of God's favor, and by God's Promises brought to them by Isaiah; yet the majority of the people (Mat.7:13-14) were filled with horror, and the expectation of utter destruction. Who amongst us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? . . . how shall they be able to abide God’s Presence, endure or avoid His wrath, of that God, who is a consuming fire (Deut.4:24; 9:3; Heb.12:29), is now about to destroy them totally by the Assyrians, and will afterwards burn us with unquenchable fire (Mat.3:12; Lk.3:17)?
****It is clear, from both Old and the New Testament, that the Jews, except the Sadducees, commonly believed the rewards and punishments of the future life and temporal judgments. So, it is not strange if their guilty consciences made them dread both the present judgment here on Earth, and the terrible consequences of it hereafter. Who will intervene between God's anger and us? How shall we escape these miseries? That this is the sense of this question may be gathered from the answer given to it in the following verse; in which Isaiah directs them to the right course of removing God's wrath, and regaining His favor.
Isaiah 33:15 He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; (KJV)
He that walketh righteously. . . these are the words of the prophet, in answer to those of the hypocrites. He that walketh righteously . . . he who is just in all his dealings with men, of which the following clauses explain it. This is not spoken as if piety (being devoted to God) were not as necessary as righteousness towards men; but that this being one evidence and a constant companion of piety. And such a person is He that walks by faith in Christ as his righteousness; that walks after the Spirit, and not after the flesh (Rom.8:1,12)
And speaketh uprightly . . . upright things, what is in his heart, what is agreeable to the Word of God, who makes mention always of the righteousness of Christ (Rom.1:17; 3:21-24; 4:6,25; 5:19,21; 1 Cor.1:30; 2 Cor. 5:21; Phil.3:9; 2 Pet.1:1), and who speaks of judgment, just and righteous things and not what is corrupt, blasphemous, impure, immoral and ungodly. The one who has been declared righteous by his faith in Christ is called to walk in righteousness. In that awful day to come, we find that where sin abounds, grace will much more abound.
He that despiseth the gain of oppressions . . . meaning what is gotten by oppression and robbery; the riches of iniquity, but considers the gain of godliness and wisdom much more preferable.That refuses sinful gains, not for politic reasons as men sometimes may do, but from a contempt and hatred of injustice.
That shaketh his hand from holding of bribes . . . that will not receive any bribes no matter how tempting the devil may make them . . . but when they are put into his hands, he shakes them out, and will not keep them. Anyone that walks righteously expresses his hatred of such practices, and firmly declares that he will not be influenced by such methods. From holding or from taking or receiving bribes; as this verb means (Ex.23:8; Deut.10:17; 2 Chron.19:7). They will not receive, nor retain, bribes.
That stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood . . . they will not listen to or agree to any suggestions or paths that would lead to shedding innocent blood.
And shutteth his eyes from seeing evil . . . that hates the very sight of any and all wickedness committed by others, and guards his eyes from watching occasions of sin (Job 31:1-5).
*****I believe that this looks to the last days when God’s TRUE people will hate evils done by others. They will hate it in themselves and hate it in others; turning their eyes away from seeing it. They will take NO pleasure in any wickedness and abominations, nor in those that do those things. All this is opposed to the hypocrisy, impiety, profaneness, rapine, bribery, murders and wickedness of the WHORE of Rome (Rev.9:21; 17:1-7).
Isaiah 33:16 He shall dwell on high: his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure. (KJV)
He shall dwell on high . . . out of the reach of danger. On high . . . heights inaccessible to the foe, in that day (Isa.2:11,20; 12:1; 24:21-23; 25:9; 26:1).
His place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks . . .the strongholds of the rock shall be his lofty fortress . . . it is possible that this refers to the rock-hewn city of Sela where Israel will have headquarters during the Great Tribulation Period when they flee from Judea for the last three and a half years of the Great Tribulation. See Special Comments on SELA at the end of this chapter.
Bread shall be given him, his waters shall be sure . . . God will furnish them with all necessaries. Bread, waters . . . is the image from the expected siege by Sennacherib; however besieged by trials without, the godly shall have physical and spiritual food, as God sees good for them (Isa.41:17. Ps.34:10. 132:15).
Isaiah 33:17 Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off. (KJV)
Thine eyes shall see the King in his beauty . . . this is not just Hezekiah in his royal robes, and with a cheerful face, having put off his sackcloth and his sadness, when the siege lifted, this looks to a much greater than he, meaning the King Messiah, in the glory of His Person and Office, especially as a King reigning gloriously before His ancients in Jerusalem . . . the apostles who saw Him in His glory in the days of His Flesh (Jn.1:14), physically and spiritually. Believers today now can see Him only by faith, crowned with glory and honor, as well as see His beauty, fullness, and His being 100% suitable, as a Saviour. But, I personally do not think it will be long before our eyes shall see Him in Person, in His own and His Father's glory. In his beauty . . . overcoming over all His enemies, and ruling His people with truth and righteousness.
They shall behold the land that is very far off . . . they will be able to look at any part of their land, even the most remote part, and see that it is free from enemies.
The land that is very far off is NOT the land Hell, as some say, but rather Heaven, the better one (Heb.11:16), the land of uprightness, typified by the land of Canaan; and may be said to be a land afar off with respect to the Earth on which the saints now are, and with regard to the present sight of it, which is a distant one, and will be always afar off to wicked men.
Isaiah 33:18 Thine heart shall meditate terror. Where is the scribe? where is the receiver? where is he that counted the towers? (KJV)
Thine heart shall meditate terror . . . this in Isaiah’s time is commonly understood of the anxiety and terror the Jews were in when besieged by the Assyrian army, but it also looks forward to the last days, when surrounded and oppressed by their enemies, particularly at the time of the slaying of the witnesses, which will be a terrible time to the church and people of God (Rev.11:7; 13:15; 17:6), but when that is over, they will call it to mind with gratitude, and for deliverance from it.
Thine heart shall meditate terror . . . this is either, #1. A thankful acknowledgment of deliverance from a former danger, or #2. A premonition concerning a future judgment. Before these glorious Promises shall be accomplished, thou shalt be brought into great straits and troubles. And when you are delivered, you shall with pleasure and thankfulness, recall to mind thy former terrors and miseries.
Where is the scribe? where is the receiver? where is he that counted the towers? . . . this seems to be the words of the Jews in their distress, calling for certain officers to go to their particular posts, and do their duty. The apostle Paul refers to these words: 1 Cor. 1:20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? (KJV) . . . He triumphs over the wise doctors of the Jews, and the philosophers of the Gentiles, as not being able to face and withstand the power and wisdom of the Gospel. http://www.godcannotlie.org/1_cor_ch1.htm
So here, when the people of God will be recovered from their fright, and be brought out of their low estate, or come into a glorious church state, and will have ascended into Heaven, they will then triumph over their enemies, who will be no more. NO more heretics (false teachers), NO more damnable heresies (false doctrines 2 Pet.2:1), NO more satanic cults!
Isaiah 33:19 Thou shalt not see a fierce people, a people of a deeper speech than thou canst perceive; of a stammering tongue, that thou canst not understand. (KJV)
Thou shalt not see a fierce people . . . a people of a fierce countenance (Dan.8:23), fierce in their looks, furious in their temper, cruel and bloodthirsty in what they do, set and hardened in their sins, their consciences seared as with a hot iron (1Tim. 4:2). A fierce people . . . afierce and warlike people like the Assyrians in Isaiah’s time, whom thou-hast seen, with great terror, near the walls of Jerusalem, and also the Assyrian, the Antichrist in the Great Tribulation Period (Isa.30:31). Thou shalt see them no more. Thou shalt not see a fierce people . . . after the destruction of the armies of the Antichrist (Rev.19:11-21), Judah will NEVER again see a foreign army fighting on their soil. People will NOT fight in wars in the Millennium Kingdom (Isa.2:2-4; Rev.21:3-8).
A people of a deeper speech than thou canst perceive . . . a foreign nation, whose language is mysterious and unknown. A worship and devotion not in their mother tongue, but in Latin.
Of a stammering tongue, that thou canst not understand . . . rather obscure speech, referring to the Assyrian language which the Judeans could not understand, and Latin which the Romans shall speak in Rome in the last days. Of a stammering tongue (Isa.28:11), both in Isaiah’s time and in the Antichrist’s time.
Isaiah 33:20 Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities: thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken. (KJV)
Look upon Zion . . . consider Zion's beauty and safety, and her glorious and special privileges; it is something worthy of deep meditation. Instead of the terrible objects as before described, a very friendly and lovely one is brought into view; Zion, the City and Church of God, beloved by Him, chosen for the Lord’s Place to dwell, a strong city, a perfection of beauty, and the joy of the whole Earth (Ps.76:2; 132:13). The fall of Zion’s enemies before mentioned, will see the fall both of the eastern Antichrist (Assyrian army) and western Antichrist in the last days. The words are an encouragement to the saints and people of God, to see the safety, peace, and prosperity of the church, which shall one day be free from all its enemies.
The city of our solemnities . . . a city for its situation, foundation, walls and building; for its number and kinds of inhabitants; for its wholesome laws and choice privileges: a city of solemnities, where the saints solemnly assemble together for religious worship; where the Word of God is solemnly preached, and where the ordinances are solemnly administered, and the sacrifices of prayer and praise are offered up. Solemnities are festival days and rituals of Israel (Eze.45:17; 46:11).
Thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation . . . meaning the church of God in Gospel times, and particularly in the latter day (Heb.12:22) and by which name the church is called in its more glorious state (Rev.21:2), which is the habitation of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit . . . and of the saints, where they shall dwell. In the latter day, Zion will be a place of safety, quietness, pleasure and comfort. Then it will be seen and enjoyed, as a quiet place; for now the saints will live in peace one with another; there will be no more discontentment, envy, hatred, hostility nor divisions . . . ; this will be the Philadelphian church state (Rev.3:7), when brotherly love shall prevail everywhere, and when they shall also be entirely free from the persecutions of enemies; none shall hurt and destroy in all the holy mountain (Isa.11:9).
A tabernacle that shall not be taken down . . . the Tabernacle was a portable sanctuary (tent) transported through the wilderness by the Hebrews. It went where the Israelites went during the 40 year journey through the wilderness (Ex.33:7-11; 1 Chron. 21:29; Josh.4:19; 18:7). Jerusalem (Zion) is here pictured as a tabernacle with posts and stakes holding it down, with not one stake ever being moved or being broken. This to me seems to clearly illustrate the eternity of Jerusalem as the Capital of the Everlasting Kingdom of Messiah and David (1 Chron.23:25; Isa.2:2-4; 65:17; Ps.145:13; Dan.4:3,34; 7:14,27; 2 Pet.1:11). This Tabernacle shall NOT be taken down or moved ever again, for when the Tabernacle of God is with men, He shall dwell with them for ever (Rev.21:3,27).
Not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken . . . this refers to temporary tents and tabernacles made of strong curtains, secured by cords to stakes, by which they were supported. Every TRUE believer, is as a stake or pillar in God’s church, of which shall never be removed (Rev.3:12), and never removed from the heart and love of God, nor out of the loving Hands of Christ. The cords with which these are all held together, shall never be broken, for these cords are the everlasting love of God, His amazing grace, the covenant and its Promises, the Holy Word of God and His ordinances, which ALWAYS remain firm and sure and secure the stability and continuance of the people of God. Of the eternal church of God in the times of the last days, we can rest assured that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (Mat.16:18).
Isaiah 33:21 But there the glorious LORD will be unto us a place of broad rivers and streams; wherein shall go no galley with oars, neither shall gallant ship pass thereby. (KJV)
But there the glorious Lord will be unto us a place of broad rivers and streams . . . Egypt had the Nile and Babylon had the Euphrates . . . Jerusalem had no such river for its convenience, commerce and defense; but God promises to be that river to His Jerusalem, His church and people. He shall be as a river that has the widest streams; which I think expresses the abundance of His grace, and the absolute freeness of it. Dear one, God truly is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble (Ps.46:1). The Lord appears most glorious where He displays the magnificent perfections of His nature, His power, His faithfulness, His truth, His holiness, His love, His grace, His mercy, His righteousness, His justice, His honesty and His all in all goodness! Anywhere that the Truth of the Gospel is preached or taught, His gracious and glorious Presence is there! Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (KJV) . . . When the saints see His glory, they MUST speak of it.
Wherein shall go no galley with oars, neither shall gallant ships pass thereby . . .
even though Egypt and Babylon had their rivers, they had the security of a great river, but they also have the disadvantage of it; that being their enemies could come against them in war ships.
*****God will make broad rivers and streams where no warship will ever come. These are the rivers that will flow out from under the Millennial sanctuary (Ps.46:4; Isa.30:25; Eze.47; Joel 3:18; Zec.14:8; Rev.22:1-2). The river referred to in Ezekiel 47 is supposedly about 3 miles wide, so it can rightly be called broad here.
Isaiah 33:22 For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us. (KJV)
For the LORD is our judge . . . the LORD Jesus Christ, who has all judgment committed to Him by His Father (Jn.5:22), who will judge His people, right their wrongs, and avenge their injuries. Christ shall judge for us, to plead our cause against our enemies, as the ancient judges of Israel did (Judg,2:1-23; 16:1-31).
The Lord is our Lawgiver . . . the LORD shall enacted wholesome laws for His church, writes them on their hearts (2 Cor.3:3; Heb.10:16), and puts His Spirit within them (Jn.14:16-18, Rom.8:9), to enable them to keep them.
The LORD is our king . . . King of saints, King of Zion, made so by His Almighty Father, owned by His church, under whose government shall be joy and safety.
He will save us . . . in the Everlasting Kingdom, Christ shall keep from all sin, and from all enemies, with an everlasting salvation (Isa.45:17).
*****The people of God (church) here speaks with great pleasure of her interest in Christ under His every office, and of her joy and safety for they know they can depend on Him completely as their Judge, their Lawgiver and their King!
Five things the LORD will be to Judah:
#1. Judge (Isa.9:6-7; 11:4-9).
#2. Lawgiver (Isa.2:2-4).
#3. King (Isa.2:2-4; 9:7; Zec.14:9).
#4.Redeemer (Ps.19:14; 78:35; 130:8; Isa.47:4;59:20; Rom.11:26).
#. Saviour (Isa.43:3,11; 45:15,21; 49:26; 60:16; 63:8; Hos.13:4).
Isaiah 33:23 Thy tacklings are loosed; they could not well strengthen their mast, they could not spread the sail: then is the prey of a great spoil divided; the lame take the prey. (KJV)
Thy tacklings are loosed . . . Isaiah directs his speech to the Assyrians; and having quietly designed their army under the belief of a gallant ship (vs.21), he here represents their broken and undone condition by the symbol of a ship tossed in a stormy sea, having her cables broken, and all her tacklings loose and not working, so that she had no benefit of her masts and sails; and therefore is quickly swallowed up by the sea.
They could not well strengthen their mast . . . ropes could not make it stand upright.
They could not spread the sail . . . without which they could not proceed. Most interpret this to be the Assyrians in Isaiah’s time, who are compared to a ship in great distress at sea, when its tacklings are shattered, the mast is split, and the sails cannot be spread. This seems to me this may very well be applied to the Assyrian
(the Antichrist, Isa.31:8) and the anti-Christian states, when the vials of God's wrath shall be poured out upon them (Rev.16); especially when the second vial shall be poured out upon the sea (Rev.16:3), and all shipping will suffer, as under the second trumpet only a third part of ships were destroyed (Rev.8:8).
Then is the prey of a great spoil divided . . . as the spoil of the Assyrian camp was taken by the Israelites, so too shall the spoil of the Whore of Rome be taken by God’s people, (some say Protestants); especially when the kings of the earth shall be filled with a hatred to the whore of Rome, and shall destroy her, and make her bare and desolate of all her riches, and shall eat her flesh (Rev.17:16), or seize her great substance, which will become the prey of a great spoil unto them.
The lame take the prey . . . I think this means just how easily Rome (spiritual Babylon) shall be taken, and what a vast amount of prey there shall be, that even the lame who come late, shall have a share of it.
*****The wealth of the whore of Rome shall be an extremely rich booty for the Jews, and upon her fall, the prey of great spoil shall be divided. When the greater part of the Assyrian enemy were slain by the angel (Isa.37:36), the rest fled in confusion, and with such haste that they left their tents as they were, so that all the treasure in them fell into the hands of the besieged . . . and even the lame took part in the prey. So, those that tarried at home did have a part of the spoil. So too it shall be with the Antichrist and the kings of the Earth when they attack the whore of Rome and eat her flesh. There shall be such a great abundance of prey that when those who came first had carried off as much as they could, even the lame, who came late, found sufficient for them. Almighty God always brings good out of evil, and not only shall deliver Jerusalem in the last days, but He shall enrich it and abundantly reward all the losses they had sustained. Let us never forget that God takes care of all the fears and distresses of all those who are true to Him. God's people shall be victorious over all their enemies.
Isaiah 33:24 And the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity. (KJV)
And the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick . . . the inhabitants of Jerusalem, (God's people), the church of Christ which is all those born again into God’s family (Jn.1:12-13; 3:3-8). They shall never have cause to complain of any sickness or tragedy ever again! They shall be fully delivered from all their enemies and evil occurrences and shall eternally enjoy perfect peace and prosperity. All the diseases and sicknesses we now know, will be healed by the rising of the sun of righteousness upon them, with healing in his wings (Mal.4:2). All outward affliction of persecuting enemies will be at an end, and such joy will attend them because of their being delivered from them, that all their former sorrows and sufferings will be forgotten; and in the New Jerusalem there will be no more sickness, no more sorrow, no more pain and no more death. The leaves of the tree of life will be for the healing of the nations (Rev.21:4).
The people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity . . . how wonderful this is! The sickness of sin shall be cured! This disease shall be cured for ever by the forgiveness of God! All who will be residents of New Jerusalem shall have perfect physical and spiritual health, as well as joy, and peace, and comfort, which will follow God’s application of pardoning grace and mercy to us. This next Passage helps me so much. Maybe it will help you too. Philippians 3:20-21 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. (KJV) http://www.godcannotlie.org/phil_ch3.htm
There are some people, and one major cult, who do not believe we can KNOW we are going to Heaven. They say anyone who says they are going to Heaven are boasters who cannot know this for a fact. I disagree! The BIBLE says we can KNOW! And I believe the Bible! John 20:30-31 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. (KJV)
1 John 5:10-13 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. 11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. (KJV)
Blessings on the Jews and those 'born again'. This was promised to Old Testament saints: (Ex.15:25; 23:25; Lev.26:1-13; Deut.28:1-14; Ps.34:9-10; 84:11; 90:1-12; 103.3; Pro.3:7-8; Isa.53:4-5; 58:8).
And to New Testament Saints as well: (Mat.7:7-11; 8:17; 13:15; 17:20; 21:22; Mk.9:23; 11:22-24; Jn.10:10; 14:12-15; 15:7,16; 16:23-26; Rom.1:16; 8:11; 1 Cor.12:4-11; Jam.5:14-16; 3 Jn.1:2).
***** The people that dwell in New Jerusalem shall be forgiven their iniquity, not only the body of the nation of Israel forgiven their national guilt in the removing of the national judgment, but individual persons that dwell there as well. We all shall be given a new body when Jesus comes in the clouds one day soon (1 Thes.4:13-18), like unto his glorious body, and that resurrected body shall never ever sin again!
If we want to live in New Jerusalem one day, we must walk the narrow path with Jesus (Mat.7:14), and when we sin, we must repent and confess our sin (1 Jn.1:7-9), and our sins shall be pardoned. This is promised as that which is at the bottom of all other favors that He will do for us, for He will be merciful to our unrighteousness (Heb.8:12). Sin is the sickness of the soul, and IF the soul is not healed, the LORD condemns it to the lake of fire (Rev.20:15). When God pardons the sin, He heals the disease; and when the disease of sin is healed by the pardoning mercy of God, the sting of sickness is taken out and the cause of it removed; so that the inhabitants of Heaven shall not be sick any more. And if iniquity is removed, we will have no reason to complain of outward affliction.
SELA, Rock City
The strong city (Ps.60:9; 108:10), is Sela, the rock-hewn stronghold capital of Edom (2 Ki.14:7; Isa.16:1). The Hebrew word cela is translated rock 57 times. The Greek word is petra. It is mentioned several times as the rock (Judg.1:36; Isa.42:11; Jer.48:28; 49:16; Oba.1:3). Sela is also called Bozrah (Isa.34:5-6; 63:1-5; Jer.48:24; 49:13,22; Amos1:12). The ancients called it Bozrah of the rock.
Today it is referred to as the silent city of the forgotten past, and called the rose-red city, because of the wide range of red hues. Sela lies halfway between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba.
It has only one entrance, through a deep rock cleft 6,000 feet long. It has about 1,000 caves, cut into the rock of the great cliffs surrounding the whole city. There are high places, courts, libation basins, and altars where the ancients worshiped. It has places of defense where one man could defend against an army. Multiple monuments reveal the effect of several occupations. There are many channels, basins, reservoirs and cisterns where water has been stored in times of siege, and several springs supply water for the city. The Mountain of Aaron has a temple built on it in whose Holy of Holies, Aaron is supposed to be buried.
For centuries Sela was a rich caravan city with a strong international trade. Goods were brought for storage in Petra and rerouted to Arabia, Africa, India, and other lands. The city was so important that the Romans made two roads to tap its wealth. When Rome fell, its doom was sealed and Sela was virtually abandoned, except for a few desert tribesmen.
The country was opened to travel by the British after World War I. The Bedouins fought British plans to make a road to Sela, complaining that the road would deprive them of income from renting saddle animals to Sela visitors. Britain agreed that no road should be built beyond Elji and that animals would be hired for the last part of the trip to Sela. The Bedouins have kept modern transportation from the city, which remains as preserved as in ancient times.
Sela seems to be the place to be reserved for the Israelites when they flee from Judea after Antichrist breaks his covenant with them by taking over Palestine during the last three and a half years of the Great Tribulation period.
There are three things that hint at Petra being the hiding place for the Jews during the Great Tribulation (Mat.24:16).
#1. The first is in Daniel 11:41 where we learn that Jordan will be one of the only places that elude the Anti-Christ’s control during the Great Tribulation.
#2. The second is in Rev. 12:14 which says that the woman, who represents the believing remnant of Israel, will flee into the desert to a place prepared for them during the Great Tribulation. The closest desert hiding place is Petra. http://www.godcannotlie.org/rev_ch12.htm
#3. And the third is in Isaiah 63:1 where the Lord is shown coming from Bozrah, the region where Petra is located, having defeated His enemies there. Many believe that Christ will do this just before arriving in Jerusalem at His Second Coming, to protect the believing remnant (Zec.14:1-5; Rev.19:11-21).
Considering the non-Biblical side, Jordan does have a peace treaty with Israel, and Petra is an ideal location for the Jews to seek refuge.
Also see: http://www.bibleistrue.com/qna/pqna33.htm
Commentaries on Old Testament Books
Book of Isaiah . . Isaiah's Mini-Bible
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Isaiah's Introduction to the Suffering Servant
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