Next up is Isaiah 33:1-9
Judgment is one of the central themes of the Scripture – not only in the Old Testament but also in the New. Yeshua, when He comes to earth again, is coming for the purpose of judgment (and ultimately to take charge of His creation again). G-d’s judgment is going to bring about our vindication. It is going to be a blessing for us, because the outcome of that judgment is the establishment of His Kingdom. Within His Kingdom we can experience the goodness and blessings of G-d, we are going to see the fulfilment of the promises of G-d.
The most predominant position and interpretation of this 33rd chapter is that it is against the Assyria of old and that it has already been fulfilled. However, we shall see that it is a chapter that has far more implications for the last days than many people think.
v1: Woe: A word we should be familiar with now. Something awful (G-d’s judgment) is going to happen if there is no change. This is a word of warning.
- Plunder: Stealing, but not in a small way – they take a very great amount. Those who plunder are not at all bound by anything other than their desire for profit and their commitment to what they want for themselves. They are people who are spiritually out of control. They make the foolish assumption that they can do as they like without suffering any consequences.
- Treacherously: Those who deal in a treacherous way can be thought of as betrayers. These people cannot be trusted as they are not at all faithful.
Note: Sometimes Isaiah says ‘you’ and sometimes he changes the pronoun and says ‘him’ in the original text. Isaiah is sometimes speaking directly to the antichrist (to this enemy) but at other times he is speaking about him to the people of G-d. Ultimately the antichrist is going to be betrayed (Matt 12:25-26). The measure that he has used will be measured back to him.
v2: Be gracious to us: One group is going to suffer something awful (‘Woe’) but another group is seeking G-d’s grace. If we are not seeking G-d’s grace, and if we are not recipients of His grace, then we are going to experience His consuming judgment. There is no position in-between.
- Waited: (literally: Hoped). This is a word that means to be gathered or assembled together. Hope is rooted in the promises of G-d.
- (He will) be their arm: This is one of G-d’s greatest promises to us. In the prophecy of Isaiah this word זְרֹעָם֙ (zə·rō·‘ām) is often translated ‘arm’ but it comes from the same word for seed – like the seed of Abraham (a male offspring or a son). The arm of the L-rd, in this prophecy, is a reference to Messiah. The arm of G-d is the Son of G-d.
Note: In this verse someone is seeking the grace of G-d. Our hope is rooted in receiving that grace. Immediately after the request for grace and hope, the verse alludes to Messiah.
- Morning: This term ‘morning’ usually speaks of revelation (light), things being brought into clarity. It is not a coincidence that although Messiah was resurrected in the nighttime the empty tomb was manifested in the morning (Luke 24:1-3). Like the morning, Messiah manifested Himself to mankind – and He will do so again.
- Salvation: Parallel to the phrase ‘arm’ is this word ‘salvation’.
- Time of trouble: Messiah will manifest Himself firstly to the believers in their time of tribulation by coming for them in the rapture (He is our blessed hope). After this, He will then also manifest Himself to the Jewish people in their time of trouble (Jacob’s trouble).
v3: Noise: Sound. Voice
- Tumult: (literally: Multitude). An exceedingly large number. Some people have interpreted this to mean the pronouncement in heaven for G-d to bring about judgment and the vindication of His people.
- People: Referring to the peoples in the nations.
- Flee: Literally: wander around aimlessly. It is a word of confusion. The people will not know where to go. They will not have any clear direction. The nations who came up against Israel in the last days are going to see their leader (the antichrist) defeated. They are going to realise that their hopes have been misplaced. When G-d’s wrath is falling it is going to bring about great confusion among the peoples.
- You lift Yourself up: This is speaking about G-d being lifted up (Yeshua has been lifted up as the Son of man – John 3:14, and He will also be lifted up and shown to be the Son of G-d – Zech 12:10).
- People … nations: Parallel to each other.
- Flee (Wander aimlessly)…scattered: Parallel to each other. Wandering aimlessly and being scattered are words that speak of an upcoming and pending defeat.
v4: Note: In the Scripture there are about four or five different words used to describe different locust plagues. Some locusts are kosher to eat (Matt 3:4) and some are not. Locusts are frequently used to mete out G-d’s judgment (Exodus 10, Revelation 9).
- Your plunder: G-d’s spoils of war. G-d will take back (gather) from the antichrist and his evil empire all that they have robbed and stolen from others.
- The gathering of the caterpillar (locust): When a locust feeds on a plant it spares nothing on that plant. It strips it bare.
- Running to and fro: G-d is going to take plunder quickly.
v5: Exalted: Lifted up. The L-rd is lifted up for the purpose of manifestation. G-d’s glory is going to be manifested in the world.
- He has filled Zion with justice and righteousness: It is G-d’s judgment, the pouring out of His wrath, that is going to cause G-d to be exalted or lifted up. His judgment manifests His greatness to all of the world. After G-d’s judgment comes justice and righteousness! This means that G-d’s Kingdom (Zion is a Kingdom word – it is Jerusalem in her glorified or redeemed state) is going to be established! Without judgment, G-d’s Kingdom will not be established.
Verse 6: “And it will come about faithfulness in Your time: power, salvations, wisdom, knowledge and the fear of the L-rd it is His treasure.” (this is how the verse is written literally)
Faithfulness: G-d is always faithful, but He is going to manifest/show Himself faithful in a discernible way – through judgment.
- Salvations: Written in the plural. This means abundant salvations.
- The fear of the L-rd it is His treasure: Almighty G-d, who lacks nothing, and who can speak anything into being, treasures it when we give Him priority (when we fear Him).
v7: Note: Israel is going to experience G-d’s deliverance, but it is not going to come easily for them. Their enemies are going to want to destroy the holy land (holy, meaning that it is a land that has a purpose, it is a land set apart to fulfil the purposes of G-d).
- Valient ones: Heroes or mighty ones.
- Outside: Most of the Rabbinical scholars say that this has to do with exile. In the end there is going to be another (shorter) time of exile – during the time of Jacob’s trouble (Zech 14:2, Rev 12:14). During this time, a remnant of people will remain in Jerusalem, but the majority of the people are going to go into exile, into the wilderness.
- Ambassadors (literally angels) of peace shall weep bitterly: All of this has to do with the sadness of Jacob’s trouble.
v8: Highways: The roads that people can travel on throughout Israel.
- Wayfaring man: The guest or tourist. The tourists are going to cease going to Israel. What is going on in Israel in the last days is going to be very severe that even tourism will cease. The hatred against the Jewish people will be very intense. This hatred will be led by the antichrist and those who are part of his empire.
- He has broken the covenant: Referring to the antichrist (Dan 9:27)
- Broken: Voided. Transgressed. Made it null and void.
- He regards no man: He does not give any consideration to humanity. G-d shows mercy and compassion to humanity. The antichrist will not.
v9: Earth/Land: This word could refer to the land of Israel, or it could be a word referring to the whole earth.
- Lebanon: Throughout the generations, Lebanon has been seen as a fertile and fruitful place.
- Sharon: Fertile land along the Mediterranean.
- Bashan: Near the Golan Heights today.
- Carmel: In Haifa.
- Bashan and Carmel: Both of these are high places. This land is going to be stripped away – but not by natural erosion (ie: not by wind, water or ice)