Today’s reading is: Isa. 18-23
Isaiah Chapter Eighteen
- In the context of the Lord’s second advent victory (Isa. 17:12-14), another land is addressed—the land of whirring wings (Isa. 18:1-7). The land is not identified by a specific proper name—a very important distinction.
- The הוֹי hoy of 18:1 links the passage to the הוֹי hoy of 17:12.
- “Beyond the rivers of Cush” references a distant land beyond the limits of known geography (Isa. 18:1; Zeph. 3:10). It is not a reference to Cush (Ethiopia) itself.
- Israel will return to Zion from this region at the second advent of Jesus Christ (Isa. 18:7; Zeph. 3:11).
- The people tall and smooth, feared far and wide, is a powerful and oppressive nation, which will be humbled and worship the Lord in His millennial kingdom (Isa. 18:2,7; Matt. 25:34-40; Zech. 14:16).
- NIV: a people tall and smooth-skinned, a people feared far and wide, an aggressive nation of strange speech, whose land is divided by rivers.
- Like the land in which they live, these people are not identified by a specific proper name.
- The angelic and human participants in the Tribulation of Israel come into ultimate destruction (Isa. 18:3-6).
Isaiah Chapter Nineteen
- Isaiah’s next מַשָּׂא massā’ oracle centers on Egypt (Isa. 19:1-25).
- The time-frame for this prophecy is the arrival of the Lord on his cloud chariot (second advent of Jesus Christ) (Isa. 19:1a; Ps. 104:3; Matt. 26:64; Rev. 1:7).
- The demonic powers behind the human kingdom are thrown into turmoil ahead of the Lord’s second advent (Isa. 19:1b,3).
- This plunges them into a civil war (Isa. 19:2), and subjection to a cruel master (Isa. 19:4).
- The hopeless nature of Egypt’s affliction is then described (Isa. 19:5-15).
- This Divine judgment will result in Egypt’s dread of the land of Judah, and their Godly fear of the Lord (Isa. 19:16-22).
- The eschatological theocratic kingdom of the Lord will feature a godly axis from Egypt to Assyria (Isa. 19:23-25).
Isaiah Chapter Twenty
- The Lord returns His attention to the present time with a three year narrative of Isaiah’s humiliation (Isa. 20:1-2).
- The year is 711BC when Assyria captured the Philistine city of Ashdod (Isa. 20:1).
- Isaiah is instructed to go naked and barefoot for three years as a sign and token against Egypt & Cush (the sign was for Judah) (Isa. 20:3,5).
- Egypt & Cush will experience the literal naked captivity that Isaiah demonstrated (Isa. 20:4).
- “The inhabitants of this coastland” includes the Philistines, and ultimately Judah (Isa. 20:6).
- The message is loud and clear: do not place your trust in man (cf. Isa. 31:1-3; Ps. 118:8-9).
Isaiah Chapter Twenty-One
- Isaiah’s next מַשָּׂא massā’ oracle centers on the wilderness of the sea (Isa. 21:1-10). Like chapter eighteen, this oracle does not specify a land by its proper name (Isa. 21:1).
- In the near context, Elam & Media are called as the adversaries (Isa. 21:2).
- Babylon is determined as the conquered political body—Babylon and all the images of her gods (Isa. 21:9).
- Isaiah is terrified by the vision he receives (Isa. 21:2-3; cf. Jer. 4:19; Dan. 7:15,28; 8:27; 10:16-17; Ezek. 9:8; 11:13).
- Isaiah the watchman sees the riders come with their news—Fallen, fallen is Babylon (Isa. 21:5-10; Rev. 14:8; 18:2).
- Isaiah sees the banquet night of Belshazzar, and the fall of historical Babylon (Dan. 5).
- Isaiah sees the eschatological fall of mystery Babylon.
- Isaiah’s next מַשָּׂא massā’ oracles address Edom (Isa. 21:11-12), & Arabia (Isa. 21:13-17) specifically by their proper names, as the Lord returns His message back to Isaiah’s present time.
Isaiah Chapter Twenty-Two
- Isaiah’s next מַשָּׂא massā’ oracle addresses the valley of vision (Isa. 22:1-25). Once again, a descriptive name is given rather than a specific proper name.
- The destruction of the daughter of my people (Isa. 22:4) indicates that this is an oracle against Jerusalem itself.
- In the near context, Elam & Kir are identified as the adversaries (Isa. 22:6).
- Judah (Isa. 22:8), and specifically Jerusalem (Isa. 22:9-10) is determined as the conquered political body.
- This oracle describes a people that are defeated and captured without military conflict (Isa. 22:3).
- Isaiah prophetically sees the fall of Jerusalem, much as Jeremiah will physically see the fall of Jerusalem (Isa. 22:1-14; Jer. 39:1-10).
- It is not clear, however, that Isaiah saw the fall of Jerusalem to Babylon in 586BC.
- It is more likely that Isaiah actually saw the fall of Jerusalem in the Tribulation of Israel (Matt. 24:15-20; Dan. 8:13; Rev. 11:2).
- The Lord returns His attention to Isaiah’s generation, and pronounces a rebuke upon Shebna the steward (Isa. 22:15-25).
- It is required of stewards to be faithful (1st Cor. 4:2).
- Faithfulness is rewarded with greater opportunities (Lk. 16:10-12).
Isaiah Chapter Twenty-Three
- Isaiah’s final מַשָּׂא massā’ oracle, in this section of the Book (Isa. 13-23) addresses the Phoenician city of Tyre (Isa. 23:1-25).
- Tyre becomes the object of the Lord’s judgment (Isa. 23:1-14; cf. Ezek. 26:1-28:11).
- Tyre becomes the means by which the Lord blesses His godly ones (Isa. 23:15-18; Job 27:16-17; Prov. 13:22; Eccl. 2:26).