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Isaiah 27:2 - 13

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The Lord's Vineyard (ch. 27:2 - 13)

 

Notice the word "sing" in verse 2.  The prophecies of this chapter are actually songs to be sung.  It is apparent that we cannot limit the prophetic word specifically to the spoken word.  The song is about a "desirable vineyard" who we know to be Israel.

 

In verse 3 we see the Lord, Yahweh, as the HCSB puts it, is the owner, the guard, and the protector of the vineyard.  The vineyard belongs to Him.  Israel belongs to Him and He is Israel's source of life, prosperity and protection. 

 

Verse 4 tells us that God, at least in the day when this song is to be sung, is not angry with His vineyard, with Israel , but, if Israel becomes unproductive, the text states that God will destroy His vineyard.  It's His vineyard; He can certainly do what He wants with that which belongs to Him.

 

The opposite of being productive is seen in verse 5.  The vineyard, meaning Israel, can receive strength from God if it makes peace with her God. 

 

What these first few verses predict is actually, or so I believe, the fall of Israel from their God.  Israel does become unproductive.  In fact, history tells us that it steels the vineyard from God and makes it its own.  This was the situation with Israel when Jesus was born and lived as an Israel in the first century. 

 

Verse 6 is clearly a prediction of the day when
Israel will make peace with God and she will be productive,
so productive, it will fill the whole world with its fruit.
I think we can take this both literally and figuratively.  There will be a day when agricultural produce from Israel will be export throughout the world.  That has already begun to happen.  That beings said, I believe we can take these words figuratively to say that the day will come when Israel will be the greatest national influence throughout the entire world.  Prophetic Futurists believe that day will be fully realized when Jesus returns to Israel and completes the restoration process that had begun prior to His return. 

 

As I've said many times before, not all hold to this view of prophetic history.  Those who teach Replacement Theology believe that the church has replace Israel in prophetic history because of its rejection of Jesus.  Therefore, all the prophecies of the Old Testament, including this particular one in Isaiah 27 is not directed to Israel any longer but to the church.  I don't believe that for a minute.  What God promised Israel here will be realized.  God doesn't break a promise.

 

Verse 7 asks a question.  Did God strike down Israel
as He struck down Israel's enemies who struck down Israel?  The answer is clearly "no".  The Abrahamic Covenant of Genesis 12:1 to 3 states that the nation or the person who curses Israel will be cursed.  Babylon's fall for example was due to the fact that Babylon cursed Israel by overthrowing her.  Babylon never recovered but Israel has recovered.  Israel has not fallen for good as the Apostle Paul teaches in Romans 9 through 11.  See Romans 11:11 and following.

 

In verse 7 the HCSB says, "was he killed "  The NIV says, "was she killed "  There is some discrepancy between Bible translators over which pronoun to use and even to whom the pronoun refers.  I believe, at least at present, whether the pronoun should be "he" or "she', whoever it is refers to Israel.  He or she was not killed for good.

 

The pronouns "you" and "her" in verse 8 confuses the matter even more.  Who is the pronoun "you" referring to and who is the pronoun "her' referring too?  At the moment I can't give a clear answer.  What I see at the moment is the pronoun "her" refers to Israel while the pronoun "you" refers to the particular nation who overthrew Israel , and, who that nation is depends on what time period in Israel 's history you think is being talked about here.

 

So, in verse 8, if the pronoun "her" refers to Israel, then we see that in the final analysis, it was God who removed Israel from its land, as was the case when Babylon overthrew Israel.  You might also say that this was the case when the Roman armies invaded Jerusalem in 70 and 135 AD. 

 

The term "east wind" in verse 8 might, and I say might, give us a clue to what period of history is being talked about here.  Rome, in 70 or 135 AD was not to the east of Israel.  However, Assyria and Babylon, both who overtook Israel or part of Israel is to Israel's east.  Since Isaiah lived befdore and during Assyrian invasion, the attack mentioned here is probably in reference to the Assyrian attack.

 

In verse 9 the reference to Jacob is referring to Israel.  It's just another way the Old Testament views and speaks of Israel. 

 

Verse 9 tells us that Israel's "iniquities will be purged
in this way."  What way is the text talking about?  
The verse before tells us  that Israel was overthrown by
God and the chapter implies that she was overthrown because she 
forsook her God.  Thus Israel fell under the hand of God's judgment.  Therefore, judgment is how Israel's sins and iniquities will be purged.  We see this throughout the Bible.  Whether it's Israel or the church, the sins of both are purged out of their system when God bring it down in judgment.  If God's people don't comply to His will willfully then He will judge His people by bringing them to their knees with hard times. 

 

It's this judgment we see in the book of Revelation.  The book of Revelation documents two judgments.  The first judgment falls on Israel which eventually brings Israel to its knees in submission to God.  The second judgment falls on the nations of the world for their iniquities, especially their sin of attacking Israel at the end of this age.

 

The rest of verses 9 and 10 tell us the result of this judgment and that is all pagan worship and immorality that Israel had adopted over the years will be removed from Israel.

 

Note the reference to "Asherah poles" in verse 9.  Asher was the fertility god, the mother of Baal that was worshipped by the pagans in Syria and Canaan.  They built poles and worshipped around these poles.  Israel had adopted this form of paganism.

 

What verses 11 and 12 speak of is the devastation that occurs in Israel in the time of God's judgment, whatever time in history that may be.  Verse 11 actually says that Israel's Maker will not have compassion on Israel and her Creator will not be gracious to them.  In short, God will step back from Israel and let them muddle around in their sin and the judgment they receive from Him.  The Apostle Paul elaborates on this in Romans 1 when he teaches that God does step back from people and nations and hands them over to their sins so they can reap the natural result of their sins and His judgment. 

 

Verses 12 and 13 end this chapter with great news.  I believe it speaks of the final restoration of Israel and Israelis when Jesus returns to rule both Israel and the world from Jerusalem. Isaiah predicts the day when God will gather his people and bring them back to Jerusalem to worship.  I believe this takes place at the end of the seven year tribulation that we see n the book of Revelation when the nations attack Israel and Jesus steps in and brings victory to the remnant of Israel. 

 

 

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