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The Great Opponent Killed
This chapter can be divided into three parts (Isa 27:1; 2-11; 12-13), each beginning with “in that day”, which is the day the LORD comes to purify the earth of evil by judgment. In Isa 27:1 the judgment of God on the world reaches its climax and according to its content belongs to the judgment announced in Isaiah 26 (Isa 26:21).
It may be that in Isa 27:1 there are three monsters; it may also be a three-headed monster (cf. Psa 74:13-14). Two of the monsters are called “Leviathan” (Job 41:1-34). The first one is called “the fleeing serpent”. This is Assyria. The Tigris, the river in northern Iraq, is a fast flowing river. Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, is located on the Tigris. The second one is called “the twisted serpent”. The Euphrates is the twisting river in southern Iraq, where the capital Babylon is located. The third monster, “the dragon”, is “in the sea”. This is Egypt (cf. Isa 51:9). The sea is usually a picture of the nations, but here possibly also an indication for the Nile. It is the world powers that play a significant role in the history and prophecies of Israel.
In the serpent and the dragon, we can also see the evil power behind the scenes, that one “great dragon …, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan” (Rev 12:9a). God will definitely deal with this power and his demonic companions.
The LORD Protects His Vineyard Israel
Since the destruction of these monsters – or the monstrous manifestations of one monster – by the LORD is absolutely certain, another prophetic song sounds in which the joy of redeemed Israel is expressed (Isa 27:2). It is the joy of the LORD over His people. They are a vineyard which He does not entrust to others who are unfaithful (Mt 21:33-39), but which He Himself constantly protects and waters (Isa 27:3). This song is a continuation of the song about the vineyard in Isaiah 5 (Isa 5:1-7). At the same time, this vineyard is in sharp contrast with that vineyard.
His wrath is over because there is nothing left to become angry about (Isa 27:4). His people answer to His purpose. If enemies would rise up against His people, He would burn like fire and consume those enemies like briars and thorns. God stands up for His vineyard. Whoever wants to attack that vineyard will have to deal with Him. The enemies do better to make peace with Him (Isa 27:5). Peace with Him can be made through faith in the Lord Jesus (Rom 5:1). Then they will escape His anger (cf. Psa 2:12), because even in His wrath He remembers mercy (Hab 3:2).
Israel Will Blossom and Sprout
When the Assyrians are finally destroyed, when the indignation is over, Israel will blossom and sprout and produce fruits that will be a blessing for the whole world (Isa 27:6). This is the beginning of the realm of peace. Thus they will literally be the “riches for the Gentiles” (Rom 11:12). Spiritually, this is God’s intent and desire for the believers in the present age, until the church is complete (Jn 15:1-16). Filling the earth with fruit represents the consequences of missionary work among all nations (Rom 15:16).
The LORD had to strike His people, but He did not do so in the way He has struck the people who have struck His people (Isa 27:7). He has struck His people “in measure” (Darby Translation) and not in the fullness of His wrath (Isa 27:8; Psa 118:18). In that case He would have wiped them completely from the earth. Now He has contended with His people by expelling them with the breath of His mouth, scattering them all over the earth. The wind purifies the harvest as it were, just as it does when the wheat is shaken and sifted. His purpose in doing so has been to forgive their iniquities and pardon their sins completely (Isa 27:9).
The full fruit of this action of the LORD is that all idols are pulverized and hewn down. Everything they have given the place of the LORD, they have removed, so that Ephraim will say: “What more have I to do with idols?” (Hos 14:8a).
Consequences of the Wrath for Jerusalem
The discipling hand of the LORD will work that Israel will repent. The Isa 27:10-11 show what that discipline means. The once strong and populated Jerusalem will seem a forsaken wilderness (Isa 27:10). This is the result of the (first) attack of the Assyrians or the king of the North (cf. Zec 13:8-9). In the middle of the ruins the cattle will find some greenery. After some time, the branches that are eaten bare will be dry enough to light a fire to cook or fry what is still edible (Isa 27:11).
The cause of this situation is their lack of knowledge (Hos 4:6), which led them to follow the antichrist (Jn 5:43b). It is a guilty lack of knowledge. They are to blame for turning their back on their “Maker” and for forgetting their “Creator”. In doing so, they have closed themselves off to His compassion and grace. In this way they have made it impossible for Him to have compassion on them and to be gracious to them (2Chr 36:16).
The LORD Gathers Up His people
In these verses we see that “mercy triumphs over judgment” (Jam 2:13). God always sees an opportunity to have mercy. That is along the path of conversion and repentance that He works in His people. When the threshing of His people – Judah, the two tribes realm – is finished and the chaff is separated from the wheat, He gathers the rest of His people (Isa 27:12; cf. Mt 24:31). He does this by gathering up the members of His people – the ten tribes realm – one by one. The few do not disappear in the mass. Not one will be left behind or forgotten. He will gather them all from between the Euphrates and the promised land.
He will call the lost ten tribes to His land by “a great trumpet” from all nations (Isa 27:13; Mt 24:31). It is the consummation of the resurrection of Israel buried for so long. This is the great year of jubilee when, on the day of atonement, every member of the people will regain his possessions (Lev 25:9; 13). Peter calls it the “period of restoration of all things” (Acts 3:21). When they have returned to the land, their first act will be to “come and worship the LORD in the holy mountain at Jerusalem”, together with their brothers from the two tribes realm.
Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Isaiah 27". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13