Isaiah continues in Chapter 22 with his ‘burdens’. This next burden is carried to Jerusalem. As you may know, modern Israel has had many miraculous victories over the last seventy years. We are witnessing the genesis of Ezekiel 37; Ezekiel predicted that the dispersed and defeated nation of Israel would come back to life again as a mighty army. One of the challenges Israel faces in these last days is dealing with the many lies that are leveled against them by their enemies. One such story that you may have heard is that the Jews in Israel today, mostly ‘Ashkenazi’ Jews (roughly 75%), are not really Jews. Over 40 years ago, Professor Arthur Koestler published a book called The Thirteenth Tribe (Random House, 1976), which posited that the Ashkenazi Jews descended from the Khazar people who lived in the Caucasus region in Southern Russia. However, this theory was disproved in 1995 though genetic testing. There have been other studies since then that have reaffirmed the Ashkenazi Jews have genetic markers that originated in the Levant, which Israel is right in the middle of. The diaspora began around the sixth century BC and the Jews that found themselves scattered throughout the Roman Empire a few centuries later picked up genetic markers from Europe as well. However, genetic testing has shown no markers from the Caucasus region.
We are going to see in this chapter how God has judged and will again in the future judge his people, but in the meantime He tells us to comfort them. (Isa 40:1, 2) We are still in an age of grace and God’s forgiveness is extended to all, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile.
Give us understanding Father as we read thy word, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
1 The burden of the valley of vision. What aileth thee now, that thou art wholly gone up to the housetops?
The valley is a place of trials (eg Ps 23:4). In the valley, Isaiah has a vision of some people who are gone up to the housetops—ostensibly to view an approaching enemy. This points to 1.) Jerusalem, where they still spend time on the roofs of their houses, and 2.) The tribulation period. (Matt 24:17)
2 Thou that art full of stirs, a tumultuous city, a joyous city: thy slain men are not slain with the sword, nor dead in battle.
If the slain are not slain in battle, then how are they slain? By an earthquake (Rev 16:18,19)? By a famine (Rev 6:6)? By beasts, which may include microbes (Rev 6:8)? In the siege of Nebuchadnezzar which took place about one hundred years after Isaiah’s time, it would be a famine (2 Kg 25:3). In the tribulation period it will be expanded to earthquakes and the beasts of the field.
3 All thy rulers are fled together, they are bound by the archers: all that are found in thee are bound together, which have fled from far.
After Nebuchadnezzar surrounded Jerusalem and starved them out, the king and the men of war fled in fear (2 Kg 25:4).
4 Therefore said I, Look away from me; I will weep bitterly, labour not to comfort me, because of the spoiling of the daughter of my people.
Isaiah has seen judgments (or burdens) upon nine regions so far. Now the tenth burden is on his own people, and upon his holy city, Jerusalem. Isaiah calls the city of Babylon the daughter of Babylon (Isa 46:1). The daughter of Isaiah’s people is Jerusalem. Nebuchadnezzar looted (spoiled) the temple and then destroyed it. This burden causes Isaiah to weep bitterly.
5 For it is a day of trouble, and of treading down, and of perplexity by the Lord GOD [Heb Adoni Jehovah] of hosts in the valley of vision, breaking down the walls, and of crying to the mountains.
6 And Elam bare the quiver with chariots of men and horsemen, and Kir uncovered the shield.
According to the Westminster Dictionary of the Bible, the location of Kir is uncertain, but there is a city in Iran called Kir (or Qir) just south of where Elam was. Elam is the area directly above and to the east of the northern tip of the Persian Gulf. In Isaiah’s day, Elam was its own independent kingdom, but by the time of the fall of Jerusalem in 589 BC, a portion of Elam was part of the Babylonian Empire. Cyaxares of Persia gave his daughter in marriage to Nebuchadnezzar, making them allies. This alliance was made when Nebuchadnezzar’s father, Nabopolassar, and Cyaxares warred against Assyria, defeating them circa 612 BC. It was Cyaxares’ daughter, Amytis, who Nebuchadnezzar built the hanging gardens of Babylon for. This alliance explains why Elam and Kir are named as among the combatants that conquered Jerusalem in 589 BC. Babylonia and Persia were partners in military campaigns. (It was only about twenty-five years after the death of Nebuchadnezzar that Persia, together with Media, conquered Babylon.)
Isaiah’s prophecy is both literal and figurative. Although the Babylonians were no threat in Isaiah’s day, the literal destruction of Jerusalem at the hand of the Babylonians was on the horizon within around 100 years (589 BC). The prophecy is figurative of how the worldwide system of the beast ridden by MYSTERY BABYLON (Rev 17:3-5) will move against Israel in the time of Jacob’s trouble. The spirit of MYSTERY BABYLON is being laid bare in these last days, as the curtain is being pulled back, giving everyone the opportunity to make an informed decision before the return of Christ. Despite her best efforts to hide her crimes, the world is being shown her true colors, so that each individual may decide whether they will obey the voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.” (Rev 18:4,5)
7 And it shall come to pass, that thy choicest valleys shall be full of chariots, and the horsemen shall set themselves in array at the gate.
8 And he discovered the covering of Judah, and thou didst look in that day to the armour of the house of the forest.
9 Ye have seen also the breaches of the city of David [Jerusalem], that they are many: and ye gathered together the waters of the lower pool.
10 And ye have numbered the houses of Jerusalem, and the houses have ye broken down to fortify the wall.
11 Ye made also a ditch between the two walls for the water of the old pool: but ye have not looked unto the maker thereof, neither had respect unto him that fashioned it long ago.
These verses refer to the preparations that Hezekiah made in Isaiah’s day (2 Chron 32) as they were being attacked by the Assyrians. Hezekiah’s tunnel is still there today.
12 And in that day did the Lord GOD of hosts call to weeping, and to mourning, and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth:
13 And behold joy and gladness, slaying oxen, and killing sheep, eating flesh, and drinking wine: let us eat and drink; for to morrow we shall die.
14 And it was revealed in mine ears by the LORD of hosts, Surely this iniquity shall not be purged from you till ye die, saith the Lord GOD of hosts.
The modern city of Tel Aviv is much like many of our cities here in the US, inasmuch as it is known as a party city. Solomon nailed it when he said there is no new thing under the sun. Just as they were partying in Isaiah’s day despite the warnings from the prophets, things are much the same in Israel today. Despite all the miracles that Israel has seen since 1948 when the nation was born in a day, she still has not turned to her Messiah. Hence the approaching time of Jacob’s trouble. In San Diego in 2008, I attended a three-night lecture series by Dr Jacob Goldberg, a former senior advisor to Prime Minister Ehud Barak. One of the things I took away from that experience was the realization that Israel feels invincible, or at least their leaders do. Their military and political leaders believe that their technological superiority will safeguard them from any threat. However, Israel was not invincible in Isaiah’s day, and they are not invincible today. That is what Isaiah is telling us in this chapter.
15 Thus saith the Lord GOD of hosts, Go, get thee unto this treasurer, even unto Shebna, which is over the house, and say,
16 What hast thou here? and whom hast thou here, that thou hast hewed thee out a sepulchre here, as he that heweth him out a sepulchre on high, and that graveth an habitation for himself in a rock?
17 Behold, the LORD will carry thee away with a mighty captivity, and will surely cover thee.
18 He will surely violently turn and toss thee like a ball into a large country: there shalt thou die, and there the chariots of thy glory shall be the shame of thy lord’s house.
19 And I will drive thee from thy station, and from thy state shall he pull thee down.
Shebna is typical of the coming Antichrist, the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock (Zech 11:17). They are going to idolize the Antichrist. Shebna was second in command after Hezekiah, but he used this power and influence to aggrandize himself. Just as the Antichrist will have only a short reign that will be terminated upon the return of Christ, Shebna’s time in power was cut short when he was replaced by the faithful public servant, Eliakim. Eliakim is typical of Israel’s Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ.
20 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah:
21 And I will clothe him with thy robe, and strengthen him with thy girdle, and I will commit thy government into his hand: and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah.
22 And the key of the house of David [cf Rev 3:7] will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.
23 And I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place; and he shall be for a glorious throne to his father’s house.
24 And they shall hang upon him all the glory of his father’s house, the offspring and the issue, all vessels of small quantity, from the vessels of cups, even to all the vessels of flagons.
25 In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, shall the nail that is fastened in the sure place be removed, and be cut down, and fall; and the burden that was upon it shall be cut off: for the LORD hath spoken it.
Like Eliakim, Jesus will have a glorious throne in Israel to his Father’s house. On Passover of 32 AD, Jesus was cut off (Dan 9:26) for the sins of the world, but He rose from the dead and He is coming back again. Dear Jewish friend, I know some of the things I have written in this post may sound harsh, but Isaiah’s vision of judgment against you is not a foregone conclusion. You can turn to Messiah and escape the coming night. Here are just a few verses (there are many more) from the Tanakh (Old Testament) that prove Jesus is your Messiah:
Suffers for Israel’s sins: Isaiah 53
Pierced in his hands and feet: Psalm 22:16
Born in Bethlehem: Micah 5:2
From the tribe of Judah: Genesis 49:8
Son of David: II Samuel 7:12,13
Born of a virgin: Isaiah 7:14
Heals the blind: Isaiah 42:7
Heals the deaf: Isaiah 35:5
Heals the lame: Isaiah 36:6
Makes new covenant with Israel: Jeremiah 31:31
If you are ready to trust what the Bible says about your Messiah you will be in good company. One of Israel’s most beloved rabbis of all time, Yitzhak Kaduri, named Jesus as Israel’s Messiah in 2006. He said he had discovered the identity of the Jewish Messiah and he placed his finding in a sealed envelope to be opened posthumously. Yeshua loves you more than you can possibly imagine. His death was not an accident; He did that for you. If you are ready to receive Him pray this prayer:
Father, thank You for Messiah, I trust Him as my personal Saviour. I believe He died to pay for my sins. I believe He rose again according to the Scriptures. Yeshua, please come into my heart and take control of my life. Help me to learn your word and hide it in my heart that I might not sin against Thee. Direct my path. Thank You for the precious blood You shed for me on Calvary. I pray this in your holy and precious name. Amen
If you prayed that prayer, tell someone. Read your Bible. Pray and ask Yeshua for guidance. Watch and see what happens.
Father, thank You for showing us your program and for freely giving us all things. You even gave us your only begotten Son. Thank You so much for Jesus. Thank You for your promise that all Israel shall be saved. Send your Son quickly Father, in Jesus’ name. Amen.