In Chapter 25, Isaiah painted a picture of the millennium. In Chapter 26, he adds color, depth, and greater detail concerning the circumstances that will usher it in.
Father, give us understanding as we read your word. Anoint us with your Spirit, that we may see all that You want us to and that we may rightly divide Chapter 26, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
1 In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks.
Chapter 26 is a psalm, a song about Jerusalem.
2 Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in.
Jerusalem is a walled city with eight gates. The ninth gate, the Eastern Gate, was blocked off in AD 1540-41. This gate is where the Messiah will eventually enter: Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. (Ps 24:9; cf Ez 46:12) After the judgment of the nations in Matthew 25, those who are deemed worthy (ie believers in Christ) will be allowed to enter through the gates of Jerusalem.
3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace [Heb shalom], whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
Whenever I disciple someone, this is one of the first verses I have him memorize. Every Christian should memorize this verse and live it. Shalom is one of those Bible words that is rich with meaning in the original language. Just as the Greek Logos means much more than the English ‘Word’, denoting the complexity and foreknowledge comprised in the mind of God, Shalom means much more than just the absence of conflict. The perfect peace Isaiah promises to those who trust in Christ and keep their minds focused on Him is a peace that includes health and wellness, serenity, certainty of the future, wholeness, and contentment. Admittedly, some of these promises may be deferred for certain believers, but true nevertheless and available to all.
4 Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:
Verse 4 goes in tandem with verse 3. Without a doubt, strength is one of Christ’s attributes and as Christians, we seek to emulate Him in every way. By staying in Christ we receive peace and strength. Verse 4 provided part of the inspiration for Reverend Agustus Toplady’s hymn, “Rock of Ages.”
5 For he bringeth down them that dwell on high; the lofty city, he layeth it low; he layeth it low, even to the ground; he bringeth it even to the dust.
6 The foot shall tread it down, even the feet of the poor, and the steps of the needy.
7 The way of the just is uprightness: thou, most upright, dost weigh the path of the just.
8 Yea, in the way of thy judgments, O LORD, have we waited for thee; the desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee.
9 With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.
10 Let favour be shewed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness: in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the LORD.
11 LORD, when thy hand is lifted up, they will not see: but they shall see, and be ashamed for their envy at the people; yea, the fire of thine enemies shall devour them.
12 LORD, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works in us.
13 O LORD our God, other lords beside thee have had dominion over us: but by thee only will we make mention of thy name.
14 They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise: therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish.
This was where we all were before Christ came: That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: (Eph 2:12) Through Christ, we have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. (Rom 8:15b)
15 Thou hast increased the nation, O LORD, thou hast increased the nation: thou art glorified: thou hadst removed it far unto all the ends of the earth.
Perhaps this is a reference to the mystery of the Gentiles being ‘graffed in’ to the ‘olive tree’ through Christ. (Rom 11:24; Eph 3:3-6) But, since it is important to never confuse the church with Israel (1 Cor 10:32), perhaps it refers to the diaspora and how there are Jews all over the world now. To truly be Jewish, one needs to receive Messiah. (Rom 2:29) Eventually there will be a great awakening among the Jews when Israel finally receives her King. (Jer 31:31; 32:37-42)
16 LORD, in trouble have they visited thee, they poured out a prayer when thy chastening was upon them.
17 Like as a woman with child, that draweth near the time of her delivery, is in pain, and crieth out in her pangs; so have we been in thy sight, O LORD.
18 We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were brought forth wind; we have not wrought any deliverance in the earth; neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen.
Jesus uses this illustration in Mattew 24; the earth is in turmoil as it prepares for the unveiling of Christ, like a woman in labor as she prepares to bring a new life into the world. Israel has sown to the wind and she will reap the whirlwind (Hos 8:7). That is, they will go through the time of Jacob’s trouble. However, despite the fact that Israel as a nation has rejected her Messiah, they have nevertheless played a key role in the coming new birth of the millennium. In the kingdom age, Israel and Mt Zion will be the source of blessing for all nations. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: (Rom 11:26)
19 Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.
This happens before the millennium for believers. (1 Thess 4:16,17) The first resurrection of believers is part and parcel of the rapture of the church. This happens at the beginning of the tribulation for the church, and the end of the tribulation for the tribulation saints. Unbelievers will not be resurrected until the second resurrection after the millennium. (Rev 20:13) Warren Wiersbe made a very insightful observation concerning this: “Resurrection is not reconstruction; God does not reassemble the body and give it life. Paul compared the miracle of resurrection to the harvesting of grain planted in the soil. (1 Cor 15:39-45)”
20 Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.
In past studies, I highlighted the fact that Jewish believers are multiplying like never before in these last days. Those who are ready, Jew and Gentile alike, will escape the day of the LORD’s wrath. Below are a few of the many Old Testament passages that speak of the rapture:
Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD’s anger.
He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people.
Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice. [Ie, the sacrifice of God’s own Son.]
The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.
Song of Songs 2:13
21 For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.
Perhaps the word that best sums up the millennium is shalom. Shalom appears twice in this chapter. In the millennium the world is going to be a glorious place. The time to plan for it is now, as we see the day approaching. Togarmah (Turkey) is poised to break from her long-standing NATO alliance by purchasing missiles and fighter jets from Magog (Russia), moving the pieces on the chessboard closer towards Ezekiel 38, 39. The news is filled with stories of calls for a one world currency, new cashless stores, and people receiving microchip injections, all paving the way for the mark of the beast foretold in Revelation 13. Jesus has given us plenty of advanced warning. It is up to us to get ready. Isaiah 26 ends on a ominous note. The gospel is only good news if you receive it. If you are not in Christ, you are headed for something even worse than your worst nightmare. Come to Jesus now my friend while we are still in an age of grace. He will forgive you. The only people He will not forgive are those who refuse to come.
Father, thank You for the perfect sacrifice of your Son and riches of his grace, which is sufficient to cover all of our sins, in Jesus’ name. Amen.