A confession: There are some prophetic Scriptures I find difficult to interpret with finality, and today’s Scripture reading (Isaiah 26-27) certainly fits within that parameter. I am blessed to have several trusted commentaries; however, they all disagree on the exact interpretation of today’s study. Rather than falling prey to personal speculations, I will suggest a simple approach that I pray will shed light on your study.
I believe Isaiah 26 continued the song of praise that began in Isaiah 25. The phrase, “In that day,” implies the Millennial Kingdom of Christ in its far-reaching application, but in its immediate implication was a reference to the return of God’s people from Babylonian captivity (26:1). The “strong city” [Jerusalem] and its “walls and bulwarks” were most likely symbols for the LORD Himself (26:1).
In other words, Isaiah is prophesying, when God’s people return to Judah from Babylonian exile, they will be singing of the LORD, saying, “We have a strong city; Salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks. 2Open ye the gates, That the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in” (26:1-2).
Isaiah 26:3-4 gives a blessed promise to all who trust the LORD, for we read: “3Thou wilt keep [guard; keep watch] him in perfect peace, Whose mind [thoughts; purpose] is stayed on thee [leans or supports]: Because he trusteth [confident] in thee. 4Trust ye in the Lord for ever: For in the Lord JEHOVAH is everlasting [enduring; perpetual] strength [Rock]” (26:3-4). The LORD is the ROCK, the strength, the security for all who put their trust in Him (Deuteronomy 32:4; Exodus 15:2; Isaiah 12:2).
Probably predicting the fall of Babylon, Isaiah 26:5-6 foretells the destruction of a great city, whose walls will be brought down to the ground. Isaiah 26:7-9 foresees the day when the hearts of God’s people will be turned back to Him, and the wicked will be consumed by the fire of His judgment.
Isaiah 26:12-15 prophesied the day would come when God’s people will enjoy peace, and those nations that have abused them will be punished. The LORD had used the heathen nations to punish His people for their sins, and they had often cried out in pain, as a woman in labor (26:16-18).
Yet, the God of Israel is the LORD of death and the resurrection (26:19-21). Isaiah saw the day when the LORD would come and call His people out of the nations of the world, and would restore them to the land as a nation. Isaiah warned, the LORD was coming to punish the nations for their sins (26:20-21).
The prophecy of the LORD coming to judge the nations (26:21) continued in the opening verse of Isaiah 27, that reads: “1In that day the Lord with his sore and great and strong sword Shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, Even leviathan that crooked serpent; And he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea” (27:1).
The “strong sword” (27:1) is most likely the Word of God, which Hebrews 4:12 described as “quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword.” Isaiah foretold the LORD would come with His sword, and will “punish leviathan the piercing serpent” (27:1). The “leviathan” is described as a “crooked serpent” and “the dragon that is in the sea” (27:1).
There are various interpretations for the “leviathan…[the] crooked serpent…[and] the dragon” (27:1). There is, however, almost universal agreement that the three creatures are types or symbols of Satan. Comparing Scripture with Scripture, Revelation 20:2 describes Satan as, “the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan” who is to be bound for a thousand years during the Millennium Reign of Christ.
Isaiah 27:2-6 describes the return and restoration of God’s people to their land (while a remnant of Jews have returned to their land, the nation we know as Israel is fundamentally a secular government, and does not adhere to the LORD’S covenant with His people).
Understanding the grapevine and vineyard are often symbolic of Israel, Isaiah prophesied the day would come when the LORD would “keep” and “water” (i.e., protect and nourish) Israel (27:3), and in that day “Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit” (27:6).
God would discipline Judah for her sins (27:7-9), and the city of Jerusalem would be “desolate…forsaken…left like a wilderness” (27:10), but the LORD promised the day was coming when He would gather His people out from among the nations of the world (27:12). In that day, the “great trumpet shall be blown” (summoning believers to the LORD), and believers (not only people of faith in Israel), but even “the outcasts in the land of Egypt [i.e., a symbol of the world]…shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem (27:13).
Are you ready for the LORD to come again? Are you listening for the sound of His trumpet?
1 Corinthians 15:51–52 – “51Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”
Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith