The Book of Isaiah is a burden imposed on the prophet by God, by which it must certainly hold the nature of God in the manner the events shall play out.
The eternal God therefore looks to the immediate as well as in keeping with his eternal Mind. What is the quintessence of it in terms of time and place? Justice Mercy, Love are characteristics that He shall never deny. His gifts are irrevocable but if it bring upon man for instance Samson, only he is to blame. Similarly for nations. The prophesies are not intended solely for Judah or Israel but also for the Gentile nations. His promise to Abraham shall never be laid aside but in Time brought to fulfillment. So prophecies carry a time element beyond human comprehension. Babylon is judged and the place is consigned to oblivion not fit for human habitation. Is that the end of it? In one place it is a stand in for Jerusalem(Re.11:8). It is how the Spirit delineates God’s will. God’s Time with which he narrates the eternal word shall render Babylon a byword for rampant wickedness equally valid even though historically it is past. Thus we see it mentioned as Babylon the great in the Book of Revelation.(Ch.18:2)
Prophecy is intended for reproof. Basis for this naturally would be the word of God. Statecraft of nations (with which the Gentiles negotiate with one another) cannot be the basis since the aim is material advantage and glory. It is also intended for correction as Jonah was sent to preach to Nineveh. But without removing the problem of sin prophecies cannot be isolated from the sweep of divine Mind and apply them for specific crisis. The problem of sin was at the destruction of the cities of the plains and also in the time of Noah. God judged both and means of punishment were in each case different.
In the time of Isaiah the envy of Samaria finds in Syria an ally so according the manner of gentile nations what Judah can do but find an equally formidable ally to scare off the league of Samaria? Had Israel relied on God who delivered from the might of Pharaoh they would not have run to Assyria for help. Righteousness imputed to the nation of Israel does not mean God would save them from their foolish strategies. David was a man after His heart but his adultery with Bathsheba and consequently death of Uriah had to be punished. So till Israel learnt to worship God in spirit and truth prophecies of Isaiah or any other would carry elements that are valid till the end times.
Israel were scattered from their land under Assyria and Babylon respectively. God’s Judgment is pronounced but are they the end? No. For this reason Israel shall be scattered again and again and their enemies in each case would seem a clone of Rezin or Tiglath-Pilser. Consider the present powers-that-be prevailing over the Middle East politics. Hisbollah backed Syria at the present and Iran are names not minted by will of man. In place of Rezin there shall be so many other names found. “Rejoice not thou, whole Palestina, —for out of the root serpent’s root shall come forth a cockatrice, and his fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent(Is.14:29).” In Hebraic usage a cockatrice is serpent and fiery serpents in modern times may be sidewinders and stingers air to air missiles familiar to anyone who is interested modern weaponry. What we need to understand is that the same old conflicts triggered by unresolved sin but with change of names here and there.
This leads to the most crucial point for prophecies is not either Israel or the gentile nations but God the Son who is the heir of all things whether in heaven or on the earth. He came into his own but his own did not receive him. Israel merely bought time by rejecting the Son of man whose second advent and his Millennial Reign form the core value of prophecy. While we discussed Moah we referred to the significance of David in a previous post what was the purpose of the Spirit to include this detail? Our instruction in righteousness must be on the basis of the spirit for the Lord God is a Spirit. Thus how Jesus Christ transferred on his disciple John the care of his mother was on the spiritual basis. For this reason the Millennial Reign shall be a period of spiritual awakening so Israel shall blossom forth as fig tree (Matt.24:32-35). The context in which he said this parable also is very significant. Enmity of the nations with one other shall find resolution when Israel learns to worship God in spirit and truth. In this context let us quickly go through a little known incident with regards to the king of Moab. He was in a tight spot being encircled by the army of Jehoshaphat. As a last resort the king of Moah sacrificed his first born son. A burnt offering after the manner of pagans. (2 Ki.3:26-27). So the pagan also have some preconceived notions of salvation which is only at par with what the magicians in Egypt could perform before the Pharaoh. They could not of course withstand the wonders of God performed through Moses. So these pagans also check truth which is through a glass darkly. The gentiles must come to the way life and truth. The prophecies therefore point to a point of time where Israel and the gentile nation live under the same banner of the Prince of peace.
The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.
2 The cities of Aroer are forsaken: they shall be for flocks, which shall lie down, and none shall make them afraid.
3 The fortress also shall cease from Ephraim, and the kingdom from Damascus, and the remnant of Syria: they shall be as the glory of the children of Israel, saith the Lord of hosts.
4 And in that day it shall come to pass, that the glory of Jacob shall be made thin, and the fatness of his flesh shall wax lean.
5 And it shall be as when the harvestman gathereth the corn, and reapeth the ears with his arm; and it shall be as he that gathereth ears in the valley of Rephaim.
6 Yet gleaning grapes shall be left in it, as the shaking of an olive tree, two or three berries in the top of the uppermost bough, four or five in the outmost fruitful branches thereof, saith the Lord God of Israel.
7 At that day shall a man look to his Maker, and his eyes shall have respect to the Holy One of Israel.
8 And he shall not look to the altars, the work of his hands, neither shall respect that which his fingers have made, either the groves, or the images.
9 In that day shall his strong cities be as a forsaken bough, and an uppermost branch, which they left because of the children of Israel: and there shall be desolation.
10 Because thou hast forgotten the God of thy salvation, and hast not been mindful of the rock of thy strength, therefore shalt thou plant pleasant plants, and shalt set it with strange slips:
11 In the day shalt thou make thy plant to grow, and in the morning shalt thou make thy seed to flourish: but the harvest shall be a heap in the day of grief and of desperate sorrow.
12 Woe to the multitude of many people, which make a noise like the noise of the seas; and to the rushing of nations, that make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters!
13 The nations shall rush like the rushing of many waters: but God shall rebuke them, and they shall flee far off, and shall be chased as the chaff of the mountains before the wind, and like a rolling thing before the whirlwind.
14 And behold at eveningtide trouble; and before the morning he is not. This is the portion of them that spoil us, and the lot of them that rob us.