154. All Yahweh does has a time and a purpose.

Assyria 2Isaiah 28:23–29 

Isaiah, like all prophets delivers God’s counter perspective to the scenarios and environments that he lived amongst. The culture that Judah identified itself with was not the culture the Mosaic law was intended to precipitate. Negative cultures, world-wide, national, tribal or familial – and especially one’s own personal lifestyle and culture – need to be countered with God’s perspective. Prophetic activist types and national apostasies are often twinned in all the above listed groupings time lines and histories. The latter triggers the former.

A true prophet knows what time it is that he is living in. A prophet knows what kind of time it is.  A prophet is a person that can see these things not because of his intellect or academic training (and that is not a remark to suggest that a prophet does not need any intellect or academic training). A prophet says what he hears from God. Yes the prophet is a human being who has his or hers own likes or dislikes whether it be food or people or even politics. The fact that the person is a prophet does not mean everything he ever utters is binding on the rest of the world. For instance, the fact that John the Baptist and Elijah wore Camel skin attire does not mean that his clothes in themselves have any prophetic meaning. What God shares with a prophet is then the burden of the prophet with which he requires integrity, discipline and character to reveal it exactly as given and not to pepper his revelation with his own imagination or preferences. The scriptures claim to be the undiluted word of God is an goal for all prophets to aspire to. One of the staple prayers of prophets is, “Oh Lord! Give me grace to repeat it exactly as you give it to me, and not to interfere with my own thoughts or opinions whilst explaining it.

A genuine prophet holds a prophetic (i.e, a God given) understanding of the mentality and mood of his time. Some see into the church world-wide, some into the church nationally. Some see into the secular world more clearly than they do the Christian world.  God chooses His prophets and/or prophetesses and does nothing without telling at least one of them, sometimes many. A true prophet identifies and knows the trends of a society or group of people by hearing what God says. And God always deals with the roots of any issue.

prophet-isaiahProphets are, at times, able to envisage trends and upcoming events by seeing, hearing, and receiving revelation in a huge number of different ways, and then declaring what God has said or revealed. In this manner, and by divine initiation a prophet may, at times, judge the foundations that exist in any society or even the hearts of national leaders. The words of a divinely inspired prophet, written, spoken or sung, are a veritable rock like force against the godless mentality of the day in which they are present. Referring now to the biblical writing classical prophets, we read how they saw their generation. This understanding enables us to see our own generation more clearly in the same perspective as God sees it. That is why they are important for every generation of believers.

God give us more prophets.

I share this elongated introduction to my thoughts concerning these last few verses of Isaiah 28 for a reason. There is so much prediction of gloom and judgement throughout what Isaiah has been saying thus far it would be easy to sink into depression listening to him.

To be sure the bright sunshine passages of a glorious future are richer in sunshine than the judgement lines are filled with cold and darkness, but they are always brief and fleeting. On top of that it was much easier for Isaiah’s contemporary audience to identify with the lines of judgement and sadness simply because they lived in a time and place where the circumstances and circumstance of their lives matched some of the stuff that Isaiah was shouting about. The glorious wonder of Jerusalem being the centre of the world with all peoples coming to visit and sit at the feet of the King – the Son of David – seemed like a futuristic dream – so far away.

The people were slipping into a deep depression like “Woe to us!” frame of mind. It must have been like seeing and hearing about all the surrounding nations are sinking – and we are one of the sinking vessels. I thought we were God’s chosen – but what is happening to them is happening to us. Israel the Northern kingdom has been dissipated and erased from the planet and here is prophet Isaiah saying that the same is going to happen to us. It’s doom, gloom and an existential void as to the purpose for living. Why should we live? What is life all about?

Then came Isaiah.

There is a couple of principles divulged in these last few verses of Isaiah 28. They aren’t deep or mystical principles of the spiritual life that the unchurched or unsaved man on the street would not understand.

The first principle is significant for all human beings in all relationships in all scenarios and contexts. It’s a principle that is true of best friends, enemies, lovers, newly-weds, work relationships and anywhere else with anybody else. It is a principle that is ever present in life and dealings with people. It’s so easy to grasp we might not even perceive it as a “principle.”

Today two people might laugh and joke with each other. Tomorrow they might differ on an issue and have a debate – or even an argument. Tomorrow the same two people, no matter how close or distant they are with each other might labour together silently in helping somebody, and then after that they might choose not to speak to each other for a while. Life has different moments for different purposes, moments we enjoy and moments we dislike. I might do all I can to teach you how to sing, or run the domestic accounts, and then I might come to a period where having taught you something, I stand back to see how you respond to do the job yourself.  It’s the rhythm of life, the moving lights and shadows of everyday living. It’s the coping of circumstance and scenarios sometimes light and sometimes dark. But Isaiah was wanting to explain how God deals with his people, not just how a human being talks to and deals with other human beings.

The prophet discerns the heaviness and dark horizon of all he has shared, especially in chapters 24 to 27 and how it can be utterly weighing down the populace that have heard him and, by God’s grace, believed him. Have they nothing but bad and terrible news from God? Is there no hope? No brighter day on the way? Has the nation been so wicked that there is no redeeming feature of God’s word at this time? Is God’s plan so dystopian that all of mankind is to be destroyed and done away with?

Isaiah knows his audience well and sets out to explain the answer to this, the heaviest part of their query of life itself. The mighty prophet returns to parabolic explanations. He is fighting against utter despair in the hearts of the people and the horror of the death grip of hopelessness. He seeks to explain how the tone of God’s corrective and living word is hard for this moment, yet will be brighter at some future time.

That is the first principle he wishes to share with them.

The second principle to give them is that they are not just like other nations. Judah is populated by the chosen children of Israel. Judgement is coming, but they no more of Yahweh than anybody on the planet and this knowledge should lead them to repentance. Each person as well as each individual will be judged by Yahweh and treated as an individual in that judgement.

An understanding of the farming procedures and agricultural practiceof Isaiah’s day is almost essential to the right appreciation of some sections of his writings. That statement is actually true for the entire 66 books of the canon. This parable at the tail end of Isaiah 28 is one of those sections, and is a steadying anchor of a lesson that is a brighter and fuller perspective of what the future holds.

23. Give me your ear and listen closely to my voice; listen carefully and pay attention to my words

The opening line of Isaiah’s lesson suggests he is in a small gathering and asking his audience to gather round while he shares some heavenly nugget of truth that is going to lift their spirits. It’s a sort of – “Gather round my friends while I tell you something Yahweh has taught me and whispered in my ear,” moment. Isaiah shares this parable without even attempting an interpretation. He explains it all himself. I believe that is because the meaning is simplistically clear. Its point is self-evident. “I shall just paint this word picture and you will understand what I am focussing on.” Isaiah does not appreciate the sarcastic and negative mockery he has had thrown at him, mockery that is projected upon him because of lack of thought and insight by his audiences of the past. He is to speak of four essentials of difference of relationship that the farmer enjoys with the earth and how he relates to the soil.

24.  Does the man ploughing his field, plough all the time continually? Does he go on working and turning the soil without end?

He is discussing a ploughman farmer of which there must have been countless people of such a position in his audience – not that they lived in Jerusalem. Never! Jerusalem had most of the Jewish elite, royalty, priestly seniors and the like. The poor that lived in Jerusalem were basically there to serve the elite who were in the majority. The ploughmen of Judah are to be likened to Yahweh Himself in the prophet’s plot line. Yes, Yahweh, the Lord Almighty Himself is to be viewed in Isaiah’s intimate sharing, as the farmer and what we think  about the farmer, and how we hear Isaiah’s word sketch of what farmers do, we are to see Yahweh Himself and somehow parallel this “story of everyday country folk” with the Eternal Living God Himself. The prophet is describing the full cycle of the farmers preparation of, and use of the earth, the thoughtfulness behind the sowing of various types of seed in different manner and locations in the field, the reaping of the various seeds in different ways and the final grinding of the harvested seed. Each seed is individual as is the places of sowing and the sites for ploughing.

Verse 24 brings Isaiah’s word picture to the point that the first aspect of the agricultural cycle is to plough and break up the soil. But he (the farmer) will not plough endlessly. The job needs to be completed – that is, the entire field needs thoroughly ploughing before a different activity can be commenced. The prophet hits his audience between the eyes with two rhetorical questions. “Does the man ploughing his field, plough all the time continually? Does he go on working and turning the soil without end?” The fact that they are rhetorical questions and Isaiah does not even attempt to give a clue to answering leaves us with the imaginative picture of his audience shaking their heads or saying. “No! Of course not!” Having established the point that ploughing has to start at some point in time and the job actually has a completion and end, the prophet moves on.

25. Does he not, after making the face of the field flat and smooth, then plant the dill and scatter the cumin? Does he not plant the wheat in rows? The barley in its special place? And other wheat as a border around the field?


The farmer is no imbecile. The workers of the earth have a “knowledge” like the London Taxi drivers. To the non-agricultural mind the farmer is perceived as owning a particular style of wisdom. Yes indeed! The farmer perceives and diaries his necessary routine extremely wisely. He is aware of different procedures for different seeds. There are minor seeds and major seeds. Some are in the middle and main part of the field, some are on the edges. Dill, Cumin, wheat and Barley and other seeds. Each one has a different procedure. Wheat is in rows, but others are not. This knowledge is traced back to God Himself. It is a divine wisdom that the farmer follows. Possibly all from Adamic days? What do you think?

26. His God teaches and instructs him and shows him discretion and the right way to do things.

Isaiah draws a lesson from agriculture to show that God has restoration in mind and not simply judgment and destruction. By a series of rhetorical questions Isaiah reminds the people of a practical wisdom that comes from God Himself.  Nobody ploughs merely for the sake of ploughing. The farmer prepares the ground according to the type of seed that is to be planted in various locations in the field according to the needs of each type of seed.

27. A farmer doesn’t use a sledge to thresh dill. He doesn’t use a wagon wheel to crush cumin. He uses a small stick to break open the dill, and with a rod or flail he opens the cumin.

 Now the prophet leaps forward to the harvesting. The same approach is stated when looking at the threshing procedure. The cumin is harvested and made end-user friendly by beating.  Harsher efforts would destroy the cumin. The grains for daily bread are harder and therefor need harsher crushing using boards with stones and the oxen for grinding the wheat.

The point is the self-evident common sense activity of different treatments of processing for different seeds. The farmer has been taught of God how to do such things. How much more does God know of dealing with His own creation? The foolish use of methods is strongly denied as being simply too unreasonable to even think of.  If human farmers are so wise and sensible … how much more is God who gave the farmers the wisdom they utilise? This is the entire point of the parable.

28. The grain is ground to make bread. People do not ruin it by threshing it forever. The farmer separates the wheat from the chaff with his cart, but he does not let his horses crush it.

29. This lesson also comes from Yahweh the All-Powerful of Heaven’s hosts of Armies, who gives wonderful counsel, who is very wise and gives excellent wisdom.

The application of these two lessons, or parables, is that God will carry forward His purposes to their proper end. He is also concerned about purifying, not destroying. God will bring out of the purifying process a righteous remnant. Isaiah wants the scoffers to know that all this calls for praise to God for His wisdom and guidance. See Isaiah 9:6

This parable was necessary for those who were right in the thick of a highly complex situation and could not see the wood for the trees.  They needed assurance that Yahweh would not deal too severely with His recalcitrant children.

The husbandman ploughs only that he may sow. He harrows the ground only that he may produce a level and unclodded surface on which to plant his seeds. And when he sows, he gives to every seed its appropriate place and usage. He scatters the dill and strews the cumin; but the wheat he sets, according to the Oriental fashion, in long rows, and the barley in a place specially marked out for it, so marked as to exclude the borders of the field. And he thus varies his modes of treatment, and adapts them to the several kinds of seeds, because God has given him sagacity and wisdom. Will God, then, who gave the husbandman this sagacity, be less observant of time and measure? Will He crush and waste the precious grain of His threshing floor?

People need to know that God has a mind, a purpose and is moving creation into a concluding process.  God is not inscrutable.


153. The same message to two locations. One falls and the other survives. So; what is the principle?

Isaiah 28:14 – 29

Time Travelling Contextualisation of this moment in Isaiah

isaiah1OK! OK! OK! Here we are in the king’s court in Jerusalem. Stand with me and imagine.  It’s the king of Judah whose name is Ahaz. He is surrounded by the Hebrew princes and aristocracy. There may be a few priests present – but it wouldn’t be many. There may be the odd “prophet” or two, but some of them were prophets in a false way. There were many in the “Schools of the Prophets” who were not prophets at all, in fact they were drunkards.  The only true prophet we are aware of in this context is Isaiah. He definitely had contemporary brothers that carried the prophetic mantel, but for the purpose, place and time where we are, his contemporaneous prophets were not present at this moment. Isaiah wasn’t really welcome in the court of Ahaz. Isaiah was too straight, too direct, and too certain that Yahweh was the only God. There may have been a few false prophets who would have O.K’d the huge pile of Gold and gifts that Ahaz had sent to the king of Assyria asking Tiglath Pileser III to protect himself from being tortured and/or abused by the kings of Israel and Syria, but Ahaz would be sitting on his throne, smugly pharisaic (though the Pharisees were not in existence as a group at that time – that was something like 650 years into the future of Ahaz’s time line). Imagine the picture of you, my dear reader, and myself actually stood in his court in Jerusalem. As we are welcomed as time travellers (No! I haven’t gone nuts. Just bear with me for a few moments.) they have invited me to address them.

You can stand by me while I stand to say something to the court, each member of which are sat there prig and proud that they have been allowed by Yahweh, (or the god’s of Assyria as some of them may have thought) to be still extant while the ten northern tribes of the people of Israel have been scattered around the Middle East to a point where the world has never properly traced them all. It is now known that one or two of the smaller tribes were even scattered as far as India.

So standing before them – and hiding in the security of my imagination – a fact that makes me look and sound ever so courageous and wonderful (Cough! Cough! Splutter! Splutter!) I step forward to make the greatest prophetic address the court of Ahaz had ever heard. Better and more informed than the mighty Isaiah son of Amoz. (Oh! How armchair Christianity can make spiritual giants of us all – NOT! How 2,700 years of retrospection can make us all so certain and sure of a situation!)

So here I go! In this dream scenario, looking directly into the eyes of Ahaz.


“Oh Ahaz! Ahaz!  Do not be so foolish as to think that Israel has been exiled and become non-existent because they are evil beyond any comprehension – and evil in ways that you are not. Israel has indeed been wiped off the planet like one of your servants wipes the dregs of your supper off your plates of gold …or whatever they are made of, but that does not even hint at the plain fact that you, and your example to your princes and your nation, have proven yourself to be more spiritually and morally depraved than their long list of kings up north. You lot of governmental characters are just as bad. In fact it could be reasoned that you are worse than the Northern monarchs, princes and people.

Your sins are greater because here in Jerusalem, no matter where they are hidden, are the scrolls of the book of Moses. You have the scrolls, the temple, the Land, the Levitical priests, and greater access to the history archives concerning Samuel, David, Solomon and Jehoshaphat. Your capacity of truth is greater than the now lost tribes, which makes your sins – identical though they may be to the now extinct northern kingdom of Israel – weightier and heavier because your culpability and knowledge of the truth was – and still is greater than theirs was. Israel’s sins were full and running over, therefore God has obliterated them as a nation. Previous generations of kings, and forefathers who had broken off from the Davidic line of monarchs had plunged themselves into 200 plus years of a dark age of intrigue, idolatry, twisted morality, coup after coup, and had the dastardly demonic evil mind to have considered Yahweh as on par to the tin pot gods of all the other nations of the Middle East, and the wild inventions of idolatrous nonsense that they revelled in.. It wasn’t a slow dripping tap of godlessness. It was more like a deep volcanic eruption of evil and corruption. The Northern Kingdom was conceived in sin, birthed in spiritual darkness, matured in an idolatrous cess-pit of spiritual filth and moral sewage.

But you, Ahaz, and your people, were divorced and separated by force from your brothers. The Darkness up north allowed the likes of Elijah, Elisha, Amos and others to shine gloriously brightly. You here, have had the likes of Hosea, Jonah and Micah speaking God’s word to bring you back into the garden of the covenant that Yahweh made through Moses. And now, you have that mighty prince of God – Isaiah. Why do you refuse to listen to him? No matter how much you feel safe because of the obscene amount of gold you have paid to Tiglath Pileser the king of Assyria, you are in great danger, and be assured there is a Diocletian sword overhanging you, swinging ever closer and although you might die with the kingdom of Judah intact, rest assured that when you stand before Yahweh in some later day, you will be held accountable for leading your people into deeper darkness from the first day you took office.

From those early days after your father passed away leaving you the sole reigning monarch over this Davidic kingdom, you trembled, feared and shook in terror, turning your back on God. You even insulted Yahweh’s servant Isaiah when he came to tell you not to fear. It was Yahweh’s glorious attempt to woo you into a conscious alert and dynamic faith in His care for you and your people. Pekah and Rezin were not to be allowed to touch you – son of David. No matter how hard Isaiah tried to speak peace into your soul, you refused to listen. Even when the prophet invited you to ask for a sign whether it had been in heaven or on earth – just ask! Yahweh was so eager for you to plant your feet into a life of faith and trust in Him. But you refused.

You did right not to join Pekah and Rezin and fight against Tiglath Pileser. But you committed the greater sin and made a contract of submission to him, worshipping the Assyrian gods, and even removing Yahweh’s altar from the Lord’s temple, and replacing it with a duplicate model of the Assyrian demon worship. Because of this huge betrayal of your heritage, your God, your brothers in Israel, and Yahweh Himself, Tiglath Pileser was given a false reason to annex the people of Aram and then exile them, just as he did with Israel.

Ahaz! Can’t you see that the mad megalomaniac rantings of Tiglath Pileser III and the Assyrian armies would have demolished Aram and Israel anyhow, with or without your gold, your obeisance, and your invite birthed in deep fear and personal self protection? Your scribes have informed us all that “Tiglath-Pileser attacked Israel and took Ijon, Abel Beth Maacah, Janoah, Kedesh and Hazor. He took Gilead and Galilee, including all the land of Naphtali, and deported the people to Assyria.”  Tiglath Pileser was so proud of these conquests he has written the very same things in his journals. You betrayed Israel no matter what the set agenda was for Tiglath Pileser.

Your freedom to sit here in Jerusalem in false pomposity with your tin pot court, was bought at the expense of the freedom of thousands of others in Aram – and your own brothers and kin in Israel. Shame! Shame! Shame on you!

Oh Judah! Judah! Do not suffer yourselves to even think that you are superior over the ten Northern tribes. Get hold of common sense and maintain a deep consciousness of accountability to God. Listen to everything that Isaiah says and you will not go wrong at all.”

Wow! Now that’s a powerful message if ever I heard one.

However, I really and truly am not living in cloud cuckoo land. I am writing this to show my readers where Isaiah was in all this.


Is it possible that one of these kings was Ahaz?

So returning to the absolute raw reality of Isaiah’s situation, we return to his words in Isaiah 28.

Scholars don’t seem to be sure whether or not the first half of Isaiah 28 was actually spoken in a visit to Israel before they were besieged, defeated and exiled. Or whether he spoke as if addressing Israel simply to make his point with Ahaz and the kingdom of Judah. They say this because having explained the sins and symptoms of Israel’s problems, he returns to Jerusalem and Judah’s complications.

14. So listen to the Lord’s message, you who brag, mock and scoff; you leaders who rule this people in Jerusalem.

Yahweh proceeds with a word for the powerful rulers and princes in Jerusalem who had been mocking His word through Isaiah in an arrogant, cynical way.  Proverbs 1:22 states “How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?”  Proverbs 9:7 says: Whoever corrects a mocker invites insults; whoever rebukes the wicked incurs abuse.” Proverbs was basically constructed by Solomon over 200 years before Ahaz was born, or Hezekiah. Foolishness is so consistent that words of wisdom written 3,000 years before my time, still diagnose fools absolutely correctly.

15. You say, “We have made an agreed covenant with death; we have a secret contractual agreement with Sheol. When terrible punishment, an overwhelming flood, passes by, it won’t hurt us. Our lies will keep us safe and are our refuge, and our falsehood will hide us and be our refuge.”

Oh my! The language is shockingly dreadful. The “covenant with death” made by the elders and royalty of Judah is utterly godless. Their secret agreement with hell is more than likely what Isiah referred to as a “covenant with death.” It was actually a covenant with Egypt for help against the overwhelming scourge of Assyria as portrayed in Isaiah 8:7; and 10:5. They had not only rejected their covenant with Yahweh – that is the very covenant that validated their actual existence on the planet in this life, but were joyfully confident in their human ability and strength, encouraged by those people who depended on occult practices for guidance, of which there were many. However, they were, in reality, making lies their refuge and hiding under fearful falsehoods. All unbelievers since Adam’s day have done exactly the same, making fools of themselves in the eyes of Almighty Yahweh.

16. Because of these things, this is what the Lord God says: “I will lay a stone in the ground in Jerusalem, in Zion – the location of the Temple, a tested stone. Everything will be built on this important and precious rock. It will be a precious cornerstone, a firm foundation.  Anyone who trusts in it will never be disappointed or panic, waver or be shaken.”

3678c92b204423a44033bc6ee4f87beaThis is, yet again, where Isaiah’s predictions of hope and faith get juicy and exhilarating. In contrast to their foolish refuge of lies and falsehood, God is laying in Zion a foundation of stone, a precious and priceless stone and a veritable “sure foundation.” God himself is the foundation Stone (see 8:14; 17:10; cf. Gen. 49:24). He was, is and will be present as the foundation for the ongoing future fulfillment of His divine plan and the kingdom to come. When Hezekiah took a stand of faith, he was like a cornerstone who would stand firm (cf. 36:15, 18, 21; 37:15–20). But Jesus Christ is the ultimate fulfillment of these words, for He is the Stone the builders rejected (Ps. 118:22; Matt. 21:42) and He is the One on whom the Church is built (Acts 4:11; Rom. 9:33; 10:11; 1 Cor. 3:11; Eph. 2:20; 1 Pet. 2:4–8). Those who believe and trust in God will not have to hurry here and there seeking human help or fleeing from human enemies. Because of their faith in God, they will rest in Him and enjoy His peace.

17. I will use justice as a measuring line and righteousness as the plumb line. The lies you hide behind and take refuge in will be swept away as if by hail. Your hiding places and shelters will be washed away as if in a flood.

 The “measuring line,” is for horizontal measurement. The “plumb line” (mishqaleth in Hebrew) was actually a level used to check vertical. It is not a modern plumb line. It was a piece of string with a stone tied at the bottom. The principle and lesson always remains the same. When a wall is tested by the measuring line and the level is crooked, the wall must be torn down. The lies and schemes of the Jerusalem princes, who planned rebellion against Assyria and trusted in Egypt, will be tested by God’s justice and righteousness. They will find out how fragile their refuge of lies is.

18. Your covenant and treaty with death will be erased and annulled; your contract with death and the grave; will not help you stand or last any length of time.  When terrible punishment comes,  you will be crushed and beaten down by it

 Their “covenant with death” and secret “agreement with the grave” (hell, not the grave; see v. 15) will not stand when the scourge of Assyria overflows their land. All will be swept away and the scoffers will be defeated.

19. Whenever punishment comes, it will take you away. It will come morning after morning; it will defeat you, sweeping through by both day and by night. Those who understand this punishment will be terrified.”

king_ahaz_idol_worship_The understanding of this message will bring sheer terror. The Assyrians will repeatedly pass through the land and will bring dread to those who derided Isaiah’s dispatch of rest and refreshing. This will bring an end to their mocking, for God’s word. This message will prove true. Its fulfillment will terrify them.

20. You will be like the person who tried to sleep on a bed that was too short and with a blanket that was too narrow to wrap around himself.

They disallowed God’s offer of a quiescent place for the fatigued (v. 12). The bed and the blanket they chose for rest and refreshing refer to the lies and falsehood of verse 15. They were under a dark cloud of judgement and were culpable for breaking the treaties they had made. They trusted in Egypt, but Egypt’s help would not be sufficient to protect Judah from Assyria.

21. The Lord will fight. He will rise up as he did at Mount Perazim. He will be angry and rouse himself as he did in the Valley of Gibeon. He will do his work, his strange, peculiar work. He will finish his job, his strange, unusual job.

Yahweh is the same God who gave David victories over the Philistines “at Mount Perazim” (see 2 Sam. 5:17–23; 1 Chron. 14:11–16). These were triumphs that secured David’s control over Jerusalem that was, then, the new national capital. He is the same God who made the sun stand still “in the Valley of Gibeon” so Joshua could have victory over the Amorites (Josh. 10:10–14) and continue the conquest of the Promised Land. Now God will do something “strange.” This will be a completely “alien task”- He will bring judgment on the same people He gave victories to.

22. Now, you must not make fun of these things. Do not mock. You must stop your contemptuousness. If not, the ·ropes, chains and/or bonds around you will become tighter and heavier. The Lord God Almighty – Yahweh of Heaven’s Armies has told me and decreed to me     how the whole earth will be destroyed. The Lord Punishes Fairly

Isaiah pleads with the people not to show themselves to be mockers, scoffers, or scorners (see verse 14) lest their chains become even more constrictive. God has decreed destruction on “the whole land,” or “the whole earth”. The Hebrew may mean either.)  The destruction will come. It was too late to change that. Nevertheless, they could still turn to Yahweh and stop its gathering force.

In similar manner, the destruction of the Great Tribulation will come at the end of this age. It is seen as a fact in Isaiah chapters 24 – 27. That cannot be changed. But believers need to be issuing a last call to repentance, just as Isaiah was with his vision of the gathering holocaust becoming clearer and clearer, and more ominous.



152. Shameful Orgies of Drunkenness in the corridors of Power in Samaria  

Isaiah 28:7- 13

sam-g-the-hills-of-samariaToo many Christian people shy away from the Old Testament. “Too much judgement for the wicked.” Sadly, it is not palatable for many of today’s believers. Milk is commonly the diet of many Christians who flatly refuse meat – as well as living with the fact that there are too many pastors that love to shovel the milk by the cartload and never progress to solid food. “Too much violence!”  It’s considered as absolutely nasty in its theological ramifications for the easy comfort of the modern church – and western Christianity in particular. Greasy grace is easy to preach. One can have the hallelujah’s shaking the roof and people swinging from the chandeliers when all they hear is grace -grace and even more grace. The call for obedience and holiness becomes an obscene expletive that “upsets the anointing.” Excuse me while I use my “sick-bag” for a moment. The call for integrity, honesty, accountability and serious discipleship leaves some Christians petrified into inaction. Prophets who itemize certain sins and bad lifestyles that get a little bit too near to the bone for many in our complex twenty-first century,  leaves many people turning their back on the Master. It leaves many Christian people having one standard of morality for the office, another standard for the home, one tone of language for the friends in the pub and another pitch of language for the children and the spouse. Too much talk of “moral duty and responsibility” – Agh! I can sense many switching to the next blog or advert on their Google list of finds.”Duty?”Don’t use such foul language at the modern Christian!


I cannot help but think that answering the demands of the twenty-first century post-modernism, and the depths of the modern, brilliantly sharp atheism evangelists, reveals that the body of Christ has, in its attempts to be relevant, become perceived as utterly irrelevant, in its desperation to reach the masses, the masses have turned away and left us at the point where even though there are probably more zealous Spirit-filled Christians in the West than there has been for a long time, we are seemingly voiceless, powerless and influence-less. There is clearly “Trouble at ‘Mill”.


Oh yes! Some will undoubtedly point to the pockets of positive influence here and there. I read with great enthusiasm the reports of men like Jonathan Conrathe who brings the power of the living Christ wherever he goes in the West or in Africa. He leaves behind him a clear trail of people being saved, healed, delivered and baptised in the Holy Spirit. My eyes water when I read of what Daniel Kolenda is doing with his African Missions whilst following in the footsteps of the mighty Reinhard Bonnke. But there is indeed a general famine of the sort of stuff that punches unbelief, cynicism and scepticism solidly in the solar plexus of the world views and belief systems that run the world and the mass media.


Isaiah here steps into the realm of politics and the private lives of politicians. The world screams at the Christians and their leaders teaching us with a straight face and a sincere tone that “a person’s lifestyle and social outlook is absolutely nothing to do with their ability to run the country and make decisions that are motivated by nothing but political opinion.” Yeh! Right! Lobbyists that aim at the weaknesses and financial involvements of people with influence and clout in high places know what they are doing.  In the midst of the lies and corruption of the press that report from personal opinion more than objective factuality, it is often to vilify the press and miss the politicians and senior civil servants that have their investments in the pies over which they make political decisions that add to their wealth and comfort.




A generally missed out observation of British Politics of a previous generation is that there was a slowness to make slavery and any dealings in slavery illegal. Many of the wealthy of the day were wealthy people who made their fortunes from slavery or actually had slaves here in the UK. When it was finally realised that the moral argument was like a steam roller running over a peanut the government was forced, by the wealthy, to pay the erstwhile slave owners a certain fixed fee for their “financial losses” in having to free their property – i.e. human beings that they owned as slaves. History tells us that Britain was almost reduced to financial deficits in the practical out-workings of the law to free slaves. The rich got richer. The ex “black-slaves” were rendered jobless and on the street, and the nation was near to economic breakdown and poverty.


Are we to believe that the political water level is higher today than in those long past days.


Isaiah was in a day of moral, spiritual, social, political and international upheaval. It was an earthquake of fear, violence, nations looking for help here there and everywhere. The two tiny Hebrew states of Judah and Israel were like paper boats trying to survive in the midst of a Perfect Storm. The Perfect Storm, however was to be mastered and conquered and overcome by the mighty hand of the God of Israel and Judah.


In the days prior to the fall of the northern kingdom of Israel (722 B.C), Isaiah, it seems made a rare visit to Samaria. What he encountered sickened him. But we are clearly left with the graphic word picture that what he shockingly describes as the political scene up north in Samaria, was also being enacted in Jerusalem.

Samaria was tragically fallen in morality, spirit and purpose before it was physically dismantled and razed. But this is the same the world over isn’t it? The picture painted by the prophet is very striking. It suggests that Isaiah visited Samaria to see the sight, or that he possibly had met people that had been present at the woeful vision that the prophet paints for the reader.


But, what have we here! This isn’t simply megalomaniac power brokers in high places getting drunk on the job. But the prime leaders in dissipation and dissolution are none other than the “religious” ministry people, that is, the men of the cloth, and those that had been accredited with so much mystique and esteem through the ages – the prophets. Reeling, stumbling, staggering and vomiting were those who were acknowledged as prophets. Could this be?


Samaria was in a mess.

7. But now those leaders are drunk and reel with wine, stumbling and staggering from drinking too much. The priests and prophets are drunk and stagger with strong drink and filled with wine. They stumble and stagger while the prophets see their own visions and the judges make their verdicts.


samb-us_historical_archive_general_view_samaria_525Those who genuinely hold Yahweh as their strength and stay, submitting to the Spirit of God and the divine insights He grants, will supersede the former drunken and dissolute rulers, priests, and prophets. In Isaiah’s day these men were so drunk from wine and beer that they could not see the right from the wrong, or the right from the left, and neither could they see their rights from their privileges. Their so called “prophetic vision” was initiated by their drunken revelry and imagination. We are talking of serious, deep profligacy in the corridors of power. To say errors were made is an incredible understatement (See Amos 4:1; 6:1, 6). Instead of being filled with the Spirit of God, they were filled with wine and other fermented drink (Leviticus 10:9 -10; Numbers 11:24–25, 29; and Ephesians 5:18). It is altogether a sorrowful sketch of Samaria’s “present” highlighted against the glorious vision of their millennial future – a future that all the prophets testified of seeing, yet not having the slightest clue as to when. However, this “Samaritan present” was so dark, it was not to be granted as much as a future that went beyond the horizon of a few more days. It was the last failing days of a society that had degenerated into total anarchy and mobocracy.

8. Every table is covered with vomit. There is not a clean place anywhere.


The extreme drunkenness of these Ephraimite elite power brokers, the supposedly genteel aristocrats of society is a portrait of absolutely filth and disgusting chaos, the verbal description of which creates a word picture of horror and downright shamefulness. This illustrates Samaria as in verse 1 of this chapter. They are staggering drunkenly toward destruction. The leaders are sleeping at their drinking tables with the faces and hair soaking in the vomit from their own debauchery.


Clearly, the mere thought of their unrestrained drunken celebration was abhorrent to Isaiah, as it was to God Himself.

9. The Lord is trying to teach the people a lesson he is trying to make them understand his message. But the people are like babies too old for breast milk, like those who no longer nurse at their mother’s breast.


Writers, preachers and teachers vary in what they see in the Hebrew text of these verses in Isaiah 28. This writer is of the opinion that the leaders of the “The War Party”, that is those who were confident that their political allies would join together with them and defeat Assyria, along with the priests and prophets who were one with them – when they were sober – began here, to mock Isaiah’s message. They want him to know that they are not babies and do not need his advice. They are claiming a more mature understanding of the world situation in their day than Isaiah or Amos could ever claim. They suggest that God’s prophet does not possess their “superior wisdom.” Isaiah’s point is that they are immature and hardly passed the weaning knowledge of their political life. They, in return, mock Isaiah as if talking to a child.

10. So they make fun of the Lord’s prophet and say: “A command here, a command there;

a rule here, a rule there; a little lesson here, a little lesson there.”


samc-samaria-from-northThey mock his message as if it were baby talk, repeating syllables, like children reciting their ABC’s. The Hebrew text reads as: “tsau latsau, tsau latsau, qau laqau, qau laqau, ze’er sham, ze’er sham.” They actually contended that Isaiah was treating them as if they were ignorant, uneducated unweaned toddlers. Actually, his message was simple and clear. Many unbelievers today are like them. They do not consider the Bible to be logical, or they say it is “out of date.” We need to witness to the truth of the Scriptures, not only by our words, but by our lives. Being mocked for silly simplistic approaches to life goes along with the territory that the believer takes.We servants cannot escape what our Master entered into.

11. So, the Lord will use strange words, mocking/stammering lips and foreign languages and tongues to speak to these people.


Isaiah responds by saying that if they do not learn the lesson by heeding the simple message he is explaining in their own language, God is about to use people of another language to teach them the same lesson he is talking about. The Assyrians, with their Akkadian language, are in the prophet’s view. They will teach the people of the northern kingdom about humility and contrition in a way that will shock and humiliate them all – notwithstanding their premature demise in Assyria’s blood curdling cruelty.

12. God said to them, “Here is a place of rest; let the tired people come and rest. This is the place of peace.” But the people would not listen.


God’s message through Isaiah was targeted to bring rest, including security and rejuvenation, to his people. However, they would not. He verbally exhorted, cried and encouraged the people to a place of faith and rest. But they would not.

13. So the words of the Lord will be, “A command here, a command there. A rule here, a rule there. A little lesson here, a little lesson there.”


Ancient royal city of Samaria where Philip preached Christ Palestine (looking west) c. 1900

Ancient royal city of Samaria where Philip preached Christ Palestine (looking west) c. 1900

God now uses the same words to mimic the insults of humiliation they had thrown at Isaiah. The word of the Yahweh would continue to be a simple clear message, to be horribly and finally fulfilled by the Assyrians. But the message only hardened the hearts of those who heard the message while wallowing in their drunken obscenity. God would let them continue with their plans, but they were to fail in their purposes and would be defeated, trapped, and captured. Samaria needed a man with an A frame on his shoulders walking the streets. Never had, “Repent for the end is nigh” held such deep importance and relevance to any group of people, notwithstanding Belshazzar at his party in Daniel 5. Singing, getting drunk, and partying while the Meds and Persians were blocking the mote and water systems of Babylon only to kill him and the entire Babylonian culture in a single night. Oh Samaria! Samaria! You were at the cusp of total annihilation, and the man Isaiah – as well as Amos – were the voices to save you all.


But it is at this point Isaiah brings the message to Samaria back home to resonate in the corridors of Government in Jerusalem. Isaiah’s insight is profound as we read on.


Samaria! So is the picture title.


151. It’s time to duck and run – Isaiah is looking our way and shouting “Woe to you!”

samaria0Isaiah 28:1-6

There are six “woes” declared between Isaiah 28:1 and 33:1. First: “Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim …” (Isaiah 28:1). Secondly: “Woe to Ariel. To Ariel, the city where David dwelt! …” (Isaiah 29:1). Thirdly: “Woe to them that seek deeply in order to hide their counsel from the Lord, whose works are in the dark, and who say, “Who sees us?” and, “Who knows us?” (Isaiah 29:15). Fourth: “Woe to the rebellious children, says the Lord, that take counsel, but not from me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin.” (Isaiah 30:1)  Fifth: “Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not to the Holy One of Israel, neither do they seek the Lord!” (Isaiah 31:1). And finally, sixth: “Woe to those that spoil, and you were not spoiled; and deal treacherously, and they dealt not treacherously with you! When you shall cease to spoil, you shall be spoiled; and when you shall make an end to deal treacherously, they shall deal treacherously with you.” (Isaiah 33:1).


The present day ruin that is Samaria

People beware! When a true prophet, in the Spirit, announces “Woe” on a people, place or thing, watch out! To be dramatic or poetical is simply not an item in their agenda. “Woe,” literally and starkly means exactly that. It means some breath-taking, buttock-clenching horror is about to overwhelm the person, place or thing under discussion. We are not talking of, “Oh! It’s going to be a rainy day!” or “Your household is to be sick!” We are talking of a life changing, possibly culture destroying, or even nation destroying cataclysm. This is anything the reader can think of as a terrible woe, but a further couple of hundred miles further north.

When Isaiah stood up and said (or perhaps just wrote), “Woe to that proud wreath of a crown that is Samaria”, take it from me, it was time for the people of the Northern Kingdom to duck and run.  It meant the absolute end for Samaria.

A true prophetic word of this predictive kind is an historic event waiting to take place. Isaiah talking like this is actually God Himself talking.

The Book of Isaiah, surprisingly, as we enter chapter 28, now goes back to the time before Assyria conquered the northern kingdom of Israel and took Samaria (722 B.C). God’s prophetic word to the northern kingdom of Israel was that it had made choices, and taken actions that rendered Israel as a nation, and its population as individuals ripe for judgment.

If we in the 21st century cringe, and wriggle while watching refugees suffer and die while leaving their homes  and struggling with all their might and main to get to safety with their families, the word picture painted by scripture of what was to happen  to Samaria and the nation state of Israel will reduce us to tears and cause us to be contributing to aid funds with huge amounts. What happened to Samaria was shocking in humanitarian terms.

  1. samaria2


    Woe to that proud wreath of a crown (Samaria), the pride of the drunkards of Ephraim, to the fading flower of its glorious beauty, which lies at the head of a rich fertile valley of those overcome with wine!


A loud prophetic, “Woe!” warns the northern kingdom frighteningly. If the people knew what horrors were on the way to them it would have permanently sobered up anybody ensnared by heavy drinking or alcoholism, drugs or any other addiction common to their day in the eighth century B.C..

The Northern Kingdom is here referred to as “Ephraim” simply because Ephraim was its leading and conceivably its largest tribal clan. The leaders of their society, their government, and all their judicial systems were all drunkards. Isaiah says so. He prophetically sees them indulging themselves in a feast, honouring Samaria as a “wreath,” that is, a victor’s crown. They saw themselves as prospective victors in the face of the probable Assyrian invasion by the emperor Shalmaneser.

They seemed to be imagining themselves safe and secure, (a) because of pacts of allied assistance with Egypt and surrounding smaller nations that would, theoretically, bond together a defeat Assyria in times of war, or when they were subjects of attack. It was mainly the pact with Egypt which gave them grounds for such joy. They, wrongly, could not conceive of Egypt losing if a full frontal head to head clash with Assyria ever came about. Modern and contemporary historians and Egyptologists all seem to unanimously agree that what was actually so clear and definite in today’s retrospection, was not even dreamed of at the time. Ah! Retrospection has such authority and infallibility. Oh, that prospective vision could always me as masterful and joy giving as the retrospective.  As far as a world fighting force was concerned, Egypt had passed their “sell by” date. When that clash finally came about, Egypt were no match for an Assyria that was still on the ascent. Assyria and Egypt met shortly after the fall of Samaria. It was where Egypt simply became yet another notch on the sword handles of the Assyrian soldiers.

Reason (b) for the misplaced and arrogant assurance that the drinking leaders of Samaria were indulging in, was simply the geographic location of their beloved city. It can even be seen today when visiting the ruins of Samaria, that in the days when bows, arrows and makeshift trebuchets were “modern warfare”, the hill upon which Samaria was constructed was, undoubtedly, in a normal battle scenario, next to impregnable.

However, the Assyrians did not indulge in normal warfare and were incredibly resilient, horribly cruel, magnificently creative in their violence, and, when it came to besieging a city, they were fanatically patient.

Why would anybody make themselves drunkenly vulnerable while labouring in the offices of social responsibility, where failure to function could influence matters of life or death for thousands upon thousands of their countrymen? They foolishly could not imagine that Samaria was anything but impregnable, and they stupidly conceived the conviction that their power and position gave them privilege and security, in which false context they felt they could indulge themselves with strong drink and partying. Ah! The tangled web of self-deceit people weave!

Samaria’s “impregnable” position, together with their “impregnable” Egyptian allies was a misbegotten dream. The city that they imaged as a wreath of victory was actually a fading bouquet of death. The long views in all directions from Samaria’s watch-towers would not assist them. The surrounding number of hills, distanced from them enough to watch any would be assailant that probably birthed this language of a wreath, would soon be smothered with Assyrian military tents as they would sit and wait for the inhabitants of Samaria to starve or surrender.

All this Isaiah saw clearly. There was never to be a “Wahoo!” of victory in Samaria. There was, however, definitely to be a catastrophic, cataclysmic “Woe” of annihilation, death and exile.

The non-biblical historic writing entitled, “The Wisdom of Solomon”, confirms that the Jews utilised floral head wreaths for various victories long before Rome or Greece did. And just as victory wreaths placed on the head quickly rot and disappear into dust, “the wreath,” as Isaiah calls Samaria, was fading and disintegrating on the steep hill, at the head of its fertile and prosperous valley that gave a wonderfully clear view of local activity in all directions. The leaders of this Hebrew capital city were “laid low” (Hebrew: Halume: “overcome”) by wine, says the prophet. The pride that precipitated their rampant carousing leaves them unprepared for the judgment that is about to wash them away like a dishwasher wipes a dirty plate clean of food leftovers. Perpetual and ubiquitous inebriating drunkenness, shaken and stirred together with intoxicating pride and arrogance demand God’s most severe judgment, especially in the lives of the decision makers and wealth creators of any society or culture. Check it out with Isaiah 5:11–17.

  1. See! The Lord has at His disposal someone who is strong and powerful. Like a storm of hail and strong destructive wind, like a sudden flood of water pouring over the country, he will throw things (namely Samaria) down to the ground.

samaria-9ruins-of-samariaIronically, the “powerful and strong” one that the Lord will use is the heathen and idolatrous nation of Assyria. The coming of the Assyrian army under the monarchy of Shalmaneser V is compared to the violent destruction of a hailstorm, a flood and a gale force wind. Oh Ephraim! Ephraim! Beware of the repercussions of your actions. You have irresponsibly sown to the wind, you will indeed reap the whirlwind. Future generations are destined to refer to you and your clansmen as “The Lost Tribes of Israel.” Few, if any, would have any idea as to where you were to be ultimately exiled. It is a story to rend many a persons emotions.

  1. That proud crown of a city, the pride of the drunkards of Ephraim (Israel) will be trampled underfoot.

An Arab wedding in Samaria circa 1908

Ironically, the wreath, the victor’s crown, a symbol of victory, and a symbol utilised by Isaiah to highlight the arrogant pride of the drunkards of Ephraim, “will be trampled underfoot.”  It is not going to be a simple battle where one side winds and the other is defeated. Not at all! There was to be a prolonged siege ending up with Israel, the northern kingdom of the divided hegemony, completely annihilated and destroyed. The hill of the beautiful city was to become a dump at the top of the valley. The population was to be deported and exiled to places that historians are not altogether confident of, and the stone and mortar that constituted the capital city of the northern kingdom was to be reduced to a scrapheap of stone, and a lair for wild animals. Assyria was to fulfill God’s judgment on Samaria to the nth degree. Israel had never experienced such a “woe” in its history.

  1. That fading flower of glorious beauty that is set at the head of the rich fertile valley, will be like the first – ripe fig before the summer harvest—as soon as someone sees it and takes it in his hand, he hastily swallows it.

samaria3-ruins-of-herod-the-greats-place-at-samaria-much-later-than-722-bcSamaria is mildly compared first to a fading flower, and then secondly, here, to a first-ripe fig. As soon as a person sees such a fig, he picks it, pops it into his mouth, and swallows it. Just so, God will not postpone the judgment, and there will be nothing at all left, literally and absolutely of the city of Samaria built and created by King Omri a few generations earlier. This prophecy was fulfilled when Shalmaneser besieged Samaria for three years, where after the city fell in 722 B.C.

  1. At that time and in that day, the Lord All-Powerful, Almighty, of Heaven’s Armies will be like a beautiful crown, like a wonderful crown for the remnant of His people who are left alive and believing;

Samaria from the minaret of the local mosque

Yet again, in juxtaposition to declarations of the severest and most awful judgement upon sin, Isaiah takes a huge visual quantum leap into the far flung, future, millennial day as a contrast to Israel’s present state and situation. He constantly caps the promises of judgement and horror for rebellion against Yahweh, with the unspeakably glorious perspective of Christ’s reign on earth on David’s throne. We can comfortably, retrospectively see what Isaiah was saying; but did Isaiah know what he meant? (See 1 Peter 2:10-12). In that future day, Yahweh Himself will become a glorious victor’s crown and a beautiful wreath or diadem to the remnant of all Israel, meaning all the tribes descended from Jacob/Israel, and the time when there will be no divided Israel but a healed and renewed hegemony in total harmony both with God and each other. Not that the details of that reign or time are given hear in this passage. It is a description of the stark contrast to the self-exalting pride and “wreaths of fading flowers of Ephraim’s drunkards” as stated in the opening verse of Isaiah 28.

  1. and a spirit of wisdom and of justice to the judges who must decide cases and strength to those who turn the tide of battle at the city gate.

In that millennial day, in all decisions, Yahweh, manifesting Himself as “a Spirit of Justice,” will give His strength to enable all those who will be judges or rulers to do precisely what is right. He will also be the strength of those who take the battle to their own city gates defending the territory from the enemy).


Sunset in Samaria. How beautiful is that?!?!?!?!?

150. The Death and Resurrection of Israel – Yahweh’s Corporate Son (Isaiah 27: 6-13)

a8The glory of the latter house of Israel will indeed be far greater than the glory of the former.


Having told us what the song of the future is, Isaiah now gives us the rationale that will predicate the song just sung. Note that it was Yahweh Himself that spoke the lyrics of the song. Now, Isaiah himself speaks.

6. In days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will bud and blossom and fill all the world with fruit.


To say this is a remarkably hopeful future for Israel is a huge and phenomenal understatement. Jacob, the supplanter and deceiver, was changed when he wrestled with the angel and was given the new name of “Israel” in the narrative of Genesis 32:24–28. In the coming days of the millennial kingdom, the nation of Israel that had its origin in the erstwhile deceitful Jacob, will be changed and become as a vine whose every part – root, bud, blossom, and fruit – is beautifully developed in God. Holy, anointed, progressively always looking to the future and walking in the blessing of God. The vine of Israel will be so deeply entrenched by deep roots that growth will be extremely high and voluptuously fruitful. The blossom will be so rich and full that it will bless the whole world. God will undoubtedly and most definitely restore and prosper Israel to a place of global importance, and give them the governmental primary position of leadership in the world. As a result, the whole world – that is every nation and all peoples and ethnic groups – will be blessed by its “fruit.” “Fruit” implies righteousness that will influence all others around the globe. In this way we will have a total and complete fulfillment of the promise made to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3. As Isaiah chapters 9 and 11 have shown, the physical presence of the greater Seed of Abraham, who is also the greater Son of David, will make this possible.

mill17. Has Yahweh struck her as He struck down those who struck her? Has she been killed as those were killed who killed her?


Looking back over Israel’s history, did God ever strike them in the same way He struck down their enemies, as, for example, the way He drowned the entire Egyptian army at the Red Sea? Did He ever slay them the way He slew the 185,000 of Sennacherib’s army? The answer is “No!” No matter how they failed, or how often they turned away from Yahweh and a life of faith, God always left a remnant of His people Israel. He was gracious to them and loved them. He still does. Israel was, Israel now is and Israel always will be.


Lannon’s interpretation of the entire passage of Isaiah from chapter 13 through to this point is merely stating that all nations shall face a judgement, not just a judgement in the next life, but a judgement in this time and space world. Nearly all of them will disappear from time as nations. Some shall scrape through. However, although, externally, it seems that Israel and Judah were getting the same sort of treatment as everybody else, there was and is a divine purpose for the entire future of Israel. The fullness of this future will really begin when Jesus Christ returns to earth as King of Israel, on the throne of David. Israel will dominate the global stage from then on.


This expectation dominates Isaiah’s horizon here as he discusses the Jewish nation as being God’s own vineyard. This vineyard will be watered and cared for with great divine zeal and care. Yes! He has struck down Israel in a manner that seemed like the others. But God was disciplining Israel for His purpose. Amongst all the corrections and issues that God was dealing with in his handling of the Jews, the main one that is explained in the Old Testament is the cleansing out of the Jewish heart and mind of idolatry. Thus Isaiah asks the question that comprises Isaiah 27:7.

mill28. By warfare and exile you contend with her—with his fierce blast he drives her out, as on a day the east wind blows.


God’s judgments on Israel, in the past, were severe, like a blast of “the east wind” from the desert. “By warfare” (“in measure,” AV) translates a Hebrew word used only here and probably means “by chasing away,” or, “by scaring away.” God’s purpose was never to destroy them completely, but to deal with them in a way that would bring them back to Himself. Assyrians under Tiglath-Pileser, and later under Sargon, took people of Northern Israel into exile. Then Sennacherib took a section of the people of Judah into exile. These exiles were God’s “fierce blast.”


9. By this, then, will Jacob’s guilt be atoned for, and this will be the full fruitage of the removal of his sin: When he makes all the altar stones to be like chalk stones crushed to pieces. No Asherah poles or incense altars will be left standing.


mill3It is an absolute truth that God had to strive hard and firm with the Jewish nation all the way through their history. God’s love and care for His people includes discipline and suffering. It is a clearly discernible habitual syndrome of the way Yahweh dealt with Israel all the way through the Old Testament real time. There would be unbelief and disobedience. Within this context, pain, suffering and oppression would briefly take root in the nation. Then prophetic characters would arise amongst them, lead the people to repentance and faith, and then blessing, deliverance, freedom and consecration would ensue and be sustained until the next generation of unbelief. It was a genuine roller coaster of spiritual exercise with the Jews.  Isaiah here says that He (Yahweh) will deal with them so that their “guilt will be atoned for,” and their sin taken away. He talks of Jacob, meaning the entire nation in a position of rebellion.  Part of this cleansing and atonement will involve disposing of the false worship, and the Asherah poles (wooden poles with male and female genitalia carved on them, symbols of Asherah worship, which also included both male and female prostitution) and incense altars. Isaiah says that they “will not be left standing.” Hezekiah did do away with false worship (2 Kings 18:4), but it wasn’t taken to heart by the nation of Judah as it should have been. The “altar stones” that are “crushed to pieces” either may be altars for false worship, or may represent the old sacrificial system that will be done away with. Only then could Israel become the pleasant, fruitful vineyard as described in verse 2.

mill410. The fortified city stands desolate, an abandoned settlement, forsaken like the desert; there the calves graze, there they lie down; they strip its branches bare.


Some commentators take “the fortified city” to mean Jerusalem, but in this connection it is probably a collective for the cities of this world (As it was in Isaiah 25:2), the strongholds of the enemies of God and His people. Their defences will not save them from the judgment of God. Nothing will be left of them (Revelation 16:19), so, “there the calves graze,” where they were.


11. When its twigs are dry, they are broken off and women come and make fires with them. For this is a people without understanding; so their Maker has no compassion on them, and their Creator shows them no favour.


mill5In the deserted gentile and secular cities, when branches are stripped bare, women will come and use the twigs for fires. Those left after the judgment are people “without understanding,” having no insight into spiritual truths or into the ways of God. Though God created them, though God formed them with the care of a skilful potter, He will show them “no favour.” They had no understanding of God because they have so dulled their minds and hearts that even His saving grace cannot reach them. It is never that God’s grace isn’t sufficient to reach them. It is always because God’s grace has been wilfully prevented from reaching them by people’s pride and refusal to repent.

12. In that day the LORD will thresh from the flowing Euphrates to the Wadi of Egypt, and you, O Israelites, will be gathered up one by one.


“In That day,” the Day of Judgment, restoration will be unfolded and imparted to Israel. God will bring a harvest, threshing the grain from the chaff, a gathering of good wheat. He will gather “from the flowing Euphrates to the Wadi of Egypt” (the Wadi El-Arish at the border of Egypt), that is, from the whole area that was once held by Solomon in the days of his greatness all true Jews. The true people of Israel will be gleaned one by one and restored to the Land. Though God’s intent is to restore the nation of Israel, He will also be concerned about the salvation of each individual, “one by one.” Compare the narratives of Jesus’ parables of the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin, and the Lost Son in Luke 15.

mill613. And in that day a great trumpet will sound. Those who were perishing in Assyria and those who were exiled in Egypt will come and worship Yahweh on the holy mountain in Jerusalem.


“A great trumpet” will be blown. It will call people home to worship – people who are outcasts, homeless, harassed, and perishing in Assyria. It will also cause exiles in Egypt to come and “worship Yahweh on the holy mountain in Jerusalem.” Assyria was the place where exiles of Israel were in Isaiah’s day, although Egypt had been the place of their slavery in Moses’ day. These two countries represent all the places in the world where Israel has been scattered and has suffered, and in places, still suffers even to this day. From them will come not only Israel, but others who will worship Yahweh, as projected to our spiritual vision in Isaiah 2:2-3).


In all decisions, Yahweh, as “a spirit of justice,” will give His strength to enable all those who will be judges or rulers, to do what is right. He will also be strength for those who take the battle to the enemy’s city gates, and/or those who at their own city gates defend from the enemy.



149. The Climactic Point of history that all of Time is working towards                           Isaiah 27:2 – 5               

A Song for the far side of Judgement of the World.  (Isaiah 27:2–5)   

wandering monk at sunriseGod’s prophetic judgements against the various nations, spoken in chapters 13-23, have conveyed a real sense of an entire world ripening for divine judgement. This is definitely not Old Testament ideas that have been nullified by New Testament teaching, as I have heard from some folk. Christian grace forbids me to launch out in a tirade against the stupidity of such an idea. A reading of the Thessalonian letters and parts of John’s Apocalypse, as, in particular, chapter 14:15-19) will allow us to see how apostolic understanding embraces wholly this aspect of the writings of the prophets.  The horrors of chapter 24 follow the judgements on the universe of the Middle East making a quantum leap into the divine judgements of “the world.” Chapter 24 is all about how these universal judgements will affect all stratas of society indiscriminately, in all nations, the world over (24:2).


The earth is said to be “defiled” in the most invasive manner. This rationale is the extrapolated conclusion because, “they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinances and broken the everlasting covenant” (24:5).  Daniel 7:25 and the entire context of that verse clearly reveals that the agenda of the Antichrist will include changing the times and the law. Isaiah declares a horror filled prophetic word when he tells us, “few men are left” (24:6). Jesus spoke of these days in Mark 13:20 when he told the twelve that global catastrophes would depopulate the earth to the extent that unless the Father had shortened those days, no flesh at all would be saved. However, for the elect’s sake, those who will be in faith when those times arrive will be saved through it all; and that will be because He will shorten the days. These days will be monstrously depressing and oppressive. There will not be even a crumb of any happiness or joy in those horrible days.  “The pachad, the pachath and the pach” (Hebrew for, the fear, the pit and the trap) will fall on the world in these days as told us in so alliterative manner in 24:17-18. The whole scene of warning, and the neglect of the masses to the divine call is delivered in terminology so reminiscent of the days and times of Noah and the deluge. The whole comparison of the parallel lines of scripture shows vividly how it will be a shocking worldwide catastrophe that will jolt survivors into silence, and some to heart failure, illness and/or death.

a2After the complete planetary harvest of judgement, only a gleaning of population, animal life and vegetation will remain.  Only a small fragment of what was previously the world’s densest level of population would be left alive. In the midst of this remnant of humanity, there will be an even smaller godly remnant which will “sing extolling the glory of Yahweh” (24:14).

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As Yahweh gathers the kings of the earth as per Psalm 2:2, so He metes out punishment on the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places, as in Isaiah 24:21 and in Revelation 12:7-8.


Only at the Second Advent of Christ to the earth will justice and deep and lasting peace be ushered in at the commencement of the Millennium – that is, Christ’s thousand year reign on earth. Refusal to perceive such Bible passages in their historical – grammatical thrust has pushed many, to the error of “Replacement Theology,” seeing the fulfilment of Israel’s prophecies in terms of the Church, the Body of Christ. However, it is Israel, not the Church, which is clearly shown to pass through this time of its great trouble as seen in Jeremiah 30:7.


On the far side of this world wide catastrophe and judgement, Israel emerges from deep suffering to millennial glory as sketched in Isaiah 25 and 27 especially. Mount Zion becomes central to God’s purposes on earth (Isaiah 25:6-12), and Israel’s fruitfulness will extend to the whole world in that day (Isaiah 27:6).

a32. In that day there will be a fruitful vineyard – Sing about this fruitful vineyard:

The Hebrew is sharp, to the point and simple abrupt exclamations. An English equivalent would be a dramatic, “In that day! A fruitful Vineyard! Sing of it!

The scene that rises from the closure of the predicted cauldron of judgement is that of a party and a song. It is all about singing when the shaking of the olive tree is over (Isaiah 24:13). Israel, yet again, are seen to have gone through deep and profound loss and hardship, only to emerge on the far side of the sorrow singing tunes of deliverance. Tears are just for the night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5).  One of Job’s friends told that suffering saint that, “It is God who gives melodies in the night.” Isaiah sees the brightness of this new day and new age so clearly, he even tell us the libretto of the joyful yet dramatic song they will chant.  In the darkest of nights filled with terror and tribulation, the desires within the souls of Israel will be set alight with a spiritual song – a hymn of praise if you will (Isaiah 26:9).

“That day” looks ahead to what God will do in the distant future. This is a second song of a vineyard. “Fruitful” (“red wine,” AV) is translated as “pleasant” in Isaiah 32:12 and in Amos 5:11. In Isaiah 5 it was a dismal dirge of a barren vineyard set for destruction. A sinful vineyard that had turned its back on Yahweh. Now this newer and later song is about a vineyard of beauty and delight. (Some Hebrew manuscripts actually have “chamar,” that is “wine that is foaming as it ferments.” It produces a good harvest of sweet grapes, in contrast to the putrid grapes of the vineyard that was sung about in chapter 5. The transformation is dramatic and stark.

This psalm is to indicate the climax of time in the existence of the earth and humanity. Time itself, along with God’s purpose, will not role on forever, but will indeed close with an incredible crisis and climax. It is to be noted that God alone is – quite literally – guarding and protecting the vineyard, i.e. Israel, against any enemy action against the apple of His eye, no matter who, and no matter what.

a43. I, Yahweh, watch over it as its keeper; I water it regularly and continually. I guard it day and night so that no one may harm it.

The kindness of God to His vineyard is fully detailed. Yahweh is the guardian of the vineyard that is the nation state and people of Israel. His care, provision, and protection are continual, perpetual and deeply effectual. His faithful love has waited for the time when Israel would put their trust in Him. I am told that in the Middle Eastern vineyards, as harvest time approaches, the guardian and watchman over the crop of grapes plays a key and vital roll and has to stay sharply alert. He continually waters the vines. That is more than necessary I conclude. It makes the point that “He who keeps Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps.”

a54. I am not angry against it at all. If only there were briers and thorns confronting me! I would march against them in battle and a warlike fashion; I would set them all on fire immediately.

In contrast to the “vineyard of Israel” in chapter 5, God now has no anger or resentment at all against this renewed, sanctified and dedicated “vineyard if Israel” in Isaiah 27. God states categorically “I harbour no resentment against my own.” If briars and thorns appear He will root them out and burn them.  The “briers and thorns” referred to are metaphors – types if you will – of all enemies of God’s people. This suggests that there will always be those who would harm Israel. It informs us that Yahweh will set Himself to purify His people on this future day.

5. Or else let them come to me for refuge and protection; let them make peace with me, yes, let them make peace with me.”

The “briers and thorns” referred to in verse 4 refer mostly to those who are heathen.  However, heathens in this day to come, just as heathens in this day and age, are candidates for entrance into the kingdom of God. All is not hopeless for the “briars and thorns” referred to in the previous verse, who will be against God. God invites them to come to Him “for refuge,” as a stronghold, or place of refuge. He wants all adversaries to repent and “make peace” with Him. The way of salvation is always open, even to those who seem like unpleasant, irritating briars and thorns. We can come to God as a loving Father and He will nurture us

Verse 5 is the closing lines of this song of deliverance


148. The Fall of the Mighty Leviathan Monster (Isaiah 27:1)

  1. In that day, the LORD will punish with his sword, his well-tempered, fierce, great and powerful sword, Leviathan the fleeing, gliding serpent, Leviathan the winding, coiling serpent; he will slay the monster of the sea. (Isaiah 27:1)



Definitely NOT a random image of Leviathan. Read Job 41.

Talking about God’s displeasure is not common at all these days. I have actually seen some people in some churches shake their heads whenever the subject of final judgement is brought up. How sad is that! Some  people see God as a nice, jolly, “Father Christmas” type figure, and read only the scriptures about the, “nice,” “soft” and loving Father in Heaven, and in so doing ignore and/or write off huge swathes of scripture. “God is Love,” they say, as if there is no room for any other attribute in the infinite character of the Almighty.


Ah well! I might lose some of my thousand a week readers here, but something has to be said.


I agree one thousand per cent that “God is love.” It’s a biblical and apostolic statement. No problem! But I tell you what else: God dislikes some things about peoples’ attitudes and lifestyles.  In fact, the God-breathed scripture tells us that, actually, He hates some actions and motives. And, to tell it as it really is – hold on to your seat belts – God truly gets angry with some repetitive evil and damaging activities on the planet that He says are actually an “abomination.”


There! I’ve said it!


The scary old-fashioned phrase concerning these abominable things are those activities and mind-sets that bring hate, death and curses among man-kind. Evil is a diversion from God’s purposes. God’s response to these “abominations” are revealed by certain turns of phrase in the Hebrew and the Greek (Ah! Yes! It’s in the New Testament too!). The old King James translation refers to it as, “The wrath of God.” If we don’t have a shiver down our back bone when we read this phrase, I promise you, we don’t understand the truth, or the concept, or the weight of what we are discussing. This is not just a few lines from a “Systematic Theology” book, or just another tenet to our list of beliefs, this is an insight into God’s love and character that should facilitate us to see His love through clearer eyes.


Contemporary widespread revelation concerning the love and grace of God and the believer’s identity in Christ has made discussion concerning God’s anger almost a non-entity – a subject that seems to negate other stuff that is commonly taught in the church today. There is no truth that negates any other truth. God’s anger and God’s love are two facts concerning the one divine character of Yahweh – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. These thoughts concerning judgement, or even eternal damnation, seem to have paled into insignificance in recent times. It is generally perceived as a most “inconvenient” teaching of the scripture, reduced by many as a metaphorical symbolic series of statements that have nothing but allegorical significance. Ah! If only!


The emphasis on grace, acceptance through Christ, and the believer’s authority in Him has even driven some to the extreme nonsense of what is known as “Universalism.” “God’s acceptance is so total and full in Christ,” these people shout, “How is it then conceivable that God could condemn anybody – especially those without faith – into hell?”


How insipid and unbiblical can a Bible reading believer get? It is this writer’s conviction that Universalism has raised its ugly head again in our generation simply because of a neglect of the Old Testament and a general lack of reading the whole arc of biblical truth in the complete canon of scripture. A straight forward, logical study through any bible concordance will clearly demonstrate that there are many more references in Scripture to the anger, fury, wrath and judgement of God, than there are to His love and tenderness. And this is NOT just because the Old Testament is more voluminous than the New. Jesus talked of the wrath of God in John 3:36. Paul talked of the wrath of God (Romans 1:18. Romans 2:6-11. 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 for a simple starter). John, the “Apostle of love,” wrote the book of Revelation concerning the judgement of all judgements, the eternal fire and loss of the unsaved.



Nothing contrary here to God’s own description of Leviathan in Job 41.

So many Christians seem to withdraw into an apologetic type tone when the subject of God’s anger and judgement is raised. It is as if they wish it wasn’t there in the book. I have talked to some who seemed to me to be Christian believers yet consider it a blot on God’s character for Him to be angry – or even blasphemous for me to have said so. It would seem that they consider God’s wrath to be a huge wart on the face of Almighty Yahweh. I can only discern it as a fact that some cannot imagine being wrathful without being out of control, and therefore deny that God could have such an emotion. They ignore the fact that the New Testament exhorts us to be like Christ Himself when it says, “Be angry and sin not.”  Jesus was angry when he upturned the business tables in the Temple. And – have you ever read Matthew 23? There is no way that, “Gentle Jesus Meek and mild,” could talk lovingly and kindly what is written in that chapter. The seven “woes” that Christ Himself uttered over the Pharisees were flaming swords of terrifying divine judgement.


I have even discussed the issue of God’s wrath with some Christians who have told me that they feel unworthy and incapable of negotiating even the concept of God’s anger in their minds. God does not conceal the facts – and whatever is revealed to is in scripture needs confronting and acceptance. The entire canon of scripture requires our application.


So! What does the Bible actually say?  We cannot but make the obvious observation that Yahweh is not at all ashamed to make it known that, “Vengeance and fury belong to Him.” See Romans 12:19. He is blatantly unashamed to declare in the book, “See now that I myself am he! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand. I lift my hand to heaven and solemnly swear: As surely as I live forever, when I sharpen my flashing sword and my hand grasps it in judgment, I will take vengeance on my adversaries and repay those who hate me.” (Deuteronomy 32:39-41). Wow! Who says that God should speak to us more directly. Is it possible to be more direct that that? Allegory? Metaphor? Poetry with mystical meanings? I think not. This is God Himself speaking plainly.


Because God is pure, clean and spotless, He hates all sin because it detracts from man’s purpose and destiny. Because He hates all sin, His pleasure and purpose is to save completely those who believe and pursue Christ, and judge the severity of sin that is not dealt with by the unbeliever (Psalm 7:11).  We need to get a firm grasp of the biblical idea that God’s anger is indeed as much a divine perfection as is His faithfulness, power, mercy and love. It cannot be anything else. “In Him there is neither variableness nor shadow of turning.” There would be a character defect in God Himself if “wrath” were absent from His being! His response to sin must be as pure and holy as His love towards people. Indifference to sin is a moral blemish. It is part of man’s sin to be as indifferent against God’s take on our existence.


I think it was Spurgeon in one of his sermons that cried, “How could He who is the Sum of all that is excellent look with equal satisfaction upon virtue and vice, wisdom and folly? How could He who is infinitely holy disregard sin and refuse to manifest His “severity” (Rom 11:22) toward it?”


There cannot possibly be any perfection of attribute and characteristic within God’s Person that is less perfect than another. As Pink succinctly says, “The wrath of God is His eternal detestation of all unrighteousness.” God’s wrath against sin is the unending righteous motivation of His judgement against wilfully lost mankind. Sin is a wilful living of life in a manner that is contrary to the desire and plan of God for mankind – whether it be external actions or inner thought and motivation. One psalmist sai, “If I cherish sin in my heart, God will not hear me.”  If that one liner doesn’t shake us concerning our worldview and lifestyle, there are some claims of our Christianity that must be rendered questionable.


“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven” (Romans 1:18). This statement proves that it is part of the gospel message.  Again, the revealing of God’s wrath is something He does not hide from. Psalm 95:11 says: “Unto whom I swore in My wrath.”


The bold and radical statement of Isaiah 27:1 (our verse for today) needs to be seen in the light of all we have said above.


is2701dIsaiah 27 is the conclusion of a complete section that starts at Isaiah 24:1. It is a section that encapsulates the entire metanarrative of the consummation of earth’s history as declared by Isaiah and other prophets. It comprises the horrors of the last judgement, and the divine wrath as demonstrated in this world and in the time line of this life, that is – as far as judgement can go in this existence. The divine judgement will not be complete until the Christians stand before the judgement seat of Christ, and the unsaved  of all generations stand before the Great White Throne. And then Isaiah predicts the power and the glory of the Messianic millennial reign, formulating a graphic word picture of our planet that we simply have never yet seen. Here we are talking of Isaiah’s breath-taking vision of the earthly reign of Yahweh, consolidated by John’s vision in the book of Revelation. The curse will be removed off animals and the physical world in general, as well as much of the invisible world becoming visible. For the resurrected, the mortal putting on immortality begins here in earnest.


Two forces have been, are, and will be until the end of time, running contra to each other concurrently. The devil working against God; the people of God conflicting with the devil and the kingdom of darkness; and the war between all things of divine origin and purpose and all things demonic. As much as many people would relish the thought of a middle section that is referring to those who are neither Godly, nor anti-God, the bible clearly affirms that there is no such class of humanity. Every single person who has ever lived is in one of two criteria: Saved or unsaved. In the light or in darkness. In Christ or lost eternally.There is no third category.


First of all there was the universal judgement described in the horror filled text of Isaiah 24. Then followed a joyful song of laudation for that judgement in chapter 25. There then follows a Hymn praising God for His infinite farsightedness and the works He had performed on behalf of the righteous in response to their faith. Now – here in chapter 27, we have a look at both sides of the scenario. After the overthrow of the worldly powers, Isaiah explains how Zion, amazingly referring to both the physical city of Zion as well as the heavenly simultaneously, the temporal as well as the eternal, are blessed with the physical presence of Christ. It is a revelation of a truth that needs pondering, praying over and meditating on. Oh! Isaiah! Isaiah! I cry out to God to see as you saw, to know as you knew, to perceive exactly what you grasped.


My own take on this seminal verse of scripture is expressed in my own paraphrase, as in:


In that coming day, far in the future, in the days of the earthly reign of Messiah, Yahweh will punish the foul unclean demonic ruling spirit of the power of the air that dominates and rules the controlling nations and empires of this present world, with His sword.  His well-tempered, fierce, great and powerful sword will castigate and destroy (a) Leviathan the fleeing, gliding serpent of Assyria, (b)Leviathan the winding, coiling serpent of Babylon, and He will also slay (c) Egypt, the same dragon monster of the sea.


Yes indeed! Judgement, violent and absolutely final, for Leviathan. Leviathan? Who is this? Where does he – or it- come into the picture?


This single first verse talks of the divine judgement and destruction of a nasty sounding creature referred to as “Leviathan.” He is referred to as in three different manifestations or areas. “Leviathan!” What a juicy and expressive title. “Leviathan” is a term interpreted by some as a species of sea creature or river monster, as, for instance, the whale. What utter nonsense! In Psalm 104:26, the NIV has it as, “There the ships go to and fro, and Leviathan, which you formed to frolic there.”  The NET Bible however translates the same Hebrew text as, “The ships travel there, and over here swims the whale you made to play in it” (Bold italics are mine of course). Fascinatingly interesting? No! Fascinatingly ignorant more like.  Does it have any value or credibility in proper translational principles? No comment! The Douay Rheims version goes further, rendering the same statement as, “There the ships shall go. This sea dragon which thou hast formed to play therein.” Where the “whale” and “sea-dragon” comes from all depends on how one researches the word. But neither the NET nor the Douay Rheims version is consistent at all. I say that because the word is repeated a couple of times more in the Old Testament. This writer has failed to find any other translation that ventures to interpret Leviathan as a creature that we know of. The NET bible, having translated it as a “whale” in the Psalm 104, leaves the word well enough alone in Job and simply refers it to an anglicized transliteration of “Leviathan.” Douay-Rheims does the same. Why can’t these translators be consistent?


My own logic and biblical reading rubbishes any thought of a whale as the phrases that immediately following in Isaiah 27:1 refer to a coiling and gliding serpent. So, how could a “whale” even enter into the discussion?



Daniel also received divinely given visions and insights into his contemporary and future empires, seeing them as aberrations of beasts and monster like animals.


In the NLT Job 3:8 says, “Let those who are experts at cursing–whose cursing could rouse Leviathan–curse that day.” And by the logistics of that verse, the whale doesn’t fit the definition of Leviathan at all. Men cursing and rousing whales has never been a choice of mankind.  How on earth can a whale be roused? Leviathan is also mentioned in Psalm 74:14. In the NIV this verse reads as, “It was you who crushed the heads of Leviathan and gave it as food to the creatures of the desert.” How could it be that a whale, with a plurality of “heads,” (true to the Hebrew text) feed the creatures of the desert, and not those of the sea? One also wonders whether the dragons, as mentioned in Psalm 74:13, are equivalent to the Leviathan of verse 14.


Why do I sound so cocksure and confident about this “Leviathan” creature? Simply because I have read Job 41. Although it seems to have been ignored by a lot of translators, it clearly describes what Leviathan is. Read it for yourself and see.


It is this writers opinion that Leviathan was a truly incredibly sized, and awesomely built fire breathing dragon of Job’s day, that spoke fear into all who ever encountered it. Allow me to verify my thoughts. I shall refer to Leviathan as a “he:


  • Remember Job is commonly believed to have been written in a time before the flood, explained in the story of Noah, took place, in the early chapters of Genesis. From Job 41 we learn that Leviathan was as follows:


  • The language of verse one suggests that he spent some of his time in the sea, and that people have attempted to catch him there. Tying down his tongue was perceived as a helpful strategy for safety, but was impossible to effect. (Job 41:1)
  • Leviathan had a nose by which he could be conceived as being caught with a cord through its nostrils. It also has a jaw that could be imagined as being hooked in order to catch (41:2). The question, put by God Himself seems rhetorical. The sense and meaning of the questions seems to be constantly asking Job if he could do things that were absolutely humanly impossible, but were, obvious to Job, a simple matter for Yahweh to govern. As if God was saying something like, “Can you stoke the fires that comprise the sun?”
  • Job 41: 3 – 6 seem deeply sarcastic in its six questions. One cannot but see that God Himself – for it is God who is speaking in this description of Leviathan – sees it as inconceivable that any man, or group of men could render Leviathan vulnerable or submissive. Leviathan would never ever be in need of mercy (3a). The concept of any human being enslaving Leviathan is ridiculous (4). The thought of giving an enslaved Leviathan (if it were at all possible to catch him) as a pet to one’s daughters was laughable (5a).
  • There was obviously some sort of impenetrable skin that Leviathan was clothed with, especially around his head. Harpoons and fishing spears are mentioned, hinting that he lived in the sea (41:7).
  • His incredible strength and hardiness is obliquely stated in 41:8 when God says, “If you lay a hand on it, you will remember the struggle and never do it again!”
  • God says that it is impossible for anybody to subdue Leviathan and that one would be overpowered at the very sight of him (41:9).
  • The Almighty then states that this breath-taking creature was virtually so large, so strong, so wild and so impenetrable as to any physical weakness that there was nobody and nothing on earth that could in any way rouse his anger. (41:10a). The point that God’s logic was making was that this huge sentient being, this monster named Leviathan was the most awesomely wild and hugely powerful beast of the whole of creation, so huge and fearsome that nothing physical in the cosmos could match him or even arouse his anger, apart from the fact that Leviathan was meekly and weakly submissive to God Himself. Thus, the last phrase of 41:10, “Who then is able to stand against me?” and the whole context of verse 11.
  • 2701f

    Leviathan also had these shield like plates on his back.

    God refers to Leviathan’s grace of movement and strength of limb (41:12) and the fact that it not only has a tough impenetrable covering of skin, but a second coat of armour (41:13) – namely a layer of scales shaped as military shields (41:15). Or is God referring to a spinal line of defensive plates as suggested by paleontological opinion of the Stegosaurus (41:15). The point being, as far as my readers and I are concerned, that this Leviathan was like nothing that is alive on the planet in this day and age, and frighteningly unique in Job’s day.

There were probably no specimens of Leviathan alive in Isaiah’s day.

  • The fearsomeness of Leviathan is enlarged even further as God asks – again, rhetorically – of Job, concerning attempts to prize Leviathan’s mouth open with greatfear of the mouth that was ringed with sharp and dangerous looking sets of teeth (41:14), the bad rationale that would cause anybody to attempt close up contact with the beast.
  • There is no aspect of physical weakness in Leviathan (41:15-16). His scales are jagged and provide foolproof protection both above and beneath him (41:30). Those scales are air tight and water tight, closed so tightly that nothing known to man could penetrate between them.
  • Then we have the revelations of verses 18 -21. Leviathan breaths out flashes of light when he snorts. What is that light? It is flames of fire pouring from his mouth. There are sparks, flames and smoke that all come shooting out. Leviathan’s breath sets coals ablaze. It’s all there in black and white.
  • Leviathan’s neck is particularized as a major centre of his strength. It suggest to me that his neck was either incredibly long, or remarkably sturdy. In stating that dismay goes before him, my inner eye sees a greatly prolonged neck that is long enough for the head to confront people long before his feet are seen.(Job 41:22).
  • His skin and scales are such that even where the skin folds they are immovable for air and water (41:23).
  • The verses in the latter 10-11 verses of Job 41, complete the picture f Leviathan’s strength and appearance. He had a check as hard as a lower millstone (v24). He has a tail that he thrashes when he rises, and is terrifying to man (v25). Those that have ever got near enough to Leviathan to strike him with sword, spear, poisoned dart and/or javelin, have discovered that all three weapons have absolutely no impact or effect on him (v26). When he is struck with iron, whether it be by sword or girder, it bends as it strikes Leviathan, as if he is unaware that he has been struck, and wooden beams also split and crack and break up like rotten wood (41:27).  Arrows don’t move him, and sling shots are like dust in the wind (v28). Being struck with a machete club Leviathan considers as a piece of straw. War cries and the rattling of multifarious battle lances humour him (v29). One cannot attack him from beneath without the fear of death for being beneath him. His undersides are like jagged pottery that drag on the floor like a threshing sledge. (v30). He leaves snail like slime behind him and by the heat of the fire within him when he steps into the sea or deep water it starts steam arising as if from a boiling kettle or cauldron that leaves a glistening silver wake behind him (v 31-32). He leaves strands of matter behind him that makes people think the water has white hair.


i2701-cIt is, therefore, no wonder at all that God says to Job, “Nothing on earth is its equal – a creature without fear.  It looks down on all that are haughty; it is king over all that are proud” (Job 41:33-34). We have the quote from Psalm 74 to add, which refers to Leviathan’s “heads,” and then the description of Isaiah 27:1 and we have a picture.


We conclude that whatever Leviathan is (or was) – it was clearly a monster like, dragon like, multi headed giant creature which moved by “gliding” and “coiling.” It is portrayed by the combination of its usages in the Old Testament as a huge, frightening creature that was to be greatly respected and kept clear of. I am persuaded that it is the safest route to simply anglicize the Hebrew word and leave it as “Leviathan.” It is clearly an “aka” of the devil, and/or the powers of hell in general, as far as Isaiah was concerned. I am saying that Leviathan (twice) and the dragon of the sea, in Isaiah 27:1, are the same creature. And the creature Leviathan is likened to the power that ruled over Assyria, Babylon and  Egypt, in the same manner Daniel talked of beasts and bears  when referring to the rose of Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome.


So! What does all this verbosity mean in the context of Isaiah 27:1, where commentators are split whether it is the last thought of the context of Isaiah 26, or the opening statement of the thoughts contained in chapter 27? Nobody, it seems, wants to suggest that Isaiah 26 and 27 should actually be one whole chapter – which is my opinion. For me, this first verse of 27 stands alone as both the conclusion of chapter 26 and the hinge to the contents of chapter 27.


Meditating over Isaiah’s use of “Leviathan,” when referred to as the “gliding serpent,” it seems to me to point towards Assyria on the Tigris River. The phrase “the coiling serpent,” suggest to me Babylon on the Euphrates. The word translated as “dragon” or “monster” of the sea is the same Hebrew word that Ezekiel used in a later generation when referring to Egypt, as in Ezekiel 29:3, and 32:2. These three nations were the chief enemies of Israel in Isaiah’s day, and together they are representative of all the enemies who are against God and His people.


Isaiah saw a day coming when God would punish the megalomaniac power of Assyria, Babylon and Egypt “with His sword.” The destruction of these powers will be total, complete and absolute never to rise again on this earth in the manner in which they did in the time Isaiah lived. The repetition of the creature, three times, emphasizes the supernatural character of the punishment. Their chastisement is a foretaste of the complete punishment to come on all ungodly nations during the Great Tribulation at the end of this age.


I believe Leviathan to have been a true fire breathing creature of Job’s day, and that his usage in Isaiah 27:1 is a parable from a factual creature, of how the spirit world ran the three empires of which the whole of the middle eastern world was terrified, and set for judgement.