Text: Isaiah 33
If I were going to give today’s teaching a title, it would be, “When He Arises.” What happens when the LORD arises from His throne? Everyone will see it. Many who defy Him, including sinning believers, will tremble, knowing they will be judged. But those who love and obey Him will rejoice, for they will know that the kingdom of heaven is at hand! What good news for those who walk righteously, the ones in whom the King of kings reigns!
Verse 1 —
First, who is the destroyer in this passage? For northern Israel, it is the Assyrians, for Judah, it is Babylon, and for today, it is the one behind all evil regimes — Satan. All are equally boastful because they destroyed but were not destroyed, and were treacherous though others did not deal treacherously with them.
So they destroyed, but the LORD says that as soon as they finish destroying, they will be destroyed! And they were treacherous, but as soon as they cease to deal treacherously, others will deal treacherously with them.
What they have done will come back onto them, at the hand of the Lord. Remember that the Assyrians were invaded by Babylon. And then Babylon was invaded by the Medo-Persians. And Satan will meet his end in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10).
All earthly kings, and Satan himself, will be defeated. And it will be exactly according to the LORD’s plan. Nothing happens without His permission. And for believers in whom the King of kings reigns and in whose hearts the Father, Son and Spirit fully and permanently dwell, Satan is already defeated! The sin nature that Satan loved to manipulate is crucified, dead and buried. Hallelujah!
Verses 2-3 —
When they repent and return to Him, God’s people cry out to Him to be gracious (stoop low, have pity) toward them. Now they wait for Him, entwining themselves with Him. So, He fills them with His Holy Spirit (32:15). Then He is their strength every morning. They no longer depend on their own strength.
He is their salvation in the time of distress! When they repent, Judah no longer relies on salvation through Assyria or Egypt. And believers who have repented and cried out for Him to purify their hearts and fill them with His Holy Spirit no longer rely on man’s ways, man’s wisdom, and the world system that defies God.
When the Lord makes a loud, rumbling noise (think of the noise of His voice in John 12:28-29), peoples (those who refuse Him) flee. When He arises from His throne (see Verse 10) lifting Himself up, He exalts Himself. How? He is seen awesome, and He is seen as One who keeps His promise to those who repent.
Therefore nations (peoples who willfully reject Him) disperse (are scattered). When He arises, they see that His power is greater than their greatest armies and their false gods!
Verses 4-5 —
When the LORD arises, His spoils of battle are quickly gathered up by His people, as a stripping locust gathers. Men rush about quickly, like locusts, upon the spoils from His battle.
What are the spoils which the LORD gives to us? What has Jesus Christ won for us? Salvation from the wrath of God, and reconciliation to Him! And then, freedom from slavery to sin, when we ask Him to fill us —
John 8:34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. 35 “The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. 36 “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”
Oh, quickly gather up what He has won for you!
Zion filled with justice and righteousness! I tell you the truth, when you repent and ask your Father in heaven to fill you with His Spirit (Luke 11:13), you are filled with His justice and righteousness — His character, His nature (2Peter 1:4).
It happens when the King of kings reigns in you (32:1). And He reigns in you when the Spirit is poured out into you (32:15). Jesus commands you to stay and wait (Luke 24:49) and wait (Acts 1:4-5)!
Verse 6 —
The LORD’s wisdom and the intimate knowledge of the LORD are the stability of those who are filled with Him. He is the strength (power) of their salvation, and they are filled with His strength (power).
Stability! Power! They will stand, when everything that can be shaken is shaken (Hebrews 12:27), for the unshakable Christ and the Father and the Spirit indwell them fully and permanently. And the fear (reverence, awe) of the LORD is a treasure to them, and never a burden! It is a delight to revere Him, to be in awe of Him who purifies and fills!
Verses 7-9 —
Now the LORD gives Isaiah a vision of His people who have fought in their own strength, breaking their covenant with the LORD (see Verse 8). He humbles you, beloved, when you try to fight in your own strength.
Isaiah describes humbled Judah. The brave men among His people are left crying in the streets. Judah’s ambassadors of peace weep bitterly. They have not sought peace with the LORD, but with other countries who cannot save them. The highways are desolate, with no travelers upon them.
Judah has broken their covenant with the LORD, and the effect is weakness, weeping, bitterness, and desolation. Judah has despised and rejected their own cities, which are now in ruins. And now, broken and mourning, Judah no longer regards man, whose breath is in his nostrils (Isaiah 2:22).
May it be so in the church, Lord! Humble and break them so they mourn and no longer regard man!
All of Israel’s territories mourn and pine away. Lebanon is shamed and withers, Sharon is like a desert plain, Bashan and Carmel have lost their ability to produce fruit. Their leaves — the life source of a tree — have been shaken off.
Verses 10-12 —
When Judah is at the end of itself, the LORD will arise, says the LORD! Who will He arise against? The enemy of His people. Then He will be exalted. Then He will be lifted up. It is the same for you, O believer! When you are at the end of yourself, He will arise, and He will exalt Himself — you will see that He is not just an idea, but the God of heaven!
The enemies of Judah have not given birth to wheat that has nutritional value, but to chaff that is blown away in the wind. They have given birth to stubble, which is simply the bottom of the wheat plant, after the wheat has been harvested. It has no value, and provides no nourishment. They produce nothing of value.
The LORD’s breath will consume His enemies like fire. Who are His enemies? The rebellious peoples — both those who reject Him and those who are His but rebel against Him — will be burned to lime. They will be like cut thorns that are consumed quickly when they are set aflame by the fires of hell.
Verses 13-14 —
The LORD says to those who are far away (the Gentiles) and those who are near (the Jews) “Hear what I have done, and know (personally experience) My might!” NOTE: See Ephesians 2:17 for “you who were far away,” and “those who were near.”
What will be the reaction of His sinning people, and all peoples, when the LORD arises and does these things? Sinners in Zion and in the church will be terrified. The godless (corrupt, defiled, polluted) will be seized with trembling.
They will say, We are next! But who among us can live with the consuming (devouring) fire? Who among us can live with continual (everlasting) burnings!
Verse 15 —
Here is a description of the one who will not burn in the day of the LORD’s judgment —
He who walks righteously and speaks with sincerity (uprightly)
He who rejects unjust gain
He who shakes his hands so that they hold no bribe
He who stops his ears from hearing about bloodshed (plots to murder)
He who shuts his eyes from looking upon evil
Those who are righteous are those in whom the righteous King reigns. Those who are filled with His Holy Spirit are filled with His righteousness. Therefore, they will not burn in the day of His judgment.
Verse 16 —
The one who is filled with His righteousness will dwell on the heights, with the Lord. He will ascend to His holy hill —
Psalms 24:3 Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? And who may stand in His holy place? 4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood and has not sworn deceitfully. 5 He shall receive a blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
The LORD asks, does that describe you, beloved? If not, do not despair, but cry out to be filled!
His refuge will be the stronghold of rock. What is this rock? Oh, it is Jesus Christ (1Corinthians 10:4).
And the Lord will give him his bread — he will be filled with that which satisfies, even the Holy Spirit, and his water will be sure because he is filled with the Lord’s living water!
Verses 17-19 —
O filled believer, your eyes even now see the King of kings in His beauty, and you behold the far off land of heaven. The day will come when you see Him face-to-face, and when you enter the kingdom of heaven, forever —
1Corinthians 13:12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.
You will remember the terror you lived through, before the Lord saved you and then filled you with His Spirit. Now, you no longer fear, for He has poured out His perfect love in your heart (see 1John 4:18). And He has given you His peace (John 14:27)!
You will say, Where are the ones I used to fear? Where are the deceivers? Where is he who counts deceitfully? Where is he who weighs with lying scales? Where is he who counts the towers, to determine whether a city can be overrun? All of them are gone!
You will no longer see a fierce people, a people of stammering tongue which no one understands — again, that was the sound of the Akkadian dialect spoken by Assyria and Babylon. O believer, the words of Satan, the father of lies (John 8:44), will have no effect on you — they will sound like unintelligible stammering!
Verse 20 —
Judah will behold Jerusalem, the city of their feasts unto the LORD. The land will be at peace, undisturbed and they will inhabit it.
This cannot pertain to natural Jerusalem, for they have continually been greatly disturbed. The tent of Jerusalem was folded up when Babylon destroyed it, and after the 70-year Babylonian captivity, Jerusalem and all of Judah and northern Israel were ruled by the Medo-Persians, and finally, by Rome.
Then, in 70 AD Jerusalem was completely destroyed by Rome. Even today, it is partially possessed by pagans, and is far from being undisturbed.
So this passage cannot pertain to natural Jerusalem, but must pertain to the heavenly Jerusalem, the heavenly Zion. It pertains to the realm where Jesus Christ is seated with His Father. He is the one for which the feasts are but a foreshadowing. It surely is at peace, for there is no evil there. It certainly is undisturbed.
It surely is now and will yet be inhabited by those who are His, in even greater numbers than the myriads upon myriads and thousands upon thousands who now inhabit it.
The heavenly Zion and heavenly Jerusalem surely will never be folded up. Its stakes will never be pulled up so as to destroy the markers of its territory. None of its tent cords will be pulled apart. It is the kingdom of heaven!
Verse 21 —
All who have repented and returned to Him, and all who are filled with His Spirit, they will see the place where the majestic LORD dwells. Jesus Christ returned there to prepare a place for those who obey Him (John 14:2-3).
And He will be for them like a place of rivers and canals, on which no invader’s boat or oars will ever go, and on which no enemy’s mighty ship will pass.
Indeed, Ezekiel sees the rivers, in Ezekiel 47:1-12. Go there, and read Ezekiel’s vision of the heavenly temple, and the rivers flowing from it!
Why will the majestic One be like a river, like wide canals? Because in His kingdom, Satan is defeated and the King of kings reigns. All of Satan’s vessels of war are nowhere to be seen!
And even now, His rushing, flood-stage rivers will flow from the bellies of those who are filled with His Holy Spirit. Indeed, we find Him to be an endless source of living water!
Verse 22 —
Now, the Lord is your Judge, and He will judge in your favor. You do not fear His judgment, for you are filled with His perfect love! He has given you His law, written your heart. With King David, you cry —
Psalms 40:8 I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my heart.”
He is your King! He rules and reigns in you. And He has saved you to the uttermost, even from your inborn sin nature (Hebrews 7:25, Galatians 5:24)!
Verse 23 —
As for the enemy’s mighty ships, the LORD says to him, “Your tackle hangs slack. It cannot hold the base of its mast firmly. It cannot spread out the sail. Your cargo will become abundant spoil, divided among the lame (humbled ones), who will take the plunder!”
If you have humbled yourself before the Lord, and cried out to Him to be filled with His Spirit, the enemy of your soul, Satan, will be plundered. You were his spoil, but now you are set free from the sin nature Satan loved to manipulate!
He cannot escape the judgment of the Lord, because his ship’s tackle, all its ropes, winches and even its mast are weak. Its sails are now useless for escape!
Verse 24 —
Beloved, those who have repented and been filled with His Spirit will reside in the kingdom of heaven which they have inherited, for their sin nature is crucified and they no longer sin against the Lord. Paul writes this to the believers at Corinth —
1Corinthians 6:9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.
No one in the kingdom of heaven will say, “I am sick,” for there is no sickness in the kingdom of heaven. Even now, I testify that Jesus Christ healed me of MS, and Jeff of damage to his heart from a massive heart attack. He arose, and the work of the enemy was plundered!
Those who dwell there have been forgiven for the sin they committed before their sin nature was crucified. Praise God for sending His Son to carry our sin on a cross!
Are you a citizen of the kingdom of heaven? Are you fully assured that you are His? Or have you rebelled against Him by continuing to sin against Him?
If you have continue to rebel, cry out for the Lord to crucify your sin nature and fill you with His Holy Spirit. Then His kingdom will be set up inside of you, and you will stand before Him with clean hands and a pure heart, on the day of the Lord.
Lord Jesus, may believers hear and heed, so they and we are able to rejoice together in Your presence, forever and ever! Make it so, I pray. Amen.