Isaiah 4

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning,
that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Romans 15:4

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 A Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough

Copyright 2006 James Melough

4:1.  “And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel; only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach”


This continues the description of the worldwide destruction that will devastate the earth in the Great Tribulation.  So numerous will be the casualties in the wars, that the male population will be reduced to only about one-seventh of its normal size.  Not even the carnage of the two most recent world-wars has resulted in such appalling loss of life.


4:2.  “In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that escaped of Israel.”


This seems to look beyond the Great Tribulation to the Millennium, and the phenomenal fruitfulness of the whole earth during that glorious age; but clearly the reference is first to the Lord Jesus Christ, for in Zechariah 3:8 and 6:12 He is called the Branch.


“... for them that escaped of Israel” emphasizes that she who has condemned herself to chastisement instead of blessing for over twenty weary centuries, will have her blinded eyes opened to see that He Whom she rejected and crucified was her Messiah, Savior and Lord.  Those long years of affliction are the symbolic adumbration of the eternal punishment awaiting those who die without having trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior.


4:3.  “And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem:”


See comments on chapter 2:3 for the significance of the meanings of Zion and Jerusalem.


“... written among the living” is not to be confused with those whose names are “written in the Lamb’s book of life.”  These mentioned here as being “written among the living ...” are they, the believers who alone will be physically alive at the end of the Great Tribulation, and who will pass into the Millennial kingdom; the latter are those of all the ages who are spiritually alive, i.e., who have eternal life through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior.


4:4.  “When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning.”


The “daughters of Zion” is a metaphor for all the citizens, men and women alike, but since the woman speaks of submission of the will, as the male does of its activity, the point being emphasized is that all will have yielded themselves willingly to doing evil - filth, in the present context, meaning excrement, and indicating how utterly abhorrent sin is to God.


“... the blood of Jerusalem” refers to all the blood wantonly shed within its walls; and its being purged “by the spirit of judgment” means that God will execute judgment against the perpetrators; the “spirit of burning” referring possibly to His destruction of the guilty.


The JFB Commentary makes the following instructive observation, “The same Holy Ghost, who sanctifies believers by the fire of affliction ... dooms unbelievers to the fire of perdition.”


The murder of the Lord Jesus Christ was the crime that sealed the city’s doom, His blood crying out for vengeance, with God’s judgmental response coming in the destruction of the guilty city by Titus in 70 AD, which left it a burnt-out ruin that was later rebuilt.  She however, has never repented of her atrocity, with the result that in the impending Great Tribulation she will suffer the terrible judgments that will compel her repentant confession, and bring God’s pardon to the surviving contrite remnant.


But again, the literal is a symbolic portrait of the spiritual.  The destruction of unrepentant Jerusalem foreshadows the awful fate of the sinner who dies unrepentant: he will suffer the eternal torment of the dreadful lake of fire.


4:5.  “And the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defense.”


An alternative rendering of the last clause is, “upon the glorious whole.”


A similar phenomenon occurred in connection with the Tabernacle during Israel’s forty years in the wilderness, see Exodus 13:21, that prodigy being a type of the Holy Spirit’s ministry to the Church during this present dispensation of grace, in which He indwells every believer, they being the living stones which comprise the Church.  That pillar of cloud and fire was a defense for pilgrim Israel, which is also described as God’s glory, see Isaiah 46:13, “... I will place salvation in Zion for Israel my glory.”  The Holy Spirit is no less the guardian of the Church as she traverses the wilderness of this evil world on her way home to heaven.


4:6.  “And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge; and for a covert from the storm and from rain.”


Other renderings of this verse are “for over all the glory shall be spread a covering.  And there shall be a pavilion for a shade in the daytime from the heat, and for a refuge and for a covert from storm and from rain,” ASV; “For over all, his glory will be shelter and protection: shade from the parching heat of day, refuge and cover from storm and rain,” NAB; “For glory shall be spread over all as a covering and a canopy, a shade from the heat by day, a refuge and shelter from rain and tempest,” NEB.  It means that God’s glory will be spread over the Millennial temple.


This is also the symbolic assurance of His unceasing care for every member of the Church.  His glory is inseparably linked with His bringing her safely home to heaven in spite of every effort of Satan to destroy her.

[Isaiah 5]

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     Scripture portions taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version
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