Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah the son of Isaiah which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah kings of Judah. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters twenty-five through twenty-nine of this Old Testament book. When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find some absolutely incredible language that comes directly on the heels of the prophet Isaiah speaking concerning the day of the LORD. If you turn and direct your attention back to the previous chapter of this prophetic book you will find the prophet speaking concerning the Day of the LORD—and quite honestly presenting the student of Scripture with the first prophetic reality concerning its reality and manifestation within and upon the earth. The words which are found in the twenty-fourth chapter of the prophetic book of Isaiah are words that provide a great deal of insight into the tremendous reality of this great and terrible day and what it means for the inhabitants of the earth who are alive and present on the earth when it finally does take place. We dare not miss and lose sight of the words which are found in the twenty-fourth chapter of the vision which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw, for they help set the backdrop and foundation for what we find in chapters twenty-five through twenty-nine. It’s actually quite interesting to consider the language that is found in the chapters which are before us today, for there is a tremendous amount of language of victory and triumph that is found within these chapters. What’s more, is there is a great deal of peace, safety, rest, security, and the like which are mentioned and spoken of in these chapters—a reality which is going to be manifested immediately after the manifestation of the Day of the LORD. In all reality, I would dare say that we cannot truly understand the words which are found in these chapters without understanding those found in the twenty-fourth chapter, for the twenty-fourth chapter presents us with a great and terrible day of destruction, devastation, chaos, calamity, confusion, sorrow, anguish, and so much more. What is presented before us, and what Isaiah the son of Amoz saw in the twenty-fourth chapter of this prophetic book is truly incredible when you take the time to think about and consider it, for the prophet paints quite a vivid picture of the events that will take place in the Last Days—days when the LORD can and will unleash judgment upon the earth. Please do not miss and lose sight of the words found in this chapter, for I am absolutely and completely convinced that the words found in chapters twenty-five and twenty-six have their meaning in the manifestation of the Day of the LORD.
Upon reading the words which are found in the twenty-fifth chapter of the prophetic book of Isaiah it would be very easy to allow ourselves to get excited with what is written and recorded within them, and yet completely miss the point that is found in the twenty-fourth chapter. There would be those who would seek after and pursue the reality and manifestation of what is found in the twenty-fifth chapter of this prophetic book without understanding—perhaps even walking through the reality that is found in the twenty-fourth chapter. As I sit here today I can’t help but be brought face to face with the reality of how incredibly important context is when reading and seeking to understand Scripture. There are a number of men and women who—although they do in fact read the Scripture and the words contained therein, do so absent, without and apart from context. Perhaps one of the greatest realities that surrounds this truth and importance of context is what is found in the twenty-ninth chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah. Many students and scholars of the Scripture alike have focused a great deal of time on the words which are found in the eleventh verse of the chapter, and they like to focus on the truth and declaration that the LORD knows the plans that He has toward and for us, and they even link the words which are found here in this passage to the words which are found at the end of the fifty-fourth chapter of the book of Isaiah, and even the eighth chapter of the New Testament epistle which was written unto the Roman saints. There are many who have read the words which are found in the eleventh verse of the twenty-ninth chapter of the prophetic book of Jeremiah, and upon reading these words spend a considerable amount of time focusing on the truth and promise that is contained therein. Please note and please understand that I am in no way diminishing the words or promises that are found in this particular portion of Scripture, but one of the things we must recognize is that these words weren’t written to Gentiles, nor were they even written to the chosen people who were living in the midst of the land of Israel. The words which are found in the twenty-ninth chapter of the prophetic book of Jeremiah were written to captives and exiles who had been carried away captive out of their land and the place of promise and inheritance, and brought into a place of captivity and exile in a strange and foreign land.
The words which you find in the twenty-ninth chapter of the prophetic book of Jeremiah weren’t written to Gentiles in western civilization, nor were they even necessarily written to us within this generation. I fully realize that the words which Jeremiah wrote in this letter unto the captives and exiles in the land of the Chaldeans can indeed provide tremendous hope, encouragement and support for countless men and women throughout the history of Christendom, yet the truth and underlying reality surrounding these words is that in order to understand the promise the LORD made through Jeremiah that He knew the plans He had for them we must think about and consider that promise in the context of the letter in which it is found. The words which are found in this verse have widely and largely been used completely independent from the rest of the chapter, and as a result of this I am convinced that the true weight of its meaning has been lost in translation. Countless men and women have read these words and have spent a considerable amount of time, effort and energy building a doctrine and theology around it, The same reality holds true of the words which are found in the fifty-fourth chapter of the prophetic book of Isaiah when the prophet declares that no weapon formed against us shall prosper, and every tongue that rises against us we have the bush Tori thy and power to cast down as the heritage of the servants of the LORD. Many men and women choose to focus all their attention on this single verse, and yet they fail to understand and appreciate the tension that exists around this verse as this verse and the words contained within it are the last words of the chapter. What’s more, is that this verse is the last verse found in the chapter, and therefore there is a great risk of isolating this sole verse, which is the last verse in the chapter, and causing it to say what we want it to say. I am absolutely and completely convinced that in order for us to truly understand the full weight and measure of what is found in the final verse of the fifty-fourth chapter of the prophetic book of Isaiah we must consider it in l ought and relation to what is found in the preceding verses. We play a dangerous game with God, and with Scripture when we seek to isolate a single verse from the verses before, after and around it. What’s more, is that there has even been a song that was written around this verse, and was written and produced back in the nineties by contemporary Gospel artist Fred Hammond. I do have to admit that I have enjoyed this song, and the meaning behind it, however, it is based off one single verse that is found at the end of one of the chapters in the prophetic book of Isaiah, and therefore does not have the full weight and meaning of what is contained within the chapter. I firmly believe that the words found in this chapter cannot truly be understand without and apart that which is found in the preceding verses.
With all of this being said, I am convinced it is absolutely necessary to at least call and draw your attention to the words which are found in these two chapters, for they help reveal just how incredibly important context is when seeking to read and understand Scripture. What’s more, is that I am convinced that it is also necessary to think about and consider the words which are found in the eighth chapter of the New Testament epistle which the apostle Paul wrote unto the Romans, for there are countless men and women who would like to emphatically speak of there being therefore no condemnation, as well as nothing separating us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, and even our being more than conquerors without truly understanding the words which are found before and around those main verses. It is with this in mind I now invite you to consider these three passages of Scripture before we turn and direct our attention back to the words which are found in chapters twenty-five through twenty-nine of the prophetic book of Isaiah. Consider if you will the words found in the twenty-ninth chapter of the prophetic book of Jeremiah, the words found in the fifty-fourth chapter of the prophetic book of Isaiah, and the words found in the eighth chapter of the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Roman saints:
“Now these are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem unto the residue of the elders which were c arrived away captives, and to the priests, and to the prophets, and to all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried away captive from Jerusalem to Babylon; (After that Jeconiah the king, and the queen, and the eunuchs, the princes of Judah and Jerusalem, and the carpenters, and the smiths, were departed from Jerusalem;) by the hand of Elasah the son of Shahanna, and Gemariah the son of Hilkiah, (Whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent unto Babylon to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon), saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of I steal, unto all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem unto Babylon; Build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them; Take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that ye may be increased there, and not diminished. And seek the pace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the LORD for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace. For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Let not your prophets and your diviner’s, that be in the midst of you, deceive you, neither hearken to your dreams which ye cause to be dreamed. For they prophesy falsely unto you in my name: I have not sent them, saith the LORD. For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, s with the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon. Me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD: and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive” (Jeremiah 29:1-14).
“Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; Break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the LORD. Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes; for thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited. Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more. For thy Maker is thine husband; The LORD of hosts is His name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; the God of the whole earth shall He be called. For the LORD hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God. For a small moment have I forsaken thee: but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer. For this is was the waters of Noah unto me: For as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee. For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee. O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, Behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundation with sapphires. And I will make a thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones. And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the pace of thy children. In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee. Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by me: whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake. Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy. No weapon formed that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD” (Isaiah 54:1-17).
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, bu t after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritual minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, He is none of His. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as. Many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, ABBA, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expection of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the c feature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but yourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for. But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the h earth knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to eh charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea, rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall e able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our LORD” (Romans 8:1-39).
The words which we find within these three chapters are but a few examples of how we tend to take single verses and isolate them to either make them say something they were never intended on saying, or to make them say something we want them to say. When we read Scripture it is absolutely necessary and imperative that we pay close attention to that which comes before, and that which comes after, for Scripture interprets Scripture, and context is one of the greatest keys to understanding and unlocking Scripture. It is with this in mind that we must turn and direct our attention back to the twenty-fifth chapter of the prophetic book of Isaiah, as well as the chapters which come immediately after that, for in order to understand the words which are found in the twenty-fifth chapter—even the words found in those which proceed after it—it is necessary that we recognize and consider the Day of the LORD which the prophet Isaiah spoke of in the twenty-fourth chapter. Having already spoken the burdens which the prophet had for the nations which surrounded Israel the prophet would be directed by the living god to focus on the Day of the LORD. Having just prophesied concerning the nations round about Israel the prophet would essentially turn his attention and focus to the world and the earth as a whole. It’s almost as if each burden which was spoken by the prophet would prepare and pave the way for the prophetic word which would be released concerning the whole earth. The nations which were round about the nation and land of Israel would find themselves at the very heart of burdens which the prophet Isaiah would speak unto them, and yet what you find in the twenty-fourth chapter is the truth that the Day of the LORD can and will touch the whole world and will impact the whole earth. The prophet Isaiah saw a word concerning the nations round about Israel, however, with that being said, the prophet also saw a coming day that would not only touch specific nations, but would touch the whole earth. Please do not miss, nor lose sight of this truly remarkable reality, for to do so would be to miss out on the absolutely awesome and wonderful truth that that judgment of the LORD can and will touch the whole earth. What’s more, is that the prophetic declaration concerning the Day of the LORD emphatically reveals and points to the tremendous reality that there will be no nation, there will be no people, there will be no person, there will be no corner of the earth that will be unaffected and not impacted by the Day of the LORD. When the Day of the LORD does indeed take place it can and will touch absolutely everything that is present within and upon the face of the earth.
In the twenty-fourth chapter of the prophetic book of Isaiah we encounter and come face to face with the manifestation of the Day of the LORD—a reality which would be expressed back in the thirteenth chapter. It would be in the thirteenth chapter—that chapter where the prophet Isaiah would take up a lament and burden concerning Babylon—that the prophet would first speak to the reality of the Day of the LORD, and would first present us with the notion and idea of a day that was coming which would strike the very heart of the earth. At the beginning of the burdens which were spoken and revealed concerning the nations we find a powerful prophetic declaration concerning the Day of the LORD, while after Isaiah finishes his declarations, his laments and his burdens concerning the nations, he will turn and direct his attention to the earth. The words located in the twenty-fourth chapter of this prophetic book don’t merely touch specific nations of the earth, but they touch the entire earth itself—and not only the earth itself, but also the inhabitants of the earth. Before we can truly understand the words which are found in the twenty-fifth chapter of the prophetic book of Isaiah, and those chapters which come thereafter, we must realize and recognize the dramatic truth that the Day of the LORD can and will come upon the face of the whole earth, and can and will touch all the inhabitants of the earth. The words which are found in the twenty-fifth chapter alone must be understood—not as something separate from the Day of the LORD and something that can be separated from the great devastation and destruction which will come upon the face of the earth, but as something that will be ushered in as a direct result. In all reality, I would dare say that the Day of the LORD, and that which we find and read in the twenty-fourth chapter of this prophetic book sets the stage and sets the tone for that which comes thereafter, and we must understand this reality is such. We dare not seek to isolate the words of the twenty-fifth chapter from that which is found in the twenty-fourth chapter, for the great triumph, the great peace, the great rest, and the great victory that is found in the twenty-fifth chapter was made possible as a direct result of the devastation and destruction which would precede it.
Taking a step even further it is necessary to think about and consider this in light of the events which took place in the land of Egypt—and not only in the land of Egypt, but also at the Red Sea. There was a great deliverance, there was a great triumph, there was a great redemption, there was a great breakthrough which took place in the midst of the children of Israel within the land of Egypt, however, that breakthrough and that deliverance would and could only be made possible as a direct result of the judgments which were unleashed and poured out upon the land of Egypt and the Egyptians. It would be one thing to speak of the deliverance the LORD wrought for the children of Israel during the days of Moses and Aaron, and yet completely neglect, ignore and forget that what made that deliverance possible were the judgments which took place within the land of Egypt. The children of Israel had to remain in the land of Egypt, and had to watch and witness the ten plagues and judgments of the LORD upon the land of Egypt before they would be released at the decree and command of Pharaoh. What’s more, is that even at the Red Sea we find the children of Israel needing to experience great fear, great terror, great dread, great trepidation at the Red Sea as the Egyptian army pursued them with horses and chariots to carry them back as slaves unto the land of Egypt. In order to truly understand the supernatural and miraculous nature of what happened at the Red Sea, it is first necessary to think about and consider the tremendously difficult place the children of Israel found themselves in, as they were stuck in an impossible place between the enemy and adversary and impossibility. The children of Israel were in the land of Egypt groaning under the weight, the burden and pressure of their taskmasters, and the cruel and violent oppression they inflicted upon them, and the LORD was at work in the midst of the land bringing them to the point and place where they would finally be brought forth out of the land of Egypt. Within chapters thirteen and fourteen—not only do you find the children of Israel being brought out of the land of Egypt, but you also find them being brought through the waters of the Red Sea. What’s more, is that when the children of Israel departed from the land of Egypt they did so having plundered and spoiled the Egyptians, and when they passed through the waters of the Red Sea the LORD would utterly and completely destroy Pharaoh’s army with its horses, chariots and riders. With this in mind, consider if you will the words which are found in the thirteenth and fourteenth chapters of the Old Testament book of Exodus, and how it is what took place in the land of Egypt—and specifically, what took place at the Red Sea—that opened and paved the way for the song of praise to be sung in the fifteenth chapter. Consider if you will the following words which are found in these three chapters of this Old Testament book describing the exodus from the land of Egypt, as well as the passage through the waters of the Red Sea:
“Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them, Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the Passover. And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the basin; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you. And ye shall observe this thing for an orindance to thee and to thy sons for ever. And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the LORD will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service. And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service? That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the LORD’s Passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when He smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped. And the children of Israel went away, and did as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they. And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORd smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on His throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of the cattle. And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there as not a house where there was not one dead. And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the LORD, as ye have said. Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also. And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We be all dead men. And the people took their dough before it was leavened, and their kneading thoughts being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders. And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians. And the children of Israel journey4ede from Ramses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children. And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle. And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought forth out of Egypt, for it was not leavened; because they were thrust out of Egypt, and could not tarry, neither had they prepared for themselves any virtual. Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years. And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, ,that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt. It is a night to be much observed unto the LORD for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this is that night of the LORD to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations” (Exodus 12:21-42).
“And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt: but God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red Sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt. And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him: for he had stratly sworn the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you; and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you. And they took their journey from Succoth, and encamped in Etham, in the edge of the wilderness. And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: he took not away the pill of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people” (Exodus 13:17-22).
“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before Pi-hahiroth, between Miguel and the sea, over against Baal-zephon: before it shall ye encamp by the sea. For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in. And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honored upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the Egyptians my know that I am the LORD. And they did so. And it was told the king of Egypt that the people fled: and the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was turned against the people, and they said, Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us? And he made ready his chariot, and took his people with him: and he took six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, and captains over every one of them. And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with an high hand. But the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army, and overtook them encamping by the sea, beside Pi-hahiroth, before Baal-Zephon. And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the LORD. And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? Wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness. And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them no more for ever. The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace. And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? Speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward: but lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea. And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gotten me honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen. And the angel of God which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them: and it came between the camp of the Egyptians, and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night. And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the LORD looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians, and took off their chariot wheels, that they drive them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the LORD fighteth for them against the Egyptians. .And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen. And MOsems stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all that hose of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them. But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. Thus the LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the shore. And Israel saw that great work which the LORD did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD, and his servant Moses” (Exodus 14:1-31).
The words which are found within these passages of Scripture bring us face to face with the great triumph the children of Israel had before and over the Egyptians, however, their triumph would not come without and apart from the judgments of the LORD. While the children of Israel were still in the land of Egypt as slaves who were oppressed and mistreated by their taskmasters the LORD was at work in the midst of the land bringing about His judgments, His plagues, His devastation and destruction upon both the land and the people. It’s actually quite intriguing to think about and consider the fact that the children of Israel were in the midst of the land of Egypt during each of the ten plagues which the LORD unleashed upon the Egyptians, and upon everything that was present in the midst of the land. The children of Israel would experience each of those ten plagues which would come upon the land of Egypt before they would ultimately and finally be released from their bondage, their oppression, and their slavery. Eventually, the children of Israel would march forth triumphantly and victoriously out of the land of Egypt—not only after the LORD would unleash His judgments of devastation and destruction upon the land of Egypt, but also after the children of Israel plundered and spoiled the Egyptians themselves. When the children of Israel departed from the land of Egypt they would do so after the LORD devastated and destroyed the land through His plagues, and after the children of Israel would plunder and spoil the Egyptians and leaving with a high and heavy hand. It’s quite astounding to think about and consider the fact that the children of Israel could have been brought forth from the land of Egypt before the LORD struck the land with the plagues, and yet the truth of the matter is that this simply was not the case. The children of Israel were in the land during each of the ten plagues, and were not spared from witnessing and beholding the plagues. What’s more, is that there were some plagues which might very well have struck and affected the children of Israel themselves before the LORD began to make a distinction between the children of Israel and the Egyptians, as well as between the land of Goshen and the rest of Egypt. This reality and concept is imperative to think about and consider when talking about the Day of the LORD, for there are countless scholars and students alike who would like to argue that the LORD can and will spare us from walking through His judgments within and upon the earth. There would be those who would think that the LORD can and will “rescue” us from the face of the earth before His judgments are unleashed upon it. The truth of the matter, however, is that I simply do not believe this is the case.
As I sit here this afternoon I find myself coming face to face with the absolutely awesome reality that we would like to think that we can and will somehow be spared the judgment, the devastation, and the destruction the LORD can and will unleash upon the face of the earth. There are those who would like to preach a pre-tribulations rapture, and that the LORD will rescue His saints from the face of the earth before His judgments begin to unfold in the midst of it. Pause for a moment and think about the fact that this reality might very well suggest that the LORD can and will remove the church and body of Christ from the earth before the judgments begin, and will somehow leave the Holy Spirit behind on the earth. Pause and think about a raptured church from the midst of the earth and the person of the Holy Spirit remaining behind upon the earth—perhaps to somehow be the manifest presence of God in the midst of incredibly difficult and turbulent times. I cannot help but think about and consider how absolutely misleading and misguiding this reality truly is when you take the time to think about it, for I cannot see the Church being removed from the earth while the Holy Spirit remains upon the earth during the seven years of the tribulation which will come upon the earth. I cannot see the LORD rupturing His church from the earth, leaving the Holy Spirit behind, and then unleashing His judgments upon the face of the whole earth. It is necessary that we understand and recognize this incredibly important reality, for it helps us come face to face with the awesome and powerful reality that the Day of the LORD—when it finally does manifest itself in the midst of the earth—is going to be an event that will be shared and experienced by both the people of God and the wicked alike. I do not believe for one moment that the LORD is somehow going to rescue and ransom us from this earth and leave the rest of the world to sort of suffer and struggle their way through it. In the New Testament John the Baptist was the prophetic voice and messenger which prepared the way for the appearing and manifestation of the Messiah at His first coming, and I am absolutely convinced that the Church and the body of Christ—moving and operating in the spirit of Elijah—will be a prophetic voice and messenger preparing the way for the second coming and the second appearing of Jesus the Christ. What’s more, is that we don’t even see Jesus coming in the clouds until the nineteenth chapter of the prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus the Christ, as He came with His holy saints who were with Him.
The words which are found in the twenty-fifth chapter of the prophetic book of Isaiah are truly powerful words of triumph and victory which would be experienced by the people of God after the Day of the LORD. The twenty-fourth chapter of the prophetic book of Isaiah describes events which will take place and unfold upon the face of the earth—events which can and will bring the divine judgments of the LORD upon the face of the earth. We must read the words written and recorded in the twenty-fifth chapter—as well as the words which are found in the subsequent chapters—and realize that the great triumph, the great victory, the great praise and shout that is found in this chapter comes after the judgments, comes after the desolation, comes after the devastation which was mentioned and spoken of in the previous chapter. What’s more, is that it is within the twenty-fifth chapter where we find the language used in the New Testament to describe the final triumph of Jesus the Christ, as well as the words which are found in the prophetic book of the New Testament book of the Revelation of Jesus the Christ. It is in the eighth verse of the twenty-fifth chapter that we find the declaration of death being swallowed up in victory—words which are written and recorded in the fifteenth chapter of the New Testament epistle of First Corinthians, which was written by the apostle Paul—as well as the declaration of the LORD wiping away the tears from off all faces, which is written and found in the New Testament prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus the Christ. The words found within these chapters point to a future triumph—not only for the people of God, but also for the true and living God after His judgments were unleashed within and upon the earth. There is coming a day when death can and will be swallowed up in victory, and there can and will come a day when the LORD will wipe away all tears from the faces of His people, yet that day can and will only come after the great and terrible day of the LORD—after the LORD unleashes His judgments, His devastation and destruction upon the face of the earth. Think about how much sweeter and how much greater death being swallowed up in victory is, and how much greater the LORD wiping away the tears from all the faces of His people after they had walked through the tremendous devastation and destruction of the Day of the LORD. With this in mind, I invite you to consider the words which are found in the twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth chapters of this prophetic book:
“O LORD, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth. For thou hast made of a city an heap; of a defenced city a ruin: a palace of strangers to be no city; it shall never be built. Therefore shall the strong people glorify thee, the city of the terrible nations shall fear thee. For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall. Thou shalt bring down the noise of strangers, as the heat in a dry place; even the heat with the shadow of a cloud: the branch of the terrible ones shall e brought low. And in this mountain shall the LORD of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined. And He will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death in victory; and the LORD God will win away the tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of His people shall He take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it. And it shall e said in that day, Lo, this is our God; We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation. For in this mountain shall the hand of the LORD rest, and Moab shall e trodden down for the dunghill. And he shall spread forth his hands in the midst of them, as he that swim the spreadeth forth his hands to swim: and he shall bring down their pride together with the spoils of their hands. And the fortress of the high forty of thy walls shall He bring down, lay low, and bring to the ground, even to the dust” (Isaiah 25:1-12).
“IN that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; we have a strong city; Salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks. One ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the Ruth may enter in. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: For in the LORD JEHOVAH is evastlting strength: for he bringeth down them that dwell on high; the lofty city , he layeth it low; he layeth it low, even to the ground; he bringeth it even to the dust. The foot shall tread it down, even the feet of the poor, and the steps of the needy . The way of the just is uprightness: thou, most upright, dost weigh the path of the just. Yea, in the way of thy judgments, O LORD, have we waited for thee; the desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee. With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. Let favour be shewed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness: in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the LORD. LORD, when thy hand is lifted up, They will not see: but they shall see, and be ashamed for their envy at the people; yea, the fire of thine enemies shall evoke them. LORD, thou wilt ordain Peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works in us. O LORD our God, other lords beside thee have had dominion over us: but by thee only will we make mention of thy name. They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise: therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, and made all their moment to perish. Thou hast increased the nation, O LORD, thou hast increased the nation: thou art glorified: thou hadst removed it far unto all the ends of the earth. LORD, in trouble have they visited thee, they poured out a prayer when thy chastening was upon them. .Like as a woman with child, that draweth near the time of her delivery, is in pain, and crieth out in her pangs; so have we been in thy sight, O LORD. We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were brought forth wind; we have not wrought any deliverance in the earth; neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen. Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body they shall arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. Come, my people, enter thou into thy tchambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be over past. For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain” (Isaiah 26:1-21).
As I bring this writing to a close it is absolutely necessary that we understand the words found in these two chapters, and how the words which are found and contained therein point to the reality of that day when the people of God are going to be rescued and redeemed from the midst of the earth, and are going to be brought into the glorious presence of the living and eternal God. When you read the words found in these chapters—not only are you reading words which come directly on the heels of the great and terrible Day of the LORD, but you are also brought face to face with the words which the apostle Paul wrote—not only in the first epistle written unto the Thessalonians, but also in the first epistle which was written unto the Corinthian saints. In all reality, I am absolutely and completely convinced that we must needs recognize and understand these words found in the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah, for the truth we find in the New Testament has its foundation in that which the LORD revealed through His servants the prophets in ancient times. It’s one thing to think about the words which the apostle Paul wrote unto the Thessalonian and Corinthian saints, however, we must remember and realize that much of this was not new revelation which the apostle Paul received from the LORD, but had its root and foundation in the words which the ancient Hebrew prophets spoke and mentioned during their day and generation. It is with this in mind I leave you with the words found in the New Testament epistle of First Thessalonians which the apostle Paul wrote, as well as the words which are found in the New Testament epistle of First Corinthians—both of which point to the glorious return of Jesus the Christ, and the glorious rapture of His people, and yet which have their root and their foundation in the words which the ancient prophets spoke. Consider if you will the following passages of Scripture and come face to face with the tremendous responsibility you have to make sure you are ready for that day when the LORD appears, as well as that day when the LORD rescues and redeems His people:
“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. For this we say unto you by the word of the LORD, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the LORD shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the LORD Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the LORD: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comet one another with these words. But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the LORd so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travel upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. B it ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:7).
“Now this I say brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all e changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall e raised incorruptible, and we shall e changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immorality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sitting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:50-58).