Isaiah 22

Isaiah 22  •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 9
But Jerusalem too must come under judgment, as we see in chapter 22; and here again, as is so often the case, and particularly when Israel is in view, we find a double fulfillment contemplated. The prophet sees the city, once full of joy, now full of misery and sorrow. It was “the valley of vision”, but now the vision had perished, and the valley was full of besieging chariots. And in this dire emergency instead of turning to God in repentance and seeking His mercy, they busied themselves in taking all the measures of defense that they knew, and then settled down to enjoy themselves, even if death came on the morrow.
“Let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we shall die” is the reckless cry of men who know there is danger ahead, but are determined to have their fling before it arrives. The Apostle Paul quoted these words in 1 Corinthians 15:3232If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die. (1 Corinthians 15:32), showing that if this transient life were all, and there were no resurrection of the dead, such a reckless attitude might be justified. We have come to an age in the world’s history when men are aware of awful dangers ahead, and with no real faith in the resurrection world, this ancient saying is in control of their lives. With no fear of God before their eyes, millions are determined to get all the pleasure possible out of life with the hope that death ends all. We are to be marked by a spirit which is exactly the opposite of this, and to be always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that there is the resurrection world, and that our labor is not in vain in the Lord. Let us also remember that in an emergency it would be quite natural for us to do in principle what Israel was doing, as the enemy threatened them. They adopted what looked like wise military strategy instead of turning to God, which would have involved weeping, sackcloth and repentance, such as marked Nineveh in Jonah’s day. The flesh in us would prefer policy, that appears so wise, rather than penitence, that costs so much to our pride.
This thought is emphasized by the episode regarding Shebna and Eliakim, recorded at the end of the chapter. Shebna was a man with much riches passing through his hand, for he was the treasurer. Thus he had distinction in this life, and building for himself “a sepulcher on high,” he desired to perpetuate his memory when his life was over. Self-exaltation was evidently his aim. He was rejected, and God would dispossess him so effectively that the chariots of his glory would turn out to be the shame of his lord’s house, as we see at the end of verse 18.
Shebna then was rejected and Eliakim, whose name appears to mean, “God is setting up,” was to take his place. This transfer actually took place during the reign of Hezekiah, according to the word of the prophet, but we see in it a parable of what will take place at the end of the age, when the self-exalting “man of sin” will be violently turned and tossed to destruction, and the once-rejected Christ shall be exalted and established. Of Him Eliakim, in this incident, was a faint type.
This is evident when we read Revelation 3:77And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; (Revelation 3:7), and note how our Lord claims for Himself the very things that are said of Eliakim in verse 22 of our chapter. He it is who is worthy to have the government laid upon His shoulder, not only of Jerusalem and Israel but of the whole universe. He it is who will hold the key of David and will unlock and bring to light and establish “the sure mercies of David,” of which we read in chapter 55. Eliakim doubtless had a place of much authority under Hezekiah, but the graphic and conclusive figures, we find here, go far beyond him.
Notice three things. First, the key and the opening or shutting of the door, which no man can reverse. No such door has ever yet been found under the control of mere man. The authority and power indicated is Divine.
Second, “the nail in a sure place.” What place on earth is sure? Where has such a nail been found? The nail moreover is to be “for a glorious throne to his father’s house,” and to have “all the glory of his father’s house” hung upon him. Great statements these! They only find proper fulfillment in our Lord Jesus Christ, for indeed, not only the glory of the house of David hangs upon Him, but also the glory of God that is found in redemption.
But now, third, there comes the paradox. The nail that is fastened in the sure place is to “be removed, and be cut down and fall.” Here surely we have one of those partly hidden references to the rejection and death of the Messiah which the Old Testament furnishes. In the light of the New Testament all becomes clear. He will be manifested as the Master of every situation, and as the One upon whom everything hangs in the coming age, just because,
“By weakness and defeat
He won the meed and crown.”
So in the end of our chapter we have a reference prophetically to the removal of the man of sin and the establishment of God’s Man the Son of Man in His excellence, maintaining the glory of God and the blessing of men.
The copyright for this material is assigned to Scripture Truth Publications. Used by permission.