The Jews

Isaiah 18  •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 9
It will be interesting at the present time to say a few words on the chapter at the head of this paper.
It is a sweet privilege to the Christian to know beforehand the things that are coming on the earth, although they do not immediately concern him. His hope is a heavenly one, where judgments cannot come. Those judgments happen preparatory to the establishment of the millennial kingdom. The Christian awaits the coming of the “Morning Star,” ere the darkness which now shrouds the world is dispelled by the rising of the “Sun of Righteousness” (Mal. 4), which fills the world with blessing — he will then “shine forth as the sun” with Christ, in the Father’s kingdom.
The chapter gives us, in seven verses, a complete history of the events which take place at the time the Jews return to their land in a state of apostasy. The Lord does not interfere, but allows things to go on apparently prospering, and Israel having even the appearance of fruit bearing in the land of the fathers. The nations who had favored this return then recommence the old hostility to the Jews, who become their prey. The Lord then interferes with His mighty arm, and brings a remnant of them as a “present” to Himself to the place of His name — the Mount Zion which He loved.
Verses 1-3. — The prophet pronounces “woe” upon some great unnamed nation which lies outside the rivers of Ethiopia or Cush (the descendants of Cush, we are told, made a settlement on both these rivers), the Euphrates and the Nile — the two great boundaries of the land of Israel. We read in Genesis 15:1818In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: (Genesis 15:18), “Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt (the Nile) unto the great river, the river Euphrates.” He pronounces woe upon this nation, which is evidently a great maritime power, and which is engaged in favoring and helping the return of the people of Israel, “scattered and peeled” — wonderful from their beginning hitherto. He then calls all the inhabitants of the world and dwellers upon the earth to see and to hear.
Verse 4. — The Lord then tells the prophet that He will take His rest, and consider, in His dwelling-place, all that goes on — as yet He does not interfere. He allows man to run on to the height of his madness and folly, that He may show him his powerlessness
Verses 5-6. — Before the harvest — a figure of separating and gathering for the vintage of judgment (both figures are used in many places of Scripture thus, see Rev. 4:14-20), when the returned Jews seem to be spreading out as a vine in the land; and even the appearance of fruit bearing putting itself forth — “the sour grape ripening in the flower.” The vine is an old figure of the nation (see Isa. 5; Psa. 80:8-168Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it. 9Thou preparedst room before it, and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land. 10The hills were covered with the shadow of it, and the boughs thereof were like the goodly cedars. 11She sent out her boughs unto the sea, and her branches unto the river. 12Why hast thou then broken down her hedges, so that all they which pass by the way do pluck her? 13The boar out of the wood doth waste it, and the wild beast of the field doth devour it. 14Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine; 15And the vineyard which thy right hand hath planted, and the branch that thou madest strong for thyself. 16It is burned with fire, it is cut down: they perish at the rebuke of thy countenance. (Psalm 80:8‑16), etc.) All is then destroyed. The old hatred of the nations is turned against Israel. They are cut down and destroyed. The emissaries of Satan shall summer upon them; and the nations shall winter upon them; and all that appeared so promising is dashed to the ground. The time of the “great tribulation,” or “Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:77Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it. (Jeremiah 30:7)) has come, “but he shall be saved out of it.” In the language of Deut. 28:2626And thy carcase shall be meat unto all fowls of the air, and unto the beasts of the earth, and no man shall fray them away. (Deuteronomy 28:26), “Thy carcass shall be meat unto all the fowls of the air, and unto the beasts of the earth, and no man shall fray them away.” Or, as the Lord Jesus, talking of this time of trouble, says, “For wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together” (Matt. 24:2828For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. (Matthew 24:28), and the whole chapter to verse 44).
Verse 7, —”In that time” — in such a state of things as will then be, “shall the present be brought-unto the Lord of hosts.” A remnant of the people scattered and peeled — from a people terrible (or wonderful) from their beginning hitherto. The Lord Himself brings to Himself a present of the residue, or spared remnant, of His people, “to the place of the Lord of hosts, the Mount Zion” which He loved. That little spot which is His rest forever! “For the Lord hath chosen Zion: he hath desired it for His habitation. This is my rest forever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it” (Psa. 132:13,1413For the Lord hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. 14This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it. (Psalm 132:13‑14)). Having refused nationally to receive the Gospel of God’s grace, they (the remnant) are saved through the judgments of the Lord, which introduce the Kingdom.
As to the Christian’s hope, it is but one. The coming of the Lord Jesus to take His people out of the world, before these judgments take place. He has promised this. He has said to them,
Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth (Rev. 3:1010Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. (Revelation 3:10)).
This hour of temptation is detailed in Isaiah 24, and takes place ere the Lord of Hosts reigns in Mount Zion, and before His ancients gloriously. Isaiah 25 tells us of the deliverance of the remnant of the Jews, who say, “Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us: this is the Lord: we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.” Isaiah 26 gives us the song of the delivered remnant, and some details. Isaiah 27, the completing of the work, and the gathering of the ten tribes, to worship with their brethren of Judah, the Lord of Hosts at Jerusalem, in the glorious days of the millennial age.
The Lord’s coming is the hope of the Church — His appearing in glory with her, after this tribulation, which happens between these events, is the deliverance of the Jews, and the introduction of the Kingdom.
Words of Truth 1:209-212.