Harry Whittaker
The Time Of The End

21) The Little Apocalypse (II)

Isaiah 25

The chapter division here is artificial. The burst of thanksgiving in verse 1 celebrates the assertion of divine authority in Jerusalem with which chapter 24 concluded: “O Lord, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done a wonder of counsels: of old are (thy) faithfulness and truth.” The last phrase, which invariably alludes to the Covenants of Promise (compare 24: 23: “his ancients”) becomes in the Big Apocalypse the name of Jesus: “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war” (Revelation 19: 11).

Similarly, “a wonder of counsels” echoes the title of Messiah in Isaiah 9: 5: “his name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor.” Thus this part of the prophecy declares itself a prophecy of Christ.

The picture of ruin and destruction of an altogether God-less civilization is continued: “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.” The end of the works of men is a final end. Now, and for all time, the divine right of man is swept away, and honour given to the Unknown God: “Therefore shall the strong people glorify thee, the city of the terrible nations shall fear thee. For thou hast been a stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the needy in his distress (here is the protection of the faithful remnant in the Last Days), a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.” It is the language of a nuclear age in fear from itself.

The next verse, puzzling enough in the Common Version, clamours for re-translation — perhaps thus: “With the sword of Zion thou shalt humble the noise of strangers, as when the heat burns under a Cloud (the Shekinah Glory?) a psalm shall bring down the terrible ones.”


The contrasting picture of God’s blessing on His people is one of the most delightful to be found in all Isaiah’s 66 chapters.

When the Law was inaugurated at mount Sinai, Moses and the elders of Israel saw the glory of the God of Israel “and did eat and drink”—they shared a meal of fellowship in the Divine Presence. But now, when the Gospel of Christ comes to its consummation, “in this mountain (Zion; see ch. 24: 23) shall the Lord of Hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things ... of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.” Under the Law the choice fat was God’s portion, to be offered on His altar (Leviticus 3: 3-5), but now this is shared with mortal men who are mortal no longer, for they share the divine nature. “Wines well refined is another phrase, which teaches the same truth. In this happiest of re-unions is fulfilled the implied promise of Jesus: “I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

The covering over all nations (it clearly means “people out of all nations”— see chapter 17) marks their leprous uncleanness in the sight of God (Leviticus 13:45) is now taken away. Death is swallowed up in victory and forever (the Hebrew phrase has both meanings). It is not a conquest that will need to be renewed. Tears will be wiped from off all faces, and will never flow again. For this is the final and happy uniting of the Messiah with his redeemed people: “Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him (because His very name Jehovah enshrines a purpose and a promise), we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation (in his Jesus!).” This “waiting” is not a selfish waiting but springs out of an intense eagerness to see the honour of God vindicated in a world which thinks it can do without Him: “With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgements 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” (Isaiah 26: 8, 9).

This vindication of the God of Israel will necessarily involve the assertion of His authority over the nations that have done despite to His people. So the prophecy continues with words which have often been read as out of place in this context: “For in this mountain (Zion, which was once a threshing floor!) shall the hand of the Lord rest,” and the threshing floor of Jehovah shall be where such drastic divine action is most called for: “and Moab shall be trodden down under him, even as straw is trodden down in the dunghill.” This Arab enemy, the last to vaunt himself against God’s nation, will have his pride brought down “together with the spoils (or, craft) of their hands.” And the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.

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