Prophecy of Isaiah – Isa 9:18-21 Wickedness Burns As The Fire…


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Isa 9:18-21 Wickedness Burns As The Fire... No Man Shall Spare His Brother

Isa 9:18  For wickedness burneth as the fire: it shall devour the briers and thorns, and shall kindle in the thickets of the forest, and they shall mount up like the lifting up of smoke.
Isa 9:19  Through the wrath of the LORD of hosts is the land darkened, and the people shall be as the fuel of the fire: no man shall spare his brother.
Isa 9:20  And he shall snatch on the right hand, and be hungry; and he shall eat on the left hand, and they shall not be satisfied: they shall eat every man the flesh of his own arm:
Isa 9:21  Manasseh, Ephraim; and Ephraim, Manasseh: and they together shall be against Judah. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.

Paul preached this same message Isaiah delivered to God's people when he said:

1Co 3:13  Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.
1Co 3:14  If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
1Co 3:15  If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

Where did Paul get this doctrine of suffering loss through fire? What does he mean when he says, "...and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is"? The answer is that Paul was instructed of the Old Testament to use such words, and the Old Testament tells us exactly what the word 'fire' means as it relates to mankind's experience with his Creator.

The first verse of our study today is a prime example of the Biblical and spiritual meaning of this word 'fire':

Isa 9:18  For wickedness burneth as the fire: it shall devour the briers and thorns, and shall kindle in the thickets of the forest, and they shall mount up like the lifting up of smoke.

What is the fuel for this 'fire'? The fuel is "briers and thorns, and... the thickets of the forest". We will see these symbols again as we come to see why the spirit uses the words "wickedness burns as a fire".

But before we demonstrate why the spirit uses this phraseology let's notice that the first word of this verse is "for", translated from the Hebrew word "kiy" which is defined as:

H3588
כִּי
kı̂y
kee

A primitive particle (the full form of the prepositional prefix) indicating causal relations of all kinds, antecedent or consequent; (by implication) very widely used as a relative conjugation or adverb; often largely modified by other particles annexed: - and, + (forasmuch, inasmuch, where-) as, assured [-ly], + but, certainly, doubtless, + else, even, + except, for, how, (because, in, so, than) that, + nevertheless, now, rightly, seeing, since, surely, then, therefore, + (al-) though, + till, truly, + until, when, whether, while, who, yea, yet,

If we want to know why "wickedness burns as the fire", then we need to look at the two previous verses, which tell us:

Isa 9:16  For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed.
Isa 9:17  Therefore the Lord shall have no joy in their young men, neither shall have mercy on their fatherless and widows: for every one is an hypocrite and an evildoer, and every mouth speaketh folly. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.

"Everyone is an hypocrite and an evildoer, and every mouth speaks folly". That is why "wickedness burneth as the fire". And what are the Biblical words for symbolizing all this hypocrisy, evil doing, and evil speaking and folly? The first sentence of verse 18 answers this question for us:  "It ["His anger"] shall devour the briers and thorns, and shall kindle in the thickets of the forest, and they shall mount up like the lifting up of smoke".

"Everyone [who] is a hypocrite" and who is "an evil doer" whose "mouth speaks folly", lies and false doctrines of men, are that which furnish the fuel for this Biblical spiritual 'fire'. Jeremiah uses these same words in telling us what this 'fire' is, and what is the fuel for this 'fire'.

Jer 5:11  For the house of Israel and the house of Judah have dealt very treacherously against me, saith the LORD.
Jer 5:12  They have belied the LORD, and said, It is not he; neither shall evil come upon us; neither shall we see sword nor famine:
Jer 5:13  And the prophets shall become wind, and the word is not in them: thus shall it be done unto them.
Jer 5:14  Wherefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts, Because ye speak this word, behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them.

As we read earlier in this chapter, God's judgments in our lives are depicted as a great war in our heavens, but Isaiah tells us this war is contrasted with conventional warfare in these words:

Isa 9:5  For every [physical, natural] battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this [inward, spiritual battle] shall be with burning and fuel of fire.

It is important that we see the connection between the words 'battle" and 'fire'. If we fail to make that connection then we have missed the message of Isa 9:5, "Every battle... shall be with burning and fuel of fire", but if we are granted to make that connection it will add much meaning to Paul's words concerning "the fire [which] shall try every man's work" in 1Corinthians 3:

1Co 3:13  Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.
1Co 3:14  If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
1Co 3:15  If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

As Isa 9:5 reveals, Paul in speaking of "fire... trying every man's work of what sort it is" is speaking of a spiritual battle taking place in our lives. As these Isaiah studies have already revealed, "That day, [and] the day [which] reveals by fire... every man's work" is the day of God's fiery wrath upon the kingdom of our old man.

Psa 21:9  Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of thine anger: the LORD shall swallow them up in his wrath, and the fire shall devour them.

Eze 21:31  And I will pour out mine indignation upon thee, I will blow against thee in the fire of my wrath, and deliver thee into the hand of brutish men, and skilful to destroy.

Eze 22:21  Yea, I will gather you, and blow upon you in the fire of my wrath, and ye shall be melted in the midst thereof.

Peter also tells us 'that day' is a time of "fiery trials" which he then connects with "the time... that judgment must begin at the house of God":

1Pe 4:12  Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:

1Pe 4:17  For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

Here are two verses which tell us that this fiery wrath of God is nothing less than His judgment upon our rebellious old man's ways:

Job 19:29  Be ye afraid of the sword: for wrath bringeth the punishments of the sword, that ye may know there is a judgment.

Rom 2:5  But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;

This all accords with our next verse:

Isa 9:19  Through the wrath of the LORD of hosts is the land darkened, and the people shall be as the fuel of the fire: no man shall spare his brother.

By telling us "through the wrath of the Lord of hosts is the land darkened", this verse vastly expands our understanding of when God's wrath begins to be displayed in our lives. This verse tells us the darkness in our lives is the result of God's wrath and not the other way around. Now, if that is the case and the darkness in our lives is the consequence of the wrath of God upon the kingdom of our old man, that would mean that we are created into a darkened world in a marred vessel of clay, spiritually sinful and spiritually blind from our mother's womb.

Are we really conceived in sin? Are we really marred in the Potter's hand? Do the scriptures consistently teach that we are born spiritually blind? Are we born in a spiritually dead condition? Do the scriptures teach that we are born under the wrath of God from our mother's womb?

Here are the answers to each of those questions in the order in which they are posed:

Are we conceived in sin?

Psa 51:5  Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Are we really marred in the Potter's hand?

Jer 18:4  And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.

Are we really born spiritually blind?

Joh 9:39  And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.
Joh 9:40  And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also?
Joh 9:41  Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.

Do the scriptures actually teach that we are born into a spiritually dead condition?

Mat 8:22  But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.

Luk 9:60  Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.

1Ti 5:6  But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.

Rev 3:1  And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.

But where do the scriptures teach that we are under God's wrath from birth? Here, for those who can see it, is the verse which accords with all these preceding verses informing us that we are indeed born into carnal-minded, rebellious bodies of flesh and blood which are enmity against God (Rom 8:7) and which are under His wrath from birth.

Joh 3:36  He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

If indeed we are conceived in sin, marred in the Potter's hand from birth, and if we are born spiritually blind, and spiritually dead from our mother's womb, then it only follows that "the wrath of God abides on [us] from the time of our conception in our mother's womb.

Knowing this should make clear the meaning of "the bottomless pit". The Greek is the single word, 'abussos', and the darkness that comes upon the earth from the smoke that ascends out of that 'abussos':

Rev 9:1  And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.
Rev 9:2  And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.

So we are told:

Isa 9:19  Through the wrath of the LORD of hosts is the land darkened, and the people shall be as the fuel of the fire: no man shall spare his brother.

This Truth that we are a dying creature, shapened in inquity, marred in the hand of The Potter, born blind and spiritually dead, and born under the wrath of our Creator is graphically demonstrated for us in the fact that the first brother slew his first sibling. So it is, and it has always been that "no man shall spare his brother". This is a phrase which we will be seeing time after time throughout the writings of the prophets. The fact that is appears so many times tells us how central to the judgments of God is this principle of "no man shall spare his brother". Considering that "evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse" (2Ti 3:13), we can confidently say this prophecy also will have a climactic end-time fulfillment.

Isaiah has already introduced us to this concept:

Isa 3:4  And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them.
Isa 3:5  And the people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by his neighbour: the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient, and the base against the honourable.

Here are just a few more examples of this heavily emphasized principle:

Isa 19:2  And I will set the Egyptians against the Egyptians: and they shall fight every one against his brother, and every one against his neighbour; city against city, and kingdom against kingdom.

Jer 25:31  A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the LORD hath a controversy with the nations, he will plead with all flesh; he will give them that are wicked to the sword, saith the LORD.
Jer 25:32  Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth.
Jer 25:33  And the slain of the LORD shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground.

Hag 2:22  And I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen; and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother.

Zec 11:6  For I will no more pity the inhabitants of the land, saith the LORD: but, lo, I will deliver the men every one into his neighbour's hand, and into the hand of his king: and they shall smite the land, and out of their hand I will not deliver them.

Zec 8:10  For before these days there was no hire for man, nor any hire for beast; neither was there any peace to him that went out or came in because of the affliction: for I set all men every one against his neighbour.

Zec 14:13  And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour.

This brings us to our last two verses here in chapter 9. This is the fruit of living in that blind dark world with "every man's hand against the hand of his neighbor":

Isa 9:20  And he shall snatch on the right hand, and be hungry; and he shall eat on the left hand, and they shall not be satisfied: they shall eat every man the flesh of his own arm:
Isa 9:21  Manasseh, Ephraim; and Ephraim, Manasseh: and they together shall be against Judah. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.

"Every man's hand shall be against His neighbor... Ephraim will be against Manasseh, and Manasseh will be against Ephraim... and they together shall be against Judah" means that God Himself will send forth a spirit which will send the entire earth into a downward destructive death spiral, until, inwardly, the kingdom of our old man and, outwardly, the kingdoms of this world are completely starved to death and destroyed.

Always going back to Christ's admonition that you and I must live these words, we must acknowledge that "every man's hand against his brother"...snatching on the right hand, and being hungry...eat[ing] on the left hand and...not be[ing] satisfied" has an inward spiritual application which must first bring each of us to our wits' end, as we are dragged, kicking and screaming against our own will, to acknowledge that the beast within each of us has starved to death and has destroyed his own kingdom and yet, "His [Christ's] hand is stretched out still" against our proud, selfish, self-righteous, rebellious old man.

Many of you have told me that you knew there had to be more to the Word of God than you were receiving in the churches you attended. You and I are here today because we were spiritually starving to death in the darkness and spiritual poverty of Babylon. Then the judgments of God began troubling our minds and our hearts as we were given to see our own wretched and miserable condition. All of us were, at one time, very happy with the darkness we were living in. We were being held captive in Assyrian Babylon and we did not even know that "the wrath of God [was] abiding on [us]" (Joh 3:36).

Rev 3:17  Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
Rev 3:18  I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

Spiritual famine and spiritual poverty, blindness and nakedness are all one and the same thing. They all equate to the spiritual message of these last two verses:

Isa 9:20  And he shall snatch on the right hand, and be hungry; and he shall eat on the left hand, and they shall not be satisfied: they shall eat every man the flesh of his own arm:
Isa 9:21  Manasseh, Ephraim; and Ephraim, Manasseh: and they together shall be against Judah. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.

These spiritual afflictions want to come with us into the body of Christ. In the story of the healing of the epileptic, however, Christ tells us all that this self-destructive kind of spirit, with which we are all born, "comes not out but by fasting and prayer". It is all part of the ongoing judgment which must begin at the house of God (1Pe 4:17).

Mar 9:25  When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him.
Mar 9:26  And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead.
Mar 9:27  But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose.
Mar 9:28  And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out?
Mar 9:29  And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.

This deaf man typifies us all when we have no ears to hear or eyes to see. Being "rent... sore [and left] as one dead" is a very good description of each of us as God destroys the kingdom of our old man. This young man's self-destructive ways typify each of us in our own dumb and deaf and blind condition which casts us into the fire and into the water to destroy us. However, Christ, through His Word, "[takes us] by the hand, and lifts [us] up: and gives us life. Without Christ giving us the fast He has chosen, we would never be healed of that hopeless condition. And it is in that 'fast' that we are able finally to see and to hear what it is that keeps "every man's hand against his brother" within us. Here is that fast the Lord has chosen to cast that man of sin out of the temple of God within us:

Isa 58:1  Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.
Isa 58:2  Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God.
Isa 58:3  Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours.
Isa 58:4  Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high.
Isa 58:5  Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD?
Isa 58:6  Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?
Isa 58:7  Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?
Isa 58:8 Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward.
Isa 58:9  Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;
Isa 58:10  And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday:
Isa 58:11  And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.
Isa 58:12  And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.

It is only when we are given to do the things Christ says to do in verses 6 and 7, that we will no longer be deaf or blind. Then our light will break forth as the morning, and our health will spring forth speedily, and the Lord's righteousness within us will go before us.

If we 'take away from our midst the yoke, the pointing of the finger, at our brothers and sisters and the speaking of vanity against our brothers and sisters' only then will we stop spiritually being every man against his brother", and we will learn righteousness, and Christ will bring us to our desired haven where we will be given His peace:

Joh 14:27  Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Inwardly we can have this peace of Christ, here and now if we are baptized into His death, if we are resurrected with Him to walk in newness of life, dying daily, and being crucified with Him, daily offering our bodies as a living sacrifice.

If we are granted to be in that blessed and holy first resurrection (Rev 20:6), we can, in this life, be delivered from the hand of our brother and can live at peace with our brothers, here in this life, and we will also be granted to rule this world with Christ and then "judge angels" in the lake of fire (1Co 6:2-3) .

Until that day arrives and all flesh is destroyed both inwardly and outwardly, the Truth will continue to be that "For all this His anger is not turned away, but His hand is stretched out still", because our Creator is intent upon the destruction of "the last enemy ... death", and as long as there is flesh on this earth, death will reign over that flesh.

Once all flesh is eliminated, then all in Adam will be resurrected into spiritual bodies to be purified in the fire of that fiery sword which keeps the way of the Tree of Life, then all the dead of all time will be judged, and when God's judgments are in the earth, men will learn righteousness (Isa 26:9).

Next week, Lord willing, we will be given to see why our flesh cannot inherit the kingdom of God and why we are so blessed to be made to know the Truth which makes us free from the desire to preserve our flesh:

Isa 10:1  Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed;
Isa 10:2  To turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless!
Isa 10:3  And what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far? to whom will ye flee for help? and where will ye leave your glory?
Isa 10:4  Without me they shall bow down under the prisoners, and they shall fall under the slain. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.

[Questions or comments can be directed to the author at vinsmike@gmail.com]

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