The Prophecy of Isaiah, Part 2 – Isa 1:1-3


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Isaiah 1:1-3

I Have Nourished and Brought Up Children, and They Have Rebelled Against Me.

These first three verses introduce to us the author through whom the Lord has given this “vision” and those to whom this vision is addressed. In the second verse we are made to know that from God’s perspective it is we who are the “heavens” which encapsulates the “earth”, and both must be addressed at this stage of our experience as vessels of clay in the Potter’s hand (Jer 18:4). If we see this vision as being addressed to anyone other than ourselves, then we will be judged out of our own mouths, and we will not be in that blessed and holy first resurrection (Eph 1:12; 1Pe 4:17 and Rev 20:6). The truth is that this vision of Isaiah is addressed to God’s elect first and foremost (Mat 4:4; Eph 1:11-12 and 1Pe 4:17).

Knowing these words are addressed to each of us in whom Christ is working His will, let’s begin this very revealing prophecy and vision of what God is doing within us, within these marred vessels of clay which He is in the process of remaking into “another vessel, as it seemed good to the Potter to make it” (Jer 18:4).

Let’s start at the beginning and consider the meaning of this prophet’s name:

Isa 1:1 The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.

Here is what the Matthew Henry Commentary tells us of the meaning of Isaiah’s name:

These are very appropriate words to describe this prophecy, but from Genesis to Revelation the scriptures teach us that “no man can enter into the temple till the seven plagues of the seven angels have been fulfilled [in the life of every man]”. “The salvation of the Lord” necessitates that we understand that the Great Potter by His own design must first destroy His marred vessel of clay in order to bring forth “another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it”..

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.

Rev 15:8 And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.

The fact that Isaiah prophesied during the reign of four kings is also of great significance for those who understand that four signifies the whole of whatever is under consideration. In this case, it is the whole body of Christ which is being considered; all who are given eyes to see and ears to hear the words of this vision and to apply them inwardly instead of placing the judgments of this vision off on someone else.

Isa 11:12 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.

For a more indepth understanding of the spiritual significance of the number four in scripture read our study on that number at this link:
Numbers in Scripture – Four, The Whole

“The salvation of the Lord” includes our falling into the ground and dying, as the corn of wheat must do before it can bring forth much fruit (Joh 12:24). The vision of Isaiah has much to say about the dying of the old Judah and Jerusalem as a harlot, to be replaced by the New Jerusalem and the making of the man, the new nation (Isa 62:1-2). “The salvation of the Lord” necessitates the fiery trials which judge the house of God first, and which burn out all the wood, hay and stubble within the house of God (1Co 3:13-15; 1Pe 4:12-17). These things all summarize the judgments to be found in this “vision of Isaiah”.

“The salvation of the Lord” necessitates our repentance from dead works to begin walking in newness of life (Rom 6:1-2). We are all brought to that repentance by “the goodness of the Lord”:

Rom 2:4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

One of the most insidious, and yet the most appealing, of all false doctrines is the one which makes “His mercy endures forever”, and “…a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Christ” to mean that Christ died for us so we would not have to “fall into the ground and die” to the sins of our flesh nor concern ourselves with “the righteous judgment of God”.

Psa 136:1 O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

Gal 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

We would never repent if indeed “the goodness of God” and the words of Psa 136:1 and Gal 2:16 meant that God would reward us for our sins. Quite the contrary, as the next verses in Romans 2 demonstrate:

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;
Rom 2:6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:

Psalms 107 spells out exactly what is meant by “the Lord[‘s] goodness”:

Psa 107:21 Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!
Psa 107:22 And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.

Psa 107:25 For he [“the Lord”] commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof.
Psa 107:26 They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble.
Psa 107:27 They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end.
Psa 107:28 Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.
Psa 107:29 He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.
Psa 107:30 Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.
Psa 107:31 Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!

Four times in this 107th chapter of Psalms we read the exclamation “Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!” (vs 8, 15, 21, 31). And after each time we are told how the Lord “raises the stormy winds”, and brings us “to [our] wits’ end”, what Paul calls “the righteous judgment of God”.

That is the theme of this prophet. That is the process that is this prophecy of Isaiah, “the salvation of the Lord”. Long before we were informed that the grace of God would abound much more than sin, Isaiah was telling us just that. Isaiah understood that the grace of God chastens and judges us to forsake ungodliness in our lives and to live godly lives in the present age (Tit 2:11-12).

Here is a verse which is the theme of this entire “vision of Isaiah”:

Isa 26:9 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.

The previous verse carries the same message:

Isa 26:8 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.

Here is this same message of “the salvation of the Lord” through the judgment and destruction of our old man in the New Testament:

Tit 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
Tit 2:12 Teaching [Greek: paideuo – chasten, Heb 12:6] us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
Tit 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
Tit 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

What we are being told in the Old and in the New Testaments, is that God’s grace operates only through His righteousness operating within us, dominating the rebellious, carnal-minded man of sin who would usurp His throne of righteousness within us.

Paul makes clear to us that grace does not reign within us through “ungodliness and worldly lusts”, but rather:

Rom 5:21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

If Christ, the new man, is living His life within us, then He is at this very moment redeeming us from all iniquity and purifying to Himself a special people, through His judgments upon the kingdom of our old man, the man of sin within us all. We “who first trusted in Christ” are those who must be judged first, must be the first to “learn righteousness” (Isa 26:9), and that is what Isaiah, Paul and Peter proclaim:

Eph 1:10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
Eph 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
Eph 1:12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

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?

“The Vision of Isaiah”

This is “the vision of Isaiah”. What does ‘vision’ mean? The word ‘vision’ first appears in this verse of scripture:

1Sa 3:1 And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision.

The phrase “there was no open vision” is intended to complement the fact that “the word of the Lord was precious in those days”. When we look at the Hebrew word ‘parats‘, translated “open” here, we discover that it means that there was no ‘increase’ in the knowledge of the Lord. It means ‘increase’, whether in a positive or a negative sense. Here is an example of the positive sense of this Hebrew word ‘parats‘:

Gen 30:43 And the man increased [Hebrew: parats] exceedingly, and had much cattle, and maidservants, and menservants, and camels, and asses.

God had seen fit to increase Jacob’s possessions in spite of all the efforts of his father-in-law to keep him from prospering. In like manner there was no shortage of visions in the days of “the vision of Isaiah”. There is an ‘open vision’, an increase in the knowledge of God in this “vision of Isaiah”.

…which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem…

This vision does not concern ‘Samaria and Israel’, or, as it is also called ‘Samaria and Ephraim’. Both terms, ‘Israel’ and ‘Ephraim’ are used to identify the northern kingdom which had split from the southern kingdom during the reign of King Solomon’s son Rehoboam. Isaiah’s prophecy is not addressed to those who had changed the laws of God so they could worship a golden calf in Dan and in Bethel. Both the northern and southern kingdoms turned their backs on their own God, but “Judah and Jerusalem” typify those who, in spite of their rebellion against their God, are chosen to be judged at this time, while the northern kingdom of Samaria and Israel typify those who are not being dealt with by God in this age.

1Ki 12:26 And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David:
1Ki 12:27 If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah.
1Ki 12:28 Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
1Ki 12:29 And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan.

Idols in scripture are “idols of the heart” (Eze 14:1-9). The leaders of the great harlot have made idols from the north to the south numbering two hundred million to make sure that no one returns to Judah and Jerusalem to worship the true God and know His true doctrines (Rev 9:16).

Many are called, but few are chosen to see through the smoke and the locusts which ascend up out of the bottomless pit to block out and darken the light of the Sun (Mat 22:14 and Rev 9:2). It is only those few who are being judged in this age:

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?

Rev 20:6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

This prophecy is not a vision which judges Babylon in this age, rather this vision concerns those who consider themselves to have come out of Babylon, and have been faithful to their God, as Abijah, the son of Rehoboam, made clear when warring against Jereboam and the northern kingdom of Israel:

2Ch 13:8 And now ye think to withstand the kingdom of the LORD in the hand of the sons of David; and ye be a great multitude, and there are with you golden calves, which Jeroboam made you for gods.
2Ch 13:9 Have ye not cast out the priests of the LORD, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and have made you priests after the manner of the nations of other lands? so that whosoever cometh to consecrate himself with a young bullock and seven rams, the same may be a priest of them that are no gods.
2Ch 13:10 But as for us, the LORD is our God, and we have not forsaken him; and the priests, which minister unto the LORD, are the sons of Aaron, and the Levites wait upon their business:
2Ch 13:11 And they burn unto the LORD every morning and every evening burnt sacrifices and sweet incense: the shewbread also set they in order upon the pure table; and the candlestick of gold with the lamps thereof, to burn every evening: for we keep the charge of the LORD our God; but ye have forsaken him.
2Ch 13:12 And, behold, God himself is with us for our captain, and his priests with sounding trumpets to cry alarm against you. O children of Israel, fight ye not against the LORD God of your fathers; for ye shall not prosper.

The point being made by the phrase “…which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem…” is that this vision concerns those who are “the house of God” and who are the first ones who trusted in Christ and are the first ones to be judged.

Eph 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
Eph 1:12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

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?

There is great apostasy in Judah and in Jerusalem. Jerusalem is said to have committed even greater sins than her sister Samaria, yet this vision and this prophecy is addressed to just such people who can see and confess that it is they who are ‘chief of sinners’, who are simply the first to be judged.

Eze 16:2 Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations,

If we refuse to ‘know our abomination’, then our blindness remains, and if our blindness remains our sins remain:

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.

So let’s ‘know our abominations’ now, in this age, and not wait and be made to see our abominations in the last harvest.

Eze 16:46 And thine elder sister is Samaria, she and her daughters that dwell at thy left hand: and thy younger sister, that dwelleth at thy right hand, is Sodom and her daughters.
Eze 16:47 Yet hast thou not walked after their ways, nor done after their abominations: but, as if that were a very little thing, thou wast corrupted more than they in all thy ways.
Eze 16:48 As I live, saith the Lord GOD, Sodom thy sister hath not done, she nor her daughters, as thou hast done, thou and thy daughters.

So has it always been. God has always used “the foolish… the weak… and the base things of the world… to bring to naught the things that are… mighty” (1Co 1:26-29). Jacob was a lying, conniving scoundrel, who sinned against Esau more than Esau sinned against Jacob. King David committed adultery and murdered the woman’s husband to cover up his adultery. He sinned against God, just like King Saul, and Saul of Tarsus persecuted the church and counted himself to be ‘chief of sinners’. That is the lesson for God’s elect to learn. Our qualification as God’s elect is not that we are better than anyone. Rather it is that we have been brought to see ourselves as the least deserving of His love.

These are His words to you and to me:

Deu 9:4 Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the LORD thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, For my righteousness the LORD hath brought me in to possess this land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD doth drive them out from before thee.
Deu 9:5 Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that he may perform the word which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Deu 9:6 Understand therefore, that the LORD thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou art a stiffnecked people.
Deu 9:7 Remember, and forget not, how thou provokedst the LORD thy God to wrath in the wilderness: from the day that thou didst depart out of the land of Egypt, until ye came unto this place, ye have been rebellious against the LORD.

This is the message of the vision of Isaiah to you and to me. It is we who “[were] corrupted more than they in all [our] ways”]. It is we who are ‘the chief of sinners’. Yet God is using the weak and the base of this world to be His servants and to be the channel of His mercy to all the rest of mankind:

Listen closely to these words:

Rom 11:16 For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.
Rom 11:17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;
Rom 11:18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.
Rom 11:19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in.
Rom 11:20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:
Rom 11:21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.
Rom 11:22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.

“Be not highminded, but fear… otherwise you also shall be cut off.” There is no greasy grace in the gospel of the kingdom of God within you. That is a great part of this “vision of Isaiah”, which is addressed to you and to me if we count ourselves to be those who are given eyes that see and ears that hear the mysteries of the kingdom of God. That “mystery” is indeed a secret which has been hidden from the world from the beginning of the ages, but it is now being revealed to us and in us:

1Co 2:7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
1Co 2:8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
1Co 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
1Co 2:10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

“The deep things of God” include the fact that He has chosen the weakest and basest of men to use as the channel of His grace to be given to all men of all time:

1Co 1:26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
1Co 1:27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
1Co 1:28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
1Co 1:29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.

1Ti 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

This is all part of a plan God had from before the world began. “The Lord has spoken”, and it is so:

Isa 1:2 Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: For the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me.

God does not hold us responsible for what “[He] has declared” and spoken (Isa 48:5). The scriptures, from Genesis to Revelation, all reveal that none of us are sinners by choice. We are all just what we are because it was all written in our books (Psa 139:16) before the world began (2Ti 1:9) that we would all be wicked [men] made by God Himself as such for [our own] “day of evil” (Pro 16:4). “It was not [us] but God (Gen 45:4-8) [who] made us to err from His ways and hardened our hearts from [His] fear” (Isa 63:17). “It is not we [who do any of this] but sin that is in [our] members” operating through “the law of sin [which God Himself has placed in our] members” (Rom 7:17-23). We are plainly told there is but “one lawgiver who is able to save and to destroy” (Jas 4:12) “after the counsel of His own will” (Eph 1:11). Satan certainly did not give himself “the law of sin”. Sin does not emanate with Satan. It emanates from “the law of sin… in [our] members”, and it operates along with “all things after the counsel of His own will”.

Isa 63:17 O LORD, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear? Return for thy servants’ sake, the tribes of thine inheritance.

Amo 3:6 Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?

With all of that firmly in mind, we can begin this study into whom God has chosen to be His elect, and to see that He really has chosen the weak and the base people of this world, and people who are despised to bring to naught the things that are highly esteemed in this world. These words are not for someone else. They are for you and for me, and they are telling us what it means to be “marred in the hand of the Potter” (Jer 18:4):

This vision is not speaking to those who are not given eyes that see and ears that hear. Those people will read these words and just naturally assume that these words apply to someone else because they have never been blind or in bondage to sin, and they have always seen and understood the meaning of Christ’s parables and all of His Words. Remember what we read earlier, it is our Lord Himself who tells us that we must first come to see that it is we who have been born blind before we will ever be given eyes that see the things of the spirit:

Isa 48:8 Yea, thou [“You” and I] heardest not; yea, thou knewest not; yea, from that time that thine ear was not opened: for I knew that thou wouldest deal very treacherously, and wast called a transgressor [spiritually blind] from the womb.

It was to the man who was healed of being blind from his mother’s womb that Christ said this:

Joh 9:35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?
Joh 9:36 He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?
Joh 9:37 And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee.
Joh 9:38 And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.
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.

We will benefit nothing from this study in “the vision of Isaiah” if we do not first acknowledge that we, too, were born spiritually blind as a bat. If we can do that, then we, too, “should have no sin” imputed against us.

If the Lord permits, we will cover the next three verses next week, and we will never make the mistake of thinking that these words are not speaking of each of us individually:

Isa 1:4 Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward.
Isa 1:5 Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.
Isa 1:6 From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.

Again, who is the subject of this vision?

Isa 48:8 Yea, thou [“You” and I] heardest not; yea, thou knewest not; yea, from that time that thine ear was not opened: for I knew that thou wouldest deal very treacherously, and wast called a transgressor [spiritually blind] from the womb.

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.

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