Isaiah 1 – Israel and the Great Tribulation: It seems impossible to believe that the Book of Isaiah, chapters 1-35, foretells of end times events in unimaginable detail, but it’s true. These chapters reveal a cohesive depiction of the Great Tribulation and coming Millennial Reign. There is no doubt that God has Isaiah prophesy concerning dozens of historical individuals and groups, but through all of it, He puts forth one central message – Israel being humbled during the Tribulation judgments and coming to faith in Jesus. In my book, The Rapture – The Tribulation Reign of the Antichrist you will see into the throes of the Great Tribulation. As we begin this study of Isaiah, you will be surprised to see that God has spoken extensively, not only about the Rule of the Antichrist, but the Two Witnesses and the Millennium.
In truth, Isaiah’s prophesies reach all the way into the day in which we live. Thus, in preparation for Heaven’s afterlife, it is time for us to become students of His word. As you read Isaiah 1, please follow as I offer commentary for each verse. If you’re at all hesitant to believe that the context of Isaiah reaches into these last days, hold on for Isaiah 2:2. In fact, you’re going to see the words again and again, “In that day.” While any one interpretation can be viewed differently based on context, let me appeal to you to allow the full framework to be elucidated. When you see that chapters 1 through 35 all hold firm in offering a future view of the Tribulation period, you will be struck at God’s amazing revelation.
Verse 1: The Lord Most High bids Israel to give heed, for He is a God who speaks. He tells of hidden things, and discloses His word to those who are His children. God asks what it will take to humble Israel’s heart, and bring it to a place of trusting His Son’s love.
Verse 2: God bids the heavens to hear that His children, Israel, have revolted against Him.
Verse 3: Although they ought to know of His lovingkindness, they fail to discern all that He has spoken of in His Son. Even as it says in Hebrews 1:1, “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son.”
Verse 4: God calls them a sinful nation, weighed down in iniquity. Instead, He has had to actively judge the prideful inclinations of their hearts, and resist them at every turn.
Verse 5: God asks how it is that He will strike or chastise them in order for them to turn.
Verse 6: God examines them as a physician, and finds a pronounced lack of health. In other words, He is looking for a sound understanding of His grace and love, but finds unbelief instead. He is looking for a humble and dependent heart that abides in His unconditional love, but instead finds sickness. He finds most of their energy is spent on gaining love for themselves, rather than loving their neighbor.
Verse 7: The Lord reaches into the second half of the Tribulation to show them what will be the result of their unbelief, describing Israel’s desolation and burnt out cities and fields. God tells Israel that it will be overthrown “by strangers,” meaning the Antichrist’s minions.
Verse 8: During the second half of the Tribulation, Israel, the daughter of Zion, will be “left like a shelter in a vineyard.” This “shelter” speaks of the protected side of Jerusalem during the second half of the Tribulation. Let me explain. After the Antichrist commits the abomination of desolation, the Jewish leaders will reject him. The Antichrist will immediately strike out against Jerusalem. The phrase “watchman’s hut” refers to the Two Witnesses who will establish a protective cordon around the southern side of Jerusalem that includes the area about Mount Zion (note Isaiah 4:4-6). Jerusalem will be a besieged city during these 3 ? years. During this time, the Two Witnesses will watch as the Spirit matures Israel’s faith and trust in Jesus.
Verse 9: There is little doubt that in order to survive, Israel will need the Two Witnesses. Otherwise, they will become like Sodom and Gomorrah.
Verse 10: After the Mideast War, the Tribulation will begin with Israel celebrating the rebuilding of the Temple. It will glory in the restoration of its religious practices. But God is so upset with Israel that He calls it Sodom and Gomorrah
Verse 11: God declares that He no longer accepts sacrificial offerings, for His Son died once for all, that all might be redeemed, even as it says in Hebrews 10:16: “Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.” Thus, the Temple’s offerings will be worthless, the incense offerings an abomination, the solemn assemblies unendurable, and the festivals a burden, for all was fulfilled by Christ.
Verse 12: God prophesies that the Antichrist will trample the Temple Courts (Rev 11:1-3).
Verses 13 and 14: God rejects Israel’s sacrifices and festivals.
Verse 15: God hides His face from the people, that they might turn back to Him. Israel will have approved of the martyrdom of the saints and continued to support the Antichrist, and will therefore have blood on its hands.
Verse 16: God invites them to become clean, and to come to, in essence, faith.
Verse 17: Ultimately, He will call them to love their neighbor, namely those people who are gathered in the protected side of Jerusalem. During those long 3 ? years, there will be plenty of opportunities for them to “seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, and plead for the widow.”
Verse 18: God will call them, through the Two Witnesses, Moses and Elijah, to faith in Jesus. But the Two Witnesses will find that Israel’s heart is hardened. Nonetheless, they will offer Jesus’ atoning blood to cleanse them of their sins. The promise to them will be to receive the best of the land, or the Millennial land of Jerusalem, where they will serve as priests to the Lord.
Verse 20: But if they refuse and rebel, they will be devoured by the sword. God makes this promise by His own mouth.
Verse 21: God declares that Israel’s willingness to trust in the Antichrist will make it a harlot. As the Antichrist takes up residence in the northern half of Jerusalem, righteousness will no longer lodge in her.
Verse 22: All the riches the Antichrist will have given will become dross.
Verse 23: God calls the Antichrist and his minions a bunch of thieves. The Antichrist will not defend Israel, who will sit as an orphan. Their plight will not be listened to by the enemy.
Verse 24: As the second half of the Tribulation comes to a close, God will defeat His adversaries.
Verse 25: Although God turns His hand against Israel, He will also raise up their faith in Jesus. That which seems impossible, comes about.
Verse 26: The repentant ones will be raised up in Jesus’ love, and will be ushered into the Millennial reign, and will be called the faithful city. Together they will serve in the New Jerusalem.
Verse 27: The Tribulation saints will be protected and redeemed from Mount Zion at Jerusalem.
Verse 28: But all the transgressors who come against them at Armageddon will be crushed together, even as it says that 100-pound meteorites will crash down on them (Rev 16:21).
Verse 29: Israel will surely repent and be ashamed of their unbelief and choosing false gods instead of the true God.
Verse 30: In the second half of the Tribulation, the land of Israel will be forsaken and made desolate.
Verse 31: Those “strong” in pride will be laid waste.