Isaiah Chapter 4 Seven Women, Ecclesiastical, Holy Remnant

Jul 23rd, 2009 | By | Category: Psalm 83 and Gog & Magog, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

Isaiah Chapter 4 Seven Women, Ecclesiastical, Holy Remnant

Isa. 4:1 And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach.

There were no chapter divisions in the original Hebrew writings. Verse 1 is abruptly sandwiched in between Chapter 3 and the remainder of Chapter 4.

What do the seven women taking hold of one man have to do with either chapter, or is it a separate lesson?

Comment: Verse 1 is usually interpreted in connection with the nominal Church. Seven branches of the nominal Church would take hold of “one man,” Christ, and say, “We will eat our own bread [doctrine] and wear our own apparel [our own justification],” etc. But the phrase “in that day” is puzzling. When would that be?

Reply: The next verse (4:2) also contains the phrase “in that day.” Matthew 24 keeps using “then”; sometimes it is sequential (referring to successive events occurring in a pattern or sequence), and sometimes it is just a review (a repeat). Here in Isaiah, verse 1 is isolated. The rhythm of the previous chapter slows the reader down. The Pastor gave the spiritual connotation as mentioned. The seven women represent the nominal Church, which is likened to a woman during the seven periods of the Church down through the Gospel Age, including Laodicea. That application will be considered first.

What do the seven women want to do? They want the name of Christ, but they want their own doctrine (“bread”) and form of justification (“apparel”) instead of Christ’s robe of righteousness. They are not particularly interested in doing the things of Christ (learning his doctrine, receiving the forgiveness of sin, walking in the narrow way, etc.); they just want his name. There are many forms of self-justification and self-righteousness: social works, candles, etc.

What is the thought behind “Let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach”?

Comment: During the supremacy of the false Church, it was a reproach not to be considered a Christian.

Reply: Yes, that is why excommunication was such a strong punishment. To be excommunicated meant the loss of livelihood, friends, property—even the loss of life at times.

The fault is in the eating of their own bread and the wearing of their own apparel. The fault does not lie in wanting to be called by the Lord’s name.

From the standpoint of natural Israel, it was God’s name that was desired. They wanted to be known as true Israelites. In this prophecy in Isaiah of the Diaspora, it was a reproach or a stigma to be a Jew, so they desired to be looked upon favorably. At one time many Jews even desired to be Christians. For example, many Jews are identified with Christian Science, which is a religion that caters to the wealthy and usually attracts the better educated; for Jews it was profitable business-wise to be identified with a “Christian” name. Thus many Jews found that blending in with the prevailing religion or thinking of the time helped them to escape persecution and want.

Again from the standpoint of natural Israel: Many would apply verse 1 to their national judgment when they were in a condition of separation, without homes, wealth, loved ones, goods, reputation, and “lovers” (alliances with other nations). The Jews would be looking for consolation and security in the sense of esteem from their fellowmen. This is what happened to the Christian Church in the days of Constantine after the years of persecution.

Isa. 4:2 In that day shall the branch of the LORD be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel.

In verse 1, if “in that day” applied to the nominal Church during the seven phases of its experience, then the phrase would apply to the Gospel Age. However, in verse 2 the phrase “in that day” refers to the glorification of Israel at the end of the age when the Kingdom is established in power and glory. The Jewish survivors of the Gog and Magog invasion of the Holy Land will have a wonderful experience.

Verse 2 in the KJV states, “them that are escaped of Israel.” The RSV has “the survivors of Israel [of Jacob’s Trouble].” That they will be very highly honored, and why they will be “beautiful and glorious” and “the fruit” most pleasant, will be shown subsequently.

Isa. 4:3 And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in

Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem:

Comment: It is interesting that verse 3 says, “he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy.” This would harmonize with other Scriptures that indicate the survivors will be a “Holy Remnant.”

Reply: The fourth chapter of Isaiah emphasizes the Holy Remnant in no uncertain terms. Notice the repetition of terms in verses 2–4: Israel, Zion, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Zion, and Jerusalem. The terms are more or less synonymous, all referring to natural Israel. And notice the repetition of phrases referring to survivors in verses 2–4: “them that are escaped,” “he that is left,” “he that remaineth,” and “even every one that is written among the living.” What could be more emphatic? The Lord plainly uses repetition to impress these points upon us.

And here is an even more emphatic point: the account says not only that the survivors who live through Jacob’s Trouble will be blessed, but that others will realize the blessedness—that the Holy Remnant are hand-picked survivors. God wrote down the names of the survivors in advance. Their names are “written”; and Daniel 12:1, another witness to the existence and survival of a Holy Remnant, says the names are “written in the book.” “At that time shall Michael stand up … for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.” When the trouble comes in Israel at the hands of Gog and Magog, the names of everyone who is to be spared will have been previously recorded. God will command the holy angels to protect these individuals so that they will not die.

Based on other pictures, we use the illustration that when a wall falls down or someone tries to shoot a particular Jew and everything misses, not only will the shooter realize there is a direct providence in that life but the individual himself will begin to realize something unusual is happening. God wants the Kingdom and the new government to be a holy Kingdom when it is established. It is not that the Holy Remnant are living the most honorable lives but that those Jews who survive will be amenable to the Kingdom and be good citizens. The Kingdom will start with a holy nucleus. (Incidentally, those who die in Jacob’s Trouble will come forth from the tomb later like the world of mankind.)

“Written among [the book of] the living” means those of the Holy Remnant are to be kept alive. With this understanding, Daniel 12 takes on a distinctly future application. The fact the names “shall be found written in the book” means that Michael will read the book. When he stands up (future), it will be “for the children of thy [Daniel’s] people [ie, for Israel, particularly the Holy Remnant].” Now Obadiah 21 begins to take on new meaning: “And saviours [plural] shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD’S.” The “saviours,” the Little Flock, will assist Jesus. Michael will not personally deliver each one of the Holy Remnant but will delegate responsibility: “John, you take care of this one. Paul, you take care of that one,” and so forth. In other words, when Michael stands up, the Church will be with him. From this standpoint, the “many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth [who] shall awake” (Dan. 12:2) pertains to the resurrection of mankind, starting with the Ancient Worthies. Some of mankind will awaken “to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”

Isa. 4:4 When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning.

The “spirit of judgment” is Jacob’s Trouble. This judgment will alert the Holy Remnant to their need for repentance and cleansing, and it will be far more severe than even Hitler’s furnaces because the psychological factor affects suffering. With the Holocaust of the past, many did not fully realize what their fate would be; they were in a kind of stupor as they traveled in freight cars. Their experience is not to be belittled, for it was a horrible experience, but almost until they were ushered into the gas chambers, they kept hoping conditions would change. From miles and miles away, only a few could tell that the stench was human blood and hair burning. But in Jacob’s Trouble the participants will be more sensitive and alert to what is happening, making it an even more severe test. At that time the Great Company will give a comforting message to Israel—“comforting” in the sense of being wholesome counsel regarding the meaning of that judgment and how they should react to it. Those Jews who listen to the message and respond will be among the survivors.

Q: Will Isaiah 3:10,11 apply to the Holy Remnant too? “Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings. Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him.”

A: Yes. During the Diaspora the distinction was not generally made between the righteous and the wicked, unless an individual was being called for a particular purpose. As a race, they wandered about aimlessly, as shown in the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus.

Dives, the rich man, saw Lazarus, a Gentile, in Abraham’s bosom and was in “hellfire” wanting a drop of water to cool his tongue. There was a great gulf between, for God had, as it were, turned His back on them. However, in Jacob’s Trouble, those who respond to the instruction will see that it is correctional, which is a big difference. They will see that there are guidelines and discriminations in the judgment. For the survivors the experience will be glorious. In fact, it will be so wonderful that they will cry and repent and say, “We are not worthy to have been chosen” (Ezek. 36:31). The Gentiles will see that the survivors are humble, contrite, repentant Jews; the conversion will be so thorough that the Gentiles will want Israel to be their leaders. Truly the “branch of the LORD” will be “beautiful and glorious”—truly humbled and hand-picked by God.

When those of the Gog element who live through the trouble go back as eyewitnesses to their home governments, they will say, “Not only did God spare these Jews, but we saw the salvation and glory with our own eyes.” God has promised to fight for Israel as He did in days of old. “Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle” (Zech. 14:3). Both the surviving Jews and the surviving Gentiles on the scene will recognize that God is fighting for the Holy Remnant. The Gentile eyewitnesses will report that God is the God of Israel, the Holy One of Israel. The emphasis on the purging of the Jews in Jacob’s Trouble is fourfold in verse 4: He will (1) wash away the filth of the daughters of Zion and (2) purge the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof (3) by the spirit of judgment and (4) by the spirit of burning.

Isa. 4:5 And the LORD will create upon every dwellingplace of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defence.

Just as every one of the Holy Remnant will be called holy (verse 3), so the Lord’s favor will be upon every dwelling place of Mount Zion.

Isa. 4:6 And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain.

Verses 5 and 6 give us an insight into what took place when 2 million Israelites came out of Egypt and went into the arid Sinai wilderness. For example, God’s providence on them was so pronounced that their shoes did not wear out for the entire 40 years despite the rugged, rocky terrain.

Imagine being a Moabite or an Ammonite on a mountain and seeing the Israelites coming at nighttime. You would see a cloud lighting the camp and a miraculous fiery pillar or column of the cloud over the Tabernacle reaching up into the heavens. The cloud cover provided light at night for the Israelites to see (to sleep, they went into their dark tents). For 40 years the Israelites were preserved from wind and sand storms, which are devastating in the wilderness. They were also protected from the danger of flash floods in the wadis.

A “covert” is a cover, and it means that the cloud was like a tent (almost like a literal tent) above the Israelites. In the sky this cloud exercised an influence that preserved them from “storm” (sand storms) and “rain” (flash floods), which comes down in torrents and races down wadis with the speed of a freight train. The cloud was a protecting cover against sand storms and flash floods.

The cloud also screened the Israelites from the heat of the desert. In order to fully appreciate the spiritual prophecies and antitypes, we must fully appreciate the type. Understanding the mood of this type and why the Holy Spirit calls attention to this particular experience helps us to realize the POWER of the larger picture and fulfillment. Back there the cloud shielded them from the burning rays of the sun. Normally there are no clouds in the desert, so this cloud was miraculous. The cloud was a covering or an awning upon all of the Israelites.

Notice the language of verse 5: “The LORD will create upon every dwellingplace of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud.” This cloud covered the entire nation (as opposed to the pillar foot extension of the cloud with a dark exterior that went down into the Most Holy and, like a chimney, contained the shekinah light). The mother cloud above covered the entire nation, not only their tents but even the surrounding countryside where they went to gather the manna. All of their assemblies were covered whether they were indoors or outside.

Now we can begin to understand the statement in Genesis 1:2 that the Holy Spirit hovered and fluttered over the waters of the deep in connection with creation. “And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” The power or spirit of God is invisible. We do not think of a cloud in the way it was used for the Israelites. Yes, we realize a cloud provides some shade and relief from the sun, but we do not realize its potential under God’s guidance.

Comment: Verses 5 and 6 are also a general lesson of how God will be with Israel in the future as He was in the past. The RSV says that “the glory there will be a canopy and a pavilion.”

Reply: 1 Corinthians 10:2 says that the whole nation was baptized under the cloud and in the sea. In other words, they all went through the divided waters at the time of the Exodus, but they went in a tunnel, the main cloud being over them. God’s protection was to their right and left and above them. In addition, He removed the pillar extension of the cloud from in front of them and put it behind them. The light shone forward to light their path, but to the pursuing Egyptians, the cloud created thick darkness. And so God’s Word is foolishness unto some, but life unto life unto others; the same elements are an odor of death unto death to one class and an odor of life unto life to another class.

In the next age, the people will see the Third Temple instead of the Tabernacle. The Ancient Worthies will be there, and Jerusalem will be the capital of the world. Rain will be withheld from the nations who do not send representatives to the Feast of Tabernacles.

In summary, just as back there the Lord had visible manifestations of His presence with His people, so in the future, when the Kingdom is established, there will be visible manifestations of divine power on behalf of natural Israel. The powers that were exercised back there were ephemeral, whereas those of the future will be more beneficial and everlasting. If the glory of Moses was such that the Israelites could not see his face, what will the antitype be?

Exodus 14:19,20 describes the movement of the cloud pillar, the “angel of God,” during the Exodus across the Red Sea: “And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them. And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them [the Egyptians], but it gave light by night to these [the Israelites]: so that the one came not near the other all the night.”

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