Isaiah Chapter 22: Valley of Vision, Fall of Christendom (Babylon)

Nov 30th, 2009 | By | Category: Isaiah, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

Isaiah Chapter 22: Valley of Vision, Fall of Christendom (Babylon)

Isa. 22:1 The burden of the valley of vision. What aileth thee now, that thou art wholly gone up to the housetops?

This prophecy against “the valley of vision” concerns Judah.

Isa. 22:2 Thou that art full of stirs, a tumultuous city, a joyous city: thy slain men are not slain with the sword, nor dead in battle.

Judah was exultant, prosperous, and joyous but should have been paying attention to warnings of a coming judgment. Judah had seen the judgment come on the ten tribes through Sennacherib and was now gloating that they were spared, considering themselves favored of God. Instead they should have been repentant and gotten down on their knees. The time between the defeat of the ten tribes and the trouble on Judah in 606 BC was an opportunity for Judah to repent, but they failed to act.

“Thy slain men are not slain with the sword, nor dead in battle.” Judah seemingly escaped certain judgments, but it was actually just a temporary reprieve.

Isa. 22:3 All thy rulers are fled together, they are bound by the archers: all that are found in thee are bound together, which have fled from far.

Verses 1-3 are a spiritual picture. Down through history, Catholicism has experienced many vicissitudes, but the system has seemingly weathered the storm. Both natural Israel and Catholicism have felt secure, protected, and safe, but judgment came and is coming.

Isa. 22:4 Therefore said I, Look away from me; I will weep bitterly, labour not to comfort me, because of the spoiling of the daughter of my people.

Isaiah was talking. He could not communicate the warning to the people at large. Being joyous, celebrating, and satisfied, they did not have a hearing ear.

Isa. 22:5 For it is a day of trouble, and of treading down, and of perplexity by the Lord GOD of hosts in the valley of vision, breaking down the walls, and of crying to the mountains.

In the type, this was “a day of trouble” for Judah. In antitype, it is “a day of trouble” for Christendom. The Temple was in Jerusalem, the capital city. And the Roman Catholic Church, located in Rome, the spiritual capital of the world, is considered the mother church. Doom is pending despite the festivities and rejoicing. Similarly, Babylon was feasting and felt secure, even though the enemy was just outside the broad walls, when suddenly there appeared handwriting on the wall and capture.

Isa. 22:6 And Elam bare the quiver with chariots of men and horsemen, and Kir uncovered the shield.

Isa. 22:7 And it shall come to pass, that thy choicest valleys shall be full of chariots, and the horsemen shall set themselves in array at the gate.

The Assyrians came down almost to the gate, but because Isaiah and King Hezekiah prayed together, God miraculously delivered Judah temporarily. In vision, Isaiah saw the enemy (the Assyrians) ready to attack.

Isa. 22:8 And he discovered the covering of Judah, and thou didst look in that day to the armour of the house of the forest.

Isa. 22:9 Ye have seen also the breaches of the city of David, that they are many: and ye gathered together the waters of the lower pool.

Isa. 22:10 And ye have numbered the houses of Jerusalem, and the houses have ye broken down to fortify the wall.

Isa. 22:11 Ye made also a ditch between the two walls for the water of the old pool: but ye have not looked unto the maker thereof, neither had respect unto him that fashioned it long ago.

Verses 8-11 are a reference to the building of Hezekiah’s Tunnel. When the king heard that the enemy was coming, he realized there were many breaches in the protection of the city. As a result, he did two things: (1) He built a wall to keep the water supply inside the city. The spring was inside, but it wove around outside in the valley where the enemy could cut off the water supply, making Jerusalem vulnerable in time of siege. (2) He had a tunnel dug to channel the water from the upper (Virgin) pool down through the rock to the lower pool, even to the king’s garden.

King Hezekiah “numbered the houses of Jerusalem” and purposely destroyed several of them to get enough stone and masonry to build the wall in haste.

Isa. 22:12 And in that day did the Lord GOD of hosts call to weeping, and to mourning, and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth:

Verse 12 continues where verses 1-3 left off. God called the people to weeping and repentance, but instead they had a feast. Although Hezekiah was truly repentant, the people were not, and it was just a matter of time until the judgment would come. The people of Judah forgot that God was their protector; they were looking to their own efforts.

Isa. 22:13 And behold joy and gladness, slaying oxen, and killing sheep, eating flesh, and drinking wine: let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we shall die.

When the wall was built and the water supply was brought inside the city, the people should have mourned and repented, praying for deliverance. Instead they feasted with joy and celebration. “Let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we shall die” was Isaiah’s way of expressing that the people were only interested in having a good time and were not listening to his warning. The people did not really believe they would die the next day. They should have been weeping, but instead Isaiah wept (verse 4), for despite their temporary deliverance from the Assyrians, he foresaw the coming destruction (it came 100 years later).

According to tradition, Isaiah was sawn asunder by his own people. They tried to kill the prophecy by killing the prophet. They refused to heed his counsel. (A general rule is to accept tradition where it is rational and reasonable unless Scripture states otherwise.)

Isa. 22:14 And it was revealed in mine ears by the LORD of hosts, Surely this iniquity shall not be purged from you till ye die, saith the Lord GOD of hosts.

Isaiah knew the judgment against Judah was irrevocable, but he would not live to see it fulfilled. He died having faith that the prophecy would come true.

Judah was given a space to repent as was mystical Babylon (360 years from 1517 to 1878). After the opportunity to repent was ignored, the judgment (with both) became irrevocable.

Isa. 22:15 Thus saith the Lord GOD of hosts, Go, get thee unto this treasurer, even unto Shebna, which is over the house, and say,

Isa. 22:16 What hast thou here? and whom hast thou here, that thou hast hewed thee out a sepulchre here, as he that heweth him out a sepulchre on high, and that graveth an habitation for himself in a rock?

The Lord’s indignation was against Shebna, the treasurer, who had built himself a sepulcher on the holy ground, or rock, of the Temple area. Tombs were not to be built in close proximity to the holy site but should have been outside the city. A distinction was to be kept between the civil and the sacred. Hence the sanctity was violated.

The same idea has been carried on by the Catholic Church. The ground in Catholic cemeteries is considered holy, being like a form of life insurance. Moreover, to perpetuate their names, some of the wealthy had their names engraved on plaques and hung on the church walls. This was most inappropriate, for in a place of worship, the Lord is to be honored, not man.

Isa. 22:17 Behold, the LORD will carry thee away with a mighty captivity, and will surely cover thee.

Isa. 22:18 He will surely violently turn and toss thee like a ball into a large country: there shalt thou die, and there the chariots of thy glory shall be the shame of thy lord’s house.

Isaiah prophesied that Shebna would be demoted and carried away captive to a foreign land and die there. He would be tossed about like a tumbleweed. Shebna pictures Papacy, the false Christ, the vicegerent of Christ, who will forever be demoted.

Isa. 22:19 And I will drive thee from thy station, and from thy state shall he pull thee down.

Shebna would feel insecure and be driven from place to place.

Isa. 22:20 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah:

Isa. 22:21 And I will clothe him with thy robe, and strengthen him with thy girdle, and I will commit thy government into his hand: and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah.

Isa. 22:22 And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.

Eliakim would take Shebna’s place. Eliakim is called the Lord’s “servant” and “a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah.” Eliakim pictures Jesus, who will be the age-lasting Father in the Kingdom and have “the key of the house of David” (the key to the government). Jesus is the “David,” that is, the Beloved.

There was a real Shebna and a real Eliakim, but this language is so strong for relatively insignificant people that we know they are a type. The principle is the same with Zerubbabel, who pictures Jesus.

Isa. 22:23 And I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place; and he shall be for a glorious throne to his father’s house.

Isa. 22:24 And they shall hang upon him all the glory of his father’s house, the offspring and the issue, all vessels of small quantity, from the vessels of cups, even to all the vessels of flagons.

Isa. 22:25 In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, shall the nail that is fastened in the sure place be removed, and be cut down, and fall; and the burden that was upon it shall be cut off: for the LORD hath spoken it.

Verses 23-25 are in reverse order. Verse 23 says that Jesus will be fastened as a nail in a sure place. God appointed Jesus as the sure nail, and the whole fate of “his father’s house” (“the offspring and the issue, all vessels,” etc.) hangs or depends on his role. The Father will entrust everything to him in the Kingdom, yet he was not accepted at his First Advent as Israel’s King. He was “cut down” on the Cross (verse 25). However, the nailing of Jesus on the Cross secured the promises of God instead of doing away with them, as his detractors thought.

(1976–1981 Study)

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