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Lowell Brueckner

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That Great Harvest Day


26. An expository study of Isaiah, chapter 27

We gather close around the prophet, when he speaks of the people of the Lord. We learn of the relationship with those that He has chosen to be a light to the entire world. Here He comes out of hiding and best reveals Himself. That is what we consider in this chapter.

The time is always important to observe, so that we can have understanding as to the application of the Scripture that we are studying. It is especially evident in this chapter, where “in that day” is mentioned from the first verse, repeated in verse 2, then “in days to come” in verse 6, and again “in that day” in verses 12 and 13.  

We have to look back to see what is meant by that day. It was expressed in a song from the beginning of chapter 26, a future song reserved for that day. This chapter is a continuation of 24, 25 and 26. It describes a time when Jerusalem is at peace and a righteous nation inhabits it. It is a day of growth for that nation, its borders stretching out to embark more territory, and the Lord will be glorified in it. It is a time of national resurrection and it can certainly be concluded that this day takes place in the end of time.

The sword of the Lord

We need to take a look at the sword that is clearly defined in verse 1. We have no trouble understanding that a sword generally speaks of a weapon of warfare, with a purpose to cut down and kill. In chapter 24 we studied about judgment falling upon the whole earth and in the last verse of the last chapter, it states, “the Lord is coming out from his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth…”, and this theme continues to the end of the book (Is.66:16). So this is the point, where we must begin to understand the sword of the Lord.

Then we should look at the adjectives, which describe the sword. There are three; the sword is hard (the Amplified Bible states sharp and unrelenting), great and strong. It is tempered and trustworthy… it will not break and will completely fulfill its purpose. It is great, high and mighty and the word also speaks of age… it is an ancient sword. And it is strong… in the superlative case, violent, bold and unbending. Our God is the God of war, who thoroughly defeats every enemy.

The New Testament speaks eloquently of the sword. Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Mt.10:34). It divides households, sons and daughters against fathers and mothers. Jesus went on to solemnly warn that if anyone loved father, mother, son or daughter more than He, he was not worthy of Christ. In our times, His sword cut into a false cult and divided it, 30% against 70%, the minority falling in the direction of the true gospel. You may see the documentary, which tells the story. It is “Called to Be Free” and it can be viewed on the internet.

Further revelation comes in the last book of the Bible: “I turned to see… one like a son of man… from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword…” (Rev.1:13,16). So the sword proceeds from the mouth of Christ and in 2:16, He speaks of false teachers in the church of Pergamum: “Repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth.” Therefore, Christ does warfare with His word, which is the sword of His mouth. The writer of Hebrews knew this sword, as well: “The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb.4:12). We gather, then, that the word of God is a mighty weapon, capable of greater accomplishments than any man-made armament.

In Revelation 19:11, standing at the open door of heaven is one who judges and makes war. “The name by which he is called is The Word of God” (Rev.19:13). The armies of the earth “were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse” (Rev.19:21). Isaiah prophesies with a proper name of Leviathan, a serpent and a dragon. We cannot possibly misinterpret, of whom he is speaking. Ultimately it is “the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan” (Rev.20:2), the great potentate, who is hostile to Israel (Rev.12:1-6) first, and then to all those, who belong to God.

We are getting an idea of which day Isaiah is writing. The punishment will be everlasting: “The devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Rev.20:10). In chapter five, Isaiah sang a song to the Lord about His vineyard. It was a song of praise to the faithfulness of God to the vineyard in every aspect. It was also a mournful dirge, because, in spite of God’s careful involvement, woes were pronounced against the vineyard and it was destroyed.

Fill the world with fruit

However, not always was it to be so. Whatever God starts will eventually be successful. Here, a song is sung to a pleasant vineyard, which is Israel and it will “take root, blossom and put forth shoots and fill the whole world with fruit” (v.6). While Isaiah’s prophecy is basically spiritual, there is also room in it for a physical, natural fulfillment. Already in our day, Israel is a world-renowned producer of fruits and vegetables.

Often in the Bible, the Negeb, the southland of Israel, is described as a desert area for the most part. Even that land today is productive. I read from an article in Israel 21C: Once a deserted 112-mile strip of land stretching from the Dead Sea to the Red Sea, the Arava now has some 600 farms supplying more than 60 percent of total Israeli exports of fresh vegetables Idealistic would-be farmers, eager to make the proverbial desert bloom (see Is.35:1), already had established three kibbutzim in the Arava back in 1959. World model: “The United Nations chose the Arava region as a global model for agricultural education on saving water.

God’s care is perpetual, day and night (the expression in our day is 24/7), which indicates a perfect and complete vigilance (v.3). The day of the outpouring of His wrath upon Israel will have come to an end. Any indication of thorns and briers, meaning hostile growth within the vineyard, will be removed and burned (v.4). In His zeal to protect His people, God almost seems wishful that enemies would arise, so that He could show Israel His care for them.

At the same time, in verse five, once again we are seeing a wonderful revelation of God’s goodness and mercy that has already been shown by Isaiah. I do not know of any other book in the entire Old Testament, where God stretches out His arm of lovingkindness to His enemies, as clearly as we are seeing it in Isaiah. He gives them an opportunity to come under His cover of protection and live in peace with Him. Twice the invitation is given! “Let them make peace with me, let them make peace with me” (v.5).

No wonder people have called this the Gospel of Isaiah! No wonder, with such a burning zeal in His breast, God sent His Son into the world to work towards salvation among all nations! Here I can add one of my favorite portions of Scripture: “While we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person… but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us… While we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son…”

God’s love in discipline

God’s care for His people is shown by His discipline and is given as proof of His love. Christian parents should be aware that the Bible teaches that, where there is no discipline, there is no love. The writer of Hebrews quotes the Proverbs: “The Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives” (Heb.12:6). Jesus addresses the backslidden, lukewarm church in Laodicea: “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent” (Rev.3:19).  

His judgment of the pagan nations could better be called punishment or retribution. That is a great difference between his treatment of the world and that of His own (v.7). He may even go so far as to smite them with sickness or death, the Apostle Paul tells us. However, he goes on to teach, “When we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world” (1 Co.11:32).

God used exile as a discipline for Israel. Abraham, the patriarch, saw a very dark time for his descendants, which proved to be 430 years in Egypt, ending in slavery. Generations after Isaiah’s ministry, when there was no other remedy, the Lord gave his people into the Babylonians’ hands and after that for a time, they were under Persian rule. When they rejected the Christ, they were attacked and pursued by the Roman army and from that time (70 A.D.) until the 20th Century, they were exiles in all the world. There is no question that His discipline can be very severe, “with his fierce breath in the day of the east wind” (v.8), but it is always done with loving purpose.

His great purpose ultimately is atonement for guilt, which He abundantly provides in Jesus Christ. The harsh treatment is His kindness, the Apostle Paul teaches, that brings us to repentance (Ro.2:4). Repentance must necessarily take place first in every case, Old Testament or New, for atonement or expiation, that is, the cleansing and removal of guilt. “Thereby by this the guilt of Jacob will be atoned for, and this will be the full fruit of the removal of his sin: when he makes all the stones of the altars like chalkstones crushed to pieces, no Asherim or incense altars will remain standing” (v.9).

Idolatry was the sin that continually raised its ugly head in Israel. The Israelites turned often to the Baals and the Asherim and one of idolatry’s cruelest forms was the sacrifice of children to Moloch. In the church age, we tend to think those days are over, except for the uncivilized worship of animists in jungles. We need to think again, because all idolatry begins in the mind, before it takes a physical form and a religion results. Any god formed in the mind, without the complete dependence on the revelation of Scripture, is an idol.

The Moloch of modern times is the demon of abortion… the sacrifice of unborn children by medical personnel, at times for nothing more than the convenience of the parents. It is evidence of a major sign of the last days, when “people will be lovers of self” (2 Ti.3:2), above all else, even above their own children. This is termed “women’s rights”, a reprobate concept by perverted thinking, and a doctrine of demons. In this 21st Century, false christs abound and another Jesus is preached (see Mt.24:24 and 2 Co.11:4), conceived in the fallen human mind and not in the word.

Harvest time… the analogy of God’s final work

Now we go back to the prophecies of other chapters, in which the proud cities of the ungodly are destroyed. God repeats His warnings again and again for emphasis and for remembrance. We have already expounded on God’s supreme hatred for the arrogance of man, which is often expressed in his construction. This, of course, is also a form of idolatry, as is everything which takes prominence over God in the human mind and effort. So the Lord reduces the city to a wilderness inhabited by animals (v.10).

We are also finding it very frequent, again in this chapter, that the Lord impresses and penetrates the inner man through analogies and examples. The fortified city becomes like the dry branches of a tree, gathered by women for kindling. The reprobate mind is again exposed, incapable of common sense or reasoning. What can be done for them? Even before they are cast into the eternal flames, no longer can they be treated with compassion on this earth. Their Creator has become their enemy (v.11).

Ending on a far more positive note, a harvest for the glory of God takes place (notice again the analogy). In that day…the Lord will thresh out the grain…” in a great field that stretches from the Euphrates to the Brook of Egypt. It means that the end has come to God’s final purpose upon the earth. I particularly enjoy the Lord’s individual attention to each person that He calls: He does not have crowd mentality! It is so beautifully portrayed in this verse: “You will be gleaned one by one…” (v.12).

Israel was instructed to leave grain lying on the ground to be gleaned by the poor people. Ruth gleaned for herself and her mother-in-law (Ruth 2:2). However, in God’s individual care for each one in Israel, He Himself gathers every stalk of grain. This is the care of Christ for every one of His own: “He calls his own sheep by name…” (Jn.10:3), and then proclaims to the Father, “I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost…” (Jn.17:12).

Jesus took up the prophetic word and extended it to the end of the age: “After the tribulation of those days… they will see the Son of Man; coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Mt.24:29-31). Isaiah says, In that day a great trumpet will be blown…” It is that day that we considered at the beginning of this chapter. Isaiah is a great prophet of the Millennium, which is ushered in by a great trumpet sound, gathering every Jew from all corners of the world.  The lost and the banished will return to Jerusalem and will be worshippers on holy Mount Zion.


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