The Lord’s Vineyard

In Isaiah 5, the prophet Isaiah sang a song about the one he loved and his loved one’s vineyard.  The one he loved is none other than the Lord. 

Isaiah explained that the Lord took care to dig up and clear away the stones for His vineyard.  He planted the choicest vines, built a watchtower in the middle of it, and carved out a winepress in its rock.  After all this careful work, He expected the vineyard to produce good grapes but it only produced sour, wild grapes which greatly disappointed the Lord.

Isaiah explained that the Lord’s vineyard was the house of Israel and the men of Judah.  He expected justice and righteousness but there was only bloodshed and cries of distress. He asked those in Jerusalem and Judah what He could’ve done to make His vineyard produce better grapes.

Because of the horrible fruit being produced, the Lord decided to remove its hedge of protection so that it could be burned.  He was not going to dig or prune it; He was going to allow the briers and thorns to grow up.  He was going to withhold rain too so that only a few crops would grow and told them the beautiful houses were going to become desolate and empty.  Isaiah was reminding the people that if they did not walk in obedience to the law, they would experience the curses of the law found in Deuteronomy 28 and Leviticus 26.

The problem in Isaiah’s day was that the people were too busy feasting to consider the ways of the Lord.  Because of their lack of knowledge of how He works, they were going to go into captivity and be hungry and thirsty.  The Lord warned them that Sheol (hell) would be waiting for them. 

The goal of the Lord was to humble the arrogant, to be exalted in judgment, and to reveal His holiness.  Eliminating the wicked would “leave behind the sheep to graze in their own pasture.”  Isaiah was saying that once the unrighteous are removed, the Lord’s righteous people will be able to eat and thrive among the ruins of the rich.

Unfortunately, the wicked in Isaiah’s day didn’t seem to believe the warnings of the Lord.  They were just like people today who:

  • Say, “Yeah, right. Let it happen.  I’ll believe God’s plan when I see it.” 
  • Call evil good and good evil. 
  • Are wise and clever in their own eyes; they didn’t realize how blind they really were.
  • Drink alcohol all the time.
  • Accept bribes and pervert justice.

Isaiah explained that their destiny is the lake of fire because they have rejected the law of the Lord.  Not only is the Lord’s hand ready to strike them down dead in the streets, He’s calling for other nations to come and destroy them!  What’s worse is that the righteous are at risk of suffering the curses brought on by the wicked.

As Isaiah 5 comes to an end, Isaiah speaks of “that day.”  This clearly signals that this passage was not only for the people of Isaiah’s time, it’s also for our time because “that day” is the day of the coming of the Lord.

Do you doubt and think this passage was only for the people in Isaiah’s time?  It’s not!  In Luke 13:6-9, Jesus gave a similar illustration or parable: “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none.  7 Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?’  8 But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it.  9 And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.'”

The parables of the kingdom of God are timeless!  What would it be like for this fig tree to be cut down?  It will be like the description of the day of the Lord given in Amos 5:18-19: “Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord! For what good is the day of the Lord to you? It will be darkness, and not light. 19 It will be as though a man fled from a lion, And a bear met him! Or as though he went into the house, Leaned his hand on the wall, And a serpent bit him!

Revelation 14:19-20 describes it like this:  “For the angel thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and threw it into the winepress of the wrath of God. 20 And the winepress was trampled outside the city, and blood came out of the winepress, up to the horses’ bridles, for one thousand six hundred furlongs.”

Do you know how to avoid being thrown in the this winepress?

Many people are of the opinion that the kind of fruit God is looking for is simply good deeds.  Certainly those are pleasing to the Lord but He really wants us to be obedient to the law.  This is true righteousness.

If you want to avoid being cut down by the Lord, turn to Him, let justice run down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream–love justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God!

In addition to these, Galatians 5:22-24 gives more detail of the kind of fruit that should be in our lives: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”  These are a result of lawfulness.  This is where blessing come from. 

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The Mountain of the Lord in the Last Days

Today, we’ll talk about Isaiah 2-4.  In Isaiah 2, Isaiah saw a time referred to as the acharit-hayamim or the last days.  He said that during this time, the mountain of the Lord’s house will be established as the most important mountain in the whole world and all the Gentiles would go there. 

Certainly, we are in what we would consider the last days; however, the time Isaiah referred to isn’t here yet.  Isaiah said many people would want to come to the house of the God of Jacob to learn His ways and to walk in His paths.  Right now, the Gentiles are coming to Israel as if it were only a tourist attraction; they come primarily to see historical sites and ancient relics. 

Currently, the Gentiles are not coming to Israel to learn the ways of the Lord.  Most Christians believe the law has been fulfilled and therefore abolished; however, in Romans 3:31, the apostle Paul said, “Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.”  This verse means the law was not abolished.  It is an eternal covenant that has been renewed. 

The Gentiles will travel to Jerusalem in the future, not to see historical sites that are important to their faith but to learn the ways of the Lord which are found in the Torah.  Most likely, this will happen during the millennial reign of Christ because at this time, Jesus will use the Torah to judge between the nations and settle disputes between people. 

Many believe when Jesus returns to earth, He’ll take believers away to live in heaven but that’s not exactly what the Bible teaches.  First Thessalonians 4:16-17 says, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”  Just because we’re going to meet the Lord in the air doesn’t necessarily mean we’re going to go to heaven.  It could be that Jesus is going to lead us to a place of safety until He deals with His enemies; it’s even possible that some of us will become part of His army.  Until that time comes, the spirits of deceased believers go to be with Lord in heaven.

First Corinthians 15:51-53 explains, “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed —  52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”

How shall we change?  Isaiah 40:31 gives us a clue:  “But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.”   We often interpret this verse in a figurative sense instead of a literal sense; but, could it be true that on the day of the Lord, we will change and have wings so that we can fly up to meet the Lord in the air?  I think it’s a good possibility.  It makes sense to me.

After the Battle of Armageddon, Jesus will rule as King of kings and Lord of lords on earth for one thousand years prior to the final judgment.  During that time, Satan will be chained in the Abyss.  While Satan is confined, people on earth will occasionally disagree with one another and need someone to settle their disagreements.  Basically, Jesus will judge as Moses did for the people while they lived in the wilderness so peace could abound.

Right now, people are trying to force Israel to divide their land in order for peace to take place.  No matter what is said or done, there will never be genuine peace in Israel while man is in charge.  In the minds of Israel’s enemies, peace can’t take place as long as the Jews exist and live in Israel.  In the minds of Israelis, peace can’t exist if their enemies want to wipe them off the face of the earth.  Peace in Israel will never happen prior to Christ’s return no matter how hard mediators try to force Israel to divide the land for peace.  Once Jesus destroys Israel’s enemies, real peace will be achieved.  Nations will not train for war or go to war against one another during Christ’s millennial reign.  Instead, Isaiah said people will beat their swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks.

Isaiah urged the house of Jacob to walk in the light of the Lord instead of clasping hands with the pagans or practicing divination like the Philistines.  Isaiah said Israel was wealthy and full of idols and idolaters.  Because of these sins, the Lord will humble Israel “in that day.” 

“That day” is the day of the Lord’s return!  Mankind will be humbled and the Lord will be exalted.  Isaiah said arrogant men will flee and hide in the rocks from the terror of the Lord and glory of His majesty.  This will happen at the time of the sixth seal.  Revelation 6:15-17 describes it like this:  “And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, 16 and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” Mankind may not fear the Lord now but on that day they will.  May they come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior as soon as possible because on the Day of the Lord, it will be too late.

Isaiah 3 says that no matter how many stockpiles of food and water exist, the Lord will take them away.  He will also remove all kinds of human support from the people.  Children will be put in charge.  Everyone will be against one another.  The Jews will parade their sin like the Sodomites.  This passage of Scripture makes me think of gay pride parades.  Even now, a large part of the world is already openly sinning with no regard for the possible consequences.  They demand that their lifestyles be accepted as normal although the Lord sees what they do as abominations.  The wicked don’t realize the destruction they are bringing down on themselves.

The Lord will judge the elders and leaders of Israel as well as those of America and other nations.  The poor are not treated properly.  In America, the Christians are divided among the Democrats and the Republicans.  Who is right?  Both groups think they are.  Men, who refuse to work, shouldn’t get entitlements and take what is not theirs.  The church should take care of its orphans and widows.  Everyone should help the poor.  After all, Jesus said the poor would always be with us.  Leaders should receive an average and fair hourly wage during their term of service.  They should not be paid after their term of service for life nor should they abuse the power given to them during their terms of service.  When Jesus returns, a real Jubilee will set things right for a new start.  Corruption will not be permitted.

Isaiah said women should not proudly flirt with men or behave seductively on the streets.  When the Lord returns, He will take away their beautiful clothing and accessories and leave them disgraced.  Their heads will be shaved and have sores on them.  The people will be branded, will stink, and be poorly clothed.  Their men will die in battle.  Many believed this prophecy was fulfilled during the Holocaust of World War II but this is a prophecy for “the last days.”  What has past is only a snapshot of what’s coming in the future.

Isaiah 4 says, Jesus, the Branch of the Lord will be beautiful and glorious.  By this time, Israel’s enemies will have been destroyed.  The fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of the survivors in Israel.  These survivors will be called holy.  Their filth will be removed.

It will be similar to how it was in the days of the wilderness wanderings.  There will be a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night.  A canopy will be over all the glory.  This will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day and a refuge and hiding place from the storm and the rain.

Satan, the Adversary will be cast into the Abyss and everything will be fine under Jesus’ rule for one thousand years.  After the one thousand years are over, Satan will be set free from the Abyss and be allowed to deceive the nations, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle against Jerusalem.  When that happens, the fire of the Lord that protects God’s people will consume the armies of Gog.

According to Revelation 20, Satan will be cast into the lake of fire and the final judgment will take place.  Everyone whose name is not written in the book of life will be cast into the lake of fire.