Isaiah continued to foresee momentous events and upheavals among the nations around him (Cush, Egypt, Assyria, etc.) as well as for Judah (ch. 22). The prophetic vision helps us see the weakness and impermanence of kings and kingdoms that otherwise appear to us to be invincible and eternal, and reminds us of where our true security and identity lie. Among the fallen will be what was then the grand mercantile city-state of Tyre. Isaiah’s prophecy against Tyre (and later, that of Ezekiel) came to partial fulfillment in the siege of Nebuchadnezzar, and total fulfillment during the campaign of Alexander the Great.

The vision in Chapter 24 is especially striking, both for the depths of cosmic distress and judgment foreseen, as well as for the glory and splendor of God that endures. It is like a foreshadowing of John’s Revelation, in miniature.

The foundations for the gospel, and the New Creation of New Testament prophecy are all the more strengthened in Isaiah 25, a hymn, a song of praise, in which the focus of God’s redemptive, rescuing work moves from the imminent defeat of his people’s earthly enemies and oppressors to the eventual defeat of everyone’s enemy and oppressor: death (vv. 6-8). Thus we see how biblical prophecy often blends the near future with the distant future, the microcosmic with the macrocosmic. But it fits, because the fear of death is how enemies and oppressors enslave us. Verses 6 through 8 provide verbal images that will reappear in the New Testament (2 Cor.3: 15; Eph. 4:18; I Cor. 15: 54; Rev. 7:17).

In Chapters 28-30, the prophet takes his people and his rulers to task for trusting in court prophets (even those who “prophesy” under the influence of alcohol—ch. 28), in secret and occult pacts, and in worldly political and military alliances, especially with Egypt, which represents a return to slavery to Egypt. Instead, “In repentance and rest is your salvation,  in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it (30:15).” So Isaiah reminds the remnant of his people of the political and spiritual policy of Moses: covenant loyalty to God and justice for the poor and vulnerable are to be their defense.

PSALM 48….

…is one of the Zion Psalms, through which a biblical theme is woven, that of the city, or the people, of God. This theme culminates in the imagery of the New Jerusalem in Revelation 20-22. Verses 6-8 may be poetic descriptions of the abortive siege of Jerusalem, by the army of Sennacherib (Is. 37), lifted by a plague that decimated his forces. What makes the city of Zion unique and noteworthy pertains to God, his presence in the temple and the worship of him, and not the city itself, nor the residents.


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