Sermon by Nate Wilson
2. In that day
the branch of Jehovah shall be
the fruit of the land shall be the
the survivors of Israel. 3.
And he who is left in Zion and
remains in Jerusalem
will be called holy,
everyone who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem, 4.
when the Lord
has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and
cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from her midst
by a spirit of judgment and
by a spirit of burning. 5.
Then the LORD will create
over the whole site of Mount Zion and
over her assemblies
a cloud by day, and
smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night;
for over all the glory
there will be a canopy. 6.
And the booth will be
for shade by day from the heat,
and for a refuge
and a shelter from storm and from rain.
The beginning of Isaiah chapter 2 gave us a picture of heaven, and now again we get a glimpse of glorious life, but this time in chapter 4, we see a description of what is already being fulfilled today in the church, although there are things we still look forward to ultimate fulfillment in heaven.
Our text this morning starts in verse two with the phrase “in that day,” indicating a new section. We encountered the phrase “in that day” once in chapter 2 and twice in chapter 3, all of which spoke of the day of the Lord from the perspective of the disobedient. In that day when the Lord’s purposes are revealed and accomplished, it will be dismaying to the wicked because God cannot tolerate sin and will punish sinners. The “day” referred to in the last chapter was fulfilled when the Chaldeans conquered Jerusalem and carried the Jews captive to Babylon. However, the phrase “in that day” which we are looking at today in Isaiah 4 introduces the day of the Lord from the perspective of the righteous. For God’s people, the unveiling of God’s purposes is a glorious thing! The “day” spoken of here in this chapter is fulfilled in Jesus’ resurrection and institution of the church, with ultimate fulfillment of the blessedness of believers in heaven.
There are seven things mentioned in Isaiah 4 to describe the blessings that God’s people will experience “in that day.”
1. The first is that the branch of the Lord will be beautiful and the fruit of the land will be the pride of God’s people. The “branch of the Lord” being glorified is key to understanding what Isaiah is talking about here. What is this branch?
Isa 11:1-5 And there shall come forth a shoot out of the stock of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots shall bear fruit. 2. And the Spirit of Jehovah shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Jehovah. 3. And His delight shall be in the fear of Jehovah; and He shall not judge after the sight of His eyes, neither decide after the hearing of His ears; 4. but with righteousness shall He judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and He shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth; and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked. 5. And righteousness shall be the girdle of His waist, and faithfulness the girdle of His loins.
Jer 23:5-6 Behold, the days come, says Jehovah, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and He shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 6. In His days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely; and this is the name by which he shall be called: Jehovah our righteousness.
Rom 15:8-12 For I say that Christ hath been made a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, that he might confirm the promises given unto the fathers, 9. and that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, Therefore will I give praise unto thee among the Gentiles, And sing unto thy name. 10. And again he says, Rejoice, you Gentiles, with His people. 11. And again, Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles; And let all the peoples praise Him. 12. And again, Isaiah says, There shall be the root of Jesse, And He that rises to rule over the Gentiles; On Him shall the Gentiles hope.
Can there be any question remaining that this branch of Jehovah is Jesus? Even the Jews in their Targums commentaries recognize that this is speaking of the Messiah. Jesus is the One for whom righteousness is the chief characteristic, the One who changes things by His word, the One who brings salvation to His people, the One in whom we trust.
There is some debate about what Isaiah 4:2 means by “the fruit of the land”. Does it mean that when God makes everything right that His people will start boasting that they have better grapefruits than everybody else? The meaning comes clear when we apply a principle of Hebrew poetry here.
Isaiah writes in a combination of prose and poetry. His writing includes all sorts of poetic devices such as onomatopoea, alliteration, plays on words, meter, repetition, homonyms, synonyms, allusions - all kinds of stuff that make for fascinating reading in Hebrew. But one thing that is common to all Hebrew poetry is a basic pattern of lines where a statement is made in one line and a correlating statement is made in the subsequent line. This is called parallelism.
Here in verse two, we have a case where an understanding of Hebrew parallelism can help us interpret the meaning. If we realize that we are reading two parallel statements about the same subject, we can see what Isaiah is getting at. “The branch of Jehovah will be beautiful and glorious” is saying the same thing as “the fruit of the land shall be the pride and honor of the Israelites who survive”. Our understanding of “the branch of Jehovah” can help us interpret the meaning of “the fruit of the land.” They go together and explain each other! But how could Jesus be called the “fruit of the land?” I believe that this is speaking of Jesus’ dual nature: He is both the Lord’s branch and the earth’s fruit. He is God who came down from the Father, yet He is the son of Mary, the descendent of David.
This is what we confess in our creeds, especially the one from Chalcedon stating that Jesus is “of one substance with the Father as regards his Godhead and at the same time of one substance with us as regards his manhood; like us in all respects, apart from sin; as regards His Godhead, begotten of the Father before the ages, but yet as regards His manhood begotten for us humans and for our salvation of Mary the virgin, the God-bearer; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, recognized in two natures without confusion, without change, without division, and without separation…” “Branch of Jehovah… fruit of the earth” Jesus, the God-Man.
Jesus, says Isaiah, “will be beautiful and glorious… the pride and honor of the remnant of Israel” The apostle John shows by a clear progression that Jesus was glorified by His death and resurrection.
Joh 11:4. But when Jesus heard [that Lazarus was sick] He said, "This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it." (Jesus went back to Judea to raise Lazarus from the dead. The priests and Pharisees responded by calling a council and deciding to kill Jesus. So this was the beginning of the chain of events that led to Jesus’ death.]
Joh 12:16. [As Jesus entered Jerusalem and the crowds waved palm branches and shouted “Hosanna”] His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him. [So we can infer that Jesus was glorified after the triumphal entry.]
Joh 12:23. And Jesus answered them, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
Joh 13:31. When he [Judas] had gone out, Jesus said, "Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. [Jesus would be crucified within 24 hours.]
Joh 17:1. When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, "Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, [This was His prayer in the garden of Gethsemane just before being captured.]
Joh 7:39b, the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. [Jesus was glorified by His death and resurrection and before the Holy Spirit came in Acts 2.]
So, the question to you this morning is, “Is Jesus your pride and glory?” Is He Beautiful to you? Do you count it an honor to belong to and be identified with Him?
Back in chapters 2 and 3, we see people exalting all sorts of other things and being proud in themselves. Here we see that God’s people who remain after the judgment are people who take pride in Jesus alone. What do you take pride in? What are the things you display on your walls to impress your guests? What do you do to show off around other people? These are the things you take pride in. Paul says in:
1Cor 4:7 … What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?
1Cor 1:31 Therefore, as it is written, "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord." (also 2 Cor 10:17)
Heb 3:6 we are Christ’s house, if we hold fast our boldness and the glorying of our hope firm unto the end.
How do we boast in the Lord and glory in our hope?
By testifying of his saving Grace in your own Life. I.e. I am a sinner totally undeserving of his favor but saved by His GRACE. “That in the ages to come he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus” Eph.2:7
By directing glory to Him rather than drawing attention to ourselves and our possessions. This can show up in what we hang on our walls or display in our homes and offices, how we dress, and how we spend our free time. Do these things feed into God’s glory or do they feed into making us look better? (Not always easy to tell because two people can do the same thing, one with the purpose of bringing glory to God, another with the purpose of bringing glory to themselves, so don’t make assumptions about other people’s motives, but do examine your motives.)
By delighting ourselves in Him and being thankful and content with His provision for our lives. If we are satisfied in Christ and aren’t looking for something more, that is a powerful statement. I’ve found what I’m looking for, and I want nothing more than to see Jesus in heaven. Nothing else will satisfy me, and in that hope I am content to wait.
ILLUSTRATION: Testimony of John Newton – from the degradations of slave trader to great Christian Leader and writer of “Amazing Grace”
“Forbid it Lord that I should boast save in the death of Christ my Lord. All the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to his blood” (When I Survey the Wondrous Cross)
2. They are a remnant. They are what is left after the smelting furnace talked about in chapters 1-3 has burned up and skimmed off all the trash. Which means they are the pure silver, the desirable stuff. In a near sense of fulfillment, these are people like Mary and Joseph whose families survived the Chaldean siege of Jerusalem, survived the Babylonian captivity, and returned to Jerusalem to rebuild and have godly children. God’s people are still a remnant. Those of us who believe in Jesus and are living on this earth are those who have either escaped from a life of destructive sin by God’s gracious intervention in our lives, or we have come from families that have survived wars and judgments of God and have not been lured off the path of God’s word by liberalism. If you are a Christian, you are part of a remnant that God is preserving for His glory.
3. They are going to be called holy. Notice, they weren’t holy to begin with, but it will be said unto them that they are holy. Holy means set apart, different, not common. When God saves a person, He says to us that we are no longer like the rest of the world, we are now special to Him and we are now to be oriented towards doing His holy will and not just what everybody else is doing.
4. They will be those who have been” written to life.” Do you know that God keeps a book with our names written in it?
Exo 32:33. And Jehovah said unto Moses, Whosoever has sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.
Psa 69:28. Let them be blotted out of the book of life, And not be written with the righteous.
Psa 139:16. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; And in Your book they were all written, Even the days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was none of them.
Dan 12:1. And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince who stands for the children of Your 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 Your people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.
Mal 3:16-17 Then those who feared Jehovah spoke one with another; and Jehovah took heed, and heard, and a book of remembrance was written before Him, for those who feared Jehovah, and that thought upon His name. 17. And they shall be mine, said Jehovah of hosts, even my own possession, in the day that I make; and I will spare them, as a man spares his own son that serves him.
Phi 4:3 I beseech you also, true yokefellow, help these women, for they labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow-workers, whose names are in the book of life.
Rev 3:5 He that overcomes [the remnant!] shall be arrayed in white garments; and I will in no wise blot his name out of the book of life, and I will confess his name before my Father, and before His angels.
Rev 13:1 I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns, and seven heads, and on his horns ten diadems, and upon his heads names of blasphemy... Rev 13:8 And all that dwell on the earth shall worship him, every one whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that has been slain.
Rev 20:12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne; and books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to their works.
Rev 21:2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven of God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband… Rev 21:27 and there shall never enter into it anything unclean, or he that makes an abomination or a lie: but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life.
You see, before the world was created, God wrote down all the names of the people He wanted to lavish His love upon. Whoever is not in that book will not have everlasting life. But if you love Jesus and find in Him your delight and find joy in obeying Him, then you can be assured that you are in the book of life. God has chosen you because He loves you and wanted to have a special relationship with you and bless you with every blessing He can muster. What an awesome thought!
Jesus will be a glory to His people, they will be a remnant, they will be called holy, they will be written in the book of life, and
5. They will be clean
Zec 13:1-2 In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness. 2. And it shall come to pass in that day, says Jehovah of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered; and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land.
The filth of the daughters of Zion will be washed off! Those wretched women in chapter 2 who were in bondage to their bangles and struck with scabs, full of shame and misery and lonliness. They will be clean and desirable again because God will wash them. Note that it is the same word “lord” as the “lord” who took away their blessings in chapter 3, verses 1 & 17.
The bloodstains from the men of Jerusalem will be cleansed. Those wretched men who denied justice and selfishly took money and hurt others – all clean. No longer guilty.
The life of God’s people is a clean life, not one bogged down by guilt and fear of punishment and addictions that drag us down. This is the life!
6. They will have the Holy Spirit in their midst.
A spirit of burning and of judgment is not exactly like having a good-ole-boy to hang out with. It’s not comfortable, but the Holy Spirit keeps us in the good life by getting rid of sin and holding us in fellowship with God. It is a blessing to have the Holy Spirit to help us. He pricks our conscience when we do what God hates and leads us to repent of our sin so that we have no barriers to joyful fellowship with our God.
7. They are covered. They live a life that is shaded, protected, secure, brilliant, and glorious!
This verse contains an allusion to the time of the Exodus when the children of Israel were wandering through the desert and God guided them and protected them with His presence, which appeared as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire at night.
Zech 2:5 I, Jehovah, will be unto her [Jerusalem] a wall of fire round about, and I will be the glory in the midst of her.
“Over all the glory there will be a canopy”
The Chupa is a canopy used by Jews at weddings over the couple. It serves both to draw attention to the glory of the main event and to provide shade and shelter for the VIP’s.
The word “glory” refers chiastically back to the word “glory” in v. 2. This may also be the glory of the branch of Jehovah – Jesus. There are Bible verses which speak of the glory of Jesus with a covering over Him:
Ez. 1:22 And over the head of the living creature there was the likeness of a firmament, like the terrible crystal to look upon, stretched forth over their heads above… 26 And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone; and upon the likeness of the throne was a likeness as the appearance of a man upon it above. 27. And I saw as it were glowing metal, as the appearance of fire within it round about, from the appearance of His loins and upward; and from the appearance of His loins and downward I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness round about Him. 28. As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of Jehovah….
Rev. 4:2 Straightway I was in the Spirit: and behold, there was a throne set in heaven, and one sitting upon the throne; 3. and He that sat looked like a jasper stone and a sardius: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, like an emerald to look upon.
The shade-booth and storm shelter in the closing verse is describing the canopy in more detail.
The Branch has now become a woven nest of branches that provides relief and rest on a hot summer day. Jesus is pictured as a shelter that makes us feel dry and safe in the midst of a raging storm.
Remember when it rained a few days ago? How would you have felt if you were standing out in the rain and thunder and lightening? But you were snug in your bed inside your home, weren’t you? Did you feel secure and cozy? That’s what Jesus does for us, He provides security and comfort because we know He is protecting us.
Did you have to go out and do yardwork yesterday in the hot sun? How did it feel when you stepped into the air conditioning? Wow, suddenly soothed and able to rest, right? That is what Jesus does, He offers rest unto our souls and protection from the stress of life as we trust that He is in control of everything in our lives!
If you are not a believer in Jesus and He is not your pride and glory, you are not living the good life. This is a call to you to align yourself with Jesus, step away from the filth you’ve been living in, and ask God for the cleansing He offers. The life that He promises to those who believe in Him is the only life that is satisfying because it was designed by the Creator who made us and who knows exactly what fulfills the desires of the human soul that He created.
If you are a believer, then you have been given a glorious life. Revel in it! Show the world how blessed you are! Choose to be content with what God is doing in your life and keep resting in faith on Jesus. Take pride in Jesus, keep persevering, cultivate holiness, accept the work of the Holy Spirit in your life to weed out sins, and look forward to the glorious life that you will share with Jesus in heaven for eternity!