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A Chiastic Reconfiguration Of Isaiah 24-27

Kuruvilla Thomas
Bangalore
Published on 4 February 2020 *




Isaiah 24-27 Timeline
Fig. 1


Introduction

This study treats Isaiah 24-27 as a cryptochiasmus in order to arrive at a coherent reconfiguration of the text. Text that is structured as a cryptochiasmus must be rearranged based on certain principles to be correctly interpreted. A cryptochiasmus is a novel concept; see definition in [1]. If you wish to skip the technicalities of a chiastic parse, you may read starting from Section 4 of the Discussion section, which has the reconfigured text.

Like most cryptochiastic passages, this prophecy makes predictions about three distinct Periods, but the prophecy seems to focus on the results of God's actions, with a chapter-long song of praise for each Period (in Ch. 25, 26, 27). The meaning of the passage is obscured both by its chiastic structure and by ambiguous language that can apply to several periods, so we will try to justify our parsing decisions in some detail.


Notes:
We will use the term "Judahite" to refer to the Israelites - primarily those of the tribe of Judah and their descendants - that remained after the Assyrian exile of the Northern Tribes; we will try to avoid the term "Jew" to avoid the confusion it introduces.


Discussion

1. Presuppositions

We base our parse of Isaiah 24-27 on the assumption that it refers to 3 periods:

  1. The Aftermath of the First Jewish–Roman War (66AD–73AD). The Roman army destroyed Judah and Jerusalem and slaughtered its people.
  2. The Destruction of "Babylon" at the start of Christ's Millennial Reign(after 2017AD). "Babylon", Satan's capital, is defeated at the start of Christ's millennial rule.
  3. End Times Tribulation (circa 2967AD). The tribulations and the final judgement before Christ's heavenly reign.

2. Parsing the chiasmus

We will use the NIV Bible for this parse.

Parsing this chiasmus involves dividing portions of the text into three categories as above. We will call the period of First Jewish-Roman War Period 1, the start of Christ's millennial reign Period 2 and the End Times Tribulation Period 3.


Categorizing Isaiah 24-27

Ch 24 Vs 1-6 appears to belong to Period 3. God sends devastating calamities that affect the whole earth. As in other passages about this end-times period (for ex., Matthew 24:29 [3]), there are corresponding heavenly (or spiritual) events. This level of worldwide devastation and depopulation will only occur during the end-times.

Ch 24 Vs 7-13 belong to Period 1. The desolation of Jerusalem and Judah. The scope of the geography narrows to a city and the surrounding land and the tribulations mentioned are more personal, indicating that this passage is about God's people. ( The word translated "earth" in this passage is better rendered, "land".) The particulars mentioned - new wine, timbrel, harp - are appropriate to an ancient time. We also believe this is about the devastation of Jerusalem because we expect to see it in chiastic passages.

Ch 24 Vs 14-16a belong to Period 2. Praise to the God of Israel from around the world. This is a celebration from the entire earth because people see the goodness of the "Righteous one" of Israel, and because He has defeated their oppressor, Satan. This kind of worldwide celebration will not occur in the other two Periods.

Ch 24 Vs 16b-18a belong to Period 1. The personal nature of this lament indicates that it is about God's, and the prophet's, own people. The prophet mourns the suffering and death of the people of Judea at the hands of the Romans.

Ch 24 Vs 18b - Ch 25 Vs 12 belong to Period 3. The scope of this section broadens to the whole world in Chapter 24, as, once again, we see tribulations around the earth and in the heavens. The next chapter, Isaiah 25 is a song praise suitable for Christians at the end of Christ's glorious reign on earth, with verses 6-8 praising the start of Christ's heavenly reign. Christ has kept the new Israel secure and prosperous and defeated its enemies.

Ch 26 belong to Period 1. Isaiah 26 appears to be a song of praise by Judea's Christians (see vs 1), the first Christian community. They escaped Jerusalem's fate by fleeing to the mountains as Christ had instructed.

Ch 27 belongs to Period 2. A song of praise at the start of Christ's Millennial reign. Christ will destroy Israel's enemies and will gather the Israelites into the New Israel.


Original text

We color-code the chiastic units of the original text (NIV) below for easy visual identification using: red for Period 1, blue for Period 2 and green for Period 3.


Isaiah 24 1 See, the Lord is going to lay waste the earth and devastate it; he will ruin its face and scatter its inhabitants— 2 it will be the same for priest as for people, for the master as for his servant, for the mistress as for her servant, for seller as for buyer, for borrower as for lender, for debtor as for creditor. 3 The earth will be completely laid waste and totally plundered. The Lord has spoken this word.
4 The earth dries up and withers, the world languishes and withers, the heavens languish with the earth. 5 The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant. 6 Therefore a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt. Therefore earth’s inhabitants are burned up, and very few are left.

7 The new wine dries up and the vine withers; all the merrymakers groan. 8 The joyful timbrels are stilled, the noise of the revelers has stopped, the joyful harp is silent. 9 No longer do they drink wine with a song; the beer is bitter to its drinkers.
10 The ruined city lies desolate; the entrance to every house is barred. 11 In the streets they cry out for wine; all joy turns to gloom, all joyful sounds are banished from the earth. 12 The city is left in ruins, its gate is battered to pieces. 13 So will it be on the earth and among the nations, as when an olive tree is beaten, or as when gleanings are left after the grape harvest.

14 They raise their voices, they shout for joy; from the west they acclaim the Lord’s majesty. 15 Therefore in the east give glory to the Lord; exalt the name of the Lord, the God of Israel, in the islands of the sea. 16a From the ends of the earth we hear singing: “Glory to the Righteous One.”
16b But I said, “I waste away, I waste away! Woe to me! The treacherous betray! With treachery the treacherous betray!” 17 Terror and pit and snare await you, people of the earth. 18a Whoever flees at the sound of terror will fall into a pit; whoever climbs out of the pit will be caught in a snare.
18b The floodgates of the heavens are opened, the foundations of the earth shake. 19 The earth is broken up, the earth is split asunder, the earth is violently shaken. 20 The earth reels like a drunkard, it sways like a hut in the wind; so heavy upon it is the guilt of its rebellion that it falls—never to rise again.
21 In that day the Lord will punish the powers in the heavens above and the kings on the earth below. 22 They will be herded together like prisoners bound in a dungeon; they will be shut up in prison and be punished after many days. 23 The moon will be dismayed, the sun ashamed; for the Lord Almighty will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before its elders—with great glory.


Isaiah 25 1 Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago. 2 You have made the city a heap of rubble, the fortified town a ruin, the foreigners’ stronghold a city no more; it will never be rebuilt. 3 Therefore strong peoples will honor you; cities of ruthless nations will revere you. 4 You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in their distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat. For the breath of the ruthless is like a storm driving against a wall 5 and like the heat of the desert. You silence the uproar of foreigners; as heat is reduced by the shadow of a cloud, so the song of the ruthless is stilled.
6 On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine— the best of meats and the finest of wines. 7 On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; 8 he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth. The Lord has spoken.
9 In that day they will say,
“Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the Lord, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”
10 The hand of the Lord will rest on this mountain; but Moab will be trampled in their land as straw is trampled down in the manure. 11 They will stretch out their hands in it, as swimmers stretch out their hands to swim. God will bring down their pride despite the cleverness of their hands. 12 He will bring down your high fortified walls and lay them low; he will bring them down to the ground, to the very dust.


Isaiah 26 1 In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:
We have a strong city; God makes salvation its walls and ramparts. 2 Open the gates that the righteous nation may enter, the nation that keeps faith. 3 You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.
4 Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal. 5 He humbles those who dwell on high, he lays the lofty city low; he levels it to the ground and casts it down to the dust. 6 Feet trample it down— the feet of the oppressed, the footsteps of the poor.
7 The path of the righteous is level; you, the Upright One, make the way of the righteous smooth. 8 Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts. 9 My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you. When your judgments come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness. 10 But when grace is shown to the wicked, they do not learn righteousness; even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil and do not regard the majesty of the Lord. 11 Lord, your hand is lifted high, but they do not see it. Let them see your zeal for your people and be put to shame; let the fire reserved for your enemies consume them.
12 Lord, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us. 13 Lord our God, other lords besides you have ruled over us, but your name alone do we honor. 14 They are now dead, they live no more; their spirits do not rise. You punished them and brought them to ruin; you wiped out all memory of them. 15 You have enlarged the nation, Lord; you have enlarged the nation. You have gained glory for yourself; you have extended all the borders of the land.
16 Lord, they came to you in their distress; when you disciplined them, they could barely whisper a prayer. 17 As a pregnant woman about to give birth writhes and cries out in her pain, so were we in your presence, Lord. 18 We were with child, we writhed in labor, but we gave birth to wind. We have not brought salvation to the earth, and the people of the world have not come to life.
19 But your dead will live, Lord; their bodies will rise— let those who dwell in the dust wake up and shout for joy— your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead.
20 Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until his wrath has passed by. 21 See, the Lord is coming out of his dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins. The earth will disclose the blood shed on it; the earth will conceal its slain no longer.


Isaiah 27 1 In that day,
the Lord will punish with his sword— his fierce, great and powerful sword— Leviathan the gliding serpent, Leviathan the coiling serpent; he will slay the monster of the sea.
2 In that day—
“Sing about a fruitful vineyard: 3 I, the Lord, watch over it; I water it continually. I guard it day and night so that no one may harm it. 4 I am not angry. If only there were briers and thorns confronting me! I would march against them in battle; I would set them all on fire. 5 Or else let them come to me for refuge; let them make peace with me, yes, let them make peace with me.”
6 In days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will bud and blossom and fill all the world with fruit.
7 Has the Lord struck her as he struck down those who struck her? Has she been killed as those were killed who killed her? 8 By warfare and exile you contend with her— with his fierce blast he drives her out, as on a day the east wind blows. 9 By this, then, will Jacob’s guilt be atoned for, and this will be the full fruit of the removal of his sin: When he makes all the altar stones to be like limestone crushed to pieces, no Asherah poles or incense altars will be left standing. 10 The fortified city stands desolate, an abandoned settlement, forsaken like the wilderness; there the calves graze, there they lie down; they strip its branches bare. 11 When its twigs are dry, they are broken off and women come and make fires with them. For this is a people without understanding; so their Maker has no compassion on them, and their Creator shows them no favor.
12 In that day the Lord will thresh from the flowing Euphrates to the Wadi of Egypt, and you, Israel, will be gathered up one by one. 13 And in that day a great trumpet will sound. Those who were perishing in Assyria and those who were exiled in Egypt will come and worship the Lord on the holy mountain in Jerusalem.



3. Building the reconfigured text


From this parse, it appears that Isaiah 24-27 form a cryptochiasmus as below:

A1   Ch 24 Vs 1-6 Period 3. End times Tribulations.
  B1   Ch 24 Vs 7-13 Period 1. The desolation of Jerusalem.
    X   Ch 24 Vs 14-16a Period 2. Praise to the "Righteous One" of Israel.
  B2   Ch 24 Vs 16b-18a Period 1. A lament at the devastation of Jerusalem.
A2   Ch 24 Vs 18b - Ch 25 Vs 12 Period 3. A song of praise for Christ at the end of the Millennial reign.


We now reconstruct the phrases in the right order based on the chiastic structure above and based on the ordering rules of a cryptochiasmus [1].

We lead with central pivot point 'X'. The corresponding subunits (For example; subunit A1 corresponds to A2) are placed contiguously to form units (For example, A1,A2 is a unit ) so that we get a list of such units.


The sequence selected for rearrangement is:

X  [B1,B2]  [A1,A2]        (1)

Note: We choose the reverse order for our units so that we get another cryptochiasmus with the rest of the prophecy. The rules of cryptochiasmi allow this.


We have the following sequence when we include the rest of the prophecy:
X - Period 2
[B1,B2] - Period 1
[A1,A2] - Period 3
Ch 26 - Period 1. The Christians of Judea praise God.
Ch 27 - Period 2. The Israelite tribes are gathered into the new Israel.


We still have text for the periods in a non-contiguous form. We can treat this as a doubly applied cryptochiasmus as below.


M1   X - Period 2
  N1   [B1,B2] - Period 1
   XX   [A1,A2]     - Period 3
  N2   Ch 26 - Period 1
M2   Ch 27 - Period 2

The sequence selected for rearrangement is:
XX  [M1,M2]  [N1,N2]        (2)


Translating this sequence (2) into the subunits of the first chiasmus, we get:

[A1,A2]  [X, Ch 27]   [[B1,B2], Ch 26]        (3)

Further translating (3) into verse numbers, we get:

[Ch 24 Vs 1-6, Ch 24 Vs 18b - Ch 25 Vs 12 ]  [Ch 24 Vs 14-16a, Ch 27]   [[Ch 24 Vs 7-13, Ch 24 Vs 16b-18a], Ch 26]        (4)

We arrive at the reconfigured passage in the next section by rearranging the verses so they are in sequence (4).



4. Isaiah 24-27 Reconfigured

End Times Tribulation (circa 2967AD) (Ch 24 Vs 1-6, Ch 24 Vs 18b - Ch 25 Vs 12 )
Chapter 24 1 See, the Lord is going to lay waste the earth and devastate it; he will ruin its face and scatter its inhabitants— 2 it will be the same for priest as for people, for the master as for his servant, for the mistress as for her servant, for seller as for buyer, for borrower as for lender, for debtor as for creditor. 3 The earth will be completely laid waste and totally plundered. The Lord has spoken this word.
4 The earth dries up and withers, the world languishes and withers, the heavens languish with the earth. 5 The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant. 6 Therefore a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt. Therefore earth’s inhabitants are burned up, and very few are left.


Chapter 24 18b The floodgates of the heavens are opened, the foundations of the earth shake. 19 The earth is broken up, the earth is split asunder, the earth is violently shaken. 20 The earth reels like a drunkard, it sways like a hut in the wind; so heavy upon it is the guilt of its rebellion that it falls—never to rise again.
21 In that day the Lord will punish the powers in the heavens above and the kings on the earth below. 22 They will be herded together like prisoners bound in a dungeon; they will be shut up in prison and be punished after many days. 23 The moon will be dismayed, the sun ashamed; for the Lord Almighty will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before its elders—with great glory.


Chapter 25 1 Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago. 2 You have made the city a heap of rubble, the fortified town a ruin, the foreigners’ stronghold a city no more; it will never be rebuilt. 3 Therefore strong peoples will honor you; cities of ruthless nations will revere you. 4 You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in their distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat. For the breath of the ruthless is like a storm driving against a wall 5 and like the heat of the desert. You silence the uproar of foreigners; as heat is reduced by the shadow of a cloud, so the song of the ruthless is stilled.
6 On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine— the best of meats and the finest of wines. 7 On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; 8 he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth. The Lord has spoken.
9 In that day they will say,
“Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the Lord, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”
10 The hand of the Lord will rest on this mountain; but Moab will be trampled in their land as straw is trampled down in the manure. 11 They will stretch out their hands in it, as swimmers stretch out their hands to swim. God will bring down their pride despite the cleverness of their hands. 12 He will bring down your high fortified walls and lay them low; he will bring them down to the ground, to the very dust.<



The Destruction of "Babylon" at the start of Christ's Millennial Reign (after 2017AD) (Ch 24 Vs 14-16a, Ch 27)
Chapter 24 14 They raise their voices, they shout for joy; from the west they acclaim the Lord’s majesty. 15 Therefore in the east give glory to the Lord; exalt the name of the Lord, the God of Israel, in the islands of the sea. 16a From the ends of the earth we hear singing: “Glory to the Righteous One.”

Chapter 27 1 In that day,
the Lord will punish with his sword— his fierce, great and powerful sword— Leviathan the gliding serpent, Leviathan the coiling serpent; he will slay the monster of the sea.
2 In that day—
“Sing about a fruitful vineyard: 3 I, the Lord, watch over it; I water it continually. I guard it day and night so that no one may harm it. 4 I am not angry. If only there were briers and thorns confronting me! I would march against them in battle; I would set them all on fire. 5 Or else let them come to me for refuge; let them make peace with me, yes, let them make peace with me.”
6 In days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will bud and blossom and fill all the world with fruit.
7 Has the Lord struck her as he struck down those who struck her? Has she been killed as those were killed who killed her? 8 By warfare and exile you contend with her— with his fierce blast he drives her out, as on a day the east wind blows. 9 By this, then, will Jacob’s guilt be atoned for, and this will be the full fruit of the removal of his sin: When he makes all the altar stones to be like limestone crushed to pieces, no Asherah poles or incense altars will be left standing. 10 The fortified city stands desolate, an abandoned settlement, forsaken like the wilderness; there the calves graze, there they lie down; they strip its branches bare. 11 When its twigs are dry, they are broken off and women come and make fires with them. For this is a people without understanding; so their Maker has no compassion on them, and their Creator shows them no favor.
12 In that day the Lord will thresh from the flowing Euphrates to the Wadi of Egypt, and you, Israel, will be gathered up one by one. 13 And in that day a great trumpet will sound. Those who were perishing in Assyria and those who were exiled in Egypt will come and worship the Lord on the holy mountain in Jerusalem.


The Aftermath of the First Jewish–Roman War (66AD–73AD) (Ch 24 Vs 7-13, Ch 24 Vs 16b-18a, Ch 26)
Chapter 24 7 The new wine dries up and the vine withers; all the merrymakers groan. 8 The joyful timbrels are stilled, the noise of the revelers has stopped, the joyful harp is silent. 9 No longer do they drink wine with a song; the beer is bitter to its drinkers. 10 The ruined city lies desolate; the entrance to every house is barred. 11 In the streets they cry out for wine; all joy turns to gloom, all joyful sounds are banished from the earth. 12 The city is left in ruins, its gate is battered to pieces. 13 So will it be on the earth and among the nations, as when an olive tree is beaten, or as when gleanings are left after the grape harvest.

Chapter 24 16b But I said, “I waste away, I waste away! Woe to me! The treacherous betray! With treachery the treacherous betray!” 17 Terror and pit and snare await you, people of the earth. 18a Whoever flees at the sound of terror will fall into a pit; whoever climbs out of the pit will be caught in a snare.

Chapter 26 1 In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:
We have a strong city; God makes salvation its walls and ramparts. 2 Open the gates that the righteous nation may enter, the nation that keeps faith. 3 You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. 4 Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal. 5 He humbles those who dwell on high, he lays the lofty city low; he levels it to the ground and casts it down to the dust. 6 Feet trample it down— the feet of the oppressed, the footsteps of the poor.
7 The path of the righteous is level; you, the Upright One, make the way of the righteous smooth. 8 Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts. 9 My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you. When your judgments come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness. 10 But when grace is shown to the wicked, they do not learn righteousness; even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil and do not regard the majesty of the Lord. 11 Lord, your hand is lifted high, but they do not see it. Let them see your zeal for your people and be put to shame; let the fire reserved for your enemies consume them.
12 Lord, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us. 13 Lord our God, other lords besides you have ruled over us, but your name alone do we honor. 14 They are now dead, they live no more; their spirits do not rise. You punished them and brought them to ruin; you wiped out all memory of them. 15 You have enlarged the nation, Lord; you have enlarged the nation. You have gained glory for yourself; you have extended all the borders of the land.
16 Lord, they came to you in their distress; when you disciplined them, they could barely whisper a prayer. 17 As a pregnant woman about to give birth writhes and cries out in her pain, so were we in your presence, Lord. 18 We were with child, we writhed in labor, but we gave birth to wind. We have not brought salvation to the earth, and the people of the world have not come to life.
19 But your dead will live, Lord; their bodies will rise— let those who dwell in the dust wake up and shout for joy— your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead.
20 Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until his wrath has passed by. 21 See, the Lord is coming out of his dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins. The earth will disclose the blood shed on it; the earth will conceal its slain no longer.




5. A commentary on the reconfigured text.

5.1 End Times Tribulation (circa 2967AD) (Ch 24 Vs 1-6, Ch 24 Vs 18b - Ch 25 Vs 12 )

Chapter 24 1 See, the Lord is going to lay waste the earth and devastate it; he will ruin its face and scatter its inhabitants— 2 it will be the same for priest as for people, for the master as for his servant, for the mistress as for her servant, for seller as for buyer, for borrower as for lender, for debtor as for creditor. 3 The earth will be completely laid waste and totally plundered. The Lord has spoken this word.

In the last days, the earth will be devastated and all the people in it, no matter who they are, will suffer equally. We believe that most of the Christian faithful will be raptured out by this time, based on other chiastic reconstructions like that of the Olivet discourse [3] (Matt. 24:31).



Chapter 24 4 The earth dries up and withers, the world languishes and withers, the heavens languish with the earth. 5 The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant. 6 Therefore a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt. Therefore earth’s inhabitants are burned up, and very few are left.

At the start of the Millennial Reign, the Gospel is preached to all nations, and, from then on, the Christian covenant (the eternal covenant) applies to all people (Matt. 24:14). But many violate God's laws and break this covenant between God and all mankind - they worship other gods (Rev 22:15). So at the end of the Millennial Reign, the people of earth (those who have not been raptured out) will be punished and the population will be greatly diminished (for more on the tribulations of this Period see our parse of Revelation, Part 3 [6]).



Chapter 24 18b The floodgates of the heavens are opened, the foundations of the earth shake. 19 The earth is broken up, the earth is split asunder, the earth is violently shaken. 20 The earth reels like a drunkard, it sways like a hut in the wind; so heavy upon it is the guilt of its rebellion that it falls—never to rise again.
21 In that day the Lord will punish the powers in the heavens above and the kings on the earth below. 22 They will be herded together like prisoners bound in a dungeon; they will be shut up in prison and be punished after many days. 23 The moon will be dismayed, the sun ashamed; for the Lord Almighty will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before its elders—with great glory.

We believe that during the Millennial reign, Satan's angels will control the nations outside the New Israel through their chief worshippers, the human leaders of those nations (Satan himself will be in the Abyss during this time - Rev 20:1.2). So when God punishes the nations and their leadership at the end of the Millennial Reign, He will also punish their angelic controllers in the spiritual realm (Psalm 82:6-8). There will be signs in the heavens that represent the fall of these angels (see also Like 21:25, Matt. 24:29, Rev 6:12-14). Christ will return in glory to rule the New Jerusalem that comes down from heaven (Rev. 21).



Chapter 25 1 Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago.

Chapter 25 is song of praise appropriate for the faithful at the end of Christ's reign on earth.



Chapter 25 2 You have made the city a heap of rubble, the fortified town a ruin, the foreigners’ stronghold a city no more; it will never be rebuilt. 3 Therefore strong peoples will honor you; cities of ruthless nations will revere you.

The "city" here is the seat of power from which Satan ruled the world before the start of the Millennial reign of Christ - the "city" is most likely the Vatican. God is revered around the world for destroying this evil, powerful city forever. ( The future tense may not be the right one for verse 3. Young's Literal Translation renders it "Therefore honour Thee do a strong people, A city of the terrible nations feareth Thee." )



Chapter 25 4 You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in their distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat. For the breath of the ruthless is like a storm driving against a wall 5 and like the heat of the desert. You silence the uproar of foreigners; as heat is reduced by the shadow of a cloud, so the song of the ruthless is stilled.

Christ, ruling the earth for God, has been a protector of the poor and weak of the world from those who try to ruthlessly exploit them or destroy them.



Chapter 25 6 On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine— the best of meats and the finest of wines. 7 On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; 8 he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth. The Lord has spoken.

In the glorious heavenly Kingdom under Christ, there will be a great feast - indicating rewards and celebration - and no more suffering and death (Rev 7:17, 21:4). The veil between the spiritual and the physical worlds will be lifted. ( The "disgrace" in vs. 8 refers to the contempt of the non-believer )



Chapter 25 9 In that day they will say,
“Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the Lord, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”
10 The hand of the Lord will rest on this mountain; but Moab will be trampled in their land as straw is trampled down in the manure. 11 They will stretch out their hands in it, as swimmers stretch out their hands to swim. God will bring down their pride despite the cleverness of their hands. 12 He will bring down your high fortified walls and lay them low; he will bring them down to the ground, to the very dust.

Moab, Israel's enemy at the time of the prophecy, here represents the enemies of the New Israel - those proud, self-sufficient, hostile peoples who worship other gods. They will be pushed down into manure even as they attempt to swim out of it - a stark image of the humiliating end of a people. Their fortified cities will be thoroughly destroyed in the last days, during the end times tribulation. Jerusalem, with a small remnant of the elect, will remain under God's protection in these final days.




5.2 The Destruction of "Babylon" at the start of Christ's Millennial Reign (after 2017AD). (Ch 24 Vs 14-16a, Ch 27)

Chapter 24 14 They raise their voices, they shout for joy; from the west they acclaim the Lord’s majesty. 15 Therefore in the east give glory to the Lord; exalt the name of the Lord, the God of Israel, in the islands of the sea. 16a From the ends of the earth we hear singing: “Glory to the Righteous One.”

A celebration of the greatness of the "Righteous One" of Israel from people around the world at the defeat of Satan and his empire, that had tormented the world.



Chapter 27 1 In that day,
the Lord will punish with his sword— his fierce, great and powerful sword— Leviathan the gliding serpent, Leviathan the coiling serpent; he will slay the monster of the sea.

Leviathan, the giant mythical sea dragon/serpent, represents Satan's army, the Beast (see Rev 13:1), that will be defeated at the start of Christ's reign (Rev 19:20). While the Beast will be killed in the lake of fire, Satan himself will be imprisoned in the Abyss at this time (Rev. 20 :1-3). ( Leviathan is often used in the Bible to represent a dangerous powerful enemy - see Job 3:8, Job 41, Psalm 74:14, and Psalm 104:26. The sea represents a mass of people - Rev 13:1.)



Chapter 27 2 In that day—
“Sing about a fruitful vineyard:

The rest of Chapter 27 is a song, with alternating responses, in praise of God for His blessings on the New Israel, the 'fruitful vineyard', at the start of the Millennial Reign.

This verse urges the audience to sing the response lines of this song.



Chapter 27 3 I, the Lord, watch over it; I water it continually. I guard it day and night so that no one may harm it.
4 I am not angry.

Christ will nurture the new Israel, the fruitful vineyard, which consists of all the tribes of Israel and faithful Christians. He is no longer angry with the Israelites, as he has punished them for the sins of their forefathers.



Chapter 27 4b If only there were briers and thorns confronting me! I would march against them in battle; I would set them all on fire. 5 Or else let them come to me for refuge; let them make peace with me, yes, let them make peace with me.” 6 In days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will bud and blossom and fill all the world with fruit.

In keeping with the vineyard metaphor, briers and thorns represent peoples hostile to Christ's message and to his people (verse 4 may be clearer with the word "only" omitted in the translation). The New Israel's enemies have the options of making peace with Christ or being destroyed. Israel will be a successful nation that serves the world.



Chapter 27 7 Has the Lord struck her as he struck down those who struck her? Has she been killed as those were killed who killed her? 8 By warfare and exile you contend with her— with his fierce blast he drives her out, as on a day the east wind blows. 9 By this, then, will Jacob’s guilt be atoned for, and this will be the full fruit of the removal of his sin: When he makes all the altar stones to be like limestone crushed to pieces, no Asherah poles or incense altars will be left standing.

God has punished Israel for its sins through warfare and exile, but He has been kinder to Israel than to its enemies. At the start of Christ's reign, the Israelites, having atoned for their past waywardness, will stop being a pagan, idol worshipping nation and turn back to their God (Romans 11:26).



Chapter 27 10 The fortified city stands desolate, an abandoned settlement, forsaken like the wilderness; there the calves graze, there they lie down; they strip its branches bare. 11 When its twigs are dry, they are broken off and women come and make fires with them. For this is a people without understanding; so their Maker has no compassion on them, and their Creator shows them no favor.

The fortified city, Satan's capital from which he rules the world (most likely the Vatican), will be destroyed forever. These verses evoke a stark image of the eternal ruin of this city and, with it, Satan's power on earth (see also Rev 18-20). The people of the city will also be destroyed, because God will show no mercy on those who foolishly choose Satan as their Lord.



Chapter 27 12 In that day the Lord will thresh from the flowing Euphrates to the Wadi of Egypt, and you, Israel, will be gathered up one by one. 13 And in that day a great trumpet will sound. Those who were perishing in Assyria and those who were exiled in Egypt will come and worship the Lord on the holy mountain in Jerusalem.

God will once again gather the Israelites, who are spread throughout the world, into the New Israel (in keeping with the vineyard metaphor, the word "thresh" is better rendered "gather"). The Euphrates and Wadi of Egypt represent the might of Israel's ancient oppressors, Assyria and Egypt respectively, and they, in turn, represent the powerful hostile nations of the world at the start of the Millennial Reign. The Israelites will be individually taken out of them and gathered into a new united nation. The "trumpet" in this passage refers the one used at the time of ancient Israel to gather the Israelites - another metaphor for gathering in.




5.3 The Aftermath of the First Jewish–Roman War (66AD–73AD) (Ch 24 Vs 7-13, Ch 24 Vs 16b-18a, Ch 26)

Chapter 24 7 The new wine dries up and the vine withers; all the merrymakers groan. 8 The joyful timbrels are stilled, the noise of the revelers has stopped, the joyful harp is silent. 9 No longer do they drink wine with a song; the beer is bitter to its drinkers.

This passage (vs 7-13) poetically laments the destruction of Jerusalem and its people by the Romans.



Chapter 24 10 The ruined city lies desolate; the entrance to every house is barred. 11 In the streets they cry out for wine; all joy turns to gloom, all joyful sounds are banished from the earth. 12 The city is left in ruins, its gate is battered to pieces. 13 So will it be on the earth and among the nations, as when an olive tree is beaten, or as when gleanings are left after the grape harvest.

The few remaining cry for wine, to drown their sorrows and not to make merry. Most of the population in Jerusalem and Judea were killed and those few remaining were exiled into slavery. ( Verse 13a is better rendered, "So will it be in the land and among the people" - that is, Judea is also affected like Jerusalem. )



Chapter 24 16b But I said, “I waste away, I waste away! Woe to me! The treacherous betray! With treachery the treacherous betray!”

The prophet laments the plight of the Jews that are trapped in Jerusalem. During the Roman siege of Jerusalem, internecine fighting between Jewish factions increased the Judahites misery. One group destroyed food stocks in an effort to force the residents to venture out to fight the Romans. Many died of violence and starvation as a result of these treasonous acts, even before the Romans conquered the city.



Chapter 24 17 Terror and pit and snare await you, people of the earth. 18a Whoever flees at the sound of terror will fall into a pit; whoever climbs out of the pit will be caught in a snare.

Any Judahites caught trying to escape starvation and certain death in Jerusalem ('earth' in vs 17 is better translated 'land') were brutally executed by the Romans. The "terror, pit and snare" in vs. 18a appears to have been saying at the time indicating that there is no escape (see also Jer. 48:43).



Chapter 26 1a In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:

Isaiah 26 is a song of praise from the first Christian community, celebrating the Christian life. This song is from the people of Judah who were saved by their faith in Christ, because they had heeded Jesus' warning to escape to the mountains when they saw the Romans.



Chapter 26 1b We have a strong city; God makes salvation its walls and ramparts. 2 Open the gates that the righteous nation may enter, the nation that keeps faith. 3 You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. 4 Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.

The 'city' in this passage represents the community of faithful Christians around the world - the "kingdom of heaven" (Mark 1:15). People of all races who believe in God, the Rock Eternal, are free to enter this 'city' ('nation' in vs. 2 is better rendered 'people').



Chapter 26 5 He humbles those who dwell on high, he lays the lofty city low; he levels it to the ground and casts it down to the dust. 6 Feet trample it down— the feet of the oppressed, the footsteps of the poor.

This 'city' (or 'Babylon'), which represents the community of Satan's worshippers, is the antagonist of the righteous 'city' of vs 1. This 'city' ('Babylon'), which was wealthy and powerful for a time, will be destroyed forever at the start of Christ's Millennial Reign and will be trampled on by those it had impoverished and oppressed.



7 The path of the righteous is level; you, the Upright One, make the way of the righteous smooth. 8 Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts. 9 My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you. When your judgments come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness. 10 But when grace is shown to the wicked, they do not learn righteousness; even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil and do not regard the majesty of the Lord. 11 Lord, your hand is lifted high, but they do not see it. Let them see your zeal for your people and be put to shame; let the fire reserved for your enemies consume them.

The path of the righteous will be made smooth, but the stubbornly wicked will be punished.



Chapter 26 12 Lord, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us. 13 Lord our God, other lords besides you have ruled over us, but your name alone do we honor. 14 They are now dead, they live no more; their spirits do not rise. You punished them and brought them to ruin; you wiped out all memory of them. 15 You have enlarged the nation, Lord; you have enlarged the nation. You have gained glory for yourself; you have extended all the borders of the land.

When the people turned to Christ, they stopped worshipping pagan gods. The Christian "nation" has grown through the preaching of Christ's Gospel.



Chapter 26 16 Lord, they came to you in their distress; when you disciplined them, they could barely whisper a prayer. 17 As a pregnant woman about to give birth writhes and cries out in her pain, so were we in your presence, Lord. 18 We were with child, we writhed in labor, but we gave birth to wind. We have not brought salvation to the earth, and the people of the world have not come to life.

The people of Judea came to God in their great distress at the punishment they received from Him for their waywardness and sins. Their own attempts to save themselves and defeat their enemies had failed completely ("given birth to wind"). ( The last sentence, 18b, is better rendered, "We have not brought salvation to the land, neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen." )



Chapter 26 19 But your dead will live, Lord; their bodies will rise— let those who dwell in the dust wake up and shout for joy— your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead.

For the faithful Christian, there will be a resurrection and eternal life. God will give life to the dead, like the morning dew that refreshes and gives life to withered plants in dry lands.



Chapter 26 20 Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until his wrath has passed by.

This last section of Chapter 26 is an epilogue to this song of praise. The Christians of Judea, who had heeded Jesus' exhortation to flee to the mountains, are advised to remain in hiding for a little longer until God had finished punishing the Judahites who did not believe in Christ. As we have seen in our parse of the "70 weeks of Daniel" [2], the Christian Judahites had to remain in hiding for about 3 1/2 years.




Chapter 26 21 See, the Lord is coming out of his dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins. The earth will disclose the blood shed on it; the earth will conceal its slain no longer.

God used the Romans to punish the non-believing Judahites of the time for for all the righteous blood that had been shed from the time of Abel (Matt. 23:35). (The text, "disclose the blood shed", indicates a punishment for the death of the righteous - see Gen. 4:10. The word translated, "earth", in this verse is better rendered, "land".)




Conclusion

With this chiastic reconstruction of the text, we show that the passage contains three interwoven prophetic passages, each of which ends in a song of praise. All 3 Periods of the prophecy mention the fall of Satan's capital city, "Babylon", at the start of the Millennial reign of Christ. The three Periods of this prophecy mark three significant events of the Christian era: the end of the Old Covenant (only the New Covenant of Christianity is in effect from this time); the start of the Millennial Reign of Christ; and the Final Judgement.



References

[1] A Definition of Cryptochiasmus
[2] A Chiastic Reconfiguration Of "The 70 Weeks Of Daniel"
[3] A Chiastic Reconfiguration Of "The Olivet Discourse" in Matthew 24
[4] A Chiastic Reconfiguration Of Isaiah 13-14
[5] A Chiastic Reconfiguration Of Revelation 4-22 Part 2
[6] A Chiastic Reconfiguration Of Revelation 4-22 Part 3






* Updated 11 Mar 2021 with parsing changes.





Related pages

Daniel 9
Mark 13
Luke 21
Luke 17:22-37
Cryptochiasmus