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Book of Isaiah
Isaiah Chapter 5
The Six Woes of Isaiah Chapter 5
Isaiah Chapter 5 has been called Judah’s Grapes of Wrath because of its series of six woes, which the LORD hurls against six specific groups of people who were responsible for producing corrupt fruit that was shameful in the eyes of the LORD.
Bad fruit: (Deut.29:18; Pro.1:31; Isa.3:10; 10:12; Mat.3:10; 7:16-20; Rom.7:5).
Here as elsewhere in the Bible, a parable is used to prepare the people for a statement of judgment (2 Sam.12:1-7; 1 Ki.20:37-43). It was common for the prophets of those times to begin with a parable and then move on to their words of judgment, so in Isaiah 5:1-6, we have the Parable of the Vineyard. Verse 7 gives us the interpretation, and in verses 8-25 we have the application of the woes and the judgments. God, through Isaiah, will pronounce six woes for the rotten grapes that Judah produced in His vineyard. Isaiah will combine the six woes (8, 11, 18, 20, 21, 22) with four therefores (13, 14; 24, 25). The woes are the sins, the therefores are God’s judgment because of His holy wrath for their sin.
The Hebrew word hoy, translated woe, introduces a lament (crying) as much as a threat. Isaiah is not only angry and condemning, he is also grieved because of the sins of his people. It is interesting to see just how unhurried and logical Isaiah was in his ministry, as were all the prophets of God. Some think that the prophets were simply reproachful agitators, ranting and rebuking, and failing to see how they truly ministered to Almighty God, on the basis of overwhelming evidence, and/or woes. Their work consisted of carefully written logical, inescapable conclusions, in a series of therefores. The therefore sections in 5:8-25 subdivide into two parts: 5:8-17 and 5:18-25. We will see the repeated connection of drunkenness and injustice in 5:11-12 and 5:22-23.
Literally, the word woe means a pronouncement of doom upon individuals or nations, as the case may be, which are in the vision of the prophet, as given by the inspiration of Almighty God. Isaiah, the humble servant of God, simply and obediently pronounces the particular message in question.
The previous prophecy has run through all the different phases of prophetic appeal by the time that we reach the close of Isaiah 4:1-6, and its leading thought, the overthrow of the false glory of Israel, and the perfect establishment of true glory through the judgment of God, has been so fully worked out, that many say that chapter 5 cannot possibly be considered either as a continuation or as an addition to that prophecy.
Without any doubt, there are many points in which chapter 5 refers back to chapters 2-4. The parable of the vineyard in Isaiah 5:1-7 sprouts, as it were, out of Isaiah 3:14. And in Isaiah 5:15, there is a repetition of the refrain in Isaiah 2:9, varied in a similar way to Isaiah 2:17.
The kind of bad fruit Judah produced is described in a six-fold woe; and the kind of destruction that was to follow is indicated in the dark conclusion to the whole address, which is entirely without a promise.
In this chapter the prophet Isaiah, in God's Name, shows the people of God their transgressions, even the house of Jacob their sins . . . and the judgments which were likely to be brought against them for their sins.
Theme: The song of the vineyard; the six woes that follow.
This chapter brings us to the end of the section which was begun in chapter 2. The first seven verses are the song of the vineyard which tells of the sins of the nation Israel and the coming captivity. The balance of the chapter gives the six woes or the six specific sins which bring down the judgment of God upon the nation. The penalty for each sin is listed.
There are those who say that this is a new prophecy; entire in itself, possibly delivered about the same time as Isaiah Ch. 2-3, in Uzziah's reign. You be the judge of that.
Israel as an Unfruitful Vineyard, Representing the Great Favors God Had Bestowed Upon Them, and His Disappointment (5:1-7)
Isaiah 5:1 Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill: (KJV)
Now will I sing . . . Isaiah records it, as a witness for God, and against Israel, just as Moses sang his song (Deut.31:19; 32:1).
To my Well-beloved . . . to the LORD of the vineyard, as appears by the last clause of the verse; to God or Christ, whom Isaiah loved and served, and for whose glory, hidden by them, he was greatly concerned.
A song of my Beloved . . . not created by Isaiah, not the effect of his envy or passion; but inspired by God, which therefore it is fitting for you to lay it to your heart.
His vineyard . . . His people, His church, often and fitly called a vineyard, because of God’s remarkable respect to it, care of it, and His great delight in it . . . and His expectation of good fruit from it.
In a very fruitful hill . . . hills being places most common place for vines (Ps.80:10).
*****Isaiah tells the nation that he is going to sing a song for them. He had a message from the LORD to share with the people of Israel, a message that he knew would not be received without difficulty, so he chooses sing the message in a song.
It is always wise to try to share the Truth with people in such a way that it will be as welcome as possible for them to receive . . . BUT . . . the Truth is NEVER to be compromised in the process.
Isaiah’s song is from the Lord, and yet he is the one who is singing it. It is from the LORD because we know that the vineyard was planted by and belongs to the Lord (Mat. Ch.20 & 21), not to Isaiah. The Lord has actually planted several vineyards so far, but He has never received the fruit from them that He deserved, being the rightful owner, nor what He really wanted:
#1. The Garden of Eden
God planted the Garden of Eden, placing Adam and Eve there to take care of it, and to serve and have fellowship with the LORD, but man rebelled and turned away from the Lord and cursed the earth and kicked man out of the garden (Gen.16-18).
#2. The world before the Great Flood
Having been thrown out of the garden, man was sent out to replenish the Earth with the hopes that people would serve and honor God, BUT . . . with the exception of Noah and his family, the people on the Earth soon turned away completely from the Lord and all the thoughts of the heart were only evil (Gen.6:5).
#3. The world after the Great Flood
The world-wide Flood, was destroyed by Almighty God, ALL human life was destroyed except those on the ark (Gen.7:21-23). Then, the LORD again placed man upon the Earth so that he might serve Him and again have fellowship with Him. BUT . . . the people again chose to turn away from God so that He again had few people who were His own.
Isaiah 5:2 And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes. (KJV)
And he fenced it, that neither men nor beasts might spoil it.
And gathered out the stones thereof . . . which otherwise would have marred the land (2 Ki.3:19). The sense is, He removed all hindrances, and gave them all the means of fruitfulness.
And built a tower in the midst of it . . . tower, to watch the vineyard against the destructions of man or beast, and for the residence of the keeper, that they might watch over it with more diligence (Mat.21:33).
And also made a winepress therein . . . winepress, including the wine-fat, hewn for coolness out of the rocky undersoil of the vineyard.
And he looked that it should bring forth grapes . . . the vineyard was set up exactly as it should have been, and it should have produced good grapes.
And it brought forth wild grapes . . . BUT, it produced bitter wild grapes. The Jews express wild grapes as offensive decay, answering to the corrupt state of the Jews. So, instead of choice grapes, it produced what some called wolf grapes (Deut.32:32-33; 2 Ki.4:39-41).
*****Isaiah describes how the Lord planted Israel His vineyard. The LORD brought Abraham to a land far away from the idolatry all around him; then the LORD cleared the land of all its idols through the clearing out of all of the idolatrous nations under the leadership of Joshua.
IF Joshua and the people had been faithful and done all that they would have been called to do, they WOULD HAVE removed all of the idolatry from the land . . . BUT, that little bit that was allowed to remain through their disobedience ended up spoiling the entire vineyard. That old saying: One rotten apple spoils the whole barrel.
Israel was God’s choicest vine, the vine of His own calling and choosing. The tower placed in the midst of the vineyard was to be a lookout to protect against any invading enemies, this tower is symbolized by those whom the Lord called as prophets. The prophets were to protect the people IF the people would just heed the prophets’ words.
The wine vat was placed in the middle of the vineyard, this vat was used to produce the wine, for the wine was to be pressed out of the grapes by those who were given charge to tend to the wine vat.
BUT . . . the end result: the grapes produced were of bad quality, and were totally worthless, so the entire vineyard ended up being useless to the land owner. Israel did NOT bear the fruit that the Lord had called it to produce, for the people continually rebelled and turned away from the LORD throughout her history.
It is my opinion that the LORD wanted Israel to be witnesses of Christ to the Gentile people. She failed completely because she could NOT see Christ as the Messiah. I think this will change in the last days when she shall finally obey the LORD (Rev.7).
Isaiah 5:3 And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard. (KJV)
This is an appeal of God to them (Isa.1:18; Mic.6:3). God asks the people point blank: “What have I done to you to make you turn from me? Tell me!” The people would never be able to answer this question because God had done NOTHING wrong. So too Christ Jesus, in (Mat.21:40-41), referring in the very form of expression as this, makes them pass sentence on themselves. God condemns sinners out of their own mouth (Deut.32:6; Job 15:6; Lk.19:22; Rom.3:4).
God had been very patient with them, lovingly guiding them, and giving them every chance to return to Him. What about you? If God asked you, “What have I done to you to make you turn your back on me?” How would you answer Him?
God had blessed Israel with so many favors to them and their ancestors, and they repaid Him with them their disobedient, unworthy, ungrateful behavior toward Him.
Isaiah 5:4 What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes? (KJV)
God continues to question the people: What more could I have done for my vineyard that I have not already done? Is there something I failed to do for it?
Why then, when I expected good, sweet grapes, did my vineyard give me bitter, corrupt grapes? What work is there belonging to the office of a master of the vineyard which I have neglected? How unworthy and inexcusable your crime is, that you have not only been unfruitful in good works, but also filled with all the fruits of wickedness!
*****The LORD asks Israel why He should not receive good produce from His vineyard after all that He had done for it? The LORD had done so much for Israel throughout her history.
#1.He led her out of slavery to Egypt by His powerful might.
#2.He fed, clothed, and gave water to the people throughout their 40 years of wandering in the desert.
#3.He brought her to a wonderful land flowing with milk and honey which He gave as her possession.
#4. He conquered each and every one of her enemies in the land when she trusted Him and sought Him in prayer.
#5. He raised up honest judges to conquer her enemies when she finally repented and sought His help and protection.
#6. He gave her prophets to bring her back to Him when she strayed, IF she would only LISTEN to what they said. (Isa.30:10-11), but they wanted no part of Him.
In spite of all that the LORD did for His people Israel, she turned away from Him and went whoring after other gods (Judg.2:17; Jer.11:10).
*****The LORD asks the people to judge whether or not these things are true. God has done all that could be done for the salvation of sinners, which is consistent with His love, justice and goodness.
Isaiah 5:5 And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down: (KJV)
I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard . . . the LORD graciously warns them beforehand, so that they had time to repent, and to stop the threatened miseries.
I will take away the hedge thereof . . . He threatens to withdraw His Presence and protection from them, and give them up into the hands of their enemies.
Isaiah 5:6 And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. (KJV)
And I will lay it waste . . . verses 5-6 are a clear prediction of the about to happen captivities of both the kingdoms of Israel. For over 500 years God had kept the great nations of the world off the land bridge of three continents . . . Palestine. He had put an invisible wall around the children of Israel. God would not let anybody touch them, although many times He could have judged them. God now says, you are My vineyard, and I have hedged you in, but now I am breaking down the wall. Syria was first (1 Ki.20), then Assyria (2 Ki.17), then Babylon (Jer.25) . . . they all laid it waste. And in spite of everything that has been done in that land today, it is still a pretty desolate looking place. God has judged it.
It shall not be pruned nor digged . . . vine dressers would dig up and open the earth around the roots of the vines, for various good purposes. The meaning is that He would remove His ministers, who used great care and diligence to make them fruitful.
There shall come briers and thorns . . . I will give you up to your own wicked lusts.
I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain on it . . . God has deprived them of all His blessings, which are often compared to rain.
Isaiah 5:7 For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry. (KJV)
For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel . . . the vineyard is the house of Israel, the body of the people, incorporated in one church and nation.
And the men of Judah his pleasant plant . . . the vines, the pleasant plants of God's pleasure, which He had been pleased and delighted with, are the men of Judah; these He had dealt graciously with, and from them He expected suitable returns.
And he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness . . . meaning instead of good grapes, He got bitter wild grapes. He looked for judgment and righteousness, desiring that the people would be honest in all their dealings and the judges would strictly administer justice, but they were not like that; instead of judgment there was the cruelty by the oppressors, and instead of righteousness the cry of the oppressed was heard.
But behold a cry . . . it is sad when wickedness takes over the place of judgment (Ecc.3:16). It is very sad indeed with a soul when instead of the grapes of humility, meekness, patience, love and contempt of the world, which God looks for and insists on, there are the wild grapes of pride, passion, discontent, malice and contempt of God. Instead of the good grapes of praying and praising, there are wild, bitter grapes of cursing and swearing, which are a great offence to God. Some of the ancients apply this to the Jews in Christ's time, among whom God looked for righteousness (that is, that they should receive and embrace Christ), but behold a loud cry instead. Luke 23:21 But they cried, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. (KJV)
*****In Verses 5-7, Isaiah tells us what the LORD is going to do to Israel for not giving to Him the proper produce He is due. The LORD had called Israel and planted her as His own vineyard, but her destruction is now pronounced. This has happened because she became useless and fruitless.
The Lord is now going to: take away the hedge and it shall be eaten up, the wall shall be broken down, trodden down; laid in waste, shall not be pruned, but be filled with briers and thorns, and no more rain upon it.
In case there was any question here about what Isaiah has written, in verse 7 he says that what the vineyard refers to, is the house of Israel, and the people were His pleasant plant. The LORD wanted justice, but they became men of bloodshed as they beat down and oppressed the poor, weak and helpless. He wanted righteousness in the nation, but the people instead caused those whom they oppressed to cry out in distress. God is going to see that Jerusalem and Judea is destroyed and overthrown.
The Six Woes of Isaiah Chapter (5: 8-30)
There are Six Woes in Isaiah Chapter 5, and each woe tells of a certain sin for which God is judging Israel. If you want to apply these to your life or to the life of our nation, you can, but the explanation is for Israel; and it has already been fulfilled for them. IF we are wise, we should apply what Isaiah says to our own hearts and lives.
There were a list of sins that did abound among Israel, with a warning of punishments that would answer to the sins. The world and the flesh are the two great enemies that we are in danger of being overpowered by . . . but, IF we do not yield to them, we are in no danger. Eagerness for things of the world, and giving in to the desires of the flesh, are the two sins against which the prophet, in God's Name, here announces woes.
These were sins which then abounded among the men of Judah, some of the wild grapes they brought forth (vs.4), and for which God threatens to bring ruin upon them. They are sins which we all need to be on our guard against and dread the consequences of. Covetousness, and greediness of worldly wealth, shall be punished with famine.
Isaiah 5:8 Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth! (KJV)
Woe to them that join house to house, that lay field to field . . . the year of the Jubilee was a time to restore possessions, and was intended as a guard against greed (Lev.25:8-55; 27:16-25), for its effect on the dedication of property. It motivated the case of the daughters of Zelophehad, in which it was ruled that an heiress in possession could not marry outside her tribe, because her property would then not revert to her family even at the jubilee (Num.27).
Till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth . . . that they alone may be the lords and owners, all others only their tenants and servants. Until there be no place left for anyone else.
*****This is the first sin of Israel. What is it? This sin is the lust of the eyes (1 Jn.2:16); meaning covetousness. Colossians 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: (KJV) . . . Covetousness is idolatry. It is a big business of the very rich, expanding at the expense of the little people. That is what happened in Israel . . . the rich got richer and the little, poor man was squeezed out completely. It was done so that great fortunes might be accumulated, then and now! The only excuse for such a sin is the gluttonous greed for more property and possessions. God will judge these people for that.
I personally know someone who fills the above to a T. He and his wife have enough money for several life times, but they keep on keeping on, struggling for more. I think it is a dreaded disease! People are greedy, and that covetousness shall be judged by God. Matthew 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (KJV)
Isaiah 5:9 In mine ears said the LORD of hosts, Of a truth many houses shall be desolate, even great and fair, without inhabitant. (KJV)
In mine ears said the LORD of hosts . . . Isaiah heard God speak what he now about to utter, as in (Isa.22:14).
Of a truth many houses shall be desolate, even great and fair, without inhabitant . . . the great and beautiful houses you have so greedily lusted after, shall cast you out, and become desolate.
*****What is being threatened as the punishment of this sin is that neither the houses nor the fields they were so greedy of, would profit them. God whispered it to the prophet Isaiah in his ear, as he speaks in a similar time (Isa.22:14). It was revealed in the ears of Samuel by the LORD of hosts, telling Samuel a thing in his ear (1 Sam. 9:15-16). He thought he heard it still sounding in his ears; so he proclaimed it, as he should, upon the house-tops (Mat.10:27).
The big, fancy houses they were so fond of would stand a long time empty, yielding no rent, and going out of repair. Many houses would be desolate, the people that being cut off by sword, famine or pestilence, or carried into captivity. Even great and fair houses, that would invite tenants, shall stand empty without inhabitants.
Isaiah 5:10 Yea, ten acres of vineyard shall yield one bath, and the seed of an homer shall yield an ephah. (KJV)
Ten acres of vineyard shall yield one bath . . . a bath contained about 7 ½ or 8 gallons, so an acre of ground would yield less than a gallon of wine.
And the seed of an homer shall yield an ephah . . . 220 liters of seed would yield 22 liters, due to God's curse on the land (vs.6), the seed planted would yield only about a tenth of what was originally planted, a total reverse of the tithe. God is simply stating that even though they expand their lands, the yield will not be great because there will be a famine which will destroy the crop. Extended holdings will NOT produce a bumper crop!
*****In verses 8-10, Isaiah pronounces the first woe upon the nation: those who add house to house and join field to field. The Lord made it very clear to the people of Israel in the Law that the land belonged to Him and that it was to be equally distributed to all of the families in Israel, BUT . . . in their greed the people were gobbling up as much land as they could, which was cheating the people out of their God-given possession.
The people were ruining the nation as God had intended! They should never have disobeyed God’s commands and allowed the rich to gobble up the land. This sin had been slowly taking place in Jerusalem and Judea during the 50 year reign of King Uzziah. The country had been becoming more and more money-oriented (worldly), and it was their greed that was now causing the spiritual downfall of the nation. This sin can be clearly seen in our nation today, for covetousness is at an all-time high. The judgment that is to be pronounced is against the land . . . it will stop producing as it had done when the people were obedient to the LORD!
Isaiah 5:11 Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them! (KJV)
Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning . . . this is the second woe, that against gluttony and overindulgence which was scandalous in this case. Early in the morning, when it was regarded shameful to drink; banquets for partying began earlier than usual (Ecc.10:16-17). Drunkenness: (Isa.19:14; 24:9, 11; 28:1, 3, 7-8; 56:12; Acts 2:15; 1 Thes.5:7). They made drinking their daily trade and business.
That they may follow strong drink . . . strong drink indicates intoxication.
That continue until night, till wine inflame them . . . continue drinking all day until evening, and in doing so, wasting both precious time and the health of their bodies, as well as of their souls. He uses the word continue to show their foolishness and misery, because wine (alcohol) does not quench and satisfy their appetites . . . but it instead inflames and urges them to lust for more.
Isaiah 5:12 And the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts: but they regard not the work of the LORD, neither consider the operation of his hands. (KJV)
And the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts . . . music was common at ancient feasts (Isa.24:8-9; Amos 5-6). Viol was an instrument with twelve strings (Josephus, Antiquities, 8.10]); tabrets were supposedly used to drown out the cries of children sacrificed to Moloch, and seems it was a kettle drum, or tambourine; pipe was a flute or flageolet (Job 21:11-15). Tabret: (Gen. 31:27; 1 Sam.10:5; 18:6; Job 17:6; Isa.5:12; 24:8; 30:32; Jer.31:4; Eze.28:13).
But they regard not the work of the LORD, neither consider the operation of his hands . . . a frequent effect of feasting was to forget all about the goodness of the LORD and in fact, cursed God in their hearts (Gen.6:5; Job 1:5; Ps.28:5; Jer.4:14; 17:9-10; Mk.7:21;23; Acts 8:22); His work . . . operation in punishing the guilty (vs.19; Isa.10:12). They never considered that the work of the Lord could not be undone by them. He would punish the guilty . . . then and now!~
*****In verses 11-12, we see the second woe, the second sin, that being Israel’s drunkenness and riotous pleasure on a national scale, that led to a spiritual downfall. It is sad indeed, that this is taking place today in our country. No one knows how many decisions are made in our government by people who have just come from a cocktail party. These are the things that lower the morals of a nation. They destroy a nation and eat at it like a cancer. I think there are several nations on the verge of falling prey to sin of drunkenness, just as Israel did.
Isaiah 5:13 Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honourable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst. (KJV)
Therefore my people are gone into captivity . . . are gone, the prophet sees the future as if it were before his eyes.
Because they have no knowledge . . . no knowledge because of their foolish irresponsibility (vs.12; Isa.1:3; Hos.4:6; Lk.19:44). They have noserious consideration of God's works, nor of their own duty and danger.
And their honourable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst . . .
the nobles who thought themselves far out of reach of famine (vs.11-12); the multitude is the common people; dried up with thirst (Ps.107:4-5). This is in contrast to their drinking (vs.11). In their deportation and exile, they all shall hunger and thirst.
*****The majority of the people in this country think it is quite sophisticated to drink, that it is the thing to do. Any youngsters who grow up in an atmosphere of drug abuse will be among the first to try marijuana or pills when confronted with their own problems. And if the father and mother have alcohol in the home, and drink, it should be no surprise if their child becomes an alcoholic at an early age.
Drugs and alcohol can destroy the home and the nation. Drunkenness is one of the things that brought down Israel. It seems that our nation is well on its way down.
Isaiah 5:14 Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it. (KJV)
Therefore hell hath enlarged herself . . . because so many will go to Hell, that could go to Heaven (Mat.7:13-14), it will be enlarged . . . not its actual size, but because of more people going there. I believe Hell is measureless; it simply opens its mouth to the extra multitudes who could be saved from such a place IF they would obey God. Opened her mouth: Numbers 16:30-34 But if the LORD make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the LORD. 31 And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them:
32 And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. 33 They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation. 34 And all Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of them: for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up also. (KJV) . . . Opened her mouth without measure . . . to receive those vast numbers which shall die by this famine, or otherwise, as is here implied.
And their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it . . . their glory is their honorable men (vs.13), their multitude is the common people, their pomp means all their glory shall die with them. He that rejoiceth is he that spends all his days in merriment, casting away all cares and fears.
*****Therefore Hell has enlarged herself. Tophet, the common burying-place, proved too little; the grave has opened her mouth without measure, never saying, It is enough (Pro.30:15-16). Tophet or Topheth was a location south of Jerusalem where worshipers influenced by the ancient Canaanite religion engaged in the human sacrifice of their children to the gods Moloch and Baal, by burning them alive. Tophet became a religious synonym for Hell within Christendom. The outdated explanation was that it was a burning rubbish heap in the Valley of Hinnom south of Jerusalem gave rise to the idea of a fiery Gehenna of judgment.
Tophet: (Isa.30:33; Jer.7:31-32; 19:6,11-14).
Four things that inherit Hell:
#1. The glory and grandeur of sinful men (vs.8-10).
#2. Great numbers of sinful men (vs.13-14).
#3. The majesty and splendor of sinful men (vs.11-12).
#4. All who delight in their sin.
Hell is beneath the Earth, so the wicked descend into it: (vs.14; Num.16:30-33; Ps.28:1; 55:15; 63:9; 115:17; 143:7; Pro.1:12; 5:5; 18:8; 26:22; Isa.38:18; Eze.26:20; 31:14-18; 32:24-29; Mat.12:40; Eph.4:8-10).
See My personal thoughts on Hell in Special Comments at the end of this chapter. Also some other comments on Tophet: . . . . . . http://www.godcannotlie.org/book_of_isaiah_ch.30.htm
The word translated Hell in this verse is actually the grave. It is not a reference to the lake of fire as we think of Hell today. It is the Hebrew word sheol. It means that the grave demands. The same word is in (Pro.30:16). Death, or the grave, both satisfactory translations of sheol is never satisfied.
When you stand at the grave of someone, do you wonder? Where is he/she? Job asked this question Job.14:10). It seems that Hell at first did not have the idea of a locality, but in time it was thought that since God was in Heaven above, then Hell or the grave must be below or down. In the New Testament the word hades is the same as the Old Testament sheol. The Lord Jesus used this word when He said: Matthew 11:23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. (KJV) . . . The Lord was not talking about a literal descent into the heart of the Earth. He simply meant that Capernaum was going to be brought down, and what He said was true. Isaiah is saying that the nation of Israel will be brought down. They are going to be taken into captivity, they are going to be brought down to the grave, and the glory of the nation will be turned into dust because of her drunkenness and partying.
Isaiah 5:15 And the mean man shall be brought down, and the mighty man shall be humbled, and the eyes of the lofty shall be humbled: (KJV)
All of them, both high and low, all ranks, mean and mighty alike; (Isa.2:9, 11, 17) the honorable and the multitude (vs.13), shall be brought to destruction. Death will turn into mourning; he that rejoices and carouses, never knowing what it is to be serious, shall go where there is weeping and wailing (Mat.8:12; 13:42, 50; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30; Lk.13:28).
Both the mean man and the mighty man meet together in the grave under the shameful judgments of the LORD. No matter how high a man is, or thinks he is, death will bring him low. Death will bring the mighty down to the dust, and the lofty (proud and arrogant) shall be humbled. God hates pride (Pro.16:5).
Isaiah 5:16 But the LORD of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, and God that is holy shall be sanctified in righteousness. (KJV)
But the LORD of hosts shall be exalted in judgment . . . God shall be exalted (lifted up), holy and glorified in the judgment and righteousness of His verdicts. His justice must be owned in bringing those low that had exalted themselves; and because of this, He is glorified. Since the LORD is an irresistible and non-stoppable power, He will in this be exalted as the LORD of hosts, because He is well able to break the strongest, humble the proudest and tame the most unruly. His power is exalted in judgment. It is the honor of God that, although He has a mighty arm, yet judgment and justice are ALWAYS the habitation of His throne (Ps.89:13-14).
And God that is holy shall be sanctified in righteousness . . . because the LORD is a God of unstained purity, He is infinitely holy, He shall be sanctified (holy, set apart), meaning that He must be owned and declared to be holy in the righteous and fair punishment of proud men. God's righteous judgment is never a random act of vengeance, but the fact is, His performing justice, His holiness is revealed.
Isaiah 5:17 Then shall the lambs feed after their manner, and the waste places of the fat ones shall strangers eat. (KJV)
Then shall the lambs feed after their manner . . . then is when God shall have finished that work of judgment upon the ungodly, He will extend mercy to the remainder (remnant, Isa.10:20-22; 46:3). This is very usual with Isaiah, in the midst of his threatenings, to insert something to encourage believers. The lambs are the poor and harmless people, who shall be left in the land when the rich are carried into captivity (2 Ki.25:12). Feed after their manner, or by their fold, as this word is clearly used (Mic.2:12).
And the waste places of the fat ones shall strangers eat . . . the waste places, are the lands left by their owners, who were either slain or carried into captivity. The fat ones are of the rich and great men (Ps.22:29; 78:31; Isa.10:16). Strangers, the poor Israelites, who were left to be vine-dressers and husbandmen (2 Ki.25:12), who are called strangers, because they were strangers in reference to that land, not being the proper owners of it, nor related to them; as the Israelites of other tribes are called strangers, in opposition to the Levites (Num.1:51), and the Levites are so called, in opposition to the seed of Aaron (Num.16:40).
*****In verses 11-17, Isaiah pronounces the second woe upon the nation: those who rise early in the morning that they may pursue strong drink, and who stay up late in the evening that wine may inflame them. Isaiah pronounces a woe upon the nation for their partying lifestyle. They had pursued a lifestyle of wickedness and many were drunkards to the point that they even woke up early in the morning in order to look forward to getting drunk.
The people were interested only in pursuing the lust of the flesh (Gal.5:16; 2 Pet. 2:10; 1 Jn.2:16). They were not interested in obeying the LORD (Pro.7:1; Ecc.12:13; Jer.26:13; Phil.2:12; 1 Tim.6:13-14; Tit.3:1; Jam.1:22-25; 1 Pet.1:14), and they did not consider the work of His Hands (Deut.33:11; Job 1:10; 34:19; Isa.5:12; 29:23; 45:11). Isaiah tells them that their punishment is that they will go into exile, and we know that this occurred through the Persians who conquered Jerusalem.
Isaiah says that the people were now going to perish for their lack of knowledge (Hos.4:6). Isaiah tells them that the so-called honorable and mighty men have an unquenchable thirst for the lusts of their flesh to be fulfilled, and for that reason Sheol or Hell, is going to open its mouth and with its unquenchable thirst swallow them up. The result of the judgment that is coming on the land is that the people will be humbled, from the poor man all the way up to the man of importance, all will be abased. The LORD will show Himself to be righteous when He pours out His righteous judgment upon the land. When the wicked are removed the lambs will graze in their pasture, and strangers will eat in the waste places of the wealthy.
Isaiah 5:18 Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope: (KJV)
Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity . . . woe unto them that are not only drawn to sin by the appeal of the world, and by the urging of wicked men (Gal.6:1), but are active and busy in drawing sin to themselves. They do not rest until they have grabbed hold of that sin. Stupidity! With cords of vanity or with vain and deceitful arguments and pretenses, which is how sinners usually draw themselves to sin and the supposed freedom which they promise themselves.
And sin as it were with a cart rope . . . with a cart rope, with all their might, as beasts commonly do that draw carts with ropes.
*****This could be translated: Woe to those whose wickedness is helped by deceit and lies, those who in their pride are fools not to believe that the wrath of God shall bring the judgment He has promised. This is the third woe, or the third sin. This is the picture of a nation giving itself over to sin without shame or conscience. This country of ours is taking this alarming and scary road this very minute! BEWARE!!
Isaiah 5:19 That say, Let him make speed, and hasten his work, that we may see it: and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw nigh and come, that we may know it! (KJV)
That say, Let him make speed, and hasten his work . . . these people set the justice of God as boldness, and challenge the Almighty to do His worst. This is absolute stupidity for those people then, and the people in today’s world to do! They say, Let him make speed, and hasten his work . . . this is the same language as that of the scoffers of the last days! 2 Peter 3:3-4 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. (KJV) . . . They will not believe the revelation of God's wrath from Heaven against their ungodliness and their unrighteousness, unless they see it executed. If God would appear against them, as He has threatened, they think they will be able to make their part good with Him, and provoke him to jealousy, as if they were stronger than He is (1 Cro.10:22). They are saying, ‘We have heard His Word, but it is all talk. Prove it!’ Dear one, ALL those who take this terrifying road, and willfully persist in sin, shall one day feel the power of God's anger.
Hasten his work, that we may see it . . . they think He only wanted to scare them, they do not think that He will do them any harm. They did NOT fear him (reverence Him). They said, let Him do His worst; let Him start as soon as He likes. Not that any of the Israelites were so bold as to use these expressions, but this was the plain language of their actions. They showed their sinful contempt of God, and of all of His judgments.
And let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw nigh and come, that we may know it! . . . the people mocked and ridiculed the prophets of God. It is in scorn that they call God the Holy One of Israel, because the prophets used with great honor and reverence to call Him this. They scornfully repeated the title usually given by the prophets unto God. They actually challenge the LORD to do anything about their sin. It is interesting to note that no penalty is mentioned. The very silence of that is very scary, for the penalty is too dreadful to mention. The history of the deportation of the nation to Babylon tells of the terrible judgment of God upon a people who sin freely against Him and openly defy Him (Ps.137). God will judge them, and all others who do so! God is a God of love, but when a person or a nation reaches the place where you defy Him and turn your back on Him, there is no hope for you. Judgment comes. There are far too many instances in history to deny this fact, unless you simply close your eyes to them.
*****This woe is pronounced upon those who are deceived in their iniquity, they sin but not openly or directly in their own minds, and since they rationalize their actions they do NOT see themselves as doing wrong. I think this is what is taking place in our day. Isaiah tells us that those who commit this woe actually are asking the Lord to come in judgment, and yet they do not realize that IF He comes in judgment that they themselves will be the ones to be judged. Isaiah does not tells us what the judgment will be, that will fall upon these, but hypocrisy is never a covering or a freedom for a person’s sin. The LORD shall burn away all of the dross on that Day of Judgment and every deed will be seen for what it is in reality. All people shall be judged according to works: (Ps.62:12; Pro.24:12,29; Isa.59:18; Jer.21:14; 25:14; 32:19; Lam.3:64; Eze.7:8-9; 18:30; Hos.12:2; Zec.1:6; Mat.16:27; Rom.2:6; 2 Tim.4:14; Rev.2:23; 18:6; 20:12-13; 22:12). Also see: (1 Cor.3:10-15).
Isaiah 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! (KJV)
Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil . . . the fourth woe, is against those who mix up the opposites of right and wrong (Rom.1:28), a reprobate mind is undiscerning, with moral perception darkened. Confusing and overthrowing the differences between moral good and evil (Pro.17:15).
That put darkness for light, and light for darkness . . . the work of Satan is all around us! He keeps trying to win people to his side by saying darkness (cults, false religion) is light. Christ is the LIGHT! (Isa.42:6; Lk.2:32; Jn.1:4,9; 8:12; 9:5; Acts 13:47; Eph.5:14). Do NOT fall for the devil’s lies! Darkness is NOT light! (Isa.59:9; Jer.13:16; Jn.12:35; 2 Cor.6:14; Eph.5:8).
That put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter . . . sin is bitter (Jer.2:19; 4:18; Acts 8:23; Heb.12:15); although sin may seem sweet, it will be sweet for only a time (Pro.9:17-18). God’s Word is sweet (Ps.119:103; Pro.24:13-14).
*****This is the fourth sin against which the fourth woe is leveled. It is an attempt to destroy God's standards of right and wrong by substituting man's values which totally oppose the LORD’S moral standards. This confusion comes upon a nation when they abandon God after He has blessed them in the past for their response to Him. America is quickly declining in the same direction.
When a nation’s values get so twisted and warped that godly conduct is condemned as evil, and on the other hand . . . evil is called good . . . this indicates the coming judgment of the Lord. This is what the nation of Israel was doing in their day, and we see this sin so rampant and widespread in our nation today. The liberal media condemns Christians for hate crimes when they are simply calling a sinful conduct such as homosexuality to be wrong in God’s sight (as the Scripture specifically and clearly states Gen.19:4-5; Lev.18:22; 20:13; Rom.1:26; 1 Cor.6:9-11; Jude 1:7), and the same media then promotes a homosexual’s conduct as being good. This sort of perversion in our nation is another omen of the LORD’S imminent judgment upon America. God would have to apologize to Judea for sending her to the Babylonian captivity if He does not judge our nation.
Isaiah 5:21 Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! (KJV)
Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes . . . being puffed up with an opinion of their own wisdom, despising the counsels and instructions of God by His faithful prophets, and prefer their own foolish ideas above the judgment of the all-wise God, as appears by the error before mentioned (vs.20), that they affirmed that to be evil which God had declared to be good.
And prudent in their own sight . . . prudent is practical, sensible in their own mind.
*****The fifth woe is against the many who THINK they are wise, it is the sin of pride. Wisdom comes from God (Pro.2:5-6; 3:5-7), and so God, as the Source of TRUE wisdom, should be acknowledged. To elevate one's own wisdom was a perversion and stupid. Those who were so wise in their own eyes as to think they knew better than the prophet, and therefore rejected his warnings (Isa 29:14-15; 30:10).
God hates pride above all else (Pro.6:16-17). Pride was the sin of Satan (Isa.14:12-16; 1 Tim.3:6). Pride is number one on God's hate list. The people of Israel truly thought that they were shrewd and wise, they were puffed up in their estimation of themselves. Dear one, we see the sin of the pride of life (1 Jn.2:16), so widespread in America today. This is just another omen that our nation is on God’s list of impending judgment coming from the LORD against our nation
Isaiah 5:22 Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink: (KJV)
Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine . . . the mighty drink much without being drunk, in which they boasted, as too many do today.
And men of strength to mingle strong drink . . . mingle strong drink, not with water, but spices to make it powerful and mind-altering (Pro.9:2,5; 23:30; Song 8:2). They gloried in it as a great accomplishment that they are able to bear a great deal of strong liquor without being overcome by it, NOT in the service of their country, but in the service of their lusts.
Drunkards should know from this Scripture that:
#1. They abuse their bodily strength, which God has given them for good purposes, and by degrees cannot but weaken it.
#2. It will not excuse them from the sin of drunkenness that they can drink much and still keep on their feet.
#3. Those who boast of their drinking down others glory in their shame.
#4. No matter how small a sin people make of their drunkenness, it is a SIN which will certainly lay them open to the wrath and curse of God.
Isaiah 5:23 Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him! (KJV)
This class of drunks (vs.22) added new sins to Israel’s list. Instead of giving justice to the people, as judges of Judah, they justified the wicked and condemned the righteous for rewards, setting aside the just claims of those having a righteous cause. They take bribes that they may maintain their luxury. They justify the wicked for reward, and find some lie to clear themselves from their guilt and shelter them from punishment. It will NOT work! God can see everything that they do!
*****The sixth woe is against corrupt judges, who are mighty in drinking, a boast still common today. This is the sixth and last woe. Here a people have become so drenched with drunkenness that they lost all their sense of justice, like many today! Injustice and crookedness prevail, and the righteous man is falsely accused. No nation can survive for long which drops so low in morals that it loses its sense of values. In our day, people are saying that wrong is right and right is wrong. Dear one, wrong is still wrong in the eyes of Almighty God. Please remember this!
Isaiah 5:24 Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. (KJV)
Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff . . .
as fire devours the stubble. Although the process of deterioration and rottenness is slow and unobserved, the penalty comes like a wildfire in the dry stubble, fast and furious and cannot be prevented. It is the anger of the Lord bursting forth in judgment. The frightful judgment of God in the last days will be like this.
So their root shall be as rottenness . . . they shall be like a tree which not only withers in its branches, but dies and rots at the roots, and therefore is past all hopes of recovery. The people shall be totally destroyed, both root and branch.
And their blossom shall go up as dust . . . shall ascend or go up (Ex.16:14; Job 5:26; Jer.48:15; Eze.11:23-24), as the dust, which is blown away with the wind; or, shall be committed into dust, and yield no fruit.
Because they have cast away the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel . . . they have cast away, which means disobedience and contempt of the LORD!
*****In verses 22-24, Isaiah pronounces the sixth woe upon the nation: those who are heroes in drinking wine, and valiant men are mixing strong drink, who justify the wicked for a bribe and take away the rights of the ones who are in the right.
The sin of drinking and drugs is everywhere today! God does not do anything about it. Drunkenness will bring its own judgment. Judgment will come to the individual, and it will come to the nation. The Lord will judge any man or nation who continually does evil and who takes away the rights of the poor, innocent, and oppressed.
Isaiah describes their coming judgment as being burned up just like grass which is devoured in a fire, and that their root will become like rot and their blossom blow away as dust. Sin is the transgression of the law of God, and Isaiah tells us that their judgment will come because they have rejected the law of the LORD of hosts and had despised His Word.
Isaiah 5:25 Therefore is the anger of the LORD kindled against his people, and he hath stretched forth his hand against them, and hath smitten them: and the hills did tremble, and their carcases were torn in the midst of the streets. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still. (KJV)
And he hath stretched forth his hand against them, and hath smitten them . . . many people speak only of the love of God, never once mentioning the wrath of God! YES! The love of God is real, and you cannot keep Him from loving you; BUT, He is also a God of wrath . . . He hates sin! If you are going to love sin, He still will love you, but you can well expect His judgment. The anger of the Lord is kindled against His people . . . not against the neighbors.
And the hills did tremble, and their carcases were torn in the midst of the streets . . . hills tremble, this probably fixes the date of this chapter, for it refers to the earthquake in the days of Uzziah (Amos 1:1; Zec.14:5). The Earth trembled as if it was conscious of the Presence of God (Jer.4:24; Hab.3:6). Torn, rather they perished and were as dung for the Earth (Ps.83:10).
For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still . . . His anger was kindled (2 Ki.22:13, 17), hand is stretched out still. If Israel had gone to the Lord and trusted Him, He would have delivered them. The judgment of God is in the Book of Isaiah but so is His amazing grace. The government of God and the grace of God NEVER contradict nor oppose each other. IF you insist on continuing on in sin, IF you refuse the LORD’S awesome grace, then you will experience what the government of God is. The burden of the prophet strains with solemn monotony, and is repeated in (Isa.9:12, 17, 21; 10:4). With all the past calamities, still heavier judgments are impending; which Isaiah specifies in the rest of the chapter (Lev.26:14-18).
Five great calamities have fallen on Israel and left them hardened:
#1. Earthquake (Isa.5:25).
#2. Loss of territory (isa.9:8-12).
#3. War and a crucial defeat (Isa.9:13-17).
#4. Internal anarchy (Isa.9:18-21).
#5. The close prospect of captivity (Isa.10:14).
In the rest of this chapter we see a buildup of the judgment of God.
Isaiah 5:26 And he will lift up an ensign to the nations from far, and will hiss unto them from the end of the earth: and, behold, they shall come with speed swiftly: (KJV)
And he will lift up an ensign to the nations from far . . . lift a banner to call together the hostile nations to execute His judgments on Judea (Isa.10:5-7; 45:1); but for mercy to it (Isa.11:12; 18:3).
And will hiss unto them from the end of the earth . . . will hiss unto them or, will whistle unto or for them, will gather them together by His Word, as shepherds gather their sheep. He indicates just how easily and quickly God can do this work. From the ends of the earth, means from very remote places; although part of the Chaldean army did come from places not very far distant from the end of that part of the world, so far as it was then known. Hiss (Isa.7:18). Bees were supposedly drawn out of their hives by the sound of a flute, or hissing, or whistling (Zec.10:8). God will collect the nations around Judea like bees (Deut. 1:44; Ps.118:12).
And, behold, they shall come with speed swiftly . . . when the LORD hisses or whistles for His judgment to take place, the nations shall rush to do His will.
Isaiah 5:27 None shall be weary nor stumble among them; none shall slumber nor sleep; neither shall the girdle of their loins be loosed, nor the latchet of their shoes be broken: (KJV)
None shall be weary nor stumble anmong them . . . although the march would be long and hard, as He had called them to this work, so too will He strengthen and assist them in it.
None shall slumber nor sleep . . . they all shall be watchful and diligent to take all opportunities and advantages of executing God’s judgments upon His sinful people.
Neither shall the girdle of their loins be loosed, nor the latchet of their shoes be broken . . . which if not, would hinder or at least slacken them in their march. God would take all obstructions out of their way. When God promises judgment, He fulfills it! He often uses wicked nations to accomplish His purposes.
Isaiah 5:28 Whose arrows are sharp, and all their bows bent, their horses' hoofs shall be counted like flint, and their wheels like a whirlwind: (KJV)
Whose arrows are sharp, and all their bows bent . . . who are in every way furnished and ready for God’s work, waiting only for His command. Bows bent, ready for battle.
Their horses' hoofs shall be counted like flint . . . hoofs like flint, some horses have softer hooves than others. Black hoofs are nearly always harder that white hoofs. We made our living with horses for over 40 years, so I think I am qualified to say this. The ancients did not shoe their horses, so hard hoofs was of great value in long marches, because they had less chance of being broken or battered by the length or ruggedness of the way.
Their wheels like a whirlwind . . . partly for the swiftness of their march, and partly for the force and violence of their chariots in battle. The Assyrian army abounded in cavalry and chariots (Isa.22:6-7; 36:8).
*****In verses 25-28, Isaiah looks forward and he sees the coming judgments against the nation of Israel as already being fulfilled. The nation had already suffered judgment from the LORD and they will suffer further judgment from Him, because of His anger against their shameful, unrepentant sin that the judgments will happen. Isaiah tells the people that the LORD’S anger against the people is not yet satisfied.
Isaiah also states that the LORD is going to raise up a standard to a distant nation, and whistle for it to come. This standard appears to be the invading Persian army that will come and take away the people into exile. This nation will come quickly when the LORD speaks.
The invading nation will be very focused, coming swiftly, not get weary, not stumbling nor sleeping. They will not even change their clothes on the way.
The invading army will be treacherous for their arrows will be sharpened and their bows strengthened, their horses’ hoofs will be hard like flint, and their chariots will travel as fast as a whirlwind which comes against a city. NO one has a chance against the LORD when His wrath is flared up against their sin!
Isaiah 5:29 Their roaring shall be like a lion, they shall roar like young lions: yea, they shall roar, and lay hold of the prey, and shall carry it away safe, and none shall deliver it. (KJV)
Their roaring shall be like a lion, they shall roar like young lions . . . which means both their cruelty, and their greed and eagerness to catch and devour the prey. Their roaring shall be like a lion, the soldiers of Babylon, Assyria and other nations were taught to enter battle yelling and fighting like demons. Here their noise is said to be like many lions roaring upon their prey, and the roaring of the sea (vs.29-30).
Yea, they shall roar, and lay hold of the prey, and shall carry it away safe, and none shall deliver it . . . none, neither the Jews themselves, nor the Egyptians, to whose help they will trust, nor any of their allies will be able to stop God’s judgment!
Isaiah 5:30 And in that day they shall roar against them like the roaring of the sea: and if one look unto the land, behold darkness and sorrow, and the light is darkened in the heavens thereof. (KJV)
And in that day they shall roar against them like the roaring of the sea . . . the people coming in judgment shall roar against Judah, like the roaring of the sea, which is violent and dreadful.
And if one look unto the land, behold darkness and sorrow . . . darkness, sorrow: the last word explains the first word, and the particle and is put better explain it. Darkness is a symbol of sin, evil, wickednes and the world (John 1:5; Eph.5:8). Sorrow will be brought on by their not trusting God and their non-stop sin. Darkness and sorrow . . . a picture of the misery, sufferings and hopelessness of Judah after the destruction by Babylon.
And the light is darkened in the heavens thereof . . . when they look up to the heavens, as men in distress usually do, they would see no light there; their comforts are totally hidden, and their hopes are completely gone! Israel is a people still in darkness. They are still a people far from God, a people not living in peace and who desperately need God (as we all do). They are living in fear and are in great danger in that land today. This is the judgment of God. Let us all pray for Israel to see the Truth, that Jesus is their Messiah!
*****Isaiah describes the Day of Judgment for the nation Israel as being a day of darkness, distress and utter sorrow. God’s judgment against Judah and Jerusalem was complete, for the enemy destroyed the Temple and the city by fire and then took all but the poor to captivity in Persia. God in His mercy gave the nation a chance to repent and to turn to Him, for He told them of the judgment that was coming, BUT . . . they paid Him no heed, so now because they refused to listen to Isaiah and to repent, the Lord will remove His restraining power and give them over to their sinful passions. We all must consider what is said here, because God hates sin, and He shall punish any and all, individual or nation who keep on keeping on in sin! God does NOT lie (Tit.1:2).
Six Woe's in Isaiah 5
#1. Woe to the covetous (vs.8).
#2. Woe to the drunkards (vs.11).
#3. Woe to those that multiply sin (vs.18-19).
#4. Woe to those who say right is wrong, and wrong is right (vs.20).
#5. Woe to those who are proud and wise in their own eyes (vs.21).
#6. Woe to judges who justify the wicked and condemn the righteous (vs.22-23).
The word Tophet in Hebrew means that which causes loathing, abhorrence and vomiting. Just as Tophet was to be a place of great destruction and a burial ground for multitudes in the ruin of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar (Jer. 7:31-32; 19:6-14), so it was appointed by the Lord in this prophecy to be a place of slaughter when Jerusalem will be surrounded by the armies of the Antichrist. Tophet is a deep valley southeast of Jerusalem, well-known as the place of idolatry and worship of Moloch. It was in Tophet that a large brazen image with hollow trunk and arms was greatly heated, and children were offered as sacrifices to it. To drown out their cries as they were being put into this red hot idol, drums were beaten, which were called Toph or Tophim; and so the name Tophet was given to this part of the valley . . . the valley of the son of Hinnom (2Ki. 16:3; 21:6; 23:10). Fires were kept going in this valley to burn up the refuse of the city and to purify the atmosphere and prevent pollution. Because of this it became a symbol of eternal Hell among the Jews. Therefore the name Gehenna was coined to mean the place of eternal torment (Mat.10:28; 25:41, 46; Lk.12:5).
Tophet should be understood in connection with the Assyrian (the Antichrist) and his great army of Isa. 30:30-32. It seems to leave little doubt where the exact spot will be when Antichrist will be destroyed at the war of Armageddon. http://bibleatlas.org/topheth.htm
Much of the army with him will be also destroyed and Tophet, at that time, will be a great funeral fire kindled by the Lord like a stream of fire and brimstone. He will come with great flaming fire which will destroy multitudes in this battle (Isa. 30:20; Ezek. 38:17-21; 2Th. 1:7-10).
My personal thoughts on Hell.
We made a trip to Yellowstone a while back. Beautiful country up there! We never did get to see Old Faithful, because the roads were all tore up, being repaired, and neither of us are capable of walking.
There were hot springs everywhere. I want to comment on one thing that we saw . . . that being the boiling water in several places. I took pictures. It actually was scary to say the least! I was amazed. It certainly made us think! That hot water had to come from heat beneath the Earth, a volcano! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellowstone_Caldera
Now, considering this fact . . . consider just how many hot springs there are in the world, and then consider how many volcanoes there are all over the world.
What I am trying to get across to you is just how many hot springs and volcanoes there are all over the world. Where are they? Beneath the ground, in the center of the Earth. So . . . what does it look like down there? I would want to say that God tells us in every Passage in the Bible that speaks of Hell and the lake of fire! It is only common sense to think that Hell is in the center of the Earth. And thinking how large the Earth is, it is only common sense to think that Hell will indeed be large enough to house ALL the wicked of the world. (Isa.5:14; 14:9; 30:33; Pro.27:20; Eze.32:21; Hab.2:5; Mat.7:13; Rev.20:13-15).
Some things to consider is that the Bible states that Hell will be as FIRE!
Everlasting fire. Matthew 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: [KJV] Jesus' Words.
Everlasting burnings. Isaiah 33:14 The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? [KJV]
A furnace of fire. Matthew 13:42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. [KJV] Jesus' Words. Matthew 13:50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. [KJV] Jesus' Words.
A lake of fire. Rev. 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. [KJV]
Fire and brimstone. Rev. 14:10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: [KJV]
Unquenchable fire. Matthew 3:12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. [KJV]
Devouring fire. Isaiah 33:14 The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? [KJV]
Another thing to consider is that the Bible states that Hell will be dark.
Outer Darkness. Matthew 8:12 But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. [KJV] Matthew 22:13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. [KJV] Matthew 25:30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. [KJV]
SO . . . how do we reconcile these two things? In reality fire and darkness are opposites! In my mind, they can be reconciled! When we consider just how large this Earth is, and when we consider the center of the Earth, it too is massive. It seems to me that there are many caves down there, and they would indeed be dark. Anyone who has ever been in a cave, knows just how dark they can be. There is not a bit of light, it is pitch dark, black as can be! On the other hand, there are fires everywhere else down there from the volcanoes.
When I think of Hell, this is what comes to my mind.
Websites about HELL: http://www.hisservants.org/hell_h_s.htm
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