Isaiah 27 – Ordering the Kingdom of the LORD
A. In His Kingdom, God blesses Israel.
1. (1) In the Kingdom of the Lord, Leviathan is defeated.
In that day the LORD with His severe sword, great and strong,
Will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent,
Leviathan that twisted serpent;
And He will slay the reptile that is in the sea.
a. In that day: This brings us back to the theme of Isaiah 24-27 in general, the day when the Kingdom of the Messiah ultimately triumphs and rules.
b. The LORD, with His severe sword, great and strong, will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent: The ultimate triumph of the LORD in the day of the Messiah is expressed in victory over Leviathan the fleeing serpent.
i. Some make the connection between Leviathan and ancient myths of nations near Israel. “The language used draws on mythology; but this need cause us no serious problem. Writers, whether of Scripture or otherwise, frequently use illustrative material, drawing that material from a wide variety of sources: nature, history, mythology, or literature. The use of mythology here simply shows that Isaiah and his readers knew the mythological stories, not that they believed them. If a modern historian referred to a fierce and aggressive nation as ‘a great dragon,’ would his readers assume he believed in the objective existence of such creatures? Surely not!” (Grogan)
ii. “The term as used here is normally linked with the Ugaritic Lotan, the chaos monster destroyed by Baal in the Canaanite creation myth…the term may be applied figuratively to monstrous enemies of Israel and of God.” (Grogan)
iii. While there is an illustrative element here, Isaiah may be more literal than many would like to admit. If Satan could manifest himself as a serpent to Eve in the Garden of Eden, why not also manifest himself as a dreadful sea-dragon?
c. Leviathan that twisted serpent: What do we know about Leviathan from this passage? We know that Leviathan is identified with a serpent. We know that Leviathan is resisting God (fleeing…twisting; twisting has the idea of coiling, as if it were ready to strike). We know that Leviathan is connected with the sea. And we know that Leviathan’s destiny is to be destroyed by the LORD.
i. What do we know about Leviathan from other passages of Scripture? Leviathan is referred to in passages like Job 3:8, Job 41, Psalm 74:14, and Psalm 104:26. These passages reinforce the idea of Leviathan as a mighty, serpent-like creature, connected with the sea, who resists God and will be crushed by the LORD.
ii. We are familiar with the reference to Satan as a serpent (Genesis 3:1-5), but here the picture is of a sea-serpent or perhaps what we would know as a dragon. This reference may be a literal reference, and at some point in history, either past or present, Satan may manifest himself as a monster connected with the sea. Certainly, Revelation uses this imagery in describing the emergence of the Antichrist (Revelation 13:1-4).
d. He will slay the reptile that is in the sea: Essentially, Isaiah prophesied the ultimate defeat of Satan when the Kingdom of the Messiah conquers all (He will slay the reptile).
2. (2-6) In the Kingdom of the LORD, Israel blossoms.
In that day sing to her,
“A vineyard of red wine!
I, the LORD, keep it,
I water it every moment;
Lest any hurt it,
I keep it night and day.
Fury is not in Me.
Who would set briers and thorns
Against Me in battle?
I would go through them,
I would burn them together.
Or let him take hold of My strength,
That he may make peace with Me;
And he shall make peace with Me.”
Those who come He shall cause to take root in Jacob;
Israel shall blossom and bud,
And fill the face of the world with fruit.
a. A vineyard of red wine! I, the LORD, keep it: In the days of the Kingdom of the Messiah, the LORD will keep the vineyard of Israel with special care. He waters it (I will water it every moment), He protects it (lest any hurt it), He guards it constantly (I keep it night and day) against all enemies, forcing them to make peace with Him and His vineyard.
b. Let him take hold of My strength: We can only be fruitful when we take hold of the strength of the LORD. As long as we hold on to our own strength, what we really have is weakness.
i. Poole on let him take hold of My strength: “He seems to allude to that history of Jacob’s wrestling with the angel of God…which he could never have done but by a strength received from God.”
ii. “Verse 5 is a neglected Old Testament promise of forgiveness to the penitent. In verse 4 the God of battles is marching against the briers and the thorns with a flaming torch in his hand. He is about to set fire to this rank undergrowth, but before doing so he proclaims the alternative of peace.” (Grogan)
c. Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit: The result is blessing for the LORD’s vineyard. This will be ultimately fulfilled in the Kingdom of the Messiah, but if we yield to the care of the LORD, He will care for us as His precious vineyard right now, and we will enjoy the blessings of that care (John 15:1-8).
i. “Whereas the vineyard in Isaiah 5 was overrun by thorns, not a brier or thorn can be found in this vineyard.” (Wolf)
3. (7-9) In the Kingdom of the LORD, Israel receives mercy.
Has He struck Israel as He struck those who struck him?
Or has He been slain according to the slaughter of those who were slain by Him?
In measure, by sending it away,
You contended with it.
He removes it by His rough wind
In the day of the east wind.
Therefore by this the iniquity of Jacob will be covered;
And this is all the fruit of taking away his sin:
When he makes all the stones of the altar
Like chalkstones that are beaten to dust,
Wooden images and incense altars shall not stand.
a. Has He struck Israel as He struck those who struck him? The LORD shows His mercy to Israel, in that even though the LORD struck Israel when Israel went astray, He did not strike Israel as severely as He did the other nations that went astray.
b. The iniquity of Jacob will be covered: The LORD shows His mercy to Israel in that He covers their sin. This is ultimately fulfilled in the Kingdom of the Messiah when all Israel will be saved (Romans 11:26).
c. When he makes all the stones of the altar like chalkstones that are beaten to dust: The LORD shows His mercy to Israel in that He destroys their idolatrous altars and images, forcing them to worship the LORD only.
B. In His Kingdom, God makes the nations submit to Him.
1. (10-11) In the Kingdom of the LORD, the city of man lies desolate.
Yet the fortified city will be desolate,
The habitation forsaken and left like a wilderness;
There the calf will feed, and there it will lie down
And consume its branches.
When its boughs are withered, they will be broken off;
The women come and set them on fire.
For it is a people of no understanding;
Therefore He who made them will not have mercy on them,
And He who formed them will show them no favor.
a. The fortified city will be desolate: The city of man, representing the world system, will be made desolate by the judgment of the LORD. Knowing this, why would we put our hope, our confidence, or our expectation in the world system?
b. The habitation forsaken and left like a wilderness: The city of man, the world system, will be made so desolate that it will resemble a wilderness with bare branches, useful only for fire.
i. “In [Isaiah] 10:33-34, God goes into battle against the great trees, lopping the boughs from them with his axe. Here the undergrowth feels the shriveling heat of his anger.” (Grogan)
c. He who formed them will show them no favor: This is the terrible judgment against the city of man, against the world system. We want the favor of the LORD, we long for His favor. But the world’s system, the citizens of the city of man, will be shown no favor.
2. (12-13) In the Kingdom of the LORD, He is worshipped in Jerusalem.
And it shall come to pass in
That day that the LORD will thresh,
From the channel of the River to the Brook of Egypt;
And you will be gathered one by one,
O you children of Israel.
So it shall be in that day:
The great trumpet will be blown;
They will come, who are about to perish in the land of Assyria,
And they who are outcasts in the land of Egypt,
And shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem.
a. You will be gathered one by one, O you children of Israel: The LORD will be worshipped by His own regathered people. They will come from the nations (Assyria…. Egypt), and they will come to worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem.
(c) 2021 The Enduring Word Bible Commentary by David Guzik – firstname.lastname@example.org